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The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) estimates that there are more than 16 million boats between the U.S. and Canada, many of which are ready to take people on the vacation of their lives. Buy or rent a houseboat, and try these locations for fun and relaxation—but before you head out, review the available

boating exams online

. Safety should be first in your mind as the captain of your houseboat.

Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada

Photo by E_TAVARES via Flickr

Of the more than 32,000 lakes in Canada, 3,899 of them are in Ontario.

Lake of the Woods

is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts across Canada and the northern U.S., with more than 65,000 miles of shoreline touching Ontario and Manitoba in Canada, and Minnesota in the U.S. Much of the lake is in remote areas giving visitors a quiet and isolated houseboat destination away from others, and doubles as a great fishing spot. In fact, Lake of the Woods is the walleye capital of the world.

Start your houseboat excursion of the lake at Kenora, Morson or Sioux Narrows, or just stop over for the night to see what each has in store.

Lake Chelan, Washington, United States

Photo by Themerganser via Flickr

Lake Chelan is the largest lake in the state of Washington at 50.5 miles long and nearly 1,500 feet at its deepest spot. It is a glacier-fed lake featuring crystal-clear, tranquil waters for a smooth houseboating experience. In the middle of the North Cascades National Forest, it is surrounded by wineries, gourmet restaurants and small towns full of crafts. Lake Chelan gives you a taste of luxury amidst your houseboat cruise.

Communities to visit when boating on Lake Chelan:

  • Chelan - This city boasts more than 300 days a year of sunshine and offers wineries and handmade craft stores to give visitors a break from boating on the deep blue waters of the lake.
  • Manson - This is a small lakeside village is a favorite of foodies, and also has a casino.
  • Stehekin - This is a community of 95 residents and is only accessible by boat or seaplane. Glide in with your houseboat at the headwaters of Lake Chelan and see how these people live surrounded by the nature of this glacial area.

Lake Powell, Utah and Arizona, United States

Photo by Greg Schaefer via Wikimedia Commons

Lake Powell

is a reservoir on the Colorado River formed when the Glen Canyon Dam was built. This 186-mile-long lake is a favorite with houseboaters because of its scenery, offering numerous sand beaches, deep blue waters and red rock formations throughout the canyon.

Some of the natural features of this area include:

  • Rainbow Bridge - This is one of the largest natural bridge formations in the world.
  • Cataract Canyon - This area rivals some of the finest U.S. national parks with Navajo Sandstone creating nearly 80 side canyons in which to cruise. Native American rock artifacts can be seen throughout the canyon on the walls near the water.

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