House Boating at Lake Powell
Have you ever been house boating? I have not. We decided to try it! I love taking the family on active vacations where there are new sites to see and lots of activity! Even better for me if I'm near water! After a week on the House Boat, I knew I had to share all that I learned. The learning curve for house boating is very steep. Not an easy relaxing vaction 100% of the time that's for sure.
Exited to share my House Boating Adventure with you!
We decided to visit Lake Powell in Arizona. We love warm weather and water! The only Lake I'd ever visited was Lake Tahoe when I was a little girl. I remember my father taking us on a fishing boat and I caught a Rainbow Trout that my mother made us for dinner.
We did a road trip from Southern California while visiting my mother aka Mom Tom as the cast of Kiana's Flex Appeal named her. We took our dogs with us since I don't like leaving them at a kennel for boarding. After all, they're part of the family too! The drive was beautiful. I love road trips, so many things to see. We stopped in Zion which I highly recommend, it's a quaint town full of energy, beautiful hiking trails and outdoor fun. Lots of interesting towns to see on the way.
Below are some interesting sites along the drive.
Choosing the House Boat
We rented directly from Lake Powell Marina. They had a great selection of houseboats. Just call them or look online to pick the size houseboat you want. We planned on bringing our 2 rescue dogs, Kona and Hula, so our choices of houseboats were limited. The houseboat I really wanted to rent was the brand new houseboat yacht, but they didn't allow dogs. Our dogs are a big part of our family. And as you can see from the image below, I mean BIG 🙂 Kona is a rescue dog, part lab / shepard / chow. Love him sooooooo much 🙂
We chose the 75' deluxe houseboat that they listed as "sleeps 16." I like my space so I think sleeps 6 is more realistic. The state rooms are small & have 2 beds per room, mattresses on the top deck for people to sleep open air. There are options for people to sleep on the pull out sofa in the middle of the kitchen / living area - but I don't like that because if I get up before everyone else (which I always do) to have breakfast someone would be sleeping there.
Before we left California, I called the House Boating Rental Company at Lake Powell, and they told me we could check in anytime after 10 am. This is important since you want to get their early and spend the whole day on the Lake, it's not like a hotel that you check in late afternoon. When we got there to get our boat and check in we were told our boat was not ready yet!? WTH? We waited 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours.... Asked again. Keep in mind we have 2 big dogs, it's 90º, we aren't happy campers. "The House Boat is Not ready yet?!" We were told the boat had not returned yet and when it did get back to the docks, it still had to be cleaned. As you can imagine I was furious having driven so far to get their by 10am so we could spend the day on the lake. It wasn't until 3pm that we were told "oops, our boat was there all along, no one knew." Long story short, they refunded us for that day since it was too late for us to leave the dock. They do not allow you to drive the boat after dark, it's too dangerous with hidden rocks that can sink your boat. Moving on...
After waiting so long, it was sunset by the time we got to board the boat. We slept at the dock and left early the next morning. The spectacular sunset made me feel better.
It was very helpful that the marina has a bellman type service to take your bags & boards from the car to the boat.
Ready to go! We're off!
Rated on a scale of 1 (low) – 5 (high)
Views! Views! Views! Sunsets! Skyline! Sunshine! Clear Water! Beautiful Rocks!
My favorite part of the trip was the scenery! Being a beach girl, seeing the gigantic rocks and beautiful wide open space was amazing! No palm trees but lots of huge rocks and endless blue pristine water! Everyday was a spectacular and different sky line! Clouds were so pretty with the sunshine!
The view goes on and on...
The sky, lake and view is beautifully different every minute... Nightly beach campfires with the bright moon on the lake. so quiet. i'm used to the sounds of the ocean waves. so different.
SUP: (Stand Up Paddle boarding)
My favorite thing to do while on the lake was SUP every morning when the water was still. I love being active first thing in the morning, it just starts the day off right! SUP is Stand Up Paddle boarding. It's so relaxing to be outdoors, and it's a great workout for your back, arms, abs, core and stabilization muscles.
Hula loved it too!
Kona would rather stay inside on the couch or table? He's so funny, I put a beach towel on the table and he thought it was for him!? Silly Kona. Kona is one of our 2 rescue dogs. He's huge! He needs his own room!
Hiking, Walking, Fishing
It was very hot, so we would hike early in the morning. And yes, I hike in a bikini - it was over 90º. Loved it! Make sure to bring a hat and lots of sunscreen.
Hula loved swimming while we hiked. I loved all the textures and found some drift wood to add to my collection.
The kids loved collecting sea shells. The best souveniers are ones you find. Kiana Jr. and I had a wall sit contest .
