Camping at Ellison Provincial Park, BC

by - Sunday, September 06, 2015

Located on the benchlands above Okanagan Lake, 16 km from Vernon, Ellison Provincial Park makes a great beach getaway. The lovely pink sand and pebble beaches are located in sheltered coves, perfect for swimming and paddling, and there is even a beach exclusively for pets!  

South Bay, Ellison Provincial Park on Sunday morning
The park is just out of the way enough that the beautiful beaches are clean and never too crowded, but if you're planning on camping, plan ahead! The campground fills up three months in advance and those hoping to nab a first come, first served site must be prepared to spend a few nights in the overflow lot. There are no power sites, but there are flush toilets throughout the campground and showers. 

Sites are large and partially shaded with moderate privacy (low shrubs between most sites). The campground can get quite hot by late afternoon, but fortunately, respite is just a 5-minute walk away. There is plenty of shade at the beaches and adjacent picnic area as well as a volleyball net, (cold) shower, and outhouses. 

Ellison Provincial Park Campground
My girls loved swimming to the rock at Otter Bay, swimming to the buoys (at both beaches) and playing at the adventure playground. There is a great network of hiking and mountain biking trails in the area we hope to explore more on future visits.

Otter Bay, Ellison Provincial Park


  • Swimming - Otter Bay and South Bay are great places to swim! 
  • Take pets to Sandy Beach, the pet beach.
  • Diving - There is an underwater dive park at Otter Bay!
  • Paddling
  • Beach ball volleyball
  • Hiking and Biking - There are several hiking and intermediate level mountain biking trails in the area. We did the Nature Trail Loop hike from camp and got fantastic views of Okanagan Lake. It helps that you start so high above the lake!
  • Climbing (beginner bouldering and top rope climbing)

Gray Monk Winery, Lake Country


  • Adventure Playground
  • Water: yes
  • Power: no
  • Showers: yes
  • There are kayak and SUP rentals available on the beach - credit cards accepted.

Special Notes

  • Be sure to bring plenty of groceries, cash, and ice as the nearest store is 10 km away. 
  • The campground operator (cash only) sells ice, firewood, and frozen treats.
  • Bring a bug screen house as wasps can be bad some years.
  • If you're travelling with baby, a travel crib with a mosquito net would be helpful for naptime by the beach.
  • Summer temperatures get really high - plan to be done hiking or biking by 11 am
  • Take precautions against swimmers' itch - put on lots of waterproof sunscreen or baby oil before going in the water and then shower and towel off vigorously after. If you get swimmers' itch, apply calamine lotion and take an antihistamine to help with the intense itching. Our girls did not get swimmers' itch at Ellison Provincial Park, but they got it at Kin Beach (near downtown Vernon). 
Kalamalka Lake

Recommended Excursions 

  • Kalamalka Lake - Kal Beach, Cosens Bay Beach
  • Vernon - Paddlewheel Park (sandy beach, shade, playground), Polson Park (gardens, a duck pond, playground, spray park and outdoor workout equipment!)
  • Lake Country. This area is home to 6 wineries; several offer free tastings, but only Gray Monk has a restaurant. We had a fantastic dinner at Gray Monk!
  • U-pick farms - Peter's U-Pick Orchard and Davison Orchards were highly recommended to me
Polson Park, Vernon

Bottom Line 

We enjoyed the private feel of Ellison's sheltered coves and would stay here again for the opportunity to stay in a smaller campground (71 sites), away from it all, but not too far from town. Be sure to bring your bikes and kayaks so you can make the most of the park! 

Where do you like to camp in Vernon? 

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