Rock the Boat: Lake Powell Adventures

Writer Amanda Christmann
Photography Courtesy of Aramark

Each year in Arizona, when temperatures begin to fall north of the comfort line, it’s easy to want to pack a suitcase and book a flight to anywhere but here. If you stray too far, you may be missing out on some of the best fun Arizona has to offer.

While local resorts offer great summertime staycation deals (and you should definitely check them out), they aren’t the only option. Navigating Lake Powell on a houseboat is one of the best ways to make a summer splash, and you’ll need less than a tank of gas to take you there!

Lake Powell, the largest body of water in our state, is a man-made reservoir on the Colorado River that straddles the scenic border between Utah and Arizona. One of the best ways to enjoy it is to sit back and relax on the deck of a houseboat.

From a 46’ basic houseboat that sleeps six to a luxurious 75’ houseboat with a hot tub, comfortable staterooms, waterslides and more, a wide range of choices from several rental companies allow you to tailor your houseboat experience. You can even choose to stock your refrigerator or request prepared meals, making your houseboat vacation more like an all-inclusive personal resort.

Relaxing on the boat is only one option. If it’s speed you’re after, many rental options offer jet skis and powerboats to tow along. Kayaks, paddleboards, wakeboards, waterskis and other fun options are also available.

Lake Powell’s shores are abundant with wildlife, breathtaking natural arches and bridges and Native American archaeological sites, and there are over2,000 miles of shoreline and 90 scenic side canyons to explore such as these grand canyon tours. You can’t go wrong in this Southwestern paradise.

Houseboating 101

If you’ve ever admired other people’s house boating vacation photos from afar but been unsure if you’d enjoy it, or intimidating at the thought ofbeing at the helm, Lake Powell Resorts and Marina have a solution. Their new Houseboating 101 course gives you a taste of life on the leisurely side of the lake without the commitment of a full rental.

For $299, you can attend a weekend orientation at Lake Powell’s Waheap Marina on the inner workings of the boat and how to pilot it through the lake’s gorgeous waters. You’ll get practice beaching the boat, as well as practice towing and securing an accompanying powerboat. It’s a great way to learn the ins and outs so that you can feel confident renting your own houseboat.

Instruction lasts five to six hours, and boxed lunches are provided. Lodging for two nights is also included—making this one of the best values out there on the nation’s second largest man-made reservoir.

The course’s earliest weekends are already sold out, but dates are still available Aug. 24-26; Oct. 19-21; and Oct. 26-28. Visit for more information.

More to Do

Of course, Lake Powell has quite a bit more to offer and places to explore. Boat tours, scenic air tours, dinner cruises, fishing, golfing, hiking and shopping are just a few options. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn more about the area’s history at the John Wesley Powell Museum in Page.

How to Get There

Lake Powell begins near Page and stretches to the northwest. You can drive to Waheap Marina in Page from Phoenix by taking I-17 north toward Flagstaff, then I-40 east to U.S. 89 north. At Page, go over Glen Canyon Dam and turn right about half a mile past mile marker 550 into Waheap South Entrance of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Continue to the entry booth where you will pay to enter the park or show your annual National Parks pass. Total travel time from Phoenix is about four to five hours, depending on where you depart.

If you’d rather fly, the Page Airport may be an option. However, flights from Phoenix through Great Lakes Airlines, the only Phoenix-to-Page flight service, were suspended March 26 and may not be available for some time.

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