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Top Ten Best Houseboating Lakes in North America


Top Ten Best Houseboating Lakes & Why!!!

Interested in finding a great, well-known lake to go houseboating on? Look no further! Pick A Slip has located the top 10 best houseboating lakes in North America and we'll give you clear cut reasons as to why you should visit one of these lakes. We'll also include some links to recommended marinas on these various bodies of water as well as a map of exactly where each is located. Every lake listed below contains marinas along its' coast that have houseboat rentals (and many have other boat rentals available as well).

Over 3,500 boaters in North America have cast their vote for the BEST houseboating lake on the continent. Below is the breakdown of the top 10!

here we go... 

10. Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 8,300 acres
Maximum Depth: 200 feet
GPS Coordinates: 40°26′01″N 78°00′24″W

Raystown Lake is located in Central Pennsylvania and is the largest inland lake in the state. It is home to only a few marinas but is a very popular houseboating destination. The largest marina on the lake is 7 Points Marina and is located along west coast of the lake. As of 12/13/2012, they have 19 different houseboats (according to their website). Their boats accomodate 4 - 10 individuals (most sleep 8).

9. Lake of the Woods (Boundary Waters), Minnesota/ Ontario/ Manitoba

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 1,679 sq mi
Maximum Depth: 210 feet
GPS Coordinates: 49°14′59″N 94°45′03″W

Lake of the Woods is a lake occupying parts of the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba and the U.S. state of Minnesota at its' Northern tip. It separates a small land area of Minnesota from the rest of the United States. There are marinas located in various parts of the lake in the United States as well as in Canada. We have a list of all of the marinas on Lake of the Woods right here on Pick A Slip.

Lake of the Woods is fed by the Rainy River, Shoal Lake, Kakagi Lake and other smaller rivers. The lake drains into Lake Winnipeg which then flows north into the Hudson Bay.

Many boaters have made comments on the beauty of this lake and the countryside in which it resides. If you love nature and the outdoors, this might be a great destination for you. The water temperature is around 72 degrees in the summer months so make sure to plan your trip during the right time of the year!

8. Norris Lake, Tennessee

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 34,200 acres
Maximum Depth: 196 feet
GPS Coordinates: 36°17′25″N 83°55′02″W

Norris Lake is a beautiful reservoir located in Eastern Tennessee. This lake has it all! Several marinas offer rentals such as 80' widebody houseboats, floating cabins, runabout/ speedboats, pontoons, jetskis, and fishing boats. Many marinas on this lake do not offer houseboat rentals so make sure to plan your trip in advance so that there will be a boat available! One marina that we are well aware of on Norris Lake that has houseboat rentals is Flat Hollow Marina and their full profile is visible on Pick A Slip.

The lake is somewhat shaped like a horseshoe which makes it important to understand where the points of interest on the lake are if you're going to be renting a boat! While fishing at Norris Lake is great  no matter where you are on the lake, there are points of interest scattered all throughout the long, curvy lake. It is for this reason that we highly recommend renting a speedboat/ runabout if you are renting a houseboat. This will save lots of gas as well as make your return trip a breeze.

There are two marinas on Norris Lake that we highly recommend renting from! Sequoyah Marina and Flat Hollow Marina. Sequoyah Marina has high-quality boat rentals (excluding houseboats) and is highly sought after for boat slips. To our knowledge, they are currently at capacity. Flat Hollow Marina has enormous, top-quality houseboats for rent as well as floating cabins! If you're interested in a houseboat rental on Norris Lake, take our advice and rent your houseboat through Flat Hollow Marina then get a speedboat rental through Sequoyah Marina. You'll be able to travel the entire lake and see popular landmarks like caves (with freshwater pools inside), the Norris Dam, rope swings, and cliffs to jump from!

7. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 54,000 acres
Maximum Depth: 130 feet
GPS Coordinates: 38°12′N 92°38′W

Lake of the Ozarks is home to marinas all up and down its' curvy, snake-like coast. The lake is known for great fishing and boating. From houseboats to speedboats to ski boats to jetskis, Lake of the Ozarks has it all! With over 54,000 acres of water traveling in every which way, you're sure to find what you're looking for. The lake has several "party coves" where boaters meet up and enjoy eachothers company and music. You're better off asking the marina that you stay at about where the lake's points of interest are, since there are so many! Many marinas offer up houseboat rentals. If there are specific areas that you would like to visit, it is highly recommended that you locate a marina in that region or make sure to also rent a speedboat/ runabout. This lake is truly massive and you could spend a full week burning gas to get from one point to another!

