Sleeping on a Pontoon Boat [Ultimate Guide]

Have you been dreaming of spending a couple of nights out on the lake in your pontoon boat? If yes, you could be in for some exciting times.

Few things come close to the peace and tranquility of the ocean sounds deep at night while you’re sleeping on your toon. And then there’s that cup of coffee in the morning!

What is a Pontoon Boat?

A pontoon is a small boat that generates its buoyancy from floats. These boats have become more popular in the last few decades due to their ability to tread the most shallow waters.

Pontoon boats are also perfect for fishing and other leisurely activities in the ocean, ponds, lakes, and rivers. Pontoons can either get docked in water or brought to shore and this makes it one of the most flexible small boats out there. 

Pontoon Boats With Sleeping Quarters

Did you know that there are models specifically designed for sleeping? Well, pontoon boats with cabins have been around since 2001. They feature special bedrooms where you can have a great time to sleep with complete beds like yachts and other large pleasure boats.

If you’re looking to spend weeks or even months onshore with your family, a pontoon boat with sleeping quarters can be a game-changer for you. They come in several models with typical sleeping quarters suitable for 2-4 people.

The only downside is that these models can be quite expensive compared to regular toons. But if you can afford it, why not?

Pontoon Boat Sleeping Benefits

Are you contemplating sleeping on your pontoon boat? Many owners are increasingly spending more time on their toons. The benefits of camping for days or nights on your pontoon boat include:

Enjoy Nature

Spending a few nights on your boat can be a rewarding experience for nature lovers. Can you imagine waking up to the sunrise and enjoying the sunset while cruising on your toon daily? The beauty of such experiences can stay with you for a lifetime.

With many of us having full-time jobs in the city, going camping on your pontoon can help relieve stress and offer a much-needed disconnection from technology even if it is only temporary.

After that eventful time off, you can return to normal life fully recharged and ready to deal with any challenges that come your way.

Bonding With Friends and Family

Looking for creative ways to bond with your friends and family? Pontoon boat camping can be a smart idea. Having face-to-face time and playing with the most important people in your life while disconnected from technology can help strengthen bonds.

This can improve your relationships and heal any rifts in the past or ones that may pop up in the future.

Improved Sleep

Sometimes, your sleep can take a turn for the worse so much that a change of scenery is required to reclaim it. The peace out there on your pontoon whether docked in a lake or onshore can reinvigorate your sleep.

No wonder many severe insomnia patients report significant improvements when they sleep on pontoons. By the time you return to your bed at home, your sleeping rhythm could be back again.

Stare at the Stars

There’s something about staring into the stars at night that feeds the soul. And camping on your pontoon boat allows you to do just that. As long as you’re ready to sleep outside of tents and full enclosures, you can have the perfect stargazing experience.

If you go pontoon boat camping with your partner, looking into the stars together can make you fall for each other all over again. This can be the perfect setting to reignite the flame in your love life.

Where to Sleep on Your Pontoon

Before you set camp on your pontoon, it is important to determine where you’ll be sleeping. After all, the fact that you’re leaving the comfort of your bed doesn’t mean you should sacrifice the quality of your sleep.

Here are the most suitable sleeping options available during pontoon boat camping.

Full Camping Enclosures

Many high-end toons come with full camping enclosures for your comfort during overnight stays. If your boat is one of those then setting up the enclosures can give you similar sleeping comforts to your own home. Also, the level of privacy offered by the camping enclosure can be priceless during overnight stays with your partner or family. 

If you have a projector and a 2000W generator on board, you could even set up a movie night right on your toon.

Even if your boat has no camping enclosures, you can always purchase one as an extra as long as you have a couple of thousands of dollars to spare.

But are full camping enclosures critical to your stay on a pontoon? The answer is no. These enclosures can come in handy if you plan to spend long periods sleeping on your boat because they can protect you from bad weather. But beyond that, they’re no more than a luxury you can do without.

