15 Fun Things to do in Invermere, BC (Canada)
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Invermere, BC is one of the most beautiful places in Canada. Surrounded by mountain peaks, two stunning lakes, more golf courses than one can handle, and a huge range of natural and manmade attractions, Invermere is a paradise that needs to be explored.
Despite the areas beauty and the sheer amount of things to do in Invermere, the town has remained off the beaten path for international visitors. Instead, the area is enjoyed by local Canadians who come for the summer fun on the lakes, or the ski hills and hot springs in the winter.
This not only means that Invermere sees only a fraction of visitors when compared to regions like Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley but, the town has kept its friendly local atmosphere.
Overall, this combination makes Invermere, BC a must-visit and one of my personal favorite areas in Canada!
However, for first-time visitors to Invermere, it can be hard to know exactly what to do. Luckily, Bailey and I know Invermere very well and have had the pleasure of exploring the area on more than one occasion.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Invermere, then keep reading and check out our blog on all the best things to do in Invermere, BC!
Things to do in Invermere,BC
1. Columbia River float
The first activity I ever did and my introduction to Invermere was the Columbia River float. And wow, what an introduction! This is by far the most beautiful river float I’ve done in Canada and a highlight of my time traveling the world.
The river float starts in one of two locations (mentioned below) and has you drifting at a slow pace on the Columbia River through the town of Fairmont along the golf courses and houses. The entire way there is breathtaking views of the mountains.
The best part is that if you have your own tube or floatie then this activity is completely free!
The river float is very relaxing and even small children can enjoy the float safetly with a lifejacket and parent supervision. If you don’t have your own tube you can rent one in town at the small gas station in Fairmont. During my last visit, the owner did mention he’d sold his business to the Fairmont Hot Springs so the location may change.
Unfortunately, there is no river shuttle so you’ll need two cars, one parked where you end and one where you start (unless someone in your group isn’t joining you then they can just drop you off and pick you up.)
I personally think this is the best activity to do while exploring Invermere and a must!
Where to start and end the river float
There are two entry points to the Columbia River float. The first and longest is along Columbia River Road. To find the exact location drive until you make two sharp turns like an S bend down a steep hill. Just after this turn is the drop-off point. From here the float takes just over 2 hours in spring and up to 4 hours at the end of summer.
The second and shorter option starts near the Spruce Grove Campground along the Kootenay Highway. I’ve personally never started from here but have heard it takes under 1.5 hours in the spring and under 3 hours in the summer.
The end is along River Drive. In the middle of summer, you’ll see lots of people getting off and parked here but the location is also on the map above.
2. Relax at James Chabot Provincial Park
On those warm days in Invermere, the best place to hang out is at James Chabot Provincial Park. This small park is located on Lake Windermere and is home to a large sandy beach perfect for relaxing and enjoying the sunshine.
Bailey and I love heading down here with a picnic lunch and getting a shady spot on the grass. We literally sit back and watch the entire day pass by while cooling down in the lake when needed. It’s one of the most relaxing things to do in Invermere and a must in my opinion!
The park is located right in town and is completely free to visit. There is a large carpark in the provincial park, however, on really hot days you’ll need to arrive early to get a spot. There is also a toilet block and a change room.
3. Rent a Boat and Enjoy the Lake
The lakes near Invermere are the true crown jewel of the valley. During the summer months, they pack out with visitors on boats enjoying the sunshine and water sports. The best part is that even if you don’t have your own boat you can rent one at a very affordable price.
The last time we went to Invermere we rented a boat on Lake Windermere for 4 hours. Between the 7 of us including fuel the rental was only $490 CAD. That’s $70 each for a fun day on the water!
We cruised the lake stopping along the way to swim and even have a few drinks. Spending time on the water is easily my favorite way to enjoy Invermere.
We rented our boat from Pete’s Marina which is located right on the lake in Invermere. This also meant the boat was already launched and ready to go when we arrived. Out rental also included one temporary boat license for the driver, so even if you’re not licensed you can get a rental!
