There are many wonderful ways to enjoy the beautiful BC summers, and it goes without saying that once it gets warm outside, we all want to be near the water. However, instead of going to the same old swimming spots everyday, it might be nice to go on a little adventure to see what other luxuriant lakes lay beyond the immediate confines of the Greater Vancouver Area.
If you don't have time to go on a long road trip, don't be too disappointed, there are plenty of pristine places to swim closer to the city so take your pick: 16 Unreal Swimming Spots, 10 Of The Most Beautiful BC Beaches, 13 Amazing Vancouver Pools, or if you want a tiny escape from urban life, you can also venture to Joffre Lake!
But for those of you ready to explore the numerous other freshwater wonderlands, this list will take you all over the province to some absolutely stunning lakes, guaranteeing a road trip well worth it.
The distances listed are from downtown Vancouver so plan your trip accordingly:
Photo cred - @riaanasejpal
1. Okanagan Lake // Kelowna – 389.5 km (3 hours 52 min)
The lake spans to Penticton and Vernon as well, is lined with lovely beaches and is one of best places to go boating in BC. The weather is almost always warm and sunny in Kelowna during the summer, so count on that tan. Plus the the water is warm and there's lots to do in town.
2. Eva Lake // Revelstoke – 564.3 km (5 hours 42 min)
A short hike into Mount Revelstoke National Park will place you at one of the prettiest lakes in the province. Its turquoise blue waters will glimmer in the sunlight, surrounded by radiant wildflowers and serene wilderness.
3. Lake O'Hara // Yoho National Park – 735.5 km (7 hours 25 min)
Near the border to Alberta, this glacier lake elegantly resides at an elevations of 2,000 feet. The park is protected and therefore you may need to arrange for an alpine pass via a private shuttle ride into the park. Though, once inside, the scenery is unbelievable and there are log-cabins for a romantic stay in the mountains.
4. Shuswap Lake // Salmon Arm – 455.2 km (4 hours 34 min)
Another grand BC lake with lots of camping sites, beaches, and clear water for swimming. Copper Island sits in the middle of the lake waiting to explored and on the mainland shores there are endless activities from jet-ski rentals to para-sailing.
5. Jones (Wahleach) Lake // Hope – 145.2 km (1 hour 53 min)
Between Chilliwak and Hope, there is a lake with great fishing, clean water for swimming, and an impressive mountain backdrop that'll take your breath away.
Photo cred - @wino17
6. Skaha Lake // Kaleden – 421 km (4 hours 8 min)
A smaller lake compared to some of the others on the list, but just as nice. A great beach and quaint lakeside town make the warm waters even more worth the drive. There is plenty else to do in the area besides swim so you definitely won't be bored.
7. Kalamalka Lake // Vernon – 442.2 km (4 hours 36 min)
The cyan color waters is a sight to behold. Kal beach is a popular place to hangout and swim, and water skiing is common on the glassy surface. There are quite a few other lakes near by in the Okanagan Valley, so if you want to coordinate a multi-lake road trip, this should definitely be one of the destinations.
8. Nimpo Lake // Chilcotin County – 848.5 km (10 hours 15 min)
This lake is out there, but if your goal is to really see some of the more obscure lakes in BC, this is one of them. One of the very cool things about this lake is the number of float planes that uses its protected bays as runways. If you make it here, you might want to find a way to get into the sky to see the lake and all its glory from a higher perspective.
9. Mara Lake // Sicamous – 499.7 km (5 hours)
Boating is popular here and there are many great swimming spots on the picturesque shores. Take in the mountainous backdrop and peaceful farmlands, all while being enveloped with small town charisma and nonchalant summer vibes.
10. Harrison Lake // Harrison Hot Springs – 153.1 km (2 hours 43 min)
Not too far from Vancouver, the largest lake in the Southern Coast Mountains offers many activities like kayaking and canoeing. The water is pretty frigid here, but the view is still worth the short drive even if you can't muster the will to take a dip. Though on a hot day, it'll promise to be refreshing.
Photo cred - @mukiwaru
11. Chilco Lake // Chiloctin District – 549.4 km (5 hours 53 min)
Impressive in depth and encompassed by fjords, makes this lake a deep hole in the ground, but the water is gorgeous and the surrounding alpine wildness is begging to be explored.
12. Babine Lake // Granisle – 1,179.5 km (15 hours 57 min)
The longest lake in BC is inclusive of many provincial parks. There are places to camp and swim and you are more than likely to see some wildlife, such as moose and bear, when this far into the north/central part of the province. Metro Vancouver will be far removed from your mind by the time you get here.
There are many more marvelous lakes of course, so feel free to comment below any that I may have missed that you feel deserve to make the list. Have fun this summer exploring BC!
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