6 Romantic Dates on a Houseboat


At first you may not think of houseboating as the most romantic adventure a couple could have. Hot weather, busy marinas and lots of people sounds more like fun than romance. But what if you could have both?

Houseboating with your honey is a well kept secret that only the most in love couples know about. But if you think about it, houseboats are an ideal place for a romantic vacation getaway – romantic sunsets and scenery, peace and quiet, hot tub, fishing, kayaking… and it feels like you have the whole lake to yourselves! Here are 6 amazing dates while on a houseboat for you to try:

  1. The Fishing Date: Have a cute fish-themed lunch packed – some suggestions include Tuna Fish Sandwiches, Goldfish Crackers and Swedish Fish. Cast a line, hang out, talk, laugh, and make bets about who would catch the first fish. You can set up some fun little winning-favors between both of you such as the first person to catch a fish receives a back rub later!
  2. Rooftop Date: Move some patio furniture to the top deck. If you don’t want to bring patio furniture up, bring up a blanket and some big pillows for picnic style or to sit and talk after dinner, or hop in the hot tub. Grab battery-operated candles, a string of Christmas lights and turn on some music.  If you charge your laptop you can even bring it up to watch a movie! Make a simple dinner and enjoy!
  3. S’more Love: Print your printable and jot down a few reasons why you love your spouse.  Everyone always loves to hear “s’more” reasons why they are so awesome!  Then, cut out the printable and fold it into a box.  This box can now be stuffed with all the fixin’s for s’mores!  Enough graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows for two! Once you give it to your partner, head out to dry land for a bonfire and s’more lovin’.
  4. Movie on the Move: After the sun goes down, choose a scary movie and start the faux fireplace. Cuddle up on the couch with your wine or drink of choice and prepare for a frightfully good time!
  5. Sunrise and Sunset Date: We are positive you have witnessed many sunrises in your lifetime together with your spouse… Have any of them been on purpose? If you take a moment to really watch the sunrise, you’ll see just how beautiful and romantic it truly is as it warms you inside out.  So set your alarm for before sunrise and get dressed! Grab a comfortable blanket, your coffees and walk up to the top deck of the houseboat. Lay the blanket on the ground and snuggle up to witness the romantic sunrise. That evening, grab your drinks and head back up to your blanket on the top deck.  The sunset reflects such beautiful light on the lake. Your night may be full of great conversation and you may end up staying way past sunset…
  6. Fate Burger Date: This one is great for groups. First, make a long list of burger toppings, including non-traditional ones(For example, bacon, different types of cheese, onions, mushrooms, tomato, fried egg, onion rings, avocado, french fries, grilled pineapple, A1, Ranch, and BBQ sauce). Split all the toppings up with your group so everyone contributes. The girls prepare the toppings while the men grill the burgers and buns. Then assign each topping a number on a dart board. If you don’t bring a dart board you could pull them out of a hat, use cards, or put them on a spinner – anything that puts fate in charge. Then for the fun part – throw darts for 3-4 different toppings. You can swap one of the toppings but it is encouraged that everyone stick with their FATE BURGER. (Tip: Sometimes it is fun to throw for toppings for your spouse’s burger.)

Rocky the Puggle’s Houseboat Christmas Story

Photo courtesy of Anda Stavri Flickr

Photo courtesy of Anda Stavri Flickr

Rocky awoke to the soft scent of baking cinnamon rolls. His eyes popped open and he instinctively licked his chops. He looked out the Escapade houseboat’s stateroom window for a moment, viewing Shasta Lake outside… smooth as glass, with the young sun just rising in the east. Surrounding the houseboat were the many winter colors that blanketed Shasta’s shoreline. He hopped down from the stateroom’s bed and tapped his way to the kitchen galley, where Mom was leaning over the sink.

Mom turned from the sink smiling as she heard the clack of Rocky’s nails on the floor.

“Good morning Mr. Rocky,” Mom said as she leaned down and to give him a few scratches behind the ear. “You must have caught the scent of cinnamon rolls in the oven, didn’t you?”

