Extend Your Summer

Extend Your Summer

August is here and back-to-school season is upon us. But, it’s not too late to book one last vacation before you get sucked into the back-to-school activities, carpool arrangements, and homework monopolizing your family’s time. While others are busy school shopping, you can be playing Monopoly from the back deck of your houseboat after an action-packed day of making waves and searching for the perfect cove. Make it a Summer to remember!

You’ll see the crystal-clear skies turn into pink and purple hues and hundreds of stars peek out from the sky that are hidden from view in the suburbs. The weather is perfect — not too hot and not too cold — to make a splash with your loved ones. Take the kayak out for an early morning fishing trip — this time of year is perfect for spotted bass! Enjoy the sunrise with a hot cup of coffee from the upper deck. Or, if sunrise is too early for you, the upper deck is also a great place to open up the fridge and grab a cold cocktail and watch the sun set.


Summer isn’t over until the end of September, and the weather is usually great on Shasta Lake through Fall. If you are looking to extend that back to school budget, off-season rates can save you money for those Friday night football games. When you book through the website before September 9th, there is a 10% off coupon. If you missed the opportunity to get out earlier this season because your favorite boat wasn’t available, give us a call to see if it is available for our late-Summer rentals. Whether you stay on one of our Mirage Houseboats that sleeps 14 or the Thoroughbred Houseboat that sleeps 16, you’ll enjoy all the comforts of home in the outdoors.


Don’t let Summer pass you by without making memories with your loved ones. What are you waiting for? Extend your Summer vacation and come cool off with us. If you have any questions, call us anytime at the Shasta Marina office at 800.959.3359.

Houseboating Planning in 5 Easy Steps

Planning a house boating vacation for 16+ people can be fun; kind of like Tetris. Once you’ve mastered it for the first time, you’re excited for the next level. If you’ve never been houseboating before, we have five easy steps to getting ready for smooth sailing.

If you have any questions along the way, our experienced team at Shasta Marina at Packers Bay are happy to help. Just give us a call. We want the toughest part of your trip to be finalizing your guest list. Let’s get started.

Step 1 Pick Your Captain

Once your guest list is finalized, you’ll want to pick your Captain. Your Captain is a member (or two) of your party who will get the once in a lifetime opportunity to maneuver a houseboat wherever you want to explore on the beautiful waters on Shasta Lake. But not to worry, we offer instructions prior to departure from the marina. As renters of our equipment, Captain’s aren’t required to have the California Boater Card, but we certainly recommend becoming familiar with the rules on the waterways. Visit https://dbw.parks.ca.gov/ to learn more.

Step 2 Plan Your Menu. Pick Your Chef.

Each of our houseboats come with a fully equipped kitchen with all the pots, pans and utensils you’ll need, plus a barbeque grill and an ice chest on the deck for outdoor chilling and grilling. You just need to bring your favorite foods and plenty of it, because the big fun that you’ll be having on the water will bring big appetites.

Some groups like to plan out meals and do “prep cooking” at home. You will spend more time making waves and less time preparing meals on the boat. Most groups rotate chef duties throughout the trip, so one person isn’t sequestered in the kitchen. If you want to prep for houseboat meals like a pro, plan your meals, then order your groceries online for drive-up pick-up on your way to the marina.

Step 3 Plan Your Fun

You have a week or so on the water – plan to make the most of it! Did you know that there are amazing waterfalls, trails and caverns at Shasta Lake? You can plan your hikes near your overnight stops on your houseboat so you’re only a short distance to your shore line adventure. Make sure to pack your hiking shoes or other shoes for the muddy and sometimes rocky terrain.

Are you going water skiing, tubing or jet skiing? Make sure that you reserve your personal watercraft well in advance of your trip as some weekends sell-out of rental equipment. Or if catching up with a good book is more your speed, don’t forget to throw your favorite title in your luggage.

