Drive past the town of Sicamous and it’s impossible to miss the 89-kilometre-long Shuswap Lake. Branching into four distinct arms and framed by forest, mountains and beaches, this sparkling freshwater paradise is known as the Houseboating Capital of Canada. Houseboating is a simple proposition: Up to two dozen of your closest friends and family can enjoy stellar scenery and silky warm water, taking home comforts (including hot showers, flush toilets, a fully equipped kitchen, Weber BBQs, double beds, lounge, a dining room and hot tub) with you. Think of it as luxury RV’ing over water – portable glamping – on the water and under the stars. It’s an ideal multi-generational bucket list outdoor experience, and one of the best outdoor experiences in the country.
Cost: Depends on the size of the boat you rent, and the season of your visit. Generally you’d be wanting to split the costs with friends and family. Click here for the latest pricing from Sicamous Houseboats.
Best time to go : July and August, although shoulder seasons (June, September) can be quite lovely too, with a significant discount.
Where to Stay: The boats sleep small families to up to 24 people, although these are all double beds so you’re going to get cozy. There are staterooms and smaller berths better suited for kids. The mattresses are covered in vinyl and cleaned for every new departure. Bring sheets, linen, sleeping bags and pillows.
Where to Eat: The houseboats have a fully equipped kitchen and BBQ. Grill some salmon, burgers, veggies and corn! We had two propane refrigerators on our Mirage 65 for leftovers as well.
Official Site : https://www.sicamoushouseboats.com
Getting There: Sicamous is located 5 hours and 20 minutes drive from Calgary, and about a 5 hour and 30 minute drive from Vancouver. If you’re driving from Vancouver, the fastest way is on Highway 5 past Merritt and Hope.
Note from Robin: I wrote all about my house-boating experience for Canadian Geographic which you can read here. No boating or sailing experience is necessary to be the Captain, and anyone with a drivers license over the age of 19 can sign up. I recommend having a few people do the orientation so the Captain duties can be spread out. Learning how to operate the boat can feel a little intimidating at first, and there’s a lot of information coming at you. But soon enough you get the basics down and it’s smooth sailing. Turn off the water pump when in motion; turn off the engine when swimming; keep the engine in rev neutral at 1500 to 1800 rpm to charge the battery above 12 volts; and turn off everything at night before going to sleep. If you’re going to do one hike, check out Albus Falls at the north end of the Lake (and if the weather is calm, the sandy beach is a great place to tie up for the night too). I took my young kids and made sure an adult always had eyes on them, but it never felt unsafe for kids, especially since all boats must be beached an hour before sunset. Bring some floaties for the lake. Life jackets are provided.
Captain at the helm! Making our way out of the marina.
Beaching for the night
Taking it easy as we head north towards Albus Falls
Albus Falls, a series of five cascades is a lovely 5km loop trail.
The interior of our Mirage 65, the Queen's Crown.