Great Loop Overview Map

Hello All,

We are creating this website/blog to document our plans, and hopefully, adventures, on America’s Great Loop. A 6,000+ mile trip around the eastern US entirely by boat. For those of you not familiar with it, the Great Loop follows the Intracoastal Waterway up the edge of the east coast from, for us South Carolina, (but the east coast portion begins in Key West) to New York, up the Hudson River to the Erie Canal, into the Great Lakes with many options going as far north as Québec City. Leaving the Great Lakes at Chicago, it follows the Illinois River south to the Missouri River, then joins the Mighty Mississippi in St. Louis. The main route then leaves the Mississippi and joins the Ohio River where Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky meet. Some follow the Mississippi down to New Orleans, however due to heavy barge traffic and a lack of recreational marinas, this is not the preferred route.

The route follows the Ohio, (with possible side trips to Louisville and beyond) and joins the Tennessee river at Paducah Kentucky. Following the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, reaching the Gulf Coast in Mobile Alabama and rejoining the Intracoastal Waterway.

From Mobile, you can take a side trip and go west as far as Brownsville Texas on the Mexican border. The main route goes east along the Gulf Coast of Florida (with one major foray into the Gulf of Mexico proper), to Cape Coral Florida. From there you can either cut across Florida on the Okeechobee Waterway re-joining the Intercoastal just north of Jupiter Florida, or you can take the long way around to the Florida Keys, past Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Either way, it’s back up the east coast of Florida on the Intercoastal, through Georgia, and for us, back home to South Carolina.

The fastest record for the loop is two months, some have taken as long as 12 years doing it in sections. Most take 8-12 months with a few breaks (imagine being cooped up in a small space with your loving spouse 24 hours a day for 8 months) to insure marital bliss, and for weather.

Our plan is to begin our trip sometime in the Spring of 2019. This will, we hope, give us ample time to purchase a boat and get some experience with it.

Why would we want to do this? Well, I guess the most simple, boiled down answer is…. because it’s there! It’s an adventure and a great way to meet wonderful people, see parts of the country that many don’t get to see, and have the adventure of a lifetime!

Watch for future updates as we go through the process of buying a boat, getting an education, planning the trip, and embarking on our Great Loop Adventure!

Tom & Brenda