best family boat for the money

7 Best Family Boats on a Budget

Deciding what boat to rent for your family vacation can be quite a daunting task. To get the best family boat for the money, you must match the right boat with your family’s needs. Because different boats do different things well, you should first determine the kind of water adventures you’ll be going on with your family

The 7 Best Family Boats By Purpose

To help you get the best family boat for the money, your search must start with the primary activity you need a boat for. Here are seven examples:

1. Sailboats

Sailing is an age-old activity that still brings many families great pleasure. It’s different from powerboating, thanks to reduced speeds and the complex operation of the boat. But one thing’s for sure — sailing makes for a great family vacation. The cherry on top is that sailboats aren’t as expensive as other types of boats since they don’t need big powerful engines.

A great example of the best liveaboard sailboat for family adventures is the Catalina 30. Despite having embarked on its maiden voyage in 1972, the iconic Catalina 30 is one of the best family sailboats on the market. This is mainly thanks to its robust build, reliability, and plenty of room to boot. While out of production, you can get one of the latest offerings from the brand in the form of the Catalina 385.

Sailboats are the best family boat for ocean vacations and retreats as they are basically floating houses.

2. Cabin Cruisers

Cabin cruisers, like liveaboard sailboats, offer the best essential features of a home. They tend to be larger and more powerful than other types of boats. Because of their power, roominess, and maneuverability, cruisers are versatile in the type of activities they can be used for. Below the deck capacity of cruisers is mainly determined by the size of the boat.

For families who love going further into the ocean, a cabin cruiser is one of your best options. An excellent example of a cruiser suited to both family excursions and budget is the Jeanneau NC 1095 FLY. With plenty of room and luxurious surroundings, it’s definitely one of the best family boats for a weekend getaway.  

3. Pontoon Boats

Pontoon boats feature wide-open decks and depend on floats for stability and buoyancy. This type of boat is typically used in freshwater scenarios and can be used for cruising and even water sports. A great example of an affordable pontoon boat is the Godfrey Sweetwater 1886 C

One of the best parts about pontoon boats is that they’re highly customizable. This means you can have the best family boat for your particular needs.

4. Bowriders

A bowrider (sometimes called a runabout) is designed to offer comfortable seating in the forward cockpit area. This type of boat is typically used for watersports or day cruising, often on lakes or intracoastal waterways where the seas aren’t very rough. 

An excellent example of a family-friendly bowrider is the Regal 1900 ES.with a maximum capacity of nine passengers, it can make for a lot of weekend fun.

5. Deck Boats

Not sure whether to get a pontoon boat or bowrider? Then perhaps a deck boat is the answer. Like a pontoon boat, deck boats come with a large sitting area. However, they can accommodate more people than a pontoon boat. Like bowriders, they’re built for cruising and other types of water sports. And thanks to their simplicity, deck boats like the Bayliner Element Series, for example, are quite affordable. 

6. Center Console Boats

The best boats for families who love fishing are center console boats. Essentially, this is a boat that has a hull but no cabin or foredeck and the helm station in the center of the boat. Center console boats are designed to work in harsh offshore waterways and come with essential fishing equipment like bait wells, fish lockers, and more.

While mostly known as fishing boats, center console boats can be used for many other family boating activities. A great example is the Robalo R160.

7. Dual Console Boats

Another great option for family boating is the dual console boat. These offer the offshore capabilities of center console boats while also providing the excellent seating and amenities of a bowrider. They are versatile boats and can be used for virtually any water activity. Take the Scout 175 Sport Dorado, for example. It’s probably the best family boat for the money in this category.

Ready for a Family Boating Adventure?

If you’re looking to create memories with your family, there’s no better way than a weekend (or longer) on the water.

See if a boat is right for you and book your family sailing vacation with us today!