Imagine secluded coves, colorful sunsets and a variety of water
activities combined with the comforts of home. That's exactly what
you can expect when you book a relaxing trip on a houseboat. And
splitting the cost of renting a boat with relatives, friends or
neighbors makes it affordable.
Rates for houseboats vary depending upon your destination, the
boat's size, the length of your rental and the time of the season,
but be prepared for rental prices of $2,000-$3,000. Off-season and
weekday discounts are available from most marinas. Reservations
book far in advance.
First-time boaters needn't worry about handling the houseboat.
Marinas offer instruction to drivers, are accessible for questions
via the marine radios and typically have their personnel drive the
boats out of the harbors and dock them upon your return. Pat Holmes
of Lithia Springs Marina in Shelbyville, says its boats are
equipped with an instructional video. "We are close enough to
Chicago that people could drive down and take a look at our boats
in advance of renting one," she says. Holmes likens houseboating to
camping in a nice cove but on the water.
Like camping, you need to plan your meals in advance. Almost
Home Houseboat Rentals in Hot Springs, Ark., has a grocery service.
Fax your list to them in advance of your trip, and they will buy
and stock your boat with food. Boats are equipped with a range of
kitchen conveniences from microwaves and dishwashers to ice makers
and outdoor grills.
Relaxing with children on vacation is possible when time slows
down and your biggest decisions are whether to swim, fish, float on
a raft or take a dip in the hot tub.
• Pat Holmes
Lithia Springs Marina
Located in Illinois
• Julie Williams
Almost Home Houseboats
Located in Arkansas
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