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Life at the Docks in Yellowstone

Life at the Docks in Yellowstone

Written by: , April 23rd, 2018
Categories: Facts

A Summer on Yellowstone Lake


That’s the first word that comes to mind for Shelley and Rob Ness, a couple who spends their summers living on their boat on  Yellowstone Lake at the Bridge Bay Marina.

Yes, you read that right: they spend their summers on their boat at the marina. The couple rents a space in the heart of Yellowstone National Park, saying the marina is the perfect place to stay.

“It gives us the opportunity to experience and enjoy the entire park,” Shelley said.

And they take full advantage, filling their days with exploring new places and making exciting discoveries throughout the park. Some of their favorite things to do are hike and watch for wildlife.

Bonus: staying at the marina gives them special and easy access to the waters of Yellowstone Lake, where the couple often enjoys taking their boat.

“We love taking our boat out onto the lake for a spin,” Shelley elaborated. “The water is too cold to swim in, though, but it’s still nice.”

Picnic bench and dock on Plover Point

But when they’re not out adventuring in the park, the Nesses spend their time lounging and relaxing along the docks. Shelley said one of the best things about staying at the marina is meeting and getting to know people from all over the country and all over the world.

Shelley said part of the appeal of staying at the marina is the convenience, ease and fun of renting dock spaces as opposed to renting campsites.

“We consider our boat to be a camper that floats,” Shelley said. “If we had a real camper, we would be limited to 14-day stays on campsites. At the marina, we pay for the entire season. So we get to camp at night in the boat and it’s so peaceful and quiet.

Yellowstone Lake Sunset
Rob added that he loves being so close to the Lake Lodge and Lake Hotel, with the easily accessible laundry services, stores, and restaurants.

Their love of the world’s first national park isn’t new but was born years ago when the pair first came to the area together in 1978 on their honeymoon.

“We had a jeep and drove around with the top down,” Shelley explained. “We think now, ‘what would have happened if we came upon a bear on the road or a bull buffalo?’”

That one trip was enough to get them hooked on the park. The couple has now spent five blissful summer seasons at the marina and is always looking forward to the next one.

A flock of geese fly past a brilliant orange sunrise.

Throughout their years at the dock, the Nesses have had their fair share of special experiences. One such event was while the pair was at the fish cleaning station and witnessed a grizzly bear come out into the open through the trees. As avid wildlife watchers, the Nesses appreciated the opportunity to observe a grizzly in the wild.
To anyone considering renting a dock space, whether it’s for the entire summer or just a few days, the Nesses say the choice is easy.

“Do it!”

If you are interested in renting a dock space or learning more, please visit the dock slip rental page on our website.

Karley Nugent graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a major in journalism and a minor in English. During the summer of 2015, she worked as a Senior Guest Service Agent (GSA) at Lake Lodge in Yellowstone National Park. Nugent is a photographer, avid hiker and lover of all things Yellowstone, especially the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (look for her at Artist Point).

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