Blue Lake Resort: Boston Bar – Campground Review

View of the lake from our hike

The summer of 2017 our annual  group camping trip brought us to Blue Lake Resort.   For previous 4 years we had camped in the Cariboo but all of our kids are now working full time or going to school so we needed to find a location within a couple hours of Vancouver. We also required 5 campsites, with at least a couple being lakefront, one cabin and, oh yeah, we all wanted to be together.  We knew this would be a tough order so when the folks at Blue Lake Resort said they could accommodate all our needs we were thrilled and confirmed our reservation.

Before we booked we did some research on the resort and, as expected, there were many pros and cons. Our biggest worry was the access road from the highway to the resort. Many reviews claimed it was very steep, full of pot holes and narrow so if you met a vehicle coming the other direction one of you will have to back up the to allow for passing. This made us a bit nervous because we all have RV’s that range from 20  to 26 feet and not all of us tow vehicles often. That being said, the resort fit the bill in all other areas so we decided to take the risk

THE INFAMOUS ROAD

I can say the reviews are accurate! The road is everything it promised to be, very steep, very narrow, and very short, only about 1.8 km long. We were lucky not to meet an approaching vehicles on either of our trips. Playing chicken while towing a trailer up hill was not something we were looking forward to. We drove cautiously (AKA slowly) and were able to navigate the road fairly easily. The resort gives tips on the best times arrive and leave and I would recommend following the check in time rules. It really is your best chance to avoid having vehicles meet on this perspicacious road.

The Resort

Once at the resort we were directed to our campsite and met up with our friends. We were in Lake Site 1 which claimed to have a private dock and great views. Our friends were in Lake Site 2, with the other families being across the road in sites 3, 4 and 5. We were all close together and very near the beach, exactly what we were promised.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon and the resort was very busy. It is large resort with a beautiful beach area but the beach is really too small to accommodate the number of guest at the resort. Our campsite looked right onto the beach area giving us very little privacy and our “private dock” was not so private. Many of the beach visitors made their home on the end. You might think that is not a big deal but they had to walk through our site to access the dock so it was a bit annoying. Due to the large crowds and openness of our site we felt it necessary to lock our trailer door whenever we were away from the site and we kept our cooler and belonging locked in the truck when not in use. This is not how we usually feel when we camp so our initial impression of the campground was not great.

As the weekend proceeded we found that the rules at this campground were very loosely enforced. I think this could be in part because many of the sites are seasonal leases and those guests had a sense of ownership to the space. For example the resort has a  “dogs must be leashed” rule but I think there were more dogs off leash than on leash with very little regard for pooper scoopers. There was also a large number of vehicles driving to the beach area beside us but no designated parking area. The downside was vehicles were parked everywhere and made it difficult for us to move in and out of our site. Another concern was the lack of presence by the staff. BC was in the midst of the worst forest fire season ever with tinder dry condition’s. On our second night a family near to us started a real campfire. As soon as we noticed this large fire, one of our group walked over to inform them there was a campfire ban. Their response was that they had seen so many real fires in the resort and they thought it was okay to have one. I am pleased to report they put it out right away. The lack of staff patrolling is what lead to this dangerous situation.

Needless to say that by Sunday afternoon I wasn’t loving this campground but then it happened…. All the weekend campers headed home and the campground quieted down. There were still several families around but it wasn’t the chaos of the weekend and we started to feel like campers again. The traffic to the beach turned from vehicles to walkers, people didn’t traipse onto our dock and dogs were on leashes. It was an entirely different feel and relaxation started to set in. We stayed until Wednesday of that week and I am glad we did because my impression of the resort was very very different by Wednesday and there were far more pros than cons. If you plan to visit this campground I really would AVOID the weekend.

Here is my advise for this campground

Recommended Sites:

  • It is difficult to determine what sites are good because many of the sites are seasonal leases and not open to the public but here are my thought.
  • Lakefront sites are worth the money (except site 1). You get a private dock and most sites are well treed for privacy.
  • I don’t want to list any more sites because the resort has undergone some renovations since are visit and many of the sites have changed.

