When we think of yacht charter, the default location is the Caribbean. While that region certainly has a lot to offer, it’s also a long way from the left coast. Here are five great charter destinations that you can get to from anywhere in California, all without changing airplanes.
Just off the coast of Washington state lie the beautiful San Juan Islands, a compact cruising ground easily covered in a week-long charter. You can get boats in Everett or Anacortes and provision along the way at any small town stop. The weather is variable and the high season is July to September. These islands provide a unique experience with lots of sea life and great hiking among pine trees.
Read more about the San Juans
The Yacht Insider: Charter in the San Juan Islands
San Juan Islands to Alaska: 3 Tips for Crewed Charters
San Juan Islands Itinerary Highlights
Cornet Bay via Deception Pass between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands
San Juan Island - Friday Harbor
San Juan Island - Roche Harbor via Haro Strait and Mosquito Pass
Vancouver Island, BC - Victoria
Orcas Island - Rosario Resort in East Sound
Orcas Island - Deer Harbor, Return
For rugged scenery off the Southern California coast, check out the Northern Channel Islands. You can visit Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel islands in a week if the weather cooperates. Chartering is available year-round, but the best times are from May to October. The best places for departure are Oxnard, Channel Islands Harbor, and Santa Barbara.
Channel Islands Itinerary Highlights
Ventura or Channel Islands Harbor (Oxnard) or Santa Barbara
Lunch hook at Anacapa Island
Santa Cruz Island - Scorpion Bay
Santa Cruz Island – Prisoner’s Harbor
Santa Cruz Island - Pelican Bay
Santa Cruz Island - Painted Cave
San Miguel Island - Cuyler Harbor
From downtown Los Angeles, if you travel 30 miles north, east or south you will still be in a bustling metropolis. But 30 miles to the west, across a bit of open ocean, is Catalina Island—a step back in time. Catalina is shaped like a bowling pin, with Avalon on the southeast bottom tip and Two Harbors at the neck of the pin. It is 21 miles long and eight miles wide. There are over 1,100 moorings in the major harbors that are open to the public for a fee, and plenty of room to anchor for free. Catalina is a perfect charter destination for a week or even a long weekend.
Read More about Catalina
Catalina Island: A Charter Back In Time
Catalina Itinerary Highlights
Two Harbors (Isthmus)
Marina Sailing (Long Beach, Marina Del Rey or Newport Beach)
Other private companies available
For a remote destination in the Sea of Cortez that is an easy trip out of La Paz, visit the island of Esperitu Santo, which is only 15 miles northeast of the city. The island is very remote and offers desert beauty, plentiful sea life, and anchorages where you’re unlikely to run into anyone but other cruisers or eco tour groups. April, October and November offer great weather – summer is hot and winter is cold, so plan ahead.
Esperitu Santo Itinerary Highlights
Esperitu Santo - Partida Cove
Ensenada Grande Cove
El Embudo / Los Islotes – sea lion rookery
A 9-hour flight from Los Angeles or San Francisco will land you on an exotic island paradise. Tahiti conjures up images of white sand beaches, aquamarine waters and steady tradewinds, and you won’t be disappointed. Spend a day in the capital of Papeete before taking a short flight to Raiatea, where you can choose from several chartering companies.
Tahiti Itinerary Highlights
Apoiiti base Raiatea
Tahaa land tour and pearls at Taravana Yacht Club
Tahaa to Bora Bora via Papai Pass
Bora Bora backside with Le Meridien and Lagoonarium snorkeling
Bora Bora back side to front side – Vaitape and Bloody Mary’s
Raiatea Taputapuatea Marae