Nothing matters more than family. If you have been wanting to increase family time, there is no better way to do that than to buy a family boat. Whether you want to relax peacefully as you sail across the water or you want to water ski for a little excitement, nothing beats a great boat ride with your family on board.
However, finding the right one can be difficult. When you go shopping for boats, there is no specific “family boat” category. This is why I’ve found the 12 best family boats available on the market. Below you will find a review for each one which describes their features and other interesting information that you should consider if you want to purchase one for your family.
Best Family Boat For The Money 2019
Chaparral 2019 257 SSX
The 257 SSX is actually a sports boat as seen by its impressive speed and agile sharp turns. However, it can still be a great option to consider for your family. For one, it can handle up to 14 passengers, so you can easily accommodate your family (and guests). It was also designed with a high freeboard and deep cockpits, so you and your loved ones will easily stay dry. Plus, if your children are very young, you do not have to worry about them falling over.
Since it’s a sports boat, it can go very fast, so you have to be extra mindful of the speed. When it comes to design, it shares many characteristics with the 2018 247 SSX, so if money is an issue, the older model might be a better idea. Otherwise, the 2019 257 SSX is the way to go! All these features make this the perfect boat for the family.
While a little smaller than the previous one as it only accommodates 8 passengers, it is still an excellent choice. If you are new to boating, this is a great boat to go with. It is not too large, and neither does it go too fast. To top it all off, it is fairly affordable and the affordable price is not a knock on its value; it offers a quality experience.
Thanks to proper padding and handgrips, it is perfectly safe for young children to be aboard. Seating is also padded, making for a comfortable experience as you sail on the water. You will also find a Bluetooth stereo, MP3 plug and a cooler onboard.
However, handling is one thing to keep in mind. Despite not going very fast, the handling could still be a little smoother. This is because the GT-180 kills your speed if you take turns that are too sharp. Additionally, since it is primarily a beginner-friendly boat, it might not seem very appealing to someone who is more experienced with boats.
The 23SC provides all the standard benefits of a Cobalt model. This is to say that it provides ample speed and great stability. The interior of the boat provides extremely comfortable plush seating along with an impressive storage. Due to the way it was designed, there is plenty of space to be found within the sun pad area and under the seat on the starboard. iPod, MP3, and USB ports are also available alongside a Bluetooth stereo. Your family will feel right at home in the 23SC!
It can hold up to 12 people and includes all the necessary amenities, such as a Porta Potti. With a wide foredeck and forward boarding ladder, it is very easy to enter and exit the boat. Thus, it won’t be too much of a hassle to get young children on board. Since the beam has been moved forward, you’ll notice that there is great seating space as well, so no one will feel cramped.
Best Family Boat For Fishing
Crestliner 1950 Super Hawk
The 1950 Super Hawk is perfect for families that love a little adventure with their cruising. Crestliner designed this boat to have the best conversion bow. This means you can easily switch your conversion bow for fishing or water skiing and back again!
Again, this boat is best for families that enjoy a little entertainment on their boats. If your primary interest is going fishing, wakeboarding, or water skiing with the family, this is perfect for you. However, if you prefer a more peaceful journey, it might seem a bit excessive.
Larson LX 195 IO
The LX 195 IO from Larson is another small boat with a seating capacity of 8 people. However, thanks to the floor and bow storage compartments, you can easily bring aboard everything you need. Even the lounge space provides comfort with its spacious look. There are also bow cushions along with 2 sports bucket seats.
Your family will be totally safe in the LX 195 IO thanks to the sturdy grab handles located onboard. Even the swim platform is very safe, which is designed to be roomy so that you or your loved ones can relax while dipping your feet in the water. Furthermore, the standard sports bucket seats make for a comfortable ride as you captain the helm.
Best Family Boat For Ocean
The M45 is great for those of you who want a larger boat since it can handle 14 people onboard. It boasts an impressive 250 horsepower, allowing it to reach great speeds. It offers not only exciting speeds but great handling as well, keeping it perfectly safe for your family and perfect for the ocean.
If you look under the aft seating, you will find a great deal of storage space. The seating area is perfect for relaxing, but if you need a little more space up top, the cushions and tables are removable and have their own storage space. You can even flip the seats to leave the cockpit completely open!
A stern deck is included, which might concern some parents of young children. However, you can easily seal off this portion if small children are onboard. Other amenities such as a toilet cubicle are also included.
Starcraft MDX 201 EIO
Being a deck boat, it might seem a little old-fashioned to some, but that would be an incorrect assumption to have since the MDX 201 EIO offers comfort and space with a capacity of 12 people. With an open design that encourages socialization, you can even invite friends to join your family.
