The Best Getaway

Family fun on Lake Powell

Published in the September 2019 Issue September 2019 Feature By Heather Magda Serrano

There’s no denying Lake Powell is a magical place. The iconic red rock cradling the pleasantly temperate waters offers the perfect atmosphere for some serious houseboat fun.

Of course, there’s no need to sell this lake to Jim Loveland and the rest of his family—they’re already familiar with Lake Powell’s charms as it’s become one of their favorite family vacation spots that they return to year after year.

The Lovelands enjoyed their second season in their 22- by 92-foot custom built Adonia houseboat Hysteria this last summer. On one of their trips in mid-June, they had the chance to take some of their relatives out for a houseboating extravaganza. Altogether their party consisted of 16 people who included Jim, his wife, their youngest son and a couple of his wife’s sisters along with their families.

Of their party of 16, nine of them were kids, ranging in ages from 3 to 15 years old, so there was no shortage of child-like wonder and excitement (from the adults as well) as the family experienced lake life on their week-long vacation.

Child-Like Wonder

Needless to say, all nine kids had a blast. Jim brought his 26-foot Ebbtide runabout boat along with four WaveRunners, so there was never a lack of things to do. The Adonia houseboat also has large compartments on the stern where they store a couple of standup paddleboards and some blowup inflatable mattresses for floating on the water and enjoying the sun.

“The cool thing is that with these younger kids they just love doing everything,” laughed Jim.

The kids were endlessly entertained with fishing off the runabout and off the back of the houseboat. Over the course of the week, they caught all kinds of fish including striped and smallmouth bass. Jim described how there was a school of stripers that came along one night feeding aggressively behind the houseboat. The party caught fish left and right that night.

Besides fishing, the family did plenty of other water sports like tubing and wake surfing. Jim got a handsome wake surfing board with LED lights, so they were able to light up the lake with a bit of night surfing.

“They thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” Jim reminisced.

When the kids weren’t playing in the water, they’d organize little play productions to perform for the adults. All nine of them would disappear for an hour or two on the top deck, putting together a full script and play production. After rehearsing, they’d invite the adults up to the top deck of the houseboat to enjoy their creative skits and plays. Every performance was full of laughter and delight for the whole family.

Endless Exploration

When the Lovelands go houseboating on Powell, they usually explore the lake and find a nice cove to stay in for their vacation. There are also times where they stay in their slip at Antelope Point Marina, but this is usually only in the early portions of the season when they’re only staying for a short time.

“We normally take the houseboat uplake from Antelope Point Marina and find a great place,” described Jim. “Over the last year and a half we rediscovered a canyon I used to go to with my dad—it’s spectacular. It’s one of those little slot canyons and there’s so many of those on Lake Powell. It’s one of the many reasons we love it.”

During their June trip with the family, the Lovelands anchored their houseboat down all the way in the back of a beautiful cove. It was the perfect spot and the family enjoyed some stunning hiking in the mornings. They explored Powell’s red rocks in the desert climate and took in the beautiful views of the vistas and the lake.

Longtime Houseboater

Jim and his family have owned several houseboats over the years, but this is the first time he had one custom built. They had an excellent experience working with the team at Adonia Yachts and they could not be more pleased with how the houseboat came together.

“Adonia did a phenomenal job,” praised Jim. “This houseboat is in a league of its own.”

As a longtime houseboater, Jim accredits his love for houseboating to his dad. Growing up, his father developed an affinity for houseboating and he started taking Jim on trips to Lake Powell back when he was a teenager.

The first time they went down, they stayed at a hotel and went out on the boat during the day. Then the next time they packed some camping gear and took the boat out and camped on the shore in tents. From there, they finally rented a houseboat.

“That was back in the mid 80s, shared Jim. “The houseboat was essentially what we’d call a pontoon boat today—it was just a flat deck boat with basic tin walls and a propane stove and nothing more.”

That being said, Jim found this first houseboat experience to be pretty awesome and his family eventually graduated from renting to a fractional houseboat ownership on a small houseboat called Double Bogey. By this time, Jim was completely hooked, and his love for houseboating has continued to evolve over the years.

He’s come a long way since his first trip to Lake Powell, and his family’s 22- by 92-foot custom Adonia houseboat stands as a testament to that. The vessel fits the family like a glove. There’s plenty of space for all their family members plus extended family and any friends they’d like to take along for the ride since the boat comes fully equipped with two master bedrooms, six standard bedrooms, five full bathrooms, two kid cuddies and a locker room.

Favorite Getaway

Over the years, Jim and his wife Laurie have been able to take their four kids on some pretty neat vacations to different places, but their favorite place to go to relax is still their houseboat on Lake Powell.

“We’re fortunate in that we’ve done some spectacular vacations to all sorts of different locations,” explained Jim. “I’ve been able to take my kids to places like Europe and Hawaii, but when I ask them what their favorite vacation is, hands down they always say Lake Powell.”

The Lovelands currently have a 20-year-old son serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Jersey. He will get back home on October 15 after being gone for two years, and all he wants to do is get to Lake Powell and enjoy some time on the houseboat.

“He can’t wait,” chuckled Jim. “It’s killing him because he sees pictures and our posts on social media about the week we had at the lake. He misses it a lot, and he can’t wait to rekindle that fun family tradition.”

New Every Time

One of Jim’s favorite things about houseboating on Lake Powell is that he gets to have fun, quality time with his family. Something else he likes is that it’s a different experience every time. Whether it’s the time of year or the group of people he’s with, there are always different variables which offer new and exciting twists to the vacation.

“It’s always different depending on the place we stay and the cove we’re in and what’s going on in that section of the lake,” described Jim. “There’s always a bit of a different feel to it.”

For the Lovelands, nothing beats a houseboating vacation on Lake Powell, and they aren’t even close to calling it a season. After all, they still have to take their son out once he gets home from his mission in mid-October.

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