Mom stood up and walked to the fridge and pulled out a big juicy ham and set it on the counter, beginning to prep the next meal.

Must. Stare. At. Ham. Rocky concentrated at nothing but the scrumptious ham for as long as he could.

Fishing in the morning

Fishing in the morning

After a sufficient amount of begging and receiving no hand-outs, Rocky decided to explore the cabin further this morning. He stuck his squished nose down to the floor and sniffed, catching Dad’s scent. He followed it through the hallway, passed the stairs, staterooms and beds, and through the sliding glass door at the back. On the deck, he saw Dad sitting in his favorite folding chair, bundled up with a fishing pole between his paws.

Once Rocky caught sight of him, his tail began to wag and he wiggled excitedly towards the chair. Dad reached down and gave Rocky some loving pets and then continued to fish. Rocky laid down next to Dad and gazed at the water, still as a mirror with steam rising all around from the cool morning air. Surrounding the water was a vast shoreline that Rocky loved to explore, with its many trees and hillsides. The sun continued to rise behind the trees, brightening the shoreline with yellow light, while they sat in much enjoyed silence. Across the lake was but only one other houseboat, with a man fishing off the back.

Suddenly Rocky heard the door behind him slide open and the two girls came out. Olivia and Carly stood clutching towels and were already in their bathing suits. Both girls pat Rocky on the head and kiss Dad on the cheek on their way up the stairs to the upper deck of the Escapade. As they run up the stairs, Rocky decided it was best he follows to make sure they didn’t get into any trouble.

Eagles on Shasta Lake

Eagles on Shasta Lake

Rocky jolted up the stairs in hot pursuit, but once he makes it up to the top deck he lost their scent in the cool morning breeze. Where could they have gone? Rocky shoved his snout onto the deck and sniffed around, tail wagging in deep concentration.

“Whoa, look!” Olivia yelled in excitement. Rocky perked up, hearing Olivia’s voice and located the girls in the hot tub, bubbles stirring all about, steam and warmth floating around them like a mist. Olivia was pointing to the sky as Rocky trotted up.

“An eagle! Wow!” Olivia’s sister, Carly called out.

Atop one of the trees along the shoreline was a majestic eagle, perched in all its magnificence, gazing over Shasta Lake as the wildlife began to waken under the warming sun.

Rocky’s ears perked up when he heard the penthouse loft stir behind the hot tub. All of the commotion had awoken Frank, the eldest of the kids. He stepped out of the loft, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and stretching. He let out a big, noisy yawn while Rocky greeted him, wagging his tail and patiently looking up.

“Good morning Rocky,” Frank yawned as he squatted down to meet Rocky. “Merry Christmas boy!”

Paddleboarding on Shasta Lake

Paddleboarding on Shasta Lake

A rush of scent burst through the door behind Frank. Could it be? Could I not have recognized this holiday because we aren’t at home? It certainly smells like Christmas…

Once Rocky arrived back at the main cabin, he spied the fireplace roaring, with many stockings hung above it. A small Christmas tree sat near it, sparkling with lights and ornaments; a few presents scattered beneath it.

Before Rocky can get back to begging from Mom, Aunt Kendra came out of her stateroom holding a leash. “Now, the leash is definitely something I recognize!”, thought Rocky.

Aunt Kendra hooked him to the leash and they walked out to the shoreline together. As Rocky sniffed and explored the shore, he heard Aunt Kendra yelling out to someone. Rocky perked his head up and saw a figure paddle boarding out on the still water. With the sun now reflecting off the water, it made it difficult to see who it was. But upon hearing the voice that came from the paddle board, Rocky realized it was definitely Uncle Dave.

After a nice morning walk along the quiet shore, catching sight of deer, jumping fish, and enjoying the crisp morning air, Aunt Kendra took Rocky back inside the Escapade. By the time they were back, the whole family had gathered in the kitchen galley and main cabin, relaxing while drinking coffee and talking with each other. A Christmas movie played in the background.

As Rocky closed his eyes for a nap on the couch by the fire, he released a sigh of content, thinking this was the most exciting Christmas he’d ever had. And he knew the whole family would agree.

