I traditionally associate glamping with canvas tents or cute, vintage campers. But this weekend, I tried a new variety: Glamping on a houseboat. A boatel, if you will.
About Island Time at Waterpoint Marina on Lake Conroe, Texas
Armed with an Amazon Local deal, my husband and I rented Island Time, a 45-foot house boat on Texas’ Lake Conroe, at half price for a weekend.
When we arrived at Waterpoint Marina, we were greeted by a man nicknamed Cowboy who loaded up our belongings into a golf cart. He made room for us and our dog, and took off down the pier. We sped past fishing boats and yachts of various sizes, then came upon our new home away from home.
Island Time has all the amenities of a hotel and then some, with a full kitchen, living room and television, bunk beds, full bath and a separate bedroom with a queen-sized bed. The kitchen is stocked with pots and pans, plates, cups and utensils. A ceiling unit provides heat and air conditioning.
What Island Time doesn’t have is an engine or a wheel, as she’s not designed to be taken out on the lake. Instead, she remains moored, gently swaying with the water’s current. Honestly, it was for the best; we probably would’ve sunk her if we’d been able to take her out into the water.
If guests really want to explore the lake, boat rentals and tours abound in the area. For us, Island Time‘s two lower decks and an upper deck were plenty.
After giving us the tour, Cowboy presented us with a goody bag filled with coupons for restaurants in the marina and standard hotel toiletries. It wasn’t long after he left that the owners called to check in with us. During the whole experience, the owners and staff couldn’t have been more attentive or helpful while never becoming intrusive.
The marina has a long pier for walking, bird watching and fishing, and we did some of each.
A big box store less than ten minutes down the road sold us Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fishing licenses for the day, and local fishers on the pier gave us advice about bait. They apparently knew their stuff because they caught two ice chests full in one day — including a 48-pound catfish.
Unfortunately, the weather ranged from chilly to thunderstorming the whole weekend, so we ended up spending more time in the boat than we otherwise would’ve.
The good news is that the accommodations were wonderful, and there was plenty to do inside. We broke out our deck of cards, opened the windows when we could, turned on the radio, played Scrabble and giggled at the karaoke drifting across the marina.
I’m not sure if our weekend experience can truly count as glamping, considering all of the amenities nearby. The marina featured several restaurants and shops, including a CVS and a small gym.
Because we arrived a bit late the first evening, we decided to forego cooking and instead headed across the pier to eat at Fajita Joe’s, a local Tex Mex place. The walk from Island Time was breezy but pleasant, and we greeted several boat owners on our way.
The second night, despite the rain, we decided to break out our Coleman camp stove and grill steaks and veggies on the front porch after a day of fishing. It was a soggy experience, but we had a great time.
On our last night on Island Time, we found ourselves already planning our next trip back, daydreaming about the day we could afford such a boat for ourselves. If we had this much fun in poor weather, we can’t imagine what a wonderful experience it will be when the sun’s out.
Have you ever glamped on a rentable boat house or “boatel”? Where did you stay, and what was your experience like?
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