Colorful boats, fresh seafood and balmy breezes are yours to enjoy during a harbor-based holiday. Here are five to consider.
1. MONTAUK Head to the end of Long Island for a relaxed experience in a beachy enclave where fishermen, surfers, urban hipsters and families easily mix in the salty air. Stroll along the docks to witness the arrival of the day’s fresh catch, as tony yachts and the occasional sightseeing boat, spouting the area’s seafaring history, inch into the harbor. Stay at the historic Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina, where all things nautical will serve as your holiday backdrop.
2. HALF MOON BAY, CALIFORNIA Sample Dungeness crab and other seafood offered by local fishermen. Visit the historic main street for shopping, galleries and restaurants where nearby farms showcase their fresh offerings. The state’s magnificent redwood forest is a short drive away.
3. KETCHIKAN, ALASKA This rugged frontier town welcomes visitors from cruise ships as well as other adventurers eager to hear tales of the gold rush and to observe local wildlife. Visit the Tongass Historical Museum, the Totem Heritage Center and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center to learn about the area’s earliest residents — the native Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people.
4. BALTIMORE Decades ago, this spirited Maryland city bolstered a movement to transform industrial waterfronts into tourist meccas where restaurants, shops and appealing attractions would soon energize the local economy. Today, visitors flock to the Inner Harbor, which serves the Chesapeake Bay. Family travel plans often include a visit to the National Aquarium, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing and feasting on the region’s famous blue crabs, oysters and clams.
5. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA Founded in 1670, this Southern city and its scenic harbor provide an appealing blend of old and new. Cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and stories of Civil War-era prominence beckon history lovers. Meanwhile, a burgeoning food scene, stunning beaches, a top-notch aquarium and hip hotels nudge families to experience both eras. Waterfront Park offers an ideal place to relax after an active day.