Our Favourite Lakes to Visit in the Summer

July 4, 2024

Our Favourite Lakes to Visit in the Summer

Summer is for adventures, and one of the places we frequent the most are lakes! We often say this, but living near the Rockies means we have an abundance of unforgettable nature at our fingertips. With extended family throughout British Columbia, there is never a shortage of lakes to explore. There’s so many special destinations to pick from, it can be tough to decide which ones to make the trip to. So, similar to our “Best Hikes” blog we posted last month, we’ve put together some of our faves, each offering unique experiences and breathtaking views that the whole fam will love.

Alberta Lakes

  • Two Jack Lake (Banff National Park): While Lake Louise and Moraine Lake often steal the spotlight in Banff National Park, Two Jack Lake is a hidden gem not to be missed. This emerald-green lake is just a 15-minute drive from Banff and is a serene locale for hiking, camping, and picnics. With the majestic Mount Rundle in the background, Two Jack Lake is ideal for countless activities. Hike the scenic trails around the lake, set up camp and stay for the night, have lunch by the water, and capture photos to make your Instagram feed sparkle.

  • Lake Annette (Jasper National Park): Boasting one of the nicest beaches in Alberta, we can’t imagine anyone having a bad time at Lake Annette. Vivid blue water, lush forests and rugged mountains, with various hiking trails to check out. This is one of the few lakes in the Rockies warm enough for swimming, so don’t forget your bathing suit! Did we mention it has a sandy shore, too?

  • Waterton Lakes (Upper, Middle, and Lower): Waterton Lakes are like a paradise where the prairies of Alberta meet the peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Expect clear lakes, waterfalls, and a delicious dose of the great outdoors. Located in Waterton Lakes National Park, these lakes provide a wide range of activities and impressive landscapes, even after the Kenow Wildfire. There’s ample hiking and water sports like kayaking, canoeing, and scuba-diving!

  • Gull Lake: Adored for its fun atmosphere and sandy beaches, Gull Lake is one of Alberta’s treasured recreational lakes. If you want a lively vacation with family and friends, this is the ticket! Situated about 30 minutes northwest of Red Deer, it’s easily accessible from Calgary and Edmonton. It’s especially nice for younger children because you can walk into the water quite a ways before it starts to get deep. Whether you’re day-tripping or camping, you can fish, swim, play beach volleyball, and so much more!

  • Sylvan Lake: Located south of Edmonton, Sylvan Lake is another exciting spot for a seasonal getaway. It features a busy lakeside vibe, complete with watersports, boating, sandy beaches, boardwalk restaurants, and cool lighthouses. Sylvan Lake is known for its welcoming charm, making it a family-friendly destination—we always have a blast here!

British Columbia Lakes

  • Okanagan Lake: So much room for activities! At 135 kilometers long, Okanagan Lake spans a sunny corner of British Columbia, reaching charming communities like Peachland, Vernon, and Summerland, as well as bustling Kelowna. No matter where you end up on this massive lake, you’ll delight in warm, clear water for all your favourite water sports. If you crave relaxation, with over 30 beaches to choose from, you’re sure to find a quiet spot to take in the serenity.

  • Joffre Lakes: Joffre Lakes near Whistler, BC is a spectacular area, made up of three stunning turquoise lakes nestled between glacier-capped mountains. The fact that it has such insane scenery makes it popular, so arriving earlier in the day is recommended. But we promise it’s very much worth the hype, with an enchanting hike equipped with panoramic views.

  • Garibaldi Lake: Ready for another one that’s easy on the eyes? Garibaldi Lake, near Whistler, is known for its turquoise glacial waters and incredible beauty. Even though this one requires a bit more effort to get to with a nine-kilometer hike, it’s so worth the grind. Once there, camp near the lake surrounded by mountains and stars!

  • Sproat Lake: Vast, pure, and actually warm enough to swim in, Sproat Lake is an island favourite, just out of Port Alberni. You can go boating, camping, fishing, and windsurfing, but it’s great for old-fashioned R&R, too. What sets this lake apart from others on our list? You can take a short hike to see the Petroglyphs! What’s not to dig about a little historical art in nature?

  • Osoyoos Lake: You know how much we like getting hot, which is why we can’t get enough of Osoyoos Lake in Osoyoos! As Canada’s warmest lake, with summer water temperatures reaching up to 24°C, nobody can complain about the water being too cold to swim in. Gyro Beach is sandy and popular, but for something more chill, try Legion Beach.

Enjoy the Beautiful Blue

We hope this helps you plot your adventures! With endless iconic natural wonders here in Western Canada, this list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of must-see lakes. No matter where you end up, enjoy the diverse offerings each destination has in store, and you’ll be making the best summer memories. As always, don’t forget to check websites for day passes, availability, and closures.

Stay grounded!