The Great Loop is a route of waterways that boaters can use to explore the eastern USA.
The Great Loop is a continuous waterway that recreational mariners can travel that includes part of the Atlantic, Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of America's heartland. Anyone who completes the journey is then named an official 'Looper.'
It’s a route that requires Loopers to chase summer around the country, making sure to arrive in NY and Canada as it gets warm and leave Chicago before it cools off too much.
Starting from Florida, travel north up the Intracoastal Waterway to New York City. Then go up the Hudson to the Erie Canal, and head west across the Great Lakes to Chicago. Go south in a counter-clockwise direction to take advantage of the river currents, straight down to the Gulf of Mexico and out and around Florida.
In 2014, my parents did their first Great Loop. They bought their first boat in 2013, sold our house, and decided to retire & set off on an adventure.
I was quitting my job in 2014, and one factor was the desire to get on the boat with them. How often would I have a chance to live on a boat, traveling through and seeing America from that perspective?
It’s a pretty incredible experience to have – living on a boat, seeing the seasons change from Chicago to St. Louis and Chattanooga to Florida, and visiting old cities and town that were key to America’s development.
Now, in 2019, they’ve started it again. They have a new boat (they sold the last one a couple years ago), and they should arrive to Montreal, Canada, while I’m still here. Hopefully I’ll be able to join them onboard this time, too.