Exploring Buzzards Bay by Boat

Imagine cruising along the sparkling waters of Buzzards Bay, feeling the gentle ocean breeze in your hair and the warmth of the sun on your face. With the exhilarating experience of “Exploring Buzzards Bay by Boat,” you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the stunning scenery of this picturesque bay. Whether you are an avid sailor or a curious explorer, this boat rental experience promises to be a memorable adventure, offering you a chance to discover hidden coves, charming coastal towns, and pristine beaches that can only be accessed by boat. Get ready to set sail on an unforgettable journey through the captivating beauty of Buzzards Bay.

Getting Started

If you’re looking to explore Buzzards Bay by boat, you’re in for a treat! With its picturesque coastal scenery, charming islands, and abundant wildlife, Buzzards Bay offers endless opportunities for boating enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a first-time boater, this comprehensive guide will help you make the most of your adventure. From choosing the right boat to navigating safety regulations, we’ve got you covered. So, grab your sunscreen, pack a picnic, and get ready to set sail on your Buzzards Bay boating expedition!

Choosing the Right Boat

Before you embark on your Buzzard Bay journey, it’s crucial to choose the right boat for your needs. Consider the size of your party, your boating experience, and your desired activities. If you’re traveling with a large group or planning an overnight stay, a spacious cabin cruiser or yacht might be the perfect choice. For a more intimate experience, a sailboat or motorboat can provide a cozy and enjoyable ride. If you’re new to boating, consider renting a smaller boat to gain confidence before venturing into open waters. No matter which type of boat you choose, make sure it is well-maintained, in good condition, and equipped with safety essentials.

Renting a Boat

If you don’t own a boat or prefer not to bring yours to Buzzards Bay, renting a boat is a convenient and accessible option. There are several boat rental services available in the area, offering a variety of vessels to suit different budgets and preferences. Before renting a boat, do your research and read reviews to ensure you choose a reputable rental company. Consider factors such as rental rates, insurance coverage, and any additional fees. Additionally, check if the rental company provides safety equipment, such as life jackets and navigational tools. Once you’ve chosen a rental boat, familiarize yourself with its features and operation before setting sail.

Boat Safety and Regulations

Safety should always be a top priority when boating in Buzzards Bay. Familiarize yourself with the local boating regulations and follow them diligently. Ensure that your boat is equipped with all necessary safety equipment, including life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers, and navigation lights. It’s crucial to have a working knowledge of navigational rules, such as right-of-way and speed limits. Before heading out, check the weather forecast and be prepared for changing conditions. Always let someone know your boating plans, including your expected return time and destination. Remember, safety on the water is everyone’s responsibility, so be mindful of other boaters and wildlife.

Popular Destinations

As you embark on your Buzzards Bay boating adventure, you’ll have a plethora of captivating destinations to explore. From charming islands to picturesque villages, each location offers its unique charm and attractions. Here are some of the most popular destinations in Buzzards Bay:

Martha’s Vineyard

A visit to Martha’s Vineyard is a must for any boater exploring Buzzards Bay. This idyllic island is renowned for its beautiful beaches, quaint towns, and alluring landscapes. From exploring the historic Oak Bluffs to strolling along the pristine shores of Katama Beach, Martha’s Vineyard has something for everyone. Be sure to visit the iconic Martha’s Vineyard Lighthouse and indulge in the island’s mouthwatering seafood cuisine.


Another popular destination in Buzzards Bay, Nantucket is a boater’s paradise with its charming cobblestone streets, historic lighthouses, and stunning beaches. Take a leisurely stroll through Nantucket’s downtown, filled with boutique shops and renowned restaurants. Explore the island’s rich whaling history at the Nantucket Whaling Museum, and don’t forget to savor the island’s world-famous clam chowder.

Cuttyhunk Island

For those seeking a secluded and serene escape, Cuttyhunk Island is a hidden gem in Buzzards Bay. Known for its untouched natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere, this small island offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Grab a fishing rod and enjoy some excellent angling or simply relax on the island’s pristine shores while taking in the breathtaking scenery.

