Camping in the Okanagan
June 19, 2008 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone suggest a good place to go camping in the Okanagan in BC? Last minute - we leave tomorrow!

Vancouver has been too cloudy and chilly lately and we want some sun. The forecast in the Okanagan looks good so we're thinking about a last-minute trip. Neither of us has been there before. We are looking for the following:

- Campground likely to have space available this weekend (Friday/Saturday night)
- With a lake where you can swim that isn't too crowded
- Within maybe 6 hours drive from Vancouver, closer is better.
- In a spot that is likely to be sunny and warm this weekend
- Nothing too rugged where you need to park the car and hike to the campground... basic amenities nearby would be nice.

This doesn't sound too difficult - actually we're quite overwhelmed by all the options and could use some recommendations to narrow it down. Thanks.
posted by PercussivePaul to Travel & Transportation around Okanagan, BC (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Okanagan Lake Provincial Park, just north of Summerland. Very nice, but highway noise at upper sites.
Bear Creek Provincial Park. Turn left at Westside Road a couple of km before the new Kelowna bridge, go 9 km.
Ellison Provincial Park. Access from Vernon. Quite a hike down to the beach from most sites.
More here. Better phone and reserve, or arrive early; they are often full this time of year. Watch out for swimmer's itch, which is simple to avoid by drying yourself off thoroughly after swimming.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:50 PM on June 19, 2008

Cherries might be ripe down in Oliver and Osoyoos. More heat; less rain.
Gallagher Lake Campground, just north of Oliver.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:59 PM on June 19, 2008

I second Osoyoos. It will be warm and the drive from Kamloops down is incredible. Easily one of my favorite drives in Canada.
posted by birdlips at 2:18 PM on June 19, 2008

I looked at Gallagher lake and I can see they don't allow wood fires... I was kind of hoping to have a campfire.
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:24 PM on June 19, 2008

Then try Vaseux Lake, Haynes Point or Inkaneep Provincial Parks. They should allow fires, unless there is an all-out ban. And you know to take Hwy 3 for Osoyoos, or 97C for Kelowna--you won't go near Kamloops.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:34 PM on June 19, 2008

You can also try Lakeside resort in Oliver.
posted by jjb at 5:49 PM on June 19, 2008

I think it will be worth the extra drive to take Hwy 1/5 from Van to Kamloops then the 97 down to Osoyoos. It is one of my fav routes as you get to see the entire lake (Vernon to Osoyoos) Granted, if you are in a rush follow weapons-grade pandemonium's route.
posted by birdlips at 8:16 AM on June 20, 2008

I don't think "entire lake" means what you think it means, birdlips. From Vernon you would pass six lakes--Kalamalka, Wood, Duck, the southern half of Okanagan, Skaha, and Osoyoos. That certainly is the long way, and would take a lot more than six hours.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:52 PM on June 20, 2008

I suggest you go soon, though. Or go on a weekday. Gone are the days when you could just roll into a campground on a lake and get a site. July and August are really packed. Coming from Vancouver, I would go through Kamloops and drive down, or if I were going to the South Okanagan (Osoyoos, et. al.) go on Hwy 3 (Hope-Princeton), which is a gorgeous but slower drive. Anything to avoid the nightmare that is driving through Kelowna. There shouldn't be an all-out ban on firewood, yet. Have fun!
posted by pantagrool at 12:48 AM on June 22, 2008

Well... up bright and early on Friday morning, we checked the weather one last time. Rain in the Okanagan... and sunshine in Tofino. So we went to Tofino instead. Thanks anyway for all the advice, I will make it to the Okanagan sooner or later and this will be very helpful.
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:25 AM on June 23, 2008

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