Spring Activities & Camping Abound in British Columbia’s Okanagan
In the mountains there is still plenty of white stuff, but in the valleys, once the snow melts, the trees start to bloom and the leaves turn green.
There are a variety of activities available in early spring, especially because the temperate climate of the Okanagan is so warm early in the season. Consider indulging in some of the following if you’re looking to get camping this spring:
If you’re a fan of wines and brews, consider taking one of the area’s many wine tours. In Kelowna, you can take the Lakeshore Wine Route, starting at Sperling Vineyards to CedarCreek Estate Winery. Home of the award-winning restaurant, Home Block, CedarCreek is a popular way to enjoy the valley and the views of Okanagan Lake. As your day winds down, you can head back to Apple Valley Orchard and RV Park for a good night’s rest. The next day, you’ll be geared up to head down to Penticton to explore one of the province’s mighty Ale Trail destinations. In fact, Penticton was recently named Canada’s Craft Beer Capital!
You’re wise to spend several days using Kelowna as your home base, especially in spring. The flowers are out and the birds are singing, so it’s a great time to visit. Plan to spend a day visiting the Kettle Valley Railway in Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park, where you can enjoy biking, hiking and walking across the 18 trestles that still exist from the decommissioned railway line.
Of course, spring skiing is still an option if you’re so inclined, with Big White Resort, located just 60 kilometres east of Kelowna, a short day trip away. Another great accommodation in the Kelowna area is Holiday Park RV & Condo Resort.
It’s a great time of year to visit the South Okanagan, as the fruit trees are in bloom in early April. Their heady scent permeates the air. In Penticton, you can enjoy time at a variety of different campgrounds and resorts, including Oxbow RV Resort, South Beach Gardens Campground or Barefoot Beach Resort. While in Penticton, you can enjoy all kinds of different activities and events. In fact, Visit Penticton has a great events calendar you can enjoy year round. Some favourite activities around the Penticton area include a day trip on the Kettle Valley Steam Railway in Summerland (and don’t forget to swing by Summerland Sweets while you’re in town, or to indulge the adults’ sweet tooth, consider a visit to Bottleneck Drive. You’ll have a chance to enjoy breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries, all in close proximity to each other).
As you wind your way south, golf, swimming, boating and hiking are top activities to enjoy. Outside the busy summer season, there are many places to see and things to do that are just waiting to enjoy. Book a spot at Gallagher Lake, where you’ll enjoy amazing views among the ponderosa pines any time of year. If you plan on staying in sleepy Oliver, consider booking at Lakeside Resort, a full-service year-round resort that’s budget friendly. It’s also near Nk’Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course, if you’re looking to practice your swing. Also in Oliver is Fairview Mountain golf course, which is known to be open (weather permitting, of course) 11 months of the year! While you’re in town, swing by the Oliver Visitor’s Centre, as there are events going on all year round in Canada’s Wine Capital.
Closer to the border is Osoyoos, known as Canada’s Warmest Welcome, where – if you’re not careful – you could drift across the American border, which bisects Osoyoos Lake. In town, you have a variety of options for accommodations, including Brookvale Holiday Resort.
Stationed in Osoyoos also allows you to head east into Boundary Country or west to the Similkameen on day trips. Each are wonderful (consider visiting the Rock Creek Fall Fair, and don’t forget Keremeos is known as Canada’s Fruit Stand Capital) and are close enough to stay in Osoyoos, the only true desert in Canada, while exploring all the Okanagan has to offer.
For campgrounds in the Okanagan and elsewhere in British Columbia go to the Camping Map.
Share your BC camping photos using hashtag #campinbc
Haida Gwaii Adventures, British Columbia
Although I have travelled BC, especially between Vancouver and Prince George, more times than I can count, when my husband and I bought an RV we slowed down; really began to see this amazing province we call home. In this blog I am sharing one of our many BC explorations.
We had heard much about Haida Gwaii, the mystical secluded archipelago made up of a cluster of islands off the northern coast of BC. We were eager to discover it for ourselves. It’s sparsely populated and not easy to get to. Most of the inhabitants are indigenous and live in villages located almost exclusively on Graham Island.
There is an expression about remote communities that there are only three ways to access them, by water, by air or by birth. We chose water taking the ferry that is part of BC’s provincial ferry system from Prince Rupert to Skidegate on Haida Gwaii. Reserve early as it fills up fast particularly during the busy season. We encountered others who had not been so attentive in their planning. They were stuck on the island until they could secure another sailing. Not always easy with an RV.
A curious fact about the ferry to Haida Gwaii, not only does it take eight hours, but oversized vehicles need to be backed onboard. “Excuse me, as in backing up all the way down the ramp and onto the ferry?” Of course, if you need assistance the ferry workers have you covered. They have professional drivers that will do it for you if you prefer. As I do all the driving, I looked at my husband, “you got this,” he said. And I did, but it’s a long ramp and a technical drive not for the faint of heart.
Once on the island our first campsite was on the ocean surrounded by serene ancient forest just outside Daajing Giids (a more appropriate culturally representative name than the former Queen Charlotte City). It was quintessential west coast. A light rain fell, the kind that doesn’t really get you wet, but causes mist to form drifting across the beach and through the trees draped with moss.
