Houseboat Holidays - Private Day Charters

Houseboat Holidays - Private Day Charters

Houseboat Holidays - Private Day Charters
Sightseeing in the 1000 Islands, offering visitors tailor-made tours and a chance to see what you can't see from the tour boats. Choose your own points of interest or let our experienced captain take you to their favorite spots. You can even stop for swimming! From a family day outing, to a day fishing or going wreck diving, Houseboat Holidays provides a unforgettable experience in the 1000 Islands.
Gananoque, Ontario, Canada

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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43 reviews
Very good

North Bay, Canada5 contributions
May 2022
This was amazingly good fun, and a great way to see the Thousand Islands. Most of my prior long-term boating experience is on a sailboat, and these are both spacious and well-appointed in comparison - more than enough space for two adults on the red model. Our trip was early in the season, so the furnace was very useful on the colder evenings, and being able to take a hot shower was sheer luxury. No mechanical issues with the boat or the equipment on board, and everything was clean and well-maintained.

Going early in the season meant we had no problem finding moorings, and some nights were the only people staying at any given island. Camelot Island was especially beautiful, and a walk around the trail there is very worthwhile. Gordon Island is cool if you're interested in ecological succession or the history of Parks Canada. And Beau Rivage is also lovely, though mooring up was tricky given the tight space and the thunderstorm that we were trying to get out of. You will probably enjoy your trip more if you have some prior experience driving larger boats, as the houseboats can be a bit unwieldy, especially in the wind.
Written June 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Canada2 contributions
Sep. 2021 • Friends
It was awful!! Old houseboats, leaking gas, underpowered, smelly bathrooms and then a cash grab for incidentals out of the deposit.
Don’t do it. Rent a pontoon boat for the day and camp. Small, expensive and like driving a brick through water.
Written September 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cathy L
Haliburton, Canada49 contributions
Jul. 2021 • Couples
As first timers before we boarded we wanted to rebook for next year as it looked so welcoming. As a person that rents my home too I have to say we were super impressed with the professionalism of this 48 year family run company. They are extremely organized and the orientation from Neil was clear and concise. He even comes with you to ride a long just to make sure you have the hang of it before he jumps back onto his helper boat. We downloaded the Navionics Boating app and it was amazing. Make sure you download it and learn it first before you go as it's so easy. Don't head out and then try to learn it like we did or you could end crossing over to the USA side if you didn't want to. The houseboat is an older style model but extremely clean and comfortable and it has everything you need to cook. We had a couple of cool nights with weather but we brought our down Duvet and own pillows and didn't need to turn on the furnace. They do supply all the blankets and sheets though if needed but I like to use my own bedding. We loved it! To conserve water I would wipe the plates first with a paper towel to keep my dish water cleaner. The water controls at the wheel are as simple as flipping a switch. To save looking for a gas station we brought our own gas (10 gallons) plus don't forget to bring bring a gas pump for pouring easily. Please remember when you are charged for the gas used from this company that you are being charged in gallons NOT LITRES. Therefore the price for their gas was fine and reasonable. Preparing meals in advance was a wonderful idea. Much less garbage and easier clean up. We had a small mishap (our own fault) and they came out immediately to fix it and they know exactly where to find you. As a renter of someone else's property I always want to be curtious and we left the house boat almost as clean as I found it, making sure all dishes were clean and put away and treated it like it was our own home on the water. On our return we did book again for next year as what a great idea for a beautiful getaway right in our own back yard in Ontario. R&C
Written July 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Laura L
Markham, Canada10 contributions
Jun. 2021
Heard about the word "houseboat" in Feb, booked one in March, not knowing what's waiting for us. Finally the big day came. Check-in was a breeze, highly recommend that you get some prior knowledge on house boating. HH's website did a great job, be sure to check all the videos and important information BEFORE you start your journey. For me, reading others' reviews here also helped A LOT! Another thing I learnt from others was downloading Navionics - Boating, a very handy and useful app. With this app and the chart provided onboard, you will have almost no problem navigating 1000 Islands area.

