There’s something about a houseboat that inspires us. Perhaps it’s the thought of viewing the pinks and purples at sunset, falling asleep to the soothing swaying of the boat in the waves, the dreaminess of a bohemian existence, or the escalating expenses of real estate.
For whatever reason, many people are resorting to unconventional living arrangements such as houseboats, small dwellings, and van life.
If you’re thinking about becoming a liveaboard (those who live on boats) seasonally or year-round or just looking for some inspiration, we’ve put together a list of the greatest locations to live on a houseboat.
Top 10 Places to Live on a Houseboat
1. Miami, Florida
Miami is a popular recreational boating destination for many types of boaters, and the city has hundreds of marinas that are excellent for living aboard a houseboat. In reality, there are several locations in the Miami area and adjacent cities where circumstances are optimal.
The weather in Miami is pleasant all year, and prices are low in comparison to states such as California and New York. There are already many liveaboard communities in the area, so there are lots of possibilities.
Almost every marina in the Miami region has complete grid power and water hookups, and many also provide grey and black water discharge services. The only disadvantage of living onboard in Miami is the weather, which can occasionally be hazardous during hurricane season.
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2. Lake Havasu, Arizona
Lake Havasu, Arizona, provides great circumstances for living aboard a houseboat. The lake, which is located on the California-Arizona border, boasts high temperatures and quiet weather. In general, inland lakes in warm climates are about as excellent as it gets for houseboats.
Lake Havasu is a famous holiday spot for house boating, but there are other long-term marinas in the vicinity to choose from. The waterfront is teeming with restaurants and bars, so there’s always something to do at night or on weekends.
The cost of living in the area is somewhat greater than in Arizona overall. Having said that, it remains quite reasonable in comparison to most other destinations with comparable weather, landscape, and infrastructure.
3. Sausalito, California
Sausalito, California, is one of the most attractive and well-known liveaboard destinations in the world, particularly for houseboats. The settlement is located on the edge of a cove in the northern portion of San Francisco Bay and has essentially stayed unaltered for decades.
Sausalito has a long shoreline, and a substantial percentage of its population lives aboard boats. Parts of the shoreline are populated only by houseboats, which are among the most unusual and historic in the country.
The village is easily accessible by foot from the pier, and the neighborhood is home to a variety of charming shops and eateries.
4. Fort Washington, Maryland
Fort Washington, Maryland, is a wonderful example of an outstanding houseboat mooring place on the east coast. This lovely and historic spot was formerly a fort designed to protect Washington, D.C. from attackers coming up the Potomac River. A liveaboard houseboat may now be moored on the historic river in a variety of locations.
Historic buildings and museums abound throughout the area, making it ideal for anybody interested in American history. It’s also within driving distance of numerous major cities, including Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. The community of Fort Washington has two marinas, with many more nearby.
5. Seattle, Washington
Seattle is one of the most populous cities on the west coast, with a plethora of commercial and employment options. Residents adore the city, and the weather is usually rainy yet pleasant. Numerous marinas and great houseboat docking places may be found along the Duwamish River, which passes through Seattle.
The weather and water infrastructure in Seattle are ideal for houseboat life, especially if you’re heat-sensitive. The river is shielded from the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, and it provides spectacular (and less expensive) views of Mount Rainier, the surrounding forests, and Seattle itself.
6. Portland, Oregon
Portland is another favorite liveaboard location in the Pacific Northwest, as the scenario is similar to that of Seattle. The city is cut through by a succession of rivers, which split off into several navigable waterways along the route. This is ideal for houseboats since it provides a large amount of protected real estate on which they may safely moor.
Portland is recognized for its diverse culture and pleasant weather throughout the year, which is ideal if you enjoy the rain. The weather is ideal for houseboats, as heating and air conditioning are not required as much as they are on the east coast, in the desert, or in the south.
7. Shasta Lake, California
Shasta Lake features some of the most stunning landscapes in the country, as well as crystal-clear and pristine water. Because the lake is well-protected, the ecosystem stays clean. The lake is a mirror image of the ancient volcano, and it is surrounded by stunning woodland surroundings.
Furthermore, the weather on Lake Shasta is typically pleasant. It’s one of the mildest alpine lake home boating locations anywhere, with an average snowfall of only two inches per year. Because of its proximity to ski resorts, Lake Shasta is ideal for liveaboards interested in winter sports.
8. Lake Cumberland, Kentucky
Lake Cumberland is the most popular house boating location in the United States. The lake is beautiful and teeming with activity and festivities. The water is clean and tranquil, making life on a houseboat here an unforgettable experience. If you want to spend your time on the water, Lake Cumberland is the ideal place to live on a houseboat.
The weather in this section of Kentucky might be erratic at times, but it’s typically warm and pleasant. The lake also hosts a massive yearly raft-up event that attracts hundreds of boats, and parties tend to sprout up on their own during the summer months.
9. Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas, isn’t normally on the list of houseboat destinations, but it’s a well-kept secret. Fort Worth is bordered by lakes and rivers, and the area is densely packed with tiny marinas. Houseboats are frequently observed in these places, and the cost of mooring and servicing houseboats in the area is fairly low.
Fort Worth’s weather is typically warm in the winter and hot in the summer, although not quite as wet and humid as cities around the gulf coast. Dallas is about 40 minutes away, and there are several employment and career options in the region. Fort Worth is also a fantastic place to retire.
10. Sausalito, California
In this Northern California community, where more than 400 houseboats line many marinas and ports, Otis Redding memorably sang about “sitting on the dock of the bay.”
Although the eye-popping pink, blue, and red counterculture symbols for which Sausalito is renowned come from the postwar era, the town stands on Richardson Bay, which has sheltered houseboats for more than a century.
Houseboat communities such as Galilee Harbor continue to draw a diverse range of people today. If you’re interested but not ready to commit to a life on the water, the Sausalito Floating Homes Tour, held every September, is a good place to start.