It has been several years since we have stayed at Haynes Point Provincial Park now named swiws Provincial Park. I did my first review several years after our stay so had to rely on my memory. After reading my review back I can say it was fairly accurate but I felt an updated review would be a benefit.
I have to thank my sister for getting the site. For 3 days she went into work early so that she could be logged onto Discover Camping in order to hit the booking button as soon as the reservation system opened. It was a difficult task but on day 3 she had success and was able to secure a site for 6 nights. Due to the popularity of this park you can only book 7 nights at a time but really it is still near impossible to get a reservation.
We stayed on the north side of the park in site 33. It was a beautiful lake-front site with a small hill that accessed the lake. The site was a good size and easily fit their 24 foot fifth wheel with its 3 feet slide and both our trucks. There were trees on all sides that provided morning and late afternoon shade but mid day your only relief from the 40 degree heat was the lake or an air conditioned winery. I can confirm that both solutions work great.
This Provincial Park does not have hook ups so if you don’t like extreme heat then this is not the park for you. Osoyoos is considered a desert and the high temperatures confirm it. There are no showers here and the toilets are flushing outhouses. I will say the staff did an amazing job keeping all the facilities spotless and the grounds clean. As with all BC Provincial parks generators are allowed twice a day from 9:00 am to 11:00 am and then again from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. We don’t have a generator but that is not to say I am against them, what I am against are people who choose to turn them on outside the assigned hours or who feel they don’t want to listen to the noise and plant them in the bushes closer to their neighbour’s site than there own. I am pleased to report this park staff did a great job of enforcing the generator rules. This made everyone’s stay much more enjoyable because you could predict when the hum of generators would start up.
The main attraction of the park is the lake and its warm temperature. What is even more impressive is the city has a machine that rakes the lakes shores of weeds regularly making swimming that much more enjoyable. There is a lot of boat, seadoo, kayak and paddle board traffic on the lake so people watching from your campsite is a great past time.
One thing to keep in mind when camping at this park is the wind. It comes from both directions and can gust up in minutes. We were sitting in the screen house playing cards one night and with 5 minutes it went from no wind to blowing the screen house over. This is important to keep in mind because the wind can destroy your awning in seconds so it is best to leave it closed unless you are sitting at your campground. We only put up the screen house because the bugs were so bad it was annoying to sit at the table and play cards.
A couple of other things to note about this park is the poison ivy and the rip tide. The park has done its best to post sign near and around the poison ivy and have included a photo to help you recognize it but if I had small children I would be sure to keep then away from the bush. I would also be aware of the rip tide at point. The park has put up signs to warn you but I certainly would avoid campgrounds near this point if I had family that intended to swim.
Here is my advise for this campground
- Double site 27/28 is a winner. It has the most trees, is across from the bathroom, is fairly large and is lake front with easy access to the lake.
- Site 22/23 would be my second choice but really any lake front site on the north side is very good offering several trees and fairly good privacy
- Site 26 is not lake front but is was very well treed and very private. Would be my choice if I could not get lake front
- The lake front sites on the south side are not as treed and felt like they would be more impacted by the wind but the south side did have much better beach space between sites.
- I would avoid sites 16,17 and 20 due to the undertow at the nearby point.
- Site 7, 10 are both very exposed and open
- I would also avoid 1,2,3 and sites 37-41. This run along the main access road and are much smaller with very little privacy. You also get the traffic both coming and going so they are a bit busier.
- This campground also has RV overflow which run the length of the park access road. There are essentially parallel parking stalls along the road but at least it is a solution if you have no where else to go. You can only stay in these spots for one night.
- The weather; you are almost guaranteed dry hot weather
- The lake; it is warm and free of weeds.
- Flush toilets, if you have to live with pit toilets it is nice they are flushing ones.
- Short drive to town where there is lots to do and buy.
- Lots of winery and golf choices
- Amazing fresh fruit if you visit in the summer.
- No showers nor bathrooms with running water
- Due to the heat there is a lot of
- generator noise as people want to use their Air Conditioners
- Limited shade options
- Unpredictable high winds makes tarping for shade impossible
Things to do:
- Winery’s: Over 40 winery’s in the Oliver/Osoyoos area
- Golf: If you can handle the heat there a several courses in the area.
- Desert Center: Guided tours to learn about desert ecology, habitat restoration and conservation of endangered ecosystems
- Rattlesnake Canyon: entertainment center for families