All Articles 20 great fishing vacations in America—and top fishing charters to book

20 great fishing vacations in America—and top fishing charters to book

A person holds a large silver-colored salmon
Image: christiannafzger/Getty Images

Calling all anglers! Do you love to fish in rivers or lakes? Do you prefer deep sea fishing out on the open ocean? Off of a pier or on a boat? Have you traveled the world in search of the best fishing trips, or just been dreaming of what’s beyond your local pond? The United States has some of the world’s most amazing fishing destinations, each exciting in their own way. Experience the fun, relaxation, and sporting spirit of fishing in a new place, whether you’re catching wild salmon in Alaska or mahi-mahi in Hawaii.

To help you figure out where to cast your line, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite fishing vacation spots all around the country. For each destination on our list, we’re including fantastic fishing charters as well, to make getting out on the water simple and stress-free.

Whether you’re looking for some quality me-time or bringing along your friends and family, TripAdvisor is here to help you plan it all. Pick your fishing getaway and then find a great place to stay. TripAdvisor checks up to 200 sites to bring you the lowest price on hotels. We also offer unique accommodations like vacation rentals, inns, and bed-and-breakfasts. Next, book a fishing charter of your liking—and then fill your itinerary with other great local activities and tours. TripAdvisor offers hundreds of thousands of bookable in-destination experiences, right on our site.

So dust off that old khaki fishing vest and get ready to cast away in these 20 great fishing vacations across America!

Ketchikan, Alaska

People on boat with Alaska King Fishing Charter

At the southernmost entrance to Alaska’s Inside Passage lies the gorgeous city of Ketchikan, one of America’s best fishing trips known for its wild salmon, rich Alaskan history, and breathtaking natural beauty. For fishing enthusiasts, Ketchikan has a lot to offer. There are several fishing tours and excursions available here, one being the popular Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour, made famous by the show Deadliest Catch. On board this three-hour cruise, you’ll see the fisherman haul up king crab, box crab, rockfish, eel, and octopus, and may even see a whale or two along the way. Another top-rated excursion is the Alaska King Fishing Charter, which one reviewer commented simply with: “Holy Halibut!” Along with fishing tours, Ketchikan has several other nature-centric attractions. On the Tongass Rainforest Canopy and Zipline Tour, you’ll soar over the stunning rainforest-canopy on eight different ziplines and three hanging bridges.

San Diego, California

Back of boat with American flag and city in distance

San Diego is one of the best fishing destinations in the country for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. You can go pier fishing on one of the city’s seven ocean piers, or go out on one of many fishing charters. The Half-Day Deep-Sea Fishing Cruise is a great charter option for fishers of all levels of experience to fish for yellowtail, bass, and a variety of gamefish while cruising along San Diego’s beautiful coastline. San Diego is also a top spot for whale watching tours like this one, where you’re likely to spot majestic Pacific Grey Whales playing around during one of the longest migrations on the planet, from the Baja Peninsula to the Bering Strait. On-shore attractions are plenty, and world-famous San Diego Zoo is definitely worth a visit in between catches.

Key West, Florida

Boat docked on water

Key West is a world-class fishing destination for traveling anglers. The reefs and shipwrecks in the waters of Key West are home to hundreds of fish species. Whether you choose to go deep sea fishing or flat fishing in the seemingly limitless shallow Key West “flats,” tours and fishing charters are available for all experience levels. On the Key West Deep-Sea Fishing Day or Night Trip, improve your technique with the help of the captain and crew. With Laid Back Key West, you get to plan your boating adventure. Whether you want to fish, snorkel, lay in the sun, or all of the above, you can do it all with your private charter host.

Plymouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

People on Captain John Boats in the water

Located on the historic and beautiful Cape Cod peninsula, Plymouth makes for one of the best fishing vacations that also offers anglers quintessential New England scenery. Cast your line in the deep sea on one of Plymouth’s several fishing charters. Out on the ocean, you might catch striped bass, tuna, blue fish, and the occasional shark (you may know that Cape Cod is the location of the famed movie “Jaws,” though you’re not likely to catch anything quite so ferocious). You’ll find some of the best deep sea fishing in the area on a charter with Deep Sea Fishing Plymouth with the assistance from professional fishing instructors, the crew, and captain.

Waikiki, Hawaii

Several boats docked in harbor

Waikiki, a neighborhood deep in the Pacific on the island of Oahu, is home to some of the most extraordinary fishing worldwide. The Waikiki Diving Center offers a Deep Sea Half Day Exclusive Fishing Charter where you may reel in mahi-mahi, onu, tuna, and possibly even the Pacific blue marlin. If you’re up for a thrill, you might also enjoy a North Shore Shark Adventure cruise, an awesome ride on the Waikiki shores complete with a 20-minute shark cage dive that will get you up close and personal to some sharp-toothed beauties.

