Cluxewe Campground – 7 Important Tips For Booking The Best Site!

Cluxewe Resort – Port McNeil, BC

Choosing a campground on the Northern Island was a challenge. We were unfamiliar with the area and didn’t want to be packing up and moving to a new site every couple of days. We decided on Cluxewe Resort because it checked several of our boxes.

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Must haves” the resort needed

  • An ocean front site which was our top priority!
  • It had power and water. We were not sure we could make it 6 nights on just our battery
  • It was centrally located to all the adventures we had planned. 30 minutes or less to everything – Port Hardy, Port McNeil, Telegraph Cove and many of the off road trips we wanted.
  • It had a laundry room, which was important as we approached the halfway point of our trip.

Bonus items the resort offered

  • A shower house
  • A restaurant on site if we got tired of barbecuing and dishes.
  • Access to an estuary that provided calm and easy kayaking opportunity.

Our Trip

Night 1: We settled into our ocean front site and took the kayaks out for a paddle. The ocean was so calm you would have thought it was a giant lake. We paddled around the point and through the estuary. It was very relaxing to paddle as the sun set and the wildlife surrounded us.

Day 2 and 3: The weather was unsettled so we spent the time exploring Port McNeill, Port Hardy and Telegraph Cove. We were very thankful to have electricity at the trailer so that we could stay warm inside playing games, reading and storm watching from our rear window.

Day 4: The sun was out and we wanted to kayak at Telegraph Cove. We headed back with our kayaks and spent a few hours on the water around the cove. We have our own kayaks but if you do not, there are a couple of places that offer guided tours and kayak rentals. Again, the water was clam and current was light so we enjoyed a few hours on the water. The scenery was spectacular and the sun was shinning. Once back at Telegraph Cove we enjoyed lunch on a patio overlooking the cove and a walk around the various buildings reading about the interesting history. If you are looking to do any whale watching, grizzly bear or wildlife tours, Telegraph Cove is the place to book these from.

Day 5: Blessed with sunshine once again we headed for Cape Scott Provincial Park. This was a 2 hour drive on a bumpy logging road. We took this trip on a weekend so there were not logging trucks, which made the drive much easier. Once we arrived at the parking lot it was an easy 40 minute hike to San Joseph Beach. Wow, was this hike worth it. We arrived at a beautiful sandy beach famous for its stone haystack formations and endless sand. We loved it and wished that we were adventurous enough to walk in and camp at these amazing locations.

Kayaking in Port Alice

Day 6: We drove out to Alice Bay to check out this part of the island. It was a beautiful paved road with amazing views of the inlet. We stopped at several view points for photos. At the old mill, we found a dock that we could launch our kayaks from. The water in this bay was turquoise and looked so inviting. Once in the water we realized the currents and winds were just too strong so after a half an hour of paddling we called it quits and headed back to the campground for an afternoon on the beach.

Campground Details

View from site 51

We stayed in site 51, it was one of the oceanfront sites and offered amazing views of the Strait. From our campsite we could see all kinds of wildlife: whales, otters and seals swam by; eagle, blue heron and hawks flew overhead; and fish were jumping everywhere. It was our evening entertainment to sit on the beach and watch as the anglers tried to catch a fish while the cruise ships crossed, various wildlife visited, and the sun set in amazing colors.  That alone made this campground worth the stop.

The Campground’s 3 Areas

The Front Loop – This first section as you enter is more like a parking lot and appears to have several long-term/seasonal campers. These sites offer full hook ups and seem to attracted recreational anglers who want a summer spot for the fishing season. I would not recommend staying in these sites if you can avoid it.

The Estuary Loop – This is a loop near the back of the campground and all sites offer full hookups. Many of the sites back onto the estuary and some have a view of it. This area offers little privacy between sites; but the sites are level, open, grassy and vary in size depending on your camping equipment. The young woman at the desk warned us that the flies in this area are often bad so that should be taken into consideration when booking. These sites are close to the playground, shower, laundry house and main office.

