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 houseboating began 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.