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Wake Zone Luxury Houseboats


By Cheryl Alexander

Each summer season brings families to the beautiful shores of Lake Ouachita. Nestled in the heart of the Ouachita National Forest less than two hours’ drive from the capital city of Little Rock, this jewel of Arkansas’ Diamond Lakes Region offers pristine waters

and top-flight hiking and camping opportunities. Since 2002, Wake Zone Luxury Houseboat Rentals has created memorable vacations for lake-loving guests from around the world.

Donny Kindt is one of Wake Zone’s experienced captains and co-owners. Together with wife Suzanne and partners Shane and Wendy Harris, this close-knit family operation has built a name for itself—along with a small fleet of the most luxurious watercraft imaginable. “Our guests come from all over the world and from coast to coast,” Donny notes. Wake Zone’s fleet of five fully equipped houseboats features from four to seven bedrooms, plus all the amenities of home and then some.

Hot tubs, waterslides and flatscreen televisions are part of the luxury houseboat experience—and the surrounding beauty of the Ouachita wilderness surpasses all.

Renowned for its clarity, the Ouachita River issues from protected headwaters deep within the National Forest. The lake is a magnet for fishermen, with ideal conditions for bass fishing — even spear fishing. Wake Zone’s crew can hook you up with a guide, if needed. From scuba diving to kayaking, from skiing and tubing to wakeboarding, options for fun on the water are endless. Wake Zone’s fleet operates out of historic Crystal Springs Resort and Marina, a destination in and of itself. Nearby Hot Springs, Arkansas is a uniquely historic city located within portions of the National Park. Just a few minutes’ drive from Lake Ouachita, the city is known for its downtown arts district, as well as Magic Springs amusement park and Oaklawn Racing and Gaming, the area’s iconic circa-1904 racetrack.

Two of the houseboats — the Wendy Ann and the Suzanne — are named for the owners, two sisters whose experience in hotel management and event planning give them an edge. The houseboats are lovingly cared for; the newest addition to the fleet, the Shirley Ann, is named for Wendy and Suzanne’s mom. “We call it the Mother Ship,” Donny says with a smile. At 17 x 80 feet, the Shirley Ann features seven bedrooms and two baths.

As a family business, Wake Zone makes customer service a top priority. Co-owner Shane Harris’s background includes extensive experience with houseboats on Bull Shoals Lake, the playground of the Ozarks. Donny grew up in the Hot Springs area, working as a dockhand at Crystal Springs throughout high school and college. “We know where the best houseboating spots are on the lake,” he explains. With 1,200 miles of shoreline and more than 200 islands to explore, Lake Ouachita’s sunset views include bald eagles soaring overhead. Wake Zone’s crew offers captain service as part of every vacation plan. Piloting an 80-foot craft for the first time can be daunting, so Wake Zone’s crew gets the houseboat situated in the perfect spot and, after securing the craft, heads back to the marina.

“If the guests decide they want to move to a different cove, we send a crew out there and move the houseboat,” Donny says. The crew’s “work boat,” a 24-foot Ranger Bay, shuttles back and forth, carrying supplies. The crew at Wake Zone, aside from supplying fishing gear, picnic and camping supplies and water toys, will also deliver needful things so as not to interrupt a glorious sunset. “We’ll deliver ice to folks,” says Donny. “We’ve even delivered lobster dinners!”

The houseboats’ surprisingly spacious interiors showcase gleaming wood floors and cabinetry, beautiful furnishings and appliances, and polished granite countertops. Should the guests desire a festive dinner, for example, a shrimp or crawfish boil, Wake Zone can deliver, along with a margarita machine and a karaoke machine for good measure.

With this kind of attention to detail, it’s no wonder that the testimonials found on the company’s detailed website,  www.houseboatingarkansas.com, echo a simple theme: “We loved our stay, we love the lake — we’ll see you next summer!” http://livewellnetwork.com/Motion/episodes/Exploring-Arkansas-Lake-Ouachita/9223734.






Wake Zone Luxury Houseboats

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