Camping in Shuswap, BC - Herald and Shuswap Lake Provincial Parks

by - Wednesday, January 13, 2016

During last summer's epic road trip, we explored six provincial parks and three national parks in southern BC. From the western tip of the country to Canada's third highest waterfall, we found something to love at every campground. Read on to see what you should know about camping at Herald Provincial Park and Shuswap Lake Provincial Park.

Herald Provincial Park

Herald Provincial Park has three quiet campgrounds, all side by side, not too far off the Trans Canada Highway that offer boating, beach time, and a pleasant hike to scenic Margaret Falls. Its sand and pebble beach is pretty and shaded by Bastion Mountain for much of the day; a good thing in very hot weather, and not so good on cooler days. Pack your wetsuits in case it's windy or cool. If you do go swimming, stay within the swimming area as there are a lot of motor boats in the area.

Sites are large and clean with a mix of shaded spots and unshaded spots. We had a gorgeous spot in the Reineker Campground (forested) that backed onto the Margaret Falls Trail. The Bastion Campground has some unshaded sites, and most of the sites in Homesteader are unshaded.

  • Hiking - The lovely Margaret Falls hike starts at the campground and is well worth a visit! We also did part of the Lower East Reineker Creek Trail. View a map of the Reineker Creek Trail System here
  • Boating (there is a boat launch), paddling
  • Swimming - The beach is about 1 km long so park visitors aren't crowded together in one spot!
  • Fishing

  • Margaret Falls Trail, Herald Provincial Park
  • Water: yes
  • Power: no
  • Showers: yes
Special Notes:
  • There are shaded and unshaded sites, so be sure to check when you reserve to ensure you get the type of site you prefer. 
  • Biking is not permitted in the campground.
  • While Margaret Falls is a very popular hike, the other trails are not heavily used and are full of wildlife (we heard loud noises in the bushes and turned back). Take extra care to be bear aware. 
Bottom Line: The campground is well maintained, not as big or busy as some other Okanagan campgrounds, and isn't too far off of the TransCanada Highway, so it makes a pleasant and easy to access lakeside destination. I would recommend Herald to boaters, couples, or families with older children as there are no playgrounds or interpretive programs.

Shuswap Lake Provincial Park

Our favorite Okanagan campground by far, this campground is family-friendly and bike-friendly. There is great programming at the amphitheatre and Nature Hut, and the sandy beach is lovely. Although it is a very popular beach, its size (1 km!) ensures that there is space for all whether you would like a patch of shade on the beach or a picnic table. 

Shuswap Lake Provincial Park Beach
  • Hiking - We enjoyed the Nature Walk by the Nature Hut! For a longer hike, head over to Copper Island (only accessible by boat).
  • Boating - there is a boat launch
  • Paddling - Paddle close to short, or paddle 1.3 km to Copper Island and hike its 2.8 km trail!
  • Swimming 
  • Fishing - Due to the number of kids playing near shore, I don't imagine the fishing from shore would be great, but there are some fun free Learn to Fish programs during the summer. 
  • Adventure Playground
  • Nature Hut 
  • Nature walk (adjacent to Nature Hut)
  • Amphitheatre Programs
  • Water: yes
  • Power: yes
  • Showers: yes
Special Notes
  • Book three months ahead to get a spot! Any spot at Shuswap Lake is good! There are plenty of trees to provide shade.

For a complete trip writeup, please see this post.

Bottom Line: For a family camping destination, it's hard to beat this campground. They have thoughtfully planned out activities for all ages (Jerry's Rangers, Learn to Fish, evening amphitheatre programs) and have a great beach and adventure playground. We only wish there were more hiking and biking trails in the area, but nevertheless, we've enjoyed staying at Shuswap Lake two years in a row and will be back.

Shuswap Lake Provincial Park Picnic Area
Shuswap Lake Provincial Park Dock
Where do you like to camp in the Shuswap/Okanagan area?

Other BC Camping Destinations

Our Favorite Vancouver Island Campgrounds: Goldstream Provincial Park (Victoria), Bella Pacifica (Tofino), Wya Point (Ucluelet), Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park (Parksville)

Camping in Glacier National Park, Revelstoke, BC

Backpacking the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail WITH KIDS

10 Tips for Backpacking the West Coast Trail

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  1. Thanks for these reviews! I was looking at Herald last summer and was looking for inside info, great tip on the no bikes as well.

  2. You're welcome! :) The Margaret Falls hike at Herald is lovely, but there's more for families to do at Shuswap Lake!

  3. Nice post. thanks

  4. Glad to see other people enjoying Herald Park - that is the campground I grew up camping at, and now I take my kids there. We love it! Reineker area is definitely the best, but the whole park is awesome. Not sure where you heard there's no biking allowed at the campground though - we go there with our kids, and that's 50% of what they do, just riding laps around the loops with all the other kids in the park. You get some pretty epic bike gangs going sometimes!

  5. Thanks Trevor! I wonder if management has changed since we were there (2 yrs ago).. we were told specifically at check in that biking was not allowed in the campground. :( We were so disappointed as it's the kids' favorite thing to do at camp! Hopefully the campground had a change of heart!

  6. Maybe it was something that they quickly rescinded after complaints. We weren't there 2 years ago, but last year there was lots of biking happening.


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