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Family Things to Do: Houseboat on Lake Cumberland, Kentucky

Updated on November 29, 2012

What is a boat:

A boat is a vehicle for water transportation used since man first figured out that a hollowed log could accommodate him travelling down a river. Boats are categorized into three types: manpowered, such as canoes or kayaks; sail boats, which are obviously manned by the wind; and motorboats.

One of the best websites for boating information is: What I like is the description given about the various boats and the diagrams. There are tips, charts, surveys and colorful photos that make a person salivate. If considering purchasing a boat of any size this is the place to go to learn the ins and outs of boat ownership.

Boating can lead to long lasting memories of family fun no matter what type of boat you may have. Some of my fondest memories have been boating with my dad during fishing and camping trips. His was a 15 foot flat back aluminum fishing boat, powered by a motor. How we all crammed into it when we were younger I have no clue, but it worked. And, no one came aboard who didn’t have a life jacket on. Back in the ‘60’s they were the bulky, orange vests that resembled pillows strapped against your chest.

Houseboat vacation fun

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Houseboats can be an exciting family vacation.Enjoy summer rafting while being pulled behind a larger boat.Supervised by parents, kids can gain confidence behind the wheel.Wakeboarding-all part of the fun of a houseboat vacation.
Houseboats can be an exciting family vacation.
Houseboats can be an exciting family vacation. | Source
Enjoy summer rafting while being pulled behind a larger boat.
Enjoy summer rafting while being pulled behind a larger boat. | Source
Supervised by parents, kids can gain confidence behind the wheel.
Supervised by parents, kids can gain confidence behind the wheel. | Source
Wakeboarding-all part of the fun of a houseboat vacation.
Wakeboarding-all part of the fun of a houseboat vacation. | Source

Houseboat vacation anyone?

Does it appeal to you to have a houseboat adventure?

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Renting a Houseboat on Lake Cumberland

Houseboats are larger versions of fishing boats with the comforts of home. One summer, my youngest daughter booked a family houseboat vacation with another family. They had the time of their lives on Lake Cumberland and many photos to scrapbook with later. It’s an unusual way to ‘rent’ a summer stay on a recreational lake, and one that takes a bit of courage if you’ve never navigated a boat. But, the staff at the marina offers lessons for novices, and the houseboats are equipped with a radio that can quickly connect you to the office.

Lake Cumberland State Park is a reservoir located in Jamestown, Kentucky. It was constructed in the 1940’s as part of a project to bring flood control and hydroelectricity into the area. It is rated the 9th largest reservoir in the United States with its 1225 miles of shoreline and 50,250 acres of water space. With over four million visitors annually Lake Cumberland State Park is considered one of the finest fishing and boating areas in the Eastern U.S.

Many of the houseboats are equipped with hot tubs and tubular slides, among other amenities. Jet skis and rubber rafts are usually an added cost, unless you bring your own, but kids and adults alike enjoy taking turns being pulled behind the boat on a board or raft.

Some of the other activities that are located in the area are: The Wolf Creek fish hatchery; mini golf and regular golf; roller skating rinks and bowling alleys; movie cinemas and live stage theatres; and interesting restaurants to dine in.

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park

lake cumberland, kentucky:
Lake Cumberland, Kentucky, USA

get directions

Jamestown, ky:
Jamestown, KY, USA

get directions

Benefits of Speedboats

Recreational lakes have their share of boat enthusiasts such as speed boats and sail boats. Since I do not have much experience with either, I cannot tell you about the joys of doing either. I do know that those who love boating will attest to the excitement and peace that being on the water brings to them.

The benefits of having a larger boat are plenty-more room to enjoy a relaxing day of fishing; more speed to attach a skier at the back and pull him along; more entertainment in watching, or participating, in speed boat races each year; more reliability to travel longer distances visiting unfamiliar shores. I was surprised to find how many different styles of powerboats there are. From sitting capacity to motor power, there is as many reasons for water vessel choice as there are individual boat owners.

One of my favorite comedies, The Great Outdoors , stars the late John Candy as the well-loved family man and his obnoxious brother-in-law, played by Dan Akroyd. Although the entire movie is filled with comedic scenarios that are sure to evoke laughter, one of the funniest parts is the 'lesson in waterskiing'. For those who have not viewed this older film it is a must see.

Kayaking-fun or funny?

Manpowered boats

Canoes and kayaks are simple modes of water transportation which takes a minimum of people-usually one or two, to maneuver them. Although similar, the difference between the two is that a canoe is an open boat where the occupant sits or kneels and navigates with a single paddle; and the kayak is most often a closed boat where the occupant sits with legs forward and navigates with a double paddle.

