1. The Grenadines
The “Spice Islands” are a chain of 32 picturesque islands sprinkled across 60 miles of the southern Caribbean, offering a perfect blend of dramatic landscapes, culture, marine life, friendly people and unspoiled white sand beaches. Known as some of the world’s greatest sailing waters, you’ll find the ideal sailing conditions and lack of crowds make it one of the best spots for a vacation on the water.
2. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
This tiny archipelago of islands in the eastern Pacific Ocean is remote, though it entices people from all over the world to see its legendary abundance of rare wildlife. Demand for berths here is heavy, making expedition cruising the best way to explore the 19 islands while boning up on Darwin’s theory of evolution…
3. Port Townsend, Washington
Surrounded by water on three sides, with the spectacular Olympic Mountains providing a dramatic backdrop, Port Townsend is the ultimate place for sailing. Washington’s Victorian Seaport & Arts Community is situated right on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, meaning there’s almost always wind that provides ideal conditions for sailing.
4. Minorca, Spain
Though it may be the lesser known of the Balearic Islands, Minorca is scattered with more spectacular beaches than Ibiza and Mallorca combined, including Cala Mitjaneta, Cala Pregonda, Cala Macarella and Macarelleta… The rolling landscape is mixed with secluded coves and beaches along with a climate ideal for sailing, making it a true sailing paradise.
5. Whitsundays, Australia
Azure seas, cloudless skies and… 74 stunning islands. The majority of this area belongs to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, one of the seven wonders of the natural world: sailing here provides the opportunity to snorkel or dive all day. Boats and tours cater to everyone from beginners to the most experienced.
6. Greek Islands, Greece
With some 6,000 islands in Greece, each with their own distinct character, you’ll find practically an endless number of ports to stop in, with each offering a different feel. Sailing is really the best way to experience these breathtaking islands, finding secluded spots or dining on octopus and ouzo.
7. Bay of Islands, New Zealand
New Zealand has one of the highest per-capita rates of boat ownership on the planet, with the maritime reserves in the Bay of Islands in the country’s winterless north rated among the most beautiful sailing spots in the world. These roughly 150 islands that have escaped development, are usually the first port of call for hundreds of yachts that drop down from the tropics in the cyclone season.
8. Catalina Island, California
Located 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles, is a boating paradise. The clear waters off the island are filled with an abundance of marine life. You’ll discover a big boating scene at Two Harbors, a small village home to lots of coves that provide moorings and anchorages.
9. French Polynesia
French Polynesia is made up of five main groups of islands, including Tahiti. The islands offer an alluring mix of beautiful lagoons, traditional culture and exotic marine life. This is truly the place that stereotypical ideas of a tropical paradise come from.
10. Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
There are more than 40 islands dotted across the glistening turquoise waters of the central Caribbean Sea, and hundreds of anchorages. The Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda, featuring luxurious cabins across the hillside overlooking North Sound, is a fabulous place to base your stay while enjoying these surroundings.