The bow cockpit is nice and square, making it spacious. This helps keep passengers safe from falling overboard. There’s also a bow platform that can be used for boarding and fishing, increasing convenience.
There’s an entertainment center on the portside which features cup holders and storage. Thus, any items you bring aboard will not cramp up the space. There is also a cushion which functions as a cover for a cooler. If you have plans related to baiting a hook, this cooler can be used as a livewell too.
One particularly important feature is that the MDX 201 EIO was designed to include large deck drains and a finished cockpit liner. This means that keeping the boat clean is a lot easier.
Best Family Boat For The Lake
Another sports boat, it’s fairly powerful with great speed capabilities. It can accommodate up to 11 people and provides plush seating. Not only is the seating cozy, but with the foldable armrests, you can also have more space at your disposal. There is also a storable dinette table that you can use as and when necessary. The table comes with 10 cupholders.
Apart from having ample seating room, there is a 4-step boarding ladder, making it easy to get on or off. For children in particular, this makes life much easier. If you’d like a little music, there are 2 speakers along with a waterproof, Bluetooth-compatible stereo.
The Lowe SS210 has low-set seats. This means that you will be safe inside the boat and do not need to worry about falling off. Aside from this, the sports boat is designed to include multiple storage compartments across its entire body. You can easily bring aboard as many different items as you want since you can easily store them without losing any space in the boat itself.
The SX195 would be included among the smaller and more economical boats on this list. It easily carries up to 8 people with seating designed in the standard L-shape to promote as much space as possible. 5 seats are located by the helm and if anyone wants a closer view of the water, there are more seats up front.
At portside, the co-captain has access to the entertainment center. You will find secure storage (that you can keep on lock) and a USB charger along with a fold-down table and extra space for beverages. There is a step toward the back of the boat, which can be used as a seating platform when dipping your toes in the water and for boarding the boat. This is perfect for families that want the classic boating experience without too many bells and whistles.
Essentially the largest boat on the list, it can handle 16 people onboard. Designed with features like QuickFill Balast and QuickSurf System, the handling and speed are particularly impressive. Stability is a given when it comes to the Supreme S238 and thanks to the SeeTouch Dash System, you do not need to be at the helm the whole time. The system takes care of the boat and allows you to spend more time with your family.
The S238 prioritizes luxury by offering all the amenities of premium boats with an affordable price tag. Seats are cozy and roomy, and there’s a 2-step platform at the back for easy boarding. Being a water sport-oriented boat, this would be a great option to consider for families that want a little excitement with their ride.
Best Family Boat For Skiing
Super Air Nautique GS20
The last boat on the list is one of the most impressive sports boats on the market. You could wakeboard, wakesurf, or waterski without any hassle. Regardless of speed, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself as you partake in any water activity. This is great news if you have teenagers, as they might be ambitious and want to go faster. It will be a relief to know they can have fun without going too fast.
Combining technology such as the Nautique Surf System and WAVEPLATE allows the GS20 to maintain stability and prevents the boat from being overwhelmed by the water. Furthermore, the Nautique Surf Switch offers a simple and convenient method for changing which side the wave is on, keeping the experience fresh.
Since the idea is to set sail with family, you need certain amenities, a trash can and cooler among them. The GS20 has both located on the starboard side, making them accessible and unobtrusive. Meanwhile, the lounge seating has a “wraparound” design to promote socializing. You will also find 4 speakers and a 2-channel amplifier onboard.
If you want a smaller boat, consider the Horizon 180 with a capacity of 8 people. This boat’s stability is greatly promoted by the Stable-Vee Hull running surface, which makes for easy handling and steering. If you are interested in sports, particularly water skiing, the Horizon 180 is perfect for you.
The comfortable seats at the back are foldable and, once lifted, reveal three storage compartments – two toward either side, while the space in the middle is a cooler. On the portside, you will find another storage compartment and cupholders. More cup holders are located near the seats to the front.
In terms of entertainment, there are two speakers along with a Bluetooth-compatible stereo. It is also compatible with USB and MP3, so you can add a nice soundtrack to your trip. It also comes with a ladder designed for easy entry and exit, so it has a deep reach along with wide steps.
Final thoughts – Finding the right family boat can be challenging, but as long as you understand your needs, it should be easy. The Cobalt 23SC, for example, is perfect for families that want a lot of room and prefer slower speeds. Similarly, the Glastron GT-180 is a great family boat if you do not have any prior boating experience and want to start somewhere. If storage space is your biggest priority, the Lowe SS210 is your best bet.
As you can see, the first step is to identify your biggest priorities for the boat and then checking which boats possess those characteristics. I can guarantee that you will end up choosing one of the boats listed above. This is because each one provides a type of luxury that cannot be found anywhere else. Good luck finding a boat and happy sailing!