A houseboat vacation is an ideal option for families as it combines the best parts of camping with all the amenities of home. Mosty houseboats are available for 3-day rentals starting at around $750, but longer stays on luxury houseboats can cost thousands of dollars. This is fairly reasonable considering you’re combining a hotel room and rental car – not to mention a scenic tour. For some of the best house boating in North America, try one of these great locations:
Don Pedro Lake, California
Photo by goingslo via Flickr
Located about two hours southeast of Sacramento, Don Pedro Lake offers 160 miles of shoreline and almost 13,000 acre-feet of surface area. This means plenty of room for boating, fishing, water skiing and swimming. The Don Pedro Lake Recreation Agency also has three campgrounds: Blue Oaks and Fleming Meadows on the west shore and Moccasin Point on the east shore. These campgrounds offer a variety of amenities as well as hiking trails and a swimming lagoon, according to DonPedroLake.com.
Tip: Just because you’re in a houseboat, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy traditional camping on the side. Bring along a tent and a sleeping bag for a night under the stars at the nearby campgrounds.
Make Sure You: Stop by the Don Pedro Recreation Agency Visitor Center to enjoy views of Yosemite’s back-country peaks, including Mt. Clark, Mt. Florence, Mt. Lyell and Mt. McClure, as the website’s recreation page highlights.
Lake Shasta, California
Photo by Triddle via Wikimedia Commons
Easily accessed by California’s I-5 (Interstate 5), Lake Shasta is located 10 miles north of Redding and is one of the most popular house boating locations in the western US. According to ShastaLake.com, houseboat rentals are available from seven different marinas located around the lake.
Tip: With 365 miles of shoreline, there’s plenty of room for everybody but if you want to save money and beat the crowds, go for a non-summer, weekend trip for under $1000.
Make Sure You: Visit Shasta Dam, a feat of engineering at 60 stories tall, weighing 30 billion pounds.
Lake Shuswap, British Columbia
Photo by Alex Ristea via Flickr
Located between Calgary and Vancouver, Lake Shuswap (ShuswapTourism.ca) is one of Canada’s best areas not only for house boating, but for a wide variety of outdoor activities including paddling, rafting, scuba diving and fishing, according to HouseBoating.org.
Tip: Don’t go house boating in Canada without your boat operator card, as BoatOperatorCard.ca cautions. The process is quick and easy. Simply pass an online test and pay a small fee, and your card will be mailed to you.
Make Sure You: Go hiking along some of the 600+ miles of shoreline, home to a diverse population of indigenous and migratory birds and wildlife. Views of the area’s waterfalls and rivers are also well worth the stroll.
Dale Hollow Lake, Tennessee/Kentucky
Photo by Brian Stansberry via Wikimedia Commons
Straddling Tennessee and Kentucky, Dale Hollow Lake has nine marinas available to houseboats in addition to 620 miles of shoreline and pristine water. Kayaking and canoeing as well as hiking and horseback riding are all popular area activities.
Tip: Bring your fishing pole because Dale Hollow Lake is one of the best places in the world to fish for smallmouth bass.
Make Sure You: Fish in the Obey River below Dale Hollow Dam for the best shot at record-breaking brown trout, as DaleHallowLake.com suggests.
Lake Cumberland, Kentucky
Photo by John Beagle via Flickr
With 1,200 miles of shoreline on three state parks and the Daniel Boone National Forest, Lake Cumberland is the largest lake in the US by volume east of the Mississippi, according to Discover Boating. The lake’s 63,000 surface acres offer ample opportunity for tubing, jet skiing or relaxing on a pontoon boat.
Tip: Download the handy Lake Cumberland app for information on local area events, attractions, marinas, accommodations, dining, shopping and more, as LCTourism suggests.
Make Sure You: Catch one of the many live music events offered throughout the year.
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