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Beach Vacations in the Kootenay Rockies

With big, epic mountain ranges in the Kootenay Rockies – the Canadian Rockies, Purcells, Selkirks and Monashees, there are also big valleys and many are filled with glacier fed waters. If you love paddling, boating, fishing or just relaxing on a beach and soaking up natural vitamin D – we have some great ideas for a beach getaway.

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. 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.

Deluxe interior of a houseboat; photo courtesy of Sunshine Houseboats & Marina

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, the Kaslo beach, Kootenay Bay at the ferry landing, the Riondel Community Campground, West Beach in the Crawford Creek Regional Park and Lockhart Beach Provincial Park along the East Shore.

The secluded shoreline of the Kaslo beach area; photo by Field & Forest

While 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 has two beaches. 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.  Both are day-use areas.

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

Other beachfront destinations include: Blanket Creek Provincial Park south of Revelstoke, Champion Lakes Provincial Park near Trail/Rossland, Columbia Lake Provincial Park in Canal Flats, Cooper Beach near Silverton, Gorman Lake near Golden, Jim Smith Lake Provincial Park near Cranbrook, Kokanee Creek Provincial Park north of Nelson, Nakusp Municipal Beach, Martha Creek Provincial Park near Revelstoke, McDonald Creek Provincial Park north of Nakusp, Moyie Lake Provincial Park south of Cranbrook, Summit Lake Provincial Park near Nakusp, Tilly Memorial Park in Canal Flats, Wasa Lake Provincial Park, Premier Lake Provincial Park and Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park north of Cranbrook/Kimberley.

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

Know Before You Go!

~ Take extra time to research and plan your trip in advance. Many of our tourism businesses and services have adopted new COVID-19 protocols and changes to their schedules or policies to ensure your safety. You’ll want to become familiar with them ahead of time.

~ If you normally travel with extended family or with several friends, consider travelling in a smaller group this summer. Travelling with fewer people makes it easier for you to practise physical distancing in public, and may have less of an impact on the destination.

~ Consider a slower travel pace this summer to help curb the spread. Instead of checking in and out of multiple destinations during one trip, choose one or two destinations and one/two accommodation properties for your entire trip (and explore all the things to do & see nearby).

Related Stories
~ 4 Quirky Communities along Kootenay Lake
~ Columbia River Paddle: Paddle the David Thompson Historical Route
~ Hidden Waterfalls in the Kootenays
~ Human Powered: The Westside Legacy Trail
~ Paddling Adventures in the Kootenays
~ What’s Open in the Kootenay Rockies? (2020 Summer/Fall)

Story by KootRocks Staffer (Shannon Harrison). Cover/top photo courtesy of Sunshine Houseboats & Marina.

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