Shasta - Photo Credit: Jody Jobe
Up for a splurge? Shasta Lake, largest reservoir in the state, is known as the houseboat capital of California, attracting guests from around the world, many of whom bring their dogs aboard with them. While houseboat vacations are not cheap, they’re certainly novel, and this year, with the lake full almost to the brim, is one of the best in a decade to give it a spin.
Think of a houseboat as a slow-moving RV that takes a long time to turn, and you get an idea of what driving one is like. Some rental companies require designated captains to have previous boating experience, although most will accept novices. At any rate, you’ll be put through an extensive orientation before shoving off.
Houseboat rental rates fluctuate according to season, size of the boat and amenities. Fuel and tax are extra, and hefty deposits required. Summer is the high season, with good deals along with good weather to be found in the shoulder seasons (September is considered an optimal time to go houseboating). Regardless, most companies require a two-or three night minimal rental.
As for the boats: They range from stripped-down models favorite by anglers to deluxe models with rooftop hot tubs, water slides, faux fireplaces, satellite TV and more.
So what happens with Fido when nature calls? Most houseboaters spend their nights tied up to shore, so it’s easy to hop out and take your pup for her morning constitutional. What if she can’t wait? Have pick-up bags and bucket at the ready and be prepared to sluice.
Shasta Lake isn’t the only place in the region to try out a houseboating vacation. You’ll also find dog-friendly rentals at Trinity Lake to the north of Shasta and Lake Oroville to the south.
Two website booking agencies representing multiple houseboat operators in California are houseboating.org and houseboats.com.
Photo Credit: Jody Jobe