Ever had an urge to uproot your life and move to a place with fresh air and lots of water? You can try living on houseboat.
A houseboat will allow you to travel and experience different cultures. Such an environment will always leave you feeling well-rested, and the chances of experiencing stress or other mental issues are pretty low. So which are the best houseboat marinas to consider for your first adventure? The ones listed below have the best sunrise and sunset views and the surrounding neighborhood, especially if you choose a touring houseboat.
Here are some of the best boathouse marinas:
- Portland in Oregon
- Lake Havasu in Arizona
- Sausalito in California
- Scarborough Bluffs in Ontario
When choosing a houseboat, you must ensure that it is fitted with everything that will allow you to live all season comfortably. These include an air-conditioning system, electricity, and WiFi. It would also be more convenient if the owner allowed you to take it out of the pier and tour the neighborhood, making your vacation more fulfilling.
So, when you want to ditch the rental life, you can consider living on a houseboat for a while to enjoy the fresh air and relaxing lifestyle of living on the water. This article explores various houseboat marinas that will allow you to live a fulfilling life. But first, you must know the factors to consider when choosing the best houseboat marina.
14 Best Houseboat Marinas
These are some of the best houseboat marinas offering vacationers and houseboat owners the best living condition, security, and a caring community.
1. Portland, Oregon
Portland is the largest houseboat community in the United States, with 1400 floating homes. Just a short drive to North Portland's speakeasies and food carts are moorages that run up and down the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.
Oregon imposes no sales tax, so you'll save a bit if you consider owning a houseboat.
2. Lake Havasu, Arizona
Lake Havasu, Arizona, is located on the border between California and Arizona,
The lake offers the ideal conditions for houseboat living as you can enjoy hot and calm weather at the same temperature. Generally, inland lakes in warm areas such as Lake Havasu are just about as good for houseboats.
This lake area is a popular house boating destination for vacationers, but there are several long-term marinas for those who want to settle in for a long time. Lake Havasu is near the best restaurants, bars, and clubs, which gives you plenty to do at night or on weekends.
3. Sausalito, California
The floating homes in the historic city of Sausalito are a miniature version of India's iconic Taj Mahal Palace. The town continuously evolves into an ideal marina destination for houseboaters, especially kayaking lovers.
If you're curious but not ready to commit to life on the water, check out the Sausalito Floating Homes Tour, held every September.
The Sausalito houseboat neighborhood is mainly known for Otis Redding, who stayed there during his 1967 U.S. tour, inspiring the hit, "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay." Many have followed in his footsteps and left their homes in some other sad, landlocked place, settling into a more comfortable bay life. So, head to 'Frisco Bay and be ready to sit in the sunset, enjoying the shore views.
4. Scarborough Bluffs – Ontario, Canada
Scarborough is popular among travelers for its tranquility and natural beauty. This floating neighborhood of the Scarborough Bluffs offers a stunning view of Bluffer's Park in the Marina.
The park has clay and sand cliffs that tower over the Eastern waterfront. Owing to such beauty, many have chosen to leave the rat race of the city behind. They want to wake up to the beautiful deck views of the sunrise and the sounds of seagulls.
The houseboats are fitted with A.C. systems, electricity, heat, and WiFi, allowing the floating home residents to enjoy all the conveniences of modern living in a conventional world of water-filled bliss.
5. Piermont, New York
Running away from the high real estate prices in New York, some residents of this city have embraced houseboat living, heading 30 miles upriver to the Piermont village on the western edge of the Hudson.
This town has become a hub for houseboat dwellers thanks to its proximity to bohemian lounges, art galleries, fancy restaurants, and its extensive pier that overlooks Tallman Mountain. The town offers different berthing fee options with marinas, such as Tappan Zee Marina renting slips by the day, season, or year.
6. Union. Lake – Seattle, Washington
Situated between Lake Washington and Puget Sound, the neighborhood puts you outside downtown Seattle. The floating home communities of Union Lake are an exclusive houseboaters' dream. Although no new homes can be moored at Union Lake due to a 1990 city ordinance, many float homes on Union Lake's perimeter area rentals, so you don't have to feel left out.
Several realtors specialize in these premier real estate of the floating homes. An everyday sport in this area is rowing, where you might catch the University of Washington team training for the Olympics on any given day. So don't be shy to book a floating house on your next trip and enjoy waterfront living.
7. Shasta Lake, California
Shasta Lake is a manufactured lake on the northern side of California. It is a 4.6 million acre-feet encroachment, making it the largest reservoir in the state. This artificial lake has magnificent waterfalls, well-maintained trails, and a Mediterranean climate, making it an ideal spot to stow a houseboat.
It also offers a wealth of mooring points, a central location, easy access from the interstate, and slip rentals for short-term and long-term visitors.
