Renting a boat in Kelowna can help you reach various Okanagan Lake points of interest that most tourists (and residents) that are only driving through the valley will never see up close. Rattlesnake Island is my favourite natural tourist attraction that nature provided free of charge! It is historic for a number of reasons. Eddie Haymour and his misplaced efforts to claim the Island and turn it into a tourist attraction complete with a pyramid and other attractions added a colourful page to Okanagan’s history. The remains of his misplaced efforts can be viewed on the island. In 2003 the Okanagan Mountain Park fire began very close to the Island and many folks thought the fire started on the Island, which always amused me. 🙂 When I canoed to the Island several years ago, I launched from near Peachland and docked at this beautiful location: Rattlesnake Island Cove If you check out this video you will see rock cliffs to climb on and dive from.
Rattlesnake Island is not the only Island on Okanagan Lake. There are two island that I know of. The second island is less known and can be visited by boating near Carrs Landing or just off shore of Kopje Regional Park. “Roadside Nature Tours through the Okanagan: A Guide to British Columbia’s Wine Country” by Richard Cannings states, “…Grant Island, also know as Whiskey Island. This site hosts one of the largest Gull colonies in the British Columbia interior. …at that (1968) time the Island was renamed in honour of Jim Grant, a well known naturalist and mentor.” As I right this and view the area on Google maps I see that at Carrs Landing (just north of Grant Island and Kopje Park, there are two small islands, so that would make a total of four natural islands in the entire (approx) 100 km long Okanagan Lake.
If your entertaining the thought of renting a boat from Kelowna Boat Rentals to cruise the lake and enjoy the sun in Kelowna, Squally point is a famous cliff diving location. It is one of the several marine attractions along the shores of Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park and is located just south of Rattlesnake Island. In addition to diving, fishing and swimming throughout the Okanagan Mountain Park recreation sites, you can also appreciate Rattlesnakes as they bath in the sun (less know fact: the rattlers also swim to the island occasionally), view ancient pictographs and even camp overnight at the official recreation sites designated as marine sites. I could go on but I can’t say it better than the Provincial Government, here is how they state it. “A boater’s paradise, this wilderness park dominates the east side of Okanagan Lake between Kelowna and Penticton. Six marine campgrounds and secluded bays and sheltered sandy beaches tucked into the 33 km of undeveloped shoreline make water exploring a true adventure.” View their maps and get more park information about fees for the marine sites that may be charged.
While on the topic of Provincial Parks, it is worth mentioning there are several provincial parks that provide sunbathing, camping, swimming, boating opportunities, boat launches and much more. The most popular are Bear Creek Provincial Park – located opposite side of the lake from Kelowna, Fintry Provincial Park near Fintry BC on the west side of t he lake, Ellison Provincial Park located near the north end of Okanagan Lake, Okanagan Lake Provincial Park (two parks in one) located between Summerland and Peachland, Sunoka Provincial Park located at the south end of Summerland on your way to Penticton. You can camp at all those parks at regular provincial fees that are spiraling upward every year.
For a lower camping fee, if you do not want to camp at the marine sites on the shores of Okanagan Mountain Park and chase away rattlers, you can rent a boat travel north to Evely Recreation Site.
On Okanagan Lake, there is a never ending choice of beach fun. From the busy and packed beaches of downtown Kelowna to quaint but still packed beaches of Peachland to nude beaches (if you so desire and know where to look) to beaches for dogs off leash and quite private coves and beaches maintained by the city along Lakeshore road you will have fun. Enjoy the Okanagan and let us know what your favourite boating experience is in the comments below!