Campground Highlights:

  • The lake is beautiful: it is quite small but still very clear and warm. The size was perfect for kayaking, canoeing, swimming, fishing and floating. No gas engines are allowed on this lake so it is also very quiet and relaxing. A great place to spend a day.
  • The beach: the resort offered a beautiful sandy beach with a roped off swim area, several dock and 2 swim platforms to swim out to as well
  • Lake Front Sites: there are several sites that are lakefront and these come with private docks. Most docks have signs to advise guests they are private docks and, although this was not the case for us, this kept other guest off the private docks.
  • The trails: we were pleasantly surprised by the number of hiking trails around the resort. We took one hike to the top of the mountain and had a great view of the lake and resort. There were several other trails around the resort for easy short dog walks.
  • The weather: Boston Bar is known for its dry hot climate and we were not disappointed. The weather was perfect for all camping activities
  • Hook ups: Our sites had water and electricity and provided enough power to have our air-conditioner run without issue.
  • On site store, playground, outdoor movie theater, laundry and boat rental. Great for extended stays or family entertainment.
  • Sani-Dump: We didn’t use the resorts sani-dump so I cannot comment on its condition but at least they had one which is a nice convenience.
  • Litter free: although I did comment on the lack of staff presence I can say that several times a day all the garbage’s were emptied keeping the resort looking clean the rodents and bugs to a minimum.
  • No motorized vehicles are allowed on the lake which makes it very quiet and relaxing.

Campground Lowlights

  • Access road: as stated above it is very steep and narrow but it is more manageable than we expected. What I can report is the resort has noted they are making improvements to the road so I expect it is better.
  • Weekend crowds: the permanent leasers seemed to have a run of the place on weekend. Driving to the beach, dogs off leash and traipsing through campgrounds made it an unappealing weekend getaway.
  • Dirt: It is a very dusty campground and really could use for some gravel in the sites. There was grass field area but due to the dry hot summer this was mostly dusty dead grass offering nowhere to play lawn games as a group or family.
  • Limited staff presence: although the garbage pick was kept up it didn’t seem like the staff followed up on any other things (as mentioned above)
  • The bathrooms and shower house is located in the center of the campground making it a fair walk from many campsites. It is also up a steep hill so if mobility is an issue they would not be easy to access. There were some porta potty’s scattered around the campground but I was surprised they did not have any near the beach.

Things To do:

  • Hiking: there are a lot of hiking option you can walk to
  • Kayaking and swimming: the lake is great for non motorized water activities.
  • River Rafting: a short drive (back down the terrible road) will take you to river rafting. Our group booked with REO River Rafting and it was tons of fun. For a detailed review click here.

Advertisements

WOW Golf Course, Penticton BC – Review

Well the name says it all – WOW Golf:

  • WOW – The view!
  • WOW – The number of balls we lost!
  • WOW – The challenging greens!
  • WOW – I am so glad we had a cart!
  • WOW – That was a fun round of golf!

This unique and challenging 9 hole course is worth an afternoon of golf. We were camping at OK Falls Provincial Park and planned to golf each morning and hit wineries in the afternoon. After a round at WOW Golf I think we might have been smarter to hit the wineries before the golf course.

This executive size nine hole course is located just outside of Penticton and offers amazing views of the lake and Okanagan Valley. It is a desert style course with plenty of sage brush, valley’s and challenging greens. Unless you are a mountain goat I would highly recommend renting a cart. The elevation between holes is considerable and the Okanagan summers can get very hot so walking uphill at 40 degrees can take the fun out of golfing in a hurry.

Speaking from experience, I also recommend bringing lots of extra balls. You are often hitting over sage brush valleys and hills. If you lose a ball you are not likely to retrieve it due to prickly sage brush or fear of snakes. We lost count of the number of balls we lost but each member of our foursome was over a sleeve into the day.

The course boasts about its practice facilities but we didn’t try them out. If we lived in the area we might make use of them but with all the wineries in the area, practicing golf was not on the agenda.

If you are looking for a fun and unique afternoon of golf I would definitely recommend vising WOW Golf. The views are amazing and the golf is challenging. The price is right and the photos are worth every penny!

