Canada’s vast wilderness, an unbridled range of forests, mountains, rivers, and endless lakes, has been enjoyed by humans for centuries. The stillness of sandy shorelines accompanied by the relaxing and gentle movements of the nearby waters is a sort of harmony that can only be found in the quiet backwoods’ areas of interior British Columbia.
Being made up of such extensive tracts of undisturbed nature makes the woods around Shuswap Lake in BC the perfect place to experience a vast assortment of outdoor activities that range from adrenaline-pumping mountain biking, kayaking, and cross-country skiing to the serotonin-boosting effects that accompany a lazy day on the beach.
Though a majority of BC’s Shuswap region is steeped in the majesty of this wilderness, it is not completely untouched by the hands of humanity. The lakeside cities such as Chase, Salmon Arm, and Sorrento that line Shuswap Lake’s shores are lively during both day and night. Some of them favour tradition, which is noticeable in the architecture, local events, and even the demeanour of their citizens. Others lean towards modernity by embracing everything new like their bigger cousins — Vancouver and Calgary, which are somewhat equidistant to the quaint little town of Chase.
Whether your interests lean towards traditional or modern, the Shuswap region has no shortage of fun activities that can cater to just about anyone from anywhere — from local art galleries that prop up the works of small artists in the community to adventurous expeditions into the verdant valleys along the likes of Reinecker Creek, Shuswap is as lively as it’s ever been and eagerly looks forward to visitors.
With so much to do around the Shuswap region, it’s inevitable that you’ll need somewhere to relax and recharge. Nestled on the south shore of the Little Shuswap Lake Band, Quaaout Lodge & Spa is the centrepiece of the region, promoting health, wellness, and cultural respect throughout our operation. Offering 70 spacious guest suites that overlook the nearby mountains and valleys, wonderful meals that use traditional ingredients at Jack Sam’s Restaurant, and a litany of cultural experiences, we at Quaaout Lodge have finely integrated our surroundings through traditional and sustainable efforts which are complemented by our innovative operations.
From wine connoisseurs to hopeless romantics, here at Quaaout Lodge we offer various guest packages to accommodate any visitor. Our Talking Rock Golf Resort and our full-fledged spa are perfect for experiencing unique scenery and traditional relaxation techniques all in the same trip. On top of all this, our central location makes it the perfect place to stay in between outdoor excursions to unique landscapes.
One of the biggest sports industries in the Shuswap area is golfing. In this region alone, there are 13 different golf courses to choose from, each one offering its flair to the overall experience. Of course, Talking Rock Golf Course is the top spot that happens to have a reputation for being a tough course. Fortunately, for those that may be new to the sport and not quite on par with their fellow golfers, the scenic views and reasonable price make Talking Rock an ideal place to get started with golfing.
Hyde Mountain, Anglemont Estates, Salmon Arm, and Eagle River golf courses have a variety of experiences that, while similar, are incredibly different in practice. Courses like Salmon Arm and Eagle River lie slightly deeper into the local geography of the nearby mountains, whereas Anglemont and Hyde Mountain feature lake and riverside courses with an entirely different feeling. Regardless, all these courses provide golfers with a unique connection to the landscape that is hard to find elsewhere. Although they are alterations of the land, they have heavily integrated the natural ecosystems to create great golf courses without compromising environmental integrity.
If you’re looking to get a taste of the Shuswap region — literally — then get those gastric juices flowing as there’s a litany of original dining and drinking options to experience outside of our very own Jack Sam’s Restaurant. Our list of top 10 restaurants and wineries provides an apt representation of the diverse, cultural cuisines that visitors have access to throughout their visit; whether you want to expand your palette or want something a little simpler, Shuswap has a variety of options that can fit anyone’s flavour preferences.
Jack Sam’s Restaurant
Here at Quaaout Lodge, our very own Jack Sam’s restaurant offers you a dining experience with accents of our wilderness surroundings. Having teamed up with local farmers, we pride ourselves on using the freshest high-quality ingredients with locally inspired culinary traditions, resulting in delicious food prepared for you in our warm and intimate setting with views of Little Shuswap Lake as you dine. Serving up delicious meals all day to satisfy all varieties of palettes, our chefs haven’t forgotten the little ones in your group — in addition to our delicious concoctions, they have included a full kid’s menu guaranteed to please .
