Summer means fun in the sun and water. One of the best ways to enjoy both is houseboating.
A vacation afloat offers freedom, fun and flexibility. Living on a lake is a special way to see and enjoy the beautiful panoramas of the country. Every point of the compass offers a new vista. The natural beauty of a lake setting is literally at your doorstep.
Traveling the waterways of the Inland Northwest, you can see places from a different perspective than from highways. You can swim, dive and snorkel at your leisure. You determine your pace and itinerary. There are no cars honking or passing when you want to stop and photograph a scenic vista or wildlife. The gentle rocking and soft slapping of waves on the hull evoke a soothing, rhythmic tone for serenity and slumber.
Houseboating gives you lots of choices. You can visit remote inlets and see pristine landscapes and wildlife. When you’re anchored in an isolated cove in the evening, bright stars seem to leap out of the sky.
When you want to return to civilization, you can dock at marinas to visit shops, wineries, orchards and restaurants.
Houseboat rental fees vary widely, depending on size, type of boat and desired amenities. The cabin interiors are like vacation condominiums, and all the conveniences of home are at your disposal. Barbecue grills, hot tubs and water slides are common accessories on most houseboats.
Rental rates are dependent on the seasons, with peak rates typically from mid-June to mid-September. Midweek rates are cheaper than weekends and holidays. Most rental companies also can provide skiffs, power boats for water skiing and jet skis for an additional charge.
Lake Roosevelt, Wash.
Lake Roosevelt is within Coulee Dam National Recreation Area. Boaters can cruise around 630 miles of shoreline and willl find secluded beaches and coves.
Typical peak-season rental rates start at about $1,470 for a weekend for boats that can accommodate up to 10 people. Weekly rates start at $2,295.
Roosevelt Recreational Enterprises in Grand Coulee, (800) 648-LAKE or (509) 633-0640.
Lake Roosevelt Resorts and Marinas in Kettle Falls, (800) 635-7585 (from Washington, Oregon or Idaho) or (509) 738-6121.
Shuswap Lake, British Columbia
Shuswap Lake has over 1,000 miles of scenic shoreline contained in its four arms - Seymour Arm, Anstey Arm, Salmon Arm and Shuswap Arm. Each arm offers scenic panoramas, plenty of isolation and opportunities to visit historic sites. There are nine rental companies in Sicamous, which is the houseboating capital of the Inland Northwest.
Most companies on Shuswap Lake operate in three seasons. The low-season may run from April through June 15. The mid-season is often the last half of June and the first week of September. The high-season period is usually July and August. The average listed prices are based on 10-passenger boats (without hot tub), are in approximate U.S. dollar equivalents and include applicable taxes (7 percent GST and 7 percent provincial sales tax). A low-season, four-day midweek rental starts at about $468. A low-season, three-day weekend getaway starts at about $548. A full week starts at about $772.
Admiral Houseboats, (604) 836-4611 (call collect).
Bluewater Houseboat Rentals, (800) 663-4024 or (604) 836-2255.
Channel Cats Houseboat Rentals, (800) 268-9138 (in Canada) or (604) 836-2658 (outside Canada).
Portside Houseboat Rentals, (800) 663-4020 (in Canada) or (604) 836-3339 (outside Canada).
Salmon Arm Bay Houseboat Vacations, (800) 665-7782.
Sun ‘n’ Fun Houseboat Vacations, (800) 663-4028 (from Canada) or (604) 836-2282.
Three Buoys Houseboat Vacations, (800) 663-2333 (from Canada) or (604) 836-2403.
Twin Anchors Houseboat Rentals, (800) 663-4026 (from Canada) or (604) 836- 2450.
Waterway Houseboat Vacations, (800) 663-4022.
The High Country Tourism Association can provide more information on vacation ideas and recreational opportunities. Call (604) 372-7770.
Kootenay Lake, British Columbia
The deep blue waters of Kootenay Lake, set against the snowcapped Selkirk and Purcell mountains, make for a picturesque houseboating location. The 72-mile-long lake offers lots of lakeside fun and jumping-off spots for exploring the rugged shoreline. The lake is famous for its Gerrard trout fishery.
Kaslo Shipyard Charters (604) 353-2686 in Kaslo is the only rental company on Kootenay Lake. It has four boats. Each sleeps between four and eight persons. Before July 1, the weekend (two nights and three days) rate starts at about $343 (approximate U.S. dollars). The company’s four boats are rented on a weekly basis only during July and August. The weekly rate starts at about $840.
The Kootenay Country Tourist Association can provide more information on vacation ideas and recreational opportunities. (604) 352-6033.