British Columbia, with its lush forests, towering mountains, and crystal-clear waters, is a paradise for couples seeking a romantic escape. The province's lakes, each unique and stunning, offer serene settings perfect for rekindling romance. From the vibrant turquoise waters of Emerald Lake to the vast expanse of Okanagan Lake, these destinations provide idyllic backdrops for intimate moments. Whether you're canoeing on tranquil waters, exploring scenic hiking trails, or enjoying luxurious lakeside accommodations, B.C. has the perfect spot for every couple. Here are ten of the best lakes in British Columbia for a romantic vacation, offering unforgettable experiences amidst breathtaking natural beauty.

1. Emerald Lake

Romance and Beauty

Nestled in the heart of Yoho National Park, Emerald Lake is a pristine gem known for its vibrant turquoise waters that seem almost otherworldly. The lake is surrounded by the dramatic peaks of the Rockies, lush forests, and serene meadows, creating a picturesque setting that is perfect for a romantic getaway. The name "Emerald Lake" is derived from the striking color of the water, which is caused by the fine glacial silt suspended in it. This natural beauty makes Emerald Lake a dream destination for couples looking to escape into nature and enjoy peaceful moments together.

One of the best ways to experience the lake is by canoeing on its calm waters. Rentals are available, and paddling together on the turquoise lake is a wonderfully romantic activity. Hiking the 5.2-kilometer trail around the lake is another must-do, offering stunning views from every angle. The trail is relatively easy, making it accessible for most visitors and providing plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the scenery.

For a truly memorable stay, book a room at the Emerald Lake Lodge. This charming lodge offers rustic yet luxurious accommodations with fireplaces and balconies overlooking the lake. The lodge’s restaurant serves gourmet meals, including locally sourced game and fish, which you can enjoy while taking in the breathtaking views. In the winter, the lodge transforms into a snowy wonderland, perfect for a cozy, intimate retreat with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on offer.

How to Get There

Emerald Lake is located approximately 20 kilometers west of Lake Louise, Alberta. From Lake Louise, take the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) west towards Field, British Columbia. Turn left onto Emerald Lake Road, and follow the signs to the lake. The drive takes about 30 minutes and offers stunning mountain views along the way. Parking is available near the lake, and from there, it's a short walk to the lodge and the lake’s edge.

2. Okanagan Lake

Wine Country Romance

Okanagan Lake stretches over 135 kilometers through the heart of British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, a region renowned for its sunny climate, vineyards, and orchards. This vast lake is perfect for couples who enjoy a mix of relaxation and adventure. The area surrounding the lake is dotted with charming towns like Kelowna, Penticton, and Vernon, each offering unique attractions and experiences.

Couples can start their romantic escape with a tour of the local wineries. The Okanagan Valley is one of Canada’s premier wine regions, boasting over 200 wineries. Many offer tours and tastings, where you can sample award-winning wines and enjoy vineyard picnics with stunning lake views. Don't miss the chance to visit Mission Hill Family Estate, a winery with breathtaking architecture and a renowned restaurant.

For those who love outdoor activities, Okanagan Lake offers plenty of options. Spend your days boating, swimming, or relaxing on the sandy beaches. The lake is also a great spot for fishing and paddleboarding. For a unique experience, take a sunset cruise and watch the sky light up with vibrant colors as you sip local wine.

In the evening, enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the lakeside restaurants, many of which focus on farm-to-table cuisine using local ingredients. After dinner, take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenades or find a quiet spot to watch the stars.

How to Get There

Okanagan Lake is easily accessible from several major cities. Kelowna, the largest city on the lake, has an international airport with flights from major Canadian cities and some U.S. destinations. From Vancouver, it's about a 4-hour drive via the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) and Highway 97C. Alternatively, you can take a scenic 7-hour drive from Calgary. Once you arrive, the lake is well-connected by roads, making it easy to explore different parts of the region.

3. Moraine Lake

A Turquoise Paradise

Moraine Lake, located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park, just across the border from B.C., is one of the most stunning lakes in the world. Its vibrant blue-green waters, caused by light refracting off the rock flour deposited by glaciers, create an enchanting setting that is perfect for a romantic vacation. The lake is smaller and more secluded than nearby Lake Louise, offering a more intimate and serene atmosphere.

Couples can start their visit with a canoe ride on the lake. Canoe rentals are available, and paddling across the serene waters, surrounded by towering peaks, is a magical experience. For those who enjoy hiking, the trail to the Rockpile offers one of the best views in the Rockies. The relatively short hike leads to an overlook that provides a panoramic view of Moraine Lake and the surrounding mountains, making it a popular spot for photography.

