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I lived in Salmon Arm for a few years, so I might be a little biased on this one, but let me tell you – Salmon Arm, British Columbia is the place to be! It’s a small city, located in the Shuswap region of BC’s interior but it is full of amazing things to do and see.
In fact, if you love the great outdoors then you’ll love Salmon Arm. From exploring stunning natural attractions to days at the lake Salmon Arm really has something for everyone.
But that’s not all! Enjoy amazing food, fresh produce, and even delicious wine. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to explore Salmon Arm?!
Here are 21 EPIC things to do in Salmon Arm from someone who used to call this stunning region home!
- 1. Walk to Margaret Falls in Harold’s Provincial Park
- 2. Relax at Canoe Beach
- 3. Go hiking
- 4. Eat at the Shuswap Pie Company
- 5. Visit the most northern winery in BC – Larch Hills
- 6. Hit up the Nordic trails
- 7. Walk the largest wooden wharf in North America
- 8. Visit DeMille’s Farm Market
- 9. Drink locally brewed beer at Barley Station Brew Pub
- 10. Enjoy at beach day at Sunnybrae Park
- 11. Step back in time at R.J. Hanley Heritage Village & Museum
- 12. Attend the annual Roots and Blues Festival (Salmon Arm’s most famous event)
- 13. Get out on the water and rent a boat
- 14. Eat all the cheese (and learn about making it!) at Grass Root Dairies
- 15. Take the kids to the waterslides
- 16. Go golfing!
- 17. Visit the local cidery
- 18. Mountain bike at Little Mountain Park
- 19. Satisfy your sweet tooth at The Candy Vault
- 20. Day trip out to Lake Country
- 21. Stock up on cheap local wine at OVINO Winery
Things to do in Salmon Arm, BC
1. Walk to Margaret Falls in Harold’s Provincial Park
Margaret Falls is an absolutely stunning waterfall, accessible by a variety of trails in Harold’s Provincial Park. It’s located about 15 km (9.3 mi) west of Salmon Arm along Highway 1, and there is a day-use parking lot right in the park.
There are multiple trails to choose from, ranging from 0.5-3 km (0.3-1.8 miles), and can take between 0.5-1.5 hours to complete. Make sure to check out the trail map in the park before getting started.
If you head through the lower trails, which are appropriate for all ages and are wheelchair accessible, you’ll start along Shuswap Lake. You’ll then walk over bridges and through the gorgeous old-growth forest until you get to the waterfall. It’s truly a magical experience!
Related Read: For even more spectacular waterfalls (dozens of them!), head over to Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC!
2. Relax at Canoe Beach
Who doesn’t love a relaxing day at the beach? I sure do! Canoe Beach is located just outside the town center and is fully equipped with everything you need for a fun and relaxing day at the beach.
Canoe Beach has a large grassy area, a sandy beach, and plenty of picnic tables. There is also a concession stand, volleyball court, and playground, so it is the perfect place for the whole family.
This is a great place to go for the swim! The water is clear and there is a roped-off area and pontoon to swim out to. Salmon Arm enjoys warm and sunny weather in the summer, so get in there and enjoy it!
Related Read: Heading to Vernon? Check out our guide on the best things to do in Vernon.
3. Go hiking
This region has some pretty stellar hikes if you’re ready to get outside and get active. One of my favorites is Mt. Ida, which is a large 1,564-meter (5,131 feet) mountain south of Salmon Arm. It will take about 30 minutes to drive there from town.
There are a few routes to take up the mountain, but if you are up for a challenge, try the Mount Ida Loop. It’s a 33 km (21 miles) loop with 1,598 meters (5,243 feet) elevation gain – quite the trek, but so worth it. There are a number of viewpoints along the way and you will be blown away by the sweeping views of the region.
If you are looking for a more low-key hike, try out Raven Trail or Shuswap North Rail Trail, both of which are fairly easy, and go around Shuswap Lake.
Note: Part of the Shuswap North Rail Trail is currently undergoing upgrades for the spring of 2023. Check their website out for info and updates.
Related Read: Hiking is also one of the best things to do in Revelstoke!
4. Eat at the Shuswap Pie Company
Best. Pie. Ever. I promise you will not be disappointed!
