For many of us, there’s no place we’d rather be on a hot summer day than floating our boat in our favorite body of water. From lakes, bays, channels, and rivers to the vast open ocean, we’re always searching for the perfect place to drop anchor. Since many of you already know how to party on a boat, there’s only one question that remains: where to party? Hop onboard and set your navigation, these are the 10 best party coves in America (listed alphabetically by state).
Chimney Rock, Lake Martin, AL
GPS Coordinates: 32.7148° N, 85.8985° W
First up on our list, we head down south to sweet home Alabama. Only accessible by water, Chimney Rock on Lake Martin is a popular hangout for adrenaline junkies of all ages. If you’re interested in doing a little cliff jumping, this is the place. With a 60-foot drop to the bottom, thrill seekers won’t be disappointed. If you’d rather stay on the boat and drink a cold one, don’t forget to check out the scenery. You can’t miss Chimney Rock’s array of graffiti—a full collection painted by Auburn-Alabama rivals and other local teens to show off their school spirit.
Bridgewater Channel, Lake Havasu, AZ
GPS Coordinates: 34.4839° N, 114.3225° W
If you really want to party, head to Lake Havasu to hava-some-fun. You won’t want to miss Bridgewater Channel, a half-mile stretch of waterway between London Bridge and Rotary Park. Famous for being featured on MTV’s spring break coverage not just once, but on multiple occasions, Lake Havasu isn’t for the faint of heart. For boaters who aren’t quite ready to get into the “spring break” mindset, we’d suggest avoiding Lake Havasu around the month of March. Otherwise, this 43-sq. mile long body of water is one of the State’s most popular recreational attractions with water temperatures ranging between 75-85 degrees.
Holiday Isle sandbar, Islamorada, FL
GPS Coordinates: 24.9960° N, 80.5448° W
Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you to Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama,Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go… Just off Route 1 heading south through the Florida Keys, you’ll find our third party cove: the Holiday Isle sandbar in Islamorada. Also home to the famous “Kokomo” Resort, which is rumored to have served as inspiration for the Beach Boy’s hit song, Islamorada is about as close to paradise as you can find within the continental United States. So just how did this party cove makes its way on to our list? The answer is simple: Sandbar Sundays. Locals and tourists from across the Keys join in for this tradition as flocks of boats come together at the sandbar for a day filled with sun, sand and plenty of booze.
Harmon Creek Party Cove, Lake Cumberland, KY
GPS Coordinates: 36.9159° N, 84.9591° W
Winner of the Guinness Book of World Record’s “largest boat tie-up,” Harmon Creek Party Cove on Lake Cumberland has more to brag about than just tying 1,651 watercrafts together—it also happens to be host to one heck of a party scene. When Memorial Day, July Fourth, and Labor Day rolls around, there’s only one place to be in Kentucky. With over 100 miles in length, 1,200 miles of shoreline and an average depth of 90 feet, there’s plenty of room to party.
Big Muscamoot Bay, Lake Saint Clair, MI
GPS Coordinates: 42.5537° N, 82.6672° W
To get a glimpse of the good life at a genuine Michigan party cove, take a look at the following footage captured by Michigan Drone Company:
What’s better than getting pizza delivered to you on your boat? Not much. Big Muscamoot Bay on Lake Saint Clair is the best place to be for parties and pizza (thanks to the S.S. Pizza Boat). If the smell of cheese and pepperoni filling the air while you’re relaxing on your sunpad isn’t enough to lure you in, it might also help that Lake Saint Clair is home to Joobie Nooner, an on-the-water Mardi Gras celebration that throws down twice a year.
Party Cove, Lake of the Ozarks, MO
GPS Coordinates: 38.1013° N, 92.6555° W
What used to be known as Anderson Hollow Cove in the Lake of the Ozarks is now commonly known as “Party Cove”—and with good reason. Out of all the party coves on our list, you won’t find a cove that parties harder than this. And did we mention that the Lake of the Ozarks just so happens to be the location of one of the hottest high-performance boating events in the country? The annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, held at the end of August, has been called the “mother of aquatic top-speed events” (find out more in the Top Go-Fast Boating Events for 2017).
Big Island, Lake Minnetonka, MN
GPS Coordinates: 44.9291° N, 93.5641° W
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Big Island on Lake Minnetonka is the place to party. In 1906, Big Island was home to its own amusement park with a roller coaster, carousel and a music pavilion. After some money issues, the amusement park closed its doors in 1911, making way for a private veteran’s camp to open years later. Years after that, Big Island was sold again and later named a public nature park. Long story short? While the names and faces have come and gone, Big Island has never lost its spirit to party. Each year on Independence Day, you’ll find no shortage of boaters looking to have a good time—and of course, no shortage of law enforcement doing their part to ensure that happens in a safe, law-abiding manner.
Zephyr Cove, Lake Tahoe, NV
GPS Coordinates: 39.0068° N, 119.9484° W
After showing a lot of love to our East Coast and Midwestern boaters, it’s time we head out west to see how the Left Coast likes to party. One particular party cove draws in the crowds on this side of the country: Zephyr Cove on Lake Tahoe. This social oasis boasts luxury resorts, beachside bars, sand volleyball and much, much more—you might even find a waterside DJ booth. As summers come to an end on Lake Tahoe, the party never stops. Crowds move off the water and onto the ski slopes.
Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island, OH
GPS Coordinates: 41.6542° N, 82.8207° W
The “Key West of Lake Erie” can be found at Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island. For this party cove, you won’t have to make the trip down Route 1 to Mile Marker 0 if you’re in search of tank tops, game fishing, and breathtaking sunsets. Much like its southern counterpart, the “Key West of Lake Erie” seems to be a slice of Ohio paradise that’s frozen in time. Laid-back vibes and strong-handed pours make Put-in-Bay an ideal spot for your next summer getaway. And don’t underestimate this relaxed crowd, when the sun goes down, they’ll be grooving.
Devil’s Cove, Lake Travis, TX
GPS Coordinates: 30.4493° N, 97.9487° W
Last but not least, we round up our list at Devil’s Cove on Lake Travis. You know what they say; everything’s bigger in Texas, so we expect a lot out of this party cove. Luckily, Devil’s Cove doesn’t disappoint. Forget party boats, instead think party barge. Then, add waterslides, sound systems, barbecue pits, and margarita machines. Not to mention, even Brad Paisley has been known to make an appearance at Lake Travis’ Aquapalooza a few years back. While it may seem like just one big party, it’s also almost 30 sq. miles of warm waters and picturesque Hill Country scenery.
When you’re finally ready to pull up anchor, you can keep the party going by checking out our Editor’s Choice: Best Waterfront Restaurants and Bars.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in June 2017 and updated in May 2018.