Growing up in Kamloops, I have been going to Shuswap Lake Provincial Park for years and it has been interesting to see how the area around it has changed. Shuswap Lake Campground is a very large park with 274 sites located on the beautiful Shuswap Lake. The park features paved roads, a playground, interpretive programs, hiking trails, bike trails, a boat launch, and a lake for swimming with a long sandy/pebble beach. The park also includes Copper Island which is only accessible by boat but is a fun day trip and provides activities like hiking and cliff diving. Although the park is large, it is very popular, so you will need to book your stay 3 months in advance in order to get a site.
As I mentioned the area has changed a lot over the years. It used to have a private campground, Frank’s, across the street, which had a restaurant, bike rental, store and ice cream shop. It was a gathering place for campers to have ice cream at the end of the day and gave a real vibe of activity to the area. A few years back “Franks” was sold and the property was suppose to be marketed as private camping lots. I am not sure of the details but for one reason or another this never happened and now that land is just a vacant area. The store is still there but a lot of the atmosphere that “Franks” brought to the area is gone. There were still a few tourist attractions nearby when we went by last year but while researching for this article it appears that is now closed as well so that will have further impact on the area. Having said that, Scotch Creek Provincial Park is still a great campground and a destination campers should head to. You are almost guaranteed of hot dry weather and a beautiful warm lake. Early in the summer Mosquitoes tend to be a problem there and in August the problem becomes wasps so bring a screen house and bug repellent to help make your stay more enjoyable.
My thoughts on the campground:
- Site Recommendations- This is a very large and busy park. “Lake Road” is the main pathway to all the feeder roads so try to get a site one or two spots away from this road. Being close to the lake is desirable so the closer you are to the lake the better off you will be. The sites are generally all a good size and have decent privacy making location the main deciding factor when booking a site. The sites closer to the lake on Char, Whitefish and Cutthroat are close to everything and if you can pull it off, would be optimal to have. There are showers in that area but the other shower house is near the back of the campground so we found we drove the kids there for showers or rode our bikes. Trying to be close to the back showers is not ideal. Double sites 9, 230, 211 or 217 would be the best choice but like I mentioned just try to get the closets one to the lake you can.
- Campground Highlight:
- The dry hot weather along with the lake and beach
- The paved roads and surrounding trails are great for biking and will keep kids busy for hours
- The playground, grassy area and interpretive programs make for a great family vacation.
- The privacy of the sites.
- Nearby restaurant & store
- Sani-dump at the campground
- Campground Lowlights
- Things To Do
- Swimming at the beach and out to the dock
- Boating and all other water sports
- Playground, nature trails and interpretive programs,
- Adams River Salmon Run
- Biking (my favorite campground for kids bike trails) and hiking.
- Golf, nearby
- Winery, nearby
- BC travel guide, Scotch Creek – http://bcadventure.com/adventure/explore/high_country/cities/scotchcreek.htm
- Celista Estate Winery – http://www.celistawine.com/#_=_
- Shuswap Marina and Boat Rentals – http://shuswapmarina.com/#_=_
We have stayed at this campground many times but have only ever been able to get into a site in the middle area. The last time we camped at Shuswap Lake we were with another family in a double site. We had lots of room and all had a great time. We were there for 3 days and planned to spend most of them at the beach. There is a dock at the swimming beach so it was fun to swim out there with the kids and practice diving off. Due to the size of the campground we found it easier to pack up all our sand and float toys and drive to the parking lot near the swimming beach. They also had great evening programs at the amphitheater and each night we would head there with the kids to enjoy the show and learn about nature in the area. After that it was over to Franks for an ice cream cone and then back to the campground for a campfire with the families.
On our last visit we hit unseasonably wet weather so it was not as much of a beach vacation as we had hoped. After a day of damp weather we decided to head into Chase to find a park and have dinner out. It is about a half hour drive but once there we found a nice playground for the kids and a restaurant that kept us dry and warm while we ate. There are also a few golf courses in Chase so if there is a golfer in your group it is a possible solution but not really the best place to camp if you are looking to golf. There is also a smaller golf course at Magna Bay and we have had the chance to golf there. It is a fun course with some challenging greens and beautiful views.
I would not hesitate to recommend Shuswap Lake as a camping destination for families of all ages but if you are looking for tourist activities, research the area closer to when you book to see if any more have opened up or closed down.