The Shuswap Pie Company offers the best savory and sweet pies around, so you can get lunch and dessert all in one stop. They pride themselves on creating small-batch pies, made with local and natural ingredients. You can really taste the quality and care of each pie! They also have a new monthly lunch special, so you can go back, again and again, to try them out.
Before a big day, my favorite thing to order is their delicious Glory Bowl. It’s filled with everything you need for an adventure-packed day!
The store is located in downtown Salmon Arm, and pies are available fresh in-store, or frozen to take and bake at home.
5. Visit the most northern winery in BC – Larch Hills
You absolutely cannot visit this region of BC without trying out some local wines. Larch Hills was established in 1997 as a family business and is considered a “cool climate” vineyard, because of its location as the most northern winery in BC.
Larch Hills offers some of the most delicious wines, and you can try them out during a free cellar-door tasting. Yes, that’s right, they are completely free to try which is almost unheard of among the wineries in the area. Once you’ve learned a little about the wine, how it’s made, and what your favorite is, you can go to the tasting room, enjoy a glass and take in the stunning views from their property.
This little hidden gem is definitely worth a visit!
Related Read: Check out my guide to a Kelowna Wine Tour! Or, visit Kelowna on your own and visit all of the best wineries in Kelowna!
6. Hit up the Nordic trails
If you’re visiting Salmon Arm in the winter, this is an absolute must! The Larch Hills Nordic Society has a cross-country skiing area with over 170 km (106 miles) of ski trails, 57 km (35 miles) of which are frequently groomed for ease of use.
Although they do not offer equipment rentals on-site, there are a few private retailers in the area that can help. Skookum Cycle and Ski are in downtown Salmon Arm, so you can pick up rentals there and drive about 20 km (12 mi) to get to the Nordic Society.
Once you’re done with your cross-country adventure, warm up in the heated chalet! A day here is $15 CAD to use the trails (excluding rentals), and there are membership options for cross-country enthusiasts!
Related Read: Travelling Canada in winter? Check out the best things to do in Canmore in winter!
7. Walk the largest wooden wharf in North America
I bet you didn’t think going to Salmon Arm meant visiting a record-setting wharf! As the longest wooden wharf in North America, it’s got a pretty interesting history. It remains one of the main community hubs in Salmon Arm.
You can enjoy walking on the wharf year-round, taking in the scenery of Shuswap Lake. There are often people fishing or feeding ducks off the wharf. If you’re around during the summer, you’ve got to go and enjoy some live music and meal from food trucks! It’s got a fun, community feel to it, so make sure to get in on the action.
8. Visit DeMille’s Farm Market
We’ve mentioned a few good picnic spots on this list (check out#2 or #10), and the DeMille’s Farm Market is the perfect place to stock up before you head out!
DeMille’s is now in its 3rd generation of family ownership. They started down in California but moved up to Salmon Arm in 1970. They grow a variety of local produce, but are famous for their sweet corn – they grow over 20 varieties! This, along with seasonal fresh fruit, is definitely worth a try.
Besides produce and other food products, they have a corn maze (in the fall) and petting zoo on-site, in addition to tons of local, unique gifts to purchase.
9. Drink locally brewed beer at Barley Station Brew Pub
What would this list be if I didn’t give you somewhere to go drink beer! The best place in Salmon Arm has got to be Barley Station Brew Pub.
Home to Shuswap Lake Brewing Co., these locals serve up some of the best brews around! They’ve got both crowd favorites like Sam McGuire’s Pale Ale or the Talking Dog Wit Beer, along with a variety of seasonal rotating on tap. Try one, try a few, whatever you’re in the mood for!
The beer isn’t the only draw here, because their food is pretty amazing too! In between pints, you can order from a selection of sandwiches, burgers, pasta, or appetizers.
10. Enjoy at beach day at Sunnybrae Park
This is another perfect place to relax for the day and enjoy some much-needed beach time. Sunnybrae Park is located 15 km (9.3 mi) away from Salmon Arm along Shuswap Lake and is one of the best beaches in the region. It has a large swimming area with a raft to swim out to.
Sunnybrae has excellent facilities, including a playground, restrooms, and a picnic area. There is also a short trail along the lake for you to walk and enjoy the area. Make sure to pack some sunscreen and a picnic lunch to make the most of your day!
