RV Snowbirding at Oliver in BC’s Okanagan
Oliver, BC is well known as the “Wine Capital of Canada” and home to more than 40 wineries! However, it is not just a place to go wine tasting in the summer; it is extremely popular for snowbirds and those wanting a little winter adventure.
Not long ago we checked out winter camping in Osoyoos; this time we headed a little further north to see what Oliver has to offer. We visited three parks full of RVs all looking very cozy and well set up for the cooler weather. Since our visit others have opened up to cater to snowbirds such as The Lakeside Resort in Oliver.
Yes, Oliver gets cold and has some snow but overall it is pretty mild with most days in January and February around 0 degrees Celsius and snow that usually only sticks around for a few days. Its population is 4,800 with a median age of 56; this means there are many services for seniors including a hospital, recreation centre, ski hill, two golf courses, and theatre.
On this trip, we checked out three local campsites all open year-round and welcoming snowbirds. First stop were two RV parks on Tuc-el-nuit Lake, located in the town of Oliver, but we can now add The Lakeside Resort who have recently renovated their RV sites to accommodate winter stays.
Right on the shores of Tuc-el-nuit Lake, Apple Beach RV Park has large sites under beautiful willow trees and a lovely grassed beach area. It is family operated, pet friendly, and welcomes “big rigs”. Also on the lake is Desert Lake RV Resort with 40 sites in total including 11 right next to the water. This resort offers daily, monthly, and annual rates. The Lakeside Resort also boasts a lakefront location, is the closest to the town center and offers 50 amp services.
A little further north (about 10-15 minutes) of Oliver is Gallagher Lake Camping & RV Resort. We just love the beach at Gallagher, lots of families and activities during the summer months and so peaceful in the winter. Some sites are pet friendly, there are WiFi hotspots, and nightly, weekend, and weekly rates for all seasons. If you are not a camper, check out their cute little camping cabins nestled amongst the big trees. The cabin rates are slightly more expensive.
While we were in the area, we decided to explore some winter activities. We headed to Vaseux Lake which is located north of Oliver before you reach Okanagan Falls. The word “vaseux” is French for muddy or murky which describes the silty water. If you make it here during the warmer months, watch for lots of bass fishermen, the big horn sheep and mountain goats, as well as a large variety of birds in the area known as the Vaseux-Bighorn National Wildlife Area. If you are bird watcher, you may want to visit the trails that allow access to the Vaseux Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
Since the lake was well-frozen, we decided to clear off a patch of ice and spend some time skating. Sometimes the lake is clear of snow and you can skate forever, ice fish, or maybe catch a glimpse of sail boats on skates! And If you are looking for good hiking in the area with stunning views in the cool or warm weather, check out nearby McIntyre Bluff which overlooks the lake. It is accessible through the neighbouring Covert Farms tourist trail.
When it was time to get warmed up, we headed to Big Al’s Bakery & Deli on Main Street in Oliver. Check out their yummy baked goods; you won’t be leaving empty-handed!
To sum up, Oliver caters to all ages, and in winter they have a special welcome to snowbirds. It has a beautiful, natural charm which appeals to locals and visitors year-round.
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For winter camping opportunities in British Columbia as well as year-round camping go to Camping & RV in British Columbia.
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Published: January 30th, 2020
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