Step 4 Pack the Essentials

Bathing suit. Flip flops. Bedding. Towels. Sunscreen and… what else? There’s a trick to bringing “just enough” for a perfect vacation. Each bedroom has storage, but space is limited on a houseboat. You don’t want to bring too many items because you want plenty of play room on the boat. Our insider’s guide at https://shastalake.net/insider/ has a checklist of essential items to bring and make sure that you don’t forget those special items that are essential for your vacation that might not hit the checklist like your favorite board game, binoculars, or hammock.

Should you forget any necessary items like a sweatshirt for the chilly nights, the Shasta Marina gift shop carries a variety of food, clothing and toiletries from apples, to sunglasses to water shoes.

Step 5 Enjoy!

You are packed and ready for your “Best Vacation Ever”. Relax. Enjoy the lake. Spend quality time with your family and friends that are on this adventure with you. If you need gas or ice during your vacation, just come back to the marina and we’ll take care of you. Wi-fi is available at the marina dock. If you want any suggestions of new coves to see or things to do on the lake, ask any one of our staff members. They are happy to share their favorites with you.

Cell phone service on the lake varies depending on the cell phone carrier and the location in the lake. Surprisingly, some of the best reception happens in the middle of the lake, so if you’re trying to upload your favorite pics to your social page, float out to the middle and send. Don’t forget to tag us! We want to see how much fun you’re having too. Have a great trip!

Shasta Marina Triptych

Best Vacation Ever

It’s been a long winter. It’s hard not to daydream about the summer –the smell of suntan lotion, the sound of water splashing, the feel of the sun hitting your back and the taste of an ice cream cone as you head to your favorite vacation spot. What type of vacation is on the horizon for this year? How about the “Best Vacation Ever!” That’s not what we have named it, our houseboating guests have called it that, for more than 20 years. Whether it be a family reunion, a “life-event” celebration or a friends’ getaway, houseboating is a great way to spend quality time with people that you care about surrounded by the beauty of nature.

No matter how many times you have been houseboating, it always begins the same way at Shasta Marina at Packers Bay: you’ll be greeted by one of our staff members and shown to your boat for the week or however long you’ve been lucky enough to break away from your busy life to enjoy Lake Shasta. If you are new to houseboating, the marina has an hour orientation to help you learn everything you need to know about your houseboat including how to captain the houseboat and tips on how to make the most of your houseboating adventures. If you’re a returning guest, our staff will take you through the safety and operational features of the boat and make sure that you know how to turn on the hot tub and gas fireplace.

Onboard you’ll find beds ready for your linens, full sized bathrooms waiting for your hairdryer and suntan lotion, a kitchen outfitted with cookware, dining ware, blender, coffee maker and a toaster, and a refrigerator and freezer chilled and ready for your favorite groceries – everything you need to make your meal preparation as easy as floating.

Waking up on the lake is a like never-before-type-of-feeling. You don’t have to walk “down” to the water, you’re on it! If you’re an early riser, catch the sunrise with a hot cup of coffee from the hot tub on the upper deck. If you’re a night owl, make sure to catch the view of the stars from the boat.

During the day there are a lot of activities in, on and around the lake. Shasta Marina has power boat and jet skis for rent for making waves with water sports. Year round, grab your pole and try fishing for spotted bass. You can get your steps in by going on a hike chasing waterfalls or in search of fauna and flora that habitats on land. If you haven’t visited the Shasta Caverns, you’ll want to add that to your itinerary. It’s a great way to get a break from the heat in the summer months. Speaking of summer, don’t forget to apply sunscreen protection, you don’t want a sunburn to ruin the trip.

Unwind in the evenings chilling in the comfortable living room equipped with self-tracking satellite televisions to catch up on your TV shows. Play a board game or cards or turn on the fireplace and snuggle in with that book that you’ve been trying to finish.

Shasta Marina at Packers Bay is happy to help you get started on planning your houseboating vacation. Don’t hear about someone else’s best vacation ever, experience it yourself!

Start planning today.

How Lake Shasta Came To Be the Houseboat Capital of the World

Lake Shasta is considered the jewel of northern California. Planted in the middle of towering mountains and 365 miles of stunning shoreline, it attracts thousands of houseboaters every year. It’s been given the prestigious title of Houseboat Capital of the World. How did it achieve this status?

