If Seattle is known for anything, it’s great restaurants and luxury accommodations.
Oh and a bunch of quirky people who love trees. But we’re friendly, I promise.
If you’re visiting Seattle it can be hard to find a place to stay that really compliments your vacation. After all, why would you settle for a historic hotel when historic hotels can be found anywhere.
What you want is something that really speaks to the heart of the Pacific Northwest. This really leaves you with two options: camp, or stay on a boat.
Seattle’s boat hotels have never been more numerous or more affordable. Gone are the days when you’d have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to charter a houseboat for a week. Instead, you can spend a private night on a boat for less than most hotels cost.
So, if you’re looking for an overnight boat stay in Seattle, these are some of the best options that are currently available!
7 Best Boat Hotels In Seattle
1. Spend The Night On A Restored Paddle Boat
If you’ve ever been to Lake Union it’s likely that you’ve noticed this old-timey houseboat.
Located on one of the outermost slips in the marina this boat is commonly oggled but very few visitors realize that they can actually rent it if they want to stay at the lake for a while.
The entire interior of “Banjo” has been refurbished, giving you access to a modern kitchen, bathrooms, office, internet, and more!
To add to the available space there is a rooftop patio where you can soak up some sun and enjoy the 360-degree views which include Seattle’s iconic skyline.
Since you’ll probably be here for a while, feel free to walk to nearby restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores to stock up for using the onboard grill.
Of all the boat hotels in the area, this is probably one of the most unique and iconic!
*Due to marina restrictions this boat is available for 30-day (minimum) rentals only*
2. Luxury Overnights In A Floating Home
If you like the idea of spending the night on a boat but don’t like the idea of paying to squish into a cramped space then this is the option for you!
This beautiful home was featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Ultimate Homes” and it was right at home. It feels much more expansive than the 1,000 square feet would suggest with large decks, available moorage for your own boat, a hot tub, and more.
While already large for a boat stay, the space inside is used in clever ways to make everything multifunctional: the dining room converts into a dance floor/yoga studio, the dining room table folds into a buffet table, and more!
This is the place to be if you’re looking to enjoy the Seattle area while escaping to the water.
While the cost is on the higher end for boats, it’s still a deal when compared with comparable overnights in the area.
*Due to marina restrictions this boat is available for 30-day (minimum) rentals only*
3. Floating Cabin With A Rooftop Deck
This unassuming houseboat offers a comfortable stay that will put you close to everything that Seattle has to offer. Although it only has 1 bedroom, its open concept interior and two exterior decks give it a roomy feel.
Located in the marina at Gasworks Park, this is a great place to unwind while remaining as connected as you want.
If you have a furry friend, this is one of the few options for spending a night on a boat with him or her as well-behaved pets are welcome aboard.
This boat includes all the other goodies that you would expect such as a bbq grill, high-speed internet, cable, and more.
Don’t let this one get booked!
4. Tiny House On The Water (Literally)
Spending a month at “Grace” (the name of the houseboat) will put you on another plane of existence.
Amazing views, a friendly community, and great lodgings are the secrets to having a great stay that will wash away your stresses. And this place has it all.
This home has a large bedroom, decks, and lots of nearby activities.
*Due to marina restrictions this boat is available for 30-day rentals only
5. Private and Clean Seattle Houseboat
If you want the real Seattle houseboat experience in an area that is clean and private, this is the spot for you.
Many people use this boat as a place to escape and work or lounge in peace away from the hustle and bustle of the main city.
The charming wooden boat is cozy in every sense of the word with a queen bed, smart TV, reading nook, decks, and woodstove.
This boat sleeps up to 3 but it’s a great getaway for a couple or solo traveler.
6. Overnight On A 100-year Old Tugboat
Quick! Book a night on this boat before it turns 100! Well, I guess you’ve got a few years but this 1927 Tugboat has seen it all.
The “Sally S” is located only 10 minutes from downtown and has recently been totally restored to give guests the most comfortable experience possible.
You’ll have access to the entire boat (except for the engine room and you don’t want to be in there anyway…) including a walk-in shower, Apple TV, large couch, dining area, full kitchen, and more!
7. Stay On A Classic Sailing Boat
I’ve had friends who thought they wanted to sail the world – until they spent a couple of days on a sailboat. However, if you’ve never had the experience book a room on this boat for a truly authentic experience.
This 45′ boat has all the amenities you need for a great night’s sleep as well as access to the galley, bathroom, and more.
3 Types Of Boat Hotels In & Around Seattle
1. Airbnb A Docked Boat
If there are two things that Seattle has in spades it would be docks and people trying to squeeze a dollar out of everything. Put those two things together and you have tons of people lucky enough to get a slip in Seattle that want to rent you their boat for a night’s stay.
Several marinas in the Seattle area have monthly mortgage payments that rival people’s rent.
So help subsidize rent for people and stay in their boat for a night!
Staying in a docked boat for a night (you can’t actually drive the boat) is pretty similar to staying in a hotel room but you can at least experience some waves and sea air.
You will often get a couple of private “bedrooms” as well as deck space and some fun amenities such as a bbq or kayaks.
If you want a little more space, many marinas also have moorage space where people have built floating homes. While an overnight boat stay will usually set you back $300 or less, a floating home is often on par with renting a similar-sized land-based Airbnb.
2. Rent A Houseboat
The Pacific Northwest probably isn’t the first location that you think of when considering houseboats but it’s actually quite popular among enthusiasts.
Houseboating in Oregon and Washington is understandably popular due to the proximity to the ocean and the number of lakes and you can rent a houseboat to get in on the action!
Renting a houseboat is not quite as passive as a boat hotel but you can still do it even if you’re not an experienced captain. Rental companies will show you everything you need to know to get around and enjoy a few days on a houseboat.
3. Charter A Boat or Cruise
There are dozens of charter companies and hundreds of cruise ships that regularly operate out of Seattle.
Whether you’re looking for a quick afternoon tour, an Elliot Bay cruise, or to spend a week on the Alaska Ferry, there are lots of boat options in the Seattle area.
4. Beach Camp
If an overnight on a boat turns out to be less interesting or affordable than you thought you can always spend some time beach camping.
There are several good beach camping areas in Washington that still put you within striking distance of Seattle.
While it might not have the same romantic appeal as a night on a boat a night in a cabin or tent is still a great way to enjoy the PNW!
What Happened To All The Boat Hotels Around Seattle?
If you’ve seen other lists of vacation boats you can rent for a night you’ll probably have noticed that nearly all of them are no longer available once you click on them.
So what happened?
Well, a couple of things. Seattle is quite lenient overall when it comes to short-term rentals, however, many platforms are not. Airbnb and VRBO have made it more difficult recently to get a boat or floating home ready to rent.
And then there’s the problem of the marinas.
Think about it, if you own or manage a marina, do you want different (probably inept) people bumbling across the dock every day and climbing aboard a strange boat? They probably don’t even know how to turn on the lights.
Because of this, most marinas insist on being part of the rental process which is off-putting for many that would offer their boats as a rental. This is also the reason that you’ll see several boats that have a 30-day minimum stay time. It’s all about reducing liability.
Despite all of the issues, there are still a good number of boat hotels available in the Seattle area. Whether you want to stay in Elliot Bay for some kayaking, another ocean shore marina, or Lake Union you can find an overnight stay in a boat without too many issues.
And, if that fails, you can always just take a boat out for the day and camp in a hammock at night.
Enjoy your stay!