Onset Village

A visit to Onset Village is like stepping back in time. This charming New England village is full of character and offers a glimpse into the region’s maritime heritage. Explore the village’s picturesque waterfront, lined with unique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes. Take a leisurely stroll along the Onset Bay Pier or soak up the sun on the beautiful Onset Beach.

Must-See Attractions

Buzzards Bay is not only about the journey; it’s also about the incredible destinations and attractions along the way. Make sure to include these must-see attractions in your itinerary:

Buzzards Bay Lighthouse

Located at the entrance of the bay, the Buzzards Bay Lighthouse is a historic landmark that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding waters. Take a guided tour or learn about the lighthouse’s fascinating history and importance to the local maritime community. Whether you choose to admire it from your boat or explore it up close, the Buzzards Bay Lighthouse is a sight not to be missed.

Aquinnah Cliffs

Venture to the western tip of Martha’s Vineyard, and you’ll find the striking Aquinnah Cliffs. The vibrant clay cliffs, with their stunning hues of red, orange, and white, create a mesmerizing panorama against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. Take a leisurely hike along the scenic trails or simply marvel at the beauty from your boat. Be sure to capture some photographs of this awe-inspiring natural wonder.

New Bedford Whaling Museum

Step back in time and dive into the rich whaling history of New Bedford at the Whaling Museum. Located in the Whaling National Historic Park, this museum showcases artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that bring the captivating era of whaling to life. Learn about the importance of New Bedford in the global whaling industry and uncover fascinating tales of adventure and discovery.

Horseneck Beach State Reservation

No trip to Buzzards Bay is complete without a visit to Horseneck Beach State Reservation. Offering four miles of pristine sandy shoreline, this popular beach destination provides ample opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The calm waters make it ideal for families with young children, while the picturesque dunes create a peaceful ambiance. Enjoy a picnic, build sandcastles, or simply relax and soak up the coastal beauty.

Fishing in Buzzards Bay

With its abundant marine life and diverse ecosystems, Buzzards Bay is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice fisherman, there are plenty of opportunities to reel in a big catch. Here’s everything you need to know about fishing in Buzzards Bay:

Popular Fish Species

Buzzards Bay is home to a wide range of fish species, including striped bass, bluefish, flounder, sea bass, and tautog. Striped bass, in particular, is highly sought after by anglers due to its size and fighting ability. Bluefish, known for their aggressive feeding habits, provide an exhilarating fishing experience. The bay also offers opportunities for offshore fishing, where anglers can target tuna, mahi-mahi, and shark.

Best Fishing Spots

When it comes to fishing in Buzzards Bay, location is key. Some of the best spots for fishing in the bay include the Cape Cod Canal, where strong currents attract striped bass and bluefish. The Elizabeth Islands, particularly Cuttyhunk Island and Naushon Island, are known for their abundant fishing grounds. Other popular spots include Westport River, Sippican Harbor, and Quicks Hole.

Fishing Tips and Techniques

To increase your chances of a successful fishing trip, it’s essential to learn some tips and techniques. Pay attention to tide and current patterns, as they greatly influence fish behavior and feeding habits. Use live bait, such as clams, mackerel, or squid, to entice the fish. Experiment with different lures and retrieve speeds to find what works best for the species you’re targeting. Finally, be patient and persistent, as fishing requires both skill and a bit of luck.

Fishing Charters

If you’re looking to enhance your fishing experience, consider booking a fishing charter. Fishing charters provide the opportunity to fish with experienced guides who know the best spots and techniques for local fish species. Charter boats are equipped with all the necessary fishing gear and tackle, making it convenient for anglers to focus on the thrill of the catch. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced angler, a fishing charter can take your fishing adventure in Buzzards Bay to the next level.

Island Hopping

One of the best ways to fully experience the beauty of Buzzards Bay is by embarking on an island-hopping adventure. From Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket and the Elizabeth Islands, each island offers its unique charm and attractions. Here are the must-visit islands for your island-hopping itinerary:

Martha’s Vineyard

As mentioned earlier, Martha’s Vineyard is a destination that shouldn’t be missed. Known for its scenic beauty and relaxing ambiance, this island is a boater’s paradise. Explore the picturesque harbors, enjoy beachside picnics, and immerse yourself in the island’s vibrant culture. With its array of dining options, shopping boutiques, and outdoor activities, Martha’s Vineyard has something to offer for everyone.


