Not everyone has the means to buy their own houseboat. This is where renting a houseboat comes in. So, where does one rent a houseboat?
The US is home to many places where you can rent out a houseboat at affordable prices. These include Lake Powell, Norris Lake, Lake Cumberland, Upper Mississippi River, Smith Mountain Lake, Lake Vermilion, Erie Canal, St. John's River, etc.
Getting the "where" right will be critical if you are looking to make the most of your houseboat vacation. Ideally, you want the best possible houseboat, but obviously, you don't want to spend a year's worth of savings in just a few days (think of the children).
As the experts in all things houseboat-related, we are here to guide you on the best-rated houseboat rental destinations where you will get the most bang for your buck while on a houseboat vacation.
Lake Powell is famed for its beautiful red sandstone canyons and excellent hiking options, making it one of the most well-known houseboating destinations in the world. Water skiing and wakeboarding are popular pastimes for houseboaters in this area. Anglers should be aware that the lake contains over 1,800 miles of shoreline and numerous record-breaking fish have been captured there.
However, you should note that the lake is part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Lake Powell is subject to National Park Service rules limiting houseboats to 12 people.
Nestled 20 miles north of Knoxville in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains is Norris Lake. With hundreds of miles of wild, forested shoreline, Norris Lake is the largest reservoir among the Tennessee River's many tributaries. But more importantly, even with several marinas on its borders, it still maintains a serene environment.
Boaters should not overlook the numerous coves and lovely tree-lined inlets. Anglers may be intrigued to learn that here is where the largest brown trout ever captured in Tennessee was caught.
Marinas on Norris Lake rent and sell lakefront and Lakeview homes, condominiums, hotels, houseboats, and float cottages. They also include boat and slip rentals, exceptionally good restaurants with a wide variety of cuisine and entertainment, lake maps, groceries, snacks, electronics, and boating supplies to round out your holiday.
Also known as the "Houseboat capital of the world," Lake Cumberland is the go-to choice for many houseboat enthusiasts, and for good reason. There are 1,200 miles of shoreline on Lake Cumberland and isolated, calm coves and waterfalls. One of the finest seasons to visit is in the fall when the foliage is at its height, and the people are thinned.
With its largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, sturgeon, and catfish, the lake is regarded as one of the top fishing sites in the Eastern United States. Many houseboats on Lake Cumberland include well-equipped kitchens, living spaces, and incredibly comfortable bedrooms, as well as a selection of slides and hot tubs, so you can rest assured that you are going to have a great time at Lake Cumberland.
Smith Mountain Lake
Smith Mountain Lake is located in Virginia and is another favorite destination for houseboat enthusiasts and vacationers. Smith Mountain Lake is a big, clear-watered lake nestled in a valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is a lake with several inlets shrouded by heavy flora, with 32 square miles of water surface and more than 500 miles of shoreline. A wonderful beach that spans around Smith Mountain Lake State Park is shaded by some of this flora.
Whether you're drifting around on a houseboat or zipping about on a personal watercraft, the lake's vast surface and numerous inlets on the coast make it ideal for exploration. On the open sea, water skiing and other water sports are also popular. You'll have no shortage of houseboats for rent here, so choose as per your requirements.
Lake Vermilion is located in Minnesota and offers more than 1,200 miles of pristine shoreline along with over 350 islands, making it any houseboat owner's (or renter's) dream. Lake Vermilion is a scenic lake which makes it a great option for houseboat owners who love the outdoors. Superior National Forest also borders it, so there are some great hiking trails. Boaters may enjoy excellent fishing on the lake as well with over 12 different species of fish.
This is one of the best houseboat destinations where you'd least expect it. Located in New York State, Erie Canal is famous amongst houseboaters. The Erie Canal provides a unique chance to explore 524 miles of upstate New York by houseboat. The canal has stone locks, lift bridges, and guard gates that date back to the 1800s, making it a magnificent achievement of engineering.
There are several canal villages and paths to explore, including Palmyra, formerly renowned as the "queen of the Erie Canal towns," and miles of picturesque river. Museums, festivals, and antique shopping are among the town's attractions.
Upper Mississippi River
The upper Mississippi is not only a popular houseboating site, but it's also one of the most unusual. There are several beautiful river villages to visit, plenty of shoreline, and countless islands to explore. The St. Croix River, with its river villages and sandy beaches, is another option for excursions.
St. John’s River
Located in the state of Florida, St. John's River is another great choice for houseboat owners. St. John's is a houseboat-friendly river since it is sluggish and broad. Bird-watching is common along the river, which is bordered by the Ocala National Forest, with blue herons and eagles among the usual views.
Blue Springs State Park, where manatees and others are frequently spotted, is one of the most popular houseboat sites. The riverbank fish camps, where fresh blue crab and alligator are frequently served, are a must-visit for adventurous dining.
California is home to Shasta Lake, which offers pristine waters and great views. Shasta Lake attracts houseboaters because of its stunning mountain and forest beauty, hundreds of coves and bays, and numerous recreational activities. Houseboating is a terrific opportunity to see some of the various caves and rock formations that can be found around the lake's borders.
A natural waterslide can be found on the lake's western shore, and boaters may see 250-million-year-old stalagmites in the Shasta Caverns.
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