The Pursuit of Powell

Fulfilling a childhood dream

August 2012 Feature Brady L. Kay

When I was a kid my scout master proposed a trip idea that was bigger than anything we had ever imagined-a houseboating trip on Lake Powell in southern Utah. No one in my troop had ever been to Lake Powell before, or had even seen a houseboat for that matter. We didn't know much about this proposed trip, but we had seen enough photos that it wasn't hard to get motivated to raise the money. We cut lawns all summer and did all kinds of fundraisers so we could rent a houseboat the following year. Unfortunately back in those days the number of houseboats available to rent fell short of the demand.

I don't blame my scout master who tried like crazy to find us a houseboat by putting his name on waiting lists and anything else he could think of. He tried, but we never were able to find a houseboat to rent. We still ended up going to Powell that next summer and we had a great time sleeping in tents and camping out for a week, but at the time I wondered if I'd ever get a chance to see the inside of houseboat.

It's funny to look back now after several trips to Lake Powell for my job and countless experiences with being on different houseboats from all across the country. There was no way of knowing at that time as a young scout that my future career would be centered on the houseboating industry and that some day I'd be the editor of Houseboat magazine.

However, despite being on more rental houseboats than I can count, it occurred to me this past spring that I've never actually rented a houseboat on Lake Powell. If this had been a Hollywood script I would have picked up the phone and called my old scout master and together we could have rounded up our troop and finally fulfilled our dream of renting a houseboat on Powell. But this is my script and instead I went with plan B which included inviting my own family along to fulfill that dream of renting a houseboat on Powell.  

Lake Powell Marina

Finding a houseboat to rent on Powell is a lot easier than it was 20 or so years ago. For starters, places like Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas that offers a wide variety to choose from, has over 100 different houseboats available and that's just at one of its marinas. It's not nearly as hard as it once was, but planning ahead will give you the most options when it comes to finding the right houseboat for your situation.

Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas has three locations on the lake to rent from including at the Bullfrog Marina as well as the Halls Crossing Marina. But for my long-awaited vacation I wanted to return to the area close to the dam and the Wahweap Marina was just the right place.     

Top Reasons To Visit

My weeklong houseboating vacation was near perfect and I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. We went just before the calendar turned to June and the weather was perfect.

To highlight my experience I've created my own top 10 list for why you should book a houseboat vacation from Lake Powell Resorts & Marina.


10. In The Picture

One of the best qualities of Lake Powell is the scenery won't disappoint you. It's like no other houseboating lake that I've ever seen and it's truly inspiring to see in person. Often you hear about beautiful places, but when you actually visit it doesn't look or feel like you imagined it would. On the lake that is more than 400 feet deep, 186 miles long with nearly 2,000 miles of shoreline with towering red rock sandstone cliffs, you actually feel like you're inside a painting. Everywhere you look or turn you feel like you're now part of the scenery.

The places we were able to visit felt like they belonged in a coffee table photo book. They're the kind of pictures that make you stop and stare when turning pages and the only reason you go on is to see if the next photo could somehow be any better.


9. First Class

When you rent from Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas you go in style. The friendly and well-organized staff treated us as if we were royalty and every detail was carefully covered with no exceptions. A suggested itinerary, maps and plenty of information as well as cart service that delivered our stuff right to our boat were available from the start and the actual houseboat felt as luxurious as a personal boat.


8. The Boat

Blame in on the day job, but you really can't find a better way to explore Lake Powell than on a houseboat. We rented the 48 Navigator that offers most of the first-rate amenities of the larger class vessels, but in a smaller craft. It sleeps up to 14 people and with a fully-equipped kitchen, gas grill, top deck slide and stereo, along with a TV system with a DVD player, we had everything we could ever need.

You may have seen stripped down rental houseboats that look like, well for lack of a better word, rentals, but this posh Navigator from Twin Anchors had a nice luxurious feel to it.  


7. Seclusion

There are more than 90 major canyons on Lake Powell and thousands of sandy beaches to enjoy the brilliant blue-green water. We easily found a perfect little cove off the main channel that was the ideal spot to beach our houseboat. We had the area to ourselves and we were protected from the wind, plus there were plenty of great places for the kids to hike and explore. And each night we had a picture-perfect postcard moment when we'd light a fire on the beach and look back at the houseboat as well as the rest of the beautiful scenery. 