We walked the rugged beach, and to our delight came across wild sea asparagus which we harvested for our dinner. In fact, wild harvest is a common practice. You won’t find any fancy high-priced touristy seafood restaurants here. The locals acquire and trade amongst themselves the abundance from the land and sea rather than marketing to visitors.
Next, we drove to Masset on the northern end of Graham Island. Along the way were many deer grazing beside the roadway, a local phenomenon. We rode our bicycles around Old Masset enjoying the authentic aboriginal village, oceanfront, and a quick bite at one of several food trucks that serve as “eating out” Masset style. You may also wish to trek just a bit further to Tow Hill to take in the vast Pacific Ocean vistas.
Heading back south to catch our ferry off island we explored Port Clements mingling with the locals as they fished off the pier in the heart of town. We also stopped for photos at area attractions Halibut Bite and Balance Rock.
The ferry between Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert runs during the day, or you can take it overnight. Staterooms are available so you can get some rest as Transport Canada doesn’t allow you to stay in your vehicle below deck for safety reasons. Hecate Strait is renowned for its turbulent seas. We chose a daytime crossing on our way over to Haida Gwaii to take in the sights and an overnight on the way back to Prince Rupert (with a stateroom). The overnight ferry from Haida Gwaii aligned perfectly with our intent to board yet another ferry, this time from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy on the northern tip of Vancouver Island. This route might be known to those who have traversed the inside passage on an Alaskan cruise. The scenery and the wildlife are spectacular!
We recommend Haida Gwaii to the more adventurous. Its natural beauty is stunning but it’s short on amenities so prepare accordingly. The towns on Haida Gwaii are small. Ideally take your own accommodation (we had our RV), your own food (groceries are limited) and fuel can be very expensive as it must be barged in so fill up before you come. The number of eateries, coffee shops, stores and accommodations are sparse compared to mainland standards and the residents aren’t particularly fussed about catering to off-island interests so don’t expect much other than to supplement what you brought.
In short, this is no tourist mecca. You don’t come to Haida Gwaii for the modern-day amenities or atmosphere. You come to appreciate the simplicity, the unspoiled First Nations culture and wild natural wonder of the west coast.
For RVing and camping accommodations in British Columbia go the camping map.
Share your BC travel and camping pictures using hashtag #campinbc #exploreBC
It’s always a great day to #campinbc
RV Maintenance Tips for Winter Storage
Whether you’re new to the Trailer RV Lifestyle or a seasoned RVer, you’ll want to stay on top of maintenance so you can enjoy your Recreational Vehicle (RV) for many years to come. Exterior maintenance is a great place to start.
I have added my 10 top things to do prior to storing for the long winter months.
1. Wash your RV exterior
Hose off the loose dirt and grime, then, using a soft brush or sponge, wash the RV with specialized RV soap (found at most dealerships or automotive supply stores), a quick rinse with cold water will do the trick.
Tip: Before washing, remove the black streaks that appear around windows, doors, vents etc. I found this great product from Magic Boss – All Purpose Cleaner available at most Pool suppliers and Amazon (also works on those bugs that have dried on to the front of the trailer). Take extra caution around appliance vents when washing to prevent water from accessing the trailer.
2. Wax or apply a protectant to your RV exterior
Time to channel your inner Karate Kid and do the wax-on wax-off method. This can be a time-consuming task depending on the size of your RV, but it is well worth the effort. Make sure the exterior is dry before you start waxing and spot-test on a small area on any graphics or stickers before widespread application. Also, check to ensure that the wax is appropriate for use on the type of exterior on your RV as well. Apply a coat of good quality wax or protectant to your RV exterior. I waxed mine shortly after purchasing my trailer and it has certainly helped remove the bugs and bird poop after multiple camping trips, especially those pesky ones that splat on the front of the vehicle.
Tip: I now use Wax & Dry Spray Car Wax by Turtle Wax.
3. Clean your awning and keep it dry for storage
Before you roll up your RV awning for storage, clean it well by sweeping off all debris and wash with mild soap and water. Lubricate moving parts (in my case the awning pistons) with silicone spray. When you roll it up, ensure that the awning is in a locked position against the trailer.
Tip: Spray the awning with your cleaner solution and roll it back up and leave it stand for a few hours before reopening and rinsing off the cleaner. This gives the cleaner time to dissolve dirt and stains in the rolled-up position. It saves a lot of elbow grease as you do not need to scrub stubborn areas.
Don’t forget to remove your batteries for the winter and put them on a trickle charger. Replace the battery casing lid to prevent water gathering in the box and freeze-thaw damaging the battery storage box.
4. Inspect any sealed areas thoroughly to prevent water damage and potential rodents gaining access
Your RV is in the elements day-after-day throughout all the seasons, you’ll want to make sure that your RV exterior including the roof, sides, edges, windows, doors, vents, end caps, moldings, compartments, and underside are sealed off and doing their job to protect the interior from potential water damage.
To prevent mice, or other rodents, look for any gaps, openings or areas with aged sealant and re-caulk if necessary. Make sure to use the appropriate sealant and when in doubt, ask your RV dealer or manufacturer for advice.
