Best Houseboat Cities | LakeWizard

Houseboat enthusiasts tend to head towards more welcoming cities that have marinas, essential amenities, and beautiful weather to accommodate this lifestyle.

Many people choose to either live on a houseboat seasonally, full-time, or for a one-time vacation. Luckily, there are some amazing cities around the world to consider. We rank Sausalito, California, Portland, Oregon, and San Diego, California as the three best houseboat cities to check out.

Houseboat cities offer a unique mix of living, dining, and entertainment options. They are perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life without having to break the bank. The transition to a houseboat is a way to lower your costs and live a more sustainable lifestyle, and the cities in the guide prioritize this lifestyle for these communities.

Traveling to different houseboat cities is an amazing experience that everybody should consider trying. These cities all have something unique to offer visitors, and the houseboats fit the different cultures in each. This guide will teach you more about the best houseboat cities and help you find the best one for you.

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7 Best Houseboat Cities

There are many benefits to living on a houseboat. In addition to the great views, you can also enjoy all the amenities of a beautiful city too. Finding the best city to enjoy your houseboat is the key to maximizing the experience.

The best houseboat cities in the world offer a variety of possibilities for those who are looking to live afloat. Whether you’re interested in boating for work or pleasure, these cities provide a wide range of activities and places to explore.

It is important for individuals who are considering buying a houseboat to check out what kind of city they would be buying it in. Some cities have interesting histories while others offer more than just houseboats.

With so many options and experiences to choose from, there’s no better time than now to start living on the water. This guide includes details about the best houseboat cities along with the benefits for each to help make your decision a bit easier.

1. Sausalito, California

We consider Sausalito to be the best houseboat city in the world. It is known for its rowboats, floating restaurants, and Richardson Bay. The city has over 500 residents that live on houseboats and boats docked in and around the Bay.

The current alignment of floating homes is scattered in this historic region with eye-popping color designs to provide a vintage style of beauty. This is also a popular area to rent a kayak to explore or check out many of the different restaurants they have to offer.

The history of the Sausalito houseboat community is unique. It was established in 1967 by Otis Redding during his time in the military. His song “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” was the true inspiration that people needed to pick up and move to their own houseboat community.

Sausalito is even famously known for the tugboat that was turned into a floating Taj Mahal look alike. This community embodies everything about houseboats and floating homes, and this is why it is the best city for them.

2. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is a city that is known for its famous culture with a rich history, hidden gems, and a growing houseboat community. They rank as one of the best houseboat cities because of the friendly weather and scenic rivers.

Portland is a hot spot for house boating enthusiasts. With houseboats being available for purchase or rent within minutes from the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, it’s not hard to see why this city would be so appealing to boaters.

The city has a lot of activities for locals and visitors. Some of the activities include hiking, kayaking, and biking. You can also expect to find houseboats available for low-cost prices with no sales tax on any purchases.  

There are over 1,400 total floating houseboats in Portland, making it the largest community in the United States. Hayden Island is another cool area to check out, as Portland has tons of tight-knit communities along the rivers they can offer.

3. San Diego, California

San Diego, California is one of the best houseboat cities in the US. It has world-class hotels, resorts, restaurants, and entertainment venues and you can find affordable prices for a more expensive city.

The San Diego houseboat scene has something for everyone. Some people go for a romantic getaway while others prefer to party at their houseboats all night long. You can find something to do at any time in this amazing city.

San Diego’s houseboat cities are the perfect place for those who are looking to get away from it all on vacation. The unique floating homes provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

While San Diego may rank on the higher side in prices, houseboats are a way to immerse yourself into the city in a more affordable manner. There are also favorable laws in place for maritime living to encourage houseboats to keep popping up here.

4. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is a city with a lot of diverse offerings for visitors looking to have a great time. It has been called the world's most liberal city, and it has many things to offer. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

The major attraction in Amsterdam is the mix of culture, history, and nature that can be found just about everywhere you turn. There are also some must-see attractions that every visitor needs to see before they leave the country or move on to another destination.

There are plenty of luxurious houseboats in Amsterdam that range from boutique to luxury too. It hosts over 2,000 houseboats in the major part of Ijburg along the canals and around the bridges in central areas.

Amsterdam is best known for its canals and houses, but it also boasts plenty of natural beauty and cultural attractions like museums and restaurants.