As the evening sets in, embrace your inner sommelier and complement your meal by swirling, smelling, swishing, and tasting some of the local wines, such as those produced at Kamloops wineries. Experiment with this cuisine by booking here.
1. Stratis Restaurant-Sorrento
Based off of Greek Mediterranean dishes, this family run establishment serves the right amount of authentic flavors, spices and atmosphere to keep you coming back.
2. Cantina Vallarta
This restaurant thrives on the idea of Hispanic dishes and brings them deep into the far North. From simple chips and salsa to nuanced tacos, fajitas, and enchiladas, Cantina Vallarta is based heavily on traditional Mexican dishes.
3. Crannog Ales
A farm and a brewery in one, the hops that you smell and taste in your beer were grown right where you are. Steeped in Irish tradition, this brewery is sure to keep you coming back for pint or growler fills.
To founders Jamie and Amanda, wine is a lifestyle and a creative process that they want to share with all of their visitors. Their extensive experience with European wineries is on display throughout, and their delicious creations ensure you will leave with a few bottles to take home.
5. Barley Station
Another great place to catch some of the newest and best brews from far and wide. Along with all the different beers, Barley Station Brewpub also offers a house-created kombucha-based cocktail that’s amazingly refreshing.
6. Sunnybrae Winery
Five varieties of 100% owned BC grapes make up the wines you taste at family-run Sunnybrae Winery. Nestled between the foot of Bastion Mountain and the magnificent shores of Shuswap Lake, stop in to sample their vast collection of red, white, and rosé wines.
7. Shuswap Pie Company
Baked on site and from scratch, you won’t regret taking some time out of your day to indulge in the many sweet or savory pie options, washed down with the best coffee in town. Made from local ingredients and in small batches, the folks at Shuswap Pie Company have a passion for doing things the old-fashioned way.
8. The Hub-Scotch Creek
This place has it all if you’re looking to live it up in the Shuswap. With amazing food, local beer and entertainment (live music, comedy shows and karaoke), an evening at the Hub will find you full on laughter, good food and good company.
9. Morrow Beer Company
The Morrow’s are a husband-and-wife team who have a palette for producing high quality lagers and beers. Never filtered or pasteurized, look to sample their quality beers in the Okanagan and Shuswap area, or by stopping by their taproom for a pint or flight.
10. Monte Creek Winery
Kamloop’s largest winery features patio dining, award-winning wines and stunning river valley views for you to enjoy. The team at Monte Creek understands agriculture and sustainability and invites you to come visit these family-owned vines sprawling over 75 acres.
Once you’ve done a tour of the local restaurants, you’ll only have experienced one small (though important) part of what Shuswap offers. Here are 10 other fun activities you can participate in around Shuswap and the surrounding wilderness.
If you want to get connected to Shuswap’s wilderness, hiking is the best way to do it, and with an endless number of trails that can be found in the area around us at Quaaout Lodge, you’re sure to find the one that grounds you.
The best part of birdwatching is that you can do it from anywhere — on a hike, in town, on the lake — each setting has its own small bird population to observe. So, grab your binoculars, vest, and bird calling instruments and check that Belted Kingfisher off your list.
Just like hiking, the local biking trails around Shuswap are a perfect way to explore nature. Laidback, casual rides for novices and challenging climbs for the thrill-seekers await those who venture to these paths.
You’ve already taken the terrestrial approach to your exploration of Shuswap but now it’s time to look up, as your next journey will give you an aerial perspective of this vast wilderness. Treetop Flyers offers a variety of options to fulfill your quest for adventure before you come back to us at Quaaout Lodge for tranquility and rest.
Kayaking can be enjoyed by the true thrill-seekers or by those looking for an alternative way to explore the lakes of Shuswap. Quaaout Lodge & Spa offers rentals that seat up to four people and can be rented by the hour, half-day (i.e., four hours), or for a full day (i.e., eight hours).
6. Cross-Country Skiing
Another great activity for powder hounds, cross-country skiing is not only thrilling, but it also allows for slower-paced ventures through the beautiful snow-laden forests that surround us at Quaaout Lodge.
