Start Planning For Memorial Day

Your options for a fun-filled weekend

April 2019 Feature

For many boaters, Memorial Day kicks off the boating season so it's never too early to start planning. The three-day weekend is one of the best times of the year because you can spend it on the water, which is exactly what my man wanted to do last year.

He’d been working in Siberia for four months and couldn’t wait to get home and wet his line. He had big plans for our family, all of which involved a boat and a fishing pole.

Our kids and I talked him into Disneyland instead. Even four months of solitary in negative 30-degree weather wasn’t enough to get him excited about the idea. I put the kids on Facetime and they pulled out all the stops, puppy-dog eyes included. We left for California when he’d been back in the states for less than 36 hours.

I believe in giving credit when credit is due. He tried his best. He did fairly well until the third day when he looked up and saw we were standing next to the sign that says you have a 180-minute wait to meet Elsa and Anna from Frozen. As we stood there in the hot sun, surrounded by thousands of people, his eyes rolled back in his head and he started saying things like, “What’s the meaning of life? What are we all doing here on earth? Why aren’t we fishing?”

Being the good wife I am, I told him to suck it up. We came to meet the princesses and we were going to meet the princesses.

Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to talk him into doing that trip again. We aren’t Disneyland kind of people.

Since Memorial Day is coming up, I’ve started researching other possibilities that will get us both excited. Here are a few trips I’m considering that involve water.


Wisconsin is one of the few states my husband has never seen and there are a ton of boating options there. Yes, a traditional-timed Memorial Day might be a little early that far North, but this is a good option. Riverwalk Boat Tours offers pontoon rentals in downtown Milwaukee in one-hour, half-day and full-day increments. You can enjoy the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan, taking in both nature and urban scenery. When you’re done for the day, you’ll be in Pere Marquette Park, ready for the Milwaukee nightlife. The company offers themed cruises during the week as well. (

Crystal River

Going to Florida to swim with the manatees has always been on the short list of vacations we’re considering. We’ve covered this in the magazine before and I can’t wait to do it, but the manatee season is typically January through March. The Plantation on Crystal River is one of the oldest and most popular boat-accessible vacation resorts for this activity. Families can enjoy the manatees on a pontoon rental, which sounds amazing. The waterfront property is located on Kings Bay, near one of the area’s most popular springs for migrating manatees. Guests arriving with their own boats in tow may launch for a one-time-per-stay $10 fee. (

Torch Lake

I’ve seen pictures but never been there in person. This Michigan lake is famous for its sandbar, which welcomes hundreds of boats and thousands of people every year. The water is crystal clear and I can’t wait to experience it. Plus, it’s a popular lake for fishing, featuring many different species. Dewitt Marine, in Bellaire, Mich., has a rental fleet of  22-, 24- and 25-foot Premier pontoons and Bennington triple-toon boats on Torch Lake and Clam River. Theses rental boats are great for tourists who want to enjoy Northern Michigan’s beautiful lakes. Every year, the marina replaces the rental fleet with fully-equipped brand-new Premier and Bennington boats, so these aren’t your average rentals. (

Payette Lake

I might be a little biased, but there are few places as beautiful as Payette Lake near McCall, Idaho. Payette Lake is a 5,330-acre expanse of clean, glacial water at an elevation of about 5,000 feet in the forests of Idaho. Payette Lake offers excellent boating and several sandy beaches, all with the backdrop of spectacular mountain scenery. Half of the lake is protected as part of Ponderosa State Park which offers over 1000 acres of natural wilderness, camp sites, hiking trails and unspoiled beauty on the peninsula jutting out into the center of Payette Lake. Mile High Marina has great boats from G3 that are available for a half or full day rental. (

Lake Martin

Heading south may be the best plan for early boat trips. Lake Martin in Alabama is a good option. Lake Martin is a reservoir, formed by the construction of Martin Dam on the Tallapoosa River. One of the largest manmade lakes in the United States, Lake Martin is a popular recreation area for swimming, boating, fishing, water skiing, camping and golfing. For those needing a boat, Lakeside Marina has a large selection of quality watercrafts rentals, including pontoons. They even offer guided lake tours for those wanting to see the side of Lake Martin only the locals know.  (

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