A Lake Is Made

Lake Shasta didn’t always exist. As early as 1919, California saw the need for a reservoir that could supply the agricultural areas in the Central Valley with much-needed water and that could provide hydroelectric power, flood control, and a barrier against saline water. It was first presented to the State of California, but when the Great Depression hit, the state turned to the federal government for assistance to sponsor the project. And so the construction of the Shasta Dam finally began in 1937. The dam was completed by 1945 and the lake was formed in 1948.

To this day, it is the largest reservoir in California and the second largest concrete dam in the United States. When it’s full, it contains 1,470,150,000,000 gallons of water, which would be enough to cover an area the size of Connecticut to a depth of 1.5 feet and to provide 10,000 gallons of water for every person in the United States. With 5,000 coves on its massive shoreline, a houseboat can visit a new one every day of the year!

Houseboating Comes to the Lake

Of course, water enthusiasts saw the possibilities of Shasta Lake right away. Charlie McKinney, an Anderson resident, says he was on the lake in a cabin cruiser the first year it filled up. Recreational houseboatingbegan in the United States somewhere in the late 1940s, around the same time that Lake Shasta was established.

Shasta Lake became a prime location for houseboat rentals, due to its massive size, magnificent shoreline, plentiful fishing, and numerous waterfalls and hiking opportunities. Now, on any given day, there can be up to 450 houseboat rentals on Lake Shasta, plus speedboats, fishing boats, patio boats, personal watercrafts, and more. But because the lake is so large, it doesn’t feel crowded. These desirable factors all led to Lake Shasta enthusiasts referring to it as the houseboat capital of the world.

Now that you’ve got a small slice of the history of Lake Shasta, it’s time to think about your next vacation. The houseboat capital of the world would be a fabulous place to experience the beauty of nature with your family and friends.

Meals On Houseboats: How To Dine Well On the Lake

Every vacation has to include delicious food—it just wouldn’t be the same without it. Houseboating is one of those vacations where tasty food just naturally goes along with the experience. Imagine yourself relaxing on the deck at twilight, eating a succulent steak, roasted vegetable kabobs, and chocolate-drizzled brownies while floating on glass-like water and watching the sun dip behind purple mountains. To successfully create the experience you envision, your meals must be given thought in advance.

Plan Meals in Advance

If you’ve got multiple family units or friends joining the houseboat venture, it works well to split up meal duties between different members of the group. Perhaps Bob and Sue could preside over the Friday evening meal, Jack and Mary could be chief chefs on Saturday night, the young’uns could handle the sandwiches for lunches, and you and your hubby could finish out the weekend with an all-out Sunday lunch bash. Nobody is left with planning meals or toiling away at kitchen duty for the entire trip, but everyone gets to enjoy mouthwatering varieties of food. Houseboats are best enjoyed in teams anyway.

Catch Some Fish

What good is a houseboat vacation without some deep-water fishing? Shasta Lake has some of the best fish around—trout, bass, salmon, sturgeon, crappie, bluegill, carp, minnows, and many more. The lake houses both cold and warm water fish. Grilled fish are a delectable treat. Or if you’re on the lake when there are cool nights, a warm fish chowder could be just the thing. Fish and chips is a yummy option, especially if you have kids on board.

Throw in Some Classics

Houseboating is much like camping, only on a grander scale. It follows then, that your favorite camping foods could be on the menu. Burgers, hot dogs, steaks, grilled vegetables, salads of all kinds, and pastas can delight the palates of people of any age. Breakfasts could include special favorites like pancakes or French toast, eggs and bacon or sausage, and an assortment of cereals and fresh fruit. Evening meals could include fajitas or tacos and fried rice and beans, or something deliciously Italian, like lasagna or spaghetti.

Grill As Much As Possible

You can grill for every meal if you like. This will prevent the cook from being cooped up in the kitchen and will keep the meal action out on the deck where everyone can enjoy the scenery. Lots of things besides meat can be grilled: corn on the cob, vegetables, eggs, sandwiches, pizzas, mixed-nut snacks, roll-ups, and even fruits and desserts, such as banana splits, pineapples, peaches, and pears. Go ahead—try some gourmet grilling to spice up your lake vacation.