Another great way to experience the lake is by staying at Moraine Lake Lodge. This luxurious lodge offers rooms with stunning views, cozy fireplaces, and private balconies. The lodge's restaurant serves delicious meals made with fresh, local ingredients, which you can enjoy while taking in the breathtaking scenery.

Moraine Lake is also a fantastic destination in the winter. The area becomes a snowy wonderland, perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The lodge remains open, offering a cozy retreat after a day of winter activities.

How to Get There

Moraine Lake is located approximately 14 kilometers from Lake Louise Village. From Lake Louise, take Moraine Lake Road, which is well-signposted. The road is closed to vehicles in winter but accessible by snowshoe or cross-country ski. In summer, due to its popularity, the road can get busy, so it's best to arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowds and secure parking. Shuttle services are also available from Lake Louise Village.

4. Harrison Lake

A Perfect Blend of Relaxation and Adventure

Harrison Lake, located in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, is a perfect destination for couples seeking both relaxation and adventure. This large, beautiful lake offers warm waters ideal for swimming and a picturesque backdrop of mountains and forests. Harrison Hot Springs, a charming village located on the southern end of the lake, serves as the perfect base for exploring the area.

Couples can start their romantic getaway with a visit to the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa. The resort features five mineral hot spring pools, each with varying temperatures, providing a soothing and rejuvenating experience. Indulge in a couple’s massage or other spa treatments designed to enhance relaxation and well-being.

Harrison Lake offers numerous water activities. Rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the lake's serene waters, or take a boat tour to see the stunning scenery from a different perspective. For a more relaxed day, lounge on the sandy beach and enjoy the sun.

The surrounding area is rich with hiking trails. One popular option is the Harrison Grind, a challenging but rewarding hike that offers panoramic views of the lake and valley. For a more leisurely walk, the Spirit Trail features beautiful carvings by a local artist along the path.

In the evening, enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the lakeside restaurants, such as Morgan’s Bistro, which offers delicious local cuisine and stunning views of the lake. After dinner, take a stroll along the waterfront promenade and watch the sunset, creating a perfect end to your day.

How to Get There

Harrison Lake is located about 90 minutes east of Vancouver. Take Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) east from Vancouver, then exit at Highway 9 and follow the signs to Harrison Hot Springs. The drive offers scenic views of the Fraser Valley and is straightforward. Ample parking is available in Harrison Hot Springs, and the village is easily walkable, making it convenient to explore.

5. Garibaldi Lake

A Hiker's Paradise

Garibaldi Lake, nestled in Garibaldi Provincial Park, is a stunning destination for couples who love hiking and the great outdoors. The lake’s vibrant turquoise waters, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and alpine meadows, offer a breathtaking setting that is perfect for a romantic adventure.

The main attraction of Garibaldi Lake is the hike to reach it. The trail to the lake is about 18 kilometers round trip and takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete. While the hike is considered challenging, the spectacular views along the way make it well worth the effort. The trail winds through dense forests, past waterfalls, and across meadows filled with wildflowers, culminating in the awe-inspiring sight of Garibaldi Lake.

Once at the lake, couples can enjoy a picnic on the shore, take a refreshing swim in the clear waters, or explore the area further by hiking additional trails. The Taylor Meadows and Black Tusk trails offer more stunning vistas and opportunities to immerse in the natural beauty of the region.

Camping at Garibaldi Lake is a unique experience for those looking to extend their stay. The campsite offers basic amenities and the chance to wake up to the serene beauty of the lake and surrounding mountains. Remember to book your campsite in advance, as it can fill up quickly during peak seasons.

How to Get There

Garibaldi Lake is accessible from the Rubble Creek trailhead, located about 70 kilometers north of Vancouver along Highway 99. From Vancouver, drive north on Highway 99 towards Whistler. Just past Squamish, turn right onto Daisy Lake Road, then follow the signs to the Rubble Creek parking lot. The trailhead is well-marked, and parking is available, though it can get busy, so arriving early is recommended.

6. Kootenay Lake

A Blend of Adventure and Tranquility

Kootenay Lake, located in the Kootenay Rockies region of British Columbia, is a captivating destination that offers a mix of outdoor adventure and peaceful relaxation. The lake's expansive waters are surrounded by rugged mountains, lush forests, and charming towns, making it an ideal spot for a romantic getaway.

Start your visit in the quaint town of Nelson, known for its vibrant arts scene, historic architecture, and welcoming community. Stroll hand-in-hand through the picturesque streets, exploring unique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes. The Hume Hotel, a beautifully restored historic hotel in Nelson, offers charming accommodations and excellent dining options.