If boating isn’t your thing then you can choose to rent a Seadoo (jetski) instead and cruise the water in style. Unfortunately, the rental price is very similar and they’re only for two people maximum.
4. Visit the Radium Hot Springs
In the Columbia Valley which Invermere sits, the most popular attraction is the Radium Hot Springs. The springs, which are feed by natural spring water, flow into a manmade pool where visitors can relax with beautiful views.
The springs are actually in Kootenay National Park so they’re owned by Parks Canada which keeps the entrance fee low at under $8 CAD for adults. This is only one of three hot springs owned by Parks Canada and although it’s my least favorite (the Banff and Miette hot springs are stunning) it’s still a great attraction near Invermere worth checking out.
The best part though, is that this is the perfect activity all year round with winter actually being the better time to visit!
To reach the springs you’ll need to drive 15 minutes to the small town of Radium. From here, head out of town towards Kootenay National Park and the springs are on your right with the overflow carpark on your left.
5. Take it easy at Kinsmen Beach
The second best beach in Invermere is Kinsmen Beach. This small beach area is a really popular place for families to come and relax. The beach is located in the heart of Invermere and is actually across from the distillery (mentioned below) making it even better!
Bailey and I came here one day and just walked the foreshore before heading to the distillery for a tasting. Although we didn’t stay long (as we had just spent the day at James Chabot Provincial Park) we are definitely going to return on our next trip.
There really isn’t much of a difference between Kinsmen Beach and James Chabot Provincial Park, however, there is more parking so if one is full, try the other!
6. Have a Beer at Arrowhead Brewing
The craft beer scene in Canada has exploded. Nowadays, just about every mountain town has its own brewery and Invermere is no different. Arrowhead Brewing Company is Invermere’s local brewery and for any beer lover, a visit is a must.
The brewery serves a huge range of beer including 7 permanent beers as well as a few seasonal brews for you to try. Unfortunately, the brewery doesn’t serve hot food, however, you can purchase homemade snacks like beef jerky!
My personal favorite beer is the “I’m so Freakin Hoppy IPA”. I also love their honey ale, especially on a summer’s day on the outside deck at the brewery!
Beers at the brewery cost around $8 CAD and their opening hours do vary depending on the day so be sure the check their website before you go!
7. Drive or Hike up Swansea Mountain
If you want to enjoy one of the best views of the Columbia Valley then you simply must take a drive or hike up Swansea Mountain. Located only a short drive from Invermere, Swansea Mountain is a recreational area popular among hikers and mountain bikers who use the access road up to access a range of downhill trails.
At the bottom of the mountain, there is a small car park and recreational area with picnic tables. From here you can either park and hike up Swansea Mountain, or take your vehicle further to the summit carpark.
To reach the summit carpark you’ll need a high clearance 2wd vehicle or a 4wd with the latter being the recommended. From the top carpark, you’ll still need to walk for around 15 minutes to reach the true summit via a 700-meter trail with a 105-meter elevation gain.
From the bottom carpark, the summit is best reached on the Mount Swansea Double Peak Loop which is a 12.6-kilometer loop track with a 750-meter elevation gain that starts from the carpark. This trail takes around 4 to 5 hours to complete with breaks and takes you to more than one amazing viewpoint of the valley.
Regardless of what way you choose to visit the Swansea Summit, this is the best way to get amazing views of the valley and one of the best things to do in Invermere, BC.
Important: The area around Swansea Mountain is bear country so always carry bear spray and hike in groups. Also, to access the parking area and access road you must arrive from Windermere Loop Road as Westroc Road (you’ll see what I mean on Google maps) is an active mining road preventing public access.
8. Explore Kootenay National Park
Kootenay National Park is one of Canda’s most beautiful national parks, yet it remains one of the least visited. To me, this is such a shame! So, if you’re headed to Invermere don’t miss the chance to spend a day exploring the park.
From downtown Invermere to the border of Kootenay National Park it’s only a short 15-minute drive. Once past the gates, the national park is yours to explore. There are lots of amazing attractions to visit and lots can be done in only one day.
