Sure, some could argue Sicamous is not the best place in the world. You are entitled to your opinion even if it is wrong.
Our family has been enjoying Sicamous since the early 1970’s. My family had already been using the cabin my grandfather built for nearly 15 years by the time I was born (1985). As a result, Sicamous has been a part of my life since the day I was born.
I will admit that I am biased in favor of Sicamous for the reason stated above, however I will still try to make the case for Sicamous being the greatest place in the world.
We can settle this like adults and call each other names, if you disagree.
1. Sicamous is Centrally Located Between Vancouver, Calgary, and Kelowna
Okay most people know this one but for those who don’t, Sicamous is located right in between Vancouver and Calgary. Literally a 5 hour drive from either location. This means many people from both Calgary and Vancouver come to the area to enjoy all it has to offer. The biggest draw is obviously the large and pristine Shuswap Lake.
To the south, Vernon and the northern tip of the Okanagan are 45 minutes away. A further 45 minutes south and you are in Kelowna and the heart of Okanagan wine country.
If there is any drawback it’s that the roads can be quite sketchy in the winter. Roger’s Pass east of Revelstoke is prone to heavy snow and avalanches, while the Coquihalla west of Kamloops is known for very quick and extreme weather changes in addition to heavy snow.
There are also two major airports in the area you can fly in and out of.
Kamloops has a regional airport about an hour and half to the west of Sicamous. The most common flights out of Kamloops are to Vancouver, Calgary, & Prince George.
To the south, Kelowna has an international airport allowing you easy access to more distant locations. Every year family from New Jersey that fly in and out of Kelowna when they come to visit us in Sicamous.
As you might be able to see, it is relatively easy to make quick trips to Calgary, Vancouver, or the Okanagan for fun or business.
Sicamous is definitely a seasonal town with the spring and summer months being the busiest time of year. Tourists from all over flock to the area in the summer months. I am sure the population of the town triples in July & August. Pubs and restaurants are packed every weekend with houseboaters either about to depart on their trip or just returning.
It’s not uncommon to go to D Dutchman Dairy and see huge buses full of Asian tourists pull up. It’s easy to be convinced that those tourist’s sole purpose is to come to Canada for D Dutchman Dairy, then get on the bus to catch a flight home. D Dutchman has the best ice cream in the world so you can not really blame them.
2. Year-round Activities
As mentioned in the previous point, Shuswap Lake is definitely the biggest reason people come to area. Houseboating and water sports being the most popular activities. Nothing beats nice weather on the lake with a cold beer in hand.
Sicamous is known as the houseboat capital of Canada and they have been marketing it like that forever. Anytime I hear people mention houseboating it is virtually synonymous with Sicamous.
Houseboating is a blast so you certainly need to try it at least once.
Waterways used to have the nicest boats (in my opinion) but since going under it looks like Sicamous Houseboats is rising out of the ashes of Waterways. On the other hand Twin Anchors is slightly cheaper for comparable boats which are still quite nice.
If you are really on a budget, then you might want to check out Blue Water as they tend to be the least expensive. I do know people who have gone with Blue Water and loved it so they shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Shuswap is a golfer’s dream. You do not have to drive very far to find beautiful 18 hole championship courses in the region. You could do a week long golf trip in the area and still not hit all the major championship courses. The list in the link above does not even account for Revelstoke, or Vernon & the Okanagan.
There are also numerous par 3 and executive courses for those who are perhaps less experienced, or if you are looking for a quick 9.
Sicamous has the Eagle River Golf & Country Club which is a 9 hole executive course, while Canoe (just east of Salmon Arm) has Club Shuswap – a 27 hole executive course. Drive a little further an you will find the 9 hole heritage course at Salmon Arm Golf Club.
Boating & Water Sports
With a lake the size of the Shuswap and as warm as it is in the summer, it’s no wonder people flock here to go wakeboarding and water skiing.
During the summer up by the narrows of the Shuswap, there is a floating store and restaurant. You can buy gas, rent jet skis, pick up some houseboating necessities, water toys, and much more.
Then on a completely separate floating platform you can go get a bite to eat and some nice cold beverages at the Shark Shack. It’s exactly what you need when you’re spending a whole day on the lake.
Mountain Biking, Hiking, Horse Back Riding
Sicamous has direct access to a vast network of trails. The Shuswap Trail Alliance has been working on the trail network since 2004. You can find a trail for almost any activity, ability, and duration.
