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
We have only been lucky enough to book into this campground once. It is likely the most popular provincial campground there is and if you want a site you will have to get up before 8:00, 3 months before the date you want to camp and start trying to book it, even then you are lucky if you get in. We were able to get the site because I logged on about the same time as someone was cancelling their reservation and I scooped it up. Otherwise, good luck!
We were there at the end of August and stayed in site 10. It was not a lake front site but we took what we could get. Osoyoos is always very hot, but the good thing is there is often a wind coming off the lake. It’s a hot wind but at least it’ a wind. The downfall with the wind, you can’t really tarp for shade and sometimes it is even risky to leave your awnings up . That being said, if you don’t like the hot sun, you likely are not booked in Osoyoos. One of the most unique things about the campground were the quails. They were everywhere and they very tame. The kids loved to watch them scurry around the site.
Haynes point has water on 3 sides but if you aren’t lucky enough to get one of the lake front site then you have to walk to the campground beach or drive into the great city beach. It is not a long drive into the city beach (Gyro Park) and there is also a great tourist strip with mini golf, ice cream stores and lots of other tourist attractions. There is not shortage of things to do in Osoyoos and being a desert climate there is always great weather to enjoy.
Here is my advise for this campground.
Recommended Sites: It has been 10 years since we camped at Haynes point so may notes are limited and likely very old. I will write what notes I have and update them the next time we are in the area. I noted double sites 22/23 as well as 27/28 as good. Best on their location they have the best chance as some shade and you can position your camping vehicle to increase the shade. They also had reasonable access to the lake. (that may have changed over the years.) For single sites I would try to get 20 or 25. They had good privacy, access to the lake and you could position your vehicles to increase your shade.
Dry hot weather is very dependable
Large warm lake that is great for swimming or boating
Coldspring is one of 4 campgrounds located within EC Manning Provincial Park. The most popular campground is Lightning Lakes followed by Coldspring, Mule Deer and Hampton. There are also 3 group campgrounds within Manning Park. Coldspring is a very large campground but only offers basic amenities; pit toilets, well water and a self check in gate which are consistent with the less expensive Provincial Parks. We could not get a site at Lightning Lake on the long weekend so we settled with one at Coldspring. As we approached we could see several campsites from the highway so we were concerned. The large loop of the campground is very exposed to the highway and the sites offer limited trees to provide privacy. Most of the sites are a good size though and upon further review there were many that would work great. We went for a walk and found several sites along the creek which sat well below the highway providing a private, quiet camping experience.
What this park offers is great hiking. There are endless trails in this area that range from easy short hikes to more experienced overnight camping trails. We were camping with another couple who were staying at Lightning Lakes so we planned to spend a lot of time up there. They had printed off 8 pages of hiking trails in the area, so deciding on which one was the challenging part. Upon arrival the weather was rainy and cold with a nighttime low of -2 degrees being called for. That forecast worked in our favour because Saturday morning we were able to move to a site at Lightning Lakes due to a cancellation. Turned out the weather was nice and sunny all weekend so our trip was great.
Note that there is no cellphone reception within EC Manning Park. You can access Wifi at the resort if needed.
Our thoughts in the Coldspring Campground
We stayed in site 13. It was large with a lot of space between us and our neighbors although quite open and we could see and hear the highway traffic.
In the main loop, I would only recommend sites along the creek. They are well treed, backed onto the creek which helped mute the traffic and offered good privacy. Site 26 would be our top choice.
The lower road offers the best sites (sites 27-47). The road runs well below the highway so traffic noise was well muted. I would suggest only sites on the creek side because most of the roadside sites were very narrow and open to the road.
Site 28 & 32 were very nice pull through style sites.
Site 37 was the last site on the road and was very private. Great for dogs because they would have more freedom.
If staying on the lower road we noticed the noise started to disappear at site 42 and past.
Creekside sites on lower roads are very private.
Many double sites to choose from
Several first come first serve sites
Short walking trail that leads to Lightning Lakes Park.
Campground access to several local hikes
Proximity to highway. Some site are fully exposed to the road
Limited large trees on center sites
No cell service at all
Things to do
Hiking is the main attraction for campers in the area
Another big group camping trip is in the books. The memories, laughter and stories will live on forever, only improving with time. We received an email to advise the campground we pre-booked for 2015, Moondance Bay Resort, was closing. It was difficult to find another campground that could give 7 families totalling 26 people lake front sites without a year’s notice. After calling several resorts I stumbled upon Cariboo Bonanza Resort which is also in BC’s Interlakes area. We were so happy they could offer us 5 lakefront sites with 2 more just behind.
This week was so full of stories and events that I will break it down to a few posts and focus this one solely on the campground. Cariboo Bonanza Resort is located less than 15 minutes from 100 Mile House on Horse Lake. It is best known as a fishing lake but big enough for swimming and boating activities.
Here are my thoughts on the campground.
If you plan to camp at Bonanza remember it is a private campground and the layout is that of an RV park. The sites are very close together and offer no real privacy, but we sought this type of layout for our large group.
