A houseboat is a great water vessel to own, but are you just limited to sailing? What are some of the things to do on a houseboat?
There are loads of things you can do on a houseboat. First and foremost, you can explore your surroundings - you are on a boat, after all. You can also go fishing, swimming, camping, diving, and stargazing. If you're looking to spend family time, you can play board games.
Now that you've bought your houseboat and maybe the initial luster is starting to wear out, you might want to know what all you can do with your newly-acquired vessel. Spoiler alert - there's loads to do!
As boating enthusiasts who have spent long stretches on houseboats, we know how to combat boredom and make the most of our time on these vessels.
Things To Do on a Houseboat
Whether you are planning to live on a houseboat or just use it for a weekend getaway, one of the best advantages of living on a houseboat is that you're already practically outdoors, and depending on where you're moored, just a stone's throw away from some exciting activities.
So, what are some of the things that houseboat owners or vacationers can indulge in during their stay? We've made a list of a few of our favorite things to do while living on a houseboat.
If the houseboat you own is not static or anchored in one place, you can add this one to the list - one of the more obvious options. Obviously, this is better for slightly older children, but it doesn't have to be that way, and even adults can enjoy trying something new. What makes this a great way to make the most of your stay on a houseboat is that you don’t need to know how to pilot a boat, and you don’t really need a professional to do it for you. Besides, allowing a teenager to drive the boat might be the highlight of their holiday and something they will remember for a long time.
However, if you're letting your teenage kid drive the boat, make sure you're supervising them (or get another responsible adult to supervise them). I wouldn't allow an untrained person to dock or beach a boat, but once you're out on the wide water, it's fine to let them operate it.
It is also important to note that most US states do have particular regulations governing who may operate a boat, but virtually all of them need adult supervision, so double-check your local laws before allowing your kid to operate your vessel.
Maybe you're looking to spend some time fishing on your houseboat. In which case, why not take along your fishing gear? Fishing is an absolute blast on a houseboat. Besides, anglers of all ages and skill levels will be able to bring home stories of victory after catching a fish since the types of fish vary per location.
If you were wondering, various types of bait are often available at or near most marinas, and some marinas also offer fishing licenses. Do your research and ensure that you have the right permits because certain lakes or rivers traverse many states.
You can also swim with the fishes (no, not a Godfather reference) while you're out on a houseboat. When the weather is hot, and you need to cool off quickly, there's nothing better than jumping in the water and going swimming. Bring along your favorite pool floats and noodles for a pleasant swim.
This game is especially popular with children since there are plenty of areas to splash around and practice their cannonballs. If you're lucky, you will find a houseboat that also includes a water slide that extends from the top of the boat right down to the water, which means that you will get to practice that pencil dive for hours.
Water skiing is tough for most people without a lot of skill; therefore, you can be towed while on an inner tube or even ride on flying towables that lift you off the water as you start speeding up!
This exercise is a lot of fun, but it's best for teenagers and younger adults. Most smaller children won't be able to perform it, and most older adults won't want to; thus, the audience for this exercise will be quite limited.
Another problem with water skiing or towables is that they require a vessel that can tow the person around quickly enough. In other words, if you have a slower houseboat, your vessel may not be able to keep up. But you can pull a person with the help of a smaller motorized watercraft. It is important to mention here that motorized boats are fairly expensive to hire or buy, so there is an extra cost for this activity.
When water skiing, you must ensure that you observe all applicable rules and regulations of your state. Most states require everyone to wear a life jacket, with others requiring numerous persons to keep an eye on the person on the water to ensure they won't be tossed overboard and the vessel's driver doesn't notice. Also, pay special attention to the rules and regulations in the location you intend to visit to determine what activities are and are not allowed while you're on the houseboat.
Sure, the houseboat will have sleeping quarters, but you can take the experience of being out in the open to a whole new level by camping out on the shore not far from your houseboat. If you’re docked at a marina, no problem. Just use your imagination and set up the tent on the deck. This can be incredibly enjoyable, especially for youngsters, and the best part is, you won't have to worry about getting mauled by wild animals (just kidding!).
Honestly, camping on a houseboat is far more exciting than taking a nap in the sleeping quarters. Besides, you get to sleep beneath the stars, which is not something you get to do often. Also, setting up camp means young children who have come along for the trip will also get to learn something new (like setting up a sleeping tent), which will serve to grow their self-confidence.
Enjoy a Campfire
If you want to have a truly authentic camping experience, you will need a campfire. For obvious reasons, you will need to go to the shore to execute this plan, or else you'll end up burning your houseboat to the ground (we mean, water). That being said, a campfire can be loads of fun, especially during the winter season, and makes the perfect setting for sharing ghost stories. The nicest part about renting a houseboat is that you can rinse off the scent of a bonfire before retiring to your comfortable bed, which is something that houseboat owners get to appreciate.
