Shasta Lake: House-Boating Capital of the World?

SHASTA LAKE—Take a drive up the 5 Freeway and eventually you’ll cross Shasta Lake, wedged in between Redding and the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The one thing you might notice whenever you visit the Northern California waterway: there are no shortages of houseboats.

Shasta Lake is hailed as the “Houseboat Capital of World.” The Shasta Marina at Packers Bay website says there can be as many as 450 houseboats on the lake at any time.

“Shasta Lake became a prime location for houseboat rentals, due to its massive size, magnificent shoreline, plentiful fishing, and numerous waterfalls and hiking opportunities,” the Shasta Marina website stated.

Several other websites for marinas and harbors at Shasta Lake also refers to the inland waterway as the “Houseboat Capital of the World.” A San Francisco Chronicle article published in June also acknowledged a similarly ambitious marketing tagline.

“Shasta Lake, the state’s largest man-made reservoir, is considered the houseboating capital of California,” Chronicle contributor Jill K. Robinson said in her June 7, 2019 travel story on the inland waterway in Shasta County.

Even the official travel website for the state of California promotes Shasta Lake as a houseboat destination.

“Rent a houseboat to explore the state’s largest reservoir,” the marketing copy reads on the visitcalifornia.com website. “There’s plenty of room to move on this 30,000-acre/12,140-hectare reservoir, the largest in California. A typical summer day finds the crystal blue waters sprinkled with fishing boats, jet skis, inner tubes – almost anything that floats. Especially houseboats. Some Almost 370 miles of shoreline wrap around mirror-smooth coves ideal for anchoring.”

But Shasta Lake doesn’t have a monopoly on the “Houseboat Capital of the World” title. Lake Cumberland in Kentucky also claims to be the ultimate destination for houseboats, according to Discover Boating.

“Some would say Lake Cumberland is THE Houseboat Capital of the World,” according to an entry on Discover Boating’s website about houseboat vacation destinations. “It’s the largest lake by volume in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River, and boasts 1,200 miles of shoreline on three state parks and the Daniel Boone National Forest.”

The website did acknowledge Shasta Lake also claims to be the top destination for houseboats.

“Just like fans of Lake Cumberland, Lake Shasta enthusiasts also claim it to be the ‘Houseboating Capital of the World,’” the Discover Boating website stated.

The “Houseboat Capital” tagline is certainly a public relations tool more than anything else – and, perhaps, would remind some folks in California of the battle of two cities – Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz – claiming to be “Surf City USA.”

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