Best and Cheapest Liveaboard Marinas in California for 2024

Dreaming of living on your boat and waking up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore? California offers some of the best liveaboard marinas, making that dream easier than ever. From the laid-back vibes of Marina del Rey to the bustling energy of Los Angeles, there’s a spot for every sailor’s lifestyle.

Whether you’re looking to settle down or explore the beautiful California coast, these marinas provide the perfect home base. Dive into this guide to find your ideal home port along the Cali coastline.

Cheapest Liveaboard Marinas in California

1. Ventura West Marina

Located in Ventura, Ventura West Marina offers an affordable and scenic place to live on your boat. It has over 500 slips and provides a range of amenities such as showers, laundry facilities, and Wi-Fi.

The marina is close to shops and restaurants, making daily errands convenient. Many reviews highlight its friendly community and clean facilities.

2. Pier 32 Marina

Pier 32 Marina in San Diego is another budget-friendly option. It features modern amenities like a swimming pool, fitness center, and clubhouse. With full-time security and gated access, you’ll feel safe.

The marina is well-reviewed for its customer service and maintenance. Being close to downtown San Diego, it provides easy access to urban conveniences.

3. Shoreline Marina Long Beach

Shoreline Marina, located in Long Beach, is known for its affordability and beautiful surroundings. This marina offers essential services like 24-hour restrooms, laundry, and Wi-Fi.

Close to downtown Long Beach, you’ll have plenty to explore. Liveaboards often mention the marina’s cleanliness, security, and helpful staff, making it a popular choice for liveaboard enthusiasts.

4. Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey Marina in Marina del Rey offers budget-friendly slips. It has many amenities, including showers, laundry, and Internet access. Its location near Los Angeles makes it perfect for those who want to be close to city life.

The marina is praised for its peaceful environment and helpful staff, making it a great place to call home.

5. Alameda Marina

Located in Alameda, Alameda Marina offers cost-effective liveaboard options. The marina provides basic amenities such as restrooms, laundry, and 24-hour security. It’s close to public transportation, giving you easy access to surrounding areas.

Boaters highlight the marina’s relaxed atmosphere and friendly community, making it a welcoming place to live.

Best Liveaboard Marinas in California

sunset at a california liveaboard marina

1. Marina Village Yacht Harbor

Marina Village Yacht Harbor is situated in Alameda, Northern California, offering easy access to the San Francisco Bay. It provides full-service amenities such as showers, laundry, and a fitness center.

You’ll appreciate the nearby shops and restaurants, making it convenient for everyday needs. Reviews highlight the friendly community and well-kept facilities, making it a favorite among liveaboard boaters.

2. Shoreline Marina

Shoreline Marina in Long Beach, Southern California is known for its laid-back vibe. Here, you’ll find modern amenities including free Wi-Fi, clean restrooms, and a boatyard for maintenance.

It’s located near downtown Long Beach, where you can enjoy plenty of dining and entertainment options. Boaters often praise its central location and scenic marina views.

3. Harbor Island West Marina

One of the best liveaboard marinas in San Diego is Harbor Island West Marina located at 2040 Harbor Island Drive.

As a place for you to dock your boat, this marina is close to both the excitement of downtown and the calm of the San Diego Bay. Boaters frequently mention its excellent customer service and the peaceful ambiance, which add to its appeal.

4. Ventura West Marina

Ventura West Marina offers a family-friendly atmosphere with secure docks and essential amenities like laundry facilities and Wi-Fi. Located in Ventura, it provides easy access to shopping centers and local attractions.

The marina is praised for its cleanliness and the helpfulness of the staff, making it a great place for liveaboards.

5. Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey is one of the largest marinas in the US. It features extensive facilities, including yacht clubs, restaurants, and parks. You’ll enjoy the close proximity to Los Angeles attractions.

Reviews often highlight its vibrant community and easy access to the ocean, making it a top pick for boating enthusiasts.