Keep Snacks Handy

No vacation is complete without a few munchies. Have some healthy snacks, such as veggie and fruit platters, hummus, popcorn, cheese and crackers, or nuts, on hand. You can also indulge in favorites like party mix, cookies, brownies, or pigs-in-a-blanket. Most of these can be prepared in advance and pulled out for the right moment.

Houseboating is a vacation you’ll never forget. And if you enjoy it with a lineup of scrumptious foods, it will be even more memorable. So plan ahead, break out your favorite grilling recipes, do some fishing, and munch to your heart’s content.

4 Things You Can Do On Lake Shasta

Lake Shasta is a massive reservoir in northern California near Redding. It’s the third largest body of water in California and home to some of the most stunning scenic vistas and fabulous lake activities. Here are some of the highlights.

Shasta Dam

Lake Shasta is a man-made lake, created in 1948 by the Shasta Dam. The dam was envisioned as early as 1919 and was built in the years between 1935 to 1945, its main purposes being for flood control, water storage for the Central Valley’s agricultural operations, and hydroelectric generation. The lake began to form in 1944 and was completely full by 1948. At the time it was built, it was the second highest dam in the entire world, second only to Hoover Dam. Today, it holds the status of being the ninth tallest dam in the United States. You can take a tour of the dam to learn more of its history and current purposes. The tour takes you underneath the dam for a unique inside perspective.

Lake Shasta Caverns

Caves are some of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world. And Lake Shasta claims access to some of them. The Shasta Caverns are a labyrinth of caves close to the McCloud arm on Lake Shasta. These caves and their stunning limestone formations were discovered by James Richardson in November of 1878. Until 1964, the Caverns were only accessible to hardy spelunkers. Around that time, the cave was opened to the public by means of blasting a tunnel inside the mountain. Interestingly enough, the Caverns were not named a National Natural Landmark until May of 2012. This underground phenomenon is a must-see.

Waterfalls

Lake Shasta is home to several stunning waterfalls, some of which are only accessible by boat. Waters Gulch Falls (a 20-foot waterfall), Bear Canyon Falls (a 25-foot waterfall), Indian Creek Falls, and Potem Falls are some of the falls that are located around the lake. And then there’s the Little BackBone RockSlide, a natural waterslide on the McCloud arm of Lake Shasta. This natural treasure is not only an idyllic little pool of clear water, but it’s also a load of fun for those wanting an exhilarating ride down a waterfall. A visit to the lake is never complete without a jaunt to one of these natural wonders.

Houseboating

Of course, no list of things to do on Lake Shasta is complete without mentioning houseboats. Lake Shasta is one of the top ten lakes for houseboating in the United States. With a houseboat, you can explore the many nooks and crannies of Lake Shasta at your own leisure while dinner is roasting in the on-board oven.

When you’re on Lake Shasta, there’s a wealth of things you can do and see. Bring the family for a day, a weekend, or a week to take in some of the magnificent beauty that is so plentiful on the lake.

How To Do A Family Houseboat Vacation On A Budget

If you think a family houseboat vacation is out of reach for your budget, think again. It’s more affordable than you might think. You just need to get creative with your resources and travel plans.

Reserve During the Off-Season

Off-season rates usually run in the spring and fall. For example, at Shasta Marina, the off-season goes from March to May and from September to October. Because of the lower demand for houseboats during these months, houseboats can be rented for almost half the price of in-season rates! And if you rent houseboats in sunny locations, such as Shasta Lake, the weather might still be kind to you. Temperatures in September and October, especially, can still get up to the 70s and 80s.

Avoid Extra Fees

Lock in your houseboat plans early and avoid expensive cancellation and change fees. Avoid holiday weekends too. Usually, those weekends are higher-priced. Plus, the lake will likely be more busy too.

Do your best to get the full deposit back. Take good care of the houseboat and clean it thoroughly before returning it to the marina. Make sure that your toddler doesn’t scribble on the walls and that the muddy footprints from your last hiking trip don’t stay on the houseboat deck. Make sure, too, that you don’t inadvertently take something with you that belongs on the boat. And return the boat to the marina with a full tank of gas—just like you would a rental car.

