Houseboat Vacation Destinations

Houseboat Vacations: 6 Top Destinations to Explore

Written by Diane Byrne
March 28, 2022

Warmer weather is spreading across the nation, which means more people want to hit the water. When it comes to boating holidays, your choices aren’t limited to traditional sailing yachts or motor yachts. In fact, houseboat vacations are a hit, too.

Houseboats can be permanently fixed to a dock or movable. Either way, they have all the amenities you want, from bedrooms to lounges and sometimes extras like barbecues. They’re in major metropolitan areas famous for floating homes as well as less-touristy coastal cities, too.

While houseboat rentals are available around the country, these six vacation destinations are among the top to explore:

  1. Lake Travis, Texas
  2. Chicago, Illinois
  3. Long Beach, California
  4. Naples, Florida
  5. Providence, Rhode Island
  6. Seattle, Washington

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1. Lake Travis, Texas

Houseboat Vacations in Lake Travis, Texas

About 20 miles outside of Austin, Lake Travis is the go-to houseboat destination in the state. It’s actually a reservoir on the Colorado River. Some people claim it’s the best boating in Texas, too.

Regardless, Lake Travis offers an abundance of water activities, making it incredibly popular. Therefore, reserve in advance. When you get there, you can enjoy the longest zipline in the state, a plethora of restaurants, and fabulous sunsets.

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2. Chicago, Illinois

Houseboat Vacations in Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City is great for boating overall due to Lake Michigan. The Chicago River is a tourist favorite, too, especially due to the architecture tours by boat. Some houseboat vacations in Chicago put you near downtown, so you’re in proximity to the plethora of museums, shops, sports stadiums, and more.

If you decide to go, read up on “Houseboat City.” This area, on the north branch of the Chicago River, had more than 100 houseboats during the Great Depression.

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3. Long Beach, California

Houseboat Vacations in Long Beach, California

Visitors flock to Long Beach to stay onboard the Queen Mary, a 1930s-era cruise ship that’s now a hotel. Why share with strangers, though, when you can have a boat all to yourself? Some of the options aren’t typical houseboat vacations; rather, they’re aboard traditional motor yachts.

Regardless, you get the advantage of hearing the gentle sound of the water. You’re further a stone’s throw from dozens of restaurants, shops, the famous aquarium, and yes, even the Queen Mary.

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4. Naples, Florida

Houseboat Vacations in Naples, Florida

Ritzy real estate often comes to mind with Naples. However, it has houseboats as well. In fact, Port of the Islands Marina was one of the first properties to offer houseboat rentals.

Wherever you rent, be sure to visit Naples’ Tin City, an open-air shopping district perfect for antiquing and picking up local original creations. Fun fact: Some of the Tin City buildings used to house fishing businesses prior to the 1970s.

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5. Providence, Rhode Island

Houseboat Vacations in Providence, Rhode Island

Historic Providence has homes from centuries past, plus a lively waterfront lifestyle. Choose from either typical houseboats or permanently docked motor yachts. To explore the city’s rivers and canals, rent a kayak.

When you go, don’t miss WaterFire Lightings, free events involving the river. Fires light nearly two-thirds of a mile of parks and public space along the water, while musicians and performers put on shows.

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6. Seattle, Washington

Houseboat Vacations in Seattle, Washington

No story about houseboat vacations is complete without encouraging you to get Sleepless in Seattle. Options abound on Lake Union, putting you within walking distance to downtown. If you’d rather ride, many of the owners provide bicycles as part of the package.

Additionally, several come with kayaks, so you can explore the lovely lake.

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