Tip: One interesting tip I picked up was placing scented dryer sheets in the corners of the RV to reduce bugs and keep spiders out (these work).
5. Lubricate all hinges, locks and moving parts
No-one likes creaky doors, windows or compartments. Lubricating hinges and moving parts with WD40 and all locks with a graphite spray lubricant is an easy maintenance step that takes only a couple of minutes. When I purchased the Denali, it had been stored and not used for the current season, so all the hinges squeaked.
Another often overlooked moving part is the rubber flanges and seals for the slide-out, compartment doors and windows. Every year, clean them and coat them with a protectant for rubber to keep them supple and working properly. Look for products that state RV Slide-out Rubber sealant conditioner.
6. Cover outside vents to keep critters (and condensation) away
Keep the insects out and prevent nesting by installing mesh or covers on outside vents (furnace, refrigerator, water heater) for long-term storage. Buy a proper A/C cover and cover your air conditioning unit to avoid condensation during storage.
My vents have a Max Air flow cover on them, and I have purchased a full breathable RV cover for the trailer and use this during the winter as I must store my trailer outside in all the seasonal elements of the lower mainland in British Columbia.
7. Open your vents
When your RV is not being used during the summer months, the inside living area can get up to 130F degrees depending on your location. That type of intense heat will cause even the toughest materials to break down and fail over time. Open your vents to let the air in. (But remember to keep the outside vents closed to keep the rain out!) I can keep my vents open as they have a Max Air cover but one that is not covered is a rain sensitive one and should automatically close when it rains (but I don’t rely on that, so I close it). Next year, I plan to put a Max Air cover on it like the others, to even out the venting.
I leave the vents open in the winter to allow airflow when the trailer is stored as we store the trailer from November to April with the cover on and the sun can heat the unit. Warm air holds more moisture (water vapour) than cold air. It also rises vertically so the vents allow the warmer air to exit with the moisture.
8. Lubricate your slide-out rails
Lubricate your slide-out rails a couple of times a year to stop rust and corrosion. You can find a can of lubricant spray specifically designed for this project for under $20. This is a much cheaper solution than replacing your slide-outs down the road! I always do this before I put the trailer to bed in the winter as well as coating the rubber slide-out seals with a seal product to protect the rubber.
9. Winterize the water system
Winterizing the water system inside is necessary for me as we encounter many days of minus temperatures in a row during the winter. I do not want the inconvenience of a burst pipe.
First, empty the hot water tank and the holding tanks. On my last camping trip of the season I always do a thorough sewage and grey water dump and clean the tanks. This process means that I only have residual water in the pipes, however for peace of mind I like to install the pink potable ani-freeze.
To do this, close off the bypass valve to the hot water tank and attach a hose to the water pump, the other end is placed inside the potable water jug. Then turn on the pump and it will pull the fluid from the jug. Open all the taps and flush the toilet while the pump is running to ensure the water exits and turns pink with the antifreeze. I use a four-gallon jug of potable antifreeze as my pipes stretch a long distance from the pump to all the taps and toilet in the trailer.
For the left-over antifreeze pour a small amount down each of the sink and shower drains. Before finishing reattach the system pipe to the water pump and then clean all the sink and shower surrounds to remove the pink anti-freeze and prevent staining.
10. Cover the RV
After you finish winterizing the RV, inside and out, it’s time to cover. Breathable lightweight covers are available from dealership stores and RV suppliers. Make sure you cover the tires too. Before covering the tires, I always check the pressures and wash the tires with protectant. Don’t forget the spare.
All the 10 steps mentioned will help protect your RV and make it ready for the first trip of the year.
For additional tips on maintaining your RV, Go RVing Canada has created a handy checklist of maintenance tips to keep your RV exterior in top shape.
Looking for camping and RVing accommodations in BC? Check out the camping map.
It’s always a great day to #CampInBC, #exploreBC
Vancouver Island, British Columbia Off-Season Adventures
‘Canada’s Mediterranean’, is how I like to refer to Central Vancouver Island. It offers more year-round outdoor recreational opportunities in mind-blowing scenery, than I’ll ever have time to enjoy in one lifetime. But I’m trying– and the best part is that so many activities are absolutely free!
To get you started let me give you just a couple of very different ‘cool season’ activities on different parts of the Island, along with two fantastic year-round RV parks located close to each mini adventure.
Life’s too short not to visit the best places, right? So let’s start this Island winter season sampler with…
Stocking Creek Regional Park
Nothing screams “Vancouver Island” like a waterfall– we’ve got the tallest one in Canada here, but the one I’ll show you today is near the popular year-round Country Maples RV Resort. Stocking Creek Falls is just south of the neat little town of Ladysmith—and you HAVE to see their downtown Christmas light up if you’re here during the festive season!!
The Stocking Creek Regional Park is the start of a tranquil 2km loop trail in a lush rainforest alongside the clear babbling creek that leads to the stunning viewing platform above the picture-perfect waterfall.
And if you’re nimble and sure of foot (although it’s not recommended for safety reasons), it is possible to get behind the waterfall and look out through the water curtain—it’s so loud back there!!!
