3 of The Best Family-friendly Destinations to Visit on a Luxury Superyacht Charter
1. The British Virgin Islands
These beautiful islands are only a short distance away from one another making island hopping really easy. With their protected waters the area is a great destination for first time charterers to cruise to.
Tortola, the capital as well as the largest of the British Virgin Islands offers great shopping with exotic spices, sweet smelling soap and rum stores to choose from. Head for the 96-acre Sage Mountain National Park and walk along the trails which end up at the British Virgin Islands highest point, about 1,716 feet. You could then cruise to Cane Garden Bay before sailing west to Jost Van Dyke where you can swim to the Soggy Dollar Bar for a drink.
From here south east of Tortola is Norman Island. This island was once a hiding place for pirates’ loot which it is thought may have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write Treasure Island. It’s a fantastic spot to enjoy an underwater treasure hunt, snorkelling close to yellow tail snappers or eagle rays. Peter Island is north east of Norman Island and it’s here you can dock in the marina. Why not have a Thermal Sand Bundle Massage at the spa to soothe those aching muscles after a day of diving?
It’s then onto Cooper Island’s Cistern Point for more snorkelling. Virgin Gorda is next on the itinerary which has lots of masked humans at The Baths. There are huge granite boulders that form sheltered pools along the beach here. Finally, a northward cruise to Anegada, a lovely coral island, to see if you can spot any turtles or groupers swimming near the wreck of the Parmatta. This wreck dates back to 1853 and is an amazing diving site.
Some tips to take on board are don’t miss the 310ft long wreck of the Royal Mail Steamer the Rhone. This steamer sank in 1867 during a hurricane and is one of the best diving sites in the British Virgin Islands. It lies off Salt Island in waters 30-80ft deep and is located in a marine park.
The annual festival held on Anegada is not to be missed either. Usually on November 28 and 29 local chefs serve sample lobster dishes at various restaurants so enjoy fresh spiny lobster in a wonderful celebratory atmosphere.
2. Inside Passage, Alaska
With its stunning fjords, calving glaciers, whales, sea lions and enormous icebergs, Alaska’s Inside Passage is becoming a popular destination for yacht charterers. Start your trip in Juneau through an ice destination that takes some beating. Hop on the Mount Roberts Tramway which will take you 1,800ft into the mountains for views across the Gastineau Channel. You could take a helicopter flight tour and actually land on a glacier. The Mendenhall is just one of 40 huge glaciers that flows from Juneau Icefield including the Taku which is now advancing.
Cruise west to Glacier Bay National Park from Juneau. This National Park is where there are many humpback whales and harbour seals. It’s an awesome sight when the seals jump at the thunderous sound of the park’s seven tidewater glaciers as they calve and lose gigantic blocks of ice into the sea.
Take a dip in the Baranof Warm Springs to the south then later cruise to Admiralty Island and onward to Pybus Bay. You might even see a brown bear on the shoreline or a nesting bald eagle, so don’t forget to have your camera ready.
North east you will come upon the Tracy Arm fjord which is more than 30 miles long. Your last day is spent back in Juneau, maybe hiking or stopping at the Alaskan Brewing Company to try one of the many drinks.
A must-do when in Alaska is to meet the Alaskan husky dogs and do a little dog sledding. The children will love this and if you fancy, a helicopter ride to one of Juneau Icefield’s glaciers is absolutely thrilling.
How about trying the 5,330ft Zip Rider at Icy Strait Point? This is in Hoonah just west of Juneau. It’s a white-knuckle ride and not one for the faint hearted.
3. New England Islands
New England Islands are the ideal place for families. There are quaint streets to take a stroll, lots of opportunity to learn about the history of the islands as well as protected anchorages. The islands are also perfect to go sailing round with lighthouses, breath-taking mansions and beautiful scenery all around you.
Starting off in Newport on Rhode Island there are Gilded Age mansions to admire that overlook the ocean. The Breakers once belonged to the Vanderbilts as well as Marble House which was designed in a similar style to the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Take a look inside then enjoy the three-and-a-half-mile Cliff Walk which goes behind these buildings right along the cliff edge.
Block Island is 22 nautical miles to the south where there are beaches, hiking trails and a lighthouse. The Elizabeth Islands are north east of this location and are owned by the Forbes family. Naushon is the largest island and has a lighthouse which was built around 1891. Head to Martha’s Vineyard with its five lighthouses and end the cruise in Nantucket.
The historical Nantucket has late 18th and early 19th century architectural buildings which are amazing in their design. Walking tours take place twice a week in the summer arranged by the Nantucket Preservation Trust.
You must try the lobster ice cream too. Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium has a shop in the Vineyard that sells lobster ice cream. It tastes better than it sounds with its butter flavour, cooked, chopped and buttered lobster meat.
For the more energetic yacht charterers, there are 44 miles of down island bike trails on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s mostly flat so all the family can hire bikes and enjoy the 18-mile cycle-way from Vineyard Haven to Oaks Bluff then on to Edgartown and back again.