When you think of Utah and Arizona, a beautiful lake nestled among towering canyons probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. However, Lake Powell represents a critical water source for the neighboring states' residents. It's also a popular vacation spot, especially if you're up for renting a boat on Lake Powell.
Completed in 1963 and located in southern Utah and northern Arizona, Lake Powell is the second-largest artificial reservoir by maximum water capacity (although the region's ongoing drought has shrunk it significantly). Engineers built the lake's Glen Canyon Dam to regulate water availability for the seven states of the Colorado River Compact: Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, because of its proximity to Zion National Park, Horseshoe Bend State, and Grand Canyon National Park.
It's become a significant vacation spot visited by approximately two million people every year. It boasts more shoreline than the West Coast of the United States, with almost 2,000 miles and 96 major side canyons, so one of the best ways to explore and vacation here is by boat.
Now, imagine yourself exploring this scenic lake with the comfort of all your usual at-home amenities: beds, kitchen, living room space, and of course, a booming sound system. Renting a houseboat is a great way to explore the lake and have a base camp while spending your days enjoying all of its water sports like wakeboarding, cliff diving, jet-skiing, kayaking, and water skiing.
Check out our top houseboat tips and rentals below so that when you book your Lake Powell vacation, it is sure to be one to remember.
Houseboat Rental Notes & Tips
- The peak season to visit Lake Powell is between June 21st-August 19th. During this time, the prices for boat rentals will be higher and very competitive to book.
- The off-season is January 1st-June 20th, and then again August 20th-December 31st. You'll be able to save a lot of money by visiting during these times when rentals are half the price.
While also paying for the cost to rent the boat, you should factor in part of your budget for gas. Your gas prices and mileage on your houseboat rental depend on the size of the ship, but the average is 8 miles per gallon. Plan accordingly.
- Most houseboat rentals have space to carry a secondary water vehicle. While these aren't necessary, it makes the trip more fun to have a water toy such as a powerboat, jet ski, kayak, and paddleboard to explore Lake Powell's many nooks and caves that you can only access with a smaller watercraft. Consider bringing your own to avoid the high rental rates for these water accessories.
- There are two different marinas that the Lake Powell houseboat rentals take off from, Wahweap Marina in Arizona and Bullfrog Marina in Utah.
- Anyone over 18 with a valid driver's license can drive the houseboat. Before you take off, they'll walk you through a 30-minute tutorial on using the boat and how to navigate it best.
Houseboat Rental Options
Reel Livin' Houseboat
Located in the beautiful Bullfrog Marina, bask in Lake Powell's glory on this classic 1979 43' Boatel houseboat. The boat features updated renovations yet still has the classic lines and features of a hotel on a boat.
The bunk room has a twin bed and two full bunk beds, while the living room has two couches that convert into two more full beds. The boat rental offers guests the ability to sleep under the stars, providing two inflatable queen beds.
During the day, you'll be able to explore Lake Powell under the boat's spacious, covered deck full of patio loungers and chairs. There is also a grill for cookouts and a splash pad to jump into the lake. It only costs $408/night with all these fantastic features, making this one of the most affordable and family-friendly Lake Powell boat rentals available.
Affordable Expedition Houseboat
Offering a couple of extra feet than our first rental, this affordable 46-foot Expedition houseboat is one of the most popular Lake Powell rentals. Offered at both the Wahweap Marina in Arizona and Bullfrog Marina in Utah, the boat accommodates up to six people with one stateroom with a queen bed, a convertible dinette with a double bed, convertible sofa with a double bed.
Depending on the year, the rental ranges from $1,435-$2,679 for a four to seven-day rental. What makes this even better is that pets are allowed on the boat, so you can bring your furry friend to bask in the canyon lake sunshine with you.
While spanning a couple of extra feet than the previous houseboat at 53 feet, this adventurer houseboat offers guests nearly double their offerings. With room for up to 12 guests, this houseboat has ample space for the whole family, featuring two staterooms, each with a double bed, a lower berth with two double beds, a convertible dinette bed, and a convertible sofa bed.
Two bathrooms and a TV, DVD player, and stereo system make it complete, although you probably won't be watching too much media with the view you can see. Surprisingly, even with its double person capacity as the first houseboat, this rental is still moderately affordable, with prices ranging from $2,047-$3,919 for multi-day rentals.
If you want to live a little more lavishly on the water, this 59-foot Wanderer Houseboat could be perfect for your next vacation. Its monohull design sits two feet wider than most other 59-foot houseboats, making it roomier inside. The boat features four full-height staterooms with doors and sleeps 12 people.
What makes this houseboat awesome? Its waterpark-style tube slide and a reverse floor plan provide easier lake access to the living area. Add its screened upper deck with comfy built-in seating, wet bar, barbeque, etc. You won't go wrong with choosing this guy for your next vacation. Of course, with its more updated interior and offerings, rental rates range anywhere from $2,955-$8,200 for a 4-7 day rental, depending on the time of year.
Excursion Luxury Houseboat
Look no further if you're trying to go all out on your Lake Powell houseboat vacation. This 75-foot Excursion Luxury Houseboat will exceed all of your expectations. This vessel provides you and the whole family with the amenities and technology to have an outstandingly comfortable and memorable houseboat experience, accommodating up to 14 people with five staterooms, each with a queen bed, two convertible dinettes and two bathrooms.
Along with your adventure-filled days exploring the lake's rocky terrain, you'll be able to splash into the water with its waterslide, relax in the upper deck hot tub, and grill out among the scenic views. Of course, this luxury vessel doesn't come cheap, ranging from $4,740-$13,500 for a 4-7 day rental at different points in the year.
What To Do Near Lake Powell
As mentioned above, Lake Powell features 96 major side canyons and nearby adventure points, leaving you with many options to explore. When out on the water, consider making the trip to some of these beautiful, scenic points of interest.
Sacred to Najajo culture, Rainbow Bridge National Monument is one of the largest known natural bridges in the world. The natural sandstone bridge rises from the shores of Lake Powell and is 290 feet tall and 270 feet across.
It is located 50 miles Northeast of the Wahweap Marina, so plan for a two-hour ride to get to Forbidding Canyon, found between mile markers 49 and 50.
Towering out in the middle of the lake, Lone Rock is a solitary white rock formation known for the white sand beach that lays across the water. Only a short 8 miles from Wahweap Marina, you can anchor your boat here and spend an afternoon basking in the warm sun on the white sand beach. If you have any water toys, this is a great place to enjoy paddle-boarding and kayaking in crystal clear water.
Located at Mile Marker 22, Padre Bay is the largest expanse of open water on Lake Powell. This is another excellent area for water sports due to its calm waters. Here, you'll enjoy the views of the surrounding landscape and many sand beaches in the bay. There's also the bay's Hole in the Roof, a naturally formed rock pool often referred to as "The Toilet Bowl," where you can cliff jump and swim so long as the water is high enough.
Of course, there are many other houseboat rental options and personal watercraft rentals spanning Lake Powell. We suggest grabbing a map to plan out the daily places you want to visit when planning your trip. That way, you can make the most use of your Lake Powell houseboat vacation.
Mikala Lugen is an avid adventure lifestylist, rooting her life around music, mindfulness, and travel. She's currently based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She works among the mountains every day, writing about some of the country's best musical events and hiking, skiing, rock climbing, and playing with her dog Jameson in-between all of her adventures.
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