Tulameen has one store (the Trading Post), which happens to be the gas station and a restaurant (also called the Trading Post). Inside, you can stock up on beer, buy a floatie shaped like a dolphin and grab an ice-cream cone before you head out. You know: just like the fur traders who founded this small B.C. town did.

Tulameen 2The essential Trading Post.

But the real action is down by the lake. You can’t miss it—just walk straight down one road through town until you hit the water. Kids are out on the floating dock, clambering over each other to pile onto one side and tip it over, while parents set up camp on the sandy beach, flanked by colourful coolers and lazily debating over whether to take the boat out today. The brave (or the slightly tipsy) take turns jumping off the trestle bridge into the water below.

TulameenThe quaint houses along Otter Lake.

Less than 500 people live in this tiny town year-round, but the numbers swell in the summer as West Coasters make the pilgrimage to the A-frame cabins and little log houses that have been in their families for generations. There are no wineries or surf spots here and no hidden-gem restaurants (no offence, Trading Post), but here’s why we drive the four hours from Vancouver to be in the middle of nowhere: it just feels like summer here. You step out of the car, and time turns into a beautiful haze. A morning at the beach bleeds into later afternoon, before simple back-porch dinners turn into late nights under the stars.

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