By Chris Rhodes
A stay in a houseboat is like having a well-stocked RV right on top of a beautiful lake. Inside, you’re likely to find everything you’d find in a typical vacation rental including a kitchen, living room and many luxury appliances such as a dish washer, stereo system, TV and DVD player. You can also often find a barbecue grill, outdoor furniture, and even a built-in hot tub. Take a cool, refreshing dip in the lake and then come back and soak your cares away in the soothing waters.
In many regions of the country, all you need to rent and drive a houseboat is a valid driver’s license, although in some states you may need a Boating Safety Certificate, which is fairly easy and inexpensive to obtain. The facility from which the houseboat is rented typically provides thorough instructions and may also offer captain services for getting in and out of the marina.
Photo by Wesley Olson via Wikimedia Commons
Where are some of the best destinations for houseboating?
Lake Powell, Utah
Lake Powell in Southern Utah is one of the most popular places in the nation to enjoy houseboating. Wake up in the morning to cloudless, bright blue skies and jump into the vast body of brilliant blue waters contained within fiery red cliff walls. During the summer, water temperatures range from 70 to 80 degrees, offering ideal temperatures for swimming or water skiing.
To rent a houseboat at Lake Powell, only a valid driver’s license is required, and there are many establishments from which to rent, including Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas.
Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania
For those who live in the northeast, Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania, offers nearly 120 miles of forested shoreline and 30 miles of navigable waters perfect for summer swimming and fishing. It’s well-known for muskies, but you can also catch small and large mouth bass, lake trout, brown trout, Atlantic salmon, crappies and more.
The lake is tucked into the mountains of South Central Pennsylvania, and at its northern end, Seven Points Marina offers a wide range of houseboat rentals. Here, you will need a Pennsylvania boat license as all persons over the age of 12 are required to pass the exam and obtain a Pennsylvania Boating Safety Certificate in order to operate a personal watercraft; both the course and exam can be taken online.
The Florida Keys
If you’re dreaming of a tropical vacation, luxurious houseboating in the Florida Keys offers the next best thing to sailing in the Caribbean. Here you might discover tiny islands, go diving and snorkeling right off the boat, enjoy outstanding fishing, gorgeous sunsets and even watch dolphins dance through the surf.
KeySea Houseboats offers the chance to explore Florida Bay off Key Largo, with a number of mangrove islands that can be visited. While a boating license is not required, experience driving a boat is recommended — you’d be in charge of safe navigation, chart reading, anchoring and other boating responsibilities. Captains are available during the daylight hours for an additional cost if necessary.
And what’s the best part of vacationing on a house boat?! So many new places to hang your hammock!