Houseboating on Lake Billy Chinook was so much fun! I am already in love the lake, but have only rented ski boats in the past while staying in Sunriver. Houseboating was a great way to enjoy the lake over a long weekend, including swimming, tubing, and a little hiking.
I couldn't find a lot of first hand information online before our trip, so I'm including info on the questions I had in hopes it will help you decide if this is the right trip for you.
We went with two families, one couple with kids and and one couple without kids. Six of us on a boat that technically slept 12 people...and this was perfect--enough private space that you didn't feel crowded. I would probably put a maximum of 8 people on this boat--I think it would be very tight quarters if you had more people (fine for a day, but on that third day you might think twice about jamming this many people on the boat!).
The boat was a lot nicer on the inside than I expected. It seemed like it had been recently updated and everything was very clean. The bathrooms were roomy and the kitchen had everything you needed to whip up a simple to more elaborate meals. Very nice BBQ on the back deck and two roomy fridges, along with an outside cooler for beverages. We had the boat with the penthouse, which is basically a 3 foot high sleeping bunk on top of the boat. It was great for the kids. Downstairs, there is a galley/salon area in the front of the boat with two pull out couches for sleeping. In the middle of the boat, there is a bunk room, one and half bathrooms, and a bunch of closet space. While there is fresh water on board for cooking and drinking, the bathrooms/kitchen use lake water so you don't have to worry about running out of water. The back of the boat has the only stateroom--containing two double bunk beds and another pull out couch. All these sections are divided by pocket doors for a little bit of privacy.
Check in was great--the staff goes over the boat with you and you are off sailing into the sunset confidently in no time. We came back to the dock several times for ice and to pick up/drop off people and the staff were always there to help dock the boat.
We rented from Lake Billy Chinook Houseboats, but it is the same owner as Cove Palisades Marina. This marina is more remote and a slightly further drive (30 min) then Cove Palisades, but you have quicker access to the Metolius River arm of the lake where there are more trees and protective coves for mooring at night. It was early in the season, so finding a private nook in the lake to call our own was a breeze.
The lake is great for swimming, sunning, and fishing (we didn't fish, but saw lots of fish jumping and hawks grabbing fish for dinner). Bring a couple of inner tubes, kayaks, rafts, or whatever you have for fun in the sun. The CP Marina rents boats for more high-speed fun.
Overall, this was a very fun and relaxing vacation. I have been wanting to do this for years and am so glad I finally did! We'll definitely be back.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.