8. Miami, Florida
Home to dozens of marinas that are ideal for living aboard a houseboat,
Miami is a top destination for all kinds of recreational boaters. The weather in Miami is warm year-round, and houseboat rental prices are highly affordable compared to other states like California and New York. Several boating communities already exist in this region, so there are plenty of options to choose from.
Most marinas in the Miami area have full grid power and water hookups, offering gray water and black water discharge services. The major downer to living aboard in Miami is the weather, which can occasionally get hazardous during hurricane season.
9. Lake Austin – Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas, is home to Lake Austin, a hidden water haven popular among boaters, kayakers, and nature enthusiasts. The lake is also used for flood control and electrical power generation as part of the reservoir on the Colorado River.
Lake Austin is endowed with views of forest-covered hills in the distance, a sight for sore eyes. The floating neighborhood of Lake Austin is an oasis for a variety of waterfowl and birds that have made a home among the kayakers and houseboats. Houseboats in this area are built onto docks while others are moored in the lake, Offering houseboaters choice of what works for them.
10. Demopolis, Alabama
The Demopolis town in Alabama was initially settled by French expatriates who, with time, moved up the Warrior River. Americans later purchased the land after it was deserted and, over time, transformed it into a major river port and lumber town.
The Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers majorly impacted the history of Demopolis. Today, an impressive collection of houseboats moor at the juncture of these two rivers. The Demopolis Yacht Basin and other marinas welcome seasonal houseboat dwellers and offer easy access to nearby campgrounds, restaurants, and the town's Greek-Revival-style house museums.
11. Fort Washington, Maryland
Fort Washington, Maryland, is an excellent example of an ideal houseboat mooring location. This beautiful and historic location was once a fort built to defend Washington, D.C., from attacks directed up the Potomac River. Now, it houses a fantastic houseboat community in several locations on the river.
As a result of its historical background, the town is filled with historic buildings and museums, making it great for anyone who loves American history. Fort Washington is also close to several major cities, as its driving distance from Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.
There are two marinas in the town of Fort Washington and several more nearby.
12. Tagg's Island – London, United Kingdom
Tagg's Island, on the Thames River near Hampton Court, was initially a playground for aristocrats and artists. The Island later became a popular hippie hangout in the 1960s, which was the time when the floating houses were taking hold among the locals.
The Island has evolved into rows of modern float homes with gardens and vehicle access. These homes frequently grace the pages of popular design magazines, providing a benchmark for architecture enthusiasts. Up close, the neighborhood offers the best views of the Thames River, with the floating mansions a favorite for celebrities.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Houseboat Marina
The location of the marina needs to work for you. Would you like to make regular visits to your houseboat? Then it would help if you chose a marina close to you. Choose the best marina if you would like to store your boat on your favorite cruising route.
You may also want to know if the marina community you wish to join has affiliated with any other marinas, allowing occasional pit stops. Recreational activities in the vicinity are also worth looking into.
Do you plan on heading to the lake in the heart of summer, when vacation days center on splashing, swimming, kayaking, and enjoying ample time in the water?
Or are you considering a quieter, off-season vacation when the days and nights are relaxed and comfortable, and the warm-weather crowds have disappeared?
A summertime sailor considers houseboats with vast fun features designed for watery fun, water slides, swim platforms and ladders, and plenty of decks with optional shade.
If you prefer living on a houseboat in the cooler months, you'll likely be comfortable in a houseboat with all the elite necessities. Such amenities include full kitchens, deck space and chairs, a heating system, and ample living areas that may not have those summertime-oriented features.
Facilities and Utilities
Onsite amenities such as stores for food and other essential supplies, Onsite showers, entertainment, WiFi, Electricity, water, fuel, Mobile pump service, and waste disposal are a must-have for an excellent houseboat experience.
When choosing the ideal location for your houseboat, look for an electronically gated facility with CCTVs and security guards available 24/7.
You can also speak to fellow houseboat owners for advice and recommendations as you are much more likely to get an unbiased opinion from those close to you who have experience choosing a marina.
No of People
Considering the number of people you would like to house in your houseboat is a major factor in choosing a houseboat. As you do this, also consider the privacy of each person.
Several marinas have a strict policy of a maximum of twelve people per houseboat while in motion though while you are not driving it, you can host more people onboard.
Length of Vacation
Whether a quick weekend getaway or a long staycation, an excellent houseboat can make your stay on the waterfront the most memorable experience.
So, check for how long the owner will let you stay; if anything arises, they can allow you to extend your stay.
Houseboat marinas usually vary their rates based on the size of the houseboat, the amenities offered, the length of your stay, and the degree of luxury offered. So check out several marinas before settling for a specific one.
Alternatively, you can check the storage cost and any other costs involved if you have a houseboat before committing.
How is the Boating Community?
Nowadays, marinas are not just docking facilities. They are composed of tightly knit boater communities with water sports clubs such as sailing schools.
So you may be looking for more than a boat storage facility or renting and hoping to immerse yourself in a tight boaters community of like-minded enthusiasts. Look into marinas that work for you.
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