If you’ve been following our journey, you may have noticed we ventured into Canada this summer. When we picked a route through British Columbia en route to Jasper, we knew little about the towns & cities we would pass through. However, one of the cities we visited was Kamloop. With a plethora of activities we highly recommend visiting Kamloops.
Why Kamloops, you ask?
Well, it has it all. It’s a large enough city to have amenities for shopping, errands, restaurants, pubs, etc., but lots of wilderness, over 100 lakes, provincial parks and outdoor space surround it! It offers golfing, hiking, biking, skiing, wine tasting, free music, lakes for swimming and boating, a small wildlife park, and more! Seriously, this place has it all.
The city is built around the convergence of the North and South Thompson Rivers. Actually, the name Kamloops comes from a Secwepemc word, T’kemlups, which translates to ‘the meeting of the waters.’ It is also named the Tournament Capital of Canada as it hosts over 115 tournaments each year.
For starters, I highly recommend visiting the information centre! It has everything you could need and more including a litte dog park, free dump station, electric vehicle charging station, maps & brochures for any and all activities, clean washrooms, free wifi and knowledgeable, friendly staff to answer your questions.
Kamloops is home to over 26 parks including quite a few that allow dogs off-leash or have a specific fenced area for dogs to enjoy. They even have river and lake beaches for dogs to be off-leash and under control for those dogs who enjoy a swim.
We enjoyed celebrating Canada Day (July 1) at Riverside Park. This included music, art and fireworks. The locals sported their Canada themed clothing and it was quite the party. We loved seeing the local culture and all the families out enjoying themselves.
You can hike or bike at Kenna Cartwright park which is also dog friendly. With over 40km of trails some of which offer beautiful views. From what I learned, this park is great in all 4 seasons.
There are lots of parks to enjoy. Pick one and explore.
With all the parks in this city they include dogs in many of them. Some even have enclosed dog parks within them. These include Aberdeen Hills Dog Exercise Park & Ord Road Dog Exercise Park. Otherwise, you can have your dog off-leash and under control in Kenna Cartwright, Batchelor Open Space, Gleneagles Park, Mission Flats, Rose Hill and more. See the whole list and rules for each of them here.
This great little city also offers off leash beaches! Yes, that’s right. Kamloops has places for those dogs that love a good romp in the water. These include Missions Flats, Overland and Pioneer Park beaches. Once again make sure your dog is under control whenever its off leash.
We think both you and your dog will enjoy these recreation areas.
Since I also visited Paul Lake Provincial Park, I will add that you can have your dog off leash in part of the beach area. This is a great addition for a day with the family on the beach.
Do you travel with a family?
Many of the parks off “water parks” or splash pads for the little ones. Perfect for a hot summer day to let the kids splash around in the fountains and toys set up just for them.
They also have a Children’s Museum and a science center for big and little kids to enjoy.
Kamloops is home to BC Wildlife Park. While I did not get a chance to visit, it sounds like a great place with native animals. Might be especially fun if you’re traveling with a family.
Straight off their website: “Featuring over 65 species of wildlife spread out over 50 hectares, the park is an unmissable and unbeatable experience. Everyone will enjoy seeing cougars, moose, snakes, grizzly bears, mountain goats, birds of prey and timber wolves.”
At Riverside Park there is free music every night from July 1 until August 31! Yes, that’s right. Free music every night! Visit the schedule here to see if anything peaks your interest. It’s free, so why not enjoy a picnic and evening out in the park. If you don’t like the music, you can always take a walk in the park. On Wednesdays they add food trucks to the mix.
The city also hosts a nice farmers’ market that happens both on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Saturday offers a much larger selection of local vegetables, fruits, honey, pastries and more. Both are held downtown with quite a bit of parking around the area.
There is a small wine trail that Kamloops boasts featuring 3 different wineries. How many can you visit in a day anyways?!?!
We only visited one winery, Monte Creek Ranch, but we really enjoyed it. They have a wonderful patio to enjoy a small bite to eat along with a glass of wine.
Or you can simply do a tasting inside. Since we enjoyed the wine, we decided to enjoy a glass on the patio after our tasting. The view is spectacular and they have animals on site which were fun to watch (goats with curious kids and cattle with cute calves).
Biking, Hiking, Boating, Fishing and more!
The following provincial parks are nearby and offer numerous activities including boating, lake beaches, hiking, biking, camping, fishing and more! Check them out and see which one suits your tastes or visit them all!
Paul Lake Provincial Park
Lac le Jeune Provincial Park
McConnell Lake Provincial Park
Niskonlith Lake Provincial Park
Roche Lake Provincial Park
Tunkwa Provincial Park
Walloper Lake Provincial Park
I only visited Paul Lake where I enjoyed a wonderful kayak. The park also offers a wonderful small beach to spend the day relaxing, swimming and picnicking. It has a campground as well, but I didn’t stay there so I can’t speak much about it.
Since buying kayaks earlier this year, I have really enjoyed finding small lakes to enjoy a paddle. Edith Lake did not disappoint. A local recommended it to me or I probably would have never found it.
In addition, this small lake has a small amount of primitive camping sites for $12/night all of which are first come, first served. I only kayaked here, but saw quite a few people out fishing on the lake. When I asked a local about the fishing, he responded with “it’s great! We love fishing here and we enjoy what we catch for dinner.”
So, if you’re interested in camping a little off the beaten path, fishing or kayaking, I recommend Edith Lake.
While neither of us golf, we did notice they offer quite a few options for those that do.
Visit the information center or Tourism Kamloops for more information.
The Sun Peaks Resort is about 40 minutes outside of the city. It offers year round outdoor fun including winter sports, golf and biking in summer. Check them out for more outdoor fun.
Where to stay
There are plenty of hotels to chose from while visiting Kamloops. Take your pick according to what suits your needs or price point. Since we travel by RV, here’s a list of the local camping spots.
Kamloops RV Park, right next to the wildlife park
Knutsford RV Park & Campground This is where we stayed and we recommend it. It was reasonable, clean and offered nice shade to keep us cool when the temperature felt like summer.
Keep in mind you can also camp at many of the provincial parks and don’t forget Edith Lake. Check out the British Columbia Sites and Trails webpage as it does show other small primitive camping options in the area.
Sun Peaks Resort offers boondocking in their Village 2 parking lot for $20/night. They do offer access to their pool, showers and other facilities while you are staying with them. Might be a nice option if you plan on visiting that particular for any activities.
While I know this list isn’t complete, I think it gives a good start point to visiting Kamloops. I told you this place is filled with outdoor activities, right? Who wants to get out there and enjoy this place?