Dreaming of a stay on the water?
What’s better than an ocean, lake, or riverfront view? How about a view from ON the ocean, lake, or river? These 13 “decked out” floating homes and houseboats across America play host to guests looking for a true waterfront. From Florida to California, these are the best floating homes to rent and book a night’s stay.
Top Picks for You
The Mirage II
WHERE: Lake Shasta, California
Spending time on the Mirage II, an 840-square-foot houseboat with six bedrooms sleeping up to 16 people, is bound to be a great time. Three staterooms offer double beds (the two rear staterooms even have private entrances from the rear deck), and there are two private lofts with double beds accessible via the stairwell. There is even a hidden cubby room with a double bed. Visitors will find a nautical-inspired interior decorated in light wood and soft blue hues with large windows, creating a feeling of openness and extra space. Guests will find upscale amenities like stainless steel appliances and a large countertop island in the kitchen. There are two stairways up to the rooftop, which features a slide and a hardtop canopy to protect sunbathers. There’s also an eight-person hot tub and a wet bar with a view.
A Fisherman's Retreat
The one-bedroom, one-bed “Fisherman’s Retreat” sleeps four guests on a large houseboat in the waters of Scipio Creek and features a heartwarming backstory. Back in the day, Captain Jr. Holland built the vacation home to instill some romantic fishing time into weekends with his wife. Today, it’s docked next to the Water Street Hotel and ready for guests to enjoy their own romantic escape. From enjoying the sunrise up on the screened waterfront porch to toasting a beautiful sunset from the top deck, it’s a spectacular spot for relaxation. There’s a two-night minimum stay, and those who “set sail” will enjoy two days with a queen bed, full kitchen amenities, a flat-screen TV, and scenic sights.
A Luxury Tugboat
This magical tugboat turned houseboat is a newly remastered marvel, offering all the modern conveniences of a traditional home but on a historical tugboat floating on a private lake in Virginia. This custom boat hails from Connecticut and was lovingly restored to be put back into the water, individually pieced together to offer guests a unique overnight adventure. Go swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, or relax on the sandy beach by the warmth of a fire pit. Enjoy a fully stocked kitchen, a lovely dining area with views of the lake, and comfortable sleeping accommodations. From the Pilothouse on the upper level, soak up panoramic sights of the lake and forest. The deck overlooking the water is the perfect spot for stargazing and disconnecting from the stresses of everyday life.
A Fabulous Floating Home
WHERE: Richardson Bay, California
This 1,640 square-foot floating home appears like something that’s been torn straight from a luxury architecture and design magazine. The A-frame facade gives way to a spacious interior with two bedrooms that sleep four people. There’s also a luxurious kitchen, a spacious living room, and a large deck with a patio area outside. Potential guests should note this house has a 30-day minimum rental agreement due to local dock rules, but its charm and hospitality make it somewhere guests won’t ever want to disembark. Guests will enjoy details like the hardwood floors and cozy fireplace, large windows that look out to the bay, and the vaulted ceilings and skylight. But perhaps the most magical spot is the loft above the living room which has a comfy chair featuring a stunning view of Mount Tamalpias, made to relax and reflect with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
The Blue Pearl
WHERE: Boston, Massachusetts
Boston Harbor’s houseboat, “The Blue Pearl,” offers all the comforts of home, including a full kitchen and upscale amenities like a premium mattress and 800 thread count linens. Speaking of comfort, this boat is fully air-conditioned in the summer and heated during the winter, with a covered front deck and ample outdoor seating. The best part might just be this rental’s walkable accessibility from the Charleston Marina to many popular local attractions like the USS Constitution, Bunker Hill, and the tasty food of the North End. The Charlestown Navy Yard Ferry Terminal is also a short walk away, which drops guests off at Long Wharf next to the New England Aquarium. Whether it’s a day relaxing inside or adventuring outdoors, it’ll be a trip to remember while staying on this vessel.
WHERE: Sausalito, California
Feeling like a hidden “Parisian Nook” of a houseboat, this recently renovated 400-square-foot one-bedroom oasis sleeps two and hosts a full kitchen, living room, and outdoor deck area with an “old-school” fireplace. It’s truly a special spot, furnished with tones of clean whites and French oak wood flooring and outfitted with luxurious amenities like a hammered copper kitchen sink, heated bathroom towel rack, whimsical fixtures, and vintage tiles in the shower. Guests can soak up the waterfront sights on the private balcony, cook dinner on the barbecue, or kayak out into the sunshine. It’s the perfect home base to enjoy the charm of the Sausalito houseboat community or make a quick trip to nearby San Francisco and the surrounding quaint Marin County cities.
