The Great Loop is a 6000 mile water route that circles the eastern half of the United States.  It has been completed in various types of vessels, in everything from a canoe, jet skis, sailboats, trawlers, to 70′ yachts.   It typically is completed in 1 year, but many do it in segments or stretch out the journey to many years.  There also hundreds of side trips that can add on to the adventure.   A sample route map is shown below.   We completed about 20% of the loop route when we brought Sanctuary home from Stony Point, New York.  We traveled the full Erie canal route for that trip, this time we plan to take the northern route through Canada for that portion.

For more information about the loop visit the website for Americas Great Loop Cruisers Association (AGLCA)

We are members of the AGLCA our member number is 11623.  



Great Loop Map


Loop Ideal calendar, with rationale:

The following is edited from a “rough calendar” provided by Rick Butler, Captain, US Navy (Retired), and AGLCA member since 2002.

  • September – Leave Muskegon for Chicago, leave the Lakes and enter the Illinois River system. Much earlier and you can have oppressive late summer heat waves…. much later and it may get chilly.
  • October — Working slowly south, cruising the Cumberland or Tennessee Rivers, AGLCA fall Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park October 17-20, 2016
  • Early-Mid November — Lower Tenn-Tom.
  • December planned for the Dunedin, FL area
  • Through Mid-March — Winter anywhere South, as desired; South of Tampa Bay to Ft. Lauderdale will be noticeably milder than along the Gulf Coast.
  • Late March/Early April — Begin moving Northward from Florida. AGLCA Spring Rendezvous is a good time to be in Charleston (April).
  • Bay in May — 1 May — Earliest arrival in Chesapeake Bay. Any earlier is subject to nasty spring gales/cold fronts. Wait for spring! Mid-May is the ideal time to arrive in Chesapeake Bay.
  • 1 June — Earliest arrival at Waterford, NY (above Albany, start of Erie or Champlain Canals). Earlier arrivals are subject to lots of damaging floating “drift” (deadheads); and, in many years, such high water from spring runoff and snow-melt, that earlier arrivals often trap people in the canals due to high water/lock flooding – sometimes for a week or more. Intermittent canal closures/horror stories generally end by mid-June, as it is then late spring in this area.
  • Late June/Early July — Summer arriving in far upstate New York — ideal time to explore the Thousand Islands, Rideau Canal Loop to Ottawa, etc.
  • 1 July — Canada Day! — Be in any large Canadian city to celebrate with our neighbors. Kingston, Ontario is nearly ideal for this event.
  • Early-Mid July — Finish up Bay of Quinte and begin Trent-Severn transit. Take Your Time! This is a top highlight of your Loop, why rush through it in 3-4 days? Take a slow week-to-10-days and savor the ambiance fully. Try anchoring in Stony Lake, for example. Try to plan your arrivals in the most popular stops (Bobcageon, Fenelon Falls, for example) for mid-week, not weekends! (Arrive before noon to get a spot on these popular walls).
  • Mid-July to Mid-August — Ideal time in the North Channel segment. Plenty of time to go as slow as you like here, it is the pinnacle of most Looper experiences.
  • Late August-Early September – Travel down Lake Michigan.
  • Arrive back in Muskegon, MI


Final map of our completed Loop

5778 miles, 16 states and 2 countries.

Route that Sanctuary followed for this adventure