If you love the water and you can quickly learn to navigate a boat, you should consider a houseboat vacation. Enjoy your days cruising and exploring the shorelines and waterways of America, while soaking up the sun in the comfort of a “home away from home” – your houseboat.
There’s bound to be one lake or river where you’ll have the opportunity to go houseboating. However, for the ultimate experience, here are 5 best houseboat destinations in America for you to choose now.
1. Shasta Lake, California
Dubbed the “houseboat capital of the world,” Shasta Lake provides 365 miles of shoreline, crystal clear blue waters suitable for fishing, tubing, waterskiing, kayaking and swimming, and lots of land activities as well. There are hiking trails, and the most popular trail is one that leads you to Shasta Caverns.
It depends on what kind of experience you want – luxurious or basic; you have many options and houseboat renting companies to choose the most suitable for you and your friends and family. Bridge Bay at Shasta Lake has four types of houseboats for rental, and the largest model sleeps around 12 people. For a luxurious vessel, check out Silverthorn Resort Houseboats’ Queen II houseboat equipped with a hot tub, master penthouse suite, water slide, gourmet kitchen, and more.`
2. Crane Lake and Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
Escape from the ordinary and discover the wilderness on a houseboat in the interconnected waterways of Crane Lake and Voyageurs National Park. You’ll have opportunities to see bald eagles, black bear, white-tailed deer, moose, and the aquatic birds known as loons or divers.
Houseboating is one of the ways to explore Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota, the only water-based national park in America. Discover the ancient rock formations and many uninhabited islands, plus enjoy the views that are only accessible by water.
According to NPS, a houseboat is a registered vessel that contains sleeping facilities, cooking and food storage facilities, and a no-discharge toilet.
You may be able to see the northern lights if you’re there in late September. Voyagaire Lodge & Houseboats provides a few types of houseboats for rent. The basic 360 Suncruiser has three double beds, oven, four-burner stove, a large refrigerator, and standard amenities.
3. Lake Powell, Arizona, and Utah
Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has 2,000 miles of shoreline and covers an area of about 250 square miles stretching into two states – Utah and Arizona. It’s a major boating destination in America, and houseboating is one of the only ways to experience this man-made lake and its beautiful canyon walls and formations.
There are several boat launchers and marinas at Lake Powell. Wahweap Marina in Arizona and Bullfrog Marina in Utah are two of the best marinas to start your houseboat vacation.
For houseboat rentals and different types of houseboats, Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas offers many with different rates. Download the area map and start planning your houseboat vacation in Lake Powell.
4. Lake Cumberland, Kentucky
Lake Cumberland in Kentucky is another place nicknamed “The Houseboat Capital of the World,” home to over 1,500 houseboats and powerboats.
This 101-mile long lake has 1,255 miles of shoreline and has enough water to cover the entire state of Kentucky in three inches of water. It’s known as one of the best fishing lakes in America. You do need a Kentucky Fishing License, a requirement when fishing in Lake Cumberland.
State Dock Marina, Jamestown Resort & Marina and Lake Cumberland Marina (formerly known as Indian Hills Alligator II Marina) have an array of houseboats for rent and here’s a video by State Dock that shows you how to start the boat:
5. Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania
Raystown Lake is the only lake in Pennsylvania where you can go on a houseboat vacation. You can rent houseboats by the hour or by the day at Seven Points Marina. Raystown Lake is located in Central Pennsylvania, about three and a half hours from Philadelphia and three hours from Washington DC, and close to state parks and Mid-State Hiking Trail.
It’s a piece of paradise for those who like boating, hiking, fishing, camping, and love being in nature day and night.
Tips on houseboating
1. Look for houseboat rental companies that provide water safety, anchoring, boating maneuvers, beaching demonstrations.
2. Read how to navigate a houseboat by Houseboating Magazine.
3. Things you must have on a houseboat vacation – sunscreen, life jackets/life vests, enough food to cook on your houseboat, water, swimming gear, hiking gear (if you plan to hike), and a first-aid kit.
4. You must reserve your houseboat in advance.