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If you combined the comfort of a beachside motel with the more rustic adventure of camping, you’d get a houseboat rental. Bobbing at the docks of some of the top lakeshore destinations in the country, houseboats are a truly unique way to spend a weekend. Imagine lounging on your own private deck to watch the sunset over the lake, and being rocked to sleep by the soft waves after a long day of adventuring nearby.

The Top 10 Destinations to Try a Houseboat Rental

Convinced? Check out these top destinations for houseboat rentals.

1. Lake Cumberland, Kentucky

Blue lake with colorful boats along the lake

This massive lake is the largest body of water by volume east of the Mississippi, and offers a whopping 1,100 miles of shoreline for houseboaters to enjoy. General activities here include fishing, swimming, tubing, and other water sports. While it’s not quite as popular for camping, Lake Cumberland’s sheer size virtually guarantees you can find a quiet spot to anchor your boat and enjoy the midday sun. Just don’t forget your sunscreen! Mid-summer temperatures in this part of Kentucky can consistently be in the high 80s with humidity.

The Conley Bottom Resort offers houseboat rentals on Lake Cumberland throughout the year.

2. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Lake of the Ozarks is one of the premier houseboating destinations in the country, particularly for midwesterners looking to escape the summer heat. Lake of the Ozarks offers a wealth of shoreline (1,150 miles) along with a slew of inlets for hiding away in the evenings. If you’re looking for fun for the day or overnight, Lake of the Ozarks is a perfect place to start.

Rent a houseboat on Lake of the Ozarks with LOTO Houseboat Rentals.

3. Lake Powell, Utah / Arizona

Lake Powell with several boast on the lake's surface.

Perhaps one of the most coveted lake destinations in the country, Lake Powell’s unique shape makes it a paradise for those who want to spend a few nights out on a houseboat vacation. Travel down any one of Lake Powell’s windy fingers, and you’re bound to find the perfect spot to anchor down and camp under the gorgeous desert stars. Fishing opportunities here abound, as well as more than enough chances for other water sports.

Rent a houseboat on Lake Powell at Antelope Point Marina.

4. Lake Havasu, California / Arizona

Located right on the California / Arizona border (less than 2 hours from Phoenix), Lake Havasu is the ideal destination for houseboaters looking for the quintessential houseboat experience. The Mohave Mountains offers a spectacular backdrop to this lake that offers over 60-miles of waterways to swim, ski, and boat.

Houseboats can be rented through Lake Havasu houseboating.

5. Lake Shasta, California

As California’s largest man-made reservoir, Shasta Lake is often frequented by both locals looking to escape the torrid heat and tourists trying to get a taste of California’s wilder side. Known as a hub for houseboating on the West Coast, 7 different companies offer visitors the chance to rent a houseboat and take on Shasta’s expansive waters. Just be sure to spring for the models with A/C, as Lake Shasta’s average summer temperatures can soar well into the 90s.

Rent your Shasta houseboat through Holiday Harbor.

6. Crane Lake, Minnesota

Crane Lake is located inside of Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park, making it one of the wilder regions available for travelers looking to rent a houseboat and explore what nature has to offer. That said, the houseboat rental options from Voyagaire houseboats offer innumerable ways to improve your Crane Lake experience. The lake itself is open for fishing and swimming during the peak season, and houseboaters can spend days on the water without running out of sights to see. Popular at Crane Lake is the ability to call delivery boats, which can bring extra supplies or additional food items should your houseboat experience last longer than expected.

Check out Voyagaire’s extensive listings here.

7. Lake Billy Chinook, Oregon

Lake with trees and desert foliage

Located in Central Oregon, Lake Billy Chinook is a lesser-visited water destination that offers premium houseboating in the Pacific Northwest. At just over 3 hours from Portland, this lake is a popular destination for summer lovers to rent a houseboat and spend a few days basking in the rainless glory. While Lake Billy Chinook offers houseboaters plenty of opportunities for sunbathing and swimming, its primary attraction is fishing, as it plays host to a wide variety of species including bull trout, kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, and the rare german brown.

Rent houseboats at Lake Billy Chinook here.

8. Finger Lakes, New York

Houseboats on water with trees and stormy sky in background

The east coaster’s Lake Powell, the Finger Lakes offers innumerable opportunities for exploring via houseboat. One of the most popular routes, the Erie Canal, connects the Hudson River in Albany to Lake Erie in Buffalo. The canal provides visitors the chance to see tons of wildlife as well as some of New York’s finest scenery. One of the best parts of houseboating the Erie Canal is that it’s flush with marinas and convenience centers all along its 365 mile shoreline, meaning you’ll always have a place to fuel up and regather supplies throughout your journey.

A preview of the unique houseboat rentals can be found at houseboating.org.

9. Lake Roosevelt — Washington

Lake Roosevelt in Washington state is a pristine lake with over 660 miles of shoreline. Located on the Columbia River, Lake Roosevelt is the crowned jewel of the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, and offers visitors the chance to explore one of the finest water spots in the Pacific Northwest. The well preserved area is home to a variety of wildlife, including wild turkeys, big horn sheep, moose, and deer, and houseboaters can spend just as much time sightseeing as they will trying to catch world-class walleye, bass, and sturgeon that call Lake Roosevelt’s crisp waters home. Those lucky enough to rent a houseboat on the lake can expect over 120 miles of lake to travel along as well as a glassy morning surface, perfect for water skiing.

Houseboats can be rented at Lake Roosevelt’s website.

10. Lake Mead, Nevada

Lake with red rocks in background

This red rock bordered lake is just an hour from Las Vegas, which makes it an extremely popular destination for locals and tourists alike. The lake itself includes 550 miles of shoreline along with several dozen bays and beaches where houseboaters and set their anchor for a pleasant and relaxing stay. Families, anglers, and tourists will appreciate the varied terrain, the unique opportunities for adventuring, and the sparkling red rock that give Lake Mead its fantastic colors.

Rent a houseboat on Lake Mead at Callville Bay.


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Tyler Wildeck

Tyler Wildeck

Tyler Wildeck is a writer with a passion for all things outdoors. His favorite place he's ever visited is Alaska, and his favorite activity might be fishing or reading, depending on the day. In his free time, Tyler can be found searching Portland for the next great food establishment or perusing the many bookshelves of Powell's.