Check out the video of the recent winter hike I took there with our RV Snowbirds. Love this park!
Groomed Trail Snowshoeing at Mt. Washington Alpine Resort
After setting up camp, it’s a short drive inland and up to Mt. Washington Alpine Resort, which borders world famous Strathcona Provincial Park, BC’s oldest park, and home to Canada’s tallest waterfall with a drop of 440 meters!
It’s also one of the few places anywhere that you can ski AND have a view of the ocean!
One of the things they brag about in the Comox Valley is that you can golf in the morning and ski in the afternoon!
Although there are exceptions to all rules, on the East Coast of Vancouver Island, the expectation is that white stuff stays on the mountains, while at sea level, anything that comes down from the sky is rain. I love snow, but I don’t want home delivery– except Christmas Eve.
These days, I head to Mt. Washington to relax. I leave the downhill skiing aside, and instead, pack a lunch and head to the beautiful Raven Lodge just below the ski hill overlooking the valley and Paradise Meadows (and it is!). There you can rent some snowshoes and get out for a couple hours exploring the groomed trails in this stunning location.
Of course, the crisp mountain air and ‘shoeing works up an appetite, so the perfect ending is to drop off the snowshoes and sit under the massive wood beams of the lodge, and park beside the fireplace in a big comfy chair and enjoy lunch. They make fabulous, well priced lunches, or you bring your own, and just purchase a glass of wine or a hot chocolate while telling stories or dozing by the fire and enjoying the view over the valley.
Check out the video – you want to do this – and if you haven’t tried the modern snowshoes, it’s as easy as walking!
45 minutes later, you’re back down in Courtenay, and just outside of town, the tranquility of Seal Bay RV Park welcomes you home. It even has a stocked fishing pond onsite!
Visit Vancouver Island this Winter and Stay Awhile!
As I said, winter and summer sports are possible on the same day in Canada’s Mediterranean! While the rest of Canada deals with real winter, if you have an RV, you can still stay in Canada where your dollar goes farther, enjoy the lower off-season monthly RV park rates at award winning parks, and have an active lifestyle with endless adventures.
Special Places Google Map Makes it Easy
Visit my ‘Vancouver Island Special Places’ Google Map, and use your favourite digital device to find other amazing places to see and things to do on Vancouver Island. The map currently has over 60 different placemarks of ‘must see places’ and is growing.
The placemarks on the map for each location are colour-coded to indicate the activity level or fitness level needed to explore. Green ones are easy, Yellow a bit more challenging, then Blue, then Red. Clicking on a placemark will open a window of information about the spot, with a short write-up, and links to photos and videos showing you why each place is a jewel.
This winter, don’t hibernate—activate!
If this area interests you, check out our drive:
From Coast to Coast on Vancouver Island: Vancouver to Tofino
For other places to camp in the winter, plus more winter blogs and how-to information go to Winter Camping in British Columbia.
Share your BC travel and winter camping photos using hashtag #CampinBC
It’s always a great day to #campinbc
The Final 5 Days in a Rental RV Exploring the Coastal Mountains of BC
Having picked up our RV rental in Delta, BC the first five days of our circle tour took us to Manning Park, Merritt, Kamloops and on our 4th night we stayed at Pinantan Lake Resort north off Hwy 5. This is the rest of our trip.
Day 5: We packed up at Pinantan Lake Resort and drove back the 25 km to Hwy 5 and headed to Sheridan Lake Resort, our final stop in the Cariboo Region. Once we turned on to Hwy 5 we drove 88 km to the Little Fort turn-off onto Hwy 24 and the famous Fishing Hwy. The first thing we saw was a fishing store, Little Fort Fly and Tackle. I recommend going in and taking a browse. There’s plenty to see aside from the abundance of fishing tackle. On the way to Sheridan Lake we stopped at a rest area to make lunch. That’s the best thing about having your home on wheels with you – the ease of preparing your own on-the-go-meals. Sheridan Lake Resort, at first glance, tells you it’s a popular spot with rows of RVs, trailers and camping units, as well as the motel block. Our site was treed and beside some very friendly campers. I find that campers are gregarious and always willing to share stories, advice and help one another.
Jamie and I decided to go for a walk along the lake which was just a few short steps from our campsite. On the way we chatted with a couple of seasoned Sheridan Lakers who frequent the resort as it is close to their home of Vernon, BC. They told us they have to make two trips, one to bring in their Travel Trailer and one for the boat although, they did say that they only have to make the trip with the boat once as the resort offers moorage during the camping season.
The couple let us peek into their modified unit. They had really maximized the storage space. And even though I have been camping for more than 50 years I learned a few tips and tricks.
The next day Jamie went out in a 12 ft Lund boat to take some video and drone footage. Later we walked along the upper fenced area of the property, which was made from hand cut timber that Titus, the co-owner builds. The path was created from all the cedar chips produced by the fence cutting. There were painted rocks, fairies, houses and miniature states all lining this beautiful path that visitors seem to add to each visit. For such a busy park, it is very quiet and well maintained.
