Where is the best cruising in the USA?
Born and raised in the PNW. Best summer cruising grounds in the USA. Period!
Lots of anchorages, parks, islands, and it is beautiful. No hurricanes, humidity, bugs, ice storms, or superstorms and coastal flooding. Not as crowded as the SW, Florida, Chesapeke, and the NE. Amazing maritime community. Dungenes Crab is the best tasting in the world, world class salmon fishing, and abundant clams and oysters. San Juan Islands, Canadian Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, Desolation Sound are world class areas that you can spend years exploring. Amazing scuba diving with octopus. Killer whales, grey whales, and marine mammals are plentiful.
Clean water and clean air. Snow capped peaks year 'round. Each summer when the kids were small (before little league) we would spend a month at a time exploring the islands and Desolation Sound on our sailboat. Best memories of my life. We plan on doing more of that after we become empty nesters. Absolutely awesome March through October.
We kept our second sailboat in San Diego for about 4 years. We used it as a second home away from Seattle. Did extensive sailing in the SoCal area, Catalina, etc. Amazing sailing year 'round with warm sunny weather, and relatively warm ocean water with predictable wind and small tides. Catalina Island is also amazing. Not as lush as the San Juan's and Canadian Gulf Islands, but warm water, abundant sea life and world class scuba diving. We really enjoyed having our sailboat there. We would spend 2 to 4 weeks at a time each summer exploring communities along the SoCal coast.
So for us - the perfect solution is to be in Seattle in the summer and winter in San Diego. A perfect combination of locales. Both in the same time zone. In the best coast of the US. 2.5 hours apart by commercial jets and 21 hours apart by car. So, we moved our sailboat back up to Seattle and bought a second home in San Diego! It is in the small beach and surfing community of Ocean Beach. I will likely purchase a small day sailer to keep at our SD home to get out in the water in the SD Bay and in Mission Bay while we are there in the winter. In the summer, we will be back in the Seattle area and spend significant time on our 32' sailboat cruising Puget Sound and the Islands.
So, for us, the best spring, summer and fall cruising is the PNW and the best winter sailing is SoCal.