Todd’s RV & Camping in Peachland, British Columbia is not an easy campground to review. There are many “problems” with it and yet I’m extremely reluctant to give it a negative review. More than any other campground we’ve visited in our years of camping, Todd’s RV is beholden to context. Recognition of geographical location and the type of holidaying dominant in the Okanagan Valley is critical to assessing the value of this campground.
Camping The Way It Used To Be
In many ways Todd’s RV is a time capsule, a nostalgic nod to a different time and different type of family vacation. It’s a small, crowded, not terribly fancy or well laid out campground situated across the road from Okanagan Lake surrounded by condominium developments and luxury vacation homes in the heart of a resort town in the interior of BC. Its very existence is a testament to the dedication and values of the founding family that continues to own and operate the campground.
This family atmosphere is hard to escape as there is a family residence immediately adjacent to the campground entrance. You really get a sense that this place embodies a humble, family friendly experience the likes of which are quickly becoming extinct in these parts. The land is just too valuable and the pressure to redevelop it must be enormous and one can’t help but wonder how long it will remain a campground.
The sites are a mishmash of size and quality a testament to Todd’s tent camping origins. You’re not going to find pull through sites here with groomed lawns and large, level gravel pads. Sites face this way and that way, some are accessed from the main road rather than from within the campground. Nothing about the layout gives the impression that this was a purposefully designed space. It looks more like it was just hobbled together on the fly.
Big units can fit in a few of the sites but overall it’s a tight fit and smaller units, motorhomes and tents are more convenient. Even the roadways through the campground are tight and I couldn’t imagine maneuvering a large camper around here. It was touch and go enough with our 21’ trailer and SUV. I must say I found this a refreshing change to the norm where campgrounds are typically filled with giant mobile cottages.
The entire campground is well treed so all sites have some shade which is welcome when the blazing sun hits. During our midweek, two night stay the weather was cloudy and cool with a bit of rain so sun/shade wasn’t an issue. But on glorious summer days in the Okanagan it can get very hot and those trees would be a godsend.
Fresh coffee by donation is offered at the camp office each morning which I imagine is a nice perk for caffeine addicts. They also sell a small selection of treats there but not much else as the main office is pretty much just a utility shed. The staff is incredibly friendly and helpful and everything is kept neat and tidy. There is recycling at each site which is collected daily and garbage bins for refuse an easy walk from all sites.
The washrooms are tolerable though hardly modern or new. With flush toilets and free (a delightful surprise) hot showers they sufficiently serve their purpose. Sites are also fully serviced so even using the washrooms are up to campers’ individual preferences.
There is a playground in a somewhat central location. It too is older and a bit worn down from use. It’s nothing exceptional, a bit small by modern standards, but like the washrooms, serves its purpose. The kids enjoyed it for a while but I don’t think it would have kept them enraptured for hours or days on end like some playgrounds can. There is also a beach volleyball court in another part of the campground but no greenspace for other sports.
Don’t Expect Campfires
Like most campgrounds in this dry, hot part of the country the sites do not have individual fire pits due to the significant risk of forest fires. Todd’s does have a communal fire pit but it was closed while we were there because of fire risk. I’d hazard to guess this is the situation most of the summer and certainly not unique to Todd’s. If your camping adventure requires roasted marshmallows and s’mores then the interior of BC is not the place to go.
We arrived in mid-August of 2014 fully expecting to be inundated with people and noise during our stay but instead enjoyed an incredibly pleasant and peaceful stay. Camping during the week likely helped in this respect and I imagine weekends are significantly busier and noisier. Also the lack of fire pits and the communal pit being closed likely keeps the revelry in check as drinking and carousing are less likely in these circumstances. Nonetheless, we had no trouble sleeping despite being located beside the office which was a welcome though unexpected surprise.
Some of the sites back into a cliff that is directly beneath the main Highway 97. Presumably vehicle noise is a bit of an issue there as that highway is very busy. Sites located at the front of the campground face the beach road which would also be fairly busy especially on weekends during peak season. It is, however, towards the end of the main drag into town so hopefully most traffic has turned around or parked before reaching the campground.
