Houseboat Renting
How to Make the Most Out of Your Waterways Getaway


With summer just around the corner, thinking about your summer plans are probably hitting your mind. This year, instead of the regular mundane hotel room or cottage, what if you could rent a floating one. A hidden gem of the water is the houseboat. If you’ve never thought of a houseboat as an option for a getaway, this is your time to rent the perfect floating party or relaxing getaway. There is nothing like falling asleep to a rocking boat. Some of the best sleep you will get is on a floating home. If you have a big family and you all want to spend time together and enjoying each other’s company renting a houseboat is for you. 


How to Rent a Houseboat

Renting a houseboat is almost easier than renting a cottage. Almost anyone over the age of 21 can pilot a houseboat. Looking up local listings for houseboat rentals is your first step. If you are anywhere near a large body of water, the chances of finding a houseboat rental company may be easier than you think. There is a huge market for houseboat rentals, whether you’re looking for something very luxurious or just a basic houseboat there is something for everyone. If you’re a first-time boater learning to captain a houseboat is a lot easier than it sounds. A short lesson and you will be on your way. All you need is a good group of people that want to get together and stay on a houseboat and can live in close quarters for a week. 


What Identification Is Necessary


Normally when operating a boat, the average pilot would need to have a pleasure craft license, with a houseboat you do not need your PCL and can get by with just your regular driver’s license. A lot of rentals do ask that you need to be over the age of 21 and in some cases 25. Some lakes require a runabout for your boat as a safety precaution. Most rentals offer this with the houseboat. Before renting a houseboat check with the company to see what kind of pre-sailing lessons, they offer to the operator of the boat to make sure you won’t be going out to the ocean or lake blindly. It is important that you do have a bit of knowledge on how the specific houseboat operates. Usually someone is there when you board to give you a lesson and a test-drive so you’re comfortable piloting the boat. 


What do we pack?


Most of the time when you’re travelling on a houseboat, you’ll be able to stop at marinas to pick up any extra supplies you need. If you’re worried about ice, you can always pack extra coolers for drinks as that will save you space. Houseboats come equipped with a kitchen, but you should enquire about a BBQ and see if it’s necessary for you to bring a camping-style BBQ. Some houseboat renters offer for you to pre-purchase ice and wood so it will already be on board and ready to go before you depart. 


Packing a few board games and cards are always an important thing to bring with you. You never know when the sun might get too much for you or the kids if they’re on board with you. The chance of rain is always there so having indoor activities for you and your guests can be helpful. 


When packing a suitcase, you won’t want to forget your bathing suit, sunscreen, and an extra towel. Most of the houseboats will come with bedding, but always inquire with the company you’re renting from. 


What Is the Cost? 


Depending on the type and size of your houseboat will change the cost. I have included a table of average costs on the different types of boat. Cost also changes depending on your location. If you’re in Florida, the cost will be different than if you are in Maine. If you are looking for a standard houseboat or luxurious yacht, the cost really varies. This is why we took the average cost for each size of boat.


Standard Houseboat

Based on a 7-Day Trip
Size Cost
53′ (Sleeps 10–12) $3500.00
59′ (Sleeps 12–14) $7400.00
65′ (Sleeps 14–16) $8300.00
75′ (Sleeps 16–18) $15,000.00



Based on a 7-Day Trip
Size Cost
59′ (Sleeps 12–14) $1000.00
65′ (Sleeps 8–10) $15,500.00
68′ (Sleeps 14–16) $19,700.00
75′ (Sleeps 16–18) $22,000.00


Can I rent long term? 


Renting long term can be pricey, you may want to look for someone that is looking for that specifically like on Airbnb or VRBO. If you are looking into long-term rental, you may want to purchase your own houseboat. The payoff from owning your own boat is worth it. Since a lot of the companies that make houseboats personalize them for you, you can really tailor your boat exactly the way you and your family need it. 


Although renting for a week or even two is a great option if you’re looking to snowbird on a houseboat, it may be more convenient as well personalized if you have your own houseboat. When you own, you know what will be on board and you always know what’s needed. You won’t have to be looking into rentals every year and paying out large rental fees, on top of any marina fees to keep your boat somewhere. 


You can rent long-term, but our recommendation is to buy if you plan to spend six months of the year using a houseboat. 


Houseboat Activities 


Cracking a cold drink after you set sail on your floating houseboat is satisfying but once the luxuries of being on vacation settle in, what is there to do on your boat? Some houseboats come equipped with a slide to slide off the back of the boat. This can be entertainment for hours, cooking great meals with the family and having a friendly game of cards can be a way to reconnect with people. 


