British Columbia is home to over 20,000 lakes, each offering its own beauty and appeal. The diverse lakes range from cold to warm, accessible to remote, and thrilling to relaxing, so you can have the perfect lake vacation. You can enjoy activities like wilderness hikes, swimming in warm waters, fishing from a boat or premier fishing spots, water sports like paddle boarding, and other fun activities, depending on where you choose to stay. Whether you’re planning a family vacation, a romantic alpine escape, or an adventure in the outdoors, find out all about the best lakes in BC to see which is the best option for your vacation.
Joffre Lakes for spectacular hikes
Joffre Lakes is a collection of 3 lakes that can be reached from numerous hiking trails. The lower lake is the easiest to hike to and offers beautiful beaches. If you want a more challenging hiking experience, both the middle and upper lakes have elevated, longer hiking trails. Though the lakes are often too cold for swimming, you can relax by the water to take in the views.
Eva Lake for camping
Eva Lake is located in Mount Revelstoke National Park and boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in all of British Columbia. Like other park lakes, Eva Lake is accessible by hiking trails that pass by subalpine meadows, dense forests, wildflower fields, and other natural highlights. When you get there, you’ll enjoy incredible views of the sparkling lake below dramatic mountain ranges. If you want to stay awhile, Eva Lake has several backcountry campgrounds to pitch a tent.
Garibaldi Lake for family fun
Garibaldi Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in British Columbia and boasts sparkling turquoise waters surrounded by scenic mountains. The lake is located within the Garibaldi Provincial Park near Whistler and is only accessible by hiking trails, but it’s worth the effort to get there. You’ll not only enjoy the scenery and wildlife along the way, but you’ll experience few crowds when you arrive. There’s also a campsite nearby, so you can hike and camp out to get in as much time by the water as possible.
Berg Lake for remote wilderness
Located in Mount Robson Provincial Park, Berg Lake is a remote lake surrounded by dense forests. The blue-green glacial lake is only accessible by hiking trail, but you’ll pass many incredible natural landmarks along the way. The lake has a campground nearby to camp out and spend more time enjoying the lake after your hike.
Okanagan Lake for family recreation
Okanagan Lake is a fun recreational lake near Kelowna. The lake has over 30 beaches where you can sunbathe, swim, or enjoy thrilling water sports like snorkelling, paddle boarding, wakeboarding, sailing, and waterskiing. You can choose between quiet, family-friendly beaches or scenic, romantic beaches for your trip. Another highlight of Okanagan Lake is Ogopogo, the mysterious sea monster that’s rumoured to live in the water. If you want to learn more about the local legend, you’ll find kitschy attractions dedicated to the monster all around the lake.
Emerald Lake for watersports
Named for its stunning green waters, Emerald Lake is a remarkable lake that’s coloured by the limestone and melting snow that runs off the mountain. The lake is located in Yoho National Park and can be reached by hiking trails. There’s also a loop trail that travels around the lake to take in more of the scenery. The popular activities at Emerald Lake include canoeing and boating, fishing, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.
Shuswap Lake for houseboating
Shuswap Lake is a large, scenic lake with beautiful swimming waters and sandy beaches. Many visitors enjoy renting houseboats to experience more of the lake during their trip. With a houseboat, you have the option to travel to different parts of the lake and explore the amenities and attractions on the shore.
Lake O’Hara for wildlife
Lake O’Hara is a picturesque lake in Yoho National Park with pristine wilderness and an abundance of wildlife. You can reach the lake by shuttle bus run by Parks Canada, which offers limited space to keep the lake unspoiled. If you prefer, you can hike to the lake and enjoy the landscape along the way.