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Shuswap, Roosevelt prime spots in Northwest
With unseasonably warm weather in the Northwest this winter, itís easy to see houseboating season may not be that far off. Traditionally, summer houseboat vacations are booked several months in advance and winter is a great time to reserve your prime summer week.

In the Northwest, there are two prime  1areas available for houseboating, as well as other smaller lakes. The two major opportunities are Lake Shuswap in British Columbia and Lake Roosevelt in Northeast Washington.

For people who have not tried vacationing on a houseboat, itís easier than you might think. You donít have to be a boater to enjoy a houseboat vacation Ė the companies who rent these boats will show you what to do and itís actually pretty idiot-proof. And for some, itís a relatively simple, low-risk way to sample big boating. There is a minimum of fuss and the marina operators will even take your boat in and out of the docking area.

Houseboating is like driving your RV on the water. And todayís houseboats come with a lot of amenities -- hot tubs, home theaters, even satellite TV. Everything is right there for you wherever you take your boat, and each of these lakes has hundreds of unique coves and beaches perfect to park your boat for a night and enjoy the natural surroundings without other people nearby.

If youíre thinking about trying houseboating, you need to first decide if youíre going to go with another family. Houseboats are fairly expensive to rent for a week Ė a few thousand dollars depending on time of year and location Ė so a lot of people will vacation with good friends or members of their extended family.

The boats sleep up to 14 people, but you have to decide if youíre comfortable with that many in a relatively small space. That means you want to choose your boatmates carefully.

But once youíre out on the water, houseboating is really special. The experience is part travel, part leisure and part adventure because the lake always looks a little different from the next camp spot. The freedom of choosing a different port of call each night ó or several in any given day ó brings spice and variety to your vacation experience. And driving that big boat is like playing ferryboat captain when you were a kid.

Lake Shuswap is about a four-hour drive from the Washington state border if youíre driving north on Highway 97 in Central Washington. Itís in a region called the North Okanagan and is known as a houseboating paradise. There are great beaches, excellent fishing, swimming, hiking Ė and the area has many beautiful waterfalls to explore. Renting a houseboat is the ideal way to see it all.

If youíre looking to go houseboating in Washington State, Lake Roosevelt is the place. Lake Roosevelt was created with the completion of Grand Coulee Dam in 1941. Located in the northeast part of the state, Roosevelt is a long, narrow lake stretching 150 miles toward Canada, but itís barely wider than a mile.

If youíve ever wanted to navigate the Mississippi River, this is the next best thing Ė itís like traveling along a long, leisurely river. The difference, of course, is that there are few towns and no big cities on Lake Roosevelt. You will find hundreds of species of birds and animals live along Lake Roosevelt. Youíll even see moose along the banks. And if you want to fish off the back of your houseboat, walleye are plentiful.

For more information on houseboating these Northwest lakes, phone 888-454-8825 for Lake Shuswap or 800-635-7585 for Lake Roosevelt.
PHOTOS: Houseboating on Lake Roosevelt
PHOTO CREDITS: Photo courtesy Lake Roosevelt Houseboat Vacations
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