Shuswap Lake, British Columbia

Lake Type: natural/ freshwater
Maximum Depth: 875 feet
GPS Coordinates: 50°56′00″N 119°17′00″W

Shuswap Lake is a lake located in south-central British Columbia, Canada. This lake drains through Little River into Little Shuswap Lake. Little Shuswap Lake is the source of the South Thompson River, a branch of the Thompson River. It is at the heart of a region known as the Shuswap Country or "the Shuswap", noted for its recreational lakeshore communities including the famous city of Salmon Arm (located in the Southeast portion of the lake).

Shuswap Lake consists of four arms, forming a shape reminiscent of the letter H. The four arms are called Salmon Arm (southwest), Anstey Arm (northeast), Seymour Arm (north), and the main lake (west). Shuswap Lake connects to Little Shuswap Lake via the Little River, which flows from the end of the west arm. Houseboaters rave about their time on this beautiful lake. The seclusion of this lake is something that many boaters have commented on. 

This lake is home to marinas that have houseboats that will blow your mind! Three-story houseboats that can accomodate up to 24 individuals. One of the more popular destinations on this lake is Twin Anchors Marina. They not only rent these beautiful houseboats, they manufacture them as well. If you've been houseboating on lakes such as Shasta Lake or Lake Powell, you have likely been on a Twin Anchors Houseboat. Twin Anchors Marina is located in Salmon Arm. 

Lake Champlain is also known to have a lake monster named 'Champ'! There have been several reports about this lake monster but no photographic evidence (imagine that!). If you can't catch it, you might have better luck going after one of the eighty-one species of fish that have been identified in Lake Champlain. About twenty of these species are actively sought by anglers, including large and smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, chain pickerel, brown bullhead, channel catfish, yellow perch, lake trout, landlocked Atlantic salmon, steelhead trout, brown trout, and rainbow smelt. The New York DEC and VT Fish and Wildlife Department stock rainbow, lake, and brown trout to Basin waters. The US Fish and Wildlife Service stocks young Alantic salmon. 


5. Shasta Lake, California

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 10.929 sq mi
Maximum Depth: 518 feet
GPS Coordinates: 40°40′41″N 122°22′12″W

Shasta Lake is located in Northern California and is world famous and highly sought after by boaters from all over! The lake is situated just north of Redding in the Shasta National Forest and the Trinity National Forest. This lake is very remote and offers an adundance of wildlife. It is common to see bald eagles, black bears, cougars, etc. in this portion of the state. If you're an outdoor enthusiast, you will fall in love with Shasta Lake.

Habitat for coldwater fish species within the lake is considered good; however, habitat for warmwater fish species is limited by the lack of cover, steep-sided banks, and water level fluctuations. Fish species within the lake are varied and abundant. Species known to inhabit the lake include: rainbow trout, brown trout, chinook salmon, largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, carp, Sacramento sucker, Sacramento squawfish, riffle sculpin, black fish, hardhead minnow, white sturgeon, channel squawfish, threadfin shad, white catfish, brown bullhead, golden shiner and green sunfish. The most commonly caught fish in this lake are Bass and Trout.

If you're interested in a marina to keep you vessel or interested in a houseboat rental, we highly recommend world-famous Jones Valley Resort! We have yet to come across a marina in North America that has a more prestigious line of houseboats to choose from. They have houseboats that can comfortably sleep up to 22 people! Houseboating on Shasta Lake is unlike anything you've done before. 


4. Lake Cumberland, Kentucky

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 102.4 sq mi
Maximum Depth: 197 feet
GPS Coordinates: 36°53′20″N 85°3′0″W

The primary reasons for its construction were a means for flood control and the production of hydroelectric power. Its shoreline measures 1,255 miles and the lake covers 65,530 acres at the maximum power pool elevation. The reservoir ranks 9th in the U.S. in size and it's dam (Wolf Creek Dam) is the 25th largest in the United States. The lake has become a major source of tourism and an economic engine for south-central Kentucky in large part due to its' houseboating! In recent years this lake has suffered from increasingly low lake levels, like most, but it is still a North American hotspot for houseboating.  As of September 2011 Lake Cumberland is approximately 50 feet below its normal level due to a crack in the dam that is supposed to be fixed in the upcoming years. Currently the lake is 20-30 feet below it's normal level. Sources say that the dam will be fixed by the 2013 holiday season by the US Army Corps of Engineers. A much needed Christmas present!

