California Delta Houseboat Rental

How to Rent a California Delta Houseboat

California Delta Houseboat
••• California Delta Houseboat. ©2007 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

A California Delta houseboat vacation is a favorite of many people in northern California. It's a fun option for both large family vacations and lazy, quiet getaways with a group of friends.

The California Delta houseboat experience is relaxing, with little to do all day but swim, cruise around exploring the waterways, read, play games or take a nap. It's not a good choice for anyone who likes to be on the go all the time, but it's a nice change of pace if you want to slow down for a while.

Anytime is nice to be out in a California Delta houseboat, but the area is busiest June through August and packed over Fourth of July. The weather is best in September. For smooth water and fewer people, go in December or January.

Because the Delta is a network of intersecting waterways, it's not easy to navigate in. If you have trouble finding your way around with a map, either try a different location or plan to stick very close to your starting point.

The delta waterways are sometimes confusing, with low bridges that your houseboat can't get under and arms that lead to dead ends.

To make getting around easier, I like DeltaMaps' well-illustrated map. It's created by locals and better than the one you may get from the houseboat rental company - and contains information that your smart phone app doesn't. Buy it before you go - it will make your trip easier. 

If you think you might enjoy the experience, plan to spend most of your time on the boat.

You'll find only a few spots where you can tie up and go into town. If you want to do that, check with your rental company for some tips about where to go and where to park the boat while you're doing it.

California Delta Houseboat Rental Facts

  • Seven Crown Resorts rents houseboats on the Delta. They're located at Paradise Point Marina. Their Summit model sleeps 10 inside. The roof is also a place for people to hang out, and some like to sleep up there, too. Nevertheless, a houseboat vacation should only be taken with people you can get along with in close quarters.
  • You'll get a houseboat equipped with a range, refrigerator, propane grill, kitchen utensils and dishes, a heater, and a bathroom.
  • Worried about safety? You might fall overboard, but a houseboat is supposedly almost impossible to sink.
  • Along the Delta, there are few towns of any size. Your trip will go smoother if you buy groceries and supplies before you get there.

California Delta Houseboat Rental Costs

  • Rental rates vary by season. You'll pay the highest rates late May through August and less the rest of the year.
  • The fuel tank will be full when you pick up the boat, and you can get more at the dock or other local marinas if you need it, but its cost is not included in the rental price. Neither are taxes. You should also look into insurance, find out what your home owner's insurance covers and budget for the rest.
  • At first glance, a California Delta houseboat rental seems very expensive. Before you dismiss it, calculate the cost per person (or family) per night, taking into account that you will be cooking rather than eating out. You may be surprised how affordable it is.
  • The average houseboat renter spends $60 per day or more for fuel.
  • Expect to pay a deposit of several hundred dollars when you make a reservation, along with an extra damage deposit. The full rental fee will be due about 45 to 60 days before you arrive, and you must cancel at least 30 days in advance or you'll forfeit it all.