Also, you can always choose a cheaper alternative if it is critical. But many owners of pontoons with full enclosures say they never use them anyway.

If you do not anticipate bad weather anytime soon and plan to spend no more than a day or two on your boat, setting sail with no enclosures should be fine. 

Besides setting up these enclosures robs you of the ability to sleep under the stars at night while savoring the cool breeze and beautiful skies.

Half Pontoon Boat Enclosures

If you want the privacy of an enclosure with a limited budget, half-enclosures can be a solid alternative.

These enclosures only seal off a part of the boat ensuring that you can have a good time without feeling excessively boxed in. Half pontoon boat camping enclosures can also offer you the necessary protection during bad weather.

Lounge Seats

The lounge seats featured on pontoons give you comfort during long cruises. But did you know that these seats can double as beds during the night? The only caveat is the length and size of the sofas with your body size.

If they fold up long and wide enough, your toon boat sofa seats can be a match made in heaven for you to lie down. The seats can be the perfect sleeping surface for enjoying the cool breeze on the lake at night.

However, those lounge seats may not be enough during non-solo boat camping trips. If you plan to bring your partner or family members on board, additional sleeping arrangements will be necessary.

As long and wide as the seats on your boat may be, squeezing 2 people on it could be overkill.


Tents are another option to enjoy a good night’s sleep on your toon. While setting them up can be cumbersome, the comforts they offer usually make tents worthwhile.

Always make sure the tent has enough space for you to sleep comfortably especially when you have company.

The good news is that the majority of tents on the market today specify the number of people they sleep at a specific time. So if you’re going camping on your pontoon boat with two other people, make sure to set up a 3-person tent or larger.

Note that assembling a tent on your toon can be beneficial in many ways. Firstly, they offer you an enclosure to prevent rolling off the deck in the middle of your sleep. Sleeping in a tent also protects from the rain, snow, and other harsh weather elements.

Additionally, the privacy that comes with tents can be worthwhile for couples and families. But if you love sleeping under the stars then a tent may not be for you.

We found this Extra durable 4-person camping tent from Coleman on Amazon that can make your outdoor accommodation comfortable.

Air Mattresses

Airbeds give pontoon boat owners a lot of flexibility during overnight sleeping. They can be perfect whether you prefer lying down on the deck to watch the skies at night or like to snuggle up in your tent.

Also known as blow-up beds, these mattresses are easy to use. You can quickly deflate them during storage and inflate when you’re ready to sleep. 

While the earliest air mattresses suffered lots of issues, the latest models feature amazing technology that can give you the ultimate comfort during the night.

If luxurious sleeping on your pontoon is non-negotiable, it is time to start looking for the right air mattress.

We found the ultimate air mattress with a built-in pump that never loses air on Amazon and actually lasts for a long time.

Sleeping Bags

The breeze that frequently blows on oceans and lakes can be very chilly at night which leads to sleeping troubles and a higher risk of catching a cold. While air mattresses and a few blankets can work well under mild weather, that combination may not be enough during chilly periods of the year.

This is where sleeping bags come in. Their ability to keep you warm in the coldest surroundings can make them lifesaving during overnight toon camping trips.

But how do sleeping bags work? Sleeping bags trap the cool air around you and inhibit their ability to circulate. Then your body heat quickly fills up the bag to ensure a cozy atmosphere that promotes quality sleep even in the coldest environments.

Sleeping Cots

Sleeping cots are another option for camping on pontoon boats. Once assembled, they come raised several inches from the ground unlike sleeping bags and air mattresses.

This elevation can give similar benefits to lying down on your bed at home including the ease of getting in and out. This makes them suitable for pregnant women and patients with knee injuries and worn-out knees.

Camping cots are easy to fold-up during storage and this is another reason why they have become so popular among outdoor enthusiasts. These cots come in different shapes, sizes, and heights meaning complete flexibility to choose the right one for your needs.

We wrote an article that reveals everything you need to know about Sleeping Cots. Click here to check it out.