11. Step back in time at R.J. Hanley Heritage Village & Museum
Ready to travel back in time? R.J. Hanley Heritage Village & Museum is an authentic small-town experience of Salmon Arm back in the early 1900s. In the Heritage Village, you can wander the quaint streets of this historical town, or join a tour that will tell you all about the history of Salmon Arm. You will go through the Haney House, the old schoolhouse, the blacksmith shop, the general shop, and more!
The Museum has a number of interesting exhibitions to learn from, including ones like Shuswap Mining History or Slxlxaya: Stories of the Secwepemc Culture.
When you’re done exploring the town and museum, make sure to check out the Sprig of Heather, a full-service restaurant on the grounds, surrounded by beautiful gardens. A day at R.J. Hanley Heritage Village and Museum costs $12 CAD per adult.
12. Attend the annual Roots and Blues Festival (Salmon Arm’s most famous event)
If you love live music, you’ve got to go to the Roots and Blues Festival. This festival has been an integral part of the Salmon Arm community for over 30 years and is the city’s most famous event.
Each summer, a variety of world-class roots, blues, folk, dance, and world music musicians and artists come together for the show of a lifetime. In 2023, the festival takes place from August 17th to 20th. They perform across four outdoor stages. In addition to live music, the festival offers a global food village and artisan market.
There are camping accommodations on the festival grounds, or you can choose to stay in Salmon Arm town (read below for the best places to stay.) Either way, you and 20,000 other people are going to have the time of your life!
13. Get out on the water and rent a boat
Shuswap Lake is the best place to get outside and get on the water. There are so many activities to do on this lake. Renting a boat is a must, and there are a few good options.
Speed boats – It is so much fun to go tubing, water skiing, wakeboarding, or just ripping it up around the lake! It will be about $660 CAD to rent a ski boat for the day.
Pontoon boats – these flat-bottomed boats are perfect for just chilling and relaxing. They can usually fit between 10-15 people and are comfortable for relaxing, having a drink, or jumping off and taking a swim. The cost is about $720 CAD for a day.
Houseboats – if you’re looking to spend a few days out on the lake, a houseboat is the way to do it! They are fully equipped with bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens and can fit a lot of people. These are obviously a bit pricier, with rates starting around $3,200 for 3 nights on a houseboat for up to 15 people.
There are a few rental companies in the area including Sea-Dog Rentals and Reds Rentals and Marina.
14. Eat all the cheese (and learn about making it!) at Grass Root Dairies
So, you’ve checked out some of the wineries on this list, perhaps picked up a bottle to bring back with you, so you just need one more thing – cheese! At Grass Root Dairies, you can buy some of the most delicious, local cheese.
Located just outside downtown Salmon Arm, Grass Root Dairies is open to the public for tours and tastings. You can learn all about the cheesemaking process, and then try out a bunch of samples (the best part!). They have an extensive product line, so cheese wisely and enjoy!
Related Read: If you can’t get enough cheese, there’s a cute cheese shop/cafe where I always stock up in nearby Armstrong, BC!
15. Take the kids to the waterslides
This one is more for the kids. If I’m being totally honest, it’s a little boring for adults. But the kids will love it and you’ll definitely win the best parent reward!
The Salmon Arm Water Slides have four large tower slides – actually one of the last locations in Canada with the tower slides – along with three smaller ones for young kids. Besides the slides, you can hang out in the hot tubs, or in the toddler pool with a fountain. They also have a mini-golf course, remote control racing, and an arcade.
The price for a day at the slides is $26.50 CAD for ages 13+ and $16.50 CAD for those 4-12. You can also purchase a season pass.
16. Go golfing!
Golfing is one of the best activities to be outside and enjoy nature while having a social activity to participate in! When you’re in Salmon Arm, you have to try the Shuswap National Golf Course. It is beautifully designed with open fields, forested areas, rocks and water features, and wetlands. The course is an eclectic 7100-yard design and was a top-rated 18-hole championship golf course.
The rates to golf range between $48 to $78 CAD depending on the time of the day but do not include a golf cart. The rates with a golf cart will cost between $68 CAD to $88 CAD, again depending on the time. There are also junior and senior rate discounts.
