Rent A Floating Hotel

When you feel the need for a stress-free place to hang out, try vacationing on a houseboat – a floating hotel where waterfront views are guaranteed.

Living on the lake for an extended vacation or just a few days is perfect for families with children. Kids and their parents, love to splash into refreshing water from the on-deck slide, dive off the back-end swim platform or watch wildlife scamper on the shore during early morning or evening hours.

J. T. Swanson, now living in San Francisco, grew up in Redding and says his wife and 4-year-old son love to sneak up to Shasta Lake and spend time on a houseboat whenever they can. “It’s only a few hours away but feels like we have traveled to paradise – with scenery like the mountains and starry skies. It’s the perfect trip for all ages,” Swanson says.

An Ideal Getaway

The possibilities are endless for relaxing and enjoying life with family and friends. Leaving distractions of everyday life on shore means kids, parents and grandparents have opportunities to spend more quality time together. That makes houseboating a great choice for reunions or holidays that include multiple age groups.

Anna Harkrader from Shasta Marina at Packers Bay says her houseboat renters frequently express how much they enjoyed everyone in the family being together while vacationing on the lake. The comment she hears most from renters is, “Houseboating was the best vacation ever! The kids didn’t take off on their own, and we all spent time together, cooking, playing games and just floating.”     

Shasta Lake near Redding claims the title “Houseboat Capital of the World” because there are more than 370 miles of shoreline encompassing smooth coves where boats can easily anchor. There’s plenty of room to maneuver on this large, 30,000-acre lake filled with deep azure water. You can cast a fishing line in hopes of catching dinner (bass, crappie, catfish and sturgeon are plentiful) and stargaze after dark with no city lights to interfere.

The largest reservoir in California, with depths reaching 500 feet at the dam, Shasta Lake is surrounded by breathtaking mountains and spectacular natural scenery. What could be more beautiful than viewing Mount Shasta’s perennially snowcapped peak in the distance from your floating resort?

Located within the boundaries of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, which encompasses more than 2.2 million acres, the lake is full this year which makes it especially inviting. The area’s temperate climate promises pleasant weather during many months of the year, and even if air temperatures rise to three digits, the water stays a comfortable 78 degrees. It’s the perfect setting for a fun and relaxing houseboat getaway.

In a time of increased security concerns, houseboat vacations make a lot of sense. You can be away from highly populated areas, on your own, and totally happy on your all-inclusive, environmentally friendly floating resort. You may also have the opportunity to go ashore at locations that might be accessible only from the water, making this a great opportunity for the family to wander and explore nature in new ways.

Choosing What Works For You

Houseboats come in a variety of sizes that sleep from six to 16 people. Modern houseboats come equipped with all the amenities you expect in a vacation accommodation: full baths, lots of storage, clothes dryer, fully furnished kitchen, hot tubs and plentiful outdoor furniture for lounging. Although many houseboats have flat screen televisions and DVD players, you probably won’t want to stare at a screen when there’s so much natural beauty to enjoy outside.

Houseboating is most popular during the summer months. You may need to plan a month or two in advance to find the size and type of houseboat rental that best fits your needs. Houseboats are even available as timeshare options, if you decide this is a style of getaway you want to repeat.

Numerous commercial marinas and resorts offer houseboat rentals on Shasta Lake with rates varying according to location, size of boat and season.  Most marinas will provide instructions and staff to contact in case you have questions while you are on the water, but the floating hotels are surprisingly easy to operate.

Rentals from marinas on Shasta Lake range from basic to comfortable, or downright luxurious models. Although rates may seem high at first glance, you can rent a boat large enough to accommodate several families or friends. More people means more fun, and sharing expenses makes houseboating an affordable vacation option.

Rates on Shasta Lake are among the most reasonable in the country for houseboat rentals. For example: From Shasta Marina at Packers Bay, you can rent The Horizon, which sleeps 14, for $5250 for five nights in summer; and $2325 in winter. Holiday Harbor on the lake offers the Premiere, a houseboat that sleeps 10, for $1591 for three nights in the summer; and $861 in their off-season.

For more information on houseboating on Shasta Lake, visit these websites:,, and  

Beverly Burmeier
About Beverly Burmeier

Beverly Burmeier thinks playing games with her grandchildren is way more fun than watching them bury their noses in electronics. Plus it reminds her of time spent playing games with their parents when they were growing up.

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