Some of the best things to do in Kootney National Park include the walk along Marble Canyon, the hike to Stanley Glacier, the Paint Pots, and the awesome (but very hard) hike to Floe Lake!
You can also spot lots of wildlife along the highway and stop and random viewpoints and pull over bays. Of course, you’ll need a Canada Parks Pass for this but it’s totally worth it!
9. Eat the Best Fried Chicken in Canada at Ullr Bar
Having friends in Invermere means we get the best recommendations for places to eat. One of those was Ullr Bar to enjoy Canada’s best-fried chicken!
If I’m being honest, I was a little skeptical that such amazing fried chicken lived in the small humble town of Invermere in BC – but boy was I wrong! The fried chicken at Ullr Bar really is that amazing and a meal here is a great way to spend lunch or dinner in Invermere.
The menu at Ullr Bar is small and centered around their amazing fried chicken. Bailey loved the classic fried chicken whereas my personal favorite was the fried chicken sandwich – which was unreal. They also make amazing cocktails including a chili margarita which paired well with my sandwich on their outdoor deck.
The bar is also the best place in town to enjoy a wild night out. They have live music on weekends and a large dancefloor. So, as the sun goes down your day doesn’t have to end if you head to Ullr Bar!
10. Play a Round of Golf
One thing Invermere isn’t short on is golf courses! From Invermere, there are over 10 golf courses within a short driving distance. This makes golf one of the most popular things to do in Invermere in the summer.
Of course, not all the courses are the same and depending on why you’re here, you’ll want to pick the course right for you. Below are a few I recommend checking out:
Greywolf Golf Course: If you’ve come to Invermere to experience a once in a lifetime golfing experience then you simply must head to Greywolf Golf Course. Located only 20 minutes from Invermere, Greywolf is a world-renowned course rated as one of the top 15 courses in Canada and the number one public course in BC! Surrounded by mountains the course is home to the “Cliffhanger Hole” which is considered one of the best in the world.
The Ridge at Copper Point: If you’re keen for a game of golf but have other commitments then consider playing 18 holes at The Ridge at Copper Point. The course is located only a short 5-minute drive from Invermere and is only a par -62 Masters Course meaning a game can be completed in under 3 hours. Don’t be fooled by the short course though, it’s still one of the best in the valley!
Eagle Ranch Golf Course: For a breathtaking round of golf few places are as beautiful as the Eagle Ranch Golf Gorse. This par-72 course is famous for its two main landscapes that include the open fairways in the valley as well as the quiet mini canyons. The course is also only 5 minutes from Invermere.
Regardless of which course you choose, golfing in Invermere is a must for golfers of all levels!
11. Taste your way through Taynton Bay Spirits
Bailey and I love the show Dragons Den! So when we saw an episode featuring a distillery in Invermere, BC we just had to check it out.
Taynton Bay Spirits is Invermere’s only distillery and visiting is easily one of the best things to do in the area. The reason? They make some of the most unique and delicious infused liquor I’ve ever tasted.
The distillery is most famous for its infused vodkas.. The distillery has flavors such as Ginger Matcha Tea, Strawberry Herbal Tea, and Blueberry Rooibos. These infused vodkas are around 18% alcohol and can be drunk straight or mixed.
They also distill straight liquor with my favorite being the raspberry vodka that’s 40% alcohol, but tastes nothing like it! All their blends use no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, and the quality is easy to taste.
The distillery is located below The Station Neighborhood Pub and they offer a very generous free tasting that just about covers every product they sell. Afterward, you can get a bottle to go and enjoy it with friends!
12. Go Skiing or Snowboarding
Invermere is just as much a winter holiday destination as a summer one. In fact, the entire valley is a winter paradise where people can enjoy lots of snow sports like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, dog sledding, and more.
With that said, the most popular winter sport in Invermere is skiing and snowboarding at the nearby ski resorts. In fact, there are two resorts within driving distance of Invermere with the best and largest being Panorama Mountian Resort.
