Here’s Exactly What to Put on Your Boating Bucket List This Year

Once the holidays have come and gone, it seems that all anyone can think about is their New Year’s resolutions — and all the ways they’re going to be successful in following through during the twelve months ahead. 

But what if instead of trying to eat healthier or read more books, we made resolutions that were…fun? Things like spending more time out on the open water with friends and family. A resolution to try our hand at a new type of fishing experience. Or maybe tighten up our captaining skills? Picture a year filled with the thrill of navigating open waters, surrounded by the laughter of friends and the warmth of family. Sounds pretty enticing, doesn’t it?

Let this be the year your resolutions steer you towards the boundless possibilities that the boating world has to offer. Join us as we offer major inspiration for all the things you could be adding to your boating bucket list over this next year!

view from golden isles marina

Try a New Watersport

If you prefer to float on the boat or bask in the sun, then why not challenge yourself to try something new and adventurous in the very same place? There are a ton of exciting options to choose from, like wake surfing, tubing, jet skiing, windsurfing, and kneeboarding. 

But here’s the thing: it will take some practice before it starts to really get fun. Don’t give up if you struggle with the new sport at first. View it as a challenge and work at it until it becomes a new hobby or shareable experience with others!

Not a huge fan of flying through the air at rapid speed? Maybe snorkeling, paddleboarding, and free diving are better options for you to add to your bucket list instead. There are a ton of options for trying new watersports out this summer!

Cast a Line (or Two)

Haven’t gone fishing since you were a kid? It’s time to pick up that rod and give it another go! Fishing is a great opportunity to learn a few life skills — namely patience. Invite a friend, spouse, or child to go along with you and spend quality time out in nature together. You don’t even have to wait for the warmer weather, because winter fishing is an adventure in and of itself!

Already love to go out fishing any chance you get? Why not challenge yourself to try a different type of angler experience? Consider adding fly fishing, deep sea fishing, ice fishing, or spearfishing to your bucket list this year.  

→ Morningstar Marinas Pro Tip: Check out this Morningstar Marinas interactive fishing map to find the best places to reel in the catch of the day in your area!

Spend a Few Nights Camping on Your Boat

Picture this: some of the best camping spots are super-exclusive and only reachable by boat. Perfect for setting up your tent in a serene, off-the-grid kind of place and finding total peace and quiet.

Then there’s the vibe of sleeping right on your boat, anchored safely near the shore. Ideally, you’d pick a dock for a solid snooze, but sometimes you gotta get creative – find a cozy cove away from the current or tie up to a tree for that extra support.

Sleeping on the water is a blast, no doubt. But, you gotta do some prep work to make sure you’re all set and can focus on having a good time without any worries. Safety first, right?

Depending on the type of boat you have, spending the night camping on (or near it) will mean different things, but regardless it is a must-try for all boaters!

Visit a Boat Show

A boat show is a great opportunity to get better connected with your boating and sailing community, see what’s new on the market, and have a little fun in the off-season. These shows come in all shapes and sizes, and are hosted literally around the world! Here are a few notable ones to consider adding to your calendar in 2024: 

Enter a Docking Competition

Everyone knows just how important it is to properly dock your boat — especially if you keep your vessel in a storm-prone area where the waves can be unrelenting at times. But what about upping your docking game just for fun? 

Check out this competitive docking circuit that runs along Maryland and Virginia’s shorelines for some true inspiration. And remember — safety, first!  

Travel Up (or Down) the ICW

If you consider yourself an avid boater, then prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime thanks to the Intracoastal Waterway. This 3,000-mile stretch of linked channels offers an inland passage along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, from Massachusetts down to Florida. 

It’s the best way to venture up and down the coast without needing to touch the open seas — and there are a ton of amazing destinations to stop at along the way. Here are some of Morningstar Marina’s favorites:

  • Gwynn’s Island, Virginia — Tranquility awaits on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay. 
  • Norfolk, Virginia — A bustling and historic city to explore with the whole family. 
  • Southport, North Carolina  — So picturesque that Hollywood “borrowed” a few film sets from the area.
  • St. Simons Island, Georgia — The largest barrier island in the Golden Isles, ripe with historical monuments and some of the best golf courses around. 
  • Jacksonville, Florida — Extensive, 1,110-mile-long shoreline for the ultimate freshwater AND saltwater fishing experience. 

Visit Morningstar Marinas

At Morningstar Marinas, we pride ourselves on the community of boaters we’ve created across the Southeast’s top boating destinations. Our facilities and services paired with our friendly and knowledgeable team members will help you quickly and efficiently get out there on the water, so you can start having fun! Morningstar Marinas is more than just a place to store your boat — we’re your home away from home. Isn’t it time to get outside, try something new, and enjoy the water with your family this year?