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16 Favorite Water Days

16 Favorite Water Days
4 votes, 4.25 avg. rating (83% score)

At Day’s End

A Nantucket sunset cruise aboard the Endeavor with Captain James Genthner is a lesson in beauty and local history. Captain Genthner built this wooden Friendship sloop himself, and his respect for his vessel runs as deep as his respect for the island waters he sails. As the summer sun heads toward the horizon, a golden glow bathes Brant Point Light as you head out into Nantucket Sound. The Endeavor glides over secret fishing spots, while Genthner narrates stories about the long-gone whaling industry and points out seals and other marine life. For family outings, he lets the kids help raise the sails; for more romantic pursuits, he knows when to stay quiet–he’ll even let you bring some food and wine along. Slip #1015, Straight Wharf, Nantucket, MA. 508-228-5585; endeavorsailing.com

Picnic On the Rocks

Star Island, one of the nine Isles of Shoals, lies some 10 miles out from Portsmouth Harbor. Arrive aboard the Thomas Laighton, a three-decker ferry; then disembark and for the next few hours explore this rock-strewn, sea-splashed nugget. On a hot, blue-sky day, give yourself the shivers: Read Anita Shreve’s The Weight of Water, her historical novel about the real-life double murder that took place on nearby Smuttynose Island in 1873. Isles of Shoals Steamship Company, 315 Market St., Portsmouth, NH. 800-441-4620, 603-431-5500; islesofshoals.com

Inside the Roaring Water

When Wayne Hockmeyer guided the first raftload of thrill-seekers down the roiling Kennebec River in 1976, he started a new way of life in the Forks region of central Maine, which quickly became New England’s epicenter of whitewater rafting. Whether it’s down the Kennebec, the Dead River, or the Penobscot, no two trips are ever alike. It’s no Disney set: People sometimes topple from the rafts and have to swim the turbulent waters. The adrenaline rush is for real–and the adventure all the more memorable because of it. raftmaine.com; 800-765-7238, 207-663-4466, northernoutdoors.com

Maine Flavor

You’ve got two basic options at Maine’s Old Orchard Beach: Plant yourself smack-dab in the middle of the honky-tonk heaven around the iconic 500-foot pier, or keep some of the Atlantic to yourself with a seaside stroll that ventures off some three and a half miles in either direction. Your choice. 207-934-2500; oldorchardbeachmaine.com

A Huck Finn Day

Only 20 miles from Hartford, where Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) penned his classic Huckleberry Finn, is the chance to float down the Farmington on bright-yellow inner tubes. Your stretch of the 81-mile-long river is two and a half miles, beginning at Satan’s Kingdom Gorge. You’ll encounter a few ripples, but mostly you’ll float as languorously as a leaf. Farmington River Tubing, 92 Main St. (Route 44), New Hartford, CT. 860-693-6465; farmingtonrivertubing.com

Diver’s Delight

Located 200 feet down, Lake Champlain’s Underwater Historic Preserve is not your typical park. Nine shipwrecks on the lakebed are open to certified SCUBA divers. If you don’t have a wetsuit, reserve a spot on a tour boat and experience the thrill of discovery through the lens of a remote-controlled sub. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 4472 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes, VT. 802-475-2022; lcmm.org

Two-Wheelin’ It

Even Lance Armstrong would be hard-pressed not to slow down along this 7.3-mile loop through the Province Lands, a pristine sliver of the impressively pristine Cape Cod National Seashore. Cranberry bogs, ponds, beaches, and sand dunes are all part of the scenery. Province Lands Visitor Center, Race Point Road, Provincetown, MA. 508-487-1256; nps.gov/caco

For four more of our favorite water days, go to: 4 Fun Activities by the Water

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