Most marinas on this lake offer houseboat rentals! You can view some of these marinas in the map below. Simply click the marker in order to pull up the facility's name. You can also view the marinas on this lake by clicking: marinas on Lake Cumberland!


3. Lake Powell, Arizona/ Utah

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 254 sq mi
Maximum Depth: 560 feet
GPS Coordinates: 36°56′10″N 111°29′03″W

Lake Powell in Northern Arizona/ Southern Utah is located within the Colorado plateau. Boaters travel near and far from all over the country to get to Lake Powell. This lake offers everything a boater could possibly be looking for on a lake. It has great fishing, unmatched views, houseboating, calm coves, and several marinas to choose from. Pick A Slip founders and staff highly recommend visiting Wahweap Marina in the Southwest region of the lake. We get boater inquiries from all over the country for rentals and boat slips on this world-famous lake. There are 9 total marinas on the lake with 3 only being accessible by boat. Waheap Marina is in the city of Page and is easily accessible.

2. Lake Mead, Nevada/ Arizona

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 247 sq mi
Maximum Depth: 489 feet
GPS Coordinates: 36.25°N 114.39°W

Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States in maximum water capacity. It is located on the Colorado River about 24 miles from the Las Veas Strip. The lake is located directly on the border of Nevada and Arizona. It is home to four marinas; Temple Bar Marina, Echo Bay Marina, Callville Bay Resort and Marina, Lake Mead Marina, and Las Vegas Boat Harbor.

Geography (information taken from Wikipedia)

There are nine main access points to the lake. On the west are three roads from the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Access from the northwest from Interstate 15 is through Valley of Fire State Park and the Moapa River Indian Reservation to the Overton arm of the lake.

The lake is divided into several bodies. The large body closest to the Hoover Dam is Boulder Basin. The narrow channel, which was once known as Boulder Canyon and is now known as The Narrows, connects Boulder Basin to Virgin Basin to the east. The Virgin River and Muddy River empty into the Overton Arm, which is connected to the northern part of the Virgin Basin. The next basin to the east is Temple Basin, and following that is Gregg Basin, which is connected to the Temple Basin by the Virgin Canyon. When the lake levels are high enough, a section of the lake farther upstream from the Gregg Basin is flooded, which includes Grand Wash Bay and the Pearce Ferry Bay and launch ramp. In addition, there are two tiny basins, the Muddy River Inlet and the Virgin River Basin, that are flooded when the lake is high enough where these two rivers flow into the lake. As of now, however, these basins remain dry.

Jagged mountain ranges surround the lake, offering somewhat of a startling but beautiful backdrop, especially at sunset. There are two mountain ranges within view of the Boulder Basin, the River Mountains, oriented north-west to south-east and the Muddy Mountains, oriented west to north-east. From the Virgin Basin, you can view the majestic Bonelli Peak towards the east.

This lake is well known for luxury houseboats and beautiful canyon scenery. All of the marinas on this lake have the ability to exceed your expectations and have you coming back for more! 

1. Dale Hollow Lake, Tennessee/ Kentucky

Lake Type: reservoir
Surface Area: 27,700 acres
Maximum Depth: 130 feet
GPS Coordinates: 36.537847°N 85.451317°W

Aaaaaand here it is!!! Dale Hollow Lake has been voted the BEST houseboating lake on the continent by boaters just like you! Houseboating on Dale Hollow Lake is something you'll never forget. Just about every marina offers houseboat rentals, making the lake a big social party. The most common time to rent a boat is during the weekend although you are guaranteed to find other houseboaters enjoying the lake during the week.

If you enjoy watersports and fishing you'll feel right at home! Its' deep coves are perfect for skiiers and wakeboarders looking for 'glassy' calm waters to cut through. The lake is also well known as a prime location for smallmouth bass fishing, currently holding the world record for the largest such fish ever taken (11 lb., 15 oz).

There are two marinas that we highly recommend renting your houseboat through, Sunset Marina and Mitchell Creek Marina. You'll find their service fantastic and their boats prestine. Is there a better way to enjoy your summer than cruising the mountains of Tennessee? Exactly right... No!

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