6. A Must-See

No trip to Lake Powell is complete without a trip to Rainbow Bridge. Sculpted by wind and water, spanning 275 feet and reaching a height of 290 feet, Rainbow Bridge is the most photographed geological wonder in the west. This year marks the 100th anniversary of it becoming a national monument and if you only go out sight-seeing once while you're out you need to make sure this stop is on your list.


5. Up Close And Personal

Besides the Navigator houseboat we also rented a 19-foot powerboat from Lake Powell Resorts & Marina. This gave us the option to quickly get back to the dock if we needed something from the marina as well as pull tubes and explore the beautiful canyons. The one-two punch of having a luxurious houseboat along with a secondary craft is really the best way to get the most out of your trip, plus it will save you time and gas money having that second boat.


4. Eating Well

It's always nice to bring grandma along because we did eat well with her onboard. While it appeared to be our job to have fun and enjoy our relaxing vacation, she felt it was her job to keep us fed. The inventory list of what is included on the Navigator is surprisingly long. We truly had the culinary comforts of home at our disposal and grandma took full advantage of them. 


3. Variety

With some vacations you don't get a lot of variation, but Powell is more than just a great place to get in the water. Besides pulling tubes or sight-seeing, you can also use your boat to do some fishing. Types of fish found in the lake include striped bass, large and smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish and carp.

Or you can also take advantage of the thousands of hiking and biking trails in the area. There is a whole new world to explore once you get off the beaten path and step off your boat. You could spend the next 30 years exploring Lake Powell and still not experience all that it offers.


2. Photography 

Some places are just so centerfold perfect they should come with staples. Professional photographers flock to Powell because no matter how hard they try, they can't take a bad picture. In fact, most amateur photographers with disposable cameras find a way to come back with at least one picture that could hang on an office wall.

This photographer paradise had me busy and the photo highlight of the trip came on the last night when I captured the moon as it appeared between the red cliffs. We were on our way back to our beached houseboat in what turned out to be a dusk cruise by accident, but the result was one of my favorite pictures from the week.


1. Family Time

As beautiful and as awe-inspiring as the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is, for me it really was about enjoying it all with my family. To see my wife relaxing from the top deck while getting caught up on some books as well as watching my young kids head off to explore the red rock trails, confirmed our decision to rent a houseboat as we added to our family's memories.


Lake Powell really is America's favorite houseboating destination and Lake Powell Resorts & Marina has a lot to do with why people return year after year to experience this unique place. This might have been the first time that I ever rented a houseboat on Lake Powell, but it surely won't be the last. My family is already looking forward to the next time.

Of course, if I really wanted to create a story I would call up that old scout master of mine from years ago and invite him to join us next time. He obviously knew something that we didn't when he first tried to introduce us to the joys of houseboating on Powell and for that I'm still very appreciative.   



Fall Session
Intro to houseboating class


After a successful spring program, Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas will be offering its Introduction to Houseboating weekend program this fall that offers hands-on instruction for those new to houseboating. 

Available on the weekends of October 1-3 and 8-10 at Wahweap Marina and September 24-26 at Bullfrog Marina, the Introduction to Houseboating weekend package is priced at $309 and includes a two-night stay at Lake Powell Resort or Defiance House Lodge, daily breakfast for two and a discount on future houseboat rentals.

Participants will receive practical, hands-on training with a skilled pilot and deckhand. The program's six-hour orientation course will also feature group practice of driving, maneuvering and anchoring the houseboat as well as instruction on operating a power boat. Graduates will earn a certificate of completion that can be redeemed for a discounted houseboat rental at Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas.

Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas offers guests a wide variety of houseboats with all of the amenities of home, including full kitchens, staterooms, bathrooms, and luxury models that feature propane fireplaces, outdoor gas grills and hot tubs. For a complete listing for available houseboats and amenities visit

To book the Intro to Houseboating weekend program call 888-486-4665.

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