Day 7 we took a short journey to Paul Lake, before heading on to our next destination for two days at Fraser Cove Campground in Lillooet, BC. We drove along Hwy 24 to the Hwy 97 turnoff just past Lone Butte passing through the communities of 70 Mile House, Chasm, Clinton, Cache Creek and into Lillooet. Fraser Cove Campground is a very unique, quaint campground and is aimed at the smaller c-class, vans and tenters. It has a switchback that stops larger towing vehicles and motorhomes from gaining access. Peter and Dawn, the operators, are very straightforward with campers about getting you down the hill – a service that is greatly appreciated. Our site was parallel to the Mighty Fraser River with a grassy knoll and a picnic table all under this wonderful weeping willow. Jamie and I walked around the property with Dawn and Peter talking about the area and all the sturgeon that are caught (and released) in this end of the Fraser.
Peter let us use the e-bikes that he has on-site, and we rode across the old (1914) wooden bridge into town, spoke to a local who was on his motorcycle and then we rode (15 minutes) into town. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, due to Covid 19, a lot of businesses were closed to tourists to help keep their community virus free. However, we went to the local grocery store and purchased a few items for our next stage of the journey. After we were back at the campsite we sat outside listening to the roar of the Fraser and the weeping willow above us swaying in the wind. That was a great sleep.
Day 8 we woke to the sound of the river and because the heat of the morning came early, we got ourselves ready as a friend (who’s now a local) was taking us on a hike to Cayoosh Creek Dam, a fairly easy 4 km hike that takes you to a spectacular show at the dam with so much rushing water you can feel the coolness 200 yards away. Back at the campsite, we barbecued dinner and later rode over the main bridge that crosses the river.
Day 9: In the morning we packed up and headed down Hwy 99 to Whistler via scenic Duffy Lake Road, a 132 km trip, with a quick stop at Joffre Lakes to take photos. Our next camping stop was Riverside RV – A Parkbridge Camping & RV Resort. This resort has cabins, RV sites as well as some yurt rentals. Just a short walk from the resort is the renowned Scandinave Spa, as well as a 2 km walk to the Whistler Village itself. Because this was our last destination, and would be returning the vehicle the next day, I used the evening to pack up our personal effects and store them under the table and in the storage compartments outside for ease of transferring once we got back to Fraserway RV Rentals.
Day 10: Two hours and 132 km to go and we arrived at Fraserway RV in Delta. The return was very easy. We pulled up, ran inside to let them know we were back, they did a quick check of the paperwork and just like that, it was the end of a great trip. In summary, we travelled 1,500 km and filled the gas tank 4 times.
Enjoyed this blog? Read the 1st blog of our trip.
Other blogs and trips of interest in this area include:
Coast Along British Columbia’s Famed Fishing Hwy in the Cariboo
Following the BC Gold Rush Trail through the Cariboo & Beyond
For camping in this area and throughout BC go to the Camping Map
Share your BC travel and camping pictures using hashtag #campinbc, #explorebc, #bcnice, #green
It’s always a great day to #campinbc
How to Respect and Observe Wildlife and Our Natural Surroundings with the BC Camper’s Code
The Camper’s Code is a health and safety initiative that has nine simple rules that are easy to follow. When outdoor enthusiasts respect the rules, camping continues to be enjoyable for all and nature remains pristine and animals stay wild. This blog explains: Respect Wildlife, Take Only Photos and Control Your Pets.
Do not approach or feed wild animals
Getting close to and feeding wildlife can be detrimental to animals and birds, their survival, and even to you. Feeding is prohibited in many municipalities and parks in British Columbia and Canada, which means people can be fined.
Approaching wildlife (or allowing wildlife to come near you) causes them to stop being wary of people and can pose grave risks to humans and animals. Be aware that animals and birds can become stressed and/or defensive when humans are too close and can be protective of their young. Avoid noises or actions that might upset them.
Let wildlife forage for their own food and roam without an audience. Feeding wild animals and leaving food out (even accidentally) or not properly disposing of garbage, teaches animals that humans provide food.
Observe from afar
If you wish to observe wildlife responsibly do so with a registered guide or from a safe distance (at least 30 metres for deer, moose and elk and 100 metres away from bears, coyotes, wolves, and cougars).
If you see wildlife beside a road while driving, slow down, stay inside the vehicle (both driver and passengers) and move on. Stopping or pulling over conditions animals into thinking that vehicles are nothing to be afraid of.
Take Only Photos
Marvel at wildlife with cameras, binoculars and/or telephoto lenses but do not attempt any selfies or take photos of people with large or dangerous wildlife in the background. (A photo with a squirrel or chipmunk in behind—should it stay still enough—is a safer ‘photo op’.)
Leave your drone behind. Drones disturb wildlife, disrupting their natural behaviour and risking injury; plus, they’re prohibited in many parks. Parks Canada has fines in the thousands of dollars for the use of drones.
Follow the basic rule: If it’s not yours, don’t take it. Leave natural and cultural objects undisturbed. This includes shells, mushrooms, flowers and even wood; if you transport wood from one campground to the next disease and bug infestations can be transferred.
Control Your Pets
We love our pets, and a lot of people go camping and RVing with them, but they can also contaminate trails, beaches and natural resources, annoy park visitors and negatively impact wildlife.