Photo courtsey of aplacetolovedogs.com

Photo courtsey of aplacetolovedogs.com

Cyber Monday 2014


My Thanksgiving with a view

Celebrating gratitude has never been better than the time my family and I decided to try Thanksgiving on a houseboat.

The road to Jones Valley Resort

The road to Jones Valley Resort

I woke up Thursday morning to something delicious baking in the oven, the marvelous aroma wafting through the houseboat as I roused to the solitude of Shasta Lake on Thanksgiving.

I looked outside and soaked in the view – I’m on the water! I realized how quiet it was outside, the lake was all ours. It seemed that my family and I had the whole place to ourselves. The fish were pretty much the only thing making wrinkles in the water.  In the afternoon that would change, as we decided to make splashes of our own by using the waterslide. But for the morning I just slipped into the hot tub and welcomed the morning with a delicious cup of coffee and allowed the bubbles to stir around me.

From the hot tub I viewed the beautiful fall colors, watched wildlife stir, and savored the quiet.

A few of the benefits of Thanksgiving on a houseboat didn’t come to me until I went on the trip myself. Consider a few of my notes:

1. Turkey and pumpkin pie was provided: it was a great help to have those staple items already bought, waiting for us when we arrived.

View treasures you wouldn't normally see in the summer

View treasures you wouldn’t normally see in the summer

2. We still had the option to bake the turkey the traditional way: we did have the option, but we opted to grill it. A pie in the oven and a turkey on the grill was the way to go!

3. Avoiding the traditional dishes that I don’t like: For example, we conveniently roasted all of our marshmallows over a bonfire Wednesday night – that meant no marshmallows to make Aunt Kim’s baked sweet potatoes!

4. Don’t need to do the dishes: Let me explain – Of course there are a complete set of dishes on board to use if you do so choose, and the dishwasher is available to clean most of them… but a houseboat trip gave us the excuse to not use our fine china and to opt instead for ‘oh-so-fine’ paper plates.

5. No unexpected drop-ins: I don’t know about you, but during the holidays we get many a neighbor, friend and relative (the one you try to avoid) who walk in unannounced, which can be fun most of the time. However, it is amazing to have the break from the people you didn’t plan for.

6. We could still watch the big game on TV all afternoon – Dad would have survived without watching the Big Game on Thanksgiving, but he would have been grumpy! If we decided to endure Dad’s grumpy mood we could have hid the remote (ahh, just like home).

All in all, the oven is on standby for your pies, the grill is primed for your turkey, the water is patiently waiting, and your crew will be hungry after a day cruising on the water. The vote is in – enjoy your Thanksgiving, the houseboating way!

Fall at JV

Fall Bass Fishing Cheatsheet

Bass fishing by houseboat

Bass fishing by Jones Valley Resort’s houseboat

The 2 best times of year for fishing are in the early spring and the early fall, before the winter weather.

And with fall arriving this week, it’s time to grab your gear, cooler and binoculars and read over this fall fishing cheatsheet!

Why Early Fall?

In order to be the best fisherman you can be, it is best to understand why early fall is the best time for bass fishing.

To put it simply, bass fish school together in the early fall when the weather cools down. When the weather cools down, so does the water, which equals more oxygen in the lake. With more oxygen in the lake bass become more active!

Get those bass hooked!

This is the season when bass will strike at about anything you throw at them. However, some patterns work better than others.

You need to know these 3 things in order to catch premium bass:

fishing boat bass fishing

Bass fishing on Jones Valley Resort’s fishing boat

1. Understanding the natural feed in the lake.
2. Awareness about marine plant life in the lake.
3. Knowledge of areas of the lake where shallow water is closer to deep water.

Colder temperature makes bass more active, and with more activity comes a higher energy burn, thus the need to seek more food. Familiarizing yourself with the natural forage and plant life in the lake assists in picking out correct bait and finding the bass. Bass is usually found chasing shad or other forage fish, in their normal habitat of deep water with close proximity to shallow water.

