Best Places to Live Aboard a Boat in the USA in 2020

Best Places to Live Aboard a Boat

Living on a boat is a dream of a lot of people. And it’s easy to see why.

Getting away from it all. Living in your own private space. Being serenaded by the waves and sounds of nature is an image many people would want to live.

But did you know that it’s actually very possible to do in the United States?

There are many great places you can live on a boat, and in this article, we take a look at the best ones. So if you’ve been wondering where the best places to live aboard a boat in the United States are, then you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more.

10 Of The Best Places To Live Aboard A Boat In The United States

10. Corpus Christi, Texas

It would be hard to imagine Corpus Christi as an ideal place to live aboard a boat about a decade ago. But in the past couple of years, it’s seen many developments that have made it one of the best places in the United States for people who want to live on a boat.

The bay is slowly filling up with restaurants, shopping, and nightlife locations. It’s a place that’s definitely on the rise, so rates are still low. But don’t be surprised if that changes any time soon.

Rates vary depending on the size of the slip. You can get a small space for as low as $150 a month and bigger spaces for even more. Some large slips can go for about $800 a month.

9. San Diego, California

When it comes to the best places to be living on a boat, it’s hard to beat San Diego. The place has the perfect warm and sunny weather that is ideal for boat owners. It also has the Pacific breeze that keeps things cool and manageable.

The city is also very developed and well-managed. Marinas are clean and maintained, while the city’s laws are very kind to boat owners and those who choose to live on their boat.

Southern California doesn’t have too many natural harbors, so finding the right spot for you may be tough. But there are a fair amount of viable permanent anchor spots at the marina, though it comes with a price.

Expect to pay upwards of $1500 a month for a good spot. But considering how it’s such a prime location, the price is well worth it.

8. The Chesapeake Bay

It’s time to look at locations on the East Coast, and the Chesapeake Bay is a great place to start. It’s considered the jewel of the east coast, and it’s also a great place for boat owners.

There are multiple marinas where you can anchor near places like Baltimore, Virginia Beach, and Annapolis. That’s just some of the locations, and you can find even more around Maryland and Virginia.

The place is rich in wildlife, so if you want to go birdwatching, go fishing, or enjoy the splendor of nature, this is an ideal spot.

Prices vary depending on where you choose to anchor your boat, but they range from $5000 to $8000 annually.

7. Green Bay, Lake Michigan

For those who enjoy cooler climates, this might be the place for you. It’s filled with wildlife, so those who like spending their time on the boat going fishing will definitely enjoy this place.

It’s situated in a very well-kept city so that you won’t be short on dining, shopping, and leisure options during your time at the bay. There are areas where you can live for as low as $150 a month. However, those who have tried the area out recommend getting an area a bit more expensive. You get what you pay for in Lake Michigan.

And if you’re a football fan, you’ll be pleased to know that the bay isn’t too far from the Packers stadium. You can catch a couple of games throughout the season.

6. Tampa Bay, Florida

This is one of the most popular places for boat owners who want to live on their boats. The climate is ideal for those who enjoy the warm summer sun.

The area is not short at all when it comes to leisure and entertainment. After all, Florida is known for things like this.

However, expect to pay a lot of money for insurance. Also, expect to go through the bureaucracy that comes with all the many laws designed to regulate onboard living. But if you’re able to and are willing to shell out the necessary fees, this is one of the best places in the country to be living on a boat.

You can get a small, 40-foot slip for as low as $500 a month in Florida. But don’t be surprised if you have to pay a whole lot more if you want to be closer to the downtown area. After all, it is a premium location that merits a premium price.

5. Portland, Oregon

Portland is a very accessible place for boat owners. There are nearly 1,500 boat homes that people live in in the area. The city is a walking distance from a lot of marinas where you can anchor your boat.

Those who want all the rich cultural amenities of metropolitan areas but don’t want to deal with the stress and bustle of metropolitan cities should definitely consider Oregon as a place to live.

It’s also a practical area as you don’t have to shell out too much. You can find a slip for as low as $250 a month in the area. You would obviously have to pay more if you want a bigger and more luxurious area to park your boat.

4. Lake Of The Ozarks, Missouri

Have you watched the series Ozark on Netflix? If you did, you’d know that this area in Missouri is a beautiful place. It’s packed with breathtaking scenes and a wide area for you to explore.

You will never get bored or run out of things to discover in this area. This is exactly why it’s one of the most lauded places for boat owners to live on board.

There are a lot of marinas to choose from in the area, all with varying prices. Expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1000 monthly to live here. It’s well worth it considering the beauty and the fact that waters are very stable and generally safe.