Keep your pet(s) under control, obey the park or campground’s leash length policy and know where they’re allowed. Many parks are pet friendly and have off-leash areas so research this ahead of time. Be considerate of other campers and hikers, and other pets. Not all people or dogs, for instance, love all dogs. It’s for the safety of your own pets, fellow campers and local wildlife to control your own animal.
When it comes to pet waste, pick it up and pack it out every time. Not doing so is disrespectful to fellow campers and can pose a danger to other domestic animals and the wildlife.
The Camper’s Code is a collaborative campaign started in 2021 by a dozen BC-based organizations who believe deeply in the responsibility of every single person to create a safe, enjoyable, respectful camping experience for all—people, wildlife, and nature.
The Camper’s Code is comprised of nine easy-to-follow rules: Respect Wildlife, Take Only Photos, Control Your Pets, Store Food Safely, Don’t Litter, Practice Fire Safety and Plan Ahead and Be Prepared, Respect Others, Respect Staff and Signs.
For campgrounds and RV parks in BC go to the BC Camping Map.
It’s always a great day to #CampinBC
A 10-day Tour in a C-Class Motorhome Exploring British Columbia’s Coastal Mountains
I’ve always wanted to go exploring in a Motorhome from Vancouver to the Cariboo and to see some of the Coastal Mountains en route. So, we took a circle route that started out east on Hwy 1 and ended up back on Hwy 99 to Vancouver. In between we followed scenic Hwys 3, 5, the Fishing Hwy 24 and 97. This is part 1 of 2 that took us on our journey.
This trip was booked in 2019, postponed, and rescheduled 4 times due to the Covid pandemic, so to finally make the trip a reality was more than joyous. The other thing that I was extremely excited about, was knowing that I was taking this trip with my adult son, a videographer, which meant great photos to record great memories.
The first morning we made our way out to Delta, BC in the rain. It was our first stop of the trip – to pick up our Motorhome rental unit from Fraser Way RV Rentals on Cliveden Avenue.
We were greeted by the most knowledgeable young man, Lucas. Lucas gave us the rundown of the rental process, which is not that daunting after all. Then he took us outside to meet the 22’ foot home on wheels. For such a compact unit, it packs nicely. The outside of the unit had eight lockable doors to the storage areas, and we were able to store two bundles of firewood, table, chairs, an extra propane tank, propane firepit, camera gear all in one cubby. Another storage area was great for groceries until we arrived at the first destination and could move things around.
Our next stop was at Save-On-Foods to pick up the food perishables that we didn’t pack ahead of time.
It was a wet ride to Camperland RV Resort at Bridal Falls on Hwy 1 where we had pre-booked our first night. We backed the unit into the treed site, hooked up to the power, water and sewer and hunkered down in the unit for the night listening to the rain pelt down. Just when we thought it was over – nope here comes another wave of rain harder than the last.
Morning came, and we had a slight reprieve from the rain, so we put out the awning to at least get one photo of our stay. Packed up and headed east.
Day 2 started with a 50 km drive to The Hope Slide on Hwy 3 which was noted as the second largest recorded landslide in Canada and happened in 1965, and even after all the years that have passed, you can still see the magnitude of the slide. Well worth a stop to investigate.
Another 50 km drive took us to Manning Park, where we joyfully watched the ground squirrels bobbing in and out of the numerous holes in the field in front of the resort. Managed to get this little one who was quite interested in the camera.
From Manning Park, you take the turn off right across the highway from the resort and drive up the twisty road to Cascade Lookout. The area was a buzz. Whiskey Jacks above and the cutest little chipmunks scurrying at our feet. The views are just breathtaking – well worth the drive.
Driving west back from Manning Park we took the turn-off to Hwy 5. Our next destination for the night was Moonshadows RV Park and Campground in Merritt (160 km from Manning Park). Stopped in the office, had a chat with Carol. She told us all about the Coldwater River that the park sits beside and that Moonshadows RV Park is one of the parks that country music fans flock to in the summer for what was once called The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, now known as Rockin River Country Music Fest. You can hear music from Legends like Tim McGraw and Jo Dee Messina. Carol told us thousands of camping chairs take up residence in the river for the entire weekend – I guess this is what makes Country Music so “cool” in Merritt!
If you want to visit during that time, I suggest calling Carol now to see what’s available as it fills up fast – so fast that they have to open an adjacent field just for the tenters. We were able to go out for a short walk before the mosquitoes came out for their nightly visit. The next morning, we had our breakfast at the campsite picnic table in the sun before heading out. Please note that our trip was five months before the devastating floods that swept through Merritt.
Day 3 and 4: We drove north on Hwy 5 another 90 km to Kamloops. Stopped in town long enough to get a few supplies and see some deer making their way through downtown. We took the Paul Lake exit off Hwy 5 to head to Pinantan Lake Resort some 25 km off the main highway.
As you drive down the road into the resort you are greeted with an old world look of antiques and some rustic buildings. We set up on one of the lakeview sites that overlooked a huge field where children were playing soccer. There was a communal firepit, washroom and laundry facilities. Later that evening, as the night drew in, we played a game of night bocce with a glow-in-the-dark Playboule Bocce set. In the morning we ventured around the property, taking photos and flew the drone for an ariel view.