The Ocean Loop – This loop has several oceanfront & ocean view campsite with a few estuary campsites as well. I would recommend booking into this loop. It is away from the busy area of the office, laundry, and playground. You feel remote, making these sites very quiet. Most of the sites are treed for privacy and many offer power and water with some forest sites at the end of the loop having no additional services. There is a bathroom in this loop but the showers are back by the office.

7 Tips For Booking The Best Sites

Any of the 50’s are great. They are large, level, treed for privacy and offer ocean views. Here is the order I would rank them if you have a choice of sites.

  1. Although not in the 50’s, sites 46 & 47 are the two best full service sites. They are oceanfront, private, large and have great views. They are near the office and busy area, but if you want full service, these are the sites to get.
  2. Site 57 has best ocean view but that comes with no privacy. It is positioned so you can enjoy the sunset right from your site. The site is open to the elements so awnings and tarps are not an option.
  3. Sites 50, 51, 52, and 53 are all equal sites. They have privacy, ocean views and are a good size for any unit.
  4. Site 54 is a huge site but not much of a view. You have access to the beach but you cannot really enjoy the view from the site. It would be my last choice of the ocean front sites.
  5. Site 55/56 is a very large double site and has a great ocean view and lots of privacy.
  6. Sites in the loop 80-93 are in a good location with sites 80 and 81 being my first choice. Although they offer little privacy they have unobstructed views of the ocean and easy access to the beach. The rest of the sites in this loop are good but do not have ocean views with some offering estuary views.
  7. Sites 59, 60, 61 and 62 are the non-serviced sites. They are very private and are right on the ocean for great views. Sites 64 and 65 are off on their own and great if you are camping with a group, Site 68 is on the estuary and on its own as well. The other non-serviced sites are very open to each other and offer limed privacy.

Campground Pros

  • Located on the ocean with lots of beach access for all to enjoy! Be sure to visit the estuary.
  • A variety of services depending on your needs; full service, power/water and no service sites.
  • Hot, clean and large shower rooms that are only $1.00 for 6 minutes
  • Laundry room with well-maintained machines and freezers for your catch of the day.
  • Boat launch (not sure how good this is: it appeared very steep) and 2 fish cleaning stations.
  • An award-winning restaurant on site: our neighbors went for dinner and said the food was amazing and the sticky toffee pudding for dessert was worth a visit by itself.
  • Office store with basic supplies and some local artisans gift items.
  • Ocean front cabins for those who do not want to camp.
  • Playground
  • Sani-dump
  • Centrally located for day trips to various parts of the Northern Island.

Campground Cons

  • Construction – the campground is building a new area and the noise of the machinery can be heard in most of the campground.This is only a temporary con (our visit was in the summer of 2019.)

Links

Miracle Beach – 5 Important Things To Know That Will Improve your site!

Miracle Beach Provincial Park – Comox Valley, BC

Miracle Beach at High Tide

Miracle Beach Provincial Park – The summer of 2019 Blair and I had our first 2 week road trip to the northern portion of Vancouver Island. We intended to arrive in Nanaimo and head north to the more remote areas of the island.  Of course, BC Ferries had other plans and landed us in Victoria due to cancellations and other unfortunate events, but that’s another story. After a rough start and a much longer drive, we arrived at Miracle Beach.

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We chose this campground for a few reasons:

  • Its endless sandy beach and world famous beach combing.
  • Its proximity to Campbell River and the expected fresh seafood that comes with the area.  
  • Its central location to several hikes in the area.

Our Trip

During our stay we wanted to spend time in Campbell River, a day on the beach and a couple of days hiking.

Day 1 – We headed to Ripple Rock Canyon to complete a morning hike. The history of this location is very interesting and we were advised to read up on it before visiting the site. It was a beautiful day and the views were spectacular. On the way back we stopped in Campbell River for lunch on the seawall and a walk to the docks. Here we stopped at Crabby Bob’s and picked up some fresh halibut for dinner before returning to our campground.

Day 2 – We drove to end of Strathcona Park to complete Baby Bedwell Hike. It was a 2-hour drive, partly on gravel road, and then a 3-hour hike – in and out. It is a challenging hike but worth it.  The views were amazing and other than the torrential downpour on the way home, it was a great day.

