Know Before You Go Camping in British Columbia.  Looking to find winter camping?

SilverStar Mountain Resort. Photo Credit Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson

5 Ways to Enjoy Winter in Wine Country, Okanagan, British Columbia

As cooler temperatures emerge, and the snow blankets the vineyards, the valley transforms from a sun-soaked paradise to the ultimate winter destination. From champagne powder to frozen waterfalls to theatrical sleigh ride shows, the winter can be a magical time to explore the Okanagan.

Skiers on the chairlift at Sun Peaks Resort. Photo Credit Destination BC/Ryan Creary
Skiers on the chairlift at Sun Peaks Resort. Photo Credit Destination BC/Ryan Creary

1. Take A Winter Road Trip

With surrounding mountains and expansive lake views, Route 97 through the Okanagan Corridor is one of BC’s top scenic drives. In the winter, the sweeping landscape is enveloped in glistening tones of white and blue. Be sure that your vehicle or RV is ready for winter and always check road conditions in advance of your trip.

A couple sampling wine at Poplar Grove Winery. Photo Credit Destination BC/Kari Medig
A couple sampling wine at Poplar Grove Winery. Photo Credit Destination BC/Kari Medig

2. Winter in Wine Country

The colder weather brings with it the perfect opportunity to enjoy the elegant, bold reds the Okanagan is so good at crafting. Try out the exceptional vintages garnering international attention, and raise your glass to the upcoming year. Check out one of the many events at the Winter Wine Festival.

3. Winter Camping

What could be more magical than waking up in a winter wonderland? Enjoy the warmth of a roaring fire with mulled wine in hand, unwind in the great outdoors, and try your hand at winter camping. With many RV Parks and Provincial Campgrounds open year-round, escape to the Okanagan for the ultimate winter getaway.

SilverStar Mountain Resort. Photo Credit Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson
SilverStar Mountain Resort. Photo Credit Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson

4. Ski Three Resorts in a Week

The Okanagan is home to a multitude of mountain resorts so you don’t have to travel far to hit the slopes. Known for unparalleled champagne powder, the mountains boast beautiful villages that will get you right into the festive spirit. And you don’t have to ski to enjoy the winter culture. From dog-sledding and ice-fishing to a horse-drawn sleigh ride to a rustic cabin in the woods – there’s an array of wonderful experiences for anyone looking to embrace the snow season.

Trestle 11 and 12 on the Myra Canyon in Winter. Photo Credit Monashee Adventure Tours
Trestle 11 and 12 on the Myra Canyon in Winter. Photo Credit Monashee Adventure Tours

5. Snowshoe the Myra Canyon Trestles

Rent a pair of snowshoes this winter and explore the historic Kettle Valley Rail Trail. At Myra Canyon there are over 18 trestles and 2 tunnels to explore.

Whatever your winter preference this season, be sure to take a step back, enjoy the view, and welcome the festive charm of the Okanagan. To start planning your winter road trip visit route97.net. For more information on winter camping visit https://www.campingrvbc.com/winter/

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For places to camp in BC this winter check out winter camping opportunities.

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It’s always a great day to #CampinBC

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!

Stocking Creek Falls, Ladysmith | Photo: Scott Littlejohn, Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV Resort, Nanaimo

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…

…a Waterfall!

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!!

Ladysmith Festival of Lights

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

And my second ‘quiet season’ Island adventure, is to head up Island to the Comox Valley, and get your rig set up in another great RV park near the ocean – Seal Bay RV Park in Courtenay.

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!

Mt. Washington with Ocean Views | Photo: Scott Littlejohn, Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV Resort, Nanaimo

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.

Snowshoeing, Mt. Washington, Scott Littlejohn, Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV Resort, Nanaimo

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!

Seal Bay RV Park Fishing Pond

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.

Happy Retirees at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV Resort, Nanaimo

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.

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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

Wintering in BC’s Okanagan? Check Out Things To Do Oliver to Osoyoos

The towns of Oliver and Osoyoos, located on the southern end of British Columbia’s Highway 97, are popular with outdoor enthusiasts year-round and attract thousands of snowbirds and RVers in the winter months.

Oliver

With its rich agricultural industry, Oliver currently produces half of the wine grapes for British Columbia and, with over 40 wineries, is known as Canada’s wine capital.

Firehall Brewery is a fun place for a few and calls itself the ‘Beer of Wine Country’ | Tania Veitch

Local bistros and winter wine tasting are a must-do as are the distilleries, cideries and breweries for tours and sampling. Firehall Brewery, with the fun tagline of the ‘Beer of Wine Country’, is located in an old firehall that dates to 1948. In and around town try out the food trucks and year-round fruit markets such as family owned and operated Nature’s Basket and visit Big Al’s Baker and Deli, a local favourite.

Shop the boutiques featuring local artists around Main Street and take in a show or play at the Venables Theatre, or a movie at the classic one-room Oliver Theatre. For some history, there’s the Oliver and District Heritage Society, which offers educational programs, heritage walks and more. The museum has exhibits and artifacts, while the archives (at a separate location) houses a research library. Indoor and outdoor activities and lessons, including overall wellness, arts and culture and sports and leisure, can be booked with the Oliver Parks and Recreation Society.

