Gathering Your Group

 With 10 models to choose from and sleeping capacities ranging from 12 to 22 people, there is a houseboat for every kind of group and budget imaginable.

A. Family 🙂

Some people have a large enough family that they can fill a boat with family members, which can be a lot of fun and can create some really meaningful experiences among siblings and/or cousins. If children are of varying ages, you may want to consider allowing them to invite friends as it may increase their enjoyment of the trip. You might just decide to make it an annual reunion, as many people do.

B. A Group of Friends

Inviting a group of all single adults (which can be all male or all female), or adult couples, can be loads of fun. Enjoying the water by day and a lively card or board games in the evening are some of the favorite activities of our guests.

C. A Group of Co-workers

Inviting your friends from work can build bonds beyond the workplace and create memories you love to reminisce about when you return to the drudgery of your job! Think of inviting a group of colleagues with their families, or an entire department from your workplace.

D. Two or Three Unrelated Families

Often great friends make a tradition out of an annual houseboating trip together. Their children have lasting memories, and the adults have fun, too. There are no limits to who you might invite, and many times your friends might bring their friends and new friendships are formed!

E. Four Legged Companions

We welcome pets on most of our houseboats. Pets are part of the family and find houseboating and exploring the shoreline extremely fun. If your pet happens to cause damage and/or the need for extra cleaning, part of your deposit may be forfeited to cover this additional cost. Please read our Pet Policy in case you have any questions.

Share The Planning

Planning the trip includes contacting everyone you’d like to have participate, getting commitments from them, planning the food, planning any additional activities (such as sight seeing or hiking around the surrounding area), arranging for ski boats or other toys, planning the transportation, and making provisions for the payment of money.

A. Setting a Date

How you go about organizing the group will depend on the type of group, but there are lots of things in common. If you know exactly who will be going on the trip, you simply talk to everyone and find out what dates they are able to go, and select dates that work for everyone*. Have your group agree on a second and third choice of dates in case you’re planning on vacationing during a popular time. As soon as you have the dates established, you should make a reservation. Even though there may be last minute availability, early booking increases your chances of the most desireable dates. If you don’t know who is going on the trip, reserve the houseboat for the dates that work for you, and then invite other people until you have commitments from enough people to make the trip possible.

*With 3,4 or 7 night voyages to choose from, there’s bound to be vacation dates that agree with your group’s calendar and budget.

B. The $$ Aspect

If everybody going on your houseboat trip will be paying their own share of the cost, it is a good idea to have people give you the cash for their share of the rental cost at the time they make the commitment. If they’ve paid there is less chance they will change their minds. If someone drops out at the last minute and hasn’t paid, it puts a burden on everyone else who is going on the trip. You can pay for the boat as early as you want, so the sooner you collect the money, the better!

You will be required to submit a booking deposit that is applied to the rental amount when you make the reservation, with the full amount of the rental being due 75 days prior to your trip. Also required is a Security/Damage deposit due upon arrival. You will get this deposit back after your trip, less the cost of any vessel damage/loss should it occur.

You may find this article helpful.

C. Planning the Food

Dining on your houseboat vacation is one of the biggest pleasures you’ll experience. There are several ways you can plan your meals, depending on the type of group. You can make them as elaborate or as simple as you wish, since the gourmet galleys on our vessels have everything you need. Besides a good variety of cookware, bakeware and utensils, all houseboat models have a stove top, oven, microwave and barbeque. Here are some suggestions to make your meal planning easier:

#1 Have one person prepare entire menu for the trip. Post a written menu indicating what food is for what meal.

Advantages: Minimum of excess food, efficient food storage, everyone knows what to expect.

Disadvantage: If someone eats the wrong food at the wrong time, it may upset the plan and could upset some people!

#2 Assign meals to various people, making each person responsible for one or more specific meals.

Advantages: Meal preparation is fairly distributed, everyone participates in the planning. Cleanup is distributed too!

Disadvantage: You risk having to eat Aunt Emily’s meatloaf!

#3 Let each individual or family take care of their own food.

Advantages: If you have special eating demands, such as vegetarian preferences, you control your diet.

Disadvantage: You may miss the joys of preparing the food and dining together with others in your group.

Helpful Hint: If you’re houseboating for a week consider packing meat and frozen goods for the second half of your trip in an ice chest with dry ice, taping the lid shut. After 4 days, everything will still be frozen and you won’t have maxed out the refrigerator/freezers on your vessel.

A Word on Beverages: Usually its easiest to have everybody bring what they want to drink. Use the ice chests provided on the houseboat for drinks, they’ll stay colder on ice. Also, frequent opening of boat’s refrigerator door to access drinks will prevent the refrigerator from performing adequately, and nothing will be very cold.

Note: Expect to buy at least a couple of bags of ice per day during your trip. The exact amount you’ll use will depend on the outside temperature.

D. Ski Boats, small boats, towables and toys

Having a small boat along will enhance your houseboat vacation. Watersports add an exciting dimension to the trip. Personal watercraft (PWCs) are not only exhilarating, but are an ideal way to explore our scenic California lakes. In addition, inflatable rafts, tubes, air mattresses, flotation cushions, canoes, kayaks, wakeboards, water-skis, kneeboards and anything else that floats can add variety to your experience. Most of these items can be rented by the day or week from our marina stores.
Click here for Jones Valley Watercraft Rentals 

Helpful Hint: Whether you rent or bring your own ski boat, don’t forget to plan for everyone to contribute their share of the fuel.

E. Clubs & Groups

We suggest that you consider a houseboating trip the next time you are in charge of coming up with a new idea for your club, association, or church group outing. Several church youth groups make this an annual event, and rent many houseboats at a time. It’s a great outdoor adventure for kids of all ages. And, it is an activity that will delight even those hard-to-please teenagers.