Day 3 – Later in the day we planned to drive to Port McNeil but first we wanted to get in some beach time. We moved the RV to the day use parking and headed out to explore the beach. It was low tide so we were able to walk for miles. The beach-combing was fantastic with sand dollars, crab and several other creatures waiting to be observed. Here we saw a humpback whale right off the shore and a cruise ship leaving for Alaska. It was a great way to end our journey in the area.

Campground Detail

The park is very large: 57 hectares and 201 non-serviced sites, so choose your site wisely. It is a very popular campground so I would recommend making a reservation prior to arriving. We walked the entire campground and for the first time ever, I can say there is not a bad site. The sites vary in size but if you enter your camping equipment information, the system will only show you those appropriate sites. If you want a large site just check the dimensions on the campsite info page.

 The thing to consider when booking this campground is location. We were in site 11, which was in the row closest to the beach access path, and the second site in from the main road. We walked to the beach often so I was very pleased with our choice. The park also has a shower house, 3 flush washroom buildings, several pit toilets, and lots of water taps. Because all the sites are great, you only need consider the following when selecting a site.

Sample of how private the sites are.
  1. Get as close to the beach as possible, it is a bit of walk even when you are in the first row. If you have young children and all the toys, towels and snacks that go along with them you may be driving to the beach parking lot regardless of your location.
  2. If you plan to use the campground washrooms, I would recommend a site close to the flush washroom buildings. The pit toilets are conveniently located throughout the park but they are still pit toilets.
  3. The main road is busy, we were 2 sites in and it didn’t bother us but if I had young children on bikes I would choose to be a bit farther away from main road.
  4. If you have dogs or children, you may want to choose a site on the northeast side. They are closer to the dog trails, the nature house and the amphitheater.
  5. The sites in the North East Corner are a bit more remote feeling with gravel roads and lots of foliage. This can be good or bad depending on what you are looking for. _

Campground Pros (and there are many)

Patio lunch at Quay West Kitchen
  • The beach!  At low tide you can spend hours out there. Take a picnic, chairs, toys and settle in for the afternoon. 
  • Large, level and private campsites.
  • Paved roads for children to ride bikes on and easy walking access to the beach with strollers and wagons.
  • Trails, playground, nature house and amphitheater – plenty of option to please all ages.
  • Free shower house.
  • 3 flush toilet buildings and several pit toilets.
  • Lots of beach parking. On the day we checked out, we parked our RV in the day use parking and it was easy to find a space long enough for the truck and trailer.
  • Short drive (~15 minutes) to Campbell River where you can buy seafood on the pier and walk the seawall.  Check out Quay West Kitchen for tasty food and drinks on the seawall.
  • Sani dump and potable water on site.
  • Several great hikes within a short drive.

Campground Cons

  • Saratoga Speedway is nearby so the noise of the cars is a constant throughout the day. A reminder that you are very close to the tourist attractions.
  • Not enough showers for the size of the campground. 200+ sites needs a few more showers!
  • Beach house shower, bathroom and change rooms were very run down. It felt very dirty and unkept. The only part of the park that felt that way.
  • Park size – for some this may be a downside because it is a very long walk to the beach from the back sites.

Links

Bear Creek Provincial Park – 7 Valuable Tips To Get The Best Site

https://secure.camis.com/DiscoverCamping/BearCreek

Bear Ck 2b

When our kids were young we kicked off summer by heading to Bear Creek Provincial Park for the Canada Day long weekend. It felt like the official start of summer and you could almost be guaranteed to have good weather. Kelowna has a great Canada Day Festival in town with lots to do for the entire family and even without Canada Day you will most certainly be able to find something fun to do. The last time we were at Bear Creek was in 2004, this is largely due to the fact the park is hard to reserve, but these notes are based on those trips so the next time I am in Kelowna I will go back to check it out again.

