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Think of any boat-related song; chances are, it was blasted through the top-deck speakers of a houseboat during my family’s summertime adventures on Shasta Lake, located just north of Redding, Calif. “Buy Me A Boat” by country artist Chris Janson? Definitely. “Rock the Boat” by soul trio The Hues Corporation? Of course.
Let’s just say boat references played a strong role in the week’s playlist.
Shasta Lake is California’s largest man-made reservoir; it was created by damming the Sacramento River in 1945. Today, its surface stretches like a colossal blue hand, its fingers running up various creeks and ravines, covering nearly 47 square miles. During the summer, it becomes one of Northern California’s most popular destinations, especially among fishers and watersport enthusiasts.
Renting a houseboat on Shasta Lake makes for an exciting vacation experience, especially for larger groups like my family (we had 17 people). Though there are several companies that offer a variety of vessels and amenities, we decided on Antlers Resort & Marina in Lakehead, Calif.
Our choice, the Genesis model, was the third-largest houseboat, but still plenty spacious, with three staterooms, two lower cabins, and two full restrooms. Plus, the sofa and dinette converted to beds. The entertainment center, fireplace and hot tub were additional touches that made it hard to believe we were floating on a lake.
With my uncle at the helm (and plenty of backseat drivers), we spent the week navigating to different coves and inlets. We would beach the front end of the vessel on a suitable bank, then anchor the boat to the shore with metal stakes and ropes. The key was finding a steep enough drop-off so that we wouldn’t get stuck, as well as protection from the wind — two factors we learned by a little trial and more error.
It was a week of soaking up the sun, splashing down the waterslide, sipping margaritas at the rooftop bar and sleeping under the stars — with plenty of laughter and shenanigans in between.
The DetailsAntlers Resort & Marinawww.shastalakevacations.com
City of Shasta Lakewww.cityofshastalake.org