Airbnb Houseboats to Make All Your Sea Captain Dreams Come True
These tiny, floating paradises are the ultimate retreat.
While 2020 was undoubtedly the year of the RV, it’s time we turn our attention to another formidable contender in the competition for the world’s most unique travel experiences: the noble houseboat. These tiny, buoyant homes are arguably the ultimate summer retreat, giving you easy access to beaches, plenty of waterspace to kayak or swim, and ample opportunities for topdeck sunbathing—plus, when nighttime rolls around, you’ll fall asleep to the gentle rocking of waves. Find the perfect floating paradise amongst these Airbnb houseboats across the US.
Charleston, South Carolina
Once featured on HGTV’s Tiny House Hunters, the Mascota Yacht was redesigned in 2016 for live-aboard comfort. It sleeps up to 6 adults, making it the perfect small party venue. You can fish, enjoy views of the Ravenel Bridge, or take some bikes out to historic Charleston. And pets are allowed!
Certainly the sleekest houseboat on the list, this Florida gem is a five minute walk from Historic Downtown Stuart and six miles away from Martin County’s beaches. The marina has its own amenities, including a restaurant, a coffee shop, and complimentary bikes. Several reviewers also noted surprise visits from dolphins.
Los Angeles, California
This LA yacht screams old school glamour, with beautiful wooden furnishings, fine linens, and plenty of space. It’s private, peaceful, and safe, with 24-hour security and magnetic card access. You can walk from the boardwalk to the beach, ride along dedicated bike paths, or, if you’re lucky, catch a whale passing by.
This cozy wooden cabin with 360 degree views of the Columbia River is one of just a few boats in this quiet marina, and comes with an upgraded kitchenette, wifi, cable TV, and complimentary kayaks. A great home base for exploring nearby Portland, you can check out all the city has to offer by day and enjoy a low-key, tranquil hideout at night.
Queens, New York
Also known as the “James Franco,” this funky little boat is docked in a private marina that’s home to an artist-slash-surfer-slash-fisherman community. The ultra-kitschy space is enough to take in on its own, but if you’re looking for an escape, the Rockaways are just two blocks away. Included in your stay: longboards and ukuleles.
On the Nebi Yacht, you’ll have gorgeous views of the quaint town of Damariscotta, Maine, which is famous for its oysters. While on the water, you can take kayaks out downriver and spot wildlife, including seals and ospreys, or visit a nearby picturesque lighthouse.
Providence, Rhode Island
Your next weekend getaway could be spent inside a converted 1956 tugboat. It’s got all the charming, nautical details—bronze portholes, wooden ship wheels—and is within walking distance of downtown Providence. Drink your morning coffee in the cozy pilot house, then sit atop the afterdeck for views of the city. There’s heat, air conditioning, and strong WiFi.
Carolina Beach, North Carolina
With its bright green sail and mahogany interior, the Halo sailboat is the ideal setting for a Ralph Lauren-esque photo shoot. You’ll have easy access to the beach, as well as restaurants and bars. And don’t let the photos fool you: guests often mention how surprisingly spacious the boat is inside.
Bay City, Michigan
This cozy sailboat is docked at a marina in Bay City, Michigan, right outside the Bay City River Walk. With relatively limited amenities—the ship comes with electricity and running water, but you’ll need to bring your own linens and wash down in the marina’s showerhouse—it’s about as close as you can get to camping on the water. You can also opt for a sunset ride with your host.
East Dubuque, Illinois
Located on the backwaters of the Mississippi River, this 70-foot, remodeled houseboat has a surprising amount of space, with a custom kitchen, master bedroom, bunkhouse room, and basement all yours to enjoy. The marina has live music on the weekends, as well as kayak rentals. Plus, you’ll be a short drive away from the aquariums, museums, and botanical gardens of Dubuque, Iowa, as well as the well-preserved 19th-century buildings of Galena, Illinois.
San Rafael, California
If you’re looking to spend a weekend exploring Muir Woods or Mount Tamalpais, this light-filled, Pinterest-perfect houseboat in San Rafael is the perfect stay. Take the vessel’s kayak out on the San Rafael canal, or visit the nearby Terrapins Crossroads for live music.