Game On

Check out 21 sporting events boaters can get to, see or attend on their vessel.

Region: Great Lakes

region-great-lakes-boat-sporting-eventsChicago Bears game (Da Bears!)

Where: Soldier Field, Chicago. The NFL football stadium lies in the heart of Chicago’s celebrated 57-acre museum campus on Lake Michigan.

Parking: Burnham Harbor, just east of the stadium, is the largest in the Chicago Harbors system. It features more than 1,100 slips in a protected cove and can accommodate boats from 28 to more than 100 feet.

Tip: Docking at Burnham Harbor means the entire museum campus is within reach — think Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium (America’s first) and Field Museum of Natural History — as well as the 18-mile Lakefront Trail, a must-do if you’re a walker, runner, biker or inline skater.

“Malibu of the Midwest” surfing

Where: North Side Municipal Beach, Sheboygan, Wis.

Parking: Before the boating season ends, you can dock at Harbor Centre Marina — the Sheboygan Reef lies just offshore, and you’ll have easy access to North Side beach.

Tip: Surf season begins in late August and runs through mid-April. Although the annual Dairyland Surf Classic is no longer a thing, it’s still worth it to visit North Side beach during surf season. Believe it or not, this five-mile stretch of beach is considered one of the world’s top surf spots, with 22 breaks all within city limits. And we don’t blame you if you’d rather come in late fall to watch these intrepid — or off-their-rocker — surfers battle freezing water and massive, gales-of-November waves.

Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac

Race to Mackinac, Mackinac Island, Mich.

Race to Mackinac, Mackinac Island, Mich.

Where: Mackinac Island, Mich. The racers cross the finish line between the Round Island lighthouse and the race committee trailer on the island.

Parking: Dock at Mackinac Island State Harbor, which offers more than 60 transient slips. A word of warning, however: You’ll want to reserve your spot even earlier than you might think. Dockage is a hot commodity during the annual July event.

Tip: Be sure to join the sailors for the post-race blowout at the Pink Pony, and use the Mac as the kickoff or conclusion to a longer vacation. While you’re here, travel 19th-century streets in a horse-drawn carriage (automobiles aren’t allowed), circumnavigate the island by bicycle, savor high tea at the 1887 Grand Hotel, explore Mackinac Island State Park, tour 1780 Fort Mackinac and sample some of that famous island fudge.

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