Take Some Other Folks Along

Houseboats are made for groups. Share the fun by inviting the grandparents or other members of your extended family. (Just make sure it’s the family members that you can actually enjoy reasonably well for three or more days.) Or you could invite another family or two. This will split your costs for the houseboat and fuel in half or even in thirds. Plus, your kids will have someone their own size to join them for fun in the lake

Let’s say you’re splitting the cost with two other families for five nights at a price of $2,500. The price for your family will come to $167 per night. That’s roughly the equivalent of the nightly price for a hotel room. But a hotel room won’t have a fully-stocked kitchen. With a houseboat, you can save on eating expenses by bringing all (or most) of your own food, which brings us to the next tip.

Bring All Your Own Food

Eating out can add up in a hurry. The beauty of houseboat vacations is that you can have gourmet meals in the middle of the lake without it blowing your budget. If you want the cooking to be easier while you’re on the boat, you can do some food prep ahead of time by slicing, dicing, and squaring fruits, vegetables, and meat. Better yet, buy fresh vegetables from a farmer’s market beside the lake or catch your own fish on the lake to grill up for your dinners or to add to a delicious fish chowder.

Save On Your Way There

Driving is usually the cheapest way for a family to get somewhere. If you’re a long drive away and need to stay somewhere for the night, you can scour online travel sites to score deals on hotels. If you want even better rates, you can rent a room or two through Airbnb or even rent a camping site for one night. The kids will be excited to start their vacation early by camping along the way. And you’ll be happy because a campsite will generally only cost you between $15 to $35 per night.

Houseboat vacations are one of the best things you can do with your family. You can swim, fish, eat delicious steak, and explore unusual trails—all on one vacation. And with the right planning, you can do it on a budget too.

What To Bring for a Houseboat Trip on Shasta Lake

Houseboats are a superb way to spend quality time with your family or a group of friends. Water fun by day and star-studded views by night make for a scenic, fun, and adventurous getaway all rolled up into one fabulous outing. Just make sure you have all the right supplies on hand to help you make the most of your houseboat experience.

Food

Whenever there’s a vacation, food is a central part of it. Houseboats have fully-stocked kitchens, which means that you can cook whatever you want. There’s usually a grill onboard—enlist your hubby and several other grilling experts to grill the meat and vegetables for your meals.

Plan your food menu according to the type of weather you expect to have on the lake. Will it be cool and rainy? Or will it be hot and sunny? (At Shasta Lake, you can expect summers to be in the 90s or even in the 100s!) For cool days, you could have soups and chili for dinners. For hot days, you may just want some cool sandwiches and salads with watermelon on the side. If you’re planning to do some fishing, you could enjoy some fresh-caught fish!

Bring all your favorite drinks for refreshment throughout the day. If nothing else, make sure you’ve got lots and lots of drinking water and ice. You’ll need it, especially for hot days.

Clothing

You don’t need 15 changes of clothing for a houseboat. You can get away with a few t-shirts and shorts and a pair of flip flops. Definitely bring a pair of water shoes that you can wear both in the water and on a trail. Bring a wide-rimmed hat, two pairs of sunglasses (in case you break one), and lots and lots of sunscreen and insect repellent. You’ll need a light jacket or hoodie for cool evenings too. Bring your own toiletries. A houseboat isn’t exactly like a hotel that is stocked with shampoo and bath soap.

Other Miscellaneous Items

Houseboat rental companies usually supply a list of supplies that you need to bring. Generally, you’ll need to bring your own bedding, pillows, towels, and dish towels. Following are a few other things recommended by other houseboaters:

  • A ski boat, jet ski, or kayaks if you want to enjoy some watersports or take in more areas of the lake.
    Your favorite water toys, such as floats and goggles.
    An iPod, so you can enjoy your favorite music.
    Flashlights, for those moments when you need to see in dark corners or need to make your way to the bathroom without waking everyone else.
    Candles, for gorgeous candlelit dinners on the deck.
    Throw rugs—most houseboats have hard floors.
    An all-purpose cleaner and cleaning gloves.
    Toilet bowl deodorizer—that toilet could start stinking after a day or two.
    Games, knitting supplies, scrapbooking kits, movies, fishing tackle, or any other supplies for your favorite pastime activities.

