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Old 04-10-2021, 01:28 PM   #1
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Where to live?

Hello out there!
This is a very general request for information aimed at those folks who either live on or close to the southern part of the ICWW or have experience traveling and staying there.
We currently live in AZ, having just moved there from the Pac NW. We are inland sailors with limited offshore and larger motor vessel experience.
We intend to purchase a trailer trawler to do some exploring over the next 4-5 years, (R29/CW30) then eventually purchase a larger yacht, say 42-55 ft, that we will keep somewhere on the southern ICWW, or close to, which will be our liveaboard second home. We aim to explore the ICWW, Bahamas, and hopefully do the loop.
(Being a practical guy, and cheap, I’m hoping for a nice older vessel with good running gear and bones that we can refit ourselves. We are home designers and builders and I see great opportunity in some of these older boats)
Anyway, back to the requested information.
We would like advice on where to look for areas that might suit us, and our boat/home, requirements, when the time comes. We understand that what suits one person might not suite others, so here is a basic list or what WE would prefer.
1: We are not wealthy people, so will be looking for decent facilities with reasonable monthly fees, not ritzy.
2: We would like an area where there is chance to be part of a community of likeminded folks.
(Also not done with sailing yet)
3: We would like somewhere warm/er in the winter, and we prefer, quieter towns, so not Miami for instance.
4: Don’t mind being inland a ways, as long as it’s not too far to the coast.
Lastly, we feel generally safer in the continental U.S. but would certainly consider slightly farther out if there was a good expat community and facilities, although Hurricanes are a factor having been in one.
Heard great things about the Sarasota area, SC, Keys..
We realize we are talking about a large area, but we are sure there must be a wealth of knowledge out there on great areas to live and store a vessel. (Maybe there are other forums you could suggest?)
Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.
Many thanks Clive (The Bolton Wanderer) and Monica Culpan.
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Old 04-10-2021, 01:41 PM   #2
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Right now we are loving St Pete! Very vibrant active city. Airplanes landing, poker runs, sail boats, in fact all types of boating and great restaurants, parks and beaches. Just took these pictures of an unfolding poker run. I heard you say sailors, just a note if you continue sailing, there are a ton of sail boats here because the bay is wide open, and no bridges to worry about. Not a sailor here, but will be learning soon.
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Old 04-11-2021, 06:03 AM   #3
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For best sleeping a Hurrican Hole , inland 50-75 miles from either coats would seemideal for a trailerable boat.

Where we are its about 55 miles to Ft Myers , a long long day at 5-7K with locks and bridges in the river.

On a trailer at normal speed it would only be an hour and a half to be launched and underway.

And remember Florida only begins south of lake O , the rest is south Alabama or Georgia.
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Old 04-11-2021, 07:34 AM   #4
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Hello, We are inlanders also. Currently, live in New Mexico. So we are neighbors.

We have retirement coming up in the next year and looked at Florida, Alabama, Mississippi for coastal possibilities. Also, looked at Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee for freshwater with Gulf access possibilities. I will have retired military, retired federal, and 401k and none of those three sources of income are taxed by any of these 4 states.

Looking on the coast we found we liked the area from Gulfport, MS to Pensacola, FL. They had reasonably priced real estate and marinas. Also, liked their proximity for being able to shop at military bases. For some unknown reason, I seemed to find a particular fondness for Milton, Fl.

BUT, We decided to go further inland and picked the Pickwick Lake area. We bought a house in Counce, TN that is walking distance to the lake and less than a mile from Aqua Harbor Marina. The house is rented Air BNB style for now and pays for itself. There are lots of various marinas that range from high end to local flavor. Great river and lake cruising. Aqua Harbor has a pool, small gym, tennis courts. It is obviously inland quite a bit. However, we are right where the Tenn-Tom waterway starts and if want to do any extended cruising can be in the gulf in a few days.
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Old 04-11-2021, 08:30 AM   #5
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Clive, you could maybe start with a copy of the Waterway Guide... and have a look (on paper) at the various cities/towns along the ICW... see where maybe rings your chimes. And then there are several other cruising guides that cover the ICW, more info available in each.

Almost any of the stops along the way might be interesting to you. We could make an arguments for (Little) Washington, New Bern, maybe Oriental, Wrightsville Beach (Wilmington), Southport, Beaufort (either one), Myrtle Beach, Georgetown, Charleston, Savannah... et cetera... or even several places on the Chesapeake (although not as warm in winter)...

But you'd have to pick whatever floats your own boat...