After a day on the course, head to The National Kitchen & Patio, a beautiful on-site restaurant that provides excellent dining options inside a timber-frame clubhouse.
Another popular course is the Salmon Arm Golf Club – Championship Course. It’s a beautiful 18-hole course popular with locals and is priced between $44 to $79 CAD based on the time. For those with less experience, the Heritage Course is a relaxing 9 holes that only will cost $20 CAD. Power carts, pull cars, clubs, and bucket rentals are available at an additional charge.
17. Visit the local cidery
Wine, beer, and now cider…based on this blog, I’m sure you’ve probably figured out by now that both Dan and I love a good drink! But besides that, we love supporting small local businesses, and in Salmon Arm, one of the town’s newest is a cidery, Shuswap Cider Co.
This woman-owned cidery offers some of the best ciders I have ever had! Although they have only been around for just over a year, these ladies sure know how to make good cider. Their Lavender Honey flavor is so unique and tasty that I have to stop in and buy a pack to-go every time I pass through Salmon Arm. Their Cherry Rosé flavor is another one of my favorites!
Shuswap Cider Co. also has a taproom where you can stop in and try a tasting flight. There is ample seating outside on a large covered patio. Besides their staple flavors, there are also small-batch ciders on tap to try. They are located in the Westgate Public Market and are open most afternoons (except for Mondays.) You can buy cans or growlers for off sales as well.
Hot Tip: At their taproom, there is also a place to buy wood-fired pizza (that’s delicious!), so if you’re hungry, this is the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat with cider!
18. Mountain bike at Little Mountain Park
I hope you’re ready for an adventure! Mountain biking is so much fun, and Little Mountain Park offers a variety of trails that even a beginner can have fun on.
There are 8 km (5 mi) of wide and smooth forest paths throughout the park, with a few route options ranging from easy to difficult. There is some beautiful scenery throughout, though you’ll likely just be enjoying the rush of mountain biking! If you are prepared to make a short climb, you’ll get a view over Salmon Arm, Mt. Ida, and beautiful wildflowers across the bluffs.
Little Mountain Park is just a little bit outside of Salmon Arm if you head east on Highway 1. If you don’t have your own bike, there are lots of options in town to get you set up with a rental!
Related Read: Check out all the best breweries in Banff as well as the best breweries in Kelowna!
19. Satisfy your sweet tooth at The Candy Vault
Unleash your inner 7-year-old at The Candy Vault! Located right in downtown Salmon Arm, this shop offers a huge selection of retro and nostalgic candy. It’s an old-fashioned candy store, so it has favorites like licorice, saltwater taffy, and fresh fudge.
Pick up something you remember from your childhood, or try something new! Either way, you’ll definitely be leaving with a few sweet treats for the rest of your trip.
20. Day trip out to Lake Country
If you’re up for a bit of a road trip, there is SO much more to explore in this region. Just a bit outside of Salmon Arm is home to Lake Country, with three lakes to its name: Kalamalka, Okanagan, and Wood Lake. The Okanagan Valley is a seriously gorgeous region with lots to do.
If you drive south from Salmon Arm for about 45 minutes, you’ll hit the city of Vernon, which sits beside Okanagan Lake and around Kalamalka Lake. Another 45 minutes south is Kelowna, the largest city in the region.
Make a day of it by stopping off at the many beaches along the way – get in for a swim, or just relax on the beach. Explore Vernon and take one of Kelowna’s famous wine tours, there’s lots to see, do, eat, and shop!
This East Kelowna private wine tour is one of the best tours that explore the region’s sunny valley (the area gets around 2,000 hours of sun annually)! There are 4 different stops included on this tour many of which are the most famous and unique wineries in the area.
To break up all of the wine and keep your pallet fresh you will be offered chocolate and cheese pairings and for lunchtime, you’ll be served a gourmet charcuterie picnic (GF, vegan, vegetarian, and LF requests will be honored)! Pick-up/drop-off are included in this 5-hour experience. The cost is $335 CAD for a group of 3 or more. For groups less than 3 contact the company for pricing.
Related Read: Salmon Arm is one of the best stops on a road trip from Vancouver to Lake Louise – find out what the others are!
