Kootenay Lake sits surrounded by mountains and sweeping green valleys in the city of Nelson, British Columbia. Travelers visiting Kootenay Lake experience a little bit of everything, as this eclectic community offers everything from peaceful lakefront vacation rentals to a thriving art scene and shopping hub in the center of downtown Nelson. Whether you’re planning a winter ski retreat or a summer trip packed with recreation, Kootenay Lake makes for an ideal getaway. Learn more about this amazing mountain oasis with this top 10 list of the best vacation rental locations in Kootenay Lake.

1. Nelson

vacation lake
Source: kootenaylakehideaways

Staying in the immediate area of Nelson puts you smack dab in the center of everything. Lakefront vacation rentals provide perfect views of Kootenay Lake, while nearby markets, eateries, and local artisan galleries sprinkle in just the right amount of city life. Accommodations include everything from quaint bed and breakfasts and hotels to RV parks and lodges, while nature resides at every turn. Visit Kokanee Creek provincial Park for a little bird watching or hiking, or stop by the famous Oso Negro Cafe for home-brewed coffee and great conversation with locals and fellow travelers.

2. West Arm Provincial Park

park signage
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If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, vacation rentals located in the West Arm Provincial Park area offer convenient access to recreational activities, wildlife viewing, sightseeing, fishing and more. Take a family mountain bike ride along the park’s single track mountain bike trail, or spend a night or two away from your vacation rental and partake in some back-country camping. West Arm Provincial Park serves as a natural habitat for several endangered species, so you may even spot an animal or two during your journey.

3. Kaslo

man kayaking in the ocean
Source: kayakbritishcolumbia

Kaslo sits on the north shore of Kootenay Lake, offering vacation rental options with scenic views of the surrounding mountains and glacial waters. Travelers visit Kaslo year round, as the winter season provides the perfect atmosphere for skiing and snowboarding, while the warmer weather months allow for a variety of outdoor activities including fishing, boating, and simply lounging on the beach. If you’re interested in kayaking, Kaslo is definitely the place to be. The parks department offers several family-friendly options that include kayak rentals, kayak lessons, and multi-day adventure tours.

4. Balfour

lake ferry

Balfour sits along the shoreline of Kootenay Bay, with vacation rental options that include quaint inns, hotels, waterfront cabins, and campgrounds. The Balfour community is also home to the Kootenay Lake Ferry, an expansive vessel that offers the longest ferry ride in the world, giving travelers an up-close and personal view of the beauty of Kootenay Lake. Take the family out for a ferry adventure, or visit the marina for a day of fishing or jet-skiing. If you’re up for a little golfing, swing by Kootenay Golf Trail and Adventure, a scenic course known as “Kootenay’s Best-Kept Secret.”

5. Ainsworth Hot Springs

hotspring water
Source: nelsonkootenaylake

For a relaxing vacation, look no further than the Ainsworth Hot Springs community. This small village houses just 50 local residents, yet brings in hundreds of vacationers looking to bask in the warmth of the natural hot springs that overlook Kootenay Lake. Vacation rental resorts and hotels give visitors instant access to the healing mineral waters of the springs, and the immediate area also houses restaurants, shops, and campgrounds. For a little underground adventure, visit Cody Caves Provincial Park and take a guided family tour of the limestone caves.

6. Kootenay Bay

lake view
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Kootenay Bay sits on the east side of Kootenay Lake, with vacation rental options that include lodges and waterfront cabins. Popular among travelers due to its hospitality and tourist attractions, this charming little town offers plenty to do and see. For a fun history lesson, visit the Pilot Point lighthouse, a historic landmark built in 1907 that at one point in time joined all the outlying Kootenay Lake communities together. Catch some whitefish or rainbow trout from the creeks in the area, or take a family hike along one of the 80 hiking trails in the community.

7. Boswell

old man fishing
Source: hellobc

The Boswell community resides on Kootenay Lake’s eastern shore, with beaches, nature trails and fishing spots just minutes away from your vacation rental. Views of the Selkirk Mountains contribute to the tranquil atmosphere of Boswell, while a convenient centralized location on Highway 3A makes it easy to travel into Nelson for a day of shopping or dining. If you don’t feel like venturing too far from your vacation rental, take in some of the local attractions and visit the Arrowsmith artisan gallery or one of several valley wineries.

8. Crawford Bay

tourists along the lake
Source: nelsonkootenaylake

Crawford Bay is an ideal vacation choice for the summer months, as the cabins, lodges and campgrounds reside within minutes of the area’s beach and marina. In addition to outdoor activities, this artisan community houses a cafe, pub and golf course, all just a short walk away from your vacation rental. Get to know local artists at Artisans of Crawford Bay, an art studio where visitors are welcome to participate in activities or browse local works, or take in some amazing scenery along one of the area’s hiking trails.

9. Johnson’s Landing

bridge over the creek
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Johnson’s Landing sits above the beaches of Kootenay Lake, offering incredible panoramic views from your vacation rental as far as the eye can see. Named after a Swedish miner who stopped in the area to wait out a storm, Johnson’s Landing provides a secluded, peaceful respite for travelers looking for a bit of rest and relaxation. Head over to Johnson’s Landing Retreat Center to take in a yoga class, or follow the path of historic minors of the 1800s by hiking along the Kootenay Joe Ridge Road trail.

10. Bonnington

mountain covered with snow

If you’re planning a winter getaway to Kootenay Lake, consider Bonnington as your destination. The Bonnington range runs along the Kootenay, Salmo and Columbia rivers, and features 12 peaks for the skiing or snowboarding adventure of a lifetime. Rustic cabins make up most of the vacation rental options in the immediate area and offer scenic views of the 7,000-foot mountain range. During the summer months, adventurous hikers also enjoy traversing the same peaks and summits.