If you are into adventure, love fishing, appreciate the natural world and want to launch a vacation that is all of the aforementioned and then some, consider renting a houseboat from Forever Resorts. Established in 1981, Forever Resorts is an exceptional collection of vacation destinations that are “close to nature” and one-of-a-kind. In addition to houseboat vacation destinations, Forever Resorts has over 50 resort and recreational properties in the United States, Europe and Africa - all dedicated to the exploration and preservation of nature and natural resources.
Forever Resorts maintains a fleet of more than 200 houseboats which are located at 12 different marinas on nationally or state preserved lakes in
Nevada. Renters choose from 12 different models of houseboats that accommodate from two to 12 guests. Almost anyone can enjoy houseboating - even novice boaters are welcomed. Complete instruction is provided and enough practice time is given for everyone on board to be confident and successful houseboaters. Answers to questions and assistance are just a radio call away, if needed, throughout your trip.
The Forever Resorts houseboats are luxurious. Standard features include range and oven, microwave, two refrigerators, large gas grill, built in ice chests, stereo cassette player, TV/VCR/DVD, queen size beds and sofa sleepers. In addition, there are central air conditioning, heat, VHF radio and an electrical generator. Some have hot tubs on an upper deck that may also have a wet bar or water slide. This is not roughing it!
Four intrepid adventurers and I chose to take a trip to Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri, just 2.5 hours drive time south of Kansas City and St. Louis. The lake was created in the early 1930’s by the construction of the Bagnell Dam. The shoreline of the lake is greater than 1,150 miles, longer than the coastline of the state of California.
Interestingly, the lake has coves and quiet areas away from the recreational activities…and there are many of each. Watercraft of all types ply the waters of the lake - jet skis, parasailing, innertubing, waterskiing and more are available. However, our crew was interested in less strenuous activities: resting, sunning, hot tubbing, swimming, reading, fishing, birding and stargazing were on our agendas.
We boarded a 65-foot luxury houseboat for a four-day excursion. Unlike Willy Gilligan, the “Skipper,” the “Millionaire” and his wife, Ginger, the “Professor,” and Mary Ann, we didn’t find ourselves shipwrecked, thanks to our orientation session, given by Cory Ginsky, General Manager of the marina, which included all the ins and outs of the operation of the houseboat.
A flurry of activity followed. We set to familiarizing ourselves with the boat’s bow, stern, fore, aft, starboard and port sides, upper deck, the head, the generator and all emergency equipment. We stowed all our provisions, organized our cabins and cooked dinner. As the sun set over the lake waters we took to our bunks in preparation for getting fishing licenses and bait early, and launching our “ship of fools” towards the Lake of the Ozarks State Park.
Morning came and our Captain Courageous, Richard Shell, took the helm and told us to prepare to push off. Our two hour ride to the State Park was smooth for most of the trip, but we had a brisk east wind that would have taken us off course if not for the adept handling by Captain Shell. Cory had given us directions to a quiet cove to “beach” the boat and we found the perfect shore on which to tie up. We were surrounded by forest and calm waters…the perfect setting to achieve our lazy objectives of rest and relaxation.
Smaller boats are also available from Forever Resorts for fishing and touring the lake, and we were provided with one for a day. After early morning fishing and acquiring our sea legs, three of our crew took a self-guided aquatic trail tour of Lake of the Ozarks State Park. We saw wildlife and geological formations unique to the lake including caves, bluffs and ancient lake reefs. Turkey vultures, eagles and hawks circled the skies above the lake while blue herons waded in the shallows patiently hunting their prey.
Shortly after we returned our small boat to the marina, a lazy afternoon was spent enjoying our quiet shore location, hot tubbing and preparing dinner on our barbecue. A beautiful sunset had us running for our cameras. As darkness descended on the lake our crew of landlubbers was lulled by the soft movement of the water and the stillness of our surroundings…punctuated only by the croaking of frogs, the jumping of fish and the flicker of fireflies.
Finally, a few short morning hours brought us to the inevitable return trip to the
Resorts Marina. Beautiful weather had accompanied us throughout our trip, but during our last evening and morning hours aboard at the marina rain descended and lightning flashed as if to say "Don’t leave…stay…nature has much more to show you." I took a poll of the members of the crew: How many of you would like a repeat performance? Everyone agreed that of all the trips we’ve all taken, the few days aboard our houseboat was an adventure that would lure us again to the waters of this marina or one of the many other
Forever Resort locations.
Photos by Lili Halloran Shell
Forever Resorts Lake of the Ozarks Marina is located at: 220 Forever Drive, Camdenton, MO 65020
Forever Resorts: www.http://foreverresorts.com
Forever Resorts inquiries: 480-998-7199 ext. 440
Forever Resorts Houseboat Reservations: www.lakeoftheozarks.com or call: 800-255-5561