California Beaches to Live Aboard

California is known for its beautiful beaches, making it an ideal spot for liveaboard living.

Avalon Harbor

Located on Catalina Island, Avalon Harbor provides a unique beach experience. The harbor is surrounded by clear waters and a charming town. It’s perfect if you enjoy a laid-back island vibe.

Ventura West Marina

This marina is near Ventura Beach. It boasts a friendly community and beautiful scenery. There are 500 slips and easy access to shopping and dining.

Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey is close to famous Venice Beach. It offers over 4,600 slips and many amenities. You can enjoy a balanced life with city access and beach relaxation.

Alamitos Bay Marina

Alamitos Bay Marina is situated in Long Beach. You’re close to sandy beaches and have access to 1,950 slips. The location offers calm waters and a peaceful environment.

Santa Barbara Harbor

Santa Barbara Harbor is close to some of California’s nicest beaches. It has around 1,100 slips and a vibrant downtown nearby. The mild climate and scenic views are major draws.

Oceanside Harbor

Oceanside Harbor offers access to wide sandy beaches. It’s a smaller marina with about 1,000 slips and a relaxed atmosphere. You’ll find good restaurants and shops in the area.

These marinas provide a mix of convenience, community, and access to California’s stunning beaches. Anchor at these spots to enjoy sunny days and ocean breezes. Living aboard in these locations brings both adventure and comfort to your life.

Cost of Liveaboard Marinas in California

california yacht marina

Slip Fees and Other Costs

Slip fees are the primary expense for liveaboard boaters. The price depends on the marina’s location, facilities, and the size of your boat.

MarinaLocationMonthly Slip Fee (approx.)
Ventura West MarinaVentura$12 – $24 per foot
Marina del ReyLos Angeles$20 – $45 per foot
Alamitos Bay MarinaLong Beach$15 – $30 per foot

In addition to slip fees, consider costs like utilities, maintenance, and liveaboard rights. Utilities may include electricity, water, and Wi-Fi. Maintenance covers repairs and upkeep, which are essential for safe living.

Most marinas also charge a liveaboard fee, typically ranging from $500 to $700 per person monthly.

Budgeting for Marina Living

Creating a budget helps manage the costs of living aboard. Start by listing fixed monthly expenses, including slip fees and liveaboard rights fees. Utilities and maintenance costs can fluctuate, so it’s wise to set aside extra funds for these.

Daily living costs include food, transportation, and entertainment. Marinas near cities like Los Angeles might have higher living costs. Look for marinas offering amenities like laundry facilities, showers, and parking to save on day-to-day expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I live on a boat in California?

Yes, you can live on a boat in California. Many marinas offer liveaboard slips allowing you to reside on your boat. Each marina will have specific rules and policies about liveaboards.

What options are available for liveaboard slips in the California Delta?

In the California Delta, options for liveaboard slips include marinas such as Owl Harbor and Delta Marina. These marinas provide amenities you would need for daily living on your boat.

Where can you live on a houseboat in California?

You can live on a houseboat in locations like Sausalito, Stockton, and the Sacramento Delta. These areas have marinas equipped to handle houseboats and offer the necessary facilities for long-term living.

Does Marina del Rey allow liveaboards?

Yes, Marina del Rey allows liveaboards. There are several marinas in Marina del Rey where you can live on your boat, such as Marina del Rey Marina and Burton Chace Park Marina.

How can one find available boat slips for sale in California?

To find available boat slips for sale in California, you can check marina websites, boating forums, or real estate listings. Contacting marinas directly can also provide up-to-date availability and pricing.


Choosing the right liveaboard marina in California takes some research and thought. Some of the best marinas include Marina del Rey, Avalon Harbor, and Santa Barbara Harbor. These marinas provide great amenities and a strong sense of community.

If affordability is more important than resort style amenities, then marinas like Ventura West Marina and Alamitos Bay Marina can offer you a balance between cost and services.

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Featured image credit: Cabrillo Marina