One of the most popular yet difficult is the Larch Hills Traverse which is great for hiking, mountain biking, and horse back riding.
There is also the Hyde Mountain Lookout which accessible by biking, hiking, or snow shoeing. You get some amazing views overlooking Mara Lake.
More Trail Information
For more details on the trails in the area for both summer and winter activities checkout out the Shuswap Trail Alliance Interactive Map.
The Shuswap is an underrated winter enthusiast’s paradise, and it is a shame. There are three world class ski hills close by, world class snowmobiling, and a large network of trails that among other uses, are great of cross country skiing or snowshoeing.
Since Sicamous is often seen as a summer town, few people realize or underestimate what is available for winter sports in the area.
Sicamous is still a relatively unknown snowmobiler’s paradise. Obviously the locals know all about it and there is a very active sledding community in town. There are people that make trips to the area in the winter for snowmobiling, however the volume of snowmobiling tourists is a fraction of the summer tourists. It has been communicated to MySicamous.com that people are still amazed how little other snowmobilers know about Sicamous.
Images of snowmobiles blasting through thick powder and catching air with nothing but snow, trees, and the sky in the background exist right here in Sicamous.
As briefly mentioned earlier there are three world class ski resorts easily accessible from Sicamous.
Ski Resorts Nearby
Revelstoke Mountain Resort is about 45 minutes to an hour away to the east. It has been growing in popularity over the years and truly has become a world class sought after ski destination.
Silver Star Mountain Resort is about the same distance to the south just outside Vernon. Silver Star has been around for a very long time and has a very good reputation as being a world class ski destination for at least a couple decades.
If you are prepared to drive a little further (approx. 2 hours), Sun Peaks outside of Kamloops and has also been around for a while and is a well respected ski resort.
Cross Country Skiing & Snow Shoeing
Back to the trails for you winter athletes.
Around 2004 the seeds of the Shuswap Trail Alliance were planted. As a result over the years a vast network of trails have been developed throughout the region.
These trails have uses for various recreational activities throughout the year. During the winter you can find great areas to explore cross-country skiing or snow shoeing.
Check out the Shuswap Trail Alliance’s Interactive Map to see what cross-country skiing and snow shoeing trails are in the area.
Fishing is arguably the one thing you can do year round in Sicamous. The only time you can’t fish is if the lake is frozen over as no ice fishing is allowed. However that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of rivers and streams you can fish.
Shuswap Lake is home to many different species of fish including salmon, char, and trout.
The most common fish tend to be rainbow trout, kokanee, and lake trout. However the lake is also home to bull trout, steelhead, and whitefish among others.
Fishing Regulations & Reports
If you are any kind of angler, you owe it to yourself to fish in the Shuswap.
3. Amazing Scenery
Sicamous and the rolling mountains provide some amazing scenery. The vast mountains and forest off peace, tranquility, as well as the sights and sounds of nature. There is an abundance of wildlife in the area including deer, bears, cougars, and many birds. During the late summer and early fall you can watch the osprey dive for fish at the mouth of the Eagle River. We love the scenery in Sicamous so much we started a photo gallery. If you have nice pictures of Sicamous and Shuswap Lake, send them our way. We would love to post them.
4. Sicamous has Great People
We have got to know some great people in Sicamous over the decades. What is also amazing is how people band together during tough times.
When there was a serious risk of flooding in 2017 a neighbor started to sand bag his house. Within a couple hours there were 15 people (some as far away as Kamloops) who showed up to help. It was an amazing site to see. No one was asked, they just started helping.
Your Neighbors Are Your Friends
One of the noticeable things about growing up in Sicamous is that your neighbors aren’t just the people next to you. They’re your friends. You join them for beers around a fire, go to the beach with them, and have them over for dinner.
It’s one thing to have access to an amazing place, it’s another when you can share it with great people.
5. Community Events
Sicamous has great community events. Most take place during the spring and summer however there are some great things going on in the winter.
July holds the annual Summer Stomp & Burnout which is a 3 day weekend of motorbikes, live music, beer, and fun family activities.
The July 1st Canada Day Celebrations are also not to be missed. The entire public beach gets filled with people and hundreds of boats surround a barge that sets off fireworks in the evening. A site to behold.
Sicamous also has a Winter carnival which includes a polar bear dip in the lake, hot air balloon rides, snowmobile track for kids, hockey skills competition, and much more. Last year they held the Ripped Snow festival which as you can see from the video, looks like a blast!