3. Long Island, New York

It’s a hundred miles long and twenty miles wide. It’s ideal for boaters, especially those who want to live on board.

Exploring this area is fun and easy. Whether you want to take a ride down to check out the Hamptons or want to take the hour-long route to Massachusetts, you can do it.

It’s conveniently located for those who don’t want to let go of the city life while still having the comfort of living on a boat.

Like with many popular areas, prices vary depending on the exact location, but you can find a slip for as low as $250 a month.

2. Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee

If you want variety in the waters you explore, this place is ideal. The lake is part of the Tennessee River, so you can switch between the calm lake water and a river’s flowing waters by traveling a couple of miles.

There are many leisure activities you can take part in here, including fishing, skiing, or just riding around for pleasure.

To rent a spot here, expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $500 a month.

1. Puget Sound, Lake Washington

Last on our list; we have a place that perfectly blends nature and the metropolis life: Seattle.

What better place for boaters who want to get away from it while still having access to normal city amenities. Some of those amenities include nightlife, restaurants, and shopping centers.

You can find yourself surrounded by forests and wildlife (great for those who want to fish). And you get all that at a close distance to the developed and living city that is Seattle.

Depending on your slip size, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1000 a month.

How To Choose A Location To Live On A Boat

When choosing a place to dock your boat for you to live aboard, you have to consider a couple of things.


This is the first thing you have to consider. Do you prefer a cold morning breeze or a warm summer greeting when you wake up?

Aside from that, you also have to figure out what the weather is like at the marina. You don’t want to live in a place with troubled waters that could be dangerous for you and the boat.

If you prefer cooler areas, consider places such as Michigan and Tennessee. But, If you want warmer places, San Diego or Florida might be your best bet.


We all have to live within our own means. Some people can afford the high prices of Tampa Bay, while others can’t. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

What’s important is to know what you can and can’t afford and figure out your options from there. You don’t want to have to take out loans and bust the bank to live on your boat, do you?


Lastly, you want to figure out how much space you will actually be needing. That way, you know how big of a slip you and your boat would need for you to have the best and most comfortable living onboard experience.

Once you figure out how much space you need, you can begin looking at prices for certain slips in different areas before you make a choice.

The Best Types Of Boats To Live On


Houseboats are ideal for those who plan on living on the boat for a couple of months. They are commonly confused with floating residences, but that isn’t the case.

These boats are designed to be detached from the marina. They will allow you to move around and leave the marina if you choose to. They aren’t as spacious as floating homes, but they are also a bit cheaper.

Floating Residences

Floating residences usually begin as boats, and the house is constructed on top of that. These boats are generally large and spacious and cost a fair amount of money to obtain.

Aside from that, keeping these structures in marinas is higher because it is a fairly complicated task. But if you plan on living on board for a while and can afford it, this is a great option.


These are probably the ideal boats to live on. Yachts are described as boats of at least 80 feet in length and powered by motors and sails. This means that these are capable of open sea travel.

They are more expensive than other boats due to all the technology, engineering, and design that goes into these structures. And not to mention the prestige. But as we all know, luxury items come with luxury prices.

Why Live On A Boat

Best Places to Live Aboard a Boat

Living on a boat is a great experience. It gives you a whole load of freedom, simplicity, and a new sense of community. While it may come with a lot of learning (because living on the water is much different from living on land), it’s definitely worth it in the long run, especially for those who enjoy the nautical life.

Those who live on boats are usually warm to each other. They see one another as a group of modern nomads, all sharing the same experience and living similar lives—a sense of community that’s hard to come by nowadays.

Pros And Cons Of Living On A Boat

  • Freedom to go to a lot of places
  • You aren’t constrained to one place
  • Allows you to lead a more simplistic life
  • The lifestyle on the water is more laid back
  • You’re close to nature
  • You don’t have the same privacy
  • The lack of same space you have on land
  • It comes with a social stigma similar to those who “drop out” of college
  • Maintenance is tough
  • Bad weather is harder to deal with


Living on a boat comes with a lot of benefits and a couple of caveats. What may be an enticing reason to live on the water for some may be the exact reason others wouldn’t want the same for themselves. And that’s okay. After all, everybody has different tastes and aspirations.

However, if you’re one of the people out there who dream of spending a lot of time in the open water, taking in whatever nature has to offer, living on a boat is a great option, especially in the United States.

There are numerous places you can stay and dock your boat in the United States, and in this article, we’ve listed down some of the best spots.

So if you’ve been looking to move out to the sea, it’s time to give these locations a good look and figure out which spot is best for you. And next thing you know, you’ll be living the maritime life of your dreams!

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