Current travel restrictions as a result of the Coronavirus may be affecting your future travel plans, especially when it comes to your decision about your Summer 2020 yacht charter vacation. Fortunately for our North and South American readers looking to stay closer to home this summer, there is a great selection of destinations right on your doorstep.
For our American readers, chartering closer to home may be more appealing this summer. You may want to limit time spent overseas and you're probably considering flying privately to maintain social distancing.
Luckily, there are plenty of yachting gems on this side of the Atlantic to be enjoyed this summer. Each has good access to private aviation and plenty of secluded spots where you can escape other people and spend time with your loved ones.
For those looking to limit overseas travel this summer, read on to discover our top destinations close to the USA.
This article was originally published in April 2020 and has been updated in January 2021.
This string of islands is a slice of Caribbean paradise that’s right on the doorstep for most charterers in North and South America. The Bahamas is the perfect destination if you’re in the mood for blazing sunshine and the chance to sit back and enjoy some much-needed downtime.
This summer, you can expect water temperatures up to 84 degrees and long daylight hours that allow for more time spent splashing in the sea and playing with water toys- or idly floating on an inflatable with a cocktail in hand.
With so many islands spread out so far apart, a yacht charter in the Bahamas means you can still practice social distancing and avoid the crowds. There’s also plenty of small airports that allow for private flights, so you can easily fly in from the USA privately.
Arguably the most popular island chain in the Bahamas, the Exumas is home to famous sights like the swimming pigs, Pablo Escobar’s sunken drug plane and Thunderball Grotto.
While this sun-soaked archipelago is typically more crowded than other areas, the luxury of a crewed yacht charter means you have increased flexibility and the chance to customize your itinerary.
So, if you’re looking to see Thunderball Grotto and the drugs plane, spend the night at Staniel Cay and go first thing in the morning (provided the tide isn’t too high- ask your yacht crew to check). For Pig Beach, it’s best to go later in the day, after the tours have finished and the crowds have thinned- the pigs will be more content and not clamoring for food as much.
For those looking to press pause on everyday life and experience total peace and serenity, set a course straight for Eleuthera and Harbour Island. You’ll be greeted by powdery-white sand beaches, and sea as clear and smooth as polished glass.
There is even a pink sand beach on Harbour Island. Although its rosy tint varies daily, you can still enjoy horseback riding in the blue shallows or leaving fresh footprints in the untouched sand. But if you’re in the mood for spectacular sights, then you can’t go wrong with Glass Window bridge, a long overpass with the deep blue Atlantic on one side and the aquamarine Bight of Eleuthera on the other.
Be sure to take advantage of snorkelling gear on your yacht (and scuba gear, if your yacht has any), as there’s plenty to discover below the surface of the sea too. Parrotfish, lionfish, seastars and seahorses can all be seen on the coral reefs of Eleuthera.
These Out islands are some of the furthest-north in the Bahamas, so they’re perfect for you if you’re looking to get off the beaten path and experience total peace and solitude. Deserted beaches stretch on for miles and the only other boats you’re likely to see are local fishing boats.
This region is also a paradise for divers, so if you’re a seasoned scuba pro you should consider Acklins and Crooked Island. Sites like Hogsty Reef, a natural atoll that’s home to two shipwrecks, is also a great spot for swimming and snorkeling.
We have put together this 10 or 7-day Bahamas Out Islands itinerary around Acklins and Crooked Islands. We have tailored it so that you can be totally separate from the crowds, and spend more time with your loved ones on deck and in the water, rather than on shore. It also includes details about airports where you can connect to private flights.
Famed for its sandy shores and charming coastal communities, New England is set to be popular this summer. If you’re chartering with children, the region makes a great seaside escape, with plenty of activities on land to keep little ones entertained.
The weather is always mild in summer, and typically reaches the mid-eighties during the height of the season, in July and August. New England is easily accessible to most of North America, and there are numerous private aviation options for you to take advantage of.
Summer also represents the whale-watching season. Humpback whales typically migrate towards Massachusetts at the end of April to feed in the nutrient-rich waters, so New England is the top choice for you if you’d like to experience this unique phenomenon.
Once at the reserve of North America’s elite, Newport has still clung onto its elegant charm. Be sure to dedicate some time to explore on shore. Take a stroll along the cobbled streets to admire the colonial architecture and famous Newport mansions. With some starring in the party scenes of Great Gatbsy and others made up of hundreds of tonnes of marble, these awe-inspiring buildings are a Newport landmark.
If you cruise along Cliff Walk, you can also view the mansions from the water. During summer is the perfect time as the gardens will be in full bloom; enjoy from the comfort of your yacht with a chilled glass of rosé or a freshly-prepared gin and tonic.
Newport is famous for pretty sunsets, so ask your yacht crew to set up an evening meal on a secluded slice of beach. Fresh lobster and saltwater taffy are staples of the region, so don’t leave without trying these delicacies.
Easily one of the prettiest islands in New England, Martha’s Vineyard is great for those who like surfing or sailing. If your yacht has sailboats in its toy locker, be sure to take them for a spin in the waters around one of the quiet bays in the region. There’s also ample fishing opportunities, and if you’re a sports fisher you can expect to hook some big fish such as striped bass, bonito and bluefish.
Similarly to Newport, Martha’s Vineyard also has a stunning architecture, with the most iconic being the so-called Gingerbread Houses in Oak’s Bluff old Methodist encampment.
The region is famed for its historic lighthouses and Martha’s Vineyard has five peppered across its shores. You can easily pay them a visit without having to leave the sanctuary of your yacht.
Of all the destinations on this round-up, Alaska offers a totally different experience. For one thing, it is light almost all the time during the summer months, giving you more time to spend soaking up all the sights of this incredible charter region.
The weather is mild in the summer, with highs of around 60 degrees. However it’s typically rainier later in the summer, so the best time to go is in May and June. It’s also simple and straightforward to book a private flight into one of the airports in Alaska, and it’s not at all uncommon to do so.
The region is incredibly beautiful during summer, with alpine landscapes, snow-capped mountains, glacial blue lakes and rolling meadows of green dotted with wildflowers. If you’re interested in nature, a visit between early May and early June may grant you a sighting of some orcas. Meanwhile, a visit later in the summer means you might see humpback whales and blue whales.
But arguably the king of Alaska’s terrain is the bear. There are four types of bear which live in Alaska, and the beauty of a yacht charter means you can access more remote spots and potentially catch a sighting of a bear by the coast- there is a large black and grizzly bear population on Admiralty Island, which is in close proximity to Juneau, where many crewed yacht charters start their itineraries.