Lake Powell houseboat vacation is intended for the novice house boater.
It is for those who have dreamed of a vacation on a houseboat at Lake Powell but have needed just a little more information before making up their mind.
Hopefully, you will find in these pages all the information you‘ll need to help you to make up your mind.
Lake Powell straddles northern Arizona and southern Utah, extending 186 miles northeast from Glen Canyon Dam.
It “…nestles within the Colorado Plateau, a landscape of haunting beauty. This vast region, centered on the Grand Canyon, is an area of plateaus, mesas, and deep canyons, with brilliant colors and artistically sculpted rocks - arguably, the most beautiful canyonland on the planet.”1
The lake contains 254 square miles of water and 96 named side canyons that bend and twist serpentine-like through scenic canyons of ancient stone.
A Lake Powell houseboat vacation will be one you will cherish and long remember.
Any time of the year is a good time for a Lake Powell houseboat vacation.
Summer time, of course, is best for any water related activities, such as swimming and water skiing, when the average water temperature is 76° F.
September and October are especially nice times of the year at Lake Powell. By then the summer crowds are gone and the average high temperature is 82.5°, with an average water temperature of 70.5°.
Renting a House Boat:
Most visitors who come here for a Lake Powell houseboat vacation rent a house boat from one of the lake side rental companies, ARAMARK and Forever Resorts.
For complete information about renting, please see Lake Powell Houseboat Vacation Rentals.
Renting a Power Boat:
With almost 2,000 miles of shoreline and most of that inaccessible to automobiles, even 4-WD vehicles, the best way to see and explore Lake Powell is with a power boat.
Powerboats, from a 19’ All Purpose Runabout, to a 23’ Centurian, can be towed behind a houseboat where it can then utilized for scouting, fishing, sight-seeing and exploring.
Lake Powell presently has five active marinas, Wahweap, Antelope Pointe, Dangling Rope, Bullfrog and Hall’s Crossing.
All of these marinas provide fuel, ice and a limited amount of groceries and supplies.
House boats and powerboats can be rented at all the marinas except Dangling Rope.
For more information, please see my page Lake Powell Marinas.
The second largest expense in a Lake Powell houseboat vacation after boat rental is fuel.
Jared Farmer, in his book, Glen Canyon Dammed: Inventing Lake Powell and the Canyon Country 2, published in 1999 states,
“House boaters can expect to spend over $500 per week on their oversized load, which chugs along at about two miles to the gallon. [*] This helps explain the high consumption of gas at Lake Powell - an estimated five million gallons per year. Remarkably, 20 percent of that fuel comes from one source, the Dangling Rope Marina.”
As of 9-28-2012, the average price for regular gasoline at Lake Powell Marinas was $5.06 per gallon. Diesel was $5.47 per gallon, and premium gasoline was $5.25.
* Bear in mind that this book was published in 1999. Fuel prices were considerably less expensive than they are today.
Also, with today’s larger and more powerful engines, ½ to 1 mile a gallon would be a more realistic figure.
In addition, for every hour you run the generator, you burn ½ to 1 gallon of fuel.
Fuel Saving Tips:
The following fuel tips have been taken from All About Houseboats. 3
Fact #1 – The larger the house boat, the more fuel it will consume.
Fact #2 – The faster you go, the more fuel you will consume.
Additional Tips to Save on Fuel:
• Plan your trips: Establish a trip itinerary and follow it. This will eliminate unnecessary traveling. For a sample itinerary, see Lake Powell Houseboat Itinerary.
• Carry less weight: It takes more energy to move a heavier house boat than a lighter one. By lightening the load, you will increase the miles per gallon.
• Warm up time – reduce the warm up time to just a few minutes. Today’s newer engines require less warm up time.
• Use the 1/3 rule for fuel: calculate 1/3 of the fuel to get to your destination, 1/3 to get back, and to have 1/3 as a reserve in the tank.
• Use the most efficient cruise speed: take the square root of your waterline, multiplied by 1.34. Example: a 36 foot waterline has a square root of 6. Multiply that time 1.34 = 8.04 knots.
• Angle & trim tabs: read your manual for determining the best way to set the angle and trim tabs.
A Lake Powell house boat vacation is considered by many to be the ultimate vacation.
However, as many of you know, the cost to a family of four can be prohibitively expensive.
That is the reason so many couples today are hooking up with two or more families and splitting the costs.
Jared Farmer, in his book Glen Canyon Dammed: Inventing Lake Powell and the Canyon Country asks the question:
“Has lake Powell Become a Rich Man’s Paradise?”
He goes on to make this point,
“Owning a boat and a vehicle capable of towing it (not to mention the time to get away) is generally a privilege of the upper classes. Even renting a boat requires a deep pocket. In the mid-1990’s, a no-frills eighteen-foot machine cast $928 a week. The smallest houseboat, a thirty-footer with three beds, cost $675 for the minimum stay of three days, $1’241 for a week.”
Today, in 2012, a no frills 19' All Purpose Runabout Boat rents for $400 per Day or $2,800 for 7 days.
The smallest houseboat, a Voyager XL 46' Houseboat - Economy Class, which sleeps 8, costs $2248 for 3 days during the peak season, 5/15 to 8/31, and $4,495 for 7 days during the same period.
But, what if you have 3 couples, each with 2 children for a total of 12 people? This, by the way, is the maximum number of people allowed on a house boat while it is underway per United States Coast Guard regulations.
So, if you rent a houseboat that sleeps 12 people, like a 70’ Millennium which rents for $1,171 per day or $$7,700 (plus taxes and fees) for 7 days, each couple pays $2,551.
Add the cost of a powerboat for 7 days, $2,800, plus $500 for gas and you are still looking at a big chunk of change.
Remember, you will also need to add taxes and fees, insurance and the cost of beverages, ice, food, firewood, etc.
However you cut it, a Lake Powell houseboat vacation still costs a hunk of change.
But, “As one travel writer wrote of his houseboat trip,
‘It’s a floating party/exploration/picture taking/bridge playing/unwinding three or four days that are as pleasant as any we’ve spent anywhere, anytime.’ ″ 4
A Lake Powell house boating vacation can be the vacation of a lifetime. You owe it to yourself to experience it at least once.
For a very good detailed description on planning your Lake Powell houseboat vacation, I highly recommend “How to Plan a Houseboat Vacation.” 5
Although I do not own a houseboat, my sister and her husband do own one and have often invited my wife and me to spend a week with them.
If you would be interested in one of our typical trips, please see my page Houseboat Memories.
Lake Powell is one of the most beautiful lakes in the United States.
It is a magical place, a place that casts her spell over all of us who visit her, drawing us back to her crystal waters year after year.
If you would like to share a memorable Lake Powell vacation, please fill out the form below.
Lake Powell House Boating References and Resources:
2 Glen Canyon Dammed: Inventing Lake Powell and the Canyon Country by Jared Farmer, p.160
4 Farmer, p. 160
5 How to Plan a Houseboat Vacation