Spending time on the water will create lasting memories for families. Boating provides recreational entertainment for everyone because spending time on your favorite lake, river, or coastal area can be spent fishing, tubing, skiing, sightseeing, and relaxing; nobody will feel left out. When it comes time to choosing the correct boat to please everyone, the decision can be challenging. What are the best boats for families?

What To Consider In The Best Boats For Families?

An important consideration when making a decision on the best boat for a family consider what you will primarily do with the vessel and what body of water you’re utilizing it. If you’re an avid fisherman, a bowrider may not be the best option. If you’re running offshore in the ocean, a pontoon boat won’t do you much good. Fit the correct vessel with the body of water and activity.

Let’s face it; free time is hard to come by. Consider maintenance when you’re in search of a craft. The last thing you want to be doing is to spend time on upkeep and repair taking up all the valuable time you have to get on the water and use your investment. 

The first boat we will explore that is best for families is a bowrider-

You’ve seen it before kids, mom, dad, and the grandparents all out on the water together. The design is like having an onboard living room. Today’s modern designs include wrap-around seating, tables, high-end sound systems, and ample storage. 

  1. Bowrider

What are the pros of a bowrider?

  1. Comfort is key.
  2. Excellent for skiing, wakeboarding, or tubing. For this reason, it is one of the best lake boats for families.
  3. They are generally speedy and can get on plane quickly.
  4. Many are equipped with large sunshades to protect people from damaging UV rays.

Cons of a bowrider

  1. While you can fish from them, you risk puncturing holes in seats, and the sides and railings can be cumbersome with fighting fish. 
  2. Depending on the make and model, it may be a wet ride in even a mild chop.
  3. They can be more challenging to clean because of all of the cushions and nooks and crannies. 

We recommend Sea Ray as the top bowrider on the market. 

Another excellent family boat is the pontoon boat-

When you think southern lake, you think pontoon boat. Pontoons are the way of the south. While pontoon boats can move quickly no need for speed here. Kick it in gear and motor gently around the lake on a stable platform with ample space. 

2. Pontoon 

Pros of a pontoon boat-

  1. The deck is constructed with safety in mind. The high framework surrounding all sides of the craft prevents accidental overboard from young children hanging too far over to sneak a peek.
  2. They can be bought in various layouts, including sun pads for lounging, stand-up bars, and straightforward seating variations. For this reason, it is one of the best family lake boats.
  3. Stability is its strong point. The width of the pontoons makes for a ride that helps prevent extreme side to side rolling. 

Cons of a pontoon boat-

Pontoons are primarily only seen on lakes for these three reasons.

  1. They lack speed. If you’re planning to engage in recreational water sports, make sure it has enough power to tow a skier. 
  2. Pontoons are not sporty. Don’t expect it to maneuver like a bowrider. The step angled turns are nonexistent. 
  3.  In rough water, pontoon boats do not handle well. Often the bow will dig sharply into waves causing the deck to flood. 

One of the sportiest looking pontoons on the water is the Bennington.

The final family-friendly boat is the center console-

Center consoles are found on all bodies of water and range vastly in size. The center console, I believe, is the most family-friendly boat that is available. Take it from me I have owned a center console with a family. Hands down it is the best family boat for ocean, best family lake boat, and best family boat for river. However, it is often assumed that only fishermen buy center consoles. 

3. Center Console 

What are the pros of a center console-

  1. Most easily maintained. The boat is nearly all fiberglass. After a day on the water, hose it out and dry it off therefore it is one of the best saltwater boats for families.
  2. Most versatile boat. Excellent for fishing, water sports, and cruising.
  3. They offer an exceptional view having the helm central to the boat.

Cons of a center console-

  1. Sun protection is a big con. Many are equipped with a T-top, which offers a minimal amount of protection against the sun. 
  2. Depending on the hull style, center consoles give off a spray in rough seas that will likely douse you. Make sure you buy a Deep V with a flared bow in order to make it one of the best ocean boats for families
  3. Seating capacity and comfort are concerns. They are not exactly built for social gatherings.

The best family center console is the Grady White.

Now You Know The Best Family Boats

These details should help you better understand what may suit you and your family’s needs best. When you’re ready to start shopping for the best boat for families, visit a few dealerships that offer each style and walk through them. Likely the list will be narrowed down more quickly after getting the feel of them. The best decision is an educated decision. You and your family will have endless hours of fun on the water.