In an age where we are all very invested in our technology, this may be a good time to put this down and enjoy the ride. Although if it is necessary for you to get work done if you are in a lake most of the time, you will still be able to get cellphone reception. 


Being on a houseboat has some huge benefits, my favourite is that if you and your friends or family want to be up late and play loud music you can do this because you don’t have neighbors. If you are in the middle of a lake, you don’t have to worry about waking your neighbors or other boats around you. 


Houseboat activities are endless, you just have to be creative and enjoy the cruise. 


Can We Bring Our Jet Skis and Other Personal Watercraft Toys?


Different companies offer different ways of bringing your personal watercraft with you. Often for an extra fee you can get a tow for your jet ski attached to the back of your houseboat. When looking to rent a houseboat always check the FAQ section of their website and see if they allow for you to take your jet ski with you. 


Having your jet ski is a great way to explore the water ways. If you don’t own a jet ski, you can rent one from the different marinas and take it with you. Most houseboats have the ability to attach a tow for your jet ski so while you’re renting the houseboat you might as well look into renting the jet ski as well. 


Where are Places to Rent Houseboats?



  • Lake Powell—UT



Lake Powell in Utah Colorado is known for its incredible scenery and beautiful lake. It has a lot of areas where you can rent houseboats and jet skis. In the summertime water temperature hovers around the 70’s and 80′ making a perfect temperature for swimming, kayaking and other watersports. Lake Powell has great beaches where you can keep your houseboat for the night. There isn’t much light pollution so the views at night are incredible and the stars shine bright. Lake Powell is one of the best places to rent your houseboat for the first time or for repeat renters. 



  • St. Johns River—FL



St. Johns River is an impressive body of water, it is a rare body of water the flows North. This leaves you with lots to explore while on your boat. Florida’s warm temperature makes this a great location to explore year-round. The water on this river is calm and relaxed so there isn’t a lot of work to be done while driving the houseboat around the area. With clear waters and amazing water temperature, St. Johns River is one of the best destinations to take your houseboat.



  • Kentucky Lake—KY



Kentucky lake in Kentucky is the largest artificial lake in the United States. There are many narrow areas in the lake, and this would be a great time to use a kayak or canoe to explore the places the houseboat can’t enter. If you are looking for something with a large volume of water, Lake Barley is just by where you can also do houseboat rentals. We recommend docking the houseboat at the end of the night at Kenlake state national park. 



  • Upper Mississippi River—WI



The Mississippi River is the largest rivers crossing eight states. The Upper Mississippi River is known for its size as well as its destination for house boaters that want to tour the area. They offer rentals for houseboats as well as jet ski and kayak rentals. The nice part of vacationing on The Upper Mississippi River is your ability to hop between different small towns. This gives you different types of towns and restaurants to try if you don’t feel like making your own meals every night. 


Best & Newest Companies to Rent From



  • Arkup



Arkup is a floating home, one of the most incredible work of art we have seen for house boats. Their original design helps them stand out from other types of houseboats we see. They really are floating homes. You can rent these houseboats and experience the luxurious amenities included. There is a tow where you can add greenspace or tow your water toys. These yachts mix homes are solar electric and can sleep eight guests. They also come with a crew on board. These luxurious houseboats will make you want to order one immediately when you board. They are designed with 270 panoramic views, so you get the perfect view from every part of the yacht. The yachts are available for daily, weekly and monthly rental.



  • Lake Powell



As stated above Lake Powell is one of the best places to rent a houseboat. They make the process very easy for travellers. This is why we also included it in our places to rent from.



  • Twin Anchors



Twin Anchors is known for their special houseboats, every single houseboat comes equipped with a slide, fireplace and a hot tub. Their incredible value and amazingly designed houseboats are perfect for large groups. They are located on Shuswap Lake in British Columbia. They run their boats from April through October. They also allow for you to pre-order your wood and ice for convenience. They have eight boats to choose from depending on the number of guests and size of your group. The views are incredible, and the boats are all unique, this is why Twin Anchors made it on our list of best companies.


When you’re thinking about your summer plans and looking into cottage rentals, look into renting a houseboat instead, the experience may change the way you look at summer vacations. Houseboats are a great way to explore a vast area all from your couch on a floating party. We think houseboats are the only way to vacation. What are you waiting for? Call Waterway Houseboats today.


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