Arena fresh made ice in Oliver | Oliver Parks & Recreation

Hikers and walkers enjoy the view from the (7.7 km; moderate) Golden Mile Trail, which starts at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards. Closer to town, explore Rotary Beach at Tuc-el-Nuit Lake or visit Lion’s Park where you can access the Oliver hiking and biking trail at the east boundary. There is an off-leash dog park here. Other great hiking spots are Burwell Lake Recreation Site, northwest of Oliver, and Inkaneep Provincial Park and Ny-lin-tn (previously called McIntyre Bluff), both north of the town.

Baldy Mountain Resort, 40 minutes from Oliver, has a base elevation of 1,726m (5,700ft) making it the third highest ski area in BC:
Baldy Mountain Resort, 40 minutes from Oliver, has a base elevation of 1,726m (5,700ft) making it the third highest ski area in BC | Sandra Smith

Winter sports enthusiasts love Baldy Mountain Resort, 40 minutes east of Oliver, which has a fantastic snowshoe rental and events program, including a moon candle-lit outing. The McKinney Nordic Ski Club, around 30 km southeast of Oliver, has 14 km of cross-country trails with a variety of difficulty and 5 kms of snowshoe trails. There is no lodge, but an outhouse is on-site.

For something unique visit Sunkeya Farm Alpacas, located northwest of Oliver. Its farm store sells yarn and alpaca fibre socks, hats, scarves, blankets and more. Be sure to call before you visit. There’s also the Oliver Indoor Flea Market on Station Street where you can be sure to find a few bargains and hidden gems to enhance your RV living.

Osoyoos

Located on Osoyoos Lake, amongst grasslands and highlands, Osoyoos has a dry winter climate, generally with mild temperatures from October through April and a low average annual snowfall of only 5.4 cm. The US border is a mere 5 km from town.

Osoyoos is known for its dry winter climate and paddle boarding in the winter is an option for those who dare | Matt Clark/Destination Osoyoos

Osoyoos is home to one of Canada’s few true desert environments. The region caters to its many snowbirds, is very pet friendly and has a multitude of boutiques to explore and fitness and art courses to try.

Its restaurateurs and chefs are passionate about promoting local, fresh food that’s been sustainably raised. Choose from casual cafés (such as Lake Village Bakery, known for its traditional artisan sourdough and fresh pastries), wine bistros and upscale dining experiences. During winter the Osoyoos Farmers Market heads indoors. The Oliver and Osoyoos Winery Association puts together a December event with special promotions called Winter With Country.

Nk'Mip Cellars Vines in Winter
Nk’Mip Cellars Vines in Winter | Carol Stathers

A memorable experience is a visit to the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre (pronounced in-ka-meep). At this 1,600-acre desert conservation area you can learn about the Osoyoos Indian Band and take in local food and wine tastings, dinner evenings and special events.

More culture can be had at Osoyoos Performing Arts and the Art Gallery Osoyoos; the gallery offers works by local and non-local art and artisans. For winter festivals and events visit the Destination Osoyoos event calendar for performances at the South Okanagan Events Centre, Junior B hockey games (Osoyoos Coyotes at the Sunbowl Arena) and more.

Anarchist Mountain Lookout provides for a panoramic view of Osoyoos and Osoyoos Lake | Lionel Trudel Photography (@lionel_trudel)/Destination Osoyoos

Skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing aren’t far with Baldy Mountain Resort only 40 minutes northeast of Osoyoos.

Walks include the 1.5 km boardwalk at the Osoyoos Desert Centre, a 67-acre nature interpretive facility, where you can explore and learn about one of the world’s rarest ecosystems (the semi-arid, antelope-brush); Pioneer Walkway, a paved path on the strip of land that separates the north and south ends of Osoyoos Lake; Legion Beach Park, a 10-minute walk from Main Street; and Osoyoos Oxbows Trailhead, located at the north end of Osoyoos Lake, a protected wetland popular with bird watchers. For dog walking areas and off-leash park info visit the city of Osoyoos webpage on dogs in parks.

Osoyoos Desert Centre in the summer | Kim Walker

Golfing in the winter and early spring is possible in Osoyoos. Contact Osoyoos Golf Club and Sonora Dunes Golf Course direct as season opening and tee times are dependent on the weather. Popular indoor activities are five-pin bowling at Kobau Lanes, curling at Osoyoos Curling Club and pickleball at the Sonora Community Centre.

Pamper yourself at Solterra Desert Spa at Spirit Ridge Resort or Levia Wellness Spa, a farm-to-table spa experience. Another ‘getaway’ option is booking a hotel or motel. Several Osoyoos accommodations offer special weekly winter rates for snowbirds looking for a little break from their campgrounds. Check with Destination Osoyoos for updated information and deals.

