Written by Susan Elnicki Wade
April 2018

Cape Charles, Va.

We start on Southeast boating guide in Cape Charles, Virginia. On Virginia’s Eastern Shore, this exquisite little getaway town awaits your arrival. Located on the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula between the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, this dreamy destination delivers rural hospitality eager to slow down the pace of hectic urban life. The beaches provide lazy days and breathtaking sunsets. You can drop a line off the fishing pier or spend the morning crabbing. After a mid-day nap or massage, stroll through town to shop in boutiques or admire the elegant 18th-century buildings.

Eating: As you watch watermen in the marina unload their daily catch of local delicacies such as rockfish, flounder, blue crab and oysters, you might get hungry for fresh seafood. For first-rate Bay cuisine, head for Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery at Kings Creek, or visit The Shanty, Kelly’s Gingernut Pub and Hook-U-Up Gourmet for a more relaxed experience.

Docking: At the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Cape Charles Yacht Center is a true megayacht port with more than 1,000 feet of dockage, an 18-foot deep channel, and 300-ton boat lift. Guests of the marina have full access to amenities at nearby Bay Creek Resort & Club, including golf, beach club and pool.

Hampton Roads, Va.

In Hampton Roads, where the Atlantic’s salty waters flow into the Bay, oysters develop a delicious briny flavor guaranteed to please your taste buds. In between feasts of local seafood, you’ll discover all kinds of fun activities in the region. Even though Virginia Beach is known for its classic boardwalk, family-friendly beaches and seaside shops, the city has grown into a cultural hub with a new performing arts center, contemporary art museum and scores of refurbished historic sites. Norfolk, influenced by the Navy presence and Southern charm, is a vibrant center of urban entertainment with theater, opera, galleries and festivals. The new Waterside District, a $40 million revitalization project with 150,000 square feet of space, includes a mix of restaurants, shops and entertainment.

Eating: Enjoy high-end dining at Varia, Steinhilber’s, One Fish-Two Fish, Saltine and Catch 31. Simply good eats are found at Ocean View, The Lagoon, Buoy 44, and Rudee’s Restaurant & Cabana Bar.

Docking: Located at mile marker “0” on the ICW, Tidewater Yacht Marina maintains 300 deep-water slips and several slips for vessels up to 130 feet. Neighboring Ocean Yacht Marina boasts almost 1,500 feet of alongside dockage with modern amenities and a full repair facility. In Hampton, Bluewater Yachting Center can handle yachts up to 200 feet in length, complete with floating docks and two full-service boat yards.

Beaufort, N.C.

The barrier islands off the coast of central North Carolina are called the Crystal Coast. This protective stretch of land creates a border to the Atlantic and attracts sun lovers and beach combers seeking seashells, starfish and sand dollars. Centrally located in this seaside paradise is the delightful port town of Beaufort. With wooden rocking chairs perched on front porches, its historic homes were built by maritime merchants and captains, and its charming streets are laced with shops, galleries, parks and eateries. The area’s hidden coves have attracted seafarers for centuries, including the 17th-century scallywag known as “Blackbeard,” who frequented local taverns to plan his pillaging raids. His famous ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, sank nearby, and relics recovered from archaeological dives are displayed at the local maritime museum. Local pirate festivals pay tribute to the buccaneer way of life.

Eating: For fine cuisine, go to Cedars Inn Restaurant, Aqua and Blue Moon Bistro, and for laid-back fare visit Blackbeard’s Grill & Steam Bar, Spouter Inn, Front Street Grill, Beaufort Grocery Company, Old Salt Restaurant & Oyster Bar, and Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Docking: Within walking distance of many restaurants and shops in the historic downtown area, Beaufort Docks accommodates vessels up to 300 feet and offers in-slip fueling and a complimentary courtesy car.

Charleston, S.C.

Charleston’s unique location on a natural harbor at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers makes this city easy to navigate by boat, with no shortage of first-class marinas to call home while exploring the splendid attractions nearby. Its history can be told through incomparable architecture found in colonial taverns and churches, plantation houses and antebellum mansions with lush gardens, and Civil War forts and monuments. But its vibrant downtown scene shows Charleston isn’t stuck in the past. The French Quarter is flush with art galleries, and King Street is bustling with hip boutiques, designer clothing and jewelry stores. Art plays a key role in Charleston’s culture. Performing arts events, such as Spoleto and Moja Arts Festival, draw thousands of spectators, and historic Dock Street Theater is a sweet spot to take in a show.