Kootenay Lake itself is perfect for boating, fishing, and exploring secluded beaches. Rent a boat or kayak to navigate the lake’s pristine waters and discover hidden coves and quiet shorelines. The lake is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities, with abundant trout and kokanee salmon.

For those seeking adventure, the surrounding mountains offer numerous hiking and biking trails. The Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, located near the lake, is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The trails here vary in difficulty, providing stunning views of glaciers, alpine meadows, and the lake below.

After a day of exploring, relax at the Ainsworth Hot Springs, located on the western shore of Kootenay Lake. The natural hot springs, with their unique cave system and soothing mineral waters, provide a perfect end to a day of adventure.

How to Get There

Kootenay Lake is accessible from several points. The town of Nelson, on the western shore, is about a 7-hour drive from Vancouver via Highway 3. Alternatively, you can fly into Castlegar Airport, located about 40 minutes from Nelson, and rent a car. From Nelson, follow Highway 3A along the lake’s western shore to reach other attractions and towns around Kootenay Lake. The Kootenay Lake Ferry, one of the longest free ferry rides in the world, connects the eastern and western shores, offering a scenic and convenient way to explore the area.

7. Sproat Lake

A Warm and Welcoming Retreat

Sproat Lake, situated on Vancouver Island, is a haven for couples seeking a warm and welcoming retreat. Known for its clear, warm waters, Sproat Lake is ideal for swimming, kayaking, and exploring. The lake is surrounded by lush forests and beautiful landscapes, providing a serene and picturesque setting for a romantic getaway.

Start your visit by renting a kayak or paddleboard to explore the lake’s many hidden coves and bays. The calm waters make for a relaxing paddle, and you may even spot some of the lake’s resident wildlife, such as eagles and otters. For those who prefer a more relaxed approach, the lake’s sandy beaches are perfect for sunbathing and picnicking.

One of the lake’s unique attractions is the Sproat Lake Petroglyphs. These ancient carvings, located on a rock face near the shore, are accessible by boat or a short hike. The petroglyphs are believed to be thousands of years old and offer a fascinating glimpse into the area’s indigenous history.

In the evening, enjoy a romantic dinner at a local lakeside restaurant or cook your own meal at one of the many vacation rentals available around the lake. Many of these rentals offer stunning lake views, private docks, and cozy amenities, making them perfect for a romantic retreat.

How to Get There

Sproat Lake is located about 13 kilometers west of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. From Nanaimo, take Highway 19 north to Highway 4, then follow Highway 4 west towards Port Alberni. Continue past Port Alberni on Highway 4, and you’ll reach Sproat Lake. The drive from Nanaimo takes about 1.5 hours. If you're coming from Victoria, the drive takes approximately 3 hours via Highway 1 and Highway 4. Parking is available at various points around the lake, including the provincial park.

8. Seton Lake

Tranquility Amidst Rugged Beauty

Seton Lake, located near the town of Lillooet, offers a tranquil setting surrounded by rugged mountains. The lake’s crystal-clear, blue-green waters are perfect for boating, fishing, and enjoying the serene beauty of the area. Seton Lake’s remote location makes it an ideal spot for couples seeking a quiet and peaceful romantic escape.

Begin your visit with a scenic drive along Seton Lake Road, which offers breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. The road follows the lake’s shoreline, providing numerous spots to stop and take in the scenery. For a more immersive experience, rent a boat or kayak to explore the lake’s pristine waters up close.

Fishing is a popular activity at Seton Lake, with abundant trout and salmon. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just looking to try something new, spending a day fishing on the lake can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

For those who love hiking, the nearby Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park offers numerous trails with stunning views of the valley, lake, and surrounding wilderness. The park is known for its cultural and historical significance, with many ancient pictographs and archaeological sites to discover.

In the evening, enjoy a romantic meal at one of Lillooet’s local restaurants or retreat to a cozy cabin or lodge near the lake. The quiet, serene atmosphere makes for a perfect romantic getaway.

How to Get There

Seton Lake is located about 5 kilometers west of Lillooet. From Vancouver, take Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) east to Hope, then follow Highway 1 north through the Fraser Canyon to Lillooet. The drive takes about 4 hours and offers scenic views along the way. Alternatively, you can take the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Highway 99) north from Vancouver to Lillooet, which takes about 4.5 hours. Once in Lillooet, follow Seton Lake Road west to the lake. Parking is available at various points along the road and at the lake’s recreational areas.

