It seems like we have been through all sorts of circumstances so I feel like we have a pretty good handle on houseboat vacations. We have been in a storm so bad that it moved the front of the houseboat 8’ down the beach despite being securely tied to the stakes and the engine running to push us into the beach. On another occasion, the steering column on the lower deck malfunctioned and my husband had to beach the houseboat from the top deck. Not an easy task!
But still we return year after year to the Shuswap because the good experiences far outweigh the bad. Waking up in the morning and being right on the water is the best! And at the end of the day you can sit on the top deck and watch the moon and stars appear.
I thought I would provide you with more information in case you are thinking you would like to try this wonderful experience:
You have to run your boat or your generator (depending on the houseboat) at least twice a day to keep your batteries charged up. It’s noisy but necessary.
Your houseboat company should provide you with information on where beaching is allowed. Shuswap Lake has four arms (Shuswap Lake, Salmon Arm, Anstey Arm and Seymour Arm). The best places to beach are Anstey Arm, Seymour Arm and the northeast part of Salmon Arm. The first time you go, you will probably want to explore the lake as much as possible. But I warn you, a houseboat is slooooow. Our favorite spots are on Anstey and Salmon Arm.
Some people like morning light and some like evening light. Beach on the side of the lake where you can get what you like. We prefer morning light. By the end of a hot day it feels good to have the sun go behind the trees!
There are two Sea Stores where the four arms join. They float on the lake for the summer. One sells fuel and groceries and the other one has a restaurant. You can pull a houseboat up to the stores but we take our sport boat. You can also rent Sea-Doos here.
There are many lovely little stops around the lakes – Four Mile Creek, Marble Point, Margaret Falls. If you get a chance to stop, they are worth it. And don’t forget to bring your camera.
If you like quiet, don’t beach where the masses beach. They tend to be the party areas and they can be noisy and at times, unsafe.
It is an easy walk to grocery stores in both Sicamous and Salmon Arm. We tend to use Sicamous more because it is closer to where we beach.
The Shuswap does not have many sandy beaches. The end of Anstey and the end of Seymour have some sand but the rest are usually rocky. For some reason though, it doesn’t seem to matter!
We houseboat in the summer so, we rent a boat that does not have a hot tub on the upper deck. We found that it was hot enough that we didn’t need one and it gives us much more space for lounge chairs. Some companies have really fancy boats (nice tile, fancy woodwork etc.) but we tend to rent something simple (but clean) and save a few bucks.
So what do you think? Is houseboating for you? I’ll share a few more photographs next time.
- Houseboating Vacation Part One
- Houseboating Vacation Part Three