Some of us live in apartments. Others live in homes. Some of us live in the city. Others live in the suburbs or the country. Have you ever given any thought to where you might live when you're grown?
What kind of house do you think you'll live in one day? Something like the home you grew up in? Or something different altogether? One thing is likely: you probably have never thought of living on a boat when you grow up!
Have you ever been for a ride on a boat? Maybe your grandfather has taken you fishing on a boat. Or perhaps your parents have taken you on a vacation cruise ship. But have you ever lived on a boat for an extended period of time?
Houseboats are boats that have been built — or remodeled — to be used as a place to live for an extended period of time. Some houseboats don't travel. They merely stay tied to a dock permanently. Most houseboats, though, are meant to be used to travel around lakes, rivers or even oceans.
If you visit most any large lake in the United States, you'll find houseboats. Sometimes people rent them to use as a place to stay while on vacation. Others use them as a place to stay during the summer on weekends.
Although for hundreds of years boats have been used as a place to live — especially on long voyages — recreational houseboating is a more recent pastime. Most people believe recreational houseboating got its start at Lake Cumberland in Kentucky in the late 1940s.
Today, entire houseboat neighborhoods can be found in Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. Of course, you can find people living on houseboats all along the coasts of the United States.
One of the most popular things to do with houseboats is to rent them with a group of friends for a fun vacation on a lake. Not only can you move your “house" for a nice change of view whenever you want, but you're always close to the action on the water.
There are many lakes in the United States where houseboating is popular. Some examples include Lake Powell, Lake Mead and Lake Shasta. Do you know of a local lake in your area with houseboats?
Lake Cumberland, where houseboating got its start, remains a popular spot, too. In fact, most of the houseboats built in the United States are constructed in factories in the counties around Lake Cumberland.
The United States isn't the only place in the world where houseboats are popular, though. In India, for example, large houseboats that resemble exotic barges are used for leisure trips down local rivers. These houseboat trips have become a popular tourist attraction.