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34 Things to do in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

34 Things to do in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

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The Okanagan Valley is a region in British Columbia situated between the Columbia and Cascade mountain ranges. The area includes the cities of Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Vernon, Penticton, Osoyoos, Summerland, and Peachland.

The word “Okanagan” can be roughly translated as “place of water”, and once you visit here you will understand why. There are several lakes located throughout the region, and each offers its own beauty.

The beautiful area provides warm summers with amazing hikes, watersports, and freshwater beaches. While the winter, the Okanagan Valley provides ski-ready slopes. So regardless of the season you visit, you’re sure to have plenty to see and do.

Oh, and did I mention the area is one of the largest producers of fruit and wine in Canada? Meaning you can also expect plenty of great fruit orchards and vineyards…did someone say wine?!

With so many areas of Okanagan Valley to explore, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. That’s why I decide to share with you the best things to do in the Okanagan Valley, starting from the northernmost city (Salmon Arm), and making our way down to the southernmost (Osoyoos).

The distance from Salmon Arm to Osoyoos is just 3 1/2 hours, so I recommend checking out as many areas as your time allows! Each one is so different from the last. I’ve also included where to stay in the Okanagan Valley to help you make the best use of your time!

So without further ado, here are 34 fun things to do in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia.

Things to do in the Okanagan Valley

1. Walk to Margaret Falls in Harold’s Provincial Park

Margaret Falls in Harold’s Provincial Park
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 miles) 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!

The park is free to visit, but there is a donation box is you want to provide a little support to the conservation of the area.

2. Relax at Canoe Beach

Relaxing at Canoe Beach, Salmon Arm, BC
On a hot summer’s day, Canoe Beach is the place to go!

Nothing quite beats a relaxing day at the beach! Canoe Beach is located just outside of Salmon Arm’s town center and has everything you could possibly need for a fun and relaxing day at the beach. It’s one of the best beach areas in the Okanagan Valley.

There is a large grassy area, a sandy beach, and even several picnic tables. There’s even a concession stand, volleyball court, and playground. Canoe Beach has something for the whole family!

And of course, it’s a great place to go for a 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!

3. Visit the most Northern winery in BC – Larch Hills

Vineyard at Larch Hills in Salmon Arm, BC
The wine here is so good!

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, you read that right, completely free!). 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.

If you are inclined to purchase a bottle or two the prices here are very reasonable with most costing around $18 CAD.

Overall this is an Okanagan hidden gem you need to make the time to stop at as you won’t regret it!

4. Walk the largest wooden Wharf in North America

Salmon Arm Wharf
The wharf is huge!

Who would’ve guessed visiting Salmon Arm meant getting to check out a record-setting wharf? Being 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 and one of the top attractions in the Okanagan Valley.

You can enjoy walking on the wharf year-round, taking in the scenery of Shuswap Lake. You’ll often find people fishing or feeding ducks off the wharf too. If you’re around during the summer, I highly recommend going and enjoying some live music and a meal from the food trucks! It’s got a fun, community feel to it, so make sure to get in on the action.

5. Go golfing!

Salmon Arm Golf Club
If you love golf you’ll love Salmon arm! Photo credit: Salmon Arm Golf Club

Golfing is one of the best activities in BC to get you outside and enjoy nature while having a social activity to participate in! When you’re in Salmon Arm in the Okanagan Valley, 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.

Where to Stay in Salmon Arm

If you plan on doing any of the last five activities, it may be the most convenient for you to stay in Salmon Arm. Salmon Arm is one of the smaller towns in the Okanagan Valley, so there aren’t a ton of hotel options, however, the options they do have are pretty solid.

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.

For travelers after a luxury stay The Inn at the Ninth Hole Bed & Breakfast is really the only option. The rooms here are beautiful and surprisingly cheap. Of course, this place includes an exceptional breakfast and is in a beautiful area just outside of Salmon Arm.

6. Spend the Day at Ellison Provincial Park

Daniel paddle boarding at Ellison Provincial Park, Vernon
Ellison Provincial Park, Vernon is the best place to swim on Okanagan Lake!

The locals are going to hate me for this, but, one of the best-kept secrets in Vernon is Ellison Provincial Park. This is hands down one of the best things to do in Okanagan Valley.

Ellison Provincial Park is located on Okanagan Lake and from Vernon, you can get to the park in under 20 minutes. The park is small however with its lakeside location, a large number of tables and fire pits, and the fact it remains much less crowded than other beaches in the area, a visit is a must-do while in Vernon!

Some of the best things to do at Ellison Provincial Park include hiking some of the short trails, just relaxing at the beach, having a wood-fired bbq, and paddleboarding!

There is also a campground in the park too for those who want to spend the night in this little slice of paradise!

If you want to beat the crowds be sure to arrive before lunchtime. I personally went on a busy long weekend and enjoyed Ellison for around 2 hours with almost no people from 10 am until 12 pm!

7. Visit Silver Star Mountain Resort

two snowboarders at SilverStar Mountain Resort near Vernon, BC
Going snowboarding at SilverStar is one of the best things to do in Vernon in the winter.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re visiting Okanagan Valley during summer or winter, a trip up to the Silver Star Mountain Resort is a must. In the winter it’s all about the snow. The ski field is the closest to Vernon and the best place to hit the slopes in the area. It’s one of only two ski resorts in the Okanagan Valley.

In the summer months, the mountain becomes a place to take in stunning views and go downhill mountain biking. We opted to take the gondola to the top of the