For information when in the area:
Oliver Visitor Centre: 6431 Station Street
Osoyoos Visitor Centre: 9912 BC Highway 3

Want to read more on Winter Activities check out https://www.campingrvbc.com/category/activities/winter-activities/

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Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #CampInBC and #ExploreBC

For places to camp in BC in the winter go to https://www.campingrvbc.com/winter/

Winter Camping for the Beginner in British Columbia

Winter can be a magical time to explore British Columbia and try new activities. Thankfully, there are many campgrounds and parks – both private and public – open in the ‘off-season’.

It’s true that winter camping comes with its own unique challenges and safety considerations for campers and RVers. If heading out in an RV there is winter camping trip prep to follow. For renters, note that a number of RV companies and dealers do rent out motorhomes and units in the winter. Make sure that the RV has double-pane windows, a high efficiency furnace, an interior winter cab blanket and comes with insulated and heated water and waste holding tanks.

First Time RVing in the Winter
RVing in Winter | Canadream

When trying winter camping for the first few times it’s recommended to stay close to home and choose a campground not too far off the beaten path. Invest in any necessary items or borrow from friends or family who have ventured out at this time of year; gear rental is also an option. As with all camping trips, having a plan and being prepared is the key.

Here are some helpful tips to make your winter camping experience an enjoyable one. Read an expanded list of tips here.

Camping in Winter | Canadream

Essential Gear

  • Make a gear list, bring quality winter and windproof clothing, plenty of warm wool-blend socks, long underwear and layer, layer, layer. Mittens are a better option than gloves and a wool hat is a smart choice as is a balaclava.
  • Invest in waterproof winter boots with a warm lining and decent treads for traction.
  • Pack a water bottle for heating or hand and toe warmers.
  • Bring insulated camping chairs (there are even ones with battery heated seats).
  • Purchase a portable power pack if you don’t have one and pack extra batteries.
  • Pack ski goggles and good sunglasses for snow/sun reflection.
  • Have the first aid kit ready and educate yourself about basic first aid. Put sunscreen under your nose and chin and get an SPF lip balm as the snow reflects the sun!
  • Trekking poles and snowshoes are a fun option as are binoculars for winter bird watching.
Getting the Campfire Going | Tourism Prince George, Simon Ratcliffe

Campfires & Meals

  • Read our article on how to build a campfire.
  • Get a waterproof case for the firestarter/matches.
  • Bring a small shovel to clear snow from around the campfire pit. A small sled will also come in handy for hauling wood or gear around.
  • Pack some ready-made or freeze-dried options to simplify meal times. High calorie foods are good in winter as are soups and hot drinks.
  • Make sure you have insulated water bottles and tin mugs.

Animal Awareness

Even in the winter campers and hikers need to be aware of animals and their surroundings and continue to respect wildlife. Always exercise caution. Keep food locked away and do not leave scraps behind – pack out what you pack in.

Don’t feed the animals or get too close. Moose can be aggressive, bears can come out of hibernation, and any animal can be unpredictable if provoked. Stay alert, and move about slowly and quietly and respect the wilderness that you are in. BC Conservation Foundation provides good information.

Snowshoeing at Mt. Washington, Vancouver Island | Rob Littlejohn

Backcountry Safety

If you plan to venture out on the trails in BC’s backcountry to hike, snowshoe, cross country ski etc. only do so if you, or the person you are with, is experienced in that outdoor activity in winter. Always have an emergency plan and tell someone where you are going and your estimated timeline beforehand. Check out Adventure Smart for more information.

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For more helpful tips check out our FAQ page on winter camping and read the article Tips for Novice Campers.

For accommodations in British Columbia go the Camping Map.

Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #CampinBC

It’s always a great day to #CampinBC

Wintering in BC’s Okanagan? Check out Things To Do from Kelowna to Penticton

Snowbirds and off-season RVers head to British Columbia’s mid-Okanagan, sometimes called the “Napa of the North”, for more than its sunny and mild winter days. There are plenty of activities and things to try, both out of doors and in.

Kelowna

The largest city in the Okanagan, Kelowna has a thing or two to boast about. It’s hip and urban yet outdoorsy, surrounded by water, mountains and agriculture, and has a fantastic food and wine scene based on local produce. Its winters are generally temperate with scenic snowshoe trails and powdery ski runs an easy drive away.

Award-winning Quails Gate Winery has been family farmed since 1956 | Tourism Kelowna/Meghan Reading

Looking for things to do in the winter? Browse some unique boutiques and shops (Bernard avenue and Pandosy Village, near the beach, are musts), sip a cider, gin or beer in a tasting room, or enjoy a farm-to-table meal. If you’re hankering for BC-caught oysters or a Friday fish fry head to Codfathers Seafood Market. It’s owned and operated by fishmongers who promote sustainable harvesting.

Wintertime in Kelowna means annual festivals and events and winter wine tours offer a variety of vineyards and trails to visit. Tourism Kelowna has a helpful webpage that lists what farms, markets and orchards are open. The snowy season is a great time to purchase jams, preserves, honey and cheese.

Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park | Tourism Kelowna/Seger Nelson & Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association

Arts and entertainment ranges from galleries and museums to events and live shows. Kelowna Museums organizes workshops and operates the Okanagan Heritage Museum, the Okanagan Military Museum and the unique Laurel Packinghouse, which is part museum part venue area.

There are a number of winter hiking spots in and around Kelowna, including Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park, Rose Valley Regional Park, Myra Bellevue Provincial Park and Bear Creek Provincial Park. Mission Creek Greenway has over 20 kilometres of trails, including an area where you can spot salmon spawning.

The downtown Kelowna Skating Rink has a fire pit for warming up | Tourism Kelowna/Matt Ferguson Photography

Just 20 minutes east of the city is the Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club which has 75 km of groomed ski trails which meander through beautifully wooded forests and hills. Dogs are allowed on the snowshoe trails (all 70 kms) and about 1/3 of the ski trails. You can ice skate at Stuart Park, a free outdoor rink with a fire pit for warming up, hike at Knox Mountain Park, just north of downtown, and walk along the waterfront boardwalk; the trail connects to the Rotary Marsh Park, a fantastic spot for birding.

Horse & Sleigh at Big White Ski Resort | Tourism Kelowna/Jeff Bassett, Sproing Creative

Ski and snowboard options include Big White Ski Resort (to the east) and SilverStar Mountain Resort (to the northeast), both around an hour’s drive from Kelowna; shuttle service is available. These winter playgrounds also offer snowmobiling, snowshoeing and fat tire biking. For a real bird’s eye view in winter book a helicopter tour with OK Heli.

After such activity relax and get pampered at a local day spa or salon. It seems fitting while in Kelowna to try a Vinotherapy massage, where the residue (pips and pulps) of wine making are rubbed into the skin.

Summerland

The town of Summerland, a leader in the agri-tourism business, is on the lower end of Okanagan Lake with Peachland to the north and Penticton to the south. Nearby vineyard slopes and hills provide outstanding viewpoints of the valleys and lake.

Trans Canada Trail overlooking Summerland | Carol Stathers

There are many parks and trails to explore. A popular winter hike, snowshoe or cross-country outing is the Kettle Valley Railway Trail, part of the Trans Canada Trail. The rail line was once used to transport silver ore to the BC coast. There’s also the 268-acre Mount Conkle Park and its ‘Bonk Loop’, and for a fantastic view of Summerland hike or snowshoe up the volcanic dome of Giant’s Head.

Indoor winter options include the rink at Summerland Arena or the Summerland Community Centre for bingo or a game of billiards or shuffleboard. Tour Summerland Art Gallery, the Summerland Museum and Archives Society and try specialty shops such as Summerland Sweets, which has manufactured fruit syrup, jam and candy since 1962. For some cool nostalgia check out Nixdorf Classic Cars, which boasts an inventory of 100 vehicles from 1936 to 1970, and even a muscle car section. If you’re craving craft beer, be sure to visit Detonate Brewing and Giant’s Head Brewing. Click here for a list of community events in Summerland.

Penticton

The hub of the South Okanagan for outdoor recreation, Penticton has over 80 wineries in the region, and over a dozen combined craft breweries, cideries and distilleries in and around downtown.

There are plenty of restaurants and ambiances to choose from, from pubs and casual spots to elegant bistros and even the rooftop patio at Slackwater Brewing, which hosts trivia nights. Be sure to check out the Penticton Ale Trail which highlight’s the town’s breweries and eateries. Many wineries remain open during the winter; contact the winery before setting out and do sample some ice wines. There are several wine tour companies you can book with should you prefer not to drive. Click here for a winter dining guide courtesy of Penticton Visitor Centre.

Rent a fat bike to explore a vineyard or cruise along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail | Travel Penticton

Try your hand at the Cascades Casino or watch a flick at the Landmark Cinemas. For an art fix visit the Penticton Art Gallery and shop or the Lloyd Gallery (representing over 40 Canadian artists) or give an improv workshop a go with the Penticton Arts Council.

Shows and lessons are held at the Leir House Cultural Centre and the local Elks Lodge has art workshops, as do some of the local wineries such as Noble Ridge Vineyard where you can make a silk scarf while enjoying a glass of wine. There’s also Pottery at Artables.

Take in a show at the Dream Café, the Cleland Community Theatre, or the South Okanagan Events Centre, where you can also watch the Junior A Penticton Vees hockey team. 

The Penticton Community Centre offers special programs and activities along with its pool and fitness area and the Penticton Curling Club has leagues from November to March. For a winter walk you can easily access the Kettle Valley Rail Trail or rent a fat bike from Freedom Bike Shop to cruise along it, or perhaps a snowshoe tour with Hoodoo Adventures is more your thing.

Brand-new to Penticton is its much-anticipated outdoor skating rink. This fully refrigerated centrally located rink can operate in temperatures up to 10°C and will offer free rentals.

