Thursday, August 16, 2018 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Houseboat Heaven: Vacation on the Water Without Taking a Cruise

It’s not all in your head. Or maybe it is. Scientific studies have shown that being near water makes you feel calmer and sparks creativity. It actually affects your brainwaves. There’s nothing better than falling asleep to the sound of water lapping at the shore or gazing out over a smooth-as-glass lake. But, unless you are fortunate enough to own a lake cabin or a vacation condo at the beach, it isn’t always easy to make your waterfront vacation dreams come true.

If you’re looking to get out on the water but you’re not in the mood to be corralled onto a 24-hour a day bustling cruise ship with a few thousand strangers, you have options. Vacationers looking for some solitude and a water-centric holiday would do well to consider renting a houseboat and dropping anchor. Better privacy than this is difficult to find.

You can enjoy communing with nature without really roughing it. Though small no frills houseboats can be found, the majority of them are plush. Some will sleep up to 19 people and have hot tubs and even fireplaces. There are full kitchens on board, impressive bathrooms, and state-rooms with king-sized beds, TV’s, and DVD players. The majority have central heat and air and wet bars are generally standard.

If a houseboat on a lake sparks your interest, here are some of the best places in the U.S.A. to give it a try.
 
Lake Shasta – California

Shasta is a popular 30,000-acre lake on the west coast for houseboat renters. Surrounded by Trinity National Forest, the scenery is magnificent and one cannot help the feeling of calm it inspires. Snow-capped 14,180 feet Mount Shasta looms in the background, further adding to the serenity.

Summertime temperatures average 100 degrees but the water remains a fairly constant 78 degrees making it ideal for jumping off the boat’s bow for a refreshing swim.

Fishing is great and if anyone needs to stretch their legs for a bit there are numerous hiking trails around the lake and lots of places to sunbathe.

Visitors to the lake may also wish to tour the 250-million-year-old caverns, which are only accessible by boat.
 
Lake Shasta   California
 
Lake Sidney Lanier – Georgia

Lake Lanier is the largest lake in Georgia and it’s home to the Lake Lanier Islands. Despite the lake having a resort with a water park and beaches, the lake is so huge it never appears crowded. Once someone shoves off from land in their houseboat they can explore over 100 islands and they’ll soon be far away enough from the resort to not even realize it’s there.

Temperatures above the water and in it are comfortable so swimming is a popular pass time. Fishing is very good with large-mouthed bass and crappie being caught the most. Freshly cleaned fish cooked right on board is a delicacy enjoyed by many houseboat renters, and most of the boats have depth finders to make finding the fish easier.

Whether it’s enjoying a cocktail while watching the sunset, taking life easy in the hot tub, or zooming down the boats slide into the water, Lake Lanier should be considered the perfect place to achieve a memorable vacation without the typical crowds.
 
Lake Sidney Lanier   Georgia
 
Dale Hollow Lake – Tennessee/Kentucky

Dale Hollow Lake is full of clear and very deep water. Fishing is some of the best found anywhere and the largest small-mouthed bass caught on record was snagged there. The lake is also full of large-mouthed bass, trout, and gar.

In addition to renting a houseboat, fishing boats are available and can be tied up right alongside the houseboat for getting to spots where the houseboat won’t fit.

Many activities are available in the local area for those wishing to take a break from the water. Civil War sites, golfing, hiking, dining, marina bars, and so much more are waiting on shore.

Dale Hollow Lake was rated as the #1 best lake for renting a houseboat in North America by Pick A SlipThe summertime temperatures are moderate to hot and the water temperature is ideal. Skiing and wakeboarding are popular past times and both can be done from a houseboat. They can go a lot faster than most people think.
 
Dale Hollow Lake   Tennesse/Kentucky
 
Voyageurs National Park – Minnesota

Voyageurs National Park is the largest waterways park in America. There are four distinct lakes for renting houseboats. The waterways park was originally established for canoeists to enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the area which has limited road access to preserve nature at its finest.

The park borders Canada and Minnesota for 100-miles and consumes 1-million acres of wilderness. Houseboaters can navigate between lakes and down rivers, or they can simply find a secluded spot, drop the anchor and stay put. These are the same waterways at one time followed by trappers.

All of the lakes and waterways are spring fed so they’re clear but perhaps a bit too cold for some peoples taste, yet many don’t seem to mind as water sports are still very popular. The interesting thing is that all of the water is okay to drink. No boiling. No anything. It’s that pure.

If you have ever fantasized about bathing in the waters of a secluded beach, out of eye-shot from the estimated 7.6-billion other people on earth, this where your wildest dreams can come true. Even if another boat were to come by, parts of the waterway park are so isolated you’ll hear it coming way before anyone ever catches a glimpse of your natural self.
 
Voyageurs National Park   Minnesota
 
There are many other locations in the U.S.A. from the Florida Keys to Lake Powell, Utah, to Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, where friends and families have discovered the joys of getting on the water for a day, a week, or even a month. Today’s modern houseboats offer way more than you might think.

Need some inspiration? Check out these amazing houseboats you can rent around the world

If you have ever vacationed on a houseboat, where did you go and how was the experience?
 

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