Eating: Don’t forget about the food. Charleston chefs are famous for transforming regional bounty from the land and sea to elevate Low Country cooking to new culinary heights. Best bets for high-end dining: Hall’s Chophouse, FIG, Oak Steakhouse, Husk Restaurant, Blossom, High Cotton Restaurant and The Ordinary. Easy-going vibe with local flavor: One Broad Street, Hominy Grill and Pearlz Oyster Bar.

Docking: Featuring 19,000 feet of linear dock space, Safe Harbor Charleston City hosts the concrete floating MegaDock — equipped for yachts up to 500 feet in length with high-speed fuel dock, floating bathhouse, courtesy shuttle to downtown Charleston and complete marine services. Fully insured and marina compliant to service superyachts in the port of Charleston or travel to the vessel location, Moxy Marine employs technicians seven days a week for dockside diagnostic, repair and installation services.

Savannah, Ga.

Old oak trees draped with Spanish moss and elegant homes dating back to colonial times bolster Savannah’s reputation as the “Jewel of the South.” Add a dash of hospitality, soft-sand beaches and 650+ miles of waterways, and you’ll see why it’s a favorite port for nautical travelers. Follow the cobblestone streets of the historic district to witness a Civil War reenactment, discover shops teeming with vintage treasures, or simply settle in for a gracious afternoon high tea. Savannah has an active and eclectic nightlife, including music festivals, live bands in City Market and dancing at clubs on River Street.

Eating: For fun where the locals gather, hang out at Tubby’s Tank House in the nearby village of Thunderbolt or at Doc’s Bar on Tybee Island. Foodies can sample every cuisine from traditional Low Country favorites, such as shrimp and grits or fried green tomatoes, to Japanese fusion, authentic Italian, farm-fresh vegetarian, and everything in between. Notable are North Beach Bar & Grill, Tortuga’s Island Grille, The Olde Pink House, Circa 1875, Sorry Charlie’s Oyster Bar and Garibaldi.

Docking: Thunderbolt Marine, situated just a few miles from charming downtown Savannah, welcomes vessels up to 220 feet while also providing fuel and complimentary bus passes to local eateries. From canvas and upholstery to hydraulics and electrical, Thunderbolt Marine delivers quality maintenance and repair work for any sized vessel.


Bay Creek Golf Course, Cape Charles, Va.

On Virginia’s Eastern Shore sits Bay Creek, a beach and golf community with exceptional beauty and unparalleled lifestyle. Two miles of private beach, beach club and fitness center surround the award-winning golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

Fort Monroe, Hampton, Va.

Fort Monroe military base was decommissioned in 2011, giving public access to miles of stunning beaches, historic lighthouse and churches, the seven-sided stone fort complex surrounded by a moat, and a museum where Jefferson Davis was imprisoned.

Nauticus, Norfolk, Va.

At the region’s premier maritime museum, you can stroll around the massive deck of the Battleship Wisconsin and then enter the complex to explore exhibits and interactive displays on naval weaponry and ammunition, maritime commerce and trade, underwater parks and aquatic wildlife sanctuaries, nautical history and much more.

Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show, Virginia Beach, Va.

Naval Air Station Oceana hosts its annual air show, a three-day event that is recognized as the Navy’s largest open house in North America. Performances by the Blue Angels, F-18 and F-22 combat jets, aerobatic planes, skydivers and parachute teams make for an awe-inspiring day just minutes from the ocean (Sept. 22-23, 2018).

Charleston Strolls, Charleston, S.C.

Step back in time before cars and tour buses to walk along Charleston’s cobblestone streets and learn the back story of one of America’s most enchanting cities. The tour passes through historic churches and grave- yards, antebellum mansions, military defense structures, hidden gardens, and Revolution- ary and Civil War sites.

Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, S.C.

For about two weeks each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston’s historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in opera, dance, theater, jazz and classical music (May 25 – June 10, 2018).

Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, S.C.

Located at the Sea Pines Resort in the shadow of Harbour Town Yacht Basin, this course is the crowning achievement of famed designer Pete Dye and design consultant Jack Nicklaus. It is a favorite among PGA Tour players, as it places a premium on fitness, imagination and shot making, rather than brute strength.

Savannah Music Festival, Savannah, Ga.

Since 1989, world-class musicians have convened in Savannah to celebrate their art and put on memorable and educational performances. More than 500 artists play in Georgia’s largest musical arts event to promote a variety of genres — acoustic, bluegrass, blues, Celtic, folk, funk, gospel, opera, R&B, ska and more (March 29 – April 14, 2018).