Nickel Plate Nordic Centre has 56km of groomed trails and 22km of snowshoe trails | Travel Penticton

Just over 30 minutes southwest is Apex Mountain Resort for downhill skiing and snowboarding; there’s also a 1-km ice skating loop, ice rink and tubing area for the kid in you. Apex organizes evening snowshoe outings followed by dinner and wine at its Gunbarrel Saloon, which has many times been named best après-ski bar in Canada!

For epic cross-country skiing and snowshoeing head to the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre, just west of Apex. Shuttle bus services are available. Golf in late winter in Penticton is possible, depending on the weather of course. Contact Penticton Golf & Country Club for more information.

For information when in the area go to:
Kelowna Visitor Centre: 238 Queensway Avenue, Kelowna
Summerland Visitor Centre: 15600 Highway BC 97, Summerland
Penticton Visitor Centre: 888 Westminster Ave W #120, Penticton

Want to read more on Winter Activities check out https://www.campingrvbc.com/category/activities/winter-activities/

TIP: If you find this blog interesting why not subscribe to the enewsletter and never miss another story!

Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #CampInBC, #ExploreBC, #BCNice

For places to camp in BC in the winter go to https://www.campingrvbc.com/winter/

Snowbirds! Spending Your Winter in the Vancouver Area? Check Out This Side Trip – North Vancouver to Whistler

Recently, we wrote a blog about things to see and do if you are a Snowbird staying in the Vancouver area. We suggested a drive from Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs along Highway 7. Here is another drive that follows the Sea to Sky Highway (Hwy 99) from North Vancouver to Whistler.

The Sea to Sky Highway hugs the coastline as it winds its way north offering up stunning views across Howe Sound and to the mountains beyond. It then heads inland north of Squamish to the year-round destination of world-famous Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort. Mt Seymour, Grouse Mountain, and Cypress Mountain are all popular winter activity destinations, two of which are included in this trip.

Grouse-Mountain-Skating-via-Facebook
Grouse Mountain Skating via Facebook
  • Rent a pair of ice skates and enjoy the exhilarating fresh air atop Grouse Mountain on their 8,000 sq. ft. ice skating pond. The Skyride allows for stunning views across Vancouver, Stanley Park and beyond.
  • Take a self-guided snowshoe tour or go cross-country skiing at the top of Cypress Mountain through a forested winter wonderland. Warm up with a hot drink or bowl of soup.
  • Back on Highway 99 and a further 18 km (11 mi) is the tiny, picturesque village of Lions Bay which hugs the shoreline. A must stop-off is the Lions Bay General Store and Café, located on the east side of the highway (take Lions Bay Avenue exit) and a favourite of those who have travelled this road for decades. You’ll find local products, great coffee, beer, lunch, souvenirs and great views too.
  • Adjacent to the highway is the Britannia Mine Museum, an award-winning national historic site. It was a working copper mine from 1904-1974 and opened in 1975 as the BC Museum of Mining. You’ll be dazzled by the light and sound show as you are transported underground by train.
Britannia-Mine-Museum-via-FBook
Britannia Mine Museum via Facebook
  • Just south of Squamish is the entrance to the Sea to Sky Gondola. Be amazed at the stunning views of snow-capped mountains, old-growth forests and turquoise waters of the Howe Sound stretched out before you.  At the top take in the brisk winter air, try snow-shoeing or tubing and then warm up with a hot drink or visit the Sky Pilot Restaurant where you can enjoy delicious West Coast fare.
  • Like to try local craft beer? Howe Sound Brewing in Squamish produces an abundance of craft beer, from seasonal to year-round brews. Pair their excellent beer with small bites or big bites, all made in-house. It’s located on Cleveland Avenue left off Highway 99, almost at the end of town; you will see the pub on your right.
  • For some eagle spotting, head back to the highway and continue north towards Brackendale and Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park, one of North America’s largest congregations of wintering bald eagles. These majestic birds gather in this area from November to January to feast on salmon. There are plenty of lookouts and shelters to view the eagles (the Eagle Run viewing shelter is at 41015 Government Road) and you can take an organized tour or even an eagle viewing float trip. Visit Squamish Tourism’s web page on eagle viewing for more information.
  • Get back on the highway, it’s time to head to Whistler! There is so much to do in this world-renowned resort. In winter the snow is the big attraction with skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and more, but if you want to do something different or your ski legs need a rest there are fabulous restaurants, art galleries, spas, winter events, festivals and more. A must-see is the Whistler Village stroll where you will find fun and sporty shops, bistros and cafes, and the Whistler Olympic Plaza, which is transformed into an outdoor skating rink in winter.
Squamish-LilWat-Cultural-Centre-DBC-Blake-Jorgenson
Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre | Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson
  • To experience First Nations art, history and culture visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler. Hear the stories and songs and admire the traditional regalia, carvings and art. This is a beautiful museum with stunning works and exhibits; guided tours are available.
  • If you are in Whistler on a Sunday evening from December to March check out the free Fire & Ice Show in Whistler Village. Grab a cup of hot chocolate or warm cider and be prepared to be amazed at the spectacle created as expert skiers jump through hoops of fire!
  • Once you have explored Whistler then it’s time to head back, and the views are just as stunning on the return journey! You will pass Furry Creek, known for its golf and country club, and the villages of Lions Bay and Horseshoe Bay, home of the BC Ferries terminal for taking travellers over to Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island. Horseshoe Bay has some shops and eateries and it’s always fun to watch the ferries coming and going.