Located just off the coast of Massachusetts, Nantucket is a dreamy island with its cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and pristine beaches. Discover the island’s maritime history at the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum or take a stroll through the charming town of Siasconset. Don’t forget to explore Nantucket’s stunning beaches, such as Surfside Beach and Children’s Beach, where you can soak up the sun and enjoy the island’s natural beauty.

Elizabeth Islands

If you’re looking for a more secluded and off-the-beaten-path experience, the Elizabeth Islands are the perfect destination. This chain of islands includes Naushon, Pasque, Nashawena, and Cuttyhunk, each offering its distinct charm. Cuttyhunk Island, the westernmost island in the archipelago, is known for its unspoiled wilderness and tranquil beaches. Pack a picnic, explore the hiking trails, and marvel at the stunning vistas that these islands have to offer.

Sailing and Boating Events

Buzzards Bay is not only a destination for boating enthusiasts; it’s also a hub for exciting sailing and boating events. Whether you’re a spectator or a participant, these events are worth attending:

Buzzards Bay Regatta

The Buzzards Bay Regatta is a highly anticipated sailing regatta held annually in the waters off New Bedford. This event attracts sailors from around the world to compete in various classes, from one-design boats to classic wooden sailboats. Spectators can watch the thrilling races from the shoreline or join the festivities ashore, which include live music, food vendors, and family-friendly activities.

Figawi Race

Known as one of the largest and most prestigious sailboat races on the East Coast, the Figawi Race takes participants from Hyannis to Nantucket. This Memorial Day weekend tradition attracts both professional and amateur sailors, all vying for victory in their respective classes. Spectators can enjoy the lively atmosphere, watch the yachts sail by, and participate in the post-race celebrations on Nantucket.

Blessing of the Fleet

A beloved tradition in Buzzards Bay, the Blessing of the Fleet is an event that celebrates the local fishing and boating community. Each summer, the fleet gathers to receive blessings for a safe and prosperous season. Witness the colorful procession of boats adorned with flags, listen to live music, and enjoy the festivities that honor the maritime heritage of the region.

Kayaking and Paddleboarding

For those looking to explore the coastal inlets and enjoy a different perspective of Buzzards Bay, kayaking and paddleboarding are excellent options. Here’s what you can expect when venturing out on the water:

Exploring Coastal Inlets

The coastal inlets of Buzzards Bay offer a tranquil and scenic setting for kayaking and paddleboarding. From the calm waters of Westport River to the winding channels of Sippican Harbor, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the beauty of the bay. Paddle along the shoreline, observe unique marine life, and discover hidden coves and beaches inaccessible by larger boats.

Paddleboarding Yoga

For a truly unique experience, try paddleboarding yoga in Buzzards Bay. This increasingly popular activity combines the tranquility of yoga with the challenge of balancing on a paddleboard. Join a guided class and float on the peaceful waters as you practice yoga poses and build strength and stability. Paddleboarding yoga provides a serene and grounding experience, allowing you to connect with both nature and yourself.

Kayaking Tours

If you’re new to kayaking or prefer a guided experience, consider joining a kayaking tour. Various tour companies offer guided excursions tailored to different skill levels and interests. Explore the hidden gems of Buzzards Bay, learn about the local marine ecology, and discover the history and culture of the area. Whether you choose a sunset tour or an eco-tour, kayaking tours provide an immersive and educational experience for all ages.

Wildlife and Nature

Buzzards Bay is a haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. With its diverse ecosystems and protected areas, the bay offers countless opportunities to observe and appreciate nature’s wonders. Here are some of the must-visit destinations for wildlife lovers:

Elizabeth Islands Wildlife Refuge

The Elizabeth Islands Wildlife Refuge is a protected area that encompasses several islands, including Naushon and Cuttyhunk. This refuge provides a vital habitat for migratory birds, such as ospreys, herons, and terns. Birdwatchers can spend hours marveling at the diverse avian species that call the islands home. Additionally, the refuge offers opportunities for hiking, beachcombing, and observing other wildlife, such as seals and deer.