Choosing the Right Site for Pontoon Boat Camping

Now that you know the benefits of sleeping on a toon, it is time to find the right spot for it. Fortunately, pontoon boats are perfect for anchoring in water or dragging to the beach. So where you decide to camp is a matter of choice.

Anchoring on a Lake or River

If you decide to anchor your boat on a lake, verify in advance that you’re not breaking any laws. Different lakes have different regulations so researching in advance can save you a lot of money and trouble.

While some lakes allow all boats to anchor overnight, many others require specific overnight stay permits which are available at a fee. 

However, there are a couple of rivers and lakes where camping overnight is not allowed under any circumstances. Make sure your target lake isn’t one of those before you arrive there to set up camp.

Also, always choose a spot where your toon is protected from drifting into open water while you’re in Dreamland. According to experts, a warm channel is always the best choice.

Dragging Your Toon to a Beach or Park

Dragging your boat to the beach or park is another option when sleeping on a pontoon. Just like onshore, be ready to pay any required fees to get the necessary permits. Also, make sure to tie your boat to a tree or another permanent fixture to offer more protection.

Pontoon Boat Camping Accessories Checklist

If you’re looking for an epic sleepover on your toon, you’ll need a ton of items. Our pontoon boat camping accessories checklist below can make a huge difference in how much fun you get while out in the outdoors.

  • Food
  • Drinks 
  • LED Lantern
  • BBQ Grill
  • Propane coffee pot
  • Tote Bags
  • Water purifier
  • Cooler
  • Ice chest
  • Air mattress/sleeping bag/sleeping cot
  • Water bottle
  • Portable toilet
  • Toilet paper
  • Bug spray
  • Blankets 
  • Pillows
  • Paper Towel
  • Firewood
  • Lighter
  • Generator
  • Cabin heater
  • Safety lights
  • Solar shower

How To Stay Clean on a Pontoon Boat

When you develop an interest in sleeping on your pontoon, one of your major concerns will be cleanliness. How do you use the toilet or take a shower on your boat? Here are a couple of tips to help you stay clean during toon camping.

Portable Toilets

A portable toilet can solve your sanitary issues while staying on your boat. These toilets come in small sizes and are easy to fit into your toon without space problems.

But what if you cannot afford a portable toilet or your current one breaks while camping on your boat?

Well, you may have no choice but to dock your toon, disembark, and search for a place to relieve yourself on the ground. 

The most suitable place for this is a couple of miles from the campsite. Also, don’t forget to carry a shovel for burying the feces once you’re done.

Solar Showers

Investing in a solar shower can ensure that you stay fresh and clean throughout your ponton camping period. They usually come in the form of outdoor showers that use the sun as a source of power. Solar showers offer warm water which can be refreshing after a hard day of cruising or camping.

Trash Bags

Making trash is an inevitable part of staying on a toon. The presence of trash bags can prevent littering and ensure cleanliness on the boat.

Trash bags are also important to prevent rats and other rodents from infesting your boat.  Just make sure the trust bins you choose are sealed to keep out the stench until you reach the next dust bin destination


Sleeping on a pontoon boat can be the experience of a lifetime. It could even be the start of a lifelong passion for the outdoors.

The peace out there on lakes and shores at night can be heavenly while the cool breeze recharges your sleep and improves your mental health.

Even the most stressed-out folks report amazing calming of nerves and dipping of stress levels every time they get to spend a few nights on their toons.

As long as you get the necessary items for your stay, you should have a truly enjoyable trip. Are you planning a pontoon boat camping trip anytime soon?

Gabriel Smith

Hello, my name is Gabriel and I LOVE to sleep. Okay, you’re right, a lot of people do like sleep. But my passion is actually not sleeping. My interest lies in the “theoretical part”. What to do before bedtime. What a good night’s sleep is. etc. In short, how to sleep well. I hope you share the same interest as me, and enjoy reading everything about sleep.

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