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.

Skip to Campground Details

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

Pro Packing Cubes – How To Save Valuable RV Space!

download Pro Packing Cubes asked me to try out and review their product in an RV setting. I had never heard of packing cubes but anything that helps organize my RV is of interest to me. I set out to research their product before deciding if I would accept their offer.

It seems packing cubes are popular with travelers. They are soft sided nylon bags in varying sizes, designed to keep your clothes organized and compact. The product has a 4.5 stars to 5 star rating on Amazon.com which certainly indicates their customers are happy.

Continue reading

South Whidbey Park – 8 Helpful Tips To Secure You The Best Site

image

South Whidbey State Park – Whidbey Island, Washington

Skip Directly to 8 Campground Tips

We camped at this park at the end of August 2013. We were there with 3 other families which consisted of 8 adults and 9 teenagers. This state park is about a 2.5 hour drive from Surrey BC.  We approached the park near dusk when the road was lined with deer.  This made driving very interesting and nerve racking at the same time. We must have counted 150 deer in the short stretch of land from Greenbank along highway 525 to The State Park. I tried to take pictures but it was too dark and not safe enough to stop.Our family was staying in site 7 with friends in sites 35, 31 and 29. The sites are very treed and private with plenty of room for your trailer and an additional kids tent.  If you are looking for sun you need to select your site carefully. Site 7 had very little sun and was long and narrow so it was challenging to get our awning up. It also backed onto the bathrooms and for some reason, of which I would rather not know, the ground at the back of our site never dried out. It didn’t smell like a septic field but I am thinking that had something to do with it. Our friends in site 35 also had a narrow site but it was very long with a large open area at the back for tents, campfires and picnic tables. They too got very little sun but lots of privacy. Site 31 was a good site, wide and long with enough sun to give you a choice of sun or shade. It was not as private but with the damp ocean air it is nice to get the sun. Site 29 had no hook ups but it was also large and open. The sites up on this row had much less privacy, & no hook ups, but were good if you were camping as a group.

image
Fishing right from the beach!
image
Not exactly dinner but hours of fun!

If you are camping there to be on the ocean then you should know that South Whidbey Island Park is a steep hike from the water.  The trails are very steep and challenging to get kayaks and beach gear up and down. Trust me, we considered leaving the kayaks for the next campers. There are a couple of very nice hikes right near the park. As a group we did the easy one which was suitable for dogs, kids and adults. It took us about an hour and a half and it was through some beautiful foliage and along a stream at points. Well worth a trip if you are staying in the camp ground. The web site also talks about the U.S. Navy jets, from the nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, may fly over the campground at any time for several hours creating noisy conditions for campers. We did not experience this but be aware that this may occur and, depending on your views, can have a uniquely positive or negative impact on your trip. Our kids would have thought it was great.

gallery golf (2)
Gallery Golf Course

One day part of our group went golfing at the Navy’s Gallery Golf Course north of Oak Harbor. Its about a 40 min drive, but is very affordable for a course that has some ocean-side holes.  It’s best feature was that we got to see up-close about half a dozen military jets flying to or from the navy base next door.   Not great when they scream by during your back-swing, but they were definitely cool to see.

Stairs at the end of the trail leading to the beach.
Stairs at the end of the trail leading to the beach.

Another day all the adults went into Langley to check out the town and have lunch. Langley is located  right on the water with amazing view of the Saratoga Passage. The town has some great artisan shops and several restaurants. It was a beautiful day and we were looking for a patio or deck. We stopped at Prima Bistro which had a great deck elevated above the street so the view of Saratoga Passage was fantastic. We had a very nice lunch, some great drinks and a lot of laughs.

