Laura and her family recently rented a house boat on Lake Powell for the long Memorial Day weekend. This was their first time and she came back with lots of tips. Here is everything you need to know from Laura.
The lake and surrounding areas of Glen Canyon are absolutely gorgeous. The colors of the canyon walls combined with the green-ish hue of the water and blue sky makes for an absolutely exquisite back drop no matter where you are on the lake. As of the writing of this post, the water level is rising a foot-and-a-half per day due to all the snow run-off. This is amazing as the water level has been low for so long. It's risen over 20 feet so far this Spring and continuing to rise.
One thing that is important to know is that a houseboat trip is a lot of work. It's like an RV on water. Not only do you have to pack everything in you will need, things are inevitably going to go wrong on the boat that you will have to fix/solve. For example, we didn't have running water for half a day because our generator wasn't turning on, we got our boat stuck on a rock while attempting to dock on a beach, etc. If possible, try to go with people who are experienced boaters and know how to handle, drive and dock a boat. Another thing to note is that you will spend a lot of time tying/anchoring your houseboat once you find a beach or cove to put it. There can be a good breeze/wind and your houseboat acts like a big sail and moves quickly. You don't want your boat floating away while you're sleeping. Our husbands spent lots of time tying the boat down, then checking the ropes, re-checking them and then tightening them SEVERAL times a day as the boats do move a lot during the day with wind.
The boat had everything we needed already on it in terms of "living." We didn't have to bring much. It had nice bed sheets, pillows, blankets, bath towels, a giant cooler on the front deck, shovels, dish towels, a grill, even little shampoos and soaps.
Probably the most essential thing needed for a successful Lake trip is a ski boat. We towed the ski boat behind our houseboat while finding a place to "dock" but when we would get near the area we wanted to dock for the night, our friends would get into the ski boat and go scout out a spot to put the houseboat. We also used the boat for water sports, tubing and exploring several times each day. I also highly recommend renting wave runners one day if you can. You can also pull those behind your houseboat. Wave runners are really fun because you can go explore smaller, more narrow canyons where a boat won't fit! We rented our houseboat and wave runners from Antelope Point Marina.
Each day after breakfast, we all put on a bathing suit, rash guard or sun protective long-sleeved top, hat, and then usually shorts as you are climbing in and out of boats, tying the ropes of the boat, paddle boarding, etc. We also all wore and needed water shoes. This can be a teva or a sneaker that protects your feet, stays on and isn't a flip flop. Our kids wore crocs. The beaches are full of sharp shells, prickly bushes, brush and rocks and you need to protect your feet! It's also key to have a shoe that goes from water to hiking/climbing on rocks seamlessly. The evenings were cool and I put on a sweatshirt and leggings/light sweats for that and that's about it! See specific clothing items linked below.
There is a full working kitchen: oven, microwave, refrigerator/freezer on the boat as well as a gas grill on the front deck. We packed all meals in coolers and then stored everything in the fridge/freezer. Each family was in charge of a meal and we grilled two nights out of the 3. We brought a bunch of lunch meat, bread and condiments so people could make their own sandwiches each day. In addition to this, we brought tons of snacks for the kids, sodas, sparkling water, and canned alcoholic drinks - no glass. We also brought several gallon jugs of water for drinking. Plan on a half a gallon of water per person, per day at least. Here is what we ate:
Breakfast: eggs, bacon, toast
Lunch: sandwich bar
Dinner: Shish-ka-bobs and a salad
Breakfast: french toast and sausage
Lunch: ham and cheese sliders
Dinner: Tacos, guac, chips, beans
Breakfast: Bagels & cream cheese, fruit, leftovers
Lunch: sandwich bar, leftovers
Dinner: hamburgers, hot dogs, salad