The 10 Best U.S. Cities for Boaters

From Miami to Seattle—Redfin names the top cities for boaters

Flickr/Junior Henry

The sun sets on Miami in January

Labor Day weekend is just ahead and boaters across the country are taking advantage of this end-of-season opportunity to get out on the water. Millions will be fueling up and heading out to enjoy the long weekend and some will realize they might be able to get out more often if they lived right on the water.

Waterfront property is a common dream, but in reality it can be tough to find and afford these homes. The national real estate brokerage, Redfin, took care of the research and put together a list of the 10 best cities for boaters. Redfin worked with Discover Boating and The Weather Chanel to gather data on 35 major metropolitan areas. They looked at which areas have the most waterfront property for sale, what those properties cost on average, the length of the boating season and the number of boat dealers and boat registrations in each area. The result is a boaters guide (and wish list) to real estate markets that span the country.

Before you invest in a boating haven on the water, Redfin real estate agent Cyndy Stewart warns that costs can quickly pile up.

There are a few things to keep in mind before buying a waterfront home. Most properties will require flood insurance, which increases your overall monthly costs. You should also research how much the water ebbs and flows; if the water levels have been declining due to drought and overuse, your home might not be on the waterfront in 10 years. If your dream is to build a private dock, you’ll need a permit, so you should also do your research on that first

If you’re already sold on the idea of a waterfront home, check out Redfin’s list of the top cities for boaters and then find specific homes on They have an option that will narrow down your search to waterfront properties only.

#10 Austin, Texas, Metropolitan Area

Portion of Listings on Waterfront: 3.1%
Median Sale Price of a Waterfront Home: $455,000
Months with Mean Temperature of 60+: 9
Recreational Boat Registrations by State per 100,000 Residents: 3,528

Austin doesn’t have as many waterfront homes as other cities on the list, but it does have warm weather nearly year-round, making boating a favorite pastime for residents. On hot days people will cool off by kayaking on the river, or they’ll take their boat to the lakes nearby.

“People in Austin love to go boating on Lake Travis and Lake Austin. There are a lot of waterfront homes on both lakes, which are really expensive because they’re in high demand,” said Cyndy Stewart, a Redfin real estate agent in Austin. “Those who can’t afford to live right on the water often join boat clubs, where you can have access to a boat for a fee, but don’t have to worry about the storage and maintenance of it.”

#9 Seattle, Washington, Metropolitan Area

Portion of Listings on Waterfront: 3.9%
Median Sale Price of a Waterfront Home: $498,000
Months with Mean Temperature of 60+: 4
Recreational Boat Registrations by State per 100,000 Residents: 5,214

Seattleites aren’t going to let a little rain get in their way of the water. Many neighborhoods are walking distance to a lake or Puget Sound, making it easy to find a great spot for any type of boat.

“We’re surrounded by water, so it’s only natural that there are a lot of boaters! In addition to the Puget Sound, there a ton of lakes and waterways where you can canoe, kayak, sail, crew, jet ski, paddleboard, kiteboard, you name it,” said Allie Howard, a Redfin real estate agent in Seattle. “For events like Seafair and the Fourth of July, everyone makes a point to go out on the water and celebrate together. If you’re a boating fan, Seattle is a great place to live.”

Click here to see more of the best cities for boaters in the U.S.


Editor’s note: all of the research, ranking and text in the slideshow is courtesy of Redfin. Take a look at their original blog post for even more information on the best cities for boaters.

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