When my family and I head out camping, one of the top criteria is water. Fresh water is always our preferred swimming. We have camped at many BC lakes over the last 12 years so narrowing it down to my top 5 is a challenge but here you have it.1. Otter Lake: Located just outside of Princeton, Otter Lake is notable for its pristine clearness. Yes it’s a bit out of the way but that’s what keeps it pure. Camping at Otter Lake it a true nature vacation near the hot and dry Similkameen Valley. Read our review of Otter Lake Provincial Campground here.
2. Shuswap Lake: Growing up in Kamloops I spent a lot of time on the large and popular Shuswap Lake as it is only an hour drive away. Known for its houseboat rentals, Shuswap is also great for water skiing, jet skiing or any other water activity you can think of. Our favorite campground is Shuswap Lake Provinvial Park and you can click here to read a more detailed review. If you cannot get a reservation at that park there are several other campgrounds in the area that will allow you to enjoy the lake and the area’s hot, dry climate.
3. Okanagan Lake: Okanagan Lake runs from Penticton to north of Kelowna making it the main water feature for Okanagan travellers. This large lake is well used and very populated but with the hot dry summers this is a must see. Okanagan Lake has several camping option; click here for our reviews of Bear Creek Park and North Okanagan Lake Provincial Park. You will need to plan ahead because you will likely not find a site without a reservation.
4. Lake Osoyoos: This lake is the main attraction for the town of Osoyoos and with good reason. The town is in a desert, and the lake is large, warm and full of tourist opportunities. The city park has a beautiful beach with a great swimming area. We camped at Haynes Point when we went and you can find a detailed review here but that Provincial Park is near impossible to get into. There are other campgrounds on the lake that are larger and with enough advanced planning they can usually be reserved for summer vacations.
5. Cultus Lake: Located outside of Chilliwack, Cultus Lake is only an hour drive inland from Vancouver making it a popular destination for the lower mainland’s large population. This lake is large enough for all your boating activites and is surrounded by mountain views. The public beach is set up great for swimmers with platform dock sections and a nice sandy beach. When we visit this lake we camp at Cultus Lake Provincial Park and you can find a more detailed review here. It is a very large campground but it is booked up most of the summer. Reservation are certainly needed for weekends.
Which other BC Lakes do you think should make the list?