Welcome to your Best Ever Guide to Osoyoos Camping!
To the south of the Okanagan Valley’s jewel city of Kelowna lies the town of Osoyoos. For intrepid explorers making their way through the area, the small 5000-population town of Osoyoos is one of the most popular camping spots for outdoor adventures, touring Osoyoos Wineries, and making a splash in the waters of Canada’s warmest lake.
As a self-proclaimed lifestyle community, the people of Osoyoos know how to live well. In fact, life is so good here that the township has become one of Canada’s leading retirement destinations. Don’t let that fool you though, there is more than just sleepy afternoons and sun-soaked tranquillity to be found here.
Welcome to our guide on how to get the most out of your Osoyoos camping trip, whether you’re here to explore the various semi-arid biomes of one of the country’s most biodiverse areas, enlighten yourself with more than 4,000 years of rich First Nations history, sample the world-famous Okanagan terroir of the local award-winning wineries, or get your blood pumping with outdoor activities that span the local trails, lakes, and mountainscapes, our Osoyoos camping guide has you covered.
Get To Know Osoyoos
First, let’s learn a litle bit more about this amazing little town of Osoyoos.
Clues from the local rocks and ancient oral traditions point to the existence of communities here as far back as 4,000 or more years ago. These were Interior Salish peoples, whose direct descendants, the Okanagan and Syilx First Nations, still call this area their home today. You can get an insight into what life for these folks looked like all those years ago when you visit the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, which you can see in more detail further down the page.
It was the Okanagan First Nations who gave Osoyoos its name, Soo-yoos, which refers to the narrow waterway found where the two opposite shorelines of Osoyoos Lake almost meet. The ‘O’ was added much later by European settlers, seeking aesthetic unity with the other O- prefixed locations in the Okanagan.
The first time non-natives reached this land appears to be around 1500, when Spanish conquistadors passed through on their unsuccessful search for the mythical gold city of El Dorado. It wasn’t until 1811 that the fur trade brought the first European settlers here, followed by gold rushers in the 1860s, the first commercial orchard in 1890, and finally the official incorporation of Osoyoos as a village in 1946.
Today, Osoyoos and the surrounding areas (which many call the Okanagan Desert, despite it not technically quite achieving desert status due to a touch too much rain) frequently record Canada’s highest temperatures. Osoyoos Lake is known as Canada’s warmest body of water. The varied topology and habitats here include mountains, valleys, scrublands, wetlands, and coniferous forests – making the area one of the most biodiverse places in the country; home to half of Canada’s bird species and many plants that cannot be found elsewhere in North America, or even the world in some cases.
Don’t forget to check out our guide to the Best Ever Things To Do in Osoyoos to make the most of your Osoyoos Camping Trip!
The Best Ever Osoyoos Camping Spots
Nk’Mip Campground & RV Park
If you’re heading to the South Okanagan area this summer, then you’ll find everything you’ll need at the eternally popular Nk’Mip Campground & RV Park. Offering incredible lakefront sites and easy access to private beaches and hiking trails, this area is an ideal base for outdoorsy folks.
Although the lakefront spots are booked well in advance, the entire campground is full of fantastic Osoyoos camping spots. We stayed just across from the row that backs onto the lake, and even though you are quite close to your neighbours, the amenities of the campground will give you one of the Best Ever Osoyoos camping experiences.
Among the facilities available at the resort, you’ll find the Spirit Beach Cantina, a private boat dock, a boat and trailer storage area, an indoor pool and hot tub, horseback riding, Wi-Fi, clean water, night security, and an onsite convenience store.
As you can see, you’ll truly want for nothing!
The major selling point of Nk’Mp Campground and RV Park is the lake. With temperatures in the water a perfect 24°C (75°F) during the summer months, it’s the perfect spot for cooling down when the desert heats up. You can either hit the water for some on-location jet skiing at Wake Pilot or settle in for frozen cocktails at the Spirit Beach Cantina.
A mere 20km from Osoyoos, Arosa Ranch is one of our favorite spots for camping in the area. Not only is it perched right by the Okanagan hills (talk about picturesque!), but the facilities on offer are truly excellent. You can choose from their luxurious guest suites and cabins or keep things rustic at their RV hookup and tented sites.
Naturally, you’ll pay slightly more for the guest suites vs. the RV or camping options, but the privacy you’ll get is worth the additional cost. All sites have access to the camp playground, forest trails, hot showers, an above-ground pool, parking, Nordic sauna, washroom, and outdoor dining areas. However, the suites feature king-sized beds, propane stoves, double sinks, fridges, and kitchenettes too.
The ranch is entirely family-run, and owners Maya and Thomas believe that nature has the power to restore anyone to optimal mental and physical health. Aiming to make their campsite as sustainable as possible, this location can’t be topped when it comes to eco-friendly travel.
Brookvale Holiday Resorts Inc.
If you want to be close to the action in Osoyoos, then Brookvale Holiday Resorts is an excellent place to stay. Despite being just 5km from the center of town, Brookvale is perfectly quiet, and is right on the lake’s shoreline for sensational views. If you’d like to head slightly further afield to nearby points of interest, Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Naramata, Penticton, and Summerland are all within an hour’s drive.
As a family-oriented campground, we wouldn’t recommend this spot for party animals. Seriously, if you make too much noise between 9 pm and 3 am, you might just be evicted! If you’re looking for a mellow spot offering plenty of activities for all ages though, then you simply can’t go wrong here.
In total, there are 52 campsites and 12 cabanas available for rent as well as 18 full-service RV sites. Facilities include coin-operated laundry, showers, a convenience store, drinking water, modern washrooms, security, and a great children’s play area. If you head out, you can explore the area’s water sporting opportunities, wineries, and golf courses.
Cabana Beach Campground
Boasting 76 sites and access to nearby sandy beaches, it’s unsurprising that Cabana Beach Campground is one of the most popular summer Osoyoos camping spots. The main operating season here runs from May 15 – September 15 each year, and bookings should be submitted by email. Repeat customers can start submitting requests from the start of the season, but newbies will have to wait until June 1st to get in.
Believe it or not, this campground has been operating since the 1960s. So, it offers plenty of old-timey charm that keeps visitors coming back. But don’t let its age deceive you– the modern amenities here are amazing! Facilities include a laundry room, washrooms, hot showers, a playground, cabanas, cabins, and dedicated RV parking. Most RV sites have 15 or 30-amp sewer outlets, and cabanas have cold water taps and fridges included too. Unfortunately, the site isn’t pet-friendly, so you’ll need to leave any furry friends at home!
Before leaving, we recommend hiking down the signposted path on Lakeshore Drive. Not only is it a great way to get your steps in, but it provides unbeatable views of the lake and surrounding orchards in Osoyoos.
Gallagher Lake Camping & RV Resort
If you’re looking for a well-maintained resort that’s close to both Oliver and Osoyoos, then you can’t beat Gallagher Lake Camping & RV Resort. This large campground has 151 sites, making it one of the largest in the Osoyoos area. What’s more, it’s open year-round and just off Highway 97 for easy access – hurrah!
Amenities include power, showers, cabins and cottages, flush toilets, onsite water, a convenience store, a park host, Wi-Fi, beach access, a dumping station, and RV hookups. Should you need anything else, you’re only 10 minutes from the town of Oliver. You can also take advantage of your excellent location by paying the local hiking trails, orchards, fruit stands, and Oliver wineries a visit!