When Is The Best Time Of Year To Rent A Houseboat?


If you like to take vacations with family and friends, there is nothing better than renting a houseboat on your favorite lake. Having a houseboat is often compared to having a motorhome out on the lake. There are some houseboats that can multiple levels, and can sleep a ton of people, and sometimes even come with water slides and bbq’s. It is great fun, especially if anyone has a boat or wave runners that you can tie up to, and are also super fun to fish off of. While they are big and bulky, they can maneuver into small channels where you can drop anchor and sleep for the night.

When is the best time to rent a houseboat? For most lakes, especially in the US, late Spring, or the beginning of Fall is the best time to rent a houseboat. During these two times of year, you will get away from the crowds of people, and will save money on off-season pricing if you find the right spot. The weather will not be extremely hot, or cold. Heavy boating season starts in early Summer, so you will beat the crowds of people at the lake and will have your choice of prime spots on the lake.

How Fast Do Houseboats Go?

If you have been on a houseboat, there is one thing you know, they are not super fast. Houseboats are not meant to water ski or wakeboard behind, and typically are not meant to get you from one side of the lake to the other fast. A typical 32 foot houseboat will travel around 6-7 knots which is around 8mph. I know that might seem slow to you, but mph on water feels a lot different than it does on the street, so keep that in mind before you dismiss a houseboat. Houseboats are meant to cruise and relax, and since they have a lot more on, and in them, motoring fast is dangerous, and could cause a lot of damage, so watch out for wakes from other boats.

When Is The Cheapest Time To Rent A Houseboat?

If you are looking for a deal, you are going to have your best pricing for a houseboat in the Winter (if its possible), or early Spring. This is because the water is usually extremely cold, and no one is going to want to go for a swim. This might not be the case for people who live in places like Southern California, but if you live in the mountains like me, Lake Shasta is not a place to houseboat in December. If you are going just to get away and fish this could be the perfect time for you, as long as the lake is not frozen over. Most lakes will pull their rental houseboats off the lake right before winter, so always call and check.

When Is Most Expensive Time To Rent A Houseboat?

If money is no problem for you, and you just want to get away, June, July, and August are going to be the most expensive time to rent a houseboat. The great part about this is that you are on the lake in the Summer, and you can swim, boat, bbq, and all the other fun stuff that you want to do in the summertime. The major drawback is that you will be out on the lake with all the other boats that want to get away. This can cause some serious issues if there are too many people on the lake, or if all the ski boats are making big wakes on the lake. Most anglers will hit the lake at 5-6 in the morning, and be off the lake by 1pm to avoid congestion.

What To Expect When Trying To Rent One

So, I haven’t scared you off and you still really want to rent a boat (great choice!), here are somethings that you are going to have to fill out or provide before you can board your houseboat for the week.

Credit App: Some rental places make you fill out a credit app to know you are not a person that cannot afford to replace anything that breaks. This is usually for people wanting to rent a houseboat for more than a few weeks during the summer.

Insurance: Boat insurance is a MUST. I have watched people sink boats with no insurance and its expensive. Almost all (smart) rental companies will make you buy insurance for the houseboat, but will normally have their own policy, so you dont always have to worry about using your own.

Deposit: A deposit is very typical in almost all rental cases. This is so that if something happens and you cannot pay or you cancel, they get some of their money. A boat thats not rented is no income for the lake, and they want to make money. Be prepared pay at least $1500 or more depending on how long you want to rent it for.

Contract: There will always be some sort of rental contract that you will have to sign stating that the boat was in good condition when you got it, and if you break something or try to cancel, your deposit is non-refundable. Always do a thorough walk around the houseboat before you sign that contract because if you miss a dent or scratch, you could be liable for it.

How much Fuel Does A Houseboat Use?

Houseboats are big floating motorhomes, and are extremely heavy, so they use a lot of fuel to get around. On average, a houseboat will get around 6-7 miles per gallon on the water depending on how you drive. They will normally have a 30 or more gallon gas tank on them, but be careful because the fuel at the dock is extremely expensive, and in California, I have seen it well over $7-10 dollars a gallon on some lakes. Plan your trip, and save out extra money for gas if you plan to motor around the whole lake. If you find a great spot on the lake, stay there for a few days and save some money.

Is It Legal To Live On A Houseboat?

While technically not illegal to live on your houseboat, there are some considerations that you must look at before you move into one. Most houseboats have to be taken off the slip or dock at the end of the year, unless you find a place that lets you keep it in the slip all year round. The other drawback is that you cannot have an address on a houseboat, so you will most likely have to get a P.O. Box if you want to keep getting your mail. There are places in the US that do have docked houseboats you can buy and live on all year round, but do your homework.

Can A Houseboat Travel On The Ocean?

Unfortunately, houseboats were not made to take out on the ocean for very long. While you might find some slips or docs in a bay, you should not take your houseboat on the ocean, especially in rough seas. Houseboats are built to motor slowly, and to have fun on, not take on the high seas for long voyages. You will most likely run into a wave that breaks walls or the roof of you boat.

Final Thoughts

Houseboats are a ton of fun, and if you can find the right deal, and the right amount of people to split the rent on, can be reasonably priced for a fun week at the lake. Remember not to try and push your houseboat like a ski boat, stay off the busy parts of the lake during the day, and do not expect to get anywhere fast, and you will have a great time out on the lake.

Related Topics

What is the best time of year to visit Lake Powell?

When is the best time to visit lake Powell? Early Summer is the best time to visit because it is not extremely hot or busy. You will have the best chance of getting a great spot, and will not have to deal with huge crowds. Late Summer is said to be the worst time because it can be extremely hot, and miserable.

Do Houseboats Have WiFi?

Do houseboats have WIFI? Typically, no, houseboats are not equipped with wireless internet because they are normally in an area where cellular or wireless internet is not the best, and to keep coverage around the lake would be nearly impossible. Docks however will usually have some sort of WIFI you can connect to, or if you have good cell service, you can use your personal hotspot, but be aware you might be charged if you go over your data plan limit.

Terry Minton

I am the owner of Fast Cast Rods. I live in the mountains of Northern California where I love to be outdoors hunting, fishing, camping and hiking with my wife and three awesome kids.

Recent Posts