Panorama Mountain Resort is located only 20 minutes from Invermere and has 4 large chairlifts as well as a few smaller ones for beginners. The runs range in difficulty from green all the way to double black. Overall, it’s one of the best ski resorts in the Columbia Valley.
For those with kids just starting out you can also visit the smaller and cheaper Fairmont Hot Springs Ski Resort. Day passes are only $52 for adults, however, the skifield only has one large ski lift.
Regardless of where you go, if you love skiing or snowboarding and want to avoid the crowds at the larger resorts, then Invermere is the place to visit!
13. Enjoy the Fairmont Hot Springs
The Radium Hot Springs aren’t the only hot springs in the Columbia Valley. Fairmont Hot Springs (which is the name of the town) has its very own hot springs!
These springs are privately owned and operated by the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and in my opinion, they are a little nicer than Radium. The views are the highlight but the pool is also larger. Fairmont also offers private spas for guests who want to pay more for a private experience.
For the normal pool though, Fairmont is also slightly more expensive and the entrance fee per person is $12 for adults.
To sum it up, I only think one spring needs to be visited and I guess if I had my time again, I’d choose to visit the Parks Canada pools in Radium. My reason? Because you’re supporting the conservation of Kootenay National Park and other parks around Canada.
14. Eat the Best Smoked Meats at Smokehouse 93
It was my nose that led me to Smokehouse 93. Located along the highway we must have passed it just about every day, and every time we did I got the most amazing smells. This led us to visit on our last day and the only thing I regret is not going sooner.
This small roadside smokehouse serves the most amazing meats with my favorite being the AAA Alberta Beef Brisket! The restaurant serves its food either by weight on its own or in burgers and other sides.
I personally got the Brisket Burger and loved it! The meat literally falls apart and the flavors are to die for. Bailey is a mac and cheese lover so she got the “Meat and Mac” which comes with brisket on top.
Honestly, if you love smoked meats then Smokehouse 93 will be the best place you visit in Invermere!
15. Visit the Hoodoo’s
The Hoodoos are a natural attraction just south of Invermere near the small town of Fairmont Hot Springs. Hoodoos are formed from erosion and around Canada, you can see them especially near places like Drumheller in Alberta.
I’ve personally seen the Hoodoos in Drumheller and although the Hoodoos in Invermere don’t quite compare, they’re still cool to see. The first way to see the Hoodoos is from Highway 93/95. From the road and pull over bays, you get great views of the Hoodoos.
However, if you want to get closer then the Hoodoo trail is one of the best ways to explore them and it’s only a 3.2 kilometer out and back trail.
Although you can see the Hoodoos from the highway, the trail gives you another perspective and an amazing view of the valley. I’d allow around 2 hours to complete the track and spend some time at the top.
The trail starts on Westside Road off Highway 93/95.
Where to Stay in Invermere, BC
Where We Stayed
On our visits to the Columbia Valley, we always stay in an Airbnb. We usually travel in a large group and love the fact Airbnb has us all in one house together with everything we need to bbq and hang out.
On our last trip, we stayed in arguably the best Airbnb in the region. This Columbia Lake chalet was perfect for us and it sleeps up to 8 people. Although a little out of Invermere, we spent the nights on the deck under the stars away from the crowds.
Hotel Options in Invermere
Copper Point Resort: Located on the Copper Point Golf course this is a great mid-range option for travelers. Although a few kilometers out of town, the views are spectacular and the hotel has really good reviews.
Deere Ridge Cabins: If staying in a luxury cabin is your idea of a great place to stay then Deere Ridge Cabins is the place for you. Each cabin has a private hot tub and kitchen and they have pet-friendly options.
Before you go…
With a list of things to do in Invermere as amazing as this, it’s no wonder the region is becoming more popular! Personally, I think the Columbia Valley has way more charm than the Okanagan, and with more unique attractions, it’s one of Canada’s top tourist destinations!
Thanks so much for reading our guide to the best things to do in Invermere, BC. Both Bailey and I hope it’s helped you plan your upcoming trip! If you found this blog helpful, be sure to check out all our other Canada blogs or these related articles below!
September 23, 2020