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Lake Ouachita - Frequently Asked Questions

Presented below are frequently asked questions about houseboat rentals and houseboating on Lake Ouachita. If you need additional assistance, please contact us toll-free at 888-454-8825 or click here to submit a request for more guidance. Our friendly and knowledgeable Houseboat Rental Agents are always happy to help.

It’s always a good time to go houseboating! Summer (between Memorial Day and Labor Day) is the most popular and is the busiest season. However, fall offers Indian Summer days with cooler nights. View a month-by-month list of temperatures here: Average Temperatures.


The maximum capacity is a regulation set by the Coast Guard. The maximum capacity of any houseboat is the maximum allowed at all times unless otherwise specified.

Houseboats from North Shores Marina:

  • Maximum 14 people at all times

Houseboats from Crystal Springs Marina:

  • Royal Flush: maximum 10 people at all times
  • All other houseboats: maximum 16 people at all times

To rent from North Shores marina, the renter must be at least 25 years of age with a valid driver’s license.

To rent from Crystal Springs marina, the renter must be at least 21 years of age with a valid drivers’ license.


Unfortunately, pets are not allowed on any houseboats on Lake Ouachita.


There is no special licensing or prior experience required to operate the houseboat rentals from North Shores Marina; just a valid drivers’ license. The marina staff will go over operations and regulations in an orientation upon your arrival.

However, for houseboats from Crystal Springs Marina: A member of the marina staff will pilot your houseboat to one of the Premium Islands that are prime spots for houseboats. The marina offers 1 complimentary move for a 3 or 4 night trip, or 2 moves for a 7 night trip. *You can pilot the houseboat if you wish. A $2000 damage deposit is due upon your arrival, which is refundable at the end of your trip.


The cost of a houseboat vacation is based on a few variables: what time of year you plan to visit, what size of houseboat, how long of a trip, etc. See our Pricing Page for more details


Generally, people reserve about 6-9 months in advance. But it's always a good idea to make a reservation as soon as you're ready, especially if you have specific dates in mind or if you're planning a trip over a holiday weekend or on a special promotion.


Give us a call at 888-454-8825. Our reservation agents are happy to check availability or confirm your vacation.

Alternatively, you may Contact Us Online with your availability request, and one of our agents will get back to you with the information you need.


For houseboats from North Shores marina:

To reserve:

  • A $500 refundable damage deposit is due at the time of booking by credit card over the phone. This amount is above your total and is refundable at the end of your trip
  • The full rental cost is due 45 days prior to your arrival

Cancellations:

  • More than 45 days notice: forfeit $125
  • Less than 45 days notice: forfeit full rental and deposit

 

For houseboats from Crystal Springs marina:

To reserve:

  • A $500 deposit is due upon booking by credit card over the phone. This amount is applied toward your total like a down payment.
  • The remaining rental amount is due 60 days prior to your arrival

Cancellations:

  • More than 60 days notice: forfeit $100 + a 3% card processing fee
  • Less than 60 days notice: forfeit all monies paid

Basics such as cookware and serve-ware (pots, plans, plates, glasses, utensils, etc.) come equipped on the houseboat. You are responsible for bringing all of your food, beverages, and spices down to salt and pepper.


Fuel is not included in the houseboat rental. Like a rental car, you'll pick up the houseboat full and you'll be responsible for the final refueling at the end of your trip to pay for what you've used.

Typically, we recommend that you budget about $150 per day for fuel. Of course, it may be more or less based on how much the houseboat is driven during your trip and how much you run the generator.


Included with North Shores Marina houseboats:

  • Comforters
  • Pillows
  • Blankets

*You will need to provide pillow cases and sheets, or you can rent packages from the marina for $15 per bed
*You will also need to provide your own bath towels

 

Included with Crystal Springs Marina houseboats:

  • Fitted and top sheet
  • Comforters
  • 2 pillows per bed
  • Towels, wash cloths

You will need to provide your own beach towels.


For houseboats departing from North Shores Marina:

  • You may pick up the houseboat as early as 3pm, and it is not due back at the marina until 10am on your final day. Late fee is $100/hour

For houseboats departing from Crystal Springs Marina:

  • You may pick up the houseboat between 3-5pm, and it is not due back at the marina until 9-10 on your final day.

Both North Shores and Crystal Springs Marinas operate on a set schedule:

  • 3 night weekend: Friday-Monday
  • 4 night midweek: Monday-Friday
  • 7 night week: Monday-Monday or Friday-Friday

Please make prior arrangements with the North Shores Marina if you are to arrive later than 7pm.

If you arrive at the marina after hours, the marina staff will leave your name and houseboat number on the office door with information about where it’s docked.

You can load the houseboat and sleep on it that night in the marina, then go through the check in and orientation process the next morning before you go out on the water.


Lake Ouachita is located about 15 minutes away from Hot Springs, AR, about an hour and a half’s drive southwest of Little Rock. See our Map & Directions page to view a map and directions to the Lake Ouachita area.

North Shores Resort & Marina
190 Shore View Loop, Jessieville AR 71949

Crystal Springs Resort & Marina
1647 N Crystal Springs Rd, Royal AR 71968

*The above addresses are for driving directions only. Do not mail payments to these addresses


There are grocery stores nearby in Hot Springs, AR, about a 15 minute drive from either marina.

Each marina has a marina store stocked with limited convenience items and ice.

You will want to come fully prepared with all groceries as there are no grocery or restaurant opportunities along the lake.


Yes! There is fishing at Lake Ouachita!

There are a variety of fish found in these waters including: Bass, Bream, Crappie, Catfish, Rainbow Trout, Northern Pike, and even Striper. Largemouth bass are an especially good catch here.

An Arkansas state fishing license is required and will allow you to fish anywhere on Lake Ouachita. Be sure to purchase a license online before you arrive at the marina.


Seasickness is very uncommon on fresh water because the lake is mostly calm and houseboats are wider and more stable than smaller boats. However, if you get sick easily we recommend that you take necessary precautions.