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Bear Ck 30b

This campground is great for young families. At least back then, the roads that looped around the campsite were one way, paved and flat so it’s was great for biking. There was also lots of green space and park area for games of bocci and lawn darts. They use to have a great kids program that we would go to every night and on Canada Day you could sit on the beach and watch the fire works in Kelowna. Bear Creek is also a short drive into West Bank or Kelowna so if the weather is not great it is easy to find something there to do.

Bear Ck 004

This campground is right on Okanagan Lake and it has a great beach. The down side is that it is on the shady side of the lake which means limited afternoon sun. Okanagan Lake is also very large so it can be cold early in the summer season. The messy issue was, goose poop, and tons of it, on the beach, on the grass, and often on your shoes, it was a bit gross.

The sites at this park are small but they are private and many back onto green space. We really only stopped going because the park was so popular it became impossible to get a reservations. There is an overflow area but back when we went it was just a large parking lot type area, not a destination to head to.

Bear Ck 002
Half of double site 47/48

The last time we went  we stayed in the double sites 47 & 49 with a third family staying in 50. These sites were good because they backed into green space and because we were with 2 other families it gave us room to play games and gather together. Our kids were young at the time so being off the lake a bit was nice. That first loop is also nice because it is near the swimming beach and the amphitheater nature shows and ranger activities.  Now that my kids are older I would pick the double sites of 55 & 57 or the single site 58. Although they do not have a lot of privacy they have a great view of the lake and area close to the beach,

 Campground Details

  • 7 Tips for Recommended Sites:
    1. If you want a double site I would pick 57/55 or 30/31 if you want lake view but are okay to give up some privacy, they are large sites with great views.
    2. For privacy, pick sites  52/54.
    3. Double site 47 & 49 are good because they back onto the green space and have privacy.
    4. The sites in the first 2 loops offer good shade but if you get into
    5. The 3rd loop (81-122) this is a newer area and if I recall it was a bit more open and much sunnier. In Kelowna shade is appreciated.
    6. For single sites try and get sites 58 or 59. Both are close to everything and 59 still offers good privacy.
    7. Since this review Bear Creek has added power to some sites. I am hoping to go back this year to update the review for 2021
  • Campground Highlights:
    1. Paved roads, great for biking
    2. Lake Okanagan – nice beach, great for swimming
    3. Flush toilets and clean showers
    4. Close to Kelowna and Westbank
    5. Nature house activities
    6. Good foliage between sites for privacy and shade
    7. Lots of green space for activities
    8. Playground for kids
  • Campground Lowlights
    1. Goose Poo everywhere on the beach and grass
    2. The lake is cold and windy early in the summer season
    3. Very hard to get into.
    4. Sites in loops 81 – 122 are not very treed.
    5. It is a drive to any activities or hiking
  • Things to do
    1. Swimming & beach activities
    2. Playground
    3. Kelowna wineries (25 minutes from campground)
    4. Westbank Wineries (20 minutes from campground)
    5. Boat & sea-doo rentals rental (15 minutes from campground)
    6. Golf – many great location within a short drive
    7. Gyro Park – 18 minute drive – great city park and beach
  • Links
    1. Shannon Lakes Golf Course
    2. Mission Hill Winery
    3. Quails Gate Winery
    4. Gyro Park Beach
    5. 19th Green Putting Course
    6. West Side Go Karts
    7. H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre

Porteau Cove – 7 Amazing Tips For The Best Campsite!

Porteau Cove Provincial Park – Squamish, BC

WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!!! That is really the best way to describe this campground. I can see why it is near impossible to get a reservation here!!!! We stayed at Porteau Cove Provincial Park for the first time in mid August 2017. Somehow my sister managed to get a double ocean front site and she invited us to share it. All I can say is LUCKY US. This is, without a doubt, the most amazing campground.

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We were booked into double site 41 & 42. This is a medium sized site and offers power. We were able to position our trailers so that we both had views, access to power and privacy from the road. This end of the street is near the walk-in sites and the park so the location was perfect. The ocean front sites are just steps from the water and offer incredible views. I really cannot say enough about the views and my pictures really capture it best.

