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After hours spent navigating through waves and around bends, your boat lands on a private island dotted with trees. You climb ashore and hit the sandy beach to collect shells, enjoy a picnic lunch and relax under the sun. This idyllic scene feels a world away from the bustle of Buckhead, and yet it’s so close you’ve probably driven by it dozens of times.

If this getaway sounds like a dream, the good news is that you don’t have to go far to make it come true. Just rent a houseboat on nearby Lake Lanier.

Love the lake life? Rent a houseboat on Lake Lanier for the ultimate weekend getaway.

Paradise Rental Boats maintains the largest selection of pontoons, runabouts, WaveRunners, deck boats, party boats and houseboats available for rent in Georgia. At the Port Royale Marina on Lake Lanier, a fleet of 11 houseboats is available exclusively for overnight rental. Other companies rent houseboats for day excursions, and some individuals rent houseboats for overnight stays on docked boats, but Paradise is the only Georgia company that lets you drive the houseboat and sleep on it, too.

The houseboats boast conveniences like satellite TV and full-service kitchens.

Like RV campers that float, each of these 55-foot houseboats offers an open living room, dining room and full-service kitchen, plus four private bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms and a spacious upper deck. The houseboats were remodeled a few years ago with new furniture, flooring, appliances and more, and feature onboard amenities such as entertainment centers with satellite TV, water slides, propane grills and wet bars. All of the houseboats sleep up to 10 people, with double beds in each of the four bedrooms, plus a pullout sofa in the living room. Two of the beds are right next to the window, so you can lay back and gaze at the lake. Expect some deep sleep at the end of a long day on the water, because there’s something extra soothing about being rocked gently to and fro as you slumber.

Renting a houseboat isn’t all about the water, though. There are islands to explore. In fact, the houseboats don’t have anchors, so when you want to stop cruising around, you have to beach the boat. Just pick an island—one with a perfectly slanted beach, as the rental folks will explain to you—and drive the front of the houseboat straight up onto the sand and tie it off. The island you claim is not only your home for the night, it’s also a great place to build sand castles, climb trees and take a swim.

Measuring 55 feet long, Paradise Rental’s houseboats are like floating RVs.

When your overnight is over, just put your captain’s hat back on and head out once again onto the open water. It may not be a cruise to the Caribbean, but a houseboat vacation is a refreshing escape from the ordinary.


Gainesville, Ga.

Two-night rentals start at $1,199. Rentals are available year-round and require a two-night minimum. The renter and all drivers must be at least 25 years old.

STORY: Hope S. Philbrick

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