houseboat docked on a beach at night

Things to Know Before Renting a Houseboat on Lake Mead  

Every year, thousands of people travel to Las Vegas to visit the casinos and try their chances with lady luck. For others, the lure of camping or hiking in the southwestern desert and exploring the Grand Canyon is hard to resist. If you’re looking for a fun and exciting alternative, consider renting a houseboat on Lake Mead. You can enjoy the beauty of the desert on a comfortable and mobile platform. And, if you get too hot, simply jump off the side into the cool waters of the lake. We’ve compiled some fun facts and tips, including costs and information about houseboat rentals on Lake Mead.

About Lake Mead

Lake Mead was formed in 1936 after the construction of the Hoover Dam in Black Canyon. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy established the Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA), which includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, consisting of 1.5 million acres of land with over 500 miles of shoreline. Because the lake is artificial, much of the shoreline consists of steep, red rock formations only accessible by boat. The land around the lake is primarily an arid desert and can be explored via hiking trails.

Things To Do on Lake Mead

Since Lake Mead is so large, having a comfortable houseboat is one of the best ways to explore the vast shoreline. Houseboats allow you to slowly and safely cruise the lake. You can anchor at a beach or simply roam around the lake.


Fishing is one great way to spend your vacation. Lake Mead is known for striped bass. You can also find rainbow trout, largemouth bass and catfish in different sections of the lake. Most species are available any time, and there are certain seasons when fishing is better for other fish. For instance, May to September is the peak season for striped bass.

Swimming and Water Sports

Lake Mead water is cool and refreshing. Most houseboats are equipped with a water slide from the top deck. Water skiing and using personal watercraft are also popular ways to have fun while on vacation.


Lake Mead Recreation Area has hundreds of miles of hiking trails visitors can explore while cruising the lake. Most paths are easy enough for families and beginners, and many follow former rail lines.

Houseboat Rentals

Spending your vacation on a comfortable, fully-equipped houseboat is a great way to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery around Lake Mead. It doesn’t matter if you are a novice boat user or a pro. We will be there every step of the way to make sure you feel safe and comfortable during your time on the water.

There are six different houseboat models available to rent. Our smaller 50-foot houseboats sleep up to six people, while our largest 75-foot houseboats are ADA-compliant and sleep up to 15 people. These luxurious vessels include private bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and a living area.

All houseboat rentals include a top deck so you can see the beauty of the desert and canyons. For water lovers, houseboats are equipped with a water slide from the top deck so you can get into the water as fast as possible. Other amenities include private bedrooms with queen-sized mattresses, towels and linens, full kitchens with countertop accessories, dishes, cooking items, a television with DVD player, a stereo system and air conditioning.

70-foot houseboats sleep up to 12 people and feature special amenities including four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a wet bar and even a hot tub.

For those visitors concerned about germs and cleanliness, all Callville Bay houseboats are cleaned with a fogging system that removes 99.9% of all germs and viruses.

Cost of Rentals

Houseboats are available from three to seven days. Rental costs for 50-foot houseboats start at $1,995 for three days during the winter season to $3,822 for a seven-day rental during peak season. Rates vary by marina, time of year and length of stay, so the best way to find out the exact cost is to visit the Callville Bay Marina website.

Houseboat Tips

It’s helpful to have experience driving a boat, but it’s not required. The marina staff will provide a hands-on safety and education program prior to taking the houseboats out.

Licensing Requirements

Boat license regulations vary from state to state. For instance, Florida, Texas and California residents need to take a test before obtaining a boating license.


Houseboats travel at 7-10 mph, so they are relatively easy to maneuver. However, it’s important to practice using the controls. And, remember, boats don’t have brakes, so it helps to know how much reverse power you need to apply to stop the boat for docking and beaching. It’s also important to stay aware while operating your houseboat, especially if you are in crowded parts of the lake.


The hardest part about piloting a houseboat is docking. It can take some practice to get it right, and if it is windy, docking can be especially challenging. Most marinas provide instructions and allow you to practice with instructions before you do it yourself. When returning your houseboat, give yourself plenty of time before your return time to allow for refueling and docking challenges.


Exploring the Lake Mead Recreational Area means you will want to beach your houseboat and explore the many trails and habitats surrounding the lake. Look for a steep beach so you can beach and keep your motors in the water. The houseboat comes with two anchors and ropes to secure the houseboat at the beach. It is helpful to have a mate go ashore and secure the anchors while you keep the engines powered.

Reserving a Houseboat

It is helpful to reserve your houseboat as far in advance as possible. A first-day deposit is required at the time of the reservation and will be applied to the rental costs.

You can take advantage of the early-bird arrival. Show up the night before and spend the night at the dock; you will be one of the first boats to depart the next morning.

Rental fees are refundable if booked at least 60 days in advance. Callville Bay Marina recommends travel cancellation insurance.

Reserve your houseboat rental on Lake Mead today — you’ll love the experience of exploring this beautiful area with more comfort than ever!

POSTED IN: Fishing, Hiking, History, Houseboat Tips, Houseboat Vacations