Campground update: We made a second trip to this campground in December 2020. Our first attempt at winter camping. On this trip we stayed in double site 1/2. This site is very large and is the first site you see when you arrive. The site appears to be great when you first set up but after spending some time at the trailer we realized it had some downfalls. We were right next to the gate house so it was much busier as people came and went. We also had several trailer trapsters. It seems our site was a short cut from the beach to the campground. This site also did not get any direct sun which would have been nice at the end of December. If I could avoid booking this site again I would but the fact is that the campground is amazing and if this is all I could get, I would take it in a heartbeat.

Campground Details

It is important to note that all sites are very close to the train track and the noise is very, very loud as the trains rumble through. That said, I still feel like this is an amazing campground but I have never stayed here in a tent.

The campground is not large and is divided into 3 areas. The first camping loop has a mix of sites, some ocean front, some double, and several off the ocean but still very close. It is busier because it is the check in point, has the main bathroom as well as the sani dump area. Most of the center area site back onto one another. If you are camping with other families I can see that this would be a benefit. If you are camping alone, these sites reduce your privacy. There is also 2 cabins you can rent through Porteau Cove Olympic Legacy Cabins. These cabins are not booked through Discover Camping but the photo has the contact info. They are located in the first loop and it is close to the boat launch and tie ups.

The second area is east of the entrance along the park road. This is the area we stayed in on our first visit. The sites here are spread out and all have ocean views and access. Some of these sites are small so the larger RV’s would have a difficult time.

The sites do get very small along the ocean strip so be sure to follow the size rules.

The third area is the park and walk in tent sites. If we tented this would be a great place to stay. It was away from traffic, close to the beach, offers a covered picnic areas and has power for your use. The tent sites were graveled, level and nicely spaced but offer limited privacy. There is a communal fire pit shared between 3 sites each. The sites are also close to the park, grass area and walking trails. This is where we went to play boccie and take evening walks to the look out.

7 Amazing Tips

  1. Any ocean front site is great as long as it fits your rv.
  2. Double sites 41/42 are really the best double sites but they are not that big.
  3. Double site 15/16 is the largest double site and gets lots of sunshine but is not ocean front.
  4. Double site 1/2 is a large site but it is right at the gate and people tend to walk through it to get off the beach as well you get a lot of check in noise and traffic. It is not very private.
  5. Site 22 and 23 would be my first choice for single sites. They are a bit larger, have great views and are private.
  6. Site 36 is a pull through site and if your unit can fit is would offer great views but not shade or privacy.
  7. Walk in sites are good but 3 sites share a common fire pit. Might be a great way to meet new people.

Campground Pro’s

  • The views and access to the ocean
  • Level, well maintained sites
  • Electrical hook ups
  • Sani dump on site
  • Cabin rental option
  • Boat launch and mooring pins
  • Park area on site for everyone’s use
  • Beautiful walking area on site
  • Walk in campsites
  • Close to excellent hiking and biking trails but you would need to drive because it is across the highway.

Campground Cons

  • Very difficult to get a reservation.
  • Some sites are very small or narrow giving very limited privacy.
  • A vehicle is needed to access the nearby hikes and other activities.
  • Walk in sites offer only communal fire pits.
  • Trains, you are very close to the train track and they run often and at all hours.

Montague Harbour Provincial Park – 8 Tips To The Most Beautiful Campsite

Montague Harbour Provincial Park

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I consider myself very lucky, 16 years ago my parents started their dream by selling their home and moving aboard a 52 foot cabin cruiser. We spent many great summer holidays on the boat, but as the kids got older there just was not enough room for all of us to sleep. That is where the camping came in. We would head over to Montague Harbour Provincial Campground and set up our sleeping spots. The trip to Montague starts with a short ferry ride from Tsawwassen to Galiano Island. This camping trip was a bit different because we were tenting. The cost of taking the trailer on the ferry was just too high, and because we planned to spend most of our time on the boat it was not necessary to bring it over. With only 28 sites in the park reservation are recommended during peak season and it does fill up early. There is an overflow field for tenting and this area does have a couple of hidden gem. The park does not have hook ups, it only offers pit toilets and half the sites are walk ins but if you make the trip you will not be disappointed.