 Apply what you know on Shasta Lake

The best place to start when going out to hook some bass is to locate the bait. Bass feed on the shad in Shasta Lake. The Jones Valley area offers the finest entrance to the Pit and Squaw Arms, which are considered the best areas for overall fishing.

Other common areas are located where the streams and rivers fill into the lake – McCloud Bridge, on the McCloud, and Riverview (Lakehead) on the Sacramento Arm. However, the Jones Valley area of Shasta Lake is known as the best bass habitat on the lake.

Head out from Jones Valley and look for bird feeding activity or where bait balls are pushed to the surface by feeding trout and bass.

Once you find your spot, its time to imitate the bait. We recommend using small blue and silver spoons like Hopkins “Shorty” spoons. To attract strikes, some people use rip bats through the schools.

Bass fishing with Hopkins "Shorty" spoons

Bass fishing with Hopkins “Shorty” spoons

This cheatsheet has provided you with all the information you need to catch “the big one” this fall – except patience!

4 Ways to get your kids to love fishing

Fishing is a great bonding experience to have with kids; the memories made last a lifetime. However, sometimes it is a difficult task to get kids to love something that requires so much patience.

1. Get their attention: Since kids nowadays are more tech savvy than many adults, going the internet route can really kickstart a child’s interest. fishingkids.com is a great resource to introduce your kids to the world of fishing in a manner that is informative but will also keep their attention. The website includes a glossary, characters, and many affordable books with exciting and informative information. You can also psych kids out by telling them your most exciting fishing experience. 2. Set them up: Kids love brand new gadgets! They are always way more excited about brand new gear rather than dad’s old stuff. There are many different types of kids gear available including Fishing Kids Box Sets, compasses, tackle boxes and a large selection of kids fishing poles and rods at the Jones Valley Resort store or your local sporting goods store. And don’t forget about fishing licenses if they are over 14 years old – Jones Valley Resort has those too!

3. Make it special: Fishing as a kid creates memories for years to come … if you make it a special time.  Maybe the night before the fishing adventure, get kids excited by going to the store to get special snacks for when you’re on the boat, you can even keep it themed with goldfish, swedish fish, or gummy worms! Once you get home you can make the trip feel special by preparing the fishing gear with the kids while watching “Finding Nemo” or your favorite fishing movie. Making fishing seem special will make fishing feel special to kids and keep them wanting more. Young girl with a fish 4. Positive reinforcement: If a fish bites on your first fishing outing with your child, they will be hooked (no pun intended)! But if the fish aren’t biting and patience is waning, try  taking a few breaks for your kids to rejuvenate. Kids do get bored easily, so add to the fun by  taking an afternoon swim break and enjoying the snacks you packed with the kids. And remember, keep the pressure off and the patience up. Kids will remember this time for the rest of their lives,  and may even carry on the tradition someday with their own children!

Lake Level & Our Guarantee to You

We all know California needs water…now let’s do something about it and take advantage of the sun while it’s shining.

The water is calm, the fish are biting. And rates are at their rock-bottom lowest this time of year.

So come on, help us make it rain! Just book and take a trip on any houseboat now until May 2, and while at Jones Valley Resort, do a rain dance before embarking on your houseboat trip and receive a certificate for 33% off a second trip to be taken prior to 12/31/2014.*

Excludes existing reservations.

Lake Level & Our Guarantee to You

As all Californian’s are painfully aware, a drought has brought our lake levels down. However, we are confident that Lake Shasta has adequate water storage to last through the 2014 recreation and boating season.

With the current depth of 380’ of water in Shasta Lake and 211 miles of shoreline (full pool boasts 365 miles), there is plenty of water for boating, fishing, and watersports. It is about 130′ from crest at this time, and water outflows have been drastically reduced in the past week or so.

To help alleviate concerns regarding prepayment of rent (our policy is full payment is due 75 days prior to your houseboat embarkation date), here’s your guarantee should Mother Nature fail to produce the needed rainfall:

During the 2014 season, Jones Valley Resort(Shasta Lake Resorts LP/houseboats.com) guarantees a refund of the full rental fee up until one day prior to your vacation start date if the marina is unable to operate houseboat rentals due to low water and unsafe navigation.* 

We hope Mother Nature changes course soon!