21. Stock up on cheap local wine at OVINO Winery
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – you’ve got to try some of the wine in this area! There is so much variety out there, and this winery is one of the best.
OVINO Winery is a very small, family-fun winery set on a farm. They are open for wine tastings, so you can go and test your palette – either try something new or stick with your favorites!
One of the best features of OVINO is that their wine is cheaper than anything else in the region (most are under $20 CAD/bottle) so it is the best place to stock up.
Related Read: One of the best things to do in Kelowna is to visit wineries in the area!
Where to Stay in Salmon Arm, BC
Salmon Arm is a very small town and as such there aren’t that many places to stay. However, out of the very few places, it’s not hard to find a comfortable place to stay.
For budget travelers, you can’t beat the SureStay Plus Hotel. Located right on the lake on the outskirts of town this is the cheapest hotel in Salmon Arm but the reviews don’t reflect that. The property has a pool, free parking, and a continental breakfast is included. Expect to pay only around $105 CAD per night.
If you can spend a touch more the Hilltop Inn is a popular choice, especially with the clean and large-sized rooms that can fit small families. This hotel also has a very spacious pool surrounded by lots of trees and pretty landscaping, free parking, and breakfast included. Prices are around $130 CAD a night.
For couples after a luxury stay, The Inn at the Ninth Hole Bed & Breakfast is really the only option. The rooms here are individually decorated and surprisingly cheap for the amenities at around $200 CAD. Of course, this place includes an exceptional breakfast made with local ingredients and is in a beautiful area 10 minutes outside Salmon Arm.
Renting a Car in British Columbia
If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Canada Travel Essentials
Before you decide to head off and explore the gorgeous mountains, lakes, towns, and cities around Canada it’s important to have the right equipment. Of course, it’s likely you’ll have most of the basics already but there are some common items people forget that I never travel without.
Crampons: In winter, crampons are super handy, but what people don’t realize is that they come in handy in summer too. In fact, up until mid-July, you can still expect icy conditions in the mountains. The pair I use is only $37 CAD and they have lasted me 3 seasons so far!
Waterproof shell: Most people will have this item but I thought I’d include it anyway since it’s so handy in Canada. The Columbia waterproof jacket is a lightweight windproof jacket that will seriously save you in many situations. The best part, though? It comes in pink!
Bear bells: These are a must, and for the price, you shouldn’t hike without them. The bear bells I use are only $9 CAD and they come with a silencer (a must) so you can easily travel with them.
Scent-proof bag (for bears): Most people think you only need to keep the smell of food away from you when you’re overnight camping. However, bears can smell the food in your bag while you’re hiking and the best way to avoid an encounter is to use a scent-proof bear bag. Basically, you put your food in the bag and the bear cannot smell it while you’re hiking. This is one item most people never have (I never hike without it) but it could save you and the bear.
Buff: I love my buff! Seriously, I go nowhere without it both in winter and summer. There are a few brands around but I always buy the original Buff (you know, the one from Survivor!) They’re a little more expensive but the material is good quality and both breathable and quick drying.
Dry bag: I have expensive camera equipment, so I always travel with a dry bag large enough to fit some of my equipment. It can be a camera, book, binoculars, or even my keys. Regardless, a dry bag gives me peace of mind! The MARCHWAY bag is really good quality, and when not in use, takes up only a small amount of room.
Binoculars: I love my binoculars! Seriously they have come in handy so many times, especially when I’m looking for wildlife. The best part is, I use a set that only costs $25 CAD and they serve my basic needs without any issues!
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $42 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Thanks for reading!
There is a lot to do in Salmon Arm, and this list just hits on some of my highlights! I hope you can see why I loved living here and why I recommend it as a place for anyone to visit! From outdoor activities to fun local events and experiences, Salmon Arm is worth a spot on your BC itinerary.
Thanks so much for reading! Be sure to check out more of my Canada blogs including the ones linked below!
Tuesday 5th of July 2022
I was born and raised in Salmon Arm and love it here! Thank you for this article that highlights a few of the many great places to visit. Please note the spelling of our indigenous people as Secwepemc. Thanks.
Thursday 7th of July 2022
Thanks so much for that!