There’s more to a Seattle vacation than the Space Needle, the original Starbucks, the Seattle International Film Festival and Bite of Seattle. The city has a little bit of everything for everyone, including top-choice food and dining, hiking, wildlife and cool accommodations. You might be surprised to learn that there are a lot of options when it comes to houseboat rentals.

Whether you plan to visit the city for a music festival, a relative’s wedding, or you’re simply exploring, you can book your vacation accommodations on a houseboat and make your stay more memorable.

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Different Types Of Houseboats

With Seattle being a metropolitan city surrounded by water on two sides, having a houseboat rental just fits the vibe. These are the four options available for floating accommodations in Seattle. Don’t worry about the technical terms, just get a feel for what you’ll be looking at when picking a rental.

  1. Houseboat

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    The classic houseboat — it’s a seaworthy vessel that’s primarily a living space. You can pilot these down a canal or into another marina, but it isn’t really built for seafaring. These are generally the size of a good-quality trailer home, with excellent use of space inside. You’ll find a bathroom, cooking and living space, plus at least one bedroom. Most houseboats can be found settled on Lake Union!

  2. Floating Home


    A floating home isn’t a houseboat, it’s actually a normal-looking house that floats on top of a platform. Seattle’s floating home community primarily lies on the east side of Lake Union, right along Fairview Avenue East. Utilities of these floating homes are connected via mechanisms on land, and the house doesn’t move or do any special tricks. Remember the movie “Sleepless in Seattle?” That was a floating home — and a nice one, too. These aren’t navigable, but they are unique. Given a traditional design, they can also be a bit more comfortable for those unused to living on water.

  3. Barge Home


    A barge home is similar to the floating home, except that instead of a simple platform, the house is stationed atop a barge. Barge homes are also a part of Seattle’s Floating Homes Association. Utilities are detachable and the house can theoretically be moved from place to place via the barge controls, but as a renter you’ll just be keeping it where you found it. The upside to barge homes is that they can be pretty spacious. You might not notice them right away because they look like normal, land-bound houses.

  4. Vessel with a Dwelling

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    A vessel with a dwelling is essentially a boat whose purpose is both sea navigation and accommodation. Primarily, this is a boat that has a space to sleep, but that space is not very big. It’s okay for a night or so, but probably not for a long-term stay unless you plan to sail around the coast. Maybe that’s exactly what you’ve got in mind — in which case, give it a go.

Advantages Of Renting A Houseboat

  1. Houseboats Are Budget-Friendly

    Even the most basic hotel room — when booked at the wrong time — can cost more than you expect. Since most people don’t consider renting houseboats for vacations, however, these floating rental spaces are pretty affordable. On average, you should be able to find houseboat rentals between $70 to 150 per night. What’s more, the inner layout of each boat can be different, meaning there’s a good chance you’ll have separate living space to enjoy outside of the bedrooms.

  2. Great Location
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    An affordable hotel room might be tucked away in a strange part of the city, but a vacationr houseboat is much more likely to dock near the amenities you need. In many cases, you’ll be able to find a boat in just the neighborhood you wanted to explore the most. Not to mention — no long walk or commute to the waterfront.

  3. The View
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    When was the last time you woke up in a lake-view hotel room and didn’t cringe at the thought of the bill? For most people, it’s been a long time. When you rent a vacation houseboat, you get to enjoy the prime scenery as well as become a part of it.

  4. Privacy

    Once you’ve got the keys to the boat, you’re free to relax and enjoy your vacation without worrying about concierges, front-desk conversations and cleaning services interrupting you. Just chill and plan your day in your pajamas before heading out for a nice big brunch.
  5. All-Hours Access
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    You’ve likely experienced one or two late-night returns to the hotel only to find the doors get locked at 10:00 p.m. Houseboat rentals don’t work that way. You can come and go as you please without feeling vaguely guilty for having to disturb someone to get into your room.

    Try something fresh and new on your next Seattle vacation. Check out all the rentals you could potentially have on the waterfront, take note how close they are to the great shopping and spectacles of Seattle and ask yourself, “Why not?”