So many ports, so little… well, you know the tune. Here are the top ports on the East Coast.

East Coast boaters have a tremendous number of substantial ports to investigate. But other than checking out those closest to home, how do you decide which ones truly merit a visit by sea? For me, at least, a splash of history often seals the deal. These top east coast ports have some history behind them.

I want to cruise where famous battles once raged, boating achievements were made and a sense of yesteryear is felt yet still enjoy the conveniences of the modern boating era. Add in a few tales I never learned in school, great restaurant choices plus scenic views, and I’m hooked.

With just those parameters in mind, here’s a quick overview of four historic boating destinations worth adding to your cruising calendar. Each is also a busy port from both commercial and recreational standpoints, so you’ll need to stay on the lookout for tankers, ferries, tall ships, and cruise ships in addition to novice sailors and other pleasure craft. So take a cruise to these top ports on the east coast!

Boston, Massachusetts

Two peninsulas and a smattering of islands broke the power of the Atlantic Ocean providing a safe haven for ships when Europeans first settled Boston around 1630. The original is around Town Dock and most of the Great Cove where early sailors arrived have been filled in over the centuries. Now, it’s home to Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, and the Custom House Tower. When it was completed in 1721, Long Wharf jutted nearly a third of a mile out into the harbor.

Today, the towns of Hull and Winthrop buffer the ocean’s onslaught. The 34 remaining islands are part of the Boston Harbor Islands State and National Park, which includes lighthouses on Long Island, Little Brewster Island and the Graves. The filled tidelands have shortened Long Wharf to half its original length, but it’s still a bustling place. Watch all the action from the Chart House restaurant or grab a drink at The Landing. Just south of the pier is the New England Aquarium.