There is so much more to see in this area, particularly in and around North and West Vancouver. Check out Vancouver’s North Shore Tourism. You could spend a day or two exploring the parks and waterfront walks, Lonsdale Quay Market, with its specialty shops and services, or the historic and growing urban neighbourhood of The Shipyards District.

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For other drives from Vancouver check out:

Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs via the Scenic Hwy 7
Vancouver to Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway
Explore the Communities South of Vancouver and the Fraser Valley

For RV parks and other camping accommodations check out the Winter Camping Map.

Share your camping and BC travel photos using hashtag #CampInBC #ExploreBC #BCNice

Getting back to Nature Any Time of Year

Winter camping in the Thompson Okanagan brings family and friends together.

Camping can be enjoyed any time of year; all the smartest people know that. And, thanks to the increase in popularity over the last few years in year-round RV travel, winter camping is more popular than ever before.

The Thompson Okanagan region is huge – about the size of Ireland. A small sample of some great winter camping sites are highlighted.

The Thompson Okanagan has a variety of camping locations that are available year-round, offering amenities and services for short and long-term camping; your choices abound!

Marrying the popular skiing site of Silver Star Resort outside of Vernon is the Cedar Falls Campground. With about 30 sites available, it’s a great destination for families on a budget and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Steps from BX Falls Trail and about 30 minutes from the ski hill, Cedar Falls offers 18 fully equipped sites and 14 sites that offer power but not water. Information is available at Cedar Falls Campground.

Cedar Falls Campground near Silver Star Ski Resort outside Vernon offers year-round sites, laundry and shower facilities. There is also a cozy cabin available for rent. Image by Cait Wills, courtesy of Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association.

“We have seen a real increase in our winter camping visitors,” says winter site manager Gail Sweeney. She and her husband are on site over the winter to assure that the roads are plowed, the on-site coin laundry facilities are fully stocked and the washrooms and shower facilities are sparkling.

Also in Vernon is Swan Lake RV Park and Campground. Located right on the shores of Swan Lake, nature is never far away. This quiet and family-friendly campground features coin showers and a small laundromat. There is a 20 per cent discount on daily rates for long-term campers and owners Orville and Audrey recommend reserving early for a winter spot. More information can be found at Swan Lake RV and Campground.

Winter camping in Kamloops provides opportunities for amazing hikes. Image by Brody Jones, courtesy of Tourism Kamloops.

Heading south and located on the banks of Coldwater River just south of Merritt is Moon Shadows RV Park and Campground, where there are 25 fully serviced RV spots, 25 non-serviced RV spots and 19 tenting spots, all available year round. The fully serviced campsites have electric and Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as sewer and water hookups. There are also wheelchair accessible washrooms and bathing facilities at the administration building. Learn more at Moon Shadows RV Park & Campground.

In the South Okanagan, where it feels like winter barely kisses the land, are the communities of Penticton, Oliver and Osoyoos. Snowbirds flock to the area, as temperatures are mild and snow is rare. In fact, golfing is available almost year-round at the local golf courses.

Some of the most popular activities for winter campers is snowshoeing. A popular destination near Kamloops is Stake Lake. Image by Mary Putnam, courtesy of Tourism Kamloops.

Penticton has several year-round campgrounds, including Wright’s Beach Camp. Located on the shores of Skaha Lake, this large campground has more than 200 sites, most of which are fully serviced and offer a lake view. In the winter, there are 44 sites that offer either 30 or 50 amp service. For more information, click on Wright’s Beach Campground. In Oliver, Apple Beach RV Park is a family-owned RV park open year-round. Its sites are fully powered and large, while pets and kids are welcome. Hosts Gary and Marilyn Johnson are friendly and welcoming, and the lakeside campground is known for being quiet and tidy. More information is available at Apple Beach RV Park.

Known as Canada’s Warmest Welcome, Osoyoos changes from its bustling tourist destination in the summer to a more sedate welcome in the winter. On the shores of Osoyoos Lake is Nk’mip RV Park, which is open year-round and has fully powered sites, laundry facilities and an indoor swimming pool. There are weekly and monthly rates available. Learn more at Nk’mip RV Park

Further west along Hwy 3 is Manning Park Resort and Skyview RV Campground. Open year-round the campground features 60 large pull-through and back-in sites in winter and all have full services with 50-amp power, water, and sewer. There is also a large modern washhouse.

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For winter and year-round camping opportunities in the Thompson Okanagan and all of British Columbia go to the Camping Page.

Share your BC camping photos using hashtag #CampinBC.

5 BC Places to Visit for Outdoor Fun and Winter Camping

If you thought that camping and RVing was devoted solely to those months without snow, you would be wrong. British Columbia is fast becoming a destination for RVing and camping, particularly with those who live in colder climes. Here are five fun things to do and places to camp in BC’s winter months.