*No other circumstances will be eligible for refund, including guest’s decision to cancel based on low water level or any other reason (certain circumstances are insurable, we encourage you to explore and purchase trip insurance). Only applies to trips scheduled after  the point at which the marina(s) can no longer operate, if houseboat rentals take place for a partial season, all trips prior to the non-operation date will be subject to current reservation terms.


Wakey! Wakey! Centurion Wakeboard Boats Now Available at Jones Valley Resort

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Fall Lake Conditions and Our New Centurion Wakeboard Boats Will Have You Flying High!

photo 1 faveThese Centurion wakeboard boats have water ballasts to provide the perfect wake for you. With roomy comfort to seat 10-12 passengers comfortably, a bimini and tower, stereo with mp3 hookups, and Perfect Pass speed control, you and your party will ride in style on the lake. Rent them by the hour, the day or the week. Get more details on our 22’, 300 HP Centurion Avalanche or Air Warrior models and see our special fall rates at our website (click here).

Video 4Video Contest Is In Full Swing

We know you got some rollicking-good video from your houseboat adventure this summer. Now you can parlay that footage into a chance to win a discount on next year’s adventure. Clean it up, make it shine and click here for details on how to enter.

Scare Up a Ghoulishly Great Halloween Party on the Lake
The Ultimate Football Party
Float this fiendish idea among your friends. Bikinis by day and costumes by night. Have a wicked time on one of our luxury houseboats and no one drives home. And, did we mention it is also football season? See right.
Football season is upon us and it is time to plan the perfect football weekend on the Lake. Watch college games on Saturday and NFL on Sunday on our large, onboard flat screens. Fire up the wakeboard boats during halftime and score some points of your own!

Lake Shasta or Shasta Lake?

The great Shasta Debate.  When a lake isn’t a lake, what do we call it?  When I’ve asked some of my colleagues and neighbors here in Redding, the response is almost always emphatically stated, “SHASTA LAKE!”  When we see someone refer to the reservoir (more on that in a moment) as ‘Lake Shasta’ most of us don’t bother to correct the person, instead permitting them to continue in their ignorance.

The following is an email from a former houseboats.com employee that explains this further, “Several years ago when the boom town communities of Central Valley, Project City and Summit City consolidated to form the city of Shasta Lake, our local newspaper, the Record Searchlight, found it all too confusing. Their ingenious solution? Unilateral lake name dyslexia.

While I believed Shasta Lake was correct, I had never proven it to myself. This time, I could not let a sleeping houseboating lake lie. So off I went to Google which lead me to the holy grail of geographical place names: the United States Geographical Survey (USGS), or more specifically, the US Board on Geographic Names, established to maintain uniform geographic name usage throughout the Federal Government.

So, what does the Board have to say? SHASTA LAKE! The interesting rationale? The body of water is a Reservoir. The word “lake” is just part of the name – it’s not a classification. In the same way the word Bally in the nearby mountain range named Shasta Bally is just part of the name. So if you were to include a class when referring to it we should say ‘Shasta Lake Reservoir’. The term reservoir is optional (and no one exercises the option). Just as City of is optional for Redding or (city of) Shasta Lake.

So next time someone asks you, is it Lake Shasta or Shasta Lake? Look them dead in the eye, smile and confidently say: SHASTA LAKE!”

Houseboat Luxury Amid Lake Shasta’s Rugged Beauty

By Ron Tackitt

Outword Magazine, July 14, 2011

I‘ve never been houseboating before. I’ve heard a lot about the trips that others have taken, but until recently, I had yet to experience it for myself.

Happily, that has changed.

Several of my friends and coworkers and I have been talking with the folks at Houseboats.com for almost two years trying to find a time that we could get away from the office long enough between Outword’s deadlines, to drive up to Shasta Lake and be on the water for longer than two days. Recently, that opportunity came about and we were able to spend four full days on the lake.