We spent 5 days in total, set foot on five islands - Beau Rivage, McDonald, Grenadier, Mulcaster and Gordon. We also had a brief taste of Rockport, had our lunch at Cornwall’s Pub, got some ice cream at Andress Boat Works. With kayaks, we were able to get a closer look at a shipwreck (near McDonald Island), which excited the kids (as well as those forever young at heart) very much! We did some hiking and a bit of exploring on each of the five islands, fishing was good at some spots (so we had a super fresh fish soup one night) but no luck at all at some other spots. We met some nice boaters and shared a lot of laughter:) Did I mention the amazing sunset and moon rise? No picture did it justice!

Here are my two cents:

1. In order to conserve fresh water on food preparation, better pre-wash your washable grocery at home.

2. Purchase something that is fully cooked, like chicken wings.

3. Freeze bottled water so you don't need to bring ice packs.

4. As Neil pointed out, an experienced sailor never uses the washroom on boat, instead, he/she uses the facilities on the islands. The only place we planned to have a pump-out service midway was out of service. Luckily we listened to Neil and seized every chance on the islands. Our sewage tank didn't overflow. Whew!

Last but not least, we want to give a shout-out to Pete and Neil. One of our boats had a minor problem on hot water supply and it was already dark, Pete answered the phone and promised to send someone in the morning around 8:30 to give us a hand. The next morning, Neil arrived in his speedboat, right on time, and fixed the problem immediately. To him, it looks like he knows everything about the boat and had everything under control.

The boats are definitely not new, but still in good shape. Every part worked. That's all we need.

What's luxurious is the quality time with family, friends and Mother Nature. That's all we want.

We are sure to come back soon!
Written June 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eric E
Vancouver, Canada25 contributions
Jun. 2021
This was our first powerboat experience and our first time in the 1000 islands. We are already looking at the calendar for next year to book with them again! The boats are of an older vintage, but well maintained and have all you need for a wonderful holiday! Peter and his team have been at this for 49 years and they provide guidance for even newbies like us to have a great time.
Written June 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Paul S
Rochester, UK122 contributions
May 2020
We didn't actually get out to Canada on our Houseboat. After having two trips cancelled, due to Covid, Pete suggested returning our deposit, which we accepted. It was back in our account the same day as we requested it. Great service.
We look forward to actually getting out on one of the boats, just as soon as things calm down.
Written March 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sabrina Loyello
Montreal, Canada8 contributions
Aug. 2020
We booked well in advanced and the process was quite simple. As we arrived everything was very smooth. They went through all the rules, how to drive the boat and fo someone who has never driven a boat before everything was quite easy. Once all that was done we were off and my friends and I had a great time. They give you all your essentials, the boat is cozy. I rented the red boat for 6 people and all 6 of us were comfortable. We were able to cook good meals with the oven/stove and bbq that was provided. All to say If you are looking for a nice calm getaway with the family or some friends on the water, this is the place to book! I would definitely go again!
Written September 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ben S
Montreal, Canada1 contribution
Aug. 2020 • Couples
Spent 3 nights and 4 days on the water with some friends. Great place to relax and enjoy the water. Super nice workers and friendly environment.
Written August 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Toronto, Canada3 contributions
Jul. 2020
Just returned from 4 fabulous days and nights aboard "red" houseboat "Moonchild" in the Thousand Islands, booked through Houseboat Holidays (HH). We decided to book this on a bit of a whim with our friends, also a family of 4 from Toronto, and were a little apprehensive and unsure just how our first houseboat experience might pan out. Well, it was fantastic!!

Houseboat Holidays is located about 2 miles west of Gananoque, which is about 4 hours east of Toronto. After arriving in an absolute downpour, we were soon ready to load up the boats. Parking is conveniently situated right next to the docks so you can walk your provisions straight on to the boats.

The team at Houseboat Holidays was super friendly and helpful and showed us around the boat, which was surprisingly spacious and well equipped (2 double beds and 2 single bunks), bathroom, kitchen, fridge and freezer, oven and stovetop, cooler and heaps of storage space. There's a nice retro feel on board with lots of vintage wood paneling and a 70s-80s vibe. They gave us a full run down of operating the boat, anchoring etc. They also showed us the finer points of using the Navionics boating app which is highly recommended as following by charts and sight is challenging. Charts are provided as is "Ports Cruising Guide - Lake Ontario" by Jonathan Lee (i would recommend getting a copy ahead of time as it has some really helpful reading in there about every island and marina).

