Best Houseboating Lakes in the United States

Voting Results

Published in the January 2019 Issue September 2019 Feature

Picking your favorite houseboating lake can be similar to deciding what shirt to wear in the morning or which of your favorite shows to binge watch on Netflix. The choices are endless and frankly, difficult to choose from. However, after asking avid houseboating fans on Facebook which were their favorite lakes to houseboat on, the votes revealed the truth about which lakes really are the best and some of these lakes may come as no surprise to many. Ranking from the lowest number of mentions to the highest number, these are the most popular houseboating lakes according to our readers:

7. Shasta Lake, Calif.


  • With a 30,000-acre reservoir , the largest reservoir in the state of California and 370 miles of shoreline, boaters can spend hours relaxing and exploring all over this lake.
  • Many calm, hidden coves give great places for quiet reflection and many spots along the shoreline lead to hiking trails, popular fishing spots, and mountain biking paths.  
  • The reservoir lies on the Shasta Lake Dam, the 9th tallest dam in the U.S at 602 feet.

6. Center Hill Lake, Tenn.


  • Sixty-four miles of long, calm waters allow for excellent fishing, boating, and hiking in and around this lake of 190-foot depth.
  • In 1948, the Center Hill Dam was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in order to prevent flooding, thus providing much of the residents’ electricity while controlling the water.
  • Many activities along the lake include exploring the state parks such as the Edgar Evins State Park and the Rock Island State Park. Marinas on Center Hill offer excellent views of the lake itself while providing lodging, fine dining, shopping and rentals of boats to take out on the water.

5. Norris Lake, Tenn.


  • With about 30 marinas covering over 33,840 acres of water, houseboaters can enjoy the placid and smooth turquoise-colored water for miles as a chance just to explore or relax.
  • Wooded coves, two golf courses, and a small air strip near the lake, lend the visitors numerous opportunities for fun and exciting adventures such as fishing from 14 different species, wandering through the museums, visiting the nearby zoo and even going geocaching.
  • Throughout the year, the marinas sponsor themed parties and special events on the water to keep visitors entertained and satisfied with picking this as their vacation getaway.

4. Laurel River Lake, Ky.


  • Nineteen miles long with 206 miles of shoreline reveals quiet coves and cliff-lined shores, perfect for relaxation and peace.
  • Located by the Daniel Boone National Forest, visitors can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of wildlife all around them, such as the giant Canadian geese, elk, black bears, falcons and eagles.
  • Known for being one of the deepest and clearest lakes in Kentucky, fisherman have excellent opportunities for fishing during the day and even at night
  • Excellent fishing spots provide fishermen with plenty to do and the lake is especially popular for night fishing.

3. Lake Powell, Utah/Ariz.,


  • With 3,700-foot elevation, the lake resides only 5 miles from the famous Horseshoe Bend where visitors can tour the area, even going on a tour through the Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyons.
  • At 186 miles long, you can be sure for a peaceful ride along this lake and the breathtaking view of the Rainbow Bridge National Monument standing at 290 feet high with an arch 42-feet thick and 33-feet wide.
  • Held sacred by the Navajo tribe, visitors are asked to conduct themselves in a considerate manner as they gaze in awe at this national and religious landmark.

2. Dale Hollow Lake, Tenn.


  • 620 miles of shoreline with a mild climate allows for a constant stream of visitors throughout much of the year to enjoy themselves on this lake.
  • Known for being one of the cleanest lakes in the United States, the peaceful, clear water of Dale Hollow permits an easy ride and many coves provide perfect places for relaxation or partying.
  • Near the lake, visitors can participate in activities such as horseback riding, fishing, hiking, biking, and golfing on a world-class golf course.

1. Lake Cumberland, Kentucky


  • LakeCumberland, also known as the “houseboating capital of the world,” continues to draw houseboaters from all over the country, allowing visitors to choose from the largest fleet of rental houseboats in the U.S.
  • 1,200 miles of shoreline provide clean, deep, crystal waters in a friendly and quiet atmosphere.
  • With fishing season all year round, the lake draws in avid fan fishermen aiming for those trophy state-record fish such as rainbow trout, stripers, and walleyes.
  • Swimming enthusiasts, camping lovers, and curious hikers can enjoy trails along the Wolf Creek Dam and for those not so outdoorsy, plenty of shopping can be found at many of the marinas and Lake Cumberland State Resort Park.

Photos courtesy of lakecumberlandvacation.comwww.flickr.comnorrislakerentals.org, and www.sfgate.com

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