Winter Activities On British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast

Beach walks and beachcombing make for enjoyable outings in the off-season | Sunshine Coast Tourism/Shayd Johnson

From the artistic community of Gibsons northeast to the harbour village of Lund, mountains meet the sea along the Sunshine Coast, a mainland area uniquely only accessible by ferry, boat or plane. Winters are typically mild and range from 2 to 10ºC (20 to 50°F) during the day. In lower elevations, rains keep the flora and forests lush, while higher areas see snow.

There’s plenty to do both inside and out if you’re RVing here in the winter. Make sure to get out on the water and head up some slopes. You will be rewarded with majestic views and an excellent chance of seeing animals in their natural environment. Read more.

Five Spots to Ice Fish and Camp this Winter in British Columbia

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC
Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Ice fishing is often overlooked as a winter activity, especially if you live in southern B.C.  But fishing opportunities do not stop when the temperature freezes – they only get more exciting. Ice fishing is a very social sport and requires only a limited amount of gear or experience. The 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. Try some winter camping while you’re at it; there are many parks open year-round close to great hard water lakes. Here are our top 5 spots to try ice fishing this winter with RV spots close by. Read more.

Winter RV Adventure for Camping Newbies at Sunshine Valley & Manning Park, BC

Tobogganing at Manning Park

If only we had known how amazing RVing in the winter is, we would have taken this trip a long time ago! Our journey started in earnest on a Wednesday morning when we had made arrangements to pick up a rental RV from CanaDream. We had already checked in online five days before, uploaded required documents and information, paid our deposit and reviewed demo videos so we knew all about the RV we were renting before we arrived. Upon arrival, we were greeted by friendly staff who checked that all of our details were in order and then my husband and I did a thorough walk-through of the unit. Read more.

5 Ways to Enjoy Winter in Wine Country, Okanagan, British Columbia

SilverStar Mountain Resort. Photo Credit Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson
Silver Star Mountain Resort. Photo Credit Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson

As cooler temperatures emerge, and the snow blankets the vineyards, the valley transforms from a sun-soaked paradise to the ultimate winter destination. From champagne powder to frozen waterfalls to theatrical sleigh ride shows, the winter can be a magical time to explore the Okanagan. Read more.

Vancouver Island, BC Off-Season Adventures

Ocean View Skiing at Mt. Washington, BC
Ocean View Skiing at Mt. Washington, BC

‘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. Read more.

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For places to camp in BC in the winter go to winter camping.

Share your BC  travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc

It’s always a great day to #CampinBC

Coast Along British Columbia’s Famed Fishing Highway 24 in the Cariboo

Sheridan Lake by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association
Sheridan Lake by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association

While travelling east-west between the Southern Cariboo’s 100 Mile House (above the Fraser Plateau) and the town of Little Fort in BC’s Thompson River Valley, you’ll find the historic Highway 24 – also known as BC’s Fishing Highway.

Only 97 kilometres in length (60 miles), this short yet incredibly scenic route offers quite a few places to relax, rest up and eat – along with plenty to do, see and experience – along the way. (More than fishing – think boating, swimming, wildlife viewing and more.)

Walter Mark 2lb 8 oz lake trout caught at Hathaway Lake
Walter Mark 2lb 8 oz lake trout caught at Hathaway Lake

Though paved and modern, what’s interesting is that the route for Highway 24 (or Fishing Highway) has remained essentially the same since gold seekers and fur traders used it so many centuries ago.

After the gold discovery in the Northern Cariboo region and the gold rush of the 1800s that soon followed, the area’s wilderness trails became important roads that led to the northern gold fields for thousands upon thousands of gold seekers. Along these routes, a myriad of roadhouses sprang up offering stopover points to these weary travellers.  As well, the water from the area’s hundreds of local lakes and connecting streams throughout these forested areas created a natural and rewarding setting for cattle ranching.

Bird Watching Deka Lake by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association
Bird Watching Deka Lake by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association

Today, the area supports key BC industries that include logging, ranching and tourism and several of the early roadhouses have been restored and are now used as recreational buildings and/or resorts.

This picturesque Highway 24 also follows a trail originally used by the Shuswap people as a trading route, and then later developed – in the early 19th century – by the Hudson’s Bay Company to bring furs from the northern BC region to Fort Kamloops and the Columbia River. In fact, sections of the Hudson’s Bay Fur Brigade Trail can still be seen towards the highway’s eastern end, which has been aptly preserved and named as a “heritage trail.”

Lac des Roches by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association
Lac des Roches by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association

Though named the “Fishing Highway,” this route offers seemingly endless wilderness with boundless outdoor opportunities such as bird watching, boating and canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, swimming and other activities.  (During winter, there’s also snowmobiling and snowshoeing.)

You’ll find this idyllic route dotted with beautiful lakes boasting picnicking areas (and bathrooms), along with cafes/restaurants, shops and places to rest up and stay for the night.

