Where is Don Pedro Lake located? Don Pedro Lake, rated one of California’s best recreational lakes, situated in the Sierra Nevada foothills of the Stanislaus National Forest just an hour west of Yosemite National Park. The lake is about two and a half hours east from the San Francisco Bay Area and roughly two hours southeast of Sacramento, California. For more information including address, nearest airport and drive times, visit our Distances page.
Where is the nearest grocery store? Where is the nearest grocery store? While the Lake Don Pedro Marina does have a small store it only carries last-minute convenience items and ice, so be sure to come as fully stocked as possible. If you're driving in from the Bay Area or Sacramento on Highway 120, the closest grocery store is in Oakdale, CA. If you're at the lake the nearest grocery stores would be in Sonora, California.
Are there special regulations to drive a boat in California? To drive a houseboat or small watercraft in Nevada you must have a valid driver’s license and the required certification (if any) from the state that issued your driver’s license. Various states have different laws and Nevada law requires you to follow your state’s regulations. To check your state’s regulations click here.
What is the best time to go houseboating at Lake Don Pedro and what is the weather like at that time? While we think it’s always a good time to go houseboating, we understand that the weather can play a part in the decision on when to go. The best time to go houseboating at Don Pedro Lake is typically May through October as those will be the warmest months. In May and October the weather tends to warm up into the high 70’s and low 80’s with the average water temperatures ranging from 65 - 68 degrees. The months of June through September are the warmest months with highs in the low to mid 90’s and water temperatures ranging from 70 - 80 degrees. For the average temperatures month by month see our Temperatures page.
Can I bring my pet? Yes! All of the houseboats are pet-friendly so you have the option to leave your animals at home or bring them aboard for the adventure. Should you choose to bring your pets with you, there is a $100 non-refundable pet fee, per pet.
How old do you have to be to rent a houseboat? You must be 21 years or older with a valid driver’s license to rent a houseboat at Lake Don Pedro Marina.
Do I need a specific license to drive the houseboat? You don’t need to have a special license or any prior experience of driving a houseboat in order to rent one. All you need is to be 21 years or older and have a valid driver’s license. When you check in for your rental you are required by law to go through an orientation, which lasts roughly an hour. The orientation includes an introduction to houseboating, how to operate your houseboat and how to anchor or stake your houseboat.
Even though the marina doesn’t require you to have a Boater Education Card it just might pay off to get one. Lake Don Pedro Marina rewards houseboat captains who have completed a state approved, NASBLA certified, boating safety course. Why you ask? Because your safety and the safety of others is the number one priority on the water! Only one discount is allowed per houseboat and the cardholder must be the captain who has signed the rental contract. Present your state specific issued Safe Boating Course ID card at the marina upon check in and receive a $50 discount on your houseboat rental.
How many people can I have on the boat? What is the difference between “max sleeps” capacity and “max underway” capacity? The “max sleeps” is the amount of people the boat will sleep comfortably with two individuals to a bed. The max underway capacity is the amount of people you can have on the boat when it is in motion. All houseboats (with the exception to the 50’ houseboats which is 10 underway) are allowed up to 12 people on the boat when it is moving. This regulation is set and mandated by the United States Coast Guard.
Can I still rent a houseboat if I have more than 12 people in my party? Yes you can. There are not any restrictions once the houseboat is anchored to shore. However in order to comply with the Coast Guard regulation of 12 underway, you would need to rent or bring an extra watercraft to transport any of the additional people in your party.
How much does a houseboat vacation cost? The cost of your houseboat vacation will depend on a variety of factors including the size and type of boat, the time of year you go and how many days you plan to be on the boat. To see the pricing, visit each boat individually. You can also call us at 866-610-9698 or submit a connect form and one of our reservation specialists would be happy to assist you.
What does the houseboat come with? The houseboats all come in different sizes with varying bed configurations, amenities and features, however they all come with a waterslide, linens, BBQ grill, fully equipped kitchen, cookware, bathroom(s), sun canopy, air conditioning and television with DVD player.
