Holly Bluff Marina offers something unique to the St. Johns river: houseboat rentals.
When Jennifer Armstrong’s family purchased Holly Bluff Marina in 1992, they brought something unique to the St. Johns River: houseboat rentals.
The full-service marina at 2280 Hontoon Road in DeLand offers weekly, mid-week or weekend houseboat rentals.
“These are bareboat charters, which means that you’re the captain of the ship,” said Armstrong, the marina’s marketing manager.
After an on-boat orientation and captain’s lesson, “we get them out in the river, they take the wheel,” Armstrong said.
Renters can take these slow-moving boats up to 20 miles south to the railroad bridge at Lake Monroe, and 30 miles north to Silver Glen Springs.
“We encourage you to get out of the channel,” Armstrong explained. “There are a lot of great coves right off the river where you can drop anchor or tie up to a tree.”
Silver Glen Springs is the popular destination during the warmer months, said Armstrong. Guests can “hang out in the glen for the weekend or week. That’s where I encourage people to go for swimming and snorkeling.”
Armstrong says that winter is great for bird watching, hiking and kayaking.
The boats have both central heat and air conditioning.
“So, you can always go inside to cool off or warm up,” she said.
Armstrong noted that there are both “economy” boats and a “luxurious” 63-foot boat that sleeps six, has a king-size bed and a wet bar.
Armstrong noted that she gets a lot of questions about the houseboat experience. “The two most common uncommon questions I get are, ‘are there pirates’ and ‘will the gators get on the boat,’” she said. The answer to both is “no.”
“What I love about this is just being able to get away from all the noise,” Armstrong said. “It’s beautiful out here. We love where we live.”
If you go:
Address: 2280 Hontoon Road, DeLand, FL 32720
Contact Number: 386-822-9992