Want to read more? Watch for our 2nd blog that continues into the Cariboo, along Fishing Hwy 24, south on Hwy 97 to Cache Creek, Lillooet, then Hwy 99 to Whistler and home.
For camping in this area and throughout BC go to the Camping Map
Share your BC travel and camping pictures using hashtag #campinbc, #explorebc, #bcnice, #green
It’s always a great day to #campinbc
Follow the Camper’s Code and be a Responsible and Safe Camper
Store Food Safely, Don’t Litter and Practice Fire Safety are three of the nine easy-to-follow rules of the Camper’s Code. When outdoor enthusiasts abide by these rules, camping continues to be enjoyable for all, nature remains pristine and animals stay wild.
Store Food Safely
Food and scented items can attract wild animals which can lead to personal injury and the wildlife being harmed, killed, or sadly, destroyed. It is therefore important to store all food in a wildlife-proof container or in a hard-sided vehicle or bear cache and to keep a bare campsite.
Never feed wildlife. WildSafeBC, run by the British Columbia Conservation Federation, has a webpage dedicated to species you may see or encounter in the province; educate yourself about them before camping or hiking.
BC Parks’ webpage Responsible Recreation lists guidelines on being safe and respectful adventurers and RVers can check out the Camping and RVing BC Coalition’s article on RV organization, which lists food and general storage tips.
Littering is unacceptable, is uncool and can even pose a danger to wildlife and humans as it attracts wildlife and increases wildlife-human conflict.
Put all garbage and pet waste in marked waste bins in and around campgrounds, recreation sites, parks and beaches and recycle where possible. If there are no bins nearby make sure to ‘pack it out’—if it comes with you it should leave with you (this includes organic matter). Don’t treat the outhouses and firepits like garbage cans and, before leaving, return the campsite to the condition in which you found it—or better. If you smoke cigarettes or use cannabis properly dispose of the butts. Please be aware that smoking tobacco and cannabis, including e-cigarettes and vaping, are not permitted in BC Parks’ backcountry.
WildSafeBC’s webpage on WildSafe Camping has information on preventing conflict with wildlife via responsible camping, and the Camping and RVing BC Coalition has a noteworthy article on Camping Etiquette.
Practice Fire Safety
Obey local and regional laws regarding campfires and pay attention to the risk of forest fires in the area in which you’ll be camping. You can prevent human-caused wildfires by practicing these three campfire safety rules:
Respect fire bans – Plain and simple, do not have a campfire if there is a campfire ban. In BC, there are three categories of fires that can be affected by restrictions: open fires, campfires and forest use.
Never leave a fire unattended – Only start a campfire in a designated fire pit or in a contained ring of rocks and build the campfire away from flammable items such as awnings, camp chairs and tree branches.
Put fires out completely – Fires must not be smoldering and should be cold to the touch, including the coals. Also, never leave food items cooking unattended, whether outside or inside of your trailer.
Do not throw matches, cigarettes or smoking materials from moving vehicles or on park/forest grounds and completely extinguish smoking materials in a proper receptacle or a can with water before disposal. If you’re camping and hiking and plan to smoke carry a pocket ashtray.
Some private campgrounds only permit propane fires at all times and have a no wood burning policy, while others allow charcoal and wood burning; verify this with the campground office or on its website.
To keep abreast of fire bans and restrictions, including campfire bans, please visit the BC Wildfire Service or call toll-free: 1 (888) 3FOREST / 1 (888) 336-7378. To report a forest fire or unattended fire in British Columbia call *5555 on your mobile phone or toll-free: 1 (800) 663-5555.
Check out the video below and make sure to take the Camper’s Code Pledge!
The Camper’s Code is a collaborative campaign started in 2021 by a dozen BC-based organizations who believe deeply in the responsibility of every single person to create a safe, enjoyable, respectful camping experience for all—people, wildlife and nature.
The Camper’s Code is comprised of nine easy-to-follow rules: Respect Wildlife, Take Only Photos, Control Your Pets, Store Food Safely, Don’t Litter, Practice Fire Safety and Plan Ahead and Be Prepared, Respect Others and Respect Staff and Signs.
For campgrounds and RV parks in BC go to the BC Camping Map.
It’s always a great day to #CampinBC
Five Spots to Ice Fish and Camp this Winter in British Columbia
Ice-fishing is often overlooked as a winter activity, especially if you live in southern B.C. But fishing doesn’t stop when the temperatures drop – it only gets more exciting. Ice-fishing is a very social activity that requires only a limited amount of gear or experience. When solidly frozen, an entire lake becomes accessible without the need of a boat, and you don’t need the often-complicated casting techniques required in other fisheries. It’s as simple as drilling a hole, and dropping a line.
It is important to exercise caution, however. Always make sure the ice is thick enough to ensure a safe trip. Before you walk out onto ice, it needs to be at least 10 centimetres (four inches) thick if you are fishing alone, and at least 38 centimetres (15 inches) thick before you drive your truck onto it. Remember that a freshwater fishing licence is still required for ice-fishing, and that you should check the regulations for any closures or restrictions.