Links to camping revies in the area:

Camp That Site, Fun New Look, Topics and Reviews!

We are back!

After not posting for 20 months I am starting up again. In August of 2017 I had run out of campgrounds to write about and unique stories to tell. I didn’t want the site to become filled with posts not relevant to the topic so I just put it on hold until I could gather new material and feel inspired.

Continue reading

Come to the Island – 7 great reasons to float on an island.

As you know we are social campers, not back country hard core campers. We love to gather with friends and family at a lake and hope for sun. This usually involves several women blowing up individual flotation bed and paddling several feet into the lake. I realize this sound terribly laborious and you must marvel at all the obstacles we have endured.img_5004

  1. How can so many women chat while continuing to floating away from each other?
  2. How can your drinks still be full by the time you reach your destination?
  3. Doesn’t the lake keep pushing us back to shore, resulting in constant paddling.

Continue reading

Ice Ice Baby – camping with a portable ice maker!

69E4B2FB-2077-4479-97B6-9767AC1FF847-959-000003BD23F350F1The older I get, the more conveniences I seem to acquire and a portable ice maker is just another example. We are social campers, meaning, we mostly camp with other families and are often in private campgrounds with hook ups. It also means we go through a lot of beverages!

Regardless of our camp set up we like to keep our beverages in a cooler packed with ice. Nothing says camping like digging around in freezing water and being rewarded with a cold beer. Keeping that cooler full of ice during a hot summer trip is really the only stress we have camping so we decided to buy a portable ice maker. I do agree, if this is our biggest stress, then life is great!

Continue reading

Lightning Lake Campground, E.C. Manning Provincial Park

Manning9We camped at Lightning Lake Campground a couple years back on our anniversary but just realized I did not do a complete review. Lightning Lake Campground is one of 5 campgrounds located within E.C. Manning Park and it is by far the most popular making it difficult to get into.  We also stayed at Coldspring Campground the same trip and you can find it’s review here.

Canyon Trail Sign

Continue reading

Otter Lake Provincial Park, Tulameen BC – Revisited 2017

img_7524-1

View of the Princeton Fire as we approached

We used to visit Otter Lake Provincial Park every year with friends and I completed my first review back in 2015. I was excited to head back to Otter Lake and even more excited that we were camping in one of my suggested sites. As our trip approached it became clear that BC was in one of the worst forest fire seasons ever and the area about 20 km east of the campground was being evacuated. We were a worried whether we would be able to access our campground and how thick the smoke would be around us. As it turned out we were lucky, although we could see a haze and smell the smoke, we managed to have a relaxing weekend away.

 

Continue reading

Okanagan Falls Provincial Park, OK Falls BC

okanagan-falls-campground-signOkanagan Falls Provincial Park is a small park made up of only 25 unserviced sites which are 100% reservable. The park is now officially called  sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ Provincial Park, and is located in the small town of Okanagan Falls. The park lies  below the outlet of Skaha Lake on the Okanagan River. 

Continue reading

No Mess Individual French Fry Packets

I am always looking for easy recipes to  make while camping. I often find lots of meat recipes but am looking for an option to roasted potatoes. This option would be much higher in calories but my kids would love it and it looks like an easy clean up.

Grilled Foil Packed Cheesy Fries

7ff676cf-998e-4e8d-b017-c4222bed78ae

Ingredients

1 bag (14 oz) frozen crinkle-cut french fries
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup grated cheese
2 tablespoons sliced green onions (2 medium)
2 tablespoons cooked real bacon bits
  • Heat grill to medium-high heat. Toss frozen French fries with melted butter.
  • Tear off 2 (12-inch) lengths of  Heavy Duty Foil to make foil boats. Place half of the fries in a single layer in the center of 1 piece of foil. Loosely fold foil around edges to form a boat, leaving large hole at top to allow steam to escape; repeat with remaining fries and foil.
  • Place foil packets on grill over indirect heat. Cover grill; cook 20 to 30 minutes, stirring once, until fries are crispy and baked through. Top each packet with grated cheese; cook about 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and bacon bits just before serving.