Floating fun central on the Shuswap


The Shuswap is custom made for houseboating and all its incumbent fun and relaxation.


Somewhere between being shot out of the waterslide like a cannon ball and jumping off the top deck into shimmering Shuswap Lake, we declare houseboating our new favourite way to vacation.

But, Of course, your house-boat vacation isn't complete without lounging in the sunshine, gazing at the awe-inspiring vistas around every bend, soaking in the top-deck hot tub, barbecuing dinner on the front deck, wine at twilight and then finally, sleeping like a baby as you fall asleep to the sounds of water gently the boat.

A Waterway Houseboat is like having a buoyant holiday headquarters, a massive luxury mobile hotel suite and a bobbing abode with the most incredible lake-and-mountain-and-blue-sky views.

SilverStar Mountain Resort is running a fantastic contest that let's you explore the Okanagan like never before – check it out!

Houseboat Shuswap

My wife, Kerry and I along with our 15-year-old daughter Grace, and her friend Lauren, boarded out floating funhouse at Waterway Houseboats on Mara Lake in Sicamous, British Columbia.

From Waterway's headquarters it's a quick cruise through the narrows into Shuswap Lake. Shuswap is the house boating capital of Canada because of its calm, cobalt waters and 1,100 kilometres of shoreline on four watery arms that spread out like a claw.

We stuck to the Salmon Arm, which is also the name of the Shuswap's main town, where we motored only 14 kilometres to catch part of the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival.

We moor at Salmon Arm Wharf, a 15-minute walk from the fest site, and use our houseboat as a floating hotel.

It's such an inspired idea that Waterway and Roots & Blues have partnered to offer houseboat-and-fest packages starting with the August 16-19, 2018 fest.

Charlie Jacobson
Photo: Steve MacNaull

You can use your houseboat as a floating hotel to attend the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival, August 16-19, 2018 and catch acts like blues chaplain Charlie Jacobson. 

It's the perfect way to pair the region's marquee music extravaganza with the region's marquee tourist attraction.

"Houseboat really is a unique holiday and mode of transportation," said Waterway operations manager Colleen Anderson.

"It's like luxury camping on the lake. You spend great bonding time with family and friends. Shuswap is custom-made for houseboats. The gradual, sandy shorelines allow you to nose your houseboat onto the beach and have a beach vacation too and head off into the woods and mountains to find waterfalls, hike and bike."

Yes, Waterway also rents all the toys to turn your houseboat into adventure central.

You can tote paddle boards, canoe and kayaks to get out on the water in smaller craft.

You can even tow a powerboat for waterskiing, wakeboarding, wakesurfing, or a pontoon boat for patio cruises.

Waterslide Shuswap
Photo: Steve MacNaull

There's fun to be had on the corkscrew waterslide that shoots funseekers off the back of the boat.

The four of us feel indulgent on the air-conditioned Genesis 60 model we rented.

The four-level beauty has five bedrooms and two bathrooms and an open-concept living room with fireplace, indoor command centre to pilot the boat, kitchen with island and dishwasher and dining room.

The stairs off the front and back decks on the main level lead to the top deck where there is a hot tub, wet bar with a music system and an outdoor command centre to pilot the boat.

Walk up further to a spiral staircase and you're on the sun deck. The entrance to the aforementioned corkscrew waterslide that shoots you off the back of the boat.

Waterway, which has a fleet of 60 houseboats of various sizes and styles, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Houseboats and houseboating have changed drastically since 1968, from basic floating trailers to amenity-laden vessels.

In fact, Waterway has two Legacy 94s, the largest and most impressive houseboat on any lake in British Columbia.

They measure 94 feet long by 24 feet wide, has 11 bedrooms, including king suite, a gourmet kitchen, massive living room and boardroom, so it can facilitate everything from a multi-generational-family or multi-friend romp, a wedding or corporate retreat.

If you go

2018 Waterways Houseboats celebrates its 50th anniversary on the Shuswap Lake. They are giving away 50 wicked prizes to celebrate!

By booking and sharing your trip on social media using the #Waterway50for50 you will be entered to win 1 of 5 grand prizes including winning back your houseboat trip, a 2019 houseboat trip and more! And, all 2018 bookings will receive an extra $150 off!

Discover your new favourite way to vacation. Book today.

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