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Old 04-11-2021, 08:50 AM   #6
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On the east coast of Florida, once you get north of Jupiter the prices start to go down pretty quickly. Once you get north of Cape Canaveral, the probability of getting hit by a hurricane also goes down noticeably (at least until you get to about Savannah). My wife and I, for ourselves, chose the Tampa Bay area. Beautiful beaches, great boating, plenty to see and do, but without the cost, or all of the crowds and hassles, of Miami/Ft Lauderdale. A little harder to get over to the Bahamas from here, but still not too onerous.
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Old 04-11-2021, 09:26 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=Adopo;995063]Right now we are loving St Pete! Very vibrant active city. Airplanes landing, poker runs, sail boats, in fact all types of boating and great restaurants, parks and beaches. Just took these pictures of an unfolding poker run. I heard you say sailors, just a note if you continue sailing, there are a ton of sail boats here because the bay is wide open, and no bridges to worry about. Not a sailor here, but will be learning soon.

Adopo, thanks for the reply, photos look great! Even though I am an Englishman I actually had an old Aunt that lived in St Pete. Sadly I only met her once in rainy England and didn't get chance to visit her. I'll put it on the radar! How are slip prices? Drydock rates? Any pointers for good slip areas?
Love your boat.. A labor of love. When I'm in the area we can have a sail together!
Cheers, Clive, The Bolton Wanderer.
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Old 04-11-2021, 09:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Adopo View Post
Right now we are loving St Pete! Very vibrant active city. Airplanes landing, poker runs, sail boats, in fact all types of boating and great restaurants, parks and beaches. Just took these pictures of an unfolding poker run. I heard you say sailors, just a note if you continue sailing, there are a ton of sail boats here because the bay is wide open, and no bridges to worry about. Not a sailor here, but will be learning soon.
Ooops! I thought i saw your boat age as 1959! Sorry. I bet the comment about labor of love sounded odd! LOL. Sorry.
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Old 04-11-2021, 09:33 AM   #9
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For best sleeping a Hurrican Hole , inland 50-75 miles from either coats would seemideal for a trailerable boat.

Where we are its about 55 miles to Ft Myers , a long long day at 5-7K with locks and bridges in the river.

On a trailer at normal speed it would only be an hour and a half to be launched and underway.

And remember Florida only begins south of lake O , the rest is south Alabama or Georgia.
FF Thanks for this. So where are you exactly? What are local rates for slips and drydock like? Thanks for the info on where Florida actually is! Duly noted Cap.
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Old 04-11-2021, 09:42 AM   #10
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Hello, We are inlanders also. Currently, live in New Mexico. So we are neighbors.

We have retirement coming up in the next year and looked at Florida, Alabama, Mississippi for coastal possibilities. Also, looked at Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee for freshwater with Gulf access possibilities. I will have retired military, retired federal, and 401k and none of those three sources of income are taxed by any of these 4 states.

Looking on the coast we found we liked the area from Gulfport, MS to Pensacola, FL. They had reasonably priced real estate and marinas. Also, liked their proximity for being able to shop at military bases. For some unknown reason, I seemed to find a particular fondness for Milton, Fl.

BUT, We decided to go further inland and picked the Pickwick Lake area. We bought a house in Counce, TN that is walking distance to the lake and less than a mile from Aqua Harbor Marina. The house is rented Air BNB style for now and pays for itself. There are lots of various marinas that range from high end to local flavor. Great river and lake cruising. Aqua Harbor has a pool, small gym, tennis courts. It is obviously inland quite a bit. However, we are right where the Tenn-Tom waterway starts and if want to do any extended cruising can be in the gulf in a few days.
Cheers Iron Zebra, we'll check those areas out. As we'll likely be there mostly in the Winter, I'll want it to be warm so we may need to be farther south. Cheers! TBW
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Old 04-11-2021, 09:45 AM   #11
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Clive, you could maybe start with a copy of the Waterway Guide... and have a look (on paper) at the various cities/towns along the ICW... see where maybe rings your chimes. And then there are several other cruising guides that cover the ICW, more info available in each.

Almost any of the stops along the way might be interesting to you. We could make an arguments for (Little) Washington, New Bern, maybe Oriental, Wrightsville Beach (Wilmington), Southport, Beaufort (either one), Myrtle Beach, Georgetown, Charleston, Savannah... et cetera... or even several places on the Chesapeake (although not as warm in winter)...

But you'd have to pick whatever floats your own boat...