Jack Barnett Snowmobile Trail (Gold Rush Trail) by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association
Jack Barnett Snowmobile Trail (Gold Rush Trail) by Fishing Hwy 24 Tourist Association

Indeed, along this relatively expanse of highway, you’ll find nearly a dozen lakes dotting the scenery – with each offering opportunities to discover and explore the area, including Bridge Lake Provincial Park, Crystal Lake Recreation Site, Deka Lake (known for its sizable lake trout and rainbow trout), Eagan Lake, the peaceful and wilderness surrounded Fawn Lake (also known for its rainbow trout at certain times of the year), the five-kilometre long Hathaway Lake, the scenic Horse Lake offering views of rolling hills and vibrant colours in the fall season, Interlakes, the forested Lac Des Roches (which includes many little islands), Sheridan Lake (known for its crystal-clear water and abundant rainbow trout) and Sulphurous Lake (featuring a rocky shoreline and surrounded by low mountains).

Many of the above lakes also boast an array of other activities (along with fishing) and overnight accommodations that range from rustic cabins and RV parking to charming bed & breakfast spots, camping, upscale resorts.

Interested in learning more?  Check out this YouTube clip of the Fishing Highway in action and click here for more information on this popular route.

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If the Fishing Highway interests you, check our suggested drives:
Following the BC Gold Rush Trail through the Cariboo & Beyond
Canadian Rockies, Cowboy Country to Coast Mountains

For campgrounds in this area and elsewhere in British Columbia go to the Camping Map.

Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc, #explorebc

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Tips to Prepare Your RV for Winter Camping in BC

Imagine waking up surrounded by glistening snow, where the outdoors beckons you to do some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, maybe ice-fishing, or just a walk in a stunning winter wonderland. Kids can build snowmen, make snow angels and toboggan. And where a cup of hot chocolate never tasted so good.

RV's in a campground during winter
Nk’Mip Campground, Osyoos in Winter

Just because winter is approaching doesn’t mean that you have to take a hiatus from camping in British Columbia. For instance, did you know that there are some 150 campgrounds including a few BC Parks sites and select private campgrounds/RV parks open year-round? You just have to prepare for your camping trips so you keep warm and cozy and that your RV is prepared for winter conditions.

A friend and newbie to winter camping told me last year, If only we had known how amazing RVing in the winter is, we would have taken this trip a long time ago! The first morning we woke up to the soft sound of snow tinkling on the roof of the RV. Our bed was toasty as we sank deeper into the flannel sheets, and stared out the window to a winter wonderland. It was breathtaking.”

Does that make it sound like fun?

Canadream RV camping at Sunshine Valley Resort in the snow
Sunshine Valley Resort near Hope

So here are some tips to help keep you safe and sound.

You do need to ensure that your pipes and holding tanks will not freeze. This is what Canadream RV Rentals had to say about winterizing the RV.

There are two types of RV you can use in the winter – winterized (no water with all pipes and holding tanks drained) and a winter unit (allows for water usage). If you are going to a destination with electricity hook-up, you can use a winter unit, where an arctic pack will heat exterior tanks so you can have running water. Units also come with a furnace which runs on propane and you will need an electrical heater as well. The temperature inside needs to be kept at a certain level to prevent freezing.

If you are renting an RV in the winter for the first time read our blog First Time RVing In Winter – What To Know About Renting An RV.

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC
Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Go RVing also provides some tips for camping in winter including:

  • Always have enough bed quilting and winter clothing around so that everyone can easily live through a furnace failure even if stranded by weather for several days.
  • Park your RV in the sun whenever possible. You’ll be amazed at how much a good winter sun can heat up your RV.
  • Park your RV on support boards. These boards will prevent your RV tires from “sinking” when the ground thaws.
  • If electricity is not a problem, use electric blankets at night to save on propane. Also, using a small space heater will also save on propane and wear and tear of the furnace.
Trail Along Cambie Creek, Manning Park BC
Trail Along Cambie Creek, Manning Park BC
  • Make sure you insulate your hose and use heat tape that can be crossed over itself, as this will provide the most efficient seal. (Note: you can also buy a heated hose.)
  • If you have a motorized RV, check your batteries for water level and periodically start your engine to keep everything in good running order.
  • To keep your RV battery charged, consider getting a solar panel system or an inverter

Now that you’re all set to experience winter camping this year, here are some blogs and ideas for keeping you camping throughout the fall and winter.

5 Spots to Ice Fish and Camp this Winter in British Columbia

First Time RVing in Winter – What to Know about Renting an RV

Winter RV Adventure for Camping Newbies at Sunshine Valley & Manning Park, BC

Vancouver Island, BC Off-Season Adventures

5 Ways to Enjoy Winter in Wine Country, Okanagan, British Columbia

Go to our Winter Camping Map to find out where you can camp in the winter.

TIP: If you find this blog interesting why not subscribe to the enewsletter and never miss another story!

Post your BC travel and camping photos using the hashtag #CampinBC

It’s always a great day to #CampinBC

Published: September 27th, 2018

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