Vancouverites are extremely fortunate to have so many stunning summer lakes within driving distance. We have a beautiful selection of scenic, picture-perfect lakes at our fingertips, which many of us are getting ready to enjoy this season. The best part is the variety British Columbia has when it comes to the types of lakes we have access to.
Whether you’re looking for a lake with sandy beaches, a small and peaceful lake, a lake that is enveloped by glacier-capped mountains, a piercing turquoise-blue lake, an emerald-green lake, a scenic hike that leads you to a crystal clear lake, or a lake great for fishing – there is a lake for you – but we suggest you see all of them.
Here are seven beautiful lakes near Vancouver in British Columbia you have to visit this summer:
- Location: Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon
- Driving distance: Approximately four hours from Vancouver
- Known for: Hot and sunny weather, beautiful beaches, gorgeous resorts, swimming, boating and water sports.
The Okanagan is one of the warmest areas in all of Canada, so Okanagan Lake is guaranteed to be a hot and sunny destination ideal for swimming, boating and sunbathing this summer. It’s the perfect location for a weekend getaway with friends or a family trip.
Penticton Lakeside Resort is located right on Okanagan Lake, and boasts its own beautiful, private beach. The gorgeous resort also has an on-site casino and great restaurants, so that your nights are guaranteed to be just as fun as your days.
- Location: Pemberton
- Driving distance: Approximately 2.5 hours from Vancouver or one hour from Whistler
- Known for: The water is a gorgeous piercing blue colour, it’s surrounded by glacier-capped mountains, beautiful hiking and an ideal camping destination.
Joffre Lakes will truly take your breath away and you’ll have to pinch yourself to confirm that it’s real. Joffre can be a day trip or an overnight trip. Although there are no hotels at Joffre Lake, it makes for the perfect camping trip.
This glacier lake is truly remarkable with its crystal blue colour and its serene, peaceful vibe. The best part is, the first lake is only about a five minute walk from the parking lot. You can do the five hour hike if you’d like to see the upper lakes – which are epic and well worth the hike – but the short five minute walk still rewards you with the first, very beautiful lake of Joffre Lakes.
- Location: Port Moody
- Driving distance: Approximately 45 minutes from Vancouver
- Known for: Awesome for swimming as it is one of Greater Vancouver’s warmest lakes, lined by the beautiful White Pine Beach.
Sasamat Lake is a unique gem. The lake is warm to swim in, and lined with a scenic forest and trails, as well as a beautiful white sand beach to relax on. I’m referring to Sasamat Lake’s White Pine Beach. It’s at the north end of Sasamat Lake, and it’s a very popular summer ‘Sunday-Funday’ destination for Vancouverites. It’s the perfect spot for a fun day in the sun with your friends to have a picnic, swim in the lake, sunbathe on the beach and lounge on the water on your floaties.
- Location: Approximately 35km north of Squamish and 20 km south of Whistler
- Driving distance: Approximately 1.5 hours from Vancouver
- Known for: Intermediate to advanced hiking destination, beautiful campground, gorgeous turquoise-colour alpine lake, glacier-fed.
Garibaldi Lake is special since it cannot be reached unless you commit to a two to three hour steep uphill hike (the Garibaldi Lake hike is five to six hours round-trip) and the picture-perfect lake is your reward. Another thing that makes this lake so special is that it is so strikingly beautiful, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered some parallel universe. The lake is a clear turquoise-blue lined with glacier-capped mountains and lush green trees.
Some hikers use Garibaldi Lake’s campground as their half-way break on their way to Black Tusk or Panorama ridge, others camp overnight at Garibaldi Lake and head back down the next day, and others forgo lugging camping gear and instead do the round-trip hike in the same day. No matter which option you choose, you can’t go wrong as long as you see the lake and spend some time taking in the view before heading back.
- Location: Pemberton
- Driving distance: Approximately 2.5 hours from Vancouver
- Known for: Trophy fly fishing, picturesque green lake, peaceful, serene and extremely quiet.
Ivey Lake is secluded within the beautiful mountains of the Pemberton Valley, and enveloped by the tall cedars of B.C.’s green coastal forests. It is most certainly a hidden gem and it’s a quiet, peaceful getaway. The lake is lined with several remote lake-front log-cabins, available to rent from private owners.
Ivey Lake is the ideal weekend getaway if what you need is a quiet, picturesque location to catch up on your reading, soak up the sun and maybe do some fishing. It’s one of the Lower Mainland’s only trophy fly fishing lakes, and if you want to catch Rainbow Trout, you need to head there. It’s also a nature-lover’s paradise, with lots of wildlife and lush green surrounding forests.
- Location: Whistler
- Driving distance: Approximately two hours from Vancouver
- Known for: Sandy beach, swimming docks, dog-friendly, BBQ facilities, picturesque surrounding mountains, nearby trails.
Lost Lake Park is located at Whistler’s tranquil and beautiful Lost Lake. It’s also walking distance to the popular Whistler Village, which has a great selection of shops, restaurants and hotels.
The beach at Lost Lake gets quite busy in the summer, as it is the most convenient beach to get to for Whistler residents. Lost Lake offers all the facilities you need to comfortably spend the day there: washrooms, picnic tables, swimming docks, BBQ facilities and a concession stand. Lost Lake Park is also a dog-friendly location. It’s a great spot for watching the sunsets over Whistler Mountain.
- Location: Salmon Arm
- Driving distance: Approximately five hours from Vancouver
- Known for: Hot summers, swimming, boating and the top houseboating destination in Canada.
The beautiful and vast Shuswap Lake offers over 1000 kilometres of shoreline to explore, and it is the houseboating capitol of Canada. Shuswap Lake is lined with a plethora of lakefront cabins you can rent out for the week or the weekend, and spend your days stand-up paddleboarding, boating, kayaking or just relaxing on your dock. If houseboating is something you’re into, you may have to plan far in advance. The waitlist for a houseboat can be up to two years for the busy summer long weekends – but renting a cabin on this beautiful lake is another great option.