Nature Trails

For land-based exploration, Buzzards Bay offers an extensive network of nature trails that wind through forests, salt marshes, and coastal dunes. The Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Wareham provides a scenic hiking experience with its diverse habitats and serene atmosphere. The Westport River Watershed Alliance Nature Trail allows visitors to explore the river’s tidal wetlands and observe the plant and animal life unique to this area. Lace up your hiking shoes, grab your binoculars, and embark on an adventure through Buzzards Bay’s nature trails.

Seal Watching

Buzzards Bay is home to a significant seal population, providing numerous opportunities for seal watching. Embark on a boat tour or paddle out on a kayak to observe these playful creatures in their natural habitat. During the spring and summer months, you might even spot seal pups lounging on the rocky shores. Keep a safe distance and respect their space while enjoying this unforgettable wildlife encounter.

Dining and Restaurants

Exploring Buzzards Bay by boat is not only about the water; it’s also about indulging in the local culinary delights. The region offers a myriad of dining options, ranging from fresh seafood to flavorful international cuisine. Here are some dining recommendations for your trip:

Seafood Delights

When it comes to seafood, Buzzards Bay delivers some of the freshest and most flavorful options on the East Coast. Feast on mouthwatering lobster rolls, succulent scallops, and crispy fried clams. Head to local seafood shacks and restaurants that serve up catch-of-the-day specials and innovative seafood creations. Don’t forget to savor the quintessential New England clam chowder, prepared with locally harvested clams and traditional ingredients.

Waterfront Dining

For a truly memorable dining experience, seek out restaurants with waterfront views. Imagine dining on a patio overlooking the bay, surrounded by sailboats gliding in the distance. Many waterfront restaurants in Buzzards Bay offer not only delicious cuisine but also breathtaking vistas of the surrounding waters. Indulge in a leisurely meal as you watch the sunset paint the sky with vibrant colors.

Local Favorites

To truly immerse yourself in the local culinary scene, sample some of the region’s beloved dishes and specialties. Embrace the hearty flavors of Portuguese cuisine, such as linguica sausage, bacalhau (salted cod), and malassadas (Portuguese doughnuts). Treat yourself to sweet treats like cranberry pie or a slice of apple cider donut. And, of course, try a glass of locally brewed craft beer or a refreshing Cape Cod cocktail to complement your dining experience.

Day Trips and Excursions

As you explore Buzzards Bay, take advantage of its proximity to other captivating destinations. Plan day trips and excursions to nearby towns and attractions to enhance your boating adventure. Here are some recommendations for memorable day trips:

Newport, Rhode Island

Just a short journey from Buzzards Bay, Newport, Rhode Island, offers a delightful blend of history, natural beauty, and opulence. Tour the iconic Newport mansions, including The Breakers and Marble House, and step back into the Gilded Age of America. Take a stroll along the Cliff Walk, a scenic pathway that hugs Newport’s coastline and offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Explore the bustling waterfront with its charming shops, restaurants, and bustling marinas.

Provincetown, Cape Cod

Located at the northernmost tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is a vibrant and welcoming town known for its rich arts scene, stunning beaches, and unique history. Explore the lively Commercial Street, lined with art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. Discover the dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore on a guided tour or enjoy a relaxing day at one of Provincetown’s picturesque beaches. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the breathtaking sunset from the iconic Race Point Beach.

Plymouth, Massachusetts

A visit to Plymouth is like stepping back in time to the early days of American history. Explore the living history museum at Plimoth Patuxet and learn about the Pilgrims’ journey and the Native Wampanoag culture. Take a stroll along the Plymouth Waterfront and visit the Mayflower II, a replica of the original ship that brought the Pilgrims to America. Immerse yourself in the town’s maritime heritage and indulge in freshly caught seafood at one of the waterfront restaurants.

As you embark on your Buzzards Bay boating adventure, remember to fully enjoy every moment of your journey. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty, soak up the local culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime. With the right boat, a sense of adventure, and a friendly attitude, your Buzzards Bay boating expedition is sure to be an unforgettable experience. So, prepare to set sail and explore the wonders that await you in this coastal paradise!

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