The Bernhardt Family’s Year-Round Boating Staycation

Bernhardt Family
One of Erin Bernhardt’s favorite memories is of the time her family (she, husband A.J., and daughters Anna and Morgan) took a boat out on New Year’s Day a couple of years ago.

“We had the surprise of a 70-degree warm spell,” she says, “and on short notice we were able to get a boat that was well-maintained and enjoy a beautiful January afternoon in Tennessee with shorts and t-shirts out on the lake.”

Before joining a boat club they used to own a boat, she says – but since joining Carefree Boat Club they’ve had the chance to spend a lot more time on the water.

“We have always loved boating and living on or near water,” she says. “As we got busier with work and kids, the time required to trailer and maintain a boat got to be more onerous, and we just didn’t do it as much.”

Initially they were skeptical about the boat club – and whether they’d use it enough to justify the monthly cost. But now, she says, that’s no longer a concern.

“Because it is available and so easy, we spend many weekends or evenings on short notice out on the lake,” she says. “The time together is wonderful. We share lots of laughs, and we’ve been able to see our daughters grow to love swimming, tubing, and wake-boarding.”

She counts more than 120 outings that her family has taken over their years with the boat club, on three local lakes and in Charleston, S.C., a favorite spot for family vacations and reunions.

“When the girls were young, it quickly became our vacation near home as we spent weekends and evenings after work relaxing on the lake together, she says. “The girls have learned to wakeboard and surf, but their favorite times are still just swimming or getting tossed off the tubes!”