Last week we camped at Cottonwood Family Campground on the north side of Shuswap Lake, about 4 ½ hours from Vancouver and about 6 hours from Calgary. It has become a tradition with a group of our friends to find a place to camp together in the interior of BC ever since we moved west so we were pleased to find a new spot that everyone enjoyed.
Cottonwood is a great campground with full service/hookups for RVs, spacious spots with room to park a boat, excellent beach access, a lagoon with dock that was great for swimming, boat slips, laundry room a small store selling ice, ice cream and other sundry items and shower facilities. For those that don’t camp, cabins are also available for rent, and if you have fur babies they are welcome too as long as they are on a leash.
If you head out to Cottonwood, note that it is easy to get to but you will probably drive right by it the first time. Our initial impression of the campground was that somehow we blinked and missed it. Listening to the GPS lady as she told us it was ahead on the right we managed to drive right by it as there were no signs until we were right in front. Fortunately a quick U-turn and that little problem was solved.
We walked to the main beach a few times (where there was a dog friendly section) but mostly swam in the lagoon. While the banks were much deeper than the lake, the kids (5 of them ranging from 8 years to 10 months) all preferred swimming in its deeper water (with life jackets to give us moms more peace of mind) and taking advantage of the many floatys we all brought with us.
There was one small playground on the property but unfortunately for us it was on the other side of the lagoon. We did visit it a few times but mostly stayed on our side of the campground. Fortunately the kids in our group were all well entertained by each other, riding bikes along the flat gravel roads and jumping on air mattresses.
And as with just about every camping trip, I learned a new trick! Well, technically I learned this one last year when we camped on the beach but this is the first time I got to put this tip to use! What did I learn? Patio tiles are your friend. Yes, patio tiles. I bought a package of 6 plastic patio tiles from Rona for about $35 that snap together (the wooden ones from Ikea would work well too and they’re a little less expensive). I set up the tiles at the back of the trailer next to the outdoor shower so that we could have a place to stand while we rinsed off our feet and sandy little bodies. It was much used by everyone in the group and is handy for cleaning off the dogs too!
When camping on or near a beach, sand happens. And truthfully when camping anywhere near water with kids or dogs, muddy sandy messes will get tracked into our sleeping facilities (be they a tent, trailer or massive motorhome). These tiles provided a nice place to stand while we got cleaned off, are lightweight and easy to pack. They will always come camping with us from now on!