10 Reasons Lake Powell Is My Favorite Place in the World

Compared to a lot of people I haven't traveled much. Disneyland is nicknamed the happiest place on earth

I'm all for Disneyland but it's not my happiest place. Neither is Canada where I saw the northern lights, or South Korea where I lived for over a year. Not even Hawaii is my number one favorite place.

No, the place that may forever be deemed my favorite place is Lake Powell.

Nearly every summer, since before I was born, my family has gone there to stay on a houseboat for a week. 

It started when my grandfather fell in love with southern Utah as a kid. Then, soon after Glen Canyon was flooded to make a reservoir, he took his family there.

Lake Powell is a tradition that I hope will last for the rest of my life. My siblings share the same love for this place and so do many of their children. I hope Lake Powell will be my children's Neverland someday too.

So here are the 10 reasons why Lake Powell is my favorite place ever:

A moon lily in the morning light


There is so much to see and do at Lake Powell that I can’t even imagine being bored. Even as kid I looked forward to this annual trip more than Christmas. It’s hot and dry, but with the cool lake right there, there is no end to the things we can do.
There are hiking trails, red rock monoliths, natural arches, pinnacles, and balancing rocks. You can also find dinosaur footprints, native ruins (which I have yet to see), and dozens of canyons to explore.

Local wildlife includes lizards, chuckwalla, ravens, osprey, and jack rabbits.

At Lake Powell you can go fishing, sunbathe, climb on rocks, cliff jump, collect rocks, or shells. You can see gorgeous moon lilies or stumble upon a rattlesnake (yeah, be careful).

Here the turquoise blue sky is unobscured by large buildings or trees, and the color contrasts perfectly with the vermillion cliffs all around. It’s the perfect place to see rainbows in the rainy seasons. You can see so many stars at night too, but we will get to that later.

My cool, water-skiing brother


For six days every summer my family stays on a houseboat partially owned by my Grandpa. We drive down to the lake on Monday, load up the boat and we don't see any cars or roads until Saturday.

For a whole week, instead of cars we see speedboats, and instead of homes we see other houseboats out on the water.

And it's not too difficult to get away from most other boats either. Lake Powell has about 1900 miles of shoreline and nearly one-hundred side canyons!

I love it when we take the houseboat far from any marina down the main channel to Slick Rock Canyon or even as far as Escalante. There are fewer people there and smoother waters in which to play.

Last year, my brother found the best beach ever. There are few smooth, sandy beaches there but my brother found the perfect one on the west side of the canyon.

 So, in the afternoon and evening, we enjoyed shade for a few hours before sunset on our beautiful little private beach.
The nearest town to Bullfrog Marina, where we launch, is more than an hour drive away. That means there is not much phone service when we are down the canyon at Lake Powell. It's so nice to escape the busyness of life.

At Lake Powell there is no traffic, no groups of tourists, no constant notifications and updates. I have never felt more detached from society than when I am at Lake Powell

Josiah and me on my cousin's paddle boards 


There is something magical about sleeping on a boat and waking up to the calm morning water.

At Lake Powell, I can literally get out of bed and immediately slide into the lake. In the summer, the water temperature is generally between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit! We don't run the AC on our houseboat to keep the cost of the trip down, so we are motivated to get in the water. There is much more than just swimming, though!

We explore canyons by speed boat and go tubing and water-skiing. We race around on wave-runners or glide along on SUPs or kayaks.

In years past we have played our own version of a synchronized diving game. When we want to relax, we crank some tunes and float around near the back deck.

 And when we tire of the water we play on the beach building sandcastles or climbing on rocks. We catch lizards and one year by brother caught a baby jack-rabbit! We jump off cliffs and skip rocks, and sometimes we just sit and play in the mud.

I love swimming at Lake Powell at night when there are no boats out and the water is calm and smooth. I like to see stars reflected on the water and the silhouettes of little bats fluttering against the velvet blue night. The sun warms the surface of the water, so at night I can just float and look at the stars. This is when I wash my hair, right there on the swim deck before I go to bed.

My oldest brother found the perfect, shaded beach


In 2015, after years of waiting for the chance, I was finally able to take best friend on my family's trip to Lake Powell. She had the time of her life!

Just a couple months before, she and I had gone on a cruise to the Bahamas. She told me that our Lake Powell trip was so much better!

Being on a smaller boat is much more fun than cruising the ocean on a huge ship. For one thing, we can jump into the water whenever the boat isn't moving, and there is much more to see. The red rock canyons are breathtaking!


My uncle is so fascinated by astronomy and Lake Powell is the perfect place for him to share his knowledge with us. Not only are the desert skies free from light pollution, but the only obstructions from a full view of the sky are the lofty canyon walls. My uncle usually brings his big telescope to show us nebulae, the moons of Jupiter, and so on. I remember one night when he stayed up late with me to answer every question about astronomy that popped into my head. It truly is amazing how much of the galaxy you can really see at Lake Powell.

On our houseboat we typically sleep on the top deck with only the stars above us. Every night, I keep my glasses and my earphones near my mattress. And most nights I happen to just wake up right when the Milky Way is in full view above me. So I put on my glasses and listen to my favorite tunes while I gape at the silver-peppered sky and count the shooting stars I see.

Josiah and me at Rainbow Bridge. It looks monumental in person!


It’s the biggest sandstone natural bridge in the world! (It is sometimes claimed to be the largest of all the world’s natural bridges, but that is far from the truth.)

Rainbow Bridge is only accessible by boat, and I love weaving through narrow, winding rock canyons! I have seen it several times but it never fails to amaze me.

Bonus: There is a cool dilophosaurus footprint right by the bridge.

Josiah and me on a hike near Escalante 


One of my favorite excursions ever was when Josiah and I glided through the water in a pair of kayaks to see dozens of dinosaur footprints near the mouth of Slick Rock Canyon.


Our annual trip used to be in August but now we usually go in June. By the time August rolls around the reservoir is done filling up with snow-melt from upstream. So the water is generally warmer. Besides I love the summer storms at Lake Powell.

The sound of the powerful, rolling thunder and heavy rains pounding on the surface of the lake is truly breathtaking. Water literally pours over the cliffs! I remember huddling inside the houseboat when I was little because it was so intense!

But when it all clears, rainbows fill the sky! It’s almost like seeing them in Hawaii. I remember sometimes seeing multiple rainbows on opposite sides of the horizon.

Me loving the sunset over the desert


I haven’t done a lot of hiking at Lake Powell. Most hiking trips happened when I was too little to go. But last year, Josiah and I hiked with my aunt and cousins to the top of Glen Canyon via the Hole in the Rock trail.

In early 1880 Mormon pioneers carved this trail out of the rocky cliffs on their journey to settle in the San Juan River valley. Since I was a little kid, my cousin and I dreamed together of yelling from the cliffs high above the surface of Lake Powell and last year that dream finally came true. The hike short, but challenging and so much fun!

There are so many other hikes I would like to do at Lake Powell. I especially want to see Native American ruins!

A couple of my siblings enjoying the cruise down the lake 


Growing up, Lake Powell was my time to connect with cousins. Some might go crazy being stuck on a boat with relatives all week but despite brief quarrels, we always have a great vacation together.
We cook meals together, sleep on the deck together, play games together. We listen to music and once every trip we build a campfire on the shore to make s’mores.

Partly because of these Lake Powell trips my siblings and cousins are my best friends now that I am an adult. 

Where is your favorite place in the world? Share with us in the comment section. 

Hi! My name is Kait. Follow this link to learn more about me and my blog.


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