“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing − absolutely nothing − half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” If you’re a boat lover you can relate to this famous quote by Kenneth Grahame from The Wind in the Willows. Afterall, nothing is more exhilarating than planning perfect boating destinations and feeling the water and breeze on your skin as you travel the oceans, rivers, and lakes by boat.
To help you plan your summer fun, we at BuffPro® came up with our Top 5 Midwest Boating Destinations to make your boating vacation a memorable one. Just imagine the wind in your hair as you read and daydream about the following fresh-water options.
A Boater’s Paradise – Traverse City, Michigan
Located in northern Michigan, Traverse City’s clear blue Lake Michigan waters beckon boaters, fisherman, and beachgoers as the first of our boating destinations. Fishing multiple lakes for king salmon, perch, trout, whitefish, and walleye is a fisherman’s dream come true. Those who love to boat, tube, waterski, dive, sail, wakeboard, windsurf and beach-it could stay forever. The pristine lakes and fresh water make this part of the Great Lakes region like no other. In fact, Boating Magazine named Traverse City one of its “Ten Best Places to Live and Boat.” For boaters, both power and sail, the combination of Lake Michigan and 26 large inland lakes offer a perfect boating destination.
Along with boating, there is much to see and do in and around Traverse City, including the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which towers 400 feet above Lake Michigan. In 2011, Good Morning America named it “The Most Beautiful Place in America.” Grand Traverse Bay also shares the same latitude as Italy’s Piedmont Region and Boudreaux in France, making it one of the Travel Channel’s top 10 cities for wine snobs. This same 45th parallel also makes for some of the longest summer days in the US, giving you more time to enjoy boating and all kinds of water recreation. Traverse City is home of the famous National Cherry Festival and one of most agriculturally diverse regions of the US. It’s no wonder it was named one of Bon Appetit’s Top 5 Food Towns in 2010.
Windy City Sailing – Chicago, Illinois
Also located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago combines both the excitement of one of the nation’s largest cities with the beauty of the Great Lakes. Enjoy world class sailing against the backdrop of the city’s famous skyline. Some places you’ll want to check out include Montrose Harbor and Beach, the epitome of the waterfront summertime boating life. Enjoy a bustling marina, restaurants, live music and a large beach that offers a beautiful view of the Windy City.
If you love fishing, head north of Chicago to Lake County, a great place to catch perch, trout and king salmon. July is a great month for boating in Chicago starting with the Race to Mackinac on July 11th. It’s the longest and oldest freshwater sailing race in the world. You can watch teams set sail at Navy Pier by the Chicago Lighthouse and never leave your own boat. On July 25th, there’s the Chicago Scene boat party, which is the largest water social scene of the summer. If you’re in the area in August, you won’t want to miss the Chicago Air and Water Show. Catch stunt planes and the Blue Angels from the comfort of your boat and away from the crowds. Other boating excursions include overnight trips to Michigan, or for a different view of Chicago, take day trips up and down the south bank of the Chicago River.
Shallow Fishing – Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin
One of the most popular boating destinations in inland Wisconsin, Lake Winnebago is a shallow freshwater lake and a fisherman’s paradise. In fact, in June 2010, Oshkosh hosted a fishing tournament that still holds the Guinness World Record as the largest in history! It’s no wonder many fishermen consider it one the best places in the nation to catch walleye. Other species abound, including bluegill, bass, pike, perch and catfish. The largest lake located entirely within the state, it has 88 miles of shoreline, a maximum depth of 21 feet and contains several islands to explore along its west shore.
If fishing isn’t your thing, not to worry. There are many things to do all over the picturesque, nature-inspired area including boating for fun, hiking, biking, water parks, a bustling nightlife with plenty of live music; museums, outlet malls, and a zoo in Oshkosh. Auto enthusiasts will also be thrilled with the classic car museum in nearby Fond Du Lac.
1150 Miles of Shoreline – Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
It may be hard to believe but Lake of the Ozarks has 1,150 miles of coastline – more than California! This unique man-made lake is only 75 years old but is one of the most popular boating destinations in the Midwest. It’s a great place for tubing, waterskiing or just cruising the endless shoreline. Whether you like fine dining and vibrant nightlife, family-friendly fun, or just relaxing, Lake of the Ozarks has something for everyone. The small towns up and down the rugged coast offer arcades, ice cream shops and unique stores, as well as many fantastic boat-in restaurants where you can dock your boat and relax waterside.
If you’re visiting in late July, you won’t want to miss Aquapalooza, the lake’s largest family-friendly boating event held July 20th – all boaters invited! Live music and activities keep the fun flowing all day long. August 24-25th is the 31st Annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. Powerboat Magazine calls it one of the “must-see boating events” in the nation. It is the largest unsanctioned race in the United States with more than 100 racers and 100,000 spectators. Not ready to be done with boating fun? End your summer with a bang Labor Day weekend watching multiple firework displays from your boat and enjoy the last long days of summer on the water.
500 Lakes & More – Brainerd, Minnesota
Minnesota is known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and is a dream come true for the serious boater. We chose the Brainerd area in our boating destinations list simply because it’s comprised of more than 500 lakes and beautiful scenery. You could boat here all summer and never run out of places to explore – no wonder Minnesotans call it the “heart of lake country.” The larger lakes offer opportunities for tubing, skiing and wakeboarding. If you want a quiet more relaxing experience, enjoy your boat or paddle a canoe on some of the smaller lakes or down the Mississippi or Gull Rivers. There are waterfront restaurants galore that make for an easy, relaxing day of boating, dining, and socializing. If you’re wanting fun things to do on land, Brainerd offers many natural areas for hiking, biking, and walking, an International Raceway, water parks, breweries, shopping, golf, and a wildlife sanctuary that will take your breath away.
Keep Your Boat Looking its Best with BuffPro
As a boat lover, you know all this summer fun can be hard on your marine equipment. You also know how tedious boat care can be. The marine environment causes fiberglass deterioration as well as oxidation and corrosion. Our unique BuffPro buffer is the solution to keeping your boat and water toys looking their best with ease.
The simple BuffPro system, which includes a drum-style electric buffer, buffing and polishing compounds, and high-quality lamb’s wool pads, restores fiberglass to give your boat a like-new finish (minus the swirl-marks!) in about half the time as traditional methods. BuffPro can be used safely on any boat or watercraft surface including fiberglass, plastic, metal, paint and gel coat. Check out our quick how-to videos and see how easy and effective it really is.
“I purchased this BuffPro Model JF 180 Swirl-Free for my Son-in-Law. He is a professional detailer with his own business and works on a lot of big trucks, trailers and tankers, in addition to cars, boats, snowmobiles, etc. This is a true “dream-machine” for him. It’s light weight, multiple speeds, and has a large buffing area that truly cuts his time by 75% (compared to a traditional hand-buffer) while producing a superior, swirl-free finish. Great product! – Raymond McMahon
Easy-to-Use Kit & Free US Shipping
For best results, we recommend starting with our Marine Restoration Kit. It is a compact, discounted bundle – with free continental US shipping – that offers everything you need to make your boat look like new while on vacation or once you get home. Go ahead – order online or call us today and spend less time polishing your boat and more time enjoying it! 1-800-699-4160