With these points in mind, along with some basic gear, you can be set for some fun times on the ice this winter. And the good news is, with many parks open year ’round that are close to great hardwater lakes, you can make a wintertime camping trip out of it.
Here are our top five spots, with recreational vehicle or camping spots close by, to try ice-fishing this winter:
Alleyne Lake (near Merritt)
Kokanee provide an exciting winter fishery in this lake. The trick is finding schools of fish. Using a fishfinder is your best bet, but if you don’t have one, start at the bottom and work your way up through the water column until you find a school.
Note: The neighbouring lake, Kentucky SE Pothole, located 50 metres east of Kentucky Lake, is closed to ice-fishing.
Camping: Check out the Winter Camping Map for campgrounds open year-round in the Merritt and surrounding area.
Swan Lake (near Vernon)
This is a great spot to fish in the winter, although you should exercise extreme caution to ensure the lake is entirely frozen before venturing out. Swan Lake is located only moments away from Vernon’s downtown centre. As you can catch rainbow trout weighing up to a kilogram (about two pounds) in size, make sure to bore your holes with an ice auger that is at least 15 centimetres (six inches) in diameter. Since fish are more lethargic in the winter, bites can be fairly light, and using a fishing bobber can help you detect when a trout is softly nibbling your bait.
Camping: Check out the Winter Camping Map for campgrounds open year-round in the Vernon and surrounding area.
Edith Lake (Kamloops)
Target both brook char and rainbow trout in Edith Lake. For brook char, try fishing with mealworms close to the shoreline. The water is clear in the shallows, and since a brookie’s bite can be very light, by laying down and looking into your hole through the ice, you will be able to see when a brookie has taken your bait and is on your line. Move out to a spot over a little deeper water, and use a big attractor spoon, followed by a hook and worm on a short leader, to try your luck for rainbow trout.
Camping: Check out the Winter Camping Map for campgrounds open year-round in the Kamloops and surrounding area.
Ness Lake (Prince George)
Ness Lake is currently stocked with both kokanee and rainbow trout. However, brook char are also present in the lake, which presents many different fishing options for the hardwater angler. Ice-fishing gear and an auger can be borrowed for free for up to a week from the Prince George Visitor Centre.
Camping: Check out the Winter Camping Map for campgrounds open year-round in the Prince George and surrounding area.
Whiteswan Lake (Canal Flats)
If Lussier Hot Springs weren’t reason enough to try ice-fishing at Whiteswan Lake, the quality of the rainbow trout in this lake is. Since the East Kootenays can be very cold, make sure you pack along appropriate warm clothing. You may want to think about getting an ice shelter.
Camping: Check out the Winter Camping Map for campgrounds open year-round in this area.
Check out winter camping in British Columbia for over 150 provincial parks and private campgrounds that are open year round.
Share your winter BC camping & fishing photos using hashtag #campinbc.
It’s always a great day to #CampinBC
“Unglamping” in BC: Camping Unplugged
I must admit, three years ago, camping without hookups scared me. Our camping companions suggested that we try Herald Provincial Park in the Shuswap in British Columbia’s Okanagan region – a campsite without power, water or sewer. I panicked, no microwave, rice cooker or outlets to charge my cell phone. But more importantly, how would I make my coffee in the morning without my coffee maker?
At first, we told our friends that we were unable to make it as camping without hookups or dry camping was just not for us. Finally, they persuaded us to go and are we ever glad we did!
In order to have an enjoyable and memorable dry camping trip, I have learned a few tricks.
To make cooking easier, I plan ahead by making meals that are easy to prepare. I usually bring the first two meals, frozen dinners that I have prepared such as chili or spaghetti sauce. Not only are they quick to heat up but they use few pots which in turn cuts down on cleaning too many dishes. If I know we are going to have many dishes, I use paper plates, which we use as fire starters in the evening. To solve the coffee dilemma, we boil water and use the single serve instant coffee packs or a coffee press.
When we camp with hookups, we have unlimited use of inside and outside lights. The first time we were dry camping, we learned pretty fast that we couldn’t leave the lights on too long. Although we have two deep cycle batteries, they only last for a limited amount of time. We figured a way around this problem by installing LED lightbulbs which have a longer life and draw much less power than regular lightbulbs. In addition, a recent gift from friends, a 90W Coleman solar panel, works well to provide auxiliary power. We have also stocked up on flashlights and hang glowsticks in the trailer to provide a small amount of light overnight, plus the colours look nice!
Relaxation and serenity
Initially, I thought dry camping would be more work. I was wrong. There is no need to plug in or connect the water and sewer hose. Just put down the jacks, pull out a few camping chairs,, put up a hammock and it’s time to relax. The sites we have experienced are large, quiet and quite private.
More choice and great value
Since we have been venturing to new campgrounds, I realize how many beautiful sites we have been missing out on that we consciously avoided in the past. There are many more campgrounds to choose from when we are not restricted to serviced sites. In addition, the price of an unserviced site can be half the price of a serviced site.
Unglamping has given us a whole new outlook on camping. By unplugging and opening ourselves up to a new experience, it has offered us more opportunities to try out different regions of BC, reconnect with nature and get closer to the true camping experience.
Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc
Published: March 28th, 2019
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