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Our first trip was August 2012 and we were in site 5, which is half of a double site, but it was all we could get. The site was big so sharing it with a stranger was not that bad, but we were far from the beach and the wharf. The second trip was in August 2013 when we booked walk in site 40. We had a view of the ocean, but the site was not very level and we felt like we were on display to all other campers. This is where the hidden gem comes in. We moved to the over flow area and found a site down at the water, in the very far corner, behind a tree and off on its own. It had beach access and complete privacy. We spent the rest of the trip at this site.

The campground offers a lot to do. There is a shell beach good for hours of beachcombing as well as plenty of walking trails. If you have kayaks it is a great harbour to paddle around and you will often see seals, otters and other sea life. Fishing off the dock is a very popular activity. Galiano Island is known for its artists and there are many small galleries and artisan shops to poke around. We also visited the local pub on the island and what is neat is you can catch the complimentary pub bus right from the campground gate and it will take to you to the Hummingbird Pub. The food and service at the pub wasn’t great but the bus ride made the entire experience worth it.

Here is my advise for this campground.

View from first come first serve, hidden gem site.
View from first come first serve, hidden gem site.
  • Campground Highlights
    1. Views from walk in sites
    2. Beach – great  for  beachcombing and walking
    3. Hiking trails
    4. Harbour – great  for kayaking or canoeing
    5. Group  campground – its an amazing site but you would need a group willing to tent and walk in.
  • Campground Lowlights
    1. Pit toilets
    2. No showers
    3. Ferry costs and restrictions
  • Things to do:
    1. Beachcombing
    2. Hiking
    3. Shopping
    4. Fishing
    5. Kayaking/canoeing – can  be rented at the Marina
  • Links
    1. Hummingbird Pub – http://www.hummingbirdpub.com/
    2. BC Ferry’s – www.bcferries.com
    3. Montague Harbour Marina – http://www.montagueharbour.com/

Blue Lake Resort – 10 Highlights To Greet You At The Top Of The Crazy Road

Blue Lake Resort – Boston Bar, BC

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.

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. Lakefront sites are worth the money (except site 1). You get a private dock and most sites are well treed for privacy.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. The weather: Boston Bar is known for its dry hot climate and we were not disappointed. The weather was perfect for all camping activities
  6. Hook ups: Our sites had water and electricity and provided enough power to have our air-conditioner run without issue.
  7. On site store, playground, outdoor movie theater, laundry and boat rental. Great for extended stays or family entertainment.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the lake which makes it very quiet and relaxing.

Campground Lowlights

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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)
  5. 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:

  1. Hiking: there are a lot of hiking option you can walk to
  2. Kayaking and swimming: the lake is great for non motorized water activities.
  3. 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.

Lightening Lake – 8 Reasons Why This Is One Of BC’s Top Campgrounds

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We 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. It is by far the most popular campground, making it difficult to get into.  We also stayed at Coldspring Campground the same trip and you can find that review by clicking here.

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Canyon Trail Sign
Allison Pass Sign

There are two loops in this campground.  I would recommend the large loop if you have a choice. We camped here in early September and stayed in site 13. It was a very large level site that had limited trees but because the sites are so spread apart it still felt very private. There are 92 sites in the large loop and they are all generally good. The park is located high in the mountains so the days were  warm but the evenings were very chilly. Camping in this park is a hiker’s paradise with endless trails for every level. The park does an amazing job of providing literature on all, including: the trail name, starting point, level, distance, elevation, estimated time, special features and a short trail description. We did the Canyon Nature Trail and part of the Lightning Lakes Chain. Both were very scenic and easy hikes that almost anyone can handle. There are so many trails it is difficult to decide which one to do.  If you’re lucky, you will see some wildlife along the way.

Hiking Trail information can be found on this link and it’s worth reading.

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After completing your hike you can then enjoy some time at the lake. The campground is located next to stunning Lightning Lake, which is perfect for kayaking, canoeing and, if the weather is warm enough, swimming. They offer boat rentals at the lake for those who want to give it a try.  Some trails require a short portage.  The park also has several horse and bike trails. If you like the outdoors this is the campground for you.