Kayaks were first used 4,000 years ago by the Inuit people on the cold waters of the Arctic and North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans, and Bering Sea during seal and whale hunting. The first kayaks were made from seal skins which were stitched by the women, and each man made his kayak to fit his own body. The kayaks were made water resistant due to the icy waters of their environment.

Canoes are frequently associated with the history and culture of indigenous people throughout the world, however, according to Wikipedia, the first canoe is on record as having been found in Pesse, Netherlands, dating between 8200 – 7600 B.C. It currently is on exhibit at the Drents Museum in Assen, Netherlands.

Sailboat Competitions

Sailboats are examples of a boat’s grace and beauty on the water. One of the impressions left with me about the Kennedy family was their great love for sailing. Although I have only been sailing once, I worked for two summers on Mackinac Island, a resort in Lake Huron, Michigan. I always enjoyed the excitement the annual ‘Race to Mackinac’ regatta would bring.

This year will mark the 103rd race from Chicago to Mackinac Island-the very first one being held in 1898 and intermittently throughout WWI. According to the Chicago Yacht Club, it is “the oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world”. Participation in this amateur event is by invitation only via the Chicago Yacht Club, and there is no prize money. This year race brings 355 boats at the starting point: The Chicago Lighthouse. For more information, log onto:

CYC 'Race to Mackinac'

What type of boat do you own?

Do you own a boat? If yes, please mention what kind in the comments below.

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    • TimArends profile image

      Timothy Arends 

      5 years ago from Chicago Region

      Wow! Judging from your map, Lake Cumberland State Resort Park sure does have plenty of nooks and crannies for boating and docking!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Dianna-I think a houseboat vacation would be a fun experience. Not sure I'd be ready any time soon for a life on the water. :) Thanks for commenting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      You make houseboatung inviting. I would love this someday with my family on vacation. I know a few people who live on one and they wouldn't trade their lifestyle for a land-life.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Marky-good luck with your new job goals.

      Hi Ann-thanks. Congrats on your hub nomination. :)

      Hi Robin-yes, camping at the lake is so much fun. I never did ski. thanks.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      We grew up skiing and camping at the lake. They are my very best childhood memories - very fun!!

    • annmackiemiller profile image


      8 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      Brilliant - voted up and stuff

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 

      8 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      @ Denise-Yes and the way things are going it maybe sooner than I think !

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Marky-I know you love the water and boats, too. Hope you get to join your friend when you retire--or change jobs. Are you still thinking of taking that hospital job close to your new home?

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 

      8 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Excellent job Denise, The one video with the older man trying to balance in the kayak was so funny, but he did it. Houseboats are awesome and have so much room in them and are certainly great for lakes. We have a friend that goes to Kentucky in that same lake and rents a houseboat for a week. They always ask if we wanted to come and of course I am always working during the time they go. Great job!! Voted UP and Useful!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Bud-I know what you mean. I've been wanting to buy a boat now for 3 yrs and still haven't done anything about it except look (oh, and now this hub, LOL) My suggestion for you: take a class and rent one when you want to go out.

      Will-wouldn't that be wonderful? I haven't done the houseboat adventure yet-I think I would try that to see if I was romancing the idea, which I tend to do...Thanks for your comments.

    • WillStarr profile image


      8 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I've actually considered selling out and retiring on a houseboat.

    • Bud Gallant profile image

      Bud Gallant 

      8 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

      Great hub! Very comprehensive on boating. I love how you included videos, as well. The one with the canoe was particularly funny. I've really wanting to get into sailing myself. It's a pretty expensive hobby, though. One day I'll make it happen. I'd love to go out on the ocean in a boat.

      Thanks for this excellent hub on boating. It's a great reference for the different options available.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Pamela-Thanks for reading and commenting. I wanted to find a The Great Outdoors video of the water skiing scene, but there was nothing available. The other kayaking one was a second choice. :)

      Simone-get those lifejackets on and grab a paddle! LOL or rent a houseboat for a different adventure!

      Hi Husky-thanks for your feedback. I LOVED canoeing but unfortunately do not do it now. I miss it though, so I may have to amend that.

      I happen to love island living, but it does take its toll re: transportation to the mainland. My experience was two summers on Mackinac Island, MI

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You have covered just about all of the bases on the topic of boating. My boating experiences have pretty much been limited to transportation for the past 30 years. That is, of course, the result of living on an island. I did do quite a bit of canoeing in my younger days, however. Time spent on the water is always enjoyable. A very useful hub and voted accordingly.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      I've had few opportunities to go boating in my life (so long as one discounts whitewater rafting) but now I'm itching to rectify that!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      All those activities on the lake look like so much fun and great for families. I liked your use of videos too. Rated awesome.


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