Owning a boat is plenty of fun. You can have so many amazing experiences out on the water with friends and family.
So, what can you do with a boat, a bit of time, and the right company? This guide unpacks some of the most fun activities to do on a boat.
Regardless of the type of boat you have, we included some options to keep you entertained. From freshwater boating trips to deep water fishing offshore, boat ownership opens you up to a world of new hobbies, past times, and life experiences.
- Cruising Ideas
- Fishing Ideas
- Watersports Ideas
- Diving Ideas
- Non-Motorized Personal Boating Ideas
- Wrapping Up
Going on road trips with our families or Sunday drives between towns was one of the cool things we all used to do as a kid.
You can do the same thing as a boat owner by visiting different marinas along the coastline. Marinas are like housing apartment complexes, and they all have various amenities and luxuries available to visitors and residents.
Some marinas have restaurants and play areas for the kids, allowing you to enjoy the beach or the ocean while you have some lunch and the kids burn off some energy.
There are hundreds of marinas up and down both the west and east coast and all over the Gulf coast. Take the family out for a spin and enjoy a different aquatic lifestyle and the benefits of a “Blue Mind.”
One of the most awesome aspects of owning a boat is that you can travel up and down the coastline of the United States.
There are no roads, no traffic, and no hassles. You get miles of open ocean and a chance to enjoy coastline locations in the US or exotic islands in the Caribbean or Bahamas.
Cabin cruisers are ideal for island hopping. They come with accommodations in the berth, allowing for overnight stays if you’re hopping from one island to another.
Pull up to a deserted island, anchor the boat and enjoy some snorkeling or take a tender out to the island to explore the beach.
If you want to take the party to the water, then consider purchasing a pontoon boat. Pontoon boats come in a range of lengths, sizes, and passenger capacities. They have dual or tri-hull systems allowing for exceptional stability out on the lake or the estuary. However, they don’t do as well out on the ocean.
However, a pontoon boat offers you plenty of space and features to start the party out on the water. They often come with complete entertainment systems, and there’s enough space on the deck for people to dance and enjoy a good time.
The bay boat or center console also makes for a good party boat, and it has crossover features that make it a great choice for watersports as well.
Try something different and organize a dinner party on the water for your close friends and family. It’s a great way to bring a different dynamic to a dinner party and a new way to enjoy the environment.
Pontoon boats make ideal entertainment vessels, with plenty of deck space and features like stereo systems and TVs.
Some boats have the design to allow overnight stays on freshwater or saltwater bodies. These boats come with sleeping quarters in the berth, and models like cabin cruisers are great choices for spending extended durations out on the water in all ocean conditions.
Staying aboard a vessel is a great way to island-hop across the Caribbean or the British Virgin Islands. It’s also a great way to enjoy a romantic weekend away with your partner.
Sit and enjoy a few cocktails as you watch the sun go down over the water. Enjoy a lazy dinner as the sun goes down and fall asleep to the sound and motion of the ocean.
There’s nothing like enjoying a fireworks display when you’re put on the lake. There are plenty of events that host fireworks displays along the North-western coastline during the summer months.
Viewing the fireworks from the water gives a totally different feel to the experience, and it’s something that the entire family will cherish.
We recommend avoiding letting fireworks off from your boat yourself. The debris from the firework will land in the water, contaminating the habitat for the fish populations and other marine life.
Inshore Fishing in Lakes, Estuaries, and Rivers
Fishing is one of the most popular past times for boat owners. If you’re a fan of fishing inland waters like rivers, lakes, dams, and estuaries, then a dedicated fishing boat is a great choice.
Bass boats have flat hulls with shallow drafts, allowing them to reach the flats in lakes and estuaries. Dedicated fishing boats can get pricey because of all the options that come with these vessels.
Many of them feature high-tech setups with fish finders and GPS systems for finding the fish and recording your favorite fishing spots.
Most dedicated fishing boats come with full aluminum construction for the frame and hull, allowing for strong but lightweight operation ideal for freshwater and brackish conditions.
You can kit your fishing boat out with any accessories you like, from fishing chairs to sunshades, coolers, and cleaning areas. Choose the seating arrangement and customize your fishing gear storage options.
Offshore Deep Sea Sports Fishing
One of the best things about having a boat like a bay boat or center console is its fishing capability for offshore waters. These boats offer you everything you need for the perfect fishing boat.
If you’re planning on going out on the water for a few days, consider a cabin cruiser. They have a large berth and accommodations for several passengers.
If you’re looking for shorter day trips, boats with open-plan deck designs, like center consoles, are ideal. Look for outboard motor setups offering you plenty of power.
