Water, sun, stars, memories. A houseboating vacation provides them all, plus a lot of novelty for first-timers.
While Shasta Lake is justly known as the house-boating capital of California, it’s not the only body of water where you can herd your friends and family (including your pup, of course) aboard and say “anchors aweigh” on a slow-moving, waterborne vacation.
This year, there’s a new player on the Northern California scene: Suntex Marinas, a Texas-based marina company, recently took over operations at three marinas previously managed by Forever Resorts, adding variety to the state’s thriving houseboat scene.
They are dedicated to creating memorable experiences on the water and are now running operations at Trinity Resort & Marina on Trinity Lake in the Shasta Cascade and Lake Don Pedro Marina in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Tuolumne County, near Yosemite.
• Trinity Lake: This pristine body of water nestled in the Trinity Alps northwest of Redding is quiet, uncrowded and known for its many small arms, glassy coves and superb trout and bass fishing, as well as for houseboating. Dogs are welcome for a $100 per-pet fee on Trinity Resort & Marina’s 50- to 60-foot houseboats, as well as in lakeside cabins available to those able to settle in for 30 days or more. The largest houseboats sleep 10 and come with a long list of amenities including rooftop hot tub, wet bar and satellite TV. The smallest have two bedrooms with queen beds, furnished kitchens and sun canopies. Dog-friendly patio pontoon boats, fishing boats and deck boats also are available for rent, along with personal watercraft. Trinity Lake, California’s third-largest reservoir, has 145 miles of shoreline and sits at the top of the chain of lakes that feed the Central Valley Project, a system of dams and canals providing irrigation water to the San Joaquin Valley. A bonus: Bald eagles frequently are sighted here.
• Lake Don Pedro: Well off the beaten path for most tourists, Lake Don Pedro in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Tuolumne County is a camping, boating and fishing haven snugged into a canyon fed by the Tuolumne River and other streams. Lake Don Pedro Marina rents houseboats ranging in size from 50-foot models with two bedrooms, to the 70-foot Titanium and Silver models with four bedrooms, satellite dish, six-person hot tub, central air and much more. Fishing boats, deck boats, pontoon boats and personal watercraft are also available for rent here, and all but the paddle craft are dog-friendly for a fee. Sister resort Moccasin Point Marina doesn’t handle houseboats but has a full complement of other dog-friendly watercraft for rent.
Nuts and bolts: Don’t know what to expect when renting a houseboat? Take a look a Suntex’s “Houseboating 101” pages, which go over orientation, anchoring, safety systems, boating safety, what to bring and more.
Photo Credit: buckygail (CC)