Houseboats on Shasta Lake are well-stocked, particularly at Shasta Marina, but you’ll need to bring a few items of your own to make it a truly one-of-a-kind vacation. Taking a floating vacation on a houseboat is one of the best ways to bond with family and friends.

Our First 16′ x 65′ Foot Sumerset Luxury Houseboat Has Arrived

Sumerset Timelapse Build

Posted by Shasta Marina Resort on Wednesday, May 30, 2018

It started with a conversation and a design on a blank napkin and our vision became reality after nine months of design, building, refining and completing the more than a 2,600 mile road trip from Kentucky to California. The first of five new Sumerset Houseboats has made her debut at Shasta Marina at Packers Bay. The other four new boats are scheduled to arrive about every two weeks through July.

The hull of the Sumerset is 16 feet wide, which requires special permits from each state and a special “oversize load” delivery convoy to transport the boat from Kentucky to California. Additionally, the Sumerset Houseboat is too tall to fit under freeway underpasses and bridges to deliver assembled. Once the boat is constructed and quality tested at the manufacturer, the upper deck is removed and shipped separately with the hot tub, railings and other special equipment on separate trucks. Once the houseboat arrives at its destination, the upper deck is reassembled and the interior furnishings are installed and displayed.

The date was set and the invitations were out for the open house to debut the first Sumerset for May 18, 2018, weeks in advance of the boat leaving Trifecta Houseboats in Kentucky. Unknown at the time, the delivery of the first Sumerset would experience several unexpected delays in transport and arrive in northern California just hours before the event.

The team at Shasta Lake Houseboat Sales partnered with the staff at Shasta Marina at Packers Bay as well as other independent vendors to work together in an “all-hands-on-deck” build and completed the construction and transportation of the Sumerset into the water at Shasta Marina at Packers Bay in less than 10 hours. This process usually takes three to five days. The time lapse video above highlights the process of preparing a boat from delivery to the water. The end result is the newest, largest, most luxurious boat for rent on Shasta Lake this summer. If you are interested in reserving one of the new Sumerset’s for 2018, please call the marina at 800.959.3359 for more information.

The Mirage I

Shasta Lake offers experiences of lifetime for families of all shapes and sizes. Shasta Marina at Packers Bay understands that every vacation is different, that is part of the reason why we offer a wide variety of luxurious houseboats.

One of our favorite houseboats for smaller families is the Mirage I – a perfect houseboat for a long holiday weekend, or full week getaway from your daily routine. From the moment you step into the Mirage I it will feel like you’ve entered a whole new 15’ x 56’ world filled with everything that you will need to relax and have fun.

Imagine waking up in one of the two staterooms and making yourself a cup of coffee just to watch the sunrise from the top deck. After sunrise, you can head over to the full gas kitchen to prepare breakfast before heading out with the crew in search of the perfect cove to jet ski for the rest of the day. Once you have found the perfect cove for your group, you can relax and enjoy everything the lake has to offer. You can go for a swim, read a book or head out on a hike around the lake.

If your a fisherman or have a family with a dog, The Mirage I has a unique full walk-around bottom deck railing. You can prop your fishing pole or on the railing, or use the railing to keep your water-loving dog onboard until it’s playtime!

As the day is coming to an end it’s time to start the grill for some delicious barbecue. What better way to end the day than chillin’ and grillin’ with your loved ones on the top deck. Once the barbeque is over you and your crew can hang out at the wet bar and enjoy the starry night the Shasta lake has to offer. After a long day of activities and bonding with your crew it is time to head over to one of our six beds for a well deserved rest.

Whether you choose the Mirage I or one of the other larger houseboats at Shasta Marina at Packers Bay, one thing that remains the same, your family will be set for the #BestVacationEver?