Our family takes a vacation together every summer. We've done the cabin on the lake thing many times, and we've also stayed at many state parks (Yellowstone, Custer, etc). We were looking for something different this year and decided to try a houseboat vacation. We had a great time! Instead of looking at the same scenery every day as you do with a cabin, you got to see something new. We swam, floated, fished and sat around a campfire in a different spot almost every day. The maps were very easy to follow. Our plan going in was to decide on a new spot each night, head there in the morning and then relax for the day/night. The spots we picked weren't always open when we got there, but we always found an available site a short distance away. To be honest, driving around looking for a spot was part of the fun... it was very relaxing with the beautiful scenery and wildlife.
Boat: We chose the 42' Northstar with the water slide. We had 5 adults, one teenager and one child and there was plenty of room for everyone. There is seating on the top of the boat as well as 3 benches around the table and 3 others along the sides (which turn into beds). The boat wasn't fancy and did show some wear, but that's to be expected in any rental. I did read some reviews that complained about the mattresses. It's a houseboat and not a Hilton, we understand that. We did bring air mattresses along just in case, but only one was used. There were plenty of pillows and blankets for everyone as well.
We did have a small issue with mice, but we figured out very quickly that they were coming from the island, up our ramp and into the boat. This is something that Voyagaire obviously can't control, it's just mother nature. There were traps provided under the sink if you wish to use them. We also had a beautiful small fox walk right up our ramp and peer into the front doors one night while we were playing trivia over the radio!
Maintenance: We didn't have any mechanical issues with the boat at all. We did hear a couple of others calling on the radio with issues - they got an immediate response on the radio and someone was sent out to help them right away. The stove, oven and refrigerator/freezer all worked great. It was a treat to bake biscuits for breakfast as that's something we can't do camping.
Service: We're a very easy-going group, so we didn't use the hospitality service at all. Again, we heard others calling for coffee, ice etc and the office was very efficient in giving them an estimated time of delivery.
Overnight Locations: We chose to stay in locations that were sheltered from the wind/waves. We picked them based upon the wind direction and most were in small coves. This worked really well, especially during severe storms one night. We didn't get any large waves or wind rocking the boat, but we could hear the water/wind on the main lake. We also chose places with a nice flat space for chairs and a fire.
Arrival/Departure: We had A LOT of stuff, between everyone's personal items and food for a week to feed 7 people. The staff at the docks when we arrived was great. They carried everything from our vehicles to the boats. When we were ready to head out for the week, they came on board to get us away from the dock and helped us to hook up our boat to the back. The day we left it was raining and cool, but the service was just as good. They met us out in the bay and then landed the houseboat for us and helped carry everything back to our vehicles.
The water temp was great - we swam every day and hung out on our floats off the beach. We actually did snorkel a bit as well and found the visibility to be fairly good in shallow water of 6' deep or less. This actually came in handy when a swimsuit hung to dry on the back of the boat went missing. Fishing was good, and I'm sure it could've been better had we really put some effort into it. We mostly just casted around with spinner baits and the kids used a nightcrawler and bobber off the shore once we parked for the day. Our son caught his largest bass ever and we caught a lot of northern as well. It was enough for a couple of delicious fresh-fish meals.
You will want to bring a converter as the boat only has a 12v (cigarette lighter) for power. Converters are cheap (around $10) and you'll need one to charge your electronics, camera batteries, etc.
I've tried to mention everything I think would be helpful to anyone considering Voyagaire. It's not a "cheap" vacation by any means, but we do think that we got what we paid for. It was a different, fun experience and we're happy we decided to give it a try! Thank you Voyagaire for a wonderful family vacation.
We chose the 42' North Star with the swim slide and "penthouse" bedroom on the top. T...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.