5. Austin, Texas

While Austin, Texas is a great city for those who love the outdoors, it can be an expensive living environment for those who don't. This is why the city's best houseboat cities are perfect for those looking to live in the city on a budget.

There are plenty of things to do and places to visit here that would make a houseboat owner happy. From the live music venues to the natural beauty that is often seen in Austin, they can enjoy a boat ride all year round.

The most popular area for houseboats is on Lake Travis where you can always find cool activities like kayaking or jet skiing happening. It is also a tourist haven, making it a great place to always interact with new people.

Lake Austin also continues to grow in popularity with more houseboats popping up every day.

6. Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs has been ranked as one of the best houseboat cities for the past few years now. The city boasts a low cost of living and warm weather, which makes it a great place to invest in a houseboat because it can be used year-round.

The city has a wide variety of hotels and resorts that suit different budgets and needs. One can also rent houseboats here to enjoy their natural beauty further while escaping the feel of larger cities.

This is a resort town that traditionally brings in tons of vacationers and tourists throughout the years. The most popular area for houseboats is on and along Lake Ouachita. This is the largest lake in the state of Arkansas too.

There are plenty of tourists, but this should not discount the number of year-round residents that have taken advantage of this growing houseboat city.

7. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington has a lot of awesome things to do that are accessible by water. The houseboat community is located around Union Lake. From the famous Alki Beach to the local nightlife, there are plenty of things to do to enjoy the community.

Union Lake is filled with recreational activities for all types of people. Whether you're looking for peace and tranquility or trying to burn off some excess energy before work, it can provide you with an awesome day.

Seattle is known to be one of the best cities for house boating. Houseboats in the area are popular with tourists and locals because of their charm and beauty. From the parks to the lakes, the area has much to offer visitors looking for a fun day out on the water.

What To Consider When Looking For the Best Houseboat City

Some people might argue that a houseboat is not a big enough boat to have a full-fledged home. However, this is only true if you're comparing the houseboat to a smaller, more traditional boat.

A houseboat is one of the most popular types of boats today because of its unique features and its ability to make people feel like they are living on the water.

This makes it an ideal purchase for those who want a vacation space that can be used year-round or for those who want something special in their backyard. There are various factors that people should consider when looking for the best houseboat city.


When looking for a houseboat city, it’s important to consider the cost beforehand. Some cities have higher costs in comparison to others in terms of cost of living. This plays a major role when making the decision.

Potential buyers should check their budget and see what they can afford to spend on a houseboat in the city before buying one. They should also consider if purchasing a home boat is worth it because the price will vary depending on what type of houseboat they get.

Housing costs tend to be higher in cities that are more popular too. You should determine what aligns best with what you can afford to help make the process easier.


Another thing to consider when choosing a houseboat city is the weather because it determines how much you have to spend on your houseboat. For example, if you are planning on living in a warmer climate, you will need to plan around the weather of that city during the changing seasons.

The weather is a huge factor that has to be considered when choosing a houseboat city. The city you choose should have a climate that is perfect for your needs.

Most of the top-rated houseboat cities have warm weather all year, but it varies. Other cities tend to have rainy or cold weather at times too like in Amsterdam. It ultimately comes down to what you prefer.

Community Size

One of the first things to consider when choosing a houseboat city is the current community size that exists for houseboats. This is important because it can dictate what kind of infrastructure and amenities will be available in your chosen city.

Houseboats are a popular residential type of watercraft. They are usually used as a temporary home until someone can find a permanent residence. To find the best city for you, you have to take into consideration the current community size that exists for houseboats.

Water Type

A lot of people like to live on houseboats, but without considering the type of water they would be in can make the experience very difficult. If you live on a river or ocean, there are certain things you should consider before getting a houseboat.

Life on a houseboat in the ocean would be much different, especially with the saltwater and constantly battling difficult weather conditions. Meanwhile, life on a river would be more calm and different.

You should consider the different options available and determine what would suit you best before deciding on a city.

Type of Boats

There are many houseboat communities in different parts of the world. Some of these communities offer residents a range of amenities while others do not provide much in the way of facilities.

When looking into houseboat communities, you should also look into other facilities that may be available and the type of houseboats that already exist. The existing communities tend to have unique designs with the current properties that are there, limiting your options based on the city.