Airbnb is the nation’s leading house rental app, and houseboats are also available at competitive prices.
The best houseboats currently on Airbnb are “A Pirate’s Life” in Charleston, South Carolina, the deluxe cruising houseboat on Lake Travis in Texas, the Oasis houseboat in West Peoria, Illinois, the Brooklyn House Barge in Brooklyn, New York, and the Hudson River Houseboat at Stony Point in New York.
In this article, we’ll go over five of the best-kept houseboat secrets on Airbnb. All of these houseboats have excellent locations, great reviews, and the best accommodations on the market. Plus, they’re all affordably priced—and available now for rental.
We sourced the information about each rental directly from Airbnb to ensure accuracy. Additionally, we compared and contrasted numerous similar houseboat rentals to find the best one.
Types of Airbnb Houseboats
Some Airbnb houseboats aren’t what you may expect—typical cruising houseboats, which are the most popular rentals off Airbnb, actually aren’t the predominant kind of houseboat found on the program.
Instead, stationary houseboats seem to be very popular on Airbnb. These houseboats have no engine and don’t move, yet they float on a buoyant foundation. Houseboats like this are easier to rent, as they don’t require a boater’s license or any sort of training to occupy safely.
Benefits of Floating Houses
Floating houses, or stationary houseboats, have a few benefits when compared to self-powered cruising houseboats. For one, they’re safer—staying in place eliminates the possibility of running aground or causing a collision (though other boats bump into stationary houseboats from time to time).
Additionally, stationary houseboats tend to be more comfortable than cruising houseboats. You’re more likely to find full-size appliances aboard (such as washing machines and dishwashers) as they’re not limited by the engineering requirements of a moving vessel.
Stationary houseboats are preferable to condos if you’re intent on a vacation on the water. For one, they have direct access to the water—which is extremely convenient if you bring a ski boat or kayaks along. Additionally, docking a boat on them usually doesn’t have any additional cost.
The views from a stationary houseboat are usually second to none. You have a front-row seat to the lake or river and get to watch the water and opposite coastline with an unimpeded line of sight. Additionally, stationary houseboats usually offer close access to other waterside activities, such as beaches.
The final benefit is cost. It usually costs less to rent a floating house than a condo or home, as the cost to build and dock it is much lower than the cost of a typical home or condo. Some sacrifices will be made in terms of space, but these houseboats are well-designed and spacious in their own ways.
Best Houseboats on Airbnb
Airbnb hosts thousands of rental houses and hundreds of houseboats in many locations across the world. Some of the best are located in the United States, but some are also located around Europe and Canada. Here are ten of the most interesting and picturesque houseboats on Airbnb.
1. A Pirate’s Life in Charleston
One of the best-looking and coziest houseboats to visit has been dubbed “A Pirate’s Life” and is located in Charleston, South Carolina. This spacious houseboat was recently renovated by talented designers, who utilized reclaimed materials and light colors for a beautiful southern style.
The interior of the houseboat radiates charm and is aesthetically pleasing to almost all who see it. Additionally, the furniture is unimposing and leaves this relatively small houseboat feeling spacious and cool. The addition of vintage nautical decor completes the picture.
The houseboat has views of bustling Charleston Harbor around all sides, and there’s a ton of things to do in the surrounding area. The waterfront itself is historic and filled with interesting stories and places to explore. This houseboat is periodically available on Airbnb and currently on Rent By Owner.
- Excellent Dockside Views
- Ideal Location
- Comfortable Atmosphere
- Airy and Spacious
2. Lake Travis Deluxe Cruising Houseboat
Not all rental houseboats are stationary—some are powered and ready for cruising any time. That’s the case with this large and luxurious rental houseboat located in Texas. This 55-foot houseboat is available for rental on Airbnb throughout the year.
Lake Travis itself is roughly 30 square miles in area, and there are numerous activities to take part in while you’re there. One of the most popular is zip lining, which is available across Lake Travis thanks to a local zipline company.
