In our travels we've discovered that certain towns value the cruising sailor and even go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Here is a list of towns and cities that put out the welcome mat and encourage a visit. (As we have not yet had the opportunity to stop in every waterfront town and are sure there were some great towns we missed, this list is by no means complete.)
Fernandina, Florida - Here are helpful friendly people in a wonderful old small town.
Beaufort, South Carolina - Beautiful, historic town, this is one of the nicest places to walk around on the coast. There is a courtesy car if you stay at the marina.
Charleston, South Carolina - This is a fascinating harbor of so many rivers all meeting together, incredible shore-side homes and vessels of every imaginable kind sharing the waters.
Georgetown, South Carolina - This very friendly town sees that a complete welcome package including a listing of all the town's services is brought out to your boat at anchor.
Beaufort, North Carolina - These guys really want you there. The town's maritime museum makes a truck available for a 2-hour period to any cruising sailor. It also has a wonderful nautical library.
Elizabeth City, North Carolina - The "Rose Buddies" welcome every woman to town with a fresh-cut rose and for every night that there are 5 boats or more new to the dock, they put on a wine-and-cheese party. To top this off, free dockage for your boat-not just your dinghy-is provided.
Hampton, Virginia - Ian, the dockmaster of the Hampton public piers, is one of the nicest, friendliest, most helpful guys you will find on the coast. He'll go out of his way to help you whether you're out in the anchorage or paying to stay at his docks.
Annapolis, Maryland - There is dinghy access at the end of every waterfront street in Annapolis, a great place to spend a few weeks and check out the back creeks.
Newport, Rhode Island - Here you'll feel the history of the America's Cup and enjoy some of the most spectacular mansions in the world-a very cruiser-friendly town.
All of Maine - Virtually every town has a free dinghy dock and many have temporary free tie-up for your boat, as well as free water-a wonderful place to cruise.- -S.H.
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