Of course, make sure you pack all of the tools and equipment you'll need to build and sustain a campfire when incorporating campfires into your nighttime routine. It's also crucial to keep a safe distance from the boat and any potentially flammable things that could catch fire easily.
Speaking of spending the night outdoors, here’s another great outdoor activity that you can try, and it's fun for everyone, regardless of age. Take a walk outside tonight and look up at the stars. There may be a few glittering stars visible, but not quite as many as on the houseboat's deck. Once the sun goes down, you can turn your houseboat into your own personal observatory and explore the heavens by taking advantage of the uninterrupted views and soothing darkness. While you're at it, grab a glass of wine (or beer) and take in the tranquility that a houseboat has to offer in the evening. If you're lucky, you might even see a few shooting stars or the planet Venus.
This is a great option for those who are taking their houseboat out to the lake. In fact, there's nothing quite like diving beneath the water to have a good time. Many people bring snorkeling equipment, but the water in many lakes and rivers is too murky to see anything. This is when scuba diving comes in handy. The best part is, you can rent or buy diving tanks and equipment, but such equipment may be pretty expensive, and even renting it isn't always affordable. This is especially true if you need to rent it for a week because you don't want to keep having to go to and from the marina.
There are a number of more choices that many people are unaware of. The first are personal-sized tanks that go straight into your mouth rather than being attached to your back. Most of the time, these tanks last around 10 minutes of driving before needing to be refilled. Some of these tanks have pumps that let you fill them up manually; however, this may be a pain and takes much longer than you might anticipate.
The Blu3 Nemo diving system is another alternative. This is a novel device that allows you to stay underwater for up to 60 minutes and dive to a depth of 10 feet. They're working on a bigger model with a dive depth of 40 feet, but it hasn't been published yet. The Nemo floats on the water and provides the diver with air via the connected tube. It is powered by a battery pack that lasts 60 minutes before needing to be recharged. As the Nemo floats above the water and is free to move about throughout those 60 minutes below the surface, you are entirely free to move around.
For those of you who want to stay above the water, this is a great option. In addition to your houseboat, renting a kayak is a terrific opportunity to explore the narrow waterways that a larger vessel would otherwise be unable to access. If you want to keep active on your trip, it's also a wonderful upper-body workout.
Kayaking near coasts is ideal because you can get out or go to see if you can spot any animals or birds. We usually advise our guests to bring their cameras with them to record some of the spectacular sites they will undoubtedly encounter. It can be worthwhile to invest in a waterproof case in case your devices become wet or fall out of your grip.
Go Speed Boating
If you really want to enjoy the wind in your face, then you can’t go wrong with speedboats. Whether you're a small child or an older adult, powered boats are a terrific way to have fun. Even if you aren't driving, they are a pleasure to ride or ride on. Powered boats have a few significant drawbacks.
The first disadvantage is the price. Speedboats are not only costly to purchase, but they also cost money to maintain and fuel. When renting a motorized watercraft, expect to spend between $50 and $60 per hour! Unless you only hire it for a few hours, this puts motorized boats out of reach for most people.
Another significant disadvantage is that not everyone can benefit from one. Each state has its own set of rules regarding motorized watercraft; however, most states require that you be 16 or older to operate one on your own. It is also important to note that regulations differ by state, so verify the rules in your region before booking or purchasing one.
Also, speedboats may be a lot of fun, but the two disadvantages make them unsuitable for the majority of individuals and situations. They are simply too much fun to leave off this list, so I thought they had to be included.
Board Games for the Whole Family
At home, schedules might become a little hectic, so game night may not always happen on a regular basis. For all parties involved, missing out on this unique bonding opportunity may be quite frustrating. On the other hand, on a houseboat, you have all the time in the world to spend with your loved ones. Make it a point to play at least one game every day with your spouse or children (or both!). This will undoubtedly be a wonderful event, and you'll be making lasting memories that you'll be able to laugh about in the future.
Pictionary, Monopoly, Uno, Sorry!, Yahtzee, Candyland, Apples to Apples, Clue, as well as Rummikub are some games that you can play on your houseboat. Consider Hide-and-Seek or charades if you don't want to play a board game - make your own fun!
One of the best parts about owning a houseboat or just spending a weekend on one is that you can be as lazy or as adventurous as you want. That's because when it comes to things you can do on a houseboat, the possibilities are simply endless. In other words, if jet skiing or kayaking is not your jam, you can put the deck of the houseboat to good use and put your legs up and relax while enjoying a good book or sunbathing.
Honestly, having your own houseboat or vacationing on one is the ideal choice for both those who love to enjoy the outdoors and those who just want to enjoy the slower pace of being out on the water.
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