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Lake Powell: Whatever Floats Your Houseboat

Life's a beach when you take a houseboat vacation to Lake Powell.

By Karli Davis
February 01, 2024

This article is sponsored by Lake Powell Resorts & Marina Houseboat Rentals

Glen Canyon Daaaaammm, Lake Powell is fun. Technically it’s a reservoir, a pseudo-lake, a mock-pond, but it’s the best place to explore 2,000 miles of shoreline, red-rock canyons and towering cliffs as high as the Cliffs of Insanity. Inconceivable! 

And how does one best explore Lake Powell, hmm? By bird? By plane? No, by houseboating! Where you’ll hear the gentle sounds of “clip, clip” and “vrr, vrr” as folks snap their wakeboard bindings, rev their Ski-Doo and cruise on the glassiest waters out west. Even night owls will become day larks if it means they get first dibs on those sunrise butters. 

You’ll get to explore all the nooks and crannies of Lake Powell when you travel, camp, eat, drink and ultimately retreat by houseboat. If you’re unsure of the who, what, where, when, why and hows of a trip like this, Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas will get you set up with a houseboat rental and make sure your crew is “All aboard!” before sending you off. 

Who

Come one, come all! Lake Powell is a super popular destination for every type of group you can imagine. Boat sizes can fit up to 16 people and be selected based on the type of vacation you desire:

  • Bachelor or bachelorette parties centered around lounging on floating lily pads and talking wedding logistics 
  • Couples getaways centered around stargazing and romantic beach dinners 
  • Friends-that-just-like-to-party trips with an emphasis on cannonball competitions 
  • Family vacations with arm floaties galore 


Locals tip: if this is your first family vacation on a Lake Powell houseboat rental, you’ll get to join the ranks of other Utah families that have their holiday photo taken from a speed boat in front of Lake Powell’s orange cliffs. Bonus points if someone’s doing a backflip off the boat in the pic! (Probably to get out of having to pose for a family photo.)

What

What the heck is a houseboat vacation and what do you even do on a houseboat? A houseboat is like a tiny home, but with rudders. It’s like camping, but smoother sailing. 

Recover from water skiing on an indoor couch, snooze in a cushy queen-sized bed, grill some kebabs in a fully equipped kitchen, have a rooftop dance party, launch yourself into the lake from the waterslide, take 4,792 pictures of Lake Powell’s sunset scenery. All in a day’s work!

You can anchor your private houseboat rental on a remote beach, where your only neighbors will be lizards and ravens and your backyard is miles of Jurassic-era sandstone. You’ll get to sail the desert seas, even if you’ve never sailed before. 

Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas have experts to teach you how to maneuver a houseboat if you’re a landlubber learning a new trade. You don’t need any boating experience or a captain’s license, but by all means, call yourself captain the whole trip. In fact, demand it. The boats may only move 10 mph or less, but with your black and white captain's hat, you’ll look as fast as an orca chasing a yacht. 

They’ll offer plenty of instructions and advice to make the trip as easy as possible for you. They also offer speedboat and other watersport rentals that can easily be pulled behind your houseboat rental. Ahoy! 

Where

Where do you go to get started? You can start your houseboat vacation from two different marinas. Each provides different houseboats, and each is nearby different landmarks, so keep that in mind when planning your trip. They have a houseboat comparison tool to help you filter your options by location, boat length or even kitchen size. 

Wahweap Marina in Page, Arizona, is good if you’re coming from southern Utah, Arizona or Nevada. You’ll be close to Lone Rock Beach or a quick drive to Antelope Canyon in Arizona. Bullfrog Marina in Bullfrog, Utah, is good if you’re coming from northern Utah or Colorado. You’re near Glen Canyon Recreation Area or you can boat across to Hall’s Crossing to visit Hole in the Rock Trail.

When

When should you go? There’s no better time than now! When looking for a houseboat to rent, we recommend looking a few months out, just to be sure you get exactly what you want.  

There’s an off-season or peak-season, both having plenty of activities to do. Off-season, from late August to early June, can be cool as a cucumber and less swim-centric. This is a great time to prioritize relaxation, kayaking or go hiking to see Ancestral Puebloan ruins in one of the canyons

Peak-season, from early June to late August and significantly toastier. This is prime watersport season and the best advice is to put on more than one layer of sunscreen, even if you think you’ve got enough.  

Prices differ between seasons and range from $2,000 to $12,000. If you’re still struggling with parallel parking, pick the smallest boat size at 46 feet long. If it’s a family affair with in-laws, meemaws and peepaws, you’re gonna need a bigger boat! Perfect scenario for the 75-footer. So whether it’s just you and your boo or a battalion of beachgoers, there is a houseboat rental for the occasion. 

Why

Why choose a houseboat instead of regular camping? Because a houseboat vacation is comfortable and adventurous at the same time. You’re the epitome of socially distanced yet still impressively convenienced. A houseboat rental can be used as your home base for the entire trip. Shore up in a remote canyon, tie off, anchor down and stay a week or two.

During the day, take your powerboat rental to explore one of the other 96 canyons or try watersports like surfing behind the boat. Who cares if you get rag-dolled when you fall? It’s a Lake Powell right of passage. Or how about dragging the kiddos behind the boat on an inflatable donut while you blast “Another One Bites the Dust?” Revenge for that noisy car ride never tasted so sweet. 

You get to play in nature all day, then go back to a cozy bed and an abode with a commode. You’ll hear yipping coyotes and keee-aaaahing hawks in the distance, but your little docked domicile keeps you feeling secure. You’ll be in the backcountry without being stuck eating dehydrated backcountry meals all week. 

How (to Maximize Fun)

When perusing Lake Powell houseboat rentals, you can choose a boat based on what activities you want to do. Some houseboats have more amenities than others, lending for more long-term comfort. Some have a large flat screen TV, some have hot tubs, some have both indoor and outdoor dining areas. All provide a way for you to have the most fun possible on Lake Powell.  

If you’re unsure what activities to try while living at Lake Powell, there are itinerary options with activities added based on how long you’re staying and which Marina you started from. But there’s so much to see and do on Lake Powell, it’s hard to know which activities to start with.

Be sure you first reserve a powerboat or jet ski to optimize your activity time. Reserve some water toy rentals like wakeboards, knee boards, lily pads, kayaks or SUPs. Pack any fishing gear you own, because fishing is a must on the lake. It has plenty of bass and bluegills, so you may be not only captain of the trip, but head chef of the trip!

Once you’ve found your houseboat camp spot, you’re not going to want to leave. And since you’re going to be remote for an extended period of time, plan your packing list accordingly. And guess what, you’ll probably need to pack it all! Groceries, all six swimsuits you own or any snorkeling gear you think you’ll need.

There are a couple ways to meal plan to be sure you have enough food. There’s the do-it-yourself meal plans where you bring every food item for the entire stay. If using Wahweap Marina, you can have groceries delivered throughout your trip. 

There are some side hikes you won’t want to miss. Take the time to visit Rainbow Bridge National Monument, the largest natural bridge in the world. You can wade by the shore or swim in the deepest parts of the lake. At its fullest, Lake Powell can be around 500 feet deep! If you have thalassophobia, don’t worry, all houseboat rentals come with life vests to keep you safe. 

Ready to say “Aye, Aye?” Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas are ready to help you plan the perfect houseboat vacation. 

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Photo gallery: Lake Powell Resorts & Marina Houseboat Rentals | Photo Gallery
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Lake Powell Resorts & Marina Houseboat Rentals | Photo Gallery | 1 - The 50ft Nomad boat accommodates up to 10 people.
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The 50ft Nomad boat accommodates up to 10 people.

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