Kind of a quaint but unremarkable sounding place, isn’t it? This is where the location context starts to come into play. Todd’s RV & Camping is located immediately across from Okanagan Lake along Beach Avenue. This road is so named, presumably, because it follows along the western shore of the lake and there is a small ribbon of “beach” between roadway and water. This beach is basically 15’ of crushed rock; not exactly what I’d call a beach. The kids will not be spending hours building sand castles while parents work on their tans. Swimming is the only option and the rocky surface isn’t exactly friendly to bare feet. There are also a few long docks that take swimmers to deeper water for jumping and diving. It should also be noted that there is no designated swimming area here and therefore swimmers need to be wary of boats.
Fun On The Water Is What The Okanagan Is All About
Okanagan Lake is primarily a boating lake and this reality is ever-present with lots of motorboats on the water. Waterskiing and wakeboarding is popular as is simple zipping around the lake in aquatic versions of sports cars. I can’t imagine boaters having much, if any room for both trailer and boat in the campground but Beach Avenue has ample boat parking and several launches. And those aforementioned docks allow boaters places to tie up boats or to launch canoes if one were so inclined.
What Todd’s RV excels at is offering a modest camping experience within a watersport oriented resort town. This is a unique offering, I’ll admit, and may not be for everyone. Judging by the popularity of Todd’s and the fact it is by and large booked solid for the entire summer with families suggests that many do enjoy this option.
In this sense, Todd’s is a gem of sorts. You can walk or easily bike to downtown Peachland as there are paved paths almost the entire way. You can even drive if you wish or need to as there is lots of parking available. There is a decent selection of non-chain restaurants located downtown with patios. Some even have ice cream stands which is a treat on hot summer days. We brunched at one of these establishments and had no complaints.
There is a large, grassed park area along the lake in the core of downtown along with a large playground which undoubtedly is the centre of activity for the town during summer tourist season. There is also a unique swimming area here with a diving board and swing ropes and ziplines all under the watch of lifeguards. Sand beaches are still absent but this designated swim area is safer and more enjoyable than across from the campground.
Being in the Okanagan we are always on the lookout for roadside fruit & vegetable stands but we had trouble finding any in Peachland. Not sure why. Perhaps the timing was wrong or this is just not a farming area anymore. Regardless, this was a disappointment.
Up on the main highway, a longer but doable walk from Todd’s, is a strip mall with an IGA and assorted fast food, gas, and liquor stores. The IGA is small and not quite up to par with modern grocery store selection but gets you by. The other stores remind you that you are camping within a functioning community with subdivision housing and people going about life.
So what does this all mean? It all depends on your vacation desires. If you enjoy a small resort town atmosphere with boating as your primary summer activity but wish to still enjoy a camping experience rather than condo/cottage living, then Todd’s RV is fantastic. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in a more traditional wilderness camping experience and prefer sand beaches and few hints of urban civilization, then Todd’s RV is going to disappoint. I think I’m more of the latter type than the former.
We enjoyed our stay at Todd’s RV & Camping and I’d happily return if our needs and wants were in line with what they offer. Most of our camping trips aren’t that way so I can’t give this campground a remarkable, glowing recommendation. It’s all about context. I’ll give Todd’s RV 3 ½ Baby Dill Pickles out of 5 with the caveat that this rating could easily be a 4 ½ or a 2 depending on your expectations and desires. It really is a neat little place but it won’t be for everyone.
Lonnie and Wes Lisitza says
Hello, unless we missed reading it . . . We have rv’d at Todd’s campground for many trips finding the staff leaving us feeling very welcomed. We always enjoy taking our bicycles as the area is simply pleasurable for casual biking through neighbourhoods, paths heading to the awesome weekly Sunday farmers market, restaurants, pubs, parks and shopping etc. . We look forward to going to Todd’s again this year. In regards to the rocky beach that was mentioned, we simply enjoy strolling across the street from Todd’s just to enjoy sitting on the dock, picnic table or benches to enjoy the magnificent view or to float around on our air mattress . . Not to mention meeting other friendly vacationers