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Old 10-30-2018, 02:47 PM   #1
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Winter over spots

Ahoy All,
I fully realize I am asking this question way early, but I just wanted to toss it out in advance for the opinions of you snowbird cruiser’s.
We are considering moving our boat out of New England and into southern waters for wintering over NEXT YEAR. We will return north in the following spring.

We are considering the following southern locations for winter-over live aboard sites:
New Bern, NC
Charleston, SC
Savannah, GA
Saint Augustine, FL
All of these various locations have numerous virtues and vices, and I’d like to hear a little about both.
Joe
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Old 10-30-2018, 03:40 PM   #2
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I lived in Oriental, NC for several years and New Bern was the closest major town, so I can speak to it fairly well. I have also spent time in the others on my boat. But I will start with Oriental.

Oriental
Several downtown marinas where you can walk to almost everything: hardware store, grocery store, great coffee shop- The Bean. Oriental is a boating centric town and will welcome you. There are lots of community activities. Check out the unofficial town web site at towndock.net. But it is at the end of the road and far from big box stores and medical services.

New Bern
Got beat up by Florence pretty bad. Has all the stuff that Oriental doesn't have but probably not the same community spirit. The Grand Marina, next to the downtown hotel is a nice place and pretty cheap and survived Florence. You have walking access to all of downtown, but a grocery store is a far hike.

Charleston
Charleston has a tremendous historic downtown district. There are several marinas on the west side- the City Marina being one of the best and the Maritime Center on the east. All are expensive though.

Savannah
There really are no downtown Savannah marinas. You have to go a few miles downriver to the Thunderbolt area so it isn't really convenient to get to the historic downtown area. Savannah is the old south and totally charming.

St Augustine
This is getting far enough south to hang out in shorts and tee shirt at least some winter days. The Municipal Marina is right in the historic district which is walkable and charming but a bit touristy. No basic store services nearby. Other marinas are a mile or two away but some closer to the basic stuff.

Others to consider if you are willing to go further south or a bit west:

Jacksonville- Great downtown with nearby marinas.

Melbourne

Vero Beach

Stuart
Here you are really into the warm winter stuff and is less pretentious than more southerly cities. This is where you can stay fairly cheaply and enjoy everything south Florida has to offer. The Sunset Bay Marina is chock full of snowbirds.

David
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Old 10-30-2018, 03:59 PM   #3
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Excellent summation there David M. I am near the Melbourne area and love it here. People seem to love the Vero Beach Municipal Marina with its public shuttle bus service.


About the only thing I can add is "Why commit to one location for the entire winter as most of the great Florida spots are all right along the ICW, at least along the Atlantic coast?" Spend a month or so at several of the vacation spots.
I really love the Old Port Cove Marina at the North end of Lake Worth.
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Old 10-30-2018, 04:39 PM   #4
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A lot will depend on the climate you want. There are cold snaps and warm periods in most places, the question is how mild do you want it. I think of all the places that you have listed as nice to stop at and spend a weekend to a couple of weeks when traveling on the ICW. For my money, Stuart and South are where you escape winter. For me, Fort Myers is a good choice with mild conditions and less hustle and bustle. It takes me a little over 2 weeks to transit from Chesapeake Bay to Fort Myers. Add 2 weeks to a month and you have plenty of time to stop and see all the places that you listed.

Ted
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Old 10-30-2018, 04:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seabum View Post
We are considering the following southern locations for winter-over live aboard sites:
New Bern, NC
Charleston, SC
Savannah, GA
Saint Augustine, FL

We've been to New Bern by car; nice place at the time. Not huge, not near a major airport. Probably struggling, now.

We've also been to St. Augustine a number of times by car, once by boat. One of our favorite places. I think Jax is the nearest large airport; don't remember one right there at St. A.

We spent last winter in Charleston, very pleasant, even though last year's winter was unusually cold according to the locals. Fine for us. Monthly rates where we stayed (next door to the City Marina) were at least much better than daily transient rates. It was especially easy to get around the peninsula with a combo of marina shuttle, downtown free shuttle buses, and Uber/Lyft. Good airport.

Can't speak to Savannah; only went through there once by water and I stayed at the marina in Thunderbolt to do some boat work while the crew went sightseeing.

-Chris
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Old 10-30-2018, 05:53 PM   #6
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Consider Hilton Head Island at Shelter Cove Marina. We have our boat there. Also have house there. Google it. Great shopping dining IcW access, sports and beach access.
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:41 PM   #7
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Do you think that we would have a tough (very rocky) trip south through the ICW from NYC to Vero or somewhere around there? We have a 29’ Ranger Tug. She is pretty solid, but we have a flying bridge so she is somewhat subject to high winds. I do not anticipate too much trouble as we are “fairweather boaters.” We would leave in early September and return in April or May. We want to stay someplace safe and friendly for two relatively quiet seniors who like coffee and restaurants within walking distance.
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Old 05-18-2019, 05:22 PM   #8
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Do you think that we would have a tough (very rocky) trip south through the ICW from NYC to Vero or somewhere around there? We have a 29’ Ranger Tug. She is pretty solid, but we have a flying bridge so she is somewhat subject to high winds. I do not anticipate too much trouble as we are “fairweather boaters.” We would leave in early September and return in April or May. We want to stay someplace safe and friendly for two relatively quiet seniors who like coffee and restaurants within walking distance.

Much (most?) of the ICW is protected waters, and if your lack-of-schedule permits we found it relatively easy to wait for pleasant weather windows...

Can't speak to the stretch from NYC to Cape May or thereabouts. Delaware Bay can be snotty on a bad day but reasonably pleasant in good weather. The C&D Canal is easy. The Chesapeake can also be a tad choppy sometimes but very pleasant in good weather... and there are many places to stop along the way you could use to break it up into several smaller triplets.

From there it's ICW, with only a few places with bigger water, e.g., Albemarle Sound. Pick a nice day, putter across, easy. Then go south until your favorite weather appears.

-Chris
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