5 Dreamy Waterfront Homes Perfect for Summer

By Ina Bort Caruso

In sectors of the luxury residential market, private boat docks are so coveted that even landlubbers add them to their must-have list.

Docks add value to any property. There are nearly 12 million registered boaters in the United States alone, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, and being able to cozy up to their vessels is a prized perk of living by the water.  

“There’s nothing better than being able to walk down your private dock, get in your motor yacht and play,” says Chad Van Horn of Beacon Sotheby’s International Realty in Holland, Michigan. Van Horn has a listing for a 12,000 square-foot, six-bedroom home on Lake Macatawa, which offers direct access to Lake Michigan. Among its standout features are 80 feet of lake frontage and a 115 foot-long deep-water dock. Due to regulations, it’s unlikely a dock of this size will be built again. “Because the dock is grandfathered in, it adds tremendous value to the property,” Van Horn says.

Sam Burch, project architect with Shiflet Group Architects in Austin, Texas, has overseen the design of private docks and boat houses on Lake Austin, some costing as much as $500,000. Homeowners are still able to customize their docks and transform them into entertainment destinations. Waterfront living is about spending time outdoors, and Burch says the two-storey boat houses he has designed with open-air dining areas, barbecues and sundecks are “critical to that experience. When I’m able to let my imagination run wild, that’s the most fun.” 

Paradise Island, Bahamas

Positioned for views down the central waterway, the European-inspired Villa Florentine sits on 1.4 acres in the esteemed gated community of Ocean Club Estates. With a 14,000 square-foot main house and a 10,000 square-foot guest villa, the property offers twelve bedrooms. This majestic family compound also has 175 feet of bulk-headed canal frontage with docks and boatlifts – perfect for keeping a collection of motor yachts, sailboats and jet skis.

$15,995,000 | Property ID Z7TJ99
Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty
Nick Damianos +1 242 376 1841


Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Located at the end of a peninsula with a gated entry, this custom-built residence is a boater’s dream. It features a private 60-foot slip with shore power and pump-out system, as well as additional docks for guest boats along High Cliff Park Lagoon. Along the canal, there is 568 feet of frontage plus 465 feet of frontage on Green Bay. The contemporary home has an open floor plan, high ceilings and an abundance of oversized windows offering spectacular panoramic views of Green Bay.

$1,995,000 | Property ID JECSM6
Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty
Kurt Penn +1 773 206 0302


Orcas, Washington

This stunning contemporary estate with strong Frank Lloyd Wright influence is sited on the ocean’s edge with breathtaking unobstructed views west. This home features an irreplaceable deep moorage docking system with grandfathered private cove and beach.

$12,500,000 | Property ID 77BS2L
Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty
Peter Phillips +1 206 949 3555


Holland, Michigan

This regal estate is the perfect home for the art and boating enthusiast. Situated on the highly coveted South Shore Drive, this custom-built property combines meticulous craftsmanship with tranquil waterfront views. Speciality lighting has been incorporated throughout to display fine art pieces. The building transcends the surrounding natural landscape, occupying 80 feet of Lake Macatawa’s captivating shoreline, which connects to Lake Michigan’s crystal blue waters.

$4,650,000 | Property ID X3E7WG
Beacon Sotheby’s International Realty
Chad Van Horn +1 269 217 0122


Shelter Island, New York

Providing sweeping views over Peconic Bay, this Queen Anne estate on the western shore of Shelter Island is a landmark, having been constructed in the 1880s and thoughtfully restored and updated. Within the approximately 7,000 square-foot residence are elegant living and dining rooms, an expertly appointed kitchen, and seven tranquil bedrooms and baths. The land comprises 4.8 acres with a pool, a spa, basketball and tennis courts, a windmill guesthouse, and more than 400 feet of water frontage with an enchanting boathouse and an 80-foot dock.

$25,000,000 | Property ID 0038336
Sotheby’s International Realty – Bridgehampton Brokerage
Beate V Moore +1 516 527 7868



New York-based writer Iyna Bort Caruso has contributed to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday and others.


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