Boat Rental information can be found in this link.

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Here is my advise for this campground:

Recommended Sites:

  • Large Loop SitesColdspringsite1
    • Let me start by saying this is a great park and I would be happy to have almost any site. Even the poor sites are not that bad.
    • Lake front sites are the top pick with no one behind you and lots of privacy
    • Site 38 back onto the lake and gets lots of sun.
    • There are not many double sites but, if you can get one, site 12/13 is huge and very private.
    • Site 49 is very large with lots of privacy.  Great if you have a big rig.
    • Site 51 is also very large but does back onto the group site.
    • Sites 15 & 16 back onto the amphitheater with the playground right in front.  If you have kids this might be great.
    • Site 37 is very open to the road and picnic area.
  • Small Loop Sites
    • Double site 99/100 is very large and flat with forest behind.
    • Double site 136/137 looks poor on paper but is actually a good site.  It is set back from the road and has lots of privacy
    • Double site 134/135 lacks privacy and is open to the road.
    • Avoid site 112, the picnic area is exposed to the camp road.
    • Avoid sites along the back road due to traffic noise and lack of privacy

Campground Highlights:

  • Large, clean shower houseIMG_2485
  • Great kids park, playground, amphitheater, grassy areas.
  • Easy access to lake with great picnic area
  • Endless trails and hikes that are clearly marked.
  • Large and private sites with wide access roads for RV parking.
  • Boat rentals nearby
  • Horse trails
  • Sani dump nearby
  • Manning Park resort store and restaurant close
  • Pet friendly area.

Campground Lowlights:

  • Due to high altitude this park gets very cold at night
  • No hook ups
  • No cellphone reception but you can access Wifi at the resort if needed.
  • Very difficult to get a reservation and there is no First Come First Serve sites

Things to do:

Otter Lake – Tips For The Best Sites In This Piece Of Paradise!

Otter Lake Provincial Park -Tulameen, BC

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.

Skip directly to my advice for this campground.

As we headed off to Tulameen I was interested to see if the road was in any better shape than  10 years ago.  The answer is NO. Although it is okay for RV’s, it does have a lot of “watch for rocks falling” signs and  it was clearly still an issue as told by all the rocks on the road.

On this trip we camped with my sister and her husband in double site 14/15, which was a recommended site on my first Otter Lake blog.  This is a waterfront site with a steep path to our own private beach. We had kayaks with us so it was great to be able to leave them on the beach to use at our leisure. The site is very treed and level with a nice view of the lake. It offers lots of privacy and we barely even noticed the generator noise from the site beside us.
Our plan was to relax for the weekend so we really didn’t venture out much. Saturday morning my dad and brother-in-law headed to a nearby lake to try their luck at fishing and Sunday we drove into town to go for a walk on the Kettle Valley Trail. It was a great weekend away and the campground was as beautiful and pristine as I remembered.

Here is my advise for this campground

Recommended Sites:

  1. Most sites at this campground are large, level and have good privacy.img_7544-1
  2. Double sites
    • I would recommend 24/25 if you want to be close to the main beach. It is large, close to the washrooms and has a view of the lake
    • 14/15 and 12/13 both have great lake views, are large and both have lake access with their own small beaches (although the paths are steep getting to the beach.) They are a bit farther from the public beach and washrooms.
    • 5/6 and 28/29 are both on are lakefront and are otherwise great. 43/44  be the only being double I would avoid.
  3. Single Sites
    • Any of the lake front sites are winners with the exception of 21 because it is very open to the boat launch traffic.
    • If you want a pull-through my top choice would be site 11(picture below)
    • Site 19 backs onto the recycling/garbage area so avoid that one if you can.
    • I would try to avoid 35, 38, 40 & 42. Last year these were first come, first serve sites because they back onto the highway; they are much more exposed and a bit smaller. Having said that, if this is all I could get, I would still take them.

