Long Weekender – Shuswap Lake
House-boating in the summer is as good as it gets and it can get pretty dam good. There are a number of companies that offer boats in many different sizes. The largest can hold 20 plus people, but this is only recommended for those who don’t need personal space. The smaller ones fit 5-6 people and are a great size for a family.
You only need a valid BC car drivers license and to sit through a short tutorial to rent a boat. The boats go very slowly so you’re unlikely to get into trouble, but it takes flipping ages to get anywhere. There are a number of beaches around the lake that you can stop on for the night. The boats have to be beached by dusk in the evening. There are “party” beaches that are known for their late nights, bonfires, and loud music. Bring your glow sticks and marshmallows. Other beaches are quieter and more suited for families.
During the day you can drive out to the middle of the lake, switch of the engine, and swim in the warm water. There is a small shop in the middle of the lake where you can buy supplies (like marshmallows for the camp fire), rent jet skis and pick up anything you may have forgotten.
Most of the boats come with slides. The bigger boats have three levels, which make for a pretty long slide. Don’t underestimate how much fun can be had sliding into the water all day. If you bring floats and a rope you can float around while the boat is stopped. The water is warm and inviting. The larger boats also have spa baths on the roof, which despite the heat, are amazingly relaxing.
The larger boats can get quite cozy when you have a large group. Many boats have “cubbies” for sleeping, which are essentially a small crawl space for two. Those who suffer from claustrophobia or get up in a hurry in the night should not sleep in this space. But if you’ve had a few beers, you won’t have a problem with crawling into bed.
House-boating is the perfect relaxing activity to escape the big city and enjoy the wilderness. In July and August the days are long and hot. You’ll need to book early for weekends in summer, but if there are only a couple of people interested you might find postings on Craigslist to join another group. Don’t forget your floaties, coolers for your drinks, steak for the barbie, and your swim suit. This will be the peak of your summer.