Plenty of water and sun to go around on Kinsmen Beach and Lake Windermere.
INVERMERE - Full disclosure: I’ve been travelling to this part of Canada year round for more than 20 years. And, like most Western Canadians who see the Columbia Valley as their favourite backyard playground, I’ve got nothing but love for the area.
Summer months in the Invermere/Panorama region are especially sweet – when my relatives from around the country rally and, along with visitors from literally everywhere, we find ourselves embracing an impressively active outdoor lifestyle. (Note: Invermere’s population goes from 4,000 up to 40,000 during the summer, for good reason.)
Invermere's main street is a charming and colourful locale in summer with plenty of restaurants and specialty shops.
Day trips – with everyone in tow from the youngest grandchild to the most elderly grandparent – take us from the refreshing waters of Kinsmen Beach on Lake Windermere to exquisite mountain meadows with killer vistas high above Panorama Mountain Village.
No question, the Columbia Valley is a rich haven for all who either live here or choose to visit. So if you’re travelling to the region and you’re wondering what to do, no worries. SnowSeekers has compiled this hit list with something in it for everyone.
A day at Kinsmen Beach on Lake Windermere during the heat of summer is a great way to spend a day with your family.
Check out Pete’s Marina for wakeboard boat and water toy rentals if that’s what you’re looking for. Either way, expect to be surrounded by sun-kissed, sand-covered children clad in brightly-coloured water wings.
If the crowds are getting to you – feel free to join that small group of sun-tanning teenagers out on the swim-up dock. Better yet, why not mount your air-filled mattress or inner tube and go for a peaceful float on the lake.
However you slice it, it’s all fodder for sweet summertime memories – small town Canada-style.
How about some golf at Greywolf Golf Course? It’s the most challenging course in the valley. Or, if two-wheeling’s more your thing head to the highly acclaimed Panorama Bike Park.
Paddling from Invermere to Radium on the
Want to go whitewater rafting or hiking? ATV touring, horseback riding or kayaking? All of this can be arranged with the friendly folks at Panorama Mountain Village.
Interested in paddling the Columbia River by canoe, kayak or paddleboard? Check out Columbia River Kayak and Canoe. For something beyond the ordinary, there are scenic alpine flights offered by Babin Air - one heck of a way to see the nearby and world-famous Lake of the Hanging Glacier.
There are loads of eating options in Invermere and Panorama, depending on your mood and the time of day. One of my favourites for breakfast and lunch is the Blue Dog Cafe, but for larger family parties, check out Huckleberry’s.
The Quality Bakery is fantastic, too – but the trick is to arrive early because you’ll be competing with the locals. If you’re looking for a good coffee or a gelato, you can always check out Gerry’s Gelati, which is owned by the mayor of the District of Invermere, Gerry Taft. If you need a wireless coffee shop and a jolt of java, head to the trendy Kicking Horse Coffee Café, located close to Highway 93.
If a pub is more your style, try Angus McToogles Restaurant and Bar (kids are welcome). As well, be sure to keep an eye out for Invermere’s newest micro-brewery, Arrowhead Brewing Company for upcoming events.
Finally, if you prefer fine dining, consider Invermere’s Strands or Birchwood restaurants. Or try Greywolf Golf Course’s Carrick’s Restaurant. At Carrick’s, you can catch a gorgeous late afternoon or early dinner on the deck.
Check out the newly renovated Best Western Invermere Inn if you’re looking to hang your hat in Invermere proper. You can comfortably walk anywhere from the location.
Alternatively, look to Lake Windermere Pointe for family packages and summer deals if you’re interested in renting a fully appointed condo.
Then again, you may choose Panorama Mountain Village – where accommodations also come with relaxing outdoor pools for the adults and waterslides for the kids.
If luxury accommodations (aka fur-lined robes, a gorgeous swimming pool and a get-away-from-it-all feeling) are more your style, I can personally vouch for Copper Point Resort, located at the Invermere turn-off from Highway 93. Copper Point Resort is surprisingly swish given its remote location and a great addition to the valley’s more established accommodations.
The unique boutiques in Invermere such as 'her Public' are a good distraction if you need to spend a day out of the hot sun.
Honestly, I enjoy shopping more in Invermere – because of its manageable size combined with quality shops - than I do in Calgary.
The town features everything from an excellent bookstore (Dave’s Book Bar) to art galleries (The Artym Gallery, Effusion Art Gallery, Pynelogs Gallery, Black Star Studios) to clothing boutiques.
My daughter’s latest discovery is ‘her Public’ which features awesome and original girls and women’s wear and my stylish mother-in-law is a loyal customer at Details by JoAnne.
A visit to Invermere’s bustling farmer’s market is a must for those interested in some seriously local flavour. You’ll find a vibrant atmosphere packed with everyone from locals to artists to visitors and farmers.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for cherries as fat and juicy as fresh plums, not to mention the market’s trademark and delicious kettle corn.
If you're lucky, you may, like we did last summer, stumble upon a few talented buskers - like one singing father and son duo who rallied crowds with the sweetest ballads ever.
You may also, like us, end up heading home with fantastic new jewelry forever reminding you of this charming Kootenay mountain summer tradition.
For more info on this popular Columbia Valley destination – and an updated calendar on cool summer festivals , check out: http://invermerepanorama.com/home.html
For upcoming events:
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