Campground Highlights: 

  1. Beautiful, clean, quiet lake. Great for swimming, kayaking or boating.
  2. Short drive to Tulameen where you can access the KVR trail or public beach
  3. Very large level sites with lots of privacy
  4. Flush toilets
  5. Pet beach
  6. Boat launch
  7. Paved roads for young cyclists

Campground Lowlights

  1. No hooks ups so expect generator noise
  2. No running water so no showers and half the toilets are outhouses.
  3. Very narrow, windy road from Princeton to Tulameen (30 km)
  4. Closest sani dump is in Princeton
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Things To do:

  1. Swimming
  2. Boating, kayaking and paddle boarding
  3. Biking and hiking the KVR trail
  4. Lots of ATV trails

Okanagan Falls Campground – How To Ensure You Get The Best Site!

Okanagan Falls Provincial Park – Okanagan Falls, BC

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Okanagan 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. 

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We stayed in this park for 3 nights with my sister and her husband. We were mainly interested in visiting winery’s and golfing so the location was fantastic for us. When you google “Things To Do in OK Falls”, wineries monopolize 11 of the 14 suggestions. We visited 5 of them I can attest to their high rating. They were so good we even joined the Great Estates Okanagan Wine Club which might be the best club I have ever joined, check it out!

Having said that I can say if we had kids with us it would have been the best park because it was not on the lake and it is a fair distance, with a highway crossing, to get to the lake. Other top things to do are biking the Kettle Valley Trail and visiting Okanagan Falls which both would have been great for families. I always like when I can list things to do that I couldn’t get to because it gives me a reason to go back.

Site 4, very open with no privacy

The park was full during our stay and we found it to be very quiet which was fortunate because it is very open with little privacy between sites.  We camped in site 4 in the middle section of the park and it was open to the other sites around us.

The sites are generally large and are all fairly level so maneuvering your RV is easy. There are large shade trees scattered around the park but no real low level trees to offer privacy between sites. There are 8 sites that line the creek area and they are the best choice for privacy and view although I suspect mosquito’s could be an issue. The sites along Green Lake Road would be my last choice due to noise but in reality it is not that busy of a road.

Here is my advise for this campground

Site recommendations: 

  1. Site 16 would be my top pick. It is both long and private which is unusual in this park.
  2. Site 18 & 20 are both wide and long and have nice green space behind them.
  3. Sites 22, 23 & 25 back onto the river and have green space surrounding making them a nice choice.
  4. Sites 11 &13 are smaller but do have some privacy
  5. All the sites in the center lack privacy
  6. Site 5 back onto the host site so not ideal for location
  7. Site 9, 17 & 24 I would rate as poor. They are very open and have zero privacy
Site 11
Site 11

Campground Highlights

  1. Great climate with almost guaranteed hot dry weather in the summer
  2. Small in size making it a quiet get away.
  3. Flush toilets
  4. Close to town for shopping and outings.
  5. Lots of golf and winery’s nearby
  6. Fresh fruit stands scattered everywhere.

Campground Lowlights

  1. No showers or bathrooms with running water.
  2. No hook ups
  3. Due to the heat there is a lot of generator noise as people want to use their Air Conditioners
  4. Limited privacy between sites
  5. Lake is not within walking distance

Things to do 

Haynes Point Revisited – 8 Tips To Ensure You Select The Best Campsite!

Haynes Point Provincial Park – Osoyoos, BC

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.

Skip directly to advise for this campground.

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

Recommended sites:

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. I would avoid sites 16,17 and 20 due to the undertow at the nearby point.
  6. Site 7, 10 are both very exposed and open
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Campground Highlights:

  1. The weather; you are almost guaranteed dry hot weather
  2. The lake; it is warm and free of weeds.
  3. Flush toilets, if you have to live with pit toilets it is nice they are flushing ones.
  4. Short drive to town where there is lots to do and buy.
  5. Lots of winery and golf choices
  6. Amazing fresh fruit if you visit in the summer.

Campground Lowlights:

  1. No showers nor bathrooms with running water
  2. Due to the heat there is a lot of
  3. generator noise as people want to use their Air Conditioners
  4. Limited shade options
  5. 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