We arranged to have a mid-line houseboat, that could sleep 12, and had, pretty much, all the comforts of home. We had no desire to fill the boat to capacity but we did end up with a great group of eight and that seemed just-right for us.

Our boat had four sleeping rooms in the main cabin, and two “penthouses” up on the top deck that accommodated all of us, without having to make the couches out into beds. That turned out to be really nice because if someone got up early and started mulling around in the kitchen, they were not right on top of someone sleeping on the couch.

Before our trip we held a planning meeting and assigned each person with a main meal, and left lunch open for each person to fend for themselves. In hindsight, we should have taken those meals into our plan, as everyone, not wanting to run out of food, brought way more than  necessary.

We had eight containers of sour cream, seven salsas, two hummus, ten bags of chips, nine  containers of sliced lunch meat, six or seven loaves of bread and an entire cooler full of various bags of lettuce. Along with the stuff that was specifically earmarked for the main meals! When we all realized the gravity of how much food was on board, we quickly dubbed our weekend, “Fat Camp.”

We thought we were going to have to walk all our stuff from our cars to the dock, but upon arrival were very pleasantly surprised that the Houseboats crew was more than ready and able to help. Their “QuadSquad” mounted on ATVs with trailers pulled up to our cars, unloaded all of our stuff and drove it to the boat. Once we were cleared to board, the squad even loaded the goods onto our boat for us. They were wonderful. In fact the quality of service was pretty amazing. Think of a relaxed Ritz Carlton…

After a short tour of the boat and a tutorial of how to drive it, one of the dock hands pulled our houseboat out of the marina and headed us out for open water. Once there, another dock hand picked him up, and we were free to navigate.

We could not have picked a better weekend to be on the lake as far as weather was concerned. Ours was perfect. It had been over 100 just days before we got there, but then dipped down to the mid 80s to low 90s. (The day after we left, it rained all day.)

We had great cruising/floating weather. The water had been warmed up and there was usually a slight breeze that helped cool the boat and keep us from having to use up precious gasoline to run the air.

Each night we pulled the boat up to land and tied up to a couple of trees. There are wonderful nooks and coves all up and down the lake, just picking the best one was our only challenge.

Our first evening we were greeted by a small flock of Canadian geese that swam around the back of the boat. Watching them, against the backdrop of calm water, catching the last of the evening’s light and hill after hill covered with trees, made for a pretty magical first impression.

The next day a friend joined us, and brought a ski boat with him. That increased the fun factor! When not being used to fling folks around on an inner-tube, or fetch ice, it was quite easily pulled behind the houseboat.

One evening we were parked in a spot where we did not have cell phone reception and it led to a great ski boat trip out onto the lake to find bars. (Can you hear me now?) I couldn’t have cared less, so I sat in the front and enjoyed the last sunlight of the day, dangling my hand over the side in the cool water and waves breaking off the bow. Heaven.

Bedtime came early each night. The darkness and the silence worked together to naturally tell our bodies that we’d had enough. Of course, eating and drinking all day might have also added to our sleepiness, but that’s another story.

Mornings brought about a familiar routine, brew some fresh coffee, mull around trying to wake up, then someone would make breakfast. After all, we had five dozen eggs to go through. Once satisfied, it was off to find another spot on the lake to hang out, stop the engine and float around in the water on a couple of styrofoam noodles.

We did this for four wonderful days. The houseboat was very comfortable, if not particularly well insulated for noise, and with just eight of us aboard, we all had plenty of room to ourselves. Some of us worshipped the sun on the top deck, others read books on their iPads or took naps, and there was almost always someone foraging in the kitchen.

All in all, this was a great trip, and there were only two things we would do differently; bring less food and get the bigger houseboat, AKA the Titan.

When we did have to return to the real world, we brought the houseboat back to the marina and once again, a dock hand came and moored the boat back in its place. The same great service that we experienced upon our arrival, we experienced again upon our return. The checkout process was quick and efficient, and it seemed almost too quick that we were in our cars and on our way home.