Most of the house boats have a slide on the back which Kiana jr loved! Remember that when you are parked on the beach, the back of the boat could be very shallow, have sharp rocks or hard sand. Check it first beforehand. We anchored at 3 different beaches during out stay, some were very shallow, others super soft sand, others sharp rocks.
If you plan to fish, get a fishing license by calling the number they give you. We were told only adults needed a fishing license.
My husband and kids loved fishing. Kiana Jr. caught a few! Not sure if Dennis caught that tiny fish or if it's his bait? lol.
Water Skiing & Water Toys
We brought a little speed boat, water skis and floats to pull the kids. If you plan on bringing your own boat, remember it adds travel time since you cannot drive as fast as you can without towing the boat. They do rent boats, wave runners etc on the Lake for appx $650 per day.
Overall, it was relaxing but there is much to houseboating than we anticipated. It's not as easy as you think, after all you are controlling a 75' vessel on a lake filled with speed boats, wave runners, some crazy vacationers! It's fun but could have been much more relaxing with a few key changes. I am sharing my travel journal with you because I want to not only share our fun, but I also want to give you very helpful recommendations & insight should you decide to rent a house boat.
House boating has extremes. One minute you're extremely relaxed. The next minute you're extremely stressed out. The stress was mainly due to the fact the houseboat rental instructor failed to inform us of "red flag wind" warnings AND what to do when these incredibly super strong winds hit. That and dear hubby didn't bury the anchors correctly and both anchors pulled out causing our boat to be pushed sideways tipping on the beach in the wind and current.
One minute your super relaxed. The next minute your super stressed.
Use common sense. May boaters anchored at the base of an area that looked (to me) like an avalanche caused the rock slide. Hm. I would NOT anchor there. Look for a cove to protect you from the random super strong wind, current.
Tip #1 : Record the House Boat Instruction
I strongly advise recording the entire walk through from the instructor on your phone. I am so glad I did this. We referred to the video many times during our week stay. There are many important things they go through very very fast such as: how and when to turn on the generator, how to secure the boat with the anchors, how to switch from the main interior helm to the top deck, how to park, etc. The instruction is a fast 45 minutes that covers the entire boat and the control panel. Because everyone is anxious to get going, it would be difficult to remember everything they tell you so I highly recommend to record the instruction on your iPhone. This will eliminate a great deal of stress trying to remember what they told you when you're in the middle of the lake.
Driving the House Boat: 5
I loved driving the House Boat. I grew up around boats and my parents always had boats, so I was Captain Kiana 🙂 On a house boat, you can control the boat from 2 locations: the interior helm and the upper deck. You cannot park the boat from the upper deck. Upper deck is only for cruising. I recommend having someone who is comfortable driving boats with you. It would be a challenge to control such a large vessel, and especially park on the docks if you've never driven a boat. It's also really important to understand how the propellers work, trimming (raising them in shallow waters), going in reverse and keeping the boat steady when the anchors are being secured in Y formation. There is alot to know.
My favorite was the Upper Deck since I could seen everything and get a suntan at the same time! It was beautiful from the top, we brought drinks and snacks up there and had music while enjoying the amazing views.
Upper Deck Helm below. Feet drivin 🙂
Eating Healthfully: 5
I love cooking and making healthy foods for my family. I have only been camping once (I had a disclaimer in our wedding vows: Kiana Don't Camp 🙂 so this was my first experience cooking in such a small kitchen with very limited space. The meals I planned actually worked out really well. I recommend asking the houseboat rental company how many refrigerators are on the houseboat, ours had 2.
For a list of the healthy meals I made, click here. The key thing to remember is that you need to have everything with you as there aren't any stores once you're on the lake. There is one small mini mart type store at the marina but it only has processed foods at 10x the price. I recommend buying your groceries in town once you get to Lake Powell, otherwise you have to put everything in coolers for the drive there. If you choose to shop at home, freeze things so it keeps your coolers colder without needing as much ice. Buy more food & drinks than you think you'll need. Better to have more than not enough. Our house boat had a filtered water dispenser for drinking water and cooking. Otherwise you'd have to buy alot of bottled water. The tap water is lake water!? Ew.
Family Time: 5
I loved the fact that you don't have much cell reception or cable television on the Lake. This meant we had a great deal more family interaction, playing games, laughing, telling stories by the fire and actually talking to each other!? Imagine that!
There was a full moon one night that lit up the sky!
Would I rent a House Boat again? YES! But next time we will be much more knowledgeable! Hope these tips help you! XO Kiana Happy Fit Family Travels!