We were in sites 39 to 43, which are lake front sites with fantastic views. FYI, we have booked them for 2016. There are some considerations for these sites along with site 44: they are only 15 amp power, and are quite short and narrow, so won’t work for bigger units
If you are traveling as a group or wanted a more treed private environment then head to the back of the campground in sites 2-6. They back onto the forest and are grouped in a small cul-de-sac area.
Sites 29-32 are also lakefront but overlook the tent sites so do not offer the same lake view feel as 39-45. They are a bit wider and, I believe, offer 30 amp power which might be a consideration.
There is an overflow camping area which offers full hookups. It is an open field areas so keep that in mind if you select this area. Large units fit nicely in these large spaces
The campground offers several cute cabins. I did not look inside any of them but several are right on the lake and a few along the creek. They were fully booked during our stay so I have a feeling they are hard to get.
The Management/Owners: These people were so friendly and really set the tone for this trip. As soon as we arrived we could feel the hospitality. The sites we were in had a narrow entrance road and right away they offered their tractor to park the RV’s in the site.
The campground was spotlessly well maintained
Clean washrooms, shower house and laundry room
Lakefront sites and access
Full hook up options
Onsite activities including fun archery targets, and a very impressive children’s playground
Several docks & a boat launch
Basic supply store
Limited privacy, no different than what you expect in most RV parks
Showers were nice and clean but all of us felt they lasted less than their advertised 2 minutes, perhaps because even the cold shut off without warning making it impossible to rinse off.
Bathrooms only have 1 toilet so people have to wait occasionally.
Power and water on every second site so cords and hoses had to be run across on some sites
Forest trail behind the campground leads to a smelly sanitation pond.
Things to do:
Swimming and boating activities
Kayak, paddle boat and pontoon boat rentals
Volleyball, bike ramps, a dock slide and a large playing field.
Paradise Valley Campground in Squamish BC was our last stop on our July 2015 Sea-to-Sky Tour, without kids or dogs. Our first night was at Nairn Falls in Pemberton, from there we headed to Whistler for 3 nights at Riverside Resort and Campground with our last 2 nights at Paradise Valley Campground. When we were planning to camp in Squamish we immediately looked into Alice Lake Provincial Park but not surprisingly, that was booked solid. After a few internet searches we found Paradise Valley. We had never heard of this campground but we needed 3 sites and they had 3 left so it was a perfect match. Having to take the last 3 available sites put our expectations at a low level; from their map it appeared our sites were right off the main road near the office so we were anticipating a noisy night.
Let me say we were PLEASANTLY surprised by this campground. Right from the drive in on a very picturesque country road, the entire campground experience was pleasing. The road is very rural (so much so that our GPS thought the address was a mile or two shy of the actual location) meaning traffic noise was not an issue. There is a train track running down the other side of the campground and it did generated noise about 5 times per day, but sleeping in a trailer allowed us to mute the sound a bit
The sites at this campground are large, some so big we all could have set-up on one site in particular. They are all well treed and offer ample space between sites. Only low lying bush separates the sites meaning you can see your neighbors but because the sites are so large it wasn’t a concern. There web site does have RV size limitation due to all it’s trees but for our party this was not an issue. They have 14 sites that offer hook ups but the sewer was not positioned near the electrical & water. Two of us have side drain connections and could not utilize the sewer hole. Only our motorhome friends have sewer at the back allowing them to drain. We noticed this placement design on all the sites we saw. The sites offer a level RV spot (unless noted on their web site) but the ground cover is dirt making for a dusty stay. A load of gravel would do this campground well but I guess with the size of these sites it would cost a small fortune. They did say they normally water more, but there were restrictions at the time.
Riverside Campground in Whistler, BC was our home for 3 nights in early July. If you are familiar with BC you will know Whistler is a destination spot for both summer and winter vacationers. We have wanted to camp in Whistler for a few years now so last year we scouted out the 2 private campgrounds in the area and decided Riverside would be our selection for this summer’s trip. After 3 nights at Riverside I can say would highly recommend this campground for many reason. I hope you find this review helpful when selecting a site.
The main reason we chose Riverside was because of its location. It is just outside Whistler Village and is wonderfully connected via paved and lit cycling/walking trails. The other private campground in the area, Whistler RV Park, boast incredible views but it is a long way from the village and I feel only accessible by automobile. We like our summer beverages so decided a bike commute would work best.
Like a few other campgrounds we have booked, this campground didn’t allow us to select a specific site and only allowed you to put in requests. We asked which sites would give us the most privacy and were told the full service sites in the original part would be best. We booked 3 sites as we were traveling with two other couples. When we arrived we were each given a site on Douglas street and found we were right next to each other (Douglas 6,7 & 8). That worked great for us and once at our site we were pleased to find some trees separated us from the surrounding campsites. Now that I have seen the campground, if I was traveling with another group, I would recommend getting sites that back onto each other rather than side by side. An example would be Douglas 6 and Elderberry 1) There is more privacy trees on the sides of the sites rather than the end of the sites and therefore we felt like we were looking into the people behind us’ campfire.