Additionally, Lake Travis is home to some of the best fishing in the region, and the docks are quite close to amenities such as shopping and dining. A trip to Lake Travis is convenient if you live in the DFW metro, and it’s a reasonably short drive from many of the surrounding states.
The houseboat offers great access to the local bird sanctuaries and waterside attractions, including the well-known Oasis Restaurant and Hippy Hollow. The houseboat itself has off-grid solar electricity and a generator. A local shuttle service is also available.
- Central Location
- Expansive Sleeping Capacity
- Affordable Rates
- Cruising Capabilities
3. Oasis Houseboat in Illinois
Are you looking for a stationary houseboat that feels more like a floating luxury condo? If so, then consider this roomy and beautifully decorated houseboat in East Peoria, Illinois. The Oasis houseboat is affordable and available now on Airbnb.
It’s hard to find five-star accommodations with a lakeside view for standard hotel room pricing, but this houseboat offers all that and more. The houseboat is located right on the marina and features big glass windows for an unobstructed lake view and great ventilation during the summer.
The interior features a large queen bedroom and a single bedroom, along with a full-service kitchen, bathroom, and WiFi access throughout. It features vintage furniture juxtaposed with modern styling, which creates a unique environment and a surprisingly cozy space.
The yacht club it’s moored at is private, but guests get access to services such as parking, a gated entry point, waterside dining, and access to the pool. Additionally, luxury amenities such as artesian soap and towels are provided for all guests, which really rounds out the experience.
- Luxury Accommodations
- Roomy Interior
- Modern Amenities
- Yacht Club Access
4. Brooklyn House Barge
Houseboat vacations don’t have to be limited to rural areas. Sometimes, what you need is an affordable floating stay in the big city—or perhaps a skyline view is just what you need to relax. Both are possible on the Brooklyn House Barge, which is available on Airbnb.
The Brooklyn House Barge is a stationary houseboat moored along the Emmons Street Waterfront in Brooklyn, New York. This part of Brooklyn lies directly across from Manhattan, which offers stunning unobstructed views of the city skyline. Additionally, you can’t beat the price—especially if you’re looking for a private stay with a view.
This houseboat is just blocks away from some of the best food, drink, and shopping locations in the world. Additionally, the owners offer a free car service to the subway station. Downtown Manhattan (the heart of New York) is just 20 minutes away by train.
Many other express transportation services are available in the area, and the low pricing of city transit is tough to beat. The houseboat itself is cozy and comfortable, featuring a kitchen, bathroom, furniture, and better accommodations than you’d find in many local hotels.
- Located Near Downtown NYC
- Unbeatable Pricing
- Comfortable Accommodations
5. Hudson Houseboat
New York is an increasingly popular houseboat destination. But sometimes you need to escape the city—and the Hudson Houseboat at Stony Point, New York, is the perfect way to do it. This houseboat is extremely popular and available now on Airbnb for competitive pricing.
The Hudson Houseboat is nestled in a quiet marina surrounded by beautiful forested New York scenery. The boat is long and spacious, and the atmosphere is wonderfully cozy. It comes equipped with all the towels, silverware, and utensils you’ll need to utilize its kitchen.
Speaking of accommodations, it doesn’t get much more comfortable than this vessel. There’s plenty of room to move around, and it features colorful furnishings for a long and stress-free stay. It offers the best views of the water in the area, along with access to many local hiking trails.
To complete this rural adventure, the houseboat comes with fishing rods and tackle. Additionally, kayaks are provided with the boat, allowing you to explore the quiet water at will and without renting additional equipment. Amenities included with your stay include free parking, TV, and access to the local swimming pool.
- Secluded Location
- Great Scenery
- Rest and Relaxation
- Cozy Atmosphere
6. LuxTug Private Lake in Virginia
LuxTug offers one of the most scenic, unique, and indeed secluded houseboat getaways on the market. This houseboat, which is styled after a classic tugboat, offers private access to a lake and adjacent farm, along with miles of hiking trails and sites to explore.
