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May 23, 2024

Beach Vacations in the Kootenay Rockies

The Canadian Rockies and Columbias (Purcells, Selkirks, and Monashees) form the breathtaking backdrop for the Kootenay Rockies. These majestic mountain ranges (and subranges) are matched only by the vast valleys and crystal-clear waters fed by glaciers. Whether you’re into paddling, boating, fishing, or simply unwinding on a beautiful beach, we’ve got some fantastic beach getaway suggestions that will recharge your body and soul.

ARROW LAKE

Cruises and charters on the Arrow Lake near Nakusp, BC are available with Arrow Lakes Adventures.  Grab your sunglasses and get ready for an amazing day out on the Arrow Lakes. A wide range of fun is offered for up to 10 adults, from full day boat, beach and waterfall adventures to 1 hour luxury sunset cruises.

The vessel, a 8-metre (26-foot) Avalon Cantina tritoon offers a relaxing, smooth, stable and safe experience. It also has a custom rack for 8 bikes to shuttle you to world-class mountain biking trails and is also equipped to carry up to 4 paddle boards or kayaks. This will ensure your time on the lake is incredible.

Arrow Lake Adventures; photo by Mitch Winton

KOOTENAY LAKE

Kootenay Lake is the biggest lake in the region, 400 square km (and 104-km/64-miles long), with lots of beach area and hidden coves.  Community beaches are active with watersport lovers during the summer months.  Not only can you swim & paddle at these water-playgrounds; many have boat launches for additional water-sports action!

Experience the unique West Kootenay vibe at these public access points on Kootenay Lake, including the Rotary Lakeside Park in Nelson, Historic Ainsworth Wharf Regional Park, the Kaslo beach, Kootenay Bay at the ferry landing and Sunshine Bay Regional Park near Harrop/Procter. On the East Shore of Kootenay Lake, the North Bay Park at the Riondel Campground, Crawford Creek Regional Park in Crawford Bay and Lockhart Beach Provincial Park, plus the many marine parks (Davis Creek & Lost Ledge Provincial Parks, Dewry Point Marine Provincial Park and Midge Creek Marine Park) are more beach destinations.

Nelson’s Lakeside Rotary Park; photo by Mitch Winton

SLOCAN LAKE

Discover the breathtaking beauty of Slocan Lake in British Columbia’s picturesque Slocan River Valley. With no major rivers flowing into it, this natural wonder is truly unique. Nestled in the majestic Valhalla mountain ranges of the West Kootenay, Slocan Lake boasts stunning shorelines and areas with steep slopes. Outdoor enthusiasts will find endless opportunities for adventure and recreation in this secluded area.

The marina in Slocan City offers dock space, while a public beach beckons with its sandy shores. Whether you’re into sailing, power boating, or exploring by canoe or kayak, Slocan Lake guarantees an unforgettable experience. Just be sure to keep an eye on the weather as the winds can whip up some challenging waves for paddlers.

Stunning Views of Slocan Lake; photo by Ashley Voykin

LAKE KOOCANUSA

The Kootenay River flows into Lake Koocanusa, which offers wonderful sandy shorelines and accessible secluded coves over a distance of over 200-kms (124-miles). Lake Koocanusa is also home to Sunshine Houseboats, Marina & Waterpark. If you have never been houseboating, this is the summer to try it.  It’s the ultimate glamping on water, as these luxury rentals are fully-equipped with a kitchen, barbecue, waterslide, hot tub & more.

The Sunshine Waterpark offers climbing, balancing, sliding and jumping off the inflatable structures floating in a sheltered cove is sure to bring out the kid in everyone!  The structures are surrounded by docks, providing everyone easy access to the fun, and offering those who chose not to partake in the action a clear view of it. In addition to the water park, the Dockside Cantina provides snacks, refreshments, and full scale meals, making food and drink one less thing to think about when you load up the family and head out for the day.

A family enjoys an evening on Koocanusa Lake with a Sunshine Houseboats, Marina & Waterpark; photo by Kari Medig

LAKE REVELSTOKE

Discover the hidden gem of Lake Revelstoke. Located above the magnificent Revelstoke Dam on Highway 23 North, this stunning lake is the ultimate summer hotspot. With breathtaking 360-degree mountain views, it’s the perfect playground for water sports, camping, and endless outdoor adventures. Don’t miss out on experiencing the beauty and excitement it has to offer!

Join them on a guided tour with Natural Escapes Kayaking. Experience the breathtaking Columbia Mountains while paddling through a remarkable lake and river system. Keep your eyes peeled for majestic Bald Eagles, graceful Great Blue Herons, powerful Ospreys, and an array of native and migratory birds. This is an adventure you won’t want to miss!

Paddling on Lake Revelstoke; photo by Mitch Winton.

LAKE WINDERMERE

Lake Windermere, in the Columbia Valley (located between Invermere and Windermere), is one of the warmest lakes to the region – at 17.7-km in length (almost 11-miles).

The lake offers three public beach experiences. Kinsman Park has tall trees to provide plenty of shade, a sandy beach, kids’ play area, picnic tables & more.  James Chabot Provincial Park also offers a sandy beach backed with open, grassy play areas – perfect for families.  Windermere Public Beach is the perfect peaceful location for a family & friends picnic. 

Paddling on Windermere Lake near Invermere, BC; photo by Kari Medig

OTHER WATER DESTINATIONS

EAST KOOTENAY
Canal FlatsColumbia Lake Provincial Park, Tilly Memorial Park, Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park
CranbrookJim Smith Lake Provincial Park, Moyie Lake Provincial Park, Norbury Lake Provincial Park
ElkfordGrave Lake
FernieBull River, Elk River, Silver Spring Lakes
FieldEmerald Lake, Sherbrooke Lake
GoldenGorman Lake, Kicking Horse River
Invermere | Radium Hot SpringsColumbia River
KimberleySt. Mary Regional Park, Wasa Lake Provincial Park
SkookumchuckPremier Lake Provincial Park

WEST KOOTENAY

Arrow ParkArrow Lakes Provincial Park
CastlegarColumbia River, Robson Boat Ramp Regional Park, Syringa Provincial Park, Taghum Beach Regional Park
NakuspMcDonald Creek Provincial Park, Nakusp Municipal Beach, Summit Lake Provincial Park
New Denver/SilvertonBannock Point, Bigelow Bay Regional Park, Centennial Park, Cooper Beach
RevelstokeBlanket Creek Provincial Park, Martha Creek Provincial Park
TrailChampion Lakes Provincial Park, Columbia River/Gyro Park

Full list of accommodation properties, many with waterfront views or lake/river access!

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