Miami/Miami Beach, Florida

Six fishing poles secured in boat on the ocean

Due to its warm current and diverse ecosystem, Miami is brimming with sport fish. Whether you’re out in the deep waters off the shore or in Miami’s shallow flats, you can guarantee that the fish will be biting. One of Miami’s many bookable fishing charters is the Miami Deep Sea Fishing Adventure, a four-hour charter led by a highly trained fishing captain. You may catch marlin, grouper, tuna, sailfish, snapper and more. If you’re in no hurry to get on land after fishing, consider booking an Everglades Airboat Safari. Led by an informative guide, your super-fast airboat will have you flying underneath mangroves while spotting alligators, turtles, deer, and birds.

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Ohana Sportfishing Adventures boat in the water

Out on the crystal blue waters off the shores of Kailua-Kona, traveling anglers can fish for marlin and tuna, spot various whale species, and ride alongside friendly dolphins on this awesome charter from Honokohau Marina. Try your hand at spearfishing with Top Shot Spearfishing, where you’ll be taught by experienced guides who will train you on safety, freediving form, breathing techniques, speargun control and fish identification. You’ll be spearing fish like a pro by the end of your charter! Back on land, the beauty of Kailua-Kona is all around you, and you can get an unforgettable 360-degree look from the Mauna Kea Summit with a day hike, drive, or even a helicopter ride.

Galveston, Texas

Young person holding up fish

Sunny Galveston makes for one of the best fishing trips in the South. Cast your reel for a wide array of freshwater or saltwater fish like blacktip shark, bull shark, red snapper, croaker, drum, stingrays, and more. One of several fishing charters you can choose from out of Galveston, the private Reel Men Fishing Charter lets you pick between speckled trout fishing or shark excursions. Your knowledgeable guide will teach you all about the area and its fish while helping you improve your fishing techniques. Aside from Galveston being one of the best fishing vacations, it’s also home to incredible surfing, so after getting in your fishing fix you may want to try your hand at water sports like surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing.

Montauk, New York

People on moving boat

Montauk may conjure up images of beautiful mansions, manicured lawns, and sandy beaches, but did you know that Montauk also has some of the best freshwater and saltwater fishing in the country? As you enter Montauk Harbor, a sign greets you proudly: ”Fishing Capital of the World.” On a November Rain Charter you get to choose between inshore fishing, where you might catch flounders, porgies, striped bass and blackfish, or offshore fishing, where the sharks, tuna, marlin and mahi-mahi roam. The charter provides all of the materials you’ll need as well as a fun crew to teach you about the area. If you’re not quite ready to leave the gorgeous waters behind, consider going sailing with Sail Montauk, where you can either take charge of the tiller or just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Boat moving through water

In the Chesapeake Bay off of Virginia Beach, the fish are plentiful all year round. Virginia Beach offers four fishing piers and many bookable half- or full-day fishing charters. Grab a charter with Long Time Com’n Charters & Sportfishing for a reasonably priced and family oriented day of fishing for sharks, redfish, cobia and more led by an experienced and friendly captain. Some other recommended Virginia Beach fishing charters include Aquaman Sportfishing Charters, Rudee Tours, and Knot Tell’n Charters. You’re sure to leave this fishing vacation with a whole album’s worth of photos holding up your catches.

Charleston, South Carolina

Child kissing fish held up by adult on a boat

Game fish are teeming in the waters of Charleston, from redfish, sea trout, flounder, and sheepshead to the elusive shark, making it a sport fisher’s paradise. There are fishing charters galore available out of Charleston, including this Private 4-Hour Charter that is totally family-friendly, informative, and led by a knowledgeable and friendly guide. The scenery on the estuaries outside of Charleston is spectacular and the boats are very comfortable. Charleston is a city full of history and beautiful architecture, so once back on land consider one of many city tours, and don’t forget your camera!

Dana Point, California

Adult holding up large fish with three other people behind them

Famous for its popular dolphin and whale watching tours, Dana Point is also a fabulous destination for your fishing vacation. Fishing in Dana Point is fun for all ages and skill levels. On a Half-Day Private Fishing Charter, a seasoned captain and crew will show you and your small group great fishing techniques while providing exceptional service and doing their best to make your excursion a memorable experience. On this charter, along with several others fishing charters available in Dana Point, you may catch halibut, barracuda, yellowtail, sea bass, bonito or tuna. The city also has a great pier and several jetties you can fish off of from land.