7. Sleigh Rides
This winter activity is for those seeking a calm experience through the center of Shuswap’s downtown area. It can be a bit brisk, however, it’s entirely worth it to see the snow-lined buildings and trees and the ice-covered lake.
Snowshoeing is a lot of fun. Be warned: it’s much harder than it looks and will have you breaking a sweat before you know it. Once you get the hang of wearing your snowshoes, you’ll never want to take them off. The harder you work though, the better your reward at the end of the day in our spa here at Quaaout Lodge!
With vast lakes comes the infinite potential to find great swimming holes. Becoming literally immersed in the local ecosystems is a holistic and tranquil experience unlike any other.
10. Horseback Riding
Finally, while winter has sleigh rides directed by horses, the summer highlights horseback riding. There is a bit of a learning curve, however, there are few things as rewarding as making a connection with these magnificent creatures.
After getting your fill of outdoor adventures, it may be time to unwind. Here are the top five-day spas in the Shuswap area that can help you achieve just that — pure relaxation.
1. Quaaout Lodge and Spa
Our spa is located right on the grounds of the Quaaout Lodge and features welcoming rooms as well as outdoor treatments that allow fantastic views of the pristine landscape. Coupled with friendly spa staff that has the expertise to provide you with indulgent facials, massages, and a host of other body treatments, you may be already be saying “sign me up”. You can book your spa appointment here in minutes.
2. Botanica Spa
Located in Salmon Arm, Botanica Spa offers a relaxing experience on the shores of a small finger of Shuswap Lake.
3. Pamper Day Spa
Also located near Salmon Arm on the same branch of the lake, Pamper offers a number of services set in a tranquil environment.
4. The Spa
Located in Sorrento, the SPA provides several different treatments from dermaplaning to skincare education — a wholly relaxing experience for everyone that comes.
5. Lake Life Boutique
Along with offering massage services, Lake Life is big on dermatological care and destressing sessions. This spot is highly regarded by locals and visitors alike.
Let’s take the colleagues out of the big-city boardroom and immerse them in nature — the Shuswap region is the perfect place to host corporate get-togethers. The Cedar Heights Community Association is a pillar in the local community; it offers several events throughout the year, has a small golf course, and pickleball and bocce courts. Prestige Harbourfront Resort is the premier location for business conferences. This venue entertains visitors from the local community as well as international business people, and has a dedicated conference center that accommodates nearly every need they may have.
In a slightly different vein, there are several venues, such as Dolan Creek Farm, High Country Tree Farm, and White Lake Cabins that are perfect for civil unions, weddings, and any number of other events for large audiences.
Shuswap Road Trip Route 97
Whether you’re a west Canadian local or a jet-setter who has just landed at Kelowna International Airport, a road trip to Shuswap is an adventure from the moment you buckle your seatbelt. The fun begins on Route 97, which is dotted with neat spots that can greatly enhance your trip by not only providing entertainment but a bit of education on the history of Route 97 and the settlements that formed on the way northward. Some of these spots include:
- North Thompson/Columbia Ice Fields
- Okanagan Corridor
- Gold Country
- Myra Canyon
- Walter Wright Pioneer Village
- Kettle Valley Steam Railway
- Evely Rec Site
- Historic O’Keefe Ranch
Your road trip on Route 97 gently curves and transforms into the Trans-Canada Highway before you’ve reached your destination — Quaaout Lodge & Spa — where new adventure awaits!
When you’ve tried all the options above and are looking for more attractions to check off your list, the Shuswap does not disappoint and offers you more ways to pack your schedule and take in so many different activities.
- D Dutchmen Dairy
- Shuswap Lake Provincial Park
- Salmon Arm Wharf
- Sea-Dog Rentals
- Meikle Studios Social Art House
- Sanctuary Games
- Salmon Arm Art Gallery
- Smugglers Cove
- Bucktail Adventures
- Jungle Mania
Just reading this is may feel like somewhat of an adventure, but now it’s time to experience all that the majestic Shuswap region has to offer. Book your next trip at the Quaaout Lodge here or you can call (250) 679-3090 or 1 (800) 663-4303 and one of our friendly staff members will happily assist you.