I'm moving to Valdosta, GA from Lake MI. I want to bring my boat down for weekend live aboard and sailing. Within 2-3 hours drive, I can reach the Atlantic or the Gulf. Any suggestions for a marina that is sailboat friendly?
Kinda depends on what you want to do on the boat. Both areas are basically out to the ocean to sail. Though I haven't spent a lot of time in the Northern Gulf, the time I have spent was largely light to no wind. On the Atlantic side though, unless you're close to an inlet, you'll likely be dealing with fairly strong tides and currents to get out to open water (Jacksonville in particular comes to mind). There are though, a number of 2 day trips you can make on that side.
You might want to also consider Brunswick. Ocean access but also an area where you can sail inland.
I lived in the Jax area a few years ago for a couple of years...about 4 miles from the ocean...and had temps in the low to mid 20s a few nights each winter.
The average temp in the Jax area is a bit above the average in the Appalachicola to Pensacola bight on the Gulf but there is a bit of frost a few mornings along both coasts.
Both get horrendous thunderstorms but I think Jax's win the prize. The t'storms I weathered in Jax were the worst I have ever been in and I have lived in s. AL and n. FL for 25 of my years.
Carrabelle to Pensacola is a great coast with many bays and sounds. Thin water in a lot of places but access to the Gulf is easy. Fishing and shell fishing are spectacular. Best beaches in the US. Back country or high southern style available a few miles apart.
Winds average force 3-5 depending on the season except for during hurricanes and cold fronts and thunderstorms but the occasional several days of force 6+ will steam through from time to time.
I sail out of Carrabelle. Several marinas on the river are sailboat friendly. Its quick to get out in the gulf, can also several places to sail to for the day. I sail year round, winter afternoons don't usually get below 50. Some spots do have thin water, I draft 3'10" so don't have to worry about it as much as others.
Check out Brunswick Landing Marina in Georgia. A nice area. We spent 4 months there last hurricane season. It's a sailboat friendly area, with plenty to see and do. The marina is nice, clean, and reasonable.
Carrabelle is a nice area too. We stayed at C-Quarters Marina. Capn Kim(dock master) and her husband are great people. Close to the Gulf, and one of our favorite anchorages....Dog Island.
Jacksonville is big city with big city traffic. Jacksonville also has dark water as does its inlet of the Saint Johns river. This dark water may stain your boat hull at the waterline, it did mine. Florida west coast is small-town compared to Jacksonville. The west coast also has clear water and white sand beaches. I have lived both places and Panama City area wins hands down in my mind.
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