6 Tips for Houseboating on Shuswap Lake

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Considering a houseboating holiday in the Shuswap? Warm lakes and more than 600 km (400 mi) of shoreline make it a popular choice. Here are a few tips to get started.

1. Select your boat.

Houseboats come in a range of options, and they book up fast. You’ll want to reserve your boat six months to a year in advance, but if you’re looking for last-minute adventure, check with the houseboat providers for cancellations and mid-week openings.

2. Pick your crew.

Houseboating on Shuswap Lake

Take a turn at the wheel. Photo: @juls.mac via Instagram

Depending on your boat, you’ll have room to sleep 10 to 30 people. You’ll be spending anywhere from three to seven days together (in close quarters), so pick your crew wisely. The boats are easy to drive—it’s OK if you don’t have a boat licence—but you may want to invite a friend who’s great with the barbecue.

3. Make it a road trip.

The Sicamous Lookhout

Worth the stop and short hike, the Sicamous Lookout is actually a hang-gliding platform. Photo: @taylor.charron via Instagram

Getting there is a big part of the fun; plan your route to Sicamous, where you’ll board your houseboat, and allow time to explore on the way. A few suggested stops include Revelstoke (for a ride on the Pipe Mountain Coaster), a night in Kamloops (catch the free Music in the Park series on the banks of the Thompson River), fresh fruit and a tractor rides at Davison Orchards in Vernon, or a short hike to the Sicamous Lookout before you board.

4. Where to Beach?

Private beach on Shuswap Lake

Nothing compares to a secluded beach surrounded by nature. Photo: @apreswheeler via Instagram

Shuswap Lake is shaped like a capital H with four branches to explore. Marine parks and countless beach options allow you to make the experience your own. Park at a secluded beach for some alone time, opt for one of the many family beaches or the popular nightlife at Nielson Beach.

5. Provisions

The dock in Salmon Arm.

The dock in Salmon Arm. Photo: @_mmwhite via Instagram

On your way, stop in Salmon Arm for groceries—and and maybe a pie or two from Shuswap Pie Company. Once you’re on the water, check out the floating store and Shark Shack restaurant, or dock your boat in Sicamous or Salmon Arm and walk to a local pub.

6. Relax & Adventure

Houseboating Shuswap Lake

Time to play, choose your adventure. Photo: @lifeasbrookeerin via Instagram

Spend your days relaxing, or head out on an adventure. Rent a paddleboard, kayak, or a Seadoo; go for a hikemountain bikegolf, go fishing, or check out the local wineries on a wine tour.

Featured image: Shuswap. Photo: Darren Robinson/Shuswap Tourism