New England – the six states of the northeastern U.S. – is one of the world’s oldest and most exciting yacht charter destinations. Known for its history, manicured beaches, and seafaring culture, the villages, islands and ports of New England offer enticing itineraries for visitors. Explore this beautiful stretch of coast on your next yachting vacation.
“The Birthplace of America” delivers a yachting experience with something for everyone: Quaint, historic towns, outdoor adventures (like cycling and hiking), and of course, some of the best seafood in the world.
Your day during a New England yacht charter will be packed with exciting experiences. Relax on deck in the fresh salt air and then de-board to walk the Freedom Trail in Boston, tour the opulent mansions of the Industrial Revolution’s titans in Newport, RI, or stretch out on the sandy beaches of Cape Cod. There’s so much to see and do in this corner of the world, and it’s all best experienced by boat!
New England Yacht Charters: What to See and Do
Whether you’re a history buff, or you’re in the mood for an afternoon beach picnic, New England is a destination with something for everyone. From vibrant festivals and lively regattas, to natural and historical sites galore, you’ll find plenty to see and explore in New England. Many yacht charter guests choose to take in the region’s many historic ports – like Newport, RI and of course, Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard – and explore the villages and islands along the way. Your charter might include:
New England is home to numerous rocky and majestic islands and islets. In Maine alone, yachters can explore more than 3,000 beautiful islands (many of which are uninhabited). Yet, throughout New England you’ll find a variety of islands – from the hotspots of Nantucket, to the lesser-trafficked Cuttyhunk Island (the outermost of Massachusetts Elizabeth Islands).
During the summer months, Humpback, Minke and Finkback whales seek the cooler waters of New England (just in time for yachting season). In other words, from May to September, the whale watching in New England is a sight to behold. You’ll regularly see humpbacks breaching – one of the most abundant species.
New England is known for its manicured beaches and picturesque sand dunes. In every state in the region and island, you’ll find a beach worthy of a picnic or day in the sun. A few of the favorites like Joseph Sylvia State Beach near Martha’s Vineyard, Chatham Lighthouse Beach (known for its resident seal population) and Salisbury Beach State Reservation (just south of Acadia National Park in MA) offer the best of the best.
New England has more than 6,000 miles of coastline, and dotted along this sprawling map, you’ll find many iconic 18th and 19th century lighthouses. Plan to tour a few on charter. New London Harbor Lighthouse, on Long Island Sound, is one of the most historic, as is the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse (built in 1771).
New England is, in our opinion, the best place to sail in the U.S. And the region has a deeply-rooted sailing culture. Newport, RI, for example, was the birthplace of America’s Cup, and the race ran in the harbor for many years. Today, you’ll find wonderful regattas all summer long, including Nantucket Race Week, the Vineyard Cup, and the Castline to Camden.
Picturesque, Historic Towns
New England is, of course, the “birthplace of America,” and many of its towns date to the early Colonial period. Explore the cobblestoned streets and rich historical towns along the coast. Salem, MA is a favorite (known for its witchcraft past), as are Portland, ME and Newport, RI. All along the coast, you’ll find historical buildings, forts and museums to explore.
Yacht charter guests in New England are treated to some of the best seafood. The area is most famous for its rich, delicious lobster (especially in Maine and Massachusetts), but you’ll also find scallops, clams, crab and plenty of chowder houses. Not to mention, there are numerous other local specialties to try: Saltwater taffy, maple candies, brown bread, and pies.
Throughout the year, New England hosts some of the most vibrant, lively and family-friendly festivals. You’ll find food fests, cultural events, and of course, plenty of celebrations of the sea. Try the Maine Lobster Festival, held each year in Rockland, ME, or Oyster Fest in Norwalk, CT, for great seafood. The annual Sailfest in Connecticut is another favorite for yachters.
New England offers plenty of opportunities to get outdoors and explore, and cycling is a time-honored New England pastime. Across the region, you’ll find plenty of relaxing beachside bike trails and picturesque routes. On Block Island, in Rhode Island, there’s a network of trails that traverse the shoreline – a perfect afternoon escape – and Nantucket is another favorite cycling destination.
The region is home to some of the most abundant fisheries in the U.S. If you fancy yourself a sporting angler, you’ll love the chase in New England. Seabass is a favorite sport fish, and anglers regularly pull 30-pound fish from the sea. You’ll also find tuna, stripers and several species of shark in the waters from Cape Cod to Maine.
Top Charter Destinations in New England
Your luxury yacht charter can roam in almost any direction you choose. So where to? From the most northern reaches of Maine to the southern tip of Connecticut, you have more than 6,000 miles of coastline to explore. That means no two New England yacht charter itineraries are the same. Here are a few of the top destinations for New England boat charters:
Falkner Island, CT
Falkner is a unique, crescent-shaped island that’s best known for the Falkner Island Light, a lighthouse built in 1802 that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The famous lighthouse is worth seeing – it played a role in the War of 1812 – and today still operates as a navigational aid. Aside from the lighthouse, Falkner Island is a favorite destination for hikes and beach picnics.
A lovely seaside city, Newport is most famous for being the summer retreat of America’s wealthiest families during the Gilded Age. These business titans made their fortune during the Industrial Revolution and you can see echoes of that wealth in their opulent, oceanfront mansions, many of which are now museums. The breathtaking Cliff Walk takes you along the edge of the ocean and gives you some of the best views of the mansions.
Cape Cod, MA
Boasting some of the best beaches in the country, “summering in the Cape” has been popular for decades. Aside from relaxing on the beach, biking along the Rail Trail and kayaking through the marshes and estuaries are favorite diversions of travelers. Tasting some of the fresh local oysters is also a must.
Chebeague Island, ME
Surprisingly, there are over 3,000 islands of the coast of Maine, most of which are pristinely uninhabited and ruggedly beautiful. The more developed islands are just as picturesque, and Chebeague in particular is worth seeing. Only 5 miles wide, this tiny island is best traversed by bicycle, allowing you to beach hop easily. During low tides, you can even join the locals and go clamming – if you’re a quick study, you’ll be able to bring dinner back for all the guests on your New England charter.
Of course, you can’t go to New England without making a stop at Martha’s Vineyard. This is a popular hotspot where many U.S. presidents vacation. Here, you’ll find some of the world’s most raved-about yachts. Grab a bike and spend your day shopping, at the beach, or eating at one of Edgartown’s gourmet restaurants. Whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
Nantucket delivers the quintessential “New England” vibe. Here, you’ll find history (there’s a cobblestone street around every corner), quirky shops, art galleries, and great seafood restaurants. For the family, The Whaling Museum and the Toy Boat – the latter of which boasts a stellar collection of classic wooden floatables – are favorite destinations.
New England Highlights
- Picturesque coastal towns
- Amazing coastline
- Beautiful beaches
- Rich maritime history
- World-famous seafood and unique cuisine