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3 Essential Houseboating Vacation Tips for Beginners

3 Essential Houseboating Vacation Tips for Beginners
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If this is your first time traveling to Shasta Lake, and you’ve never been on a houseboating vacation before, chances are you have a lot of questions on what to expect.

  • How hard is it to navigate a houseboat?
  • Will it be outfitted with everything you need?
  • How will you know how to tackle common tasks, like docking or dropping anchor?

The great news is navigating a houseboat is much easier than you’d expect! A general rule of thumb is if you can drive a car, you can drive a houseboat. So, it likely won’t take you very long to get comfortable on the water.

Even so, it’s essential to answer these lingering questions to provide ample peace of mind before and during your Shasta Lake trip. So keep the following in mind to ensure a smooth ride and an enthralling vacation from start to finish.

1. Make Sure You Have Access to an Orientation Before You Depart!

Established and reputable houseboat vacation providers, like Bridge Bay Marina, will take extra steps to ensure you have all the information and skills you’ll need to explore the Shasta Lake waters.

This is why Bridge Bay Marina offers orientations before your trip to cover all the basics of navigation and then some. Be sure and attend this session before you head out, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

We’ve helped thousands of beginners become seasoned captains in no time, and are happy to show you the ropes of enjoying your houseboat vacation.

2. Know What You Should Bring… and What You Can Leave Behind

One of the most accommodating aspects of our houseboats is they are equipped with a variety of essentials that you’ll need, which will make your packing plans a breeze.

With full kitchens, dishware and cookware, and even little extras like soap and paper towels, you’ll quickly discover that many of the items you’ll require for an ideal vacation are already onboard.

With that being said, there are still a few other essentials you’ll want to stow away for your trip, like:

  • Pet supplies
  • Sunscreen
  • Toiletries
  • Extra blankets

Take a look at our first-timer tips at for more information on what you should bring along.

3. Do Some Research and Plot a Course

To ensure you have the most enjoyable vacation possible, it’s essential to do a little online research before you go.

Shasta Lake is expansive and is the largest lake in northern California, so it should come as no surprise that there are countless things to see, do, and explore!

Make a list of “must-see” destinations on and around the lake, like the towering Shasta Dam or the stunning Lake Shasta Caverns, and plot a course in advance accordingly. By having a plan, you’ll be well prepared for the travels ahead.

Contact Us

Many people are surprised at how easy it is to get used to exploring the open waters, which is one of the biggest reasons why our guests come back to Shasta Lake and Bridge Bay Marina year after year.

With modern and easy-to-navigate houseboats and a wealth of information to ensure you travel safely, we’re experts at creating stress-free and enjoyable houseboat vacations for new and seasoned explorers alike.

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