Do you love waterside retreats but feel that sunbathing is no longer exciting and you are wondering what to do and where to go?
The best houseboat cruises are what you need for your next river and lake tourism. It may be challenging to enjoy a houseboat cruise vacation if you live in areas with no rivers, streams, or lakes. Getting the best houseboat cruise may appear like a distant dream. However, you can get the most relaxing and adventurous houseboat rides in harbors, lakes, rivers, and streams across Europe, Asia, and America. These cruises offer unique experiences where you spend peaceful hours wading on the lakes and down the rivers and connecting with nature.
These are the best houseboat cruises:
- Erie Canal
- Lake Powell
- Canal du Midi
Renting a houseboat and going for a ride down the river comes with the comfort of having a private floating space and tons of adventure. Houseboats feature luxurious bathrooms, kitchens, sleeping quarters, and living rooms. They can accommodate groups of friends and family members, accommodating your vacation budget without compromising your experience.
A houseboat vacation may not be the first thing that crosses your mind when looking for the best holiday activities and destination. There are numerous destinations adopted specifically for houseboat vacations. Here are some of the tried, tested, and recommended locations for houseboat locations by travel enthusiasts.
8 Best Houseboat Cruises
1. Erie Canal, New York
The Erie Canal stretches over 365 miles from Albany to Buffalo. It features world-class boat marinas that lure tourists to the best boating adventure.
The houseboat cruise at the Erie Canal features 19th-century canal towns with waterfront restaurants. You can explore wineries and other exciting locations through ground transport.
You will also interact with other houseboat and watercraft tourists and have an amazing time.
You can also visit wildlife parks such as the breathtaking Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and Niagara Falls through the canal system. There are thousands of opportunities on an Erie Canal houseboat cruise.
There are many houseboats to rent that can move in and out of the marinas and locks. They are the perfect tools for riding through the beautiful landscape.
2. St. Johns River, Florida
St. Johns River is the longest in Florida and is among the few rivers in the world that flow north. It stretches over 310 miles from its source to its mouth, the Atlantic Ocean.
St. John River is wide and has a slow flow, making it houseboat cruise-friendly. Bird watching is popular on a St. John River cruise, and you will enjoy the beauty of eagles, ospreys, egrets, and herons, among other spectacular views.
You could also stop at the riverside camps for some fresh alligator and blue crab if you are adventurous with food. The Blue Springs State Park is a popular houseboat stop for the West Indian Manatees, especially between November and April.
The sight of several of the Manatees all in one place is unforgettable.
You will also spot several alligators as you explore, which you should watch out for. You can take a dip in the Silver Glen Springs turquoise waters. There are numerous spots on the St. Johns River where you can stop for a cookout, swim, or fishing.
There are plenty of spacious houseboats at the Holly Bluff Marina that you could rent for a day, a week, and the weekend. You can also get some training on how to navigate.
3. Lake Powell, Arizona
No experience matches cruising and living in a houseboat on Lake Powell. Rental points include the Antelope Point, Lake Powell Resorts and Marina, and Wahweap Marina.
You can use a small boat to access your rental houseboat and explore the lake. However, ensure you follow boating state regulations. Carrying the small boats will also come in handy if you want to indulge in water sports like wakeboarding and waterskiing during your cruise.
Lake Powel has distinct red sandstone with white highlights, clear blue skies and blue water. The scenery is breathtaking, and the exciting part is that you could also take a break from the floating vessel and hike the sandstone canyons.
If you tie up at any point of the lake’s 1800 miles of shoreline, you could catch a handful of fish.
The fresh, clean, and warm lake is a great destination for kids and family vacations.
4. Flanders, Belgium
Flanders is a popular houseboating destination in Europe. Flanders is a beautiful destination, explaining why people would live in houseboats along the canal all year.
The Flanders region has two large rivers, Yser and Scheldt, which feature multiple channels, easily making the location perfect for a houseboat ride. Renting a boat at Flanders allows you to explore Bruges stone-lined historic city with beautiful river banks and amazing tourists.
Don’t miss out on the day-long Nieuwpoort, Bruges, and Gand round-trip famous houseboat tour.
5. Table Rock Lake, Missouri
There is no better place to make memories with your family than a houseboat cruise on Table Rock Lake, Missouri. House boating in the destination is a flexible activity, and you have the power to decide what you want it to be. Whether swimming in the lake, exploring the remote areas surrounding the lakes, or bar and restaurant hopping, you can never run out of things to do during your visit.
Table Rock Lake has the best houseboat rentals with luxurious features and designs like a swimming platform, waterslides, and multi-person hot tubs.
The lake has a pedigree of blue and pristine clear waters, many activities for vacationers, and clean shorelines. Prepare yourself to relax, enjoy beautiful sunsets, and swim. Spring offers the perfect fishing time at the lake, and your family will enjoy lunker largemouth bass cookouts.
If you have never had a houseboat tour at Table Rock Lake, seize the opportunity. It is the perfect escape from the conventional vacations giving you an out-of-the-world experience at the crown jewel of Missouri lakes. Pack up and brace yourself for limitless fun at the 800 miles of Table Rock Lake shoreline.
6. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
Voyageurs National Park is 40% water and features 655 miles of shoreline. The best way to explore the park’s beautiful surroundings and over 500 islands is by taking a houseboat tour.
The beauty at this location is exceptional, and you will not get enough of your houseboating ride. There is plenty to see, from beautiful islands, glacial landforms, and pines, to gorgeous natural lakes. The location promises a rich and world-class houseboating experience.
You will spend your cruise and tour picking wild berries, swimming in the clean waters, and fishing. To maximize your experience, get a boat with decks and porches to fully view the nature surrounding you.
7. Canal du Midi, France
Canal du Midi is a popular houseboating destination in Europe and features over 220 miles of navigable waterways that connect the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The canal also features close to 328 structures comprising bridges, aqueducts, tunnels, and locks, giving you plenty of architecture to marvel over throughout your houseboat cruise.
The spectacular canal will give you and your family a once-in-a-lifetime experience. During the trip, don’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage site, which will deliver you to the Languedoc wine regions with lush vineyards. The ancient fortress cities and the gorgeous medieval villages are scenes to behold.
The boat cruise has a lot more to offer your family: sandy beaches, adventure parks, delightful markets and cycling to amazing cuisine. If you are lucky to book a houseboat ride in July and August, you will enjoy the peak season's niceties, including festivals and events.
A houseboat tour in June and September will be perfect if you prefer a quieter vacation. While May, April and October have unfavorable weather, this region of France is charmingly warm most parts of the year.
8. Assam, India
Your houseboat adventure across the globe is not complete if you haven’t had a cruise in India. Assam State, in northeastern India, is famous for tea plantations, archaeological sites, and wildlife. Brahmaputra river is an outstanding landmark and a highlight in Assam boat rides.
A houseboat cruise starting from Guwahati allows you to witness the full glory of the River Brahmaputra. Some of the charms you will cover during the trip include the Majuli Island, Bhuvaneshwari Temple, and Navagraha Temple, to mention a few.
If you tie your houseboat up on a sandy beach, you can indulge in fun activities with your friends or family, such as cricket and volleyball. The food, basking in the sun, and bonfire on a sand beach in the middle of the river are meaningful experiences you must not miss.
If you have not been on a houseboat cruise, do not put off the idea anymore. There are many houseboating destinations worldwide for the perfect waterside vacation.
Locations like St Johns River, Table Rock Lake, and Voyageurs National Park allow travelers to enjoy nature, architecture, landscape, and geography scattered across the route path. There are many astounding experiences perfect for making memories with your loved ones.
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