And we were away! One of the team drives the boat out of the channel with you, and once you are under way and feel comfortable steering and using the throttle, leaves you in charge and returns to HH HQ on a speedboat. We were finally boating along!! The boats coast along at about 6-8 knots tops, so no speed records were broken, and they do swallow a lot of gas, so be sure to watch your gauges.

We passed the Howe Island cable ferry after 20 minutes and headed due east down the Bateau Channel past Beaurivage Island and the Spectacle Shoal towards McDonald Island. We passed Gananoque after about 45 minutes and were in open water and through the infamous Jackstraw Shoal and headed for Squaw Island. Then we headed south to our first anchoring off the south side of Sugar Island. Sugar Island is owned by the "American Canoe Association" but there was no-one ashore this year due to Covid. In fact the Thousand Islands traffic was well below normal levels this year due to this extraordinary times we are going through (so no US travelers on the waters), but this was also a blessing for us as we experienced a true sense of escape and encountered very few other boaters (and no tour boats whatsoever).

We found a nice deep bay off Sugar and the kids were itching to swim. Once our anchors were down, we were jumping off the roof quick smart, and the water was perfect and refreshing. We decided to head for a another bay nearby where we anchored for the night, firing up the very trusty barbecue which got a tough workout all week. We had used almost half a tank of gas this first day.

Everyone slept well, the beds are super comfy and on day two we explored Camelot, Niagara and Endymion Islands which are in the Lake Fleet of islands. Perfect weather for swimming and kayaking (these are rented as extras). Bring your inflatables for maximum floating fun!

On day three, we did a long sail to Rockport to get gas but this took longer than expected and we used a lot of gas just getting there and back, although we saw some amazing islands, the international bridge and of course some very stately homes on both the Canadian and US sides. Fueled up at Hucks Marina as Andress Boat Works (the recommended place) was out of gas. The Hucks staff were very helpful and we were in and out quickly. It would have been good to be able to get gas somewhere a little closer to Gan.

On our return trip we stopped for lunch at Mulcaster I. which is one of the national park islands where HH boats can dock for free, however island access was prevented due to Covid-19 (which seemed silly, being fully outdoors!).

Our last two nights were spent in and around the Lake Fleet islands where we did lots of swimming, fishing, eating and drinking. The kids absolutely loved it and were in the water whenever possible. By the last day, our washroom was beginning to get on the nose so next time we might find a place to "pump out" our septic tank, which we affectionately dubbed "Gordon" for his deep, throaty notes of thanks when flushed.

We had some rain on our final afternoon, which we spent playing cards and eating and drinking in the peaceful, gently rocking waters.

On Friday morning we made the hour long sail back to Clarks Marina and were sad to leave our boats. The staff do a quick boat, prop and fuel check and make any deductions to the deposit. We immediately re-booked for 2021!!

Instead of making the long trek back to T.O. we had a lovely day and overnight in Kingston, where the restaurants are moving to Stage 3 and allowing people to dine inside, which was something we had not done in 4 months.

Now back in the city we feel like true sailors and are already making plans for next year.
Written July 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Julie B
Ottawa, Canada44 contributions
Jul. 2020
We had a wonderful time on a houseboat we rented for a week. Neil gave us a good intro to the boat and how it works, and then we were off. We motored around to many different islands, very glad to have the Navionics app to help us navigate - basically a GPS for boats. It was so relaxing to do whatever we wanted, whenever we felt like it.

We took the boat operator's course beforehand since we're newbies at this, and were very glad we had. It gave us a lot more confidence with things like dropping the anchor in beautiful empty bays for the night instead of tying up to docks with other boats.

The Thousand Islands are so beautiful! We saw all kinds of wildlife, including ospreys (nest with young right above where we docked one night), eagles, Canada geese, swans, loons, and really cute mink.

The boat itself was far from new, but had everything we needed for a week in comfort. Tons of storage space. Before you set out, make sure to ask how to tell how much you have left of things like water and gas so you will know when it's time to refill things and not end up like us suddenly discovering we were out of drinking water (where's the tank? No idea! - finally found it under the bunk bed in a locker we hadn't gotten around to opening yet). Had to head to a marina for a refill, which is not difficult but would have preferred to do it BEFORE we ran out!

The price was excellent for a week of fun. We paid about $2000 total, including the boat, taxes, gas and oil for the whole week. There were no other costs at all. You will be very happy with this company!
Written July 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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