The Thirsty Lady
WHERE: Florida Keys
The Thirsty Lady private sailboat has three bedrooms and sleeps six people, but it’s not just a place to spend the night. It’s an entire experience that also includes an individual sailing excursion for up to six people with an expert host, Captain Pat. Guests will spend the night on the boat in top-notch, Five-Star Marinas and sail each day during an all-inclusive rental agreement. A “Sunset Sail” is included on the first night before docking at an upscale marina with six pools, a full-service restaurant and bar, and a free shuttle. The next day, guests will enjoy a full “Reef Sail” day, where they can swim, snorkel, and wind down. There’s a small kitchen aboard with a fridge, freezer, toaster, and a small stovetop and oven for cooking meals in-between adventures.
The Lilypad, Newport
WHERE: Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island, is a world-famous vacation destination— so of course, there are numerous accommodations for visitors to make their temporary home. But this unique floating house, The Lilypad, serves as an especially charming spot. Guests can take in the views of the harbor through the large windows or embark on a swim in the refreshing salt water off of the deck before stretching out and relaxing and soaking up some vitamin D on the top deck. The location is superb, too, as there’s a free local water taxi service for getting around. It’s also within walking distance of tasty restaurants, cute boutiques, and tourist landmarks. Guests will enjoy the charming atmosphere felt within the boating community in the marina that’s filled with everything from classic sailboats to powerboats of various sizes.
Aqua Villa Dolphin at Mangrove Marina Resort
Spending a night at this dolphin houseboat at Mangrove Marina Resort makes for a wonderful weekend away on the water. The location is superb—it’s perched between Key Largo and Islamorada in Tavernier at Mile Marker 91.7 on the Bayside, nestled into a peaceful and protected cove in Community Harbor in the Florida Keys. The floating house sleeps five guests and is equipped with a flat-screen TV, cable, and complimentary WiFi for winding down at night after a day of exciting outdoor excursions. Gather in the well-equipped kitchen to cook a tasty dinner together and step through the sliding glass doors out to the back patio, which features an upper deck overlooking the water (perfect for watching a scenic sunset!) made for happy hours and morning cups of coffee.
This quaint, 288 square foot studio-style houseboat, “Swamp Tuna,” sleeps four people at home away from home, hosting the opportunity to reconnect with nature and the great outdoors. Guests can even drive the houseboat around themselves in an area known to be abundant in wildlife and easily navigable, calm waters. The houseboat is solar-powered—meaning it’ll be a peaceful stay, with no noisy generators on board. There’s an outdoor deck with a dining table that seats four, a deck burner for outdoor barbecuing and cooking, and even two kayaks for separate adventures.
The Rehoboth Bay Houseboat
This 500-square foot, two-bedroom houseboat in Rehoboth Bay feels like a private paradise for five. It’s set in a great location in Pier Point Marina, offering brand new accommodations and hosting guests in a unique place to stay on the Rehoboth Bay. Enjoy a fully outfitted and stocked kitchen and a spacious balcony. The vessel is within walking distance to the beach and other top local attractions Dewey Beach has to offer. Guests can go out and explore the town or just stay in to relax and take in the beautiful sunsets for an enjoyable vacation on this docked boat.
The “Cass-Away” is a luxurious, 640 square foot floating getaway in the Kent Narrows that is fully equipped with a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, two full baths, and an unmatched view from the rooftop deck. Visitors can come to stay and feel like a local by exploring the numerous bars, restaurants, and stores within walking distance of the boat. It’s just minutes from iconic outposts like the Bay Bridge and a short drive to Annapolis, D.C., St. Michael’s, and Ocean City.
A 'Sleepless In Seattle' Houseboat Dream
This 1,000 square foot, 3-bedroom “Sleepless in Seattle” houseboat requires a 30-day minimum, but it sleeps five and showcases an awesome 270 Degree View Of Downtown Seattle And The Olympic Mountains, meaning guests will never want to leave. It’s been featured on Discovery Channel’s show “Ultimate Homes.” It hosts a hot tub, a beautiful coral aquarium over the kitchen sink, and a converting dining room that’s inclusive of a dance floor and yoga studio options for recreation. Guests can enjoy all of the on-site water toys like paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing, and canoeing while spending time on this stately sea vessel.