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Short-term houseboat rentals in Seattle for testing out a life at sea

Sleep on the water without buying the boat

Grant Birkinbine

A life at sea, or lake, is clearly tempting to Seattleites. You move here for all the natural wonders, so why not live on one?

But deciding to live in what’s often a 300 square foot space isn't the kind of thing you want to rush into. So here's an idea: Try a short-term rental to see how you like it. Or just stay in a houseboat for fun; that’s always an option, too.

Fortunately, there are tons of floating home and houseboat rentals available all throughout the year. We've gone ahead and picked out some of the most unique and intriguing boats and houseboats in Seattle. Take a look and find out if the houseboat lifestyle is a good fit for you. Literally.

Light, Space, Beauty

This Cape Cod-style, two-bedroom floating home looks just like a beach house, only even closer to the water. French doors are a sweet detail; a custom-made soaking tub makes luxurious use of the small space. (And if you like it, it’s also for sale.)

Right-on Rutabaga

Located on the Fremont Cut, this restored houseboat has a great story. Bought in December 2013 and rebuilt from top to bottom. The second story and rooftop deck help get you some great views and you can fit up to six people in there if needed. It's also a good location if you want to find out what it's like to live amongst marina folks to see if it's your thing. (And if you decide it is your thing, this one’s for sale for $425,000!)

A white boat with a large cabin below and Seahawks-themed details Via Airbnb
A mostly white interior of a houseboat has a football game on the TV

The Hawk's Nest

Could you be any more Seattle Seahawks than this place? The Hawk's Nest is a 42-foot houseboat located in Fremont Wharf Marina. It features two staterooms, two bathrooms, a dining area and a kitchen. It also puts you at the doorstep of Fremont with the Troll just around the corner keeping a watchful eye on things. As you've probably already ascertained, the place is Seahawks-themed inside and ready for your game-watching needs.

A white, tugboat-style houseboat with green trim Via Airbnb
The interior of a houseboat features wooden doors. A staircase leads off to another area on the right.

Sally S

Want the old-school houseboat experience? Check out Sally S, a 75-foot tugboat originally built in 1927. She's been renovated and features a main stateroom, bathroom with walk-in shower, salon, kitchen, and large deck for taking in the atmosphere. We love that they've kept much of the original woodwork intact, it gives the entire space an authenticity you don't find in many places.

A wide, relatively flat, tan houseboat with an expansive rooftop deck. Via Homeaway
A small wooden alcove with two built-in bunks


Want to crash on a houseboat without worrying about space? This houseboat, only a couple of years old, is a full 750 square feet—practically a mansion in houseboat terms. It features a bedroom, a bunkroom with two adorable built-in bunks, and an expansive rooftop deck for sunbathing.

Grant Birkinbine

Ginger houseboat

This renovated, 600-square-foot houseboat isn’t going for the same rustic or nautical details of some other spots on the list, and could be mistaken for a condo on the inside—but with the views you can only get from a houseboat. Docked off Westlake Avenue, the vessel has one full bedroom and another, lofted bedroom, plus a roof deck. (This one’s for sale, too, at $475K.)

Turnip houseboat

Like its sibling the Rutabaga, this little Turnip is floating on a dock just off Westlake Avenue. It has an even quirkier inside, with a rounded-off interior and a circular sleeping cubby for a unique seafaring experience. It does, of course, have a roof deck, as well as a smaller deck tucked into the bow by the helm. If you fall in love with this one, it’s for sale for $255,000.


Traditional Seattle houseboat

On the bigger side of houseboats, this two-bedroom vessel has 1,300 square feet of space and can sleep up to four. The bedrooms appear to provide actual privacy, too, which is always a bonus. Decks above and below provide ample sunbathing opportunity.