I would also strongly recommend trying to gets into the lower, original section of the campground. We walked up to look at the 2 new sections and were shocked at how small these sites were. We found many people had to move their camp chairs out to the road area in order to sit as a small group. There was also very limited length space in these sites, so much so that the campground provides a parking lot for guest to park their tow vehicles in. This is a huge inconvenience because, being in the heart of bear country, most people use the back of their trucks to store coolers, BBQs and all the other forbidden bear attractions that must be put away each night. I commented on how the lower section provided quit a bit of room per site considering it is a private campground. Well these upper sites do not get the same review. They are much shorter than any campground I have been to and have very little privacy between or behind each site.
If I was to put in a request there are the sites it would ask for D1,2,3,4,5. E1,2,3,4, A1,2,3,4,5,6 H8,9,10,11
Sites H8,9 & 10 are nice because they are off on their own a bit
Try to avoid W 8,9,10 & 11. They have nice views but no privacy to the road or golf course
The pull through sites are typical pull through with no privacy but very convenient
Try and avoid the upper section but if that is all you can get this campground is worth the stay for location alone.
Location, location, location
Lower campsites, for a private campground the lower sites were well treed and a decent size. Keep in mind we are comparing this to other private campgrounds, not provincial sites which tend to be even more private.
Large, clean, secure shower houses
Putting green course, playground and sand volleyball court on site
Various accommodation options, camping, cabins, & yurts
WiFi, although also a con as it was very spotty
Quiet for a private campground so close to the town
On site restaurant and convenience store
Not a lot of privacy, better than most private campgrounds but still very close.
Mini golf was not discounted for guests
New upper section sites are very small, short and have limited privacy.
Things to do
Open area for field games
Biking trail to village runs right through the campground
All of Whistlers many features are within walking distance: hiking, biking, golfing, lakes, swimming and many more.
Nairn Falls Provincial Park is located 5 minutes outside Pemberton and 25 minutes north of Whistler making it a great home base for those wanting to enjoy the many outdoor activities in the area. We recently camped a night there before heading into Whistler.
We decided to only stay one night mostly because of the limited facilities. Nairn Falls has no hook ups, which is the case with most provincial parks, but it also only has pit toilets and well water making it a bit more primitive than the camping we normally do (aka, I like my showers). We were planning a Monday night stay, so after checking the Discover Camping Reservation System which indicated the chance of getting a first come first serve site was high, we headed there without a site reserved.
Now this doesn’t sound like a big deal to most people but I am someone who likes to plan things down to the smallest detail so this was a risky move for me and even riskier for my husband who had to deal with my heightened stress.The drive from Vancouver to Nairn Falls is spectacular and worth the trip on its own. We arrived around noon and after cruising around the campground we settled on a site. We were meeting another couple so it was an added bonus that we could get double site 8/9. The camp sites at this park are large so there really isn’t a bad site to be had but all the sites along the cliffs edge have spectacular views and are worth reserving ahead of time if you can get one. Not surprising those sites were gone but a site across the road from the view was the next best thing. It was also close to the washrooms and far enough off the road to distance the traffic noise.
The main reason we decided to stay at Nairn Falls was for the local hiking so after we set up we headed out to complete the Joffre Lake hike. This has to be one of the most spectacular hikes in the area and it only took around 2 hours to complete. That evening we enjoyed the views of the campground and drinks with friends.
The next morning was check out so we only had time for a short hike. We saved the Nairn Falls hike for that morning because it can be completed in under and hour. It was an easy hike and worth the view at the end.
Once packed up we were ready to head out but it was too early to check into our Whistler campground so we decided to explore Pemberton. We had passed North Arm Farm the day before and wanted to go back to find some fresh berries. The views from this farm were amazing and after buying a “hand pie” we sat on the swings and took in the sites. I had never berry picked before so myself and one of our friends headed into the fields, bucket in hand. It didn’t take us long to realize why they can never hire berry pickers. In our short 15 minute pick we were both covered in mosquito bites. After gather enough berries for sangria and cereal we called it a day and headed back to the safety of our vehicles. On to Whistler it was but not before declaring Pemberton and Joffre Lakes a successful stay.
Here are my thoughts on the campground.
Sites 2,4,6,7,11,13/14,16 are prime view sites. Get them if you can, they are worth it.
Avoid sites that back onto highway 99, although there is a lot of bush to dampen the noise, the highway is right there so they are the noisiest
Could a Lower Mainland-based campsite blog not include Cultus Lake? Cultus is one of the few lakes in the region large enough to water ski, and its just inland far enough to escape Vancouver’s cool marine climate. As such, its a very popular day trip and camping destination.
Cultus Lake is only a 20 minute drive from the TransCanada Hwy at Chilliwack. A small village hosts a good waterslide park, a public wharf complex designed into a great swimming area, ice cream stands, a putting golf course and other tourist activities. If Cultus’ weather does get wet, then that 20 minute drive finds Chilliwack’s shopping malls, indoor municipal pools, movie theaters or restaurants.
Just the other side of the village is Sunnyside, a popular private campground that we have never stayed at so would appreciate reader comments for this blog.