Houseboats are designed to offer lake house living on the water, ideal for families.

Houseboats Details

Average Length: 25 to 100 ft. 
Capacity: Varies 
Propulsion Type: Outboard engine, inboard engine, stern-drive engine 
Trailerable: No 
Hull Type: Various 


Houseboats are designed to offer lake house living on the water, complete with spacious floor plans and modern amenities for entertaining, dining and sleeping. Houseboats are made for relaxing cruises, weekend getaways to boating destinations and unlimited family boating fun. Houseboats are best suited for rivers, lakes and coastal waterways, and are built in a wide selection of customizable sizes and styles.

While many boats have living spaces in them, houseboats are different. They are designed specifically as live aboard boats. Whereas a cruiser might have a small bathroom and a fold-out couch or bed, a houseboat has at least one full bathroom, a fully working kitchen, at least one bedroom and plenty of living space. It looks exactly like a home once you step inside it.

Activities You Can Do with Your Family on a Houseboat

Anything you can do in a house, you can do on a houseboat. It is perfect for entertaining. Depending on the size, you could have more than a dozen people over for a nice night on the water. Many of them have decks that overlook the water and can provide a placid escape, where you can sit on a chair and just relax. Fishing is ideal because you are never far from the comforts of home or any equipment you might need.

Advantages of a Houseboat

Modern houseboats are fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. Instead of having a mortgage and a boat payment, there's only a boat payment. Now, the maintenance of a houseboat is much more important than that of a regular house. Your house won't sink if you don't take care of it, like a houseboat might. There are definitely some advantages in planning a houseboat vacation. It is similar to renting a house instead of renting a hotel room for a week. You get more bang for your buck. You can accommodate larger groups all staying together. The kitchen and dining area cuts down on restaurant costs. Also, when you're on a trip, you never know what restaurants in the area are good, clean and understanding of food allergies or which ones have a decent children's menu. Here, all of that guesswork is taken out of the equation. The houseboat isn't just a place to stay, it's part of the destination during a boating vacation.

Advice from Experts

There are some variations that you might take into account when looking into living on a boat. Some are completely stationary. They have no motors. They are moored to a dock which provides utilities and other amenities. Some have motors and can travel at very slow speeds. That's all right because you would not want all your possessions speeding down a river. Some of them look very much like houses. You might see a typical ranch house on a flat bed floating on a river. Some of them look like modern yachts. Others have embraced the shanty look and appear to be made by hand from whatever is around.

Why Buy This Boat

There's nothing easier than having a family boating trip in a vessel that can feed and sleep the entire family. Whether it is stationary and moored to the dock at all times or mobile, allowing you to choose which marina to live in, a houseboat offers a flexibility and independence that really appeals to people who want to take a break from the mainland and soak in the sea air.

Don’t forget to register your boat, check your state boating rules and regulations before you leave the dock. Learn more about inboard cruisers in our next section.