Best Family Boats

best family boats

Not all boats are created equal. Some boats will go great for one to two people, and some will be able to host an entire party’s worth of people.

But what about boats for families?

In this article, we’ll go into the best types of boats for families and how they can help any family (and their kids) have loads of fun.

Let’s get into it.

Best Boats for Family Fun

Cabin Cruisers

A cabin cruiser is just as the name states, a boat with a cabin that can host the crew and passengers. A cabin cruiser is typically around 25 to 45 feet in length. Think of cabin cruisers as a mini-yacht, as anything less than 12 meters long is going to be considered a cabin cruiser and not a yacht.

The great part about cabin cruisers is that if your family wants to take longer trips, then you can find refuge inside the cabin. You can make meals, sleep, eat, and relax all within the cabin portion of the cabin cruiser. 

Smaller cruisers have outboard motors, but larger cabin cruisers have inboard engines. A cabin cruiser may be a bit too large for a smaller family of around 3, as they can fit up to 12 people or more depending on the size of the cruiser. 


Sailboats are typically between 33 to 45 feet in length. They’re great family fun, and you can teach your kids how to pilot the sails while you work around the natural winds of the ocean. A sailboat can have a motor, but then it’s considered to be a motorized boat rather than a sailboat.

Sailboats can have full accommodations of bathrooms and a dining area, as well as a kitchen. A sailboat can be taken around the world in the ocean, and many families spend their time sailing throughout the world.

Another great aspect of sailboats is that they’re a sustainable form of sailing. If there is no motor, and only using wind, then there is no harm being done to the great Earth we all call home. You can drop anchor anywhere in the world and pick it up whenever you want to, on your and your family's time.

Pontoon Boats

Pontoon boats are flat boats that utilize floats to remain buoyant in the water. Pontoon boats are an incredibly comfy ride on the water, but they can also boast powerful engines so you can zip up and down any lake or river you’re planning to visit.

Pontoon boats range from 15 to 30 feet, but have a flat top which makes it super easy to enjoy some time with the family. As pontoon boats are primarily for freshwater use, they’re great to go waterskiing and fishing with. Consider it the SUV of freshwater boating, it’s great family fun. 

Don’t forget that even state-to-state boat transport can be done with a pontoon boat. No matter how big the boat is, it’s always possible to transport it to wherever you like. Consider instead of hauling your boat, you can simply have it transported to your vacation destination and enjoy the flight with you and your family.

Deck Boats

Think of a deckboat as a larger bowrider. Deckboats are often 18-28 feet and can carry up to 14 passengers. Deckboats are smaller than pontoon boats which are smaller than cabin cruisers. A deck boat is great for family fun on lakes and large rivers. 

Deckboats excel at medium to large bodies of water and can accelerate at fast rates. You can enjoy similar facilities as a bowrider but don’t expect to cook a family dinner on a deckboat. You can however enjoy the sun as you enjoy the wide open space of a deckboat while you take your family out on a nice stroll around the lake.


A bowrider is typically between 17 and 35 feet and has an open bow area instead of a closed cabin area which is offered in a typical cabin cruiser. Bowriders can be great family fun for hanging out with your family as they’re cheap and easy to deal with.

The downside is there are no cooking facilities nor are there typically any bathrooms. You won’t have any cover from the harsh sun. If you do own a bowrider, they’re going to be much cheaper when it comes to various boat shipping options than larger boats, which is great if you want to bring your boat with you on vacation. 


Finding a family boat can be a challenge. What you end up purchasing will take some time to decide, and a lot of testing. Before you buy any boat, it’s a good idea to take a look at it in real life. If it’s secondhand, there is no shame in asking to take it for a test run.

Your family also will end up being the deciding factor, as what you all enjoy doing on the boat will determine what boat you get. Enjoy sailing for hours and hours? Check out the sailboat. Only going to be taking it out on freshwater? Check out the pontoon boat.

Purchasing a boat is a huge investment, so take your time, you and your family will not regret it once it comes time to relax and enjoy your new boat!

Editorial Staff

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This article was written by editorial staff.
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