One good way for first-timers to ease into winter itineraries is to focus on destinations closer to home rather than remote ports. The San Juan Islands are perfect for testing the winter waters. With scenic anchorages such as Sucia, they offer a sense of solitude, yet lie within easy range of the region’s major cities.

The landscape takes on a new cloak, the crowds thin out and well-known places feel somehow different. And there are few pleasures better than curling up in a warm salon with a book on a rainy winter day. Few things can match the splendor of a clear winter day when a fresh snowfall blankets the coastal mountains and hillsides. And that beautiful sea smoke – when the sun rises and the water’s flat and you see this smoke coming off it, this mist. It’s so pretty. It just makes for a different perspective on the water. It’s more reflective.”-ThreeSheetsNW

But what about the cold? Experienced winter cruisers say coping with the cold is all about having the proper mind-set. You plan for it and equip yourself and your boat to deal with it. According to Powercruisingmagazine, winter weather can be extreme, but if you and your boat are prepared, you will open up another dimension to your cruising experiences. For more information and places to visit check out 48 Degrees N. magazine.