9. Quesnel Lake

A Wilderness Escape

Quesnel Lake, one of the deepest fjord lakes in the world, is located in the Cariboo region of British Columbia. This pristine lake is surrounded by untouched wilderness, offering a perfect escape for couples seeking adventure and tranquility. The lake’s clear, deep waters and stunning scenery provide a romantic backdrop for a memorable getaway.

Start your adventure by renting a boat or kayak to explore the lake’s vast expanse. The lake is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, with abundant rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. Spend a day fishing, and you might even catch dinner to cook together later. The lake’s many bays and inlets also make it perfect for exploring and discovering secluded spots for a private picnic or swim.

For hiking enthusiasts, the surrounding area offers numerous trails with breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. The Cedar Point Provincial Park is a great starting point, with trails that wind through lush forests and along the lakeshore. The park also offers camping facilities for those looking to extend their stay and immerse themselves in nature.

Wildlife viewing is another highlight of Quesnel Lake. The area is home to a variety of wildlife, including bears, moose, and eagles. Take a guided tour to learn more about the local ecosystem and spot these majestic animals in their natural habitat.

In the evening, retreat to a cozy lakeside cabin or lodge, many of which offer stunning views and all the amenities needed for a comfortable and romantic stay. Enjoy a quiet evening by the fireplace, or take in the starry night sky from your private deck.

How to Get There

Quesnel Lake is located about 100 kilometers east of the town of Quesnel. From Vancouver, take Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) east to Hope, then follow Highway 97 north through Cache Creek to Quesnel. From Quesnel, take the Barkerville Highway (Highway 26) east, then follow local roads to the lake. The drive from Vancouver takes about 8 hours. Alternatively, you can fly into Williams Lake Airport, located about 1.5 hours from Quesnel Lake, and rent a car. The lake is accessible by well-maintained gravel roads, and parking is available at various recreational areas and lodges.

10. Shuswap Lake

A Houseboating Haven

Shuswap Lake, located in the southern interior of British Columbia, is renowned for its distinctive shape and the incredible variety of activities it offers. With over 1,000 kilometers of shoreline, the lake is a popular destination for houseboating, providing a unique and romantic way for couples to explore the natural beauty of the area. The lake is divided into four arms, each offering different experiences, from secluded coves to bustling beaches.

Houseboating on Shuswap Lake is a one-of-a-kind experience. Renting a houseboat allows you to navigate the lake at your own pace, discovering hidden beaches, private swimming spots, and picturesque picnic areas. Many houseboats come equipped with hot tubs, waterslides, and fully-equipped kitchens, ensuring a comfortable and luxurious stay on the water. Imagine waking up to the serene view of the lake, enjoying breakfast on the deck, and spending your days exploring the diverse shoreline.

For those who prefer to stay on land, Shuswap Lake offers plenty of options. The area is famous for its warm, sandy beaches, perfect for sunbathing and swimming. The numerous hiking and biking trails provide opportunities to explore the surrounding forests and hills, offering stunning views of the lake from various vantage points. One of the most popular hikes is the Margaret Falls Trail in Herald Provincial Park, which leads to a beautiful waterfall.

The Shuswap region is also known for its vibrant local culture. Visit the nearby towns of Salmon Arm, Sicamous, and Chase to explore local shops, farmers' markets, and restaurants. Many of these towns host summer festivals and events, adding to the lively atmosphere of the region.

In the evening, enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the lakeside restaurants, such as the Shuswap Pie Company in Salmon Arm, known for its delicious homemade pies and cozy atmosphere. After dinner, find a quiet spot by the lake to watch the sunset, creating a perfect end to your day.

How to Get There

Shuswap Lake is easily accessible from several major cities. From Vancouver, it’s about a 5-hour drive via Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) east towards Kamloops, then Highway 97B north towards Salmon Arm. From Calgary, it’s about a 6-hour drive via Highway 1 west. The region is also accessible by air, with the nearest major airport in Kelowna, about a 1.5-hour drive from the lake. Once you arrive, there are numerous marinas and rental companies around the lake that offer houseboat rentals and other recreational equipment. Parking is available at these marinas and at various points around the lake.

Each of these lakes provides a unique setting for a romantic vacation, whether you're looking for adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both. British Columbia's natural beauty and diverse landscapes make it an ideal destination for couples seeking a memorable and romantic getaway.

Stay connected with more insights from the vibrant world of Canadian travel at Canada Scenic.

#EmeraldLake #OkanaganLake #MoraineLake #HarrisonLake #GaribaldiLake #KootenayLake #SproatLake #SetonLake #QuesnelLake #ShuswapLake #RomanticGetaway #TravelBC #ExploreCanada

Jun 15, 2024
The West Coast

More from 

The West Coast


View All