There are various types of small boats that can be used as dinghies. Inflatables, inflatables with hard bottoms, kayaks, canoes, fishing, utility, and even a boat that folds up; to name a few. After looking at what other boaters have and reading reviews we decided to go with a ridged utility boat from Pelican International called the Scorpio.
The Scorpio is 10'3" long, 61" wide, rowboat with a maximum weight capacity of 520 lbs. The boat also has prefab motor mount that can handle a 7 hp outboard engine. From all of the reviews, the boat is very stable and durable. It's made with Ram-X, which is known for its high impact-resistance, its ability to regain its initial shape after a violent impact, and its UV-protected exterior finish.
Compared to selecting a retailer, selecting the boat was the easy part. All of our local sporting goods stores offered the boat on their web sites, but not in the stores. Apparently, all of the retailers have it set up so that the manufacturer drop ships the boat, to the consumer. The price of the boat ranged from $699 to $899, plus shipping and taxes (none of the local retailers allowed for the boat to be shipped to the store). These costs pushed the boat to over $1,000, a little more than we wanted to pay. So, I kept looking for a retailer. We finally purchased the boat from Gander Mtn. The total cost was approximately $850. We chose Gander Mtn, because of the price, lower shipping cost, no sales tax (no retail stores in GA), and we had a 10% off coupon code :).