By ERIN L.K. LARSON
Ouachita Valley. First occupied by a variety of Indian tribes – one of which it was named after – the valley is now known as Lake Ouachita State Park and marked by its scenic beauty. Endowed with astonishingly clear waters, the 40,000-acre lake near Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas has been branded as one of the cleanest in America and acts as a mecca for water-oriented entertainment. There is no shortage of activities to partake in on the lake, but there is one activity offered that may be of particular interest if you’re searching for an unforgettable vacation experience: houseboating.
Here’s a rundown of the retreat: you make a reservation with any one of the excellent houseboat rental companies in Arkansas, then pack up your essentials and take your preferred method of transportation to Lake Ouachita. You watch the marina staff load your belongings into a boat that functions dually as a house, then make your way down the marina ramp to your waterborne rental residence. Regardless of your level of houseboating experience, the staff gives you a quick orientation, steers you out of the marina, and finally bids you adieu. The days that follow? Magical.
Considering the clarity of its waters, the 975 miles of beautiful shoreline, and a number of prominent geologic features, it’s no surprise that Lake Ouachita is a popular houseboating destination – however, you would never know just how popular it really is. Boasting more than a hundred islands, each with a unique assortment of secluded coves and beaches, the lake presents ample opportunity for both exploration and escape from the outside world.
As if the stunning scenery and round-the-clock peace and quiet wasn’t enough, the houseboats themselves often come equipped with water slides, stereo systems, and wetbars – altogether providing the perfect scenario for spontaneous upper-deck dance parties or nighttime stargazing revelries.
An endless expanse of natural wilderness, Lake Ouachita is a rare gem of unrivalled dimensions, with views worth remembering. A mere day exploring the islands could give you a full mind-and-body recharge, while a week could provide the perfect refuge from the daily worries of life.
Feature Image by Conrad