Are we required to pay for gas? Yes. Just like a rental car, the houseboat will be full of fuel when you pick it up and upon your return you’ll be required to pay for fuel that you’ve consumed.
What is the average cost of gas? That is the million dollar question! Each boat engine will consume on average 5 – 7 gallons and the cost of fuel will vary due to fluctuating gas prices, speed, how much the houseboat is driven during the trip and how much you run the generator. The generator will consume approximately 1 to 1.5 gallons of fuel per hour.
We typically tell clients to budget roughly $150 per day for gas but keep in mind it could be more or it could be less. Don’t quote us on that figure!
What time can we pick up the houseboat and when does it have to be back? The check in time for the houseboat rentals is between 8:00 - 10:00 am on the morning of your departure. Keep in mind you have to load up your boat and go through an hour long orientation, so we always recommend getting to the marina early to check in. The return time for the houseboats is by 2:00 pm.
How do I check availability? Please call us at 866-610-9698 and our team of reservation agents would be happy to check availability for you and help answer any questions. We are open everyday from 7:00 am - 11:00 pm MST. You can also connect with us by filling out an online form with as much information as possible and a reservation agent will get back to you within 24 hours or less.
What is required to book a houseboat? The cost will differ depending on the boat you want. To secure the reservation, you will need to put down a deposit, which is typically one day on the water before any tax or discount. The deposit goes toward the rental rate. The remaining balance for the houseboat is due 60 days prior to the arrival date. If you make the reservation within 60 days or less prior to the arrival date, you will have to pay the full balance at the time of booking.
Are there any other hidden fees? Other than paying for the gas you consume on your trip, the only other fees are optional. The optional purchases you can add onto your reservation include small watercraft, water toys, the damage waiver, and the trip cancellation protection.
What is the cancellation policy? If you cancel the reservation outside of 60 days prior to the arrival date, you will receive your deposit back minus a $150 cancellation fee. If you were to cancel within 59 - 45 days prior to the arrival date, you would lose your deposit. Within 44 days or less prior to your arrival date, if you were to cancel, you would lose the full rental amount.
What if there is an emergency and we can’t go our trip? While we understand that unforeseeable and unfortunate things that are out
of your control do occur, there are no exceptions to the cancellation policy. For this reason we recommend you purchase the Trip Cancellation Protection to protect your investment.
What is Trip Cancellation Protection? The trip cancellation protection is a non-refundable option that protects your investment in case of an emergency. The protection allows you to cancel for any reason inside the 60 day cancellation window and receive a full refund back minus the nonrefundable amount you paid for the protection. If you purchase the trip cancellation protection and you cancel outside of the normal 60 day cancellation policy, you will only pay the standard $150 cancel fee. The price for the protection varies depending on your houseboat and it is only available for purchase on advance reservations within seven days of making your reservation and has to be at least 60 days prior to your scheduled departure.
What does the damage waiver cover? The non-refundable damage waiver
protects the outside hull of the houseboat. Should you purchase the damage waiver and have an incident occur, your responsibility for any covered damages would be reduced from $10,000 down to the amount equal to your deposit (one day on the water). The damage waiver is not insurance nor does it cover damage to inventory items, boat propellers, outdrives, personal property or additional users and/or other parties who are not covered by the waiver.
Can I fish on Lake Don Pedro and what are the prominent fish? Yes! All you need is a valid California state fishing license which can be purchased online. There are a plethora of fish in Don Pedro Lake which include but are not limited to Catfish, Trout, Bass, Salmon and Bluegill. Be sure to know the current regulations before you hit the water.
Are linens included? Yes all linens are included on the houseboat. We recommend bringing beach towels as the boat is only outfitted with bath towels.
Will I have cell service or internet on the boat? Cell service is spotty on the lake and hit or miss. For that reason, we tell customers to anticipate not having cell service or internet access. Cell service and internet can sometimes be accessed when at the marinas.
Is there anything else you recommend bringing? Yes! Below is a helpful checklist of items to keep in mind when packing for your trip.
Favorite Spices (including salt and pepper)
Aluminum Foil, Plastic Wrap, Ziploc Bags or Tupperware