-Chris
Thanks' Ranger, sound advice. I was watching the adventures of Oloh on you tube last night and they stopped at Oriental, looked very nice. I'll grab a copy of the guide. Spent any time in the Sarasota Naples area?
Cheers TBW.
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Old 04-11-2021, 09:46 AM   #12
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Thanks' Ranger, sound advice. I was watching the adventures of Oloh on you tube last night and they stopped at Oriental, looked very nice. I'll grab a copy of the guide. Spent any time in the Sarasota Naples area?
Cheers TBW.
P.S. Yes want somewhere warm at first as we'll be down there in the Winter.
Likely Dec Feb Jan March
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Old 04-11-2021, 09:57 AM   #13
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Spent any time in the Sarasota Naples area?

P.S. Yes want somewhere warm at first as we'll be down there in the Winter.
Likely Dec Feb Jan March

Not really. We lived near Ft. Lauderdale (and worked in Miami) for a while... so we also drove around lots of Florida... but only for shorter visits on the west coast. Ft. Myers, Tampa, etc.

You'll maybe want south of Jacksonville, then... unless mostly 50-60°s is acceptable for "warm." Happens we spent the 2019/2020 winter at Ortega Landing in Jax, great marina, and we found it very pleasant temps... although Jax itself isn't much of a "tourist" city. Might have been different if we'd been over closer to the ocean...

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Old 04-11-2021, 09:58 AM   #14
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On the east coast of Florida, once you get north of Jupiter the prices start to go down pretty quickly. Once you get north of Cape Canaveral, the probability of getting hit by a hurricane also goes down noticeably (at least until you get to about Savannah). My wife and I, for ourselves, chose the Tampa Bay area. Beautiful beaches, great boating, plenty to see and do, but without the cost, or all of the crowds and hassles, of Miami/Ft Lauderdale. A little harder to get over to the Bahamas from here, but still not too onerous.
Denver, these are my initial thoughts exactly. I've visited Sarasota a couple of times, spent Christmas once on Anna Maria island, and sailed in the Tampa bay.
Wasn't sure about prices but you are making me more interested. Agreed on the trek out to the Bahamas, but at least there are a couple of ways to get there for that area, one being longer than the other of course.. I don't want to rule out the east coast but I've not been as impressed with the Miami area, but have limited time there. I also believe that the Sarasota/Tampa area has far less hurricane activity. Having been in Hurricane Wilma in Playa Del Carmen, we aren't necessarily anxious to be in another if avoidable. LOL.
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Old 04-11-2021, 10:34 AM   #15
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Top of my list is Sitka Alaska.
Never have understood the Florida pull. WAY too hot and way too many people.
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Old 04-11-2021, 10:47 AM   #16
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Top of my list is Sitka Alaska.
Never have understood the Florida pull. WAY too hot and way too many people.
I get Alaska, I've lived in the Pac NW for 30 years, but at 63, if I had to be cold or hot I'd be hot any day. I can visit Alaska.. To each their own mate.
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Old 04-11-2021, 10:51 AM   #17
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Top of my list is Sitka Alaska.
Never have understood the Florida pull. WAY too hot and way too many people.
Wifey B: Never have understood the Alaska pull. WAY too cold and way too few people.
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Old 04-11-2021, 10:59 AM   #18
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We moved to St Pete from San Francisco 15-year ago. Zero regrets - we would do it again even though we liked SF a lot.

Original plan was to leave the boat in SF and go there at least once a quarter. Even though I flew somewhere every week for work, it never worked out well and our boat deteriorated as a result. Careful with your planning.

Unfortunately, you are a couple years late in finding affordable accommodations on Florida. Especially with covid, housing has skyrocketed. I just sold my house and it went for 15% above asking price which was already 50% more than it was worth just a couple years ago.

I don't think there are cheap slips out there either. Best bet might be to find a condo with a private marina. 10 years ago we purchased a tiny condo on the ICW with a deeded slip.

Good luck

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Old 04-11-2021, 11:00 AM   #19
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Wifey B: Never have understood the Alaska pull. WAY too cold and way too few people.

Agreed....


However, the crowds in Florida have become ridiculous and just obnoxious. There are MANY places I just don't go in Florida because of the crowds.



Even my home port of the Tampa Bay area has become WAY too crowded. Now if one can avoid places on the weekends and avoid rush hour it's tolerable. With a boat, not bad during the week.


And the prices have gone thru the roof in FL.... especially south. There are some better prices in the panhandle and heading up into Georgia and the Carolinas.


As for hurricanes, further north along the east coast, or way inland are options. Anywhere near the water has its risks.
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Old 04-11-2021, 11:12 AM   #20
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Wifey B: Never have understood the Alaska pull. WAY too cold and way too few people.
That's funny!
As I've aged, and interacted with many people from all walks of life, it still never ceases to amaze me how 2 people can look at the exact same set of circumstances, sometimes seemingly black and white, (Can I say that) and come up with entirely different point's of view. I guess that is why there are wars.
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