8 Campground Tips

  • Recommended Sites: 
    1. This campground is very small so if you have a trailer over 18 feet you will only have a few choices
    2. For larger units site 31 is a good choice
    3. If you are under 18 feet and need power try and get site 33. It has a good balance of sun and shade and is private.
    4. Site 31 and then 34 would be my next top power site choices for smaller units
    5. Sites 11 to 15 do not have power but are very private and close to the trails. These sites do not get much sun
    6. I didn’t make notes on the sites 37 to 47 but it was a nice part of the campsite for tent camping. The sites in this area are small and mostly tent sites.
  • Campground Highlights
    • Located right on the ocean
    • Park features include old-growth forest, tidelands for crabbing and clamming
    • Amazing views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains (from the beach, campsites themselves are in the trees)
    • Easy hikes right from the park.
    • Power and water at some sites.
    • Clean washrooms and showers
    • Short drive to small ocean side towns for day trips.
    • Fishing nearby
    • Sani dump on site
  • Campground Lowlights
    • Limited sun on most of the campsites.
    • Steep hike to the water
    •  No open space for group games.
    • No double sites
    • Loud noise of the jets overhead
  • Things to do
    • Crabbing, clamming and fishing
    • Hiking right from the campground
    • Golf, several courses within driving distance
    • Small ocean side towns to visit within driving distance
  • Links

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

Montague Harbour Provincial Park

IMG_1592

Skip directly to recommended sites

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.

IMG_3049
cc

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.

Skip Directly To Campground Advise

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.

Camp That Site, Fun New Look, Topics and Reviews!

We are back!

After not posting for 20 months I am starting up again. In August of 2017 I had run out of campgrounds to write about and unique stories to tell. I didn’t want the site to become filled with posts not relevant to the topic so I just put it on hold until I could gather new material and feel inspired.

Continue reading

Come To The Island – 7 Great Reasons To Float On An Island.

As you know we are social campers, not back country hard core campers. We love to gather with friends and family at a lake and hope for sun. This usually involves several women blowing up individual flotation bed and paddling several feet into the lake. I realize this sound terribly laborious and you must marvel at all the obstacles we have endured.img_5004

  1. How can so many women chat while continuing to floating away from each other?
  2. How can your drinks still be full by the time you reach your destination?
  3. Doesn’t the lake keep pushing us back to shore, resulting in constant paddling.

Continue reading

Ice Ice Baby – Camping With A Portable Ice Maker!

69E4B2FB-2077-4479-97B6-9767AC1FF847-959-000003BD23F350F1The older I get, the more conveniences I seem to acquire and a portable ice maker is just another example. We are social campers, meaning, we mostly camp with other families and are often in private campgrounds with hook ups. It also means we go through a lot of beverages!

Regardless of our camp set up we like to keep our beverages in a cooler packed with ice. Nothing says camping like digging around in freezing water and being rewarded with a cold beer. Keeping that cooler full of ice during a hot summer trip is really the only stress we have camping so we decided to buy a portable ice maker. I do agree, if this is our biggest stress, then life is great!

Continue reading

No Mess Individual French Fry Packets

I am always looking for easy recipes to  make while camping. I often find lots of meat recipes but am looking for an option to roasted potatoes. This option would be much higher in calories but my kids would love it and it looks like an easy clean up.

Grilled Foil Packed Cheesy Fries

7ff676cf-998e-4e8d-b017-c4222bed78ae

Ingredients

1 bag (14 oz) frozen crinkle-cut french fries
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup grated cheese
2 tablespoons sliced green onions (2 medium)
2 tablespoons cooked real bacon bits
  • Heat grill to medium-high heat. Toss frozen French fries with melted butter.
  • Tear off 2 (12-inch) lengths of  Heavy Duty Foil to make foil boats. Place half of the fries in a single layer in the center of 1 piece of foil. Loosely fold foil around edges to form a boat, leaving large hole at top to allow steam to escape; repeat with remaining fries and foil.
  • Place foil packets on grill over indirect heat. Cover grill; cook 20 to 30 minutes, stirring once, until fries are crispy and baked through. Top each packet with grated cheese; cook about 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and bacon bits just before serving.