The Adventure of a Lifetime – America’s Great Loop

The Great Loop is a circumnavigation of the eastern U.S., and part of Canada.  The route includes the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, the New York State Canals, the Canadian Canals, the Great Lakes, the inland rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico. “Loopers” take on this adventure of a lifetime aboard their own boat.

How Many Miles Is the Great Loop?

The Great Loop is a minimum of 5,250 miles, but depending on which route choices and which side trips you do, it can be extended to include thousands more miles.  Most Loopers report their Great Loop trip to be in the 6,000-mile range.

How Long Does It Take to Do the Great Loop?

The Great Loop has been done in as little as two months and in as much as 12 years.  Traditionally, Loopers have spent about a year on the route.  After all, it is a seasonal trip.  You’ll want to be on the northern part of the Loop during the warm summer months, the inland rivers in the fall, spend the winter in Florida, and the spring following the warm weather up the eastern portion of the route.

We’re seeing a trend towards people doing the Great Loop in segments, cruising for a few weeks or months, and then returning home to take care of business or other responsibilities, and returning to the boat for another segment when possible.

What’s the Best Boat for the Great Loop?

The Great Loop has been done in everything from a kayak to a 70′ yacht, and everything in between. The best boat for YOUR Great Loop adventure is a very personal choice. The boat you use for you lakefront home could be fine! We recommend making a list of required features and a list of nice-to-have features.  You’ll find that the best boat for you may include making some compromises.

What Waterways Comprise the Great Loop Route?

The primary waterways on basic route include:

The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
The Chesapeake Bay
The C&D Canal
The Atlantic Ocean from Cape May to New York Harbor (or sometimes inland waterways through New Jersey)
The Hudson River
The Erie Canal (or a popular route option on the “Triangle Loop”)
The Oswego Canal (or continue on the Erie Canal to Lake Erie)
Lake Ontario
The Trent-Severn Canal
Georgian Bay
Lake Michigan
The Illinois River
The Mississippi River
The Ohio River
The Tennessee River
The Tenn-Tom Waterway
Mobile Bay
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
The Okeechobee Waterway (or continue on the Gulf Intracoastal to the Keys)

How can I learn More?

Watch a YouTube video introduction on the Great Loop.

Visit the AGLCA website

Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”

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