LuxTug is available on Airbnb and is located in Louisa, Virginia. The tugboat sits on privately-owned property, and access to the entire site is restricted to everyone but the guests (and the owners, of course). But you’re not likely to be disturbed.
Instead, you and your friends or family can freely travel the 142+ acres of the property—on foot or on the water. There’s a cabin for rent near the lake as well, and you can book the boat and the cabin if you’re traveling with multiple families. And work doesn’t have to stop—there’s free WiFi available on the property.
There are numerous activities to do around the farm and lake, and kayaking is a popular choice. Additionally, there’s a total of five miles of hiking trails to explore, all of which are on the large wooded property.
The tugboat itself is equipped with a full kitchen and all the utensils you need to cook and enjoy meals. Coffee, tea, flour, sugar, and various oils and spices are provided. This houseboat is relatively small and comes with one double bed. However, it also has a bathroom with a shower and other home-like amenities.
As you’ll notice, the LuxTug has a tugboat-style pilothouse above. The main purpose of this elevated position is to provide enhanced views of the beautiful surroundings. Additionally, the sitting area converts into a large king bed, effectively doubling the sleeping capacity of the boat.
- Timeless Design
- Private Access to Large Property
- Secluded and Quiet
- Access to Hiking Trails
7. Tomahawk Island Houseboat in Oregon
If you’re looking for a cozy cabin experience close to the city, then the Tomahawk Island houseboat could be the destination for you. This floating cabin is located right on the Portland docks and offers close city access and a quiet place to retire. It’s also available on Airbnb for affordable rates.
This houseboat is quite literally a house on a boat—it’s a small wooden cabin with a deck, kayaks, and a picturesque interior that’s perfect for a cozy local getaway. The vessel, which is located on Hayden Island, is stationary and doesn’t move. This means you won’t have to worry about getting a boater’s license to use it.
The houseboat has surprisingly good accommodations despite its relatively small size. Inside, you’ll have access to a full kitchen, bathroom, shower, and a queen bed. It’s a lot like a deluxe hotel room or a ski lodge cabin—except it floats gently along the dock.
In other words, you’ll never have to worry about being snowed-in or seasick aboard this houseboat. Additional amenities include free internet access, an HVAC system (heating and air conditioning), and cable television. The kayaks are free for guests to use, as long as you bring them back afterward.
Dockside amenities and close access to local dining are also available. Renters will have access to the marina, which offers laundry services and other options as well. Renters also have access to a well-kept community garden.
- Located Close to Portland Shopping
- Cozy Cabin Environment
- Comfortable Bed and Accommodations
- Access to Community Garden and Laundry
8. Bayou Houseboat in Louisiana
Many would argue that the houseboat was invented for the rivers and swamps of the south. And for the genuine old-school southern houseboat experience, it doesn’t get any better than the Ouachita River houseboat in West Monroe, Louisiana. This old-fashioned houseboat is available now for rent on Airbnb.
This stationary houseboat is essentially a floating cabin, which means it’s tethered to reliable shore power and water. The houseboat itself is cozy and features a wraparound porch for relaxing and fishing. And speaking of fishing, the Ouachita River is one of the best spots for anglers in the region.
This houseboat is the perfect getaway for anyone who wants to fish off their deck—and cook whatever they catch just a few feet away. And despite its old-school atmosphere, this houseboat is equipped with all the amenities you’d expect (and at a much more affordable price).
Renters can utilize the complimentary kayaks or fishing gear, which are provided for the duration of the stay. Additionally, paddleboards are available for exploring the river if the water level permits.
- World-Class Fishing
- Comfortable Accommodations
- Affordable Booking
- Quiet Riverside Location
About THE AUTHOR
I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.Read More About Brian Samson