Avalon, Catalina Island, California

Group of people on boat with Catalina Island in background

Avalon, a gorgeous town on Catalina Island, is a fishing destination for those also looking for a resort-style, paradise infused getaway. The island’s many coves, reefs and beaches have created a thriving aquatic habitat. On the family-friendly Catalina Island Flying Fish Tour, you’ll travel out in the evening with the water illuminated by underwater spotlights to see the famed Catalina flying fish as they launch themselves out of the water. This spectacular sight is a true must-see for visitors. With Afishinados Charters, you can choose between a similar flying fish tour, a cocktail cruise, or a private charter to tour and fish the waters of Catalina Island.

Orange Beach, Alabama

Adult holding fishing pole into ocean on boat

For traveling anglers, consider a trip to Orange Beach, home of the largest artificial reef system in the country and one of the biggest charter fleets in the Gulf. The waters offshore teem with game fish like tuna and billfish, and inshore you might catch a red snapper, trout, or pompano. Along the artificial reefs are grouper, amberjack, and red snapper. The Orange Beach Saltwater Fishing Charter is a great option for fishers of all skill levels to get out on the water for four to five hours and fish with the counsel of a helpful captain and crew. And it’s not uncommon to spot sea turtles, dolphins, and sharks out there! The area has several other fishing charters and boat tours to explore, as well as awesome attractions like the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.

Sitka, Alaska

Two people in yellow fishing gear holding large fish

Located near Juneau, seaside Sitka is known to be one of the most beautiful southeast Alaska cities. Look right to see a gorgeous mountain range, look left and the Pacific Ocean’s horizon will captivate you. For fishermen and women, Sitka is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of destination for its incredible saltwater fishing, with some of the best catch rates for both salmon and halibut in all of Alaska. Consider booking a charter with Angling Unlimited, who pride themselves on providing some of the best saltwater charter fishing experiences worldwide—just look at their rave reviews! Away from the open waters of the Pacific are several picturesque rivers ideal for fly fishing.

Saint Simons Island, Georgia

Adult holding caught shark with two people next to him on boat

The large salt marshes, long sandy stretches of beach, and beautiful wildlife are the defining characteristics of Saint Simons Island. For visiting fishing enthusiasts, the island’s offshore and deep sea fishing is a huge draw. If you’ve got a family of shark lovers, consider a trip out with Island Lure Charters. They specialize in summertime shark fishing trips, and have caught sharks up to 150 pounds, so be ready for anything! On a charter with Saint Simons Fishing, you might catch red fin, flounder, sharks, or snappers. But no matter what charter you choose, you’re likely to spot local birds like spoonbills and gannets, and possibly even some migrating whales.

Saint Joseph, Michigan

Older person holding up fish on a boat

Saint Joseph is a top-notch destination for freshwater fishers, as it’s located on the shores of Lake Michigan with the Saint Joseph River winding through it. Lake Michigan is known to be a world-class freshwater fishing destination for king salmon, coho salmon, steelhead, lake trout and brown trout. On a trip out with Big Bird Charters, your seasoned captains will share their knowledge on salmon fishing and help you make your catches. They also offer sunset and river cruises. Along the shore, be sure to visit the historic St. Joseph Lighthouses for a postcard ready photo opportunity.

Ocean City, Maryland

People on red boat with Miss Ocean City written on side

Ocean City is known as the “White Marlin Capital of the World.” Every year, the city hosts the White Marlin Open, an event fun for both participants—who compete for large cash prizes—and spectators. For the less competitive anglers, Ocean City won’t disappoint—its expansive shorelines are teeming with sport fish like yellowfin tuna, bluefish, mako, and many other species. Miss Ocean City is a family owned and operated charter service that will take you out fishing on a spacious boat with a kind and helpful crew. Even when the fish aren’t biting, be on the lookout for wild horses dotting the shore and nearby dolphins. If you’d like to try your hand at bowfishing, consider booking an adventure with Dusk to Dawn Bowfishing will get you out on the water learning from a very knowledgeable and helpful guide.

Cape May, New Jersey

People on Miss Chris boat moving in water

Cape May is a seaside resort town well known not just for its gorgeous scenery, but also its fantastic offshore and deep sea fishing. Cape May offers several fishing charters for enthusiastic anglers to choose from. Miss Chris charters take guests on half-day deep sea fishing excursions made even more special with the help of a kind and knowledgeable staff and beautiful surroundings. Back on land, consider spending a day splashing and catching some rays at one of Cape May’s dazzling beaches.

Anacortes, Washington

Three people fishing from boat with another boat in background

We couldn’t leave out the Pacific Northwest on a list of great fishing vacations in the United States. In Anacortes, a city located on the island of Fidalgo halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, the cold waters are teeming with wildlife. Some of the most caught species for sport fishers are the Pacific salmon, rockfish, lingcod, and the Dungeness crab. Highliner Charters offer guided salmon and bottom fishing trips off of Fidalgo Island, and they take pride in seeing their guests create wonderful memories while catching fish.

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