Before launching your boat, make sure you complete an ocean boating safety course to qualify you for handling the vessel during emergencies. The USCG runs these courses at training centers along the US coastline.
Deep-sea fishing is plenty of fun, and there’s nothing like the feeling you get from landing your first big marlin. Check the game fish available in your area and price out the setup you need to start it as a hobby.
Wakeboarding is, by far, the most popular tow sport. Wakeboarding is similar to water-skiing.
However, you ride in more of a “skate-style” stance with wakeboarding. It’s more similar to snowboarding and surfing.
According to the experts on the sport, wakeboarding is more similar to snowboarding than surfing. However, even if you have no experience in board-riding sports, learning to wakeboard doesn’t take too long.
You’ll make a significant investment in your gear upfront, but the equipment will last you for years. A wakeboard and high-quality performance tow rope can cost you around $300 to $400 online for an entry-level model.
Water-skiing takes a back seat to the sport of wakeboarding, but it’s the original form of boat tow sports and plenty of fun if you develop the skill required to do it well.
Water skiing has also come a long way in its progression over the last five or six decades. Today’s best water skiers get even more maneuverability and better trick variation than wakeboarders.
Water-skiing is also more affordable for beginners to start. The skis are half the price of a wakeboard, and you’ll pay between $160 to $180 for a pair.
Riding Tubes and Tow-Toys
If you have younger kids that don’t have the leg strength or weight for wakeboarding or skiing yet, then let them enjoy time out on the water in towable inflatables. From tubes to giant unicorns, there are hundreds of inflatables available.
Most of them cost less than $100, and they offer your kids an introduction to skiing and wakeboarding that’s plenty of fun.
Even the adults that don’t know how to ski will get plenty of laughs and excitement from you towing them around on an inflatable tube.
Personal Watercraft (PWCs)
The jet ski and the wave runner are becoming the most popular watercraft sold in America. There are dozens of models from leading manufacturers.
PWCs come in sports-specific or luxury models to suit your time out on the water. You can use the jet ski to tow friends into 50-foot waves at Mavericks or use it for a fishing trip offshore.
Most PWCs don’t require any licensing or specialized training for operation. They offer you versatile use for various freshwater and saltwater applications and activities.
Take them out to a fishing spot on the river or at the reef, or use them to launch off waves in the surf. The PWC is plenty of fun, easy to maintain, and one of the most affordable boats available.
Pontoon boats, center consoles, and cabin cruisers make excellent dive boats. If you’re keen on scuba diving, a cabin cruiser or pontoon boat is a great way to spend days out on the water in liveaboard dive tours.
Scuba diving requires training, but you’re only underwater for a few hours each day, leaving plenty of time for taking classes onboard the vessel.
Scuba diving locations in the Caribbean and British Virgin Islands offer calm waters and amazing underwater visuals.
If you live near a dive site, you could get a pontoon inflatable dive boat and use it for touring the local dive sites around your area or going on snorkeling trips.
Center consoles and pontoons are ideal for all diving activities. Snorkeling is a great way to admire the underwater scenery if you’re near shallow coral reefs. Most people can handle snorkeling in reefs lying around 5-feet to 8-feet from the surface.
Fortunately, despite the shallow waters, this light range of the water column offers you the biggest biodiversity.
Snorkeling gives you a way to see the best that reefs have to offer, without the need for an oxygen tank and specialized training.
Strap on your mask, fins, and snorkel, and hit the water to spend an hour viewing mother nature’s finest underwater treasures.
Non-Motorized Personal Boating Ideas
Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP)
SUPs are available in cruising designs for covering distance and surfing designs to enjoy time in the waves.
The SUP is compact and easy to carry, with most models being under 12-feet in length. Tie it to your roof racks and drive up and down the coast looking for waves.
The larger models above 8-feet in length are most inflatable, offering you lightweight carry in the trunk of your car when deflated.
Kayaking is a great way to explore river systems and waterways inland and near the coastline. There are sports kayaks allowing for the navigation of tight streams and rapids, and some can even handle drops from waterfalls.
You also get a range of seafaring kayaks designed for fitness or fishing. The fishing models have longer, thinner bodies than those designed for playing in the surf.
Both options offer you different ways to enjoy your time in the ocean according to your personality and recreational requirements.
Having fun with boating means everyone needs to enjoy their time out on the water. Get feedback from your family and friends about what they like doing most on boating trips, and then plan to do more of that.
Remember, kids, bore easily. If they don’t get a good experience the first few times out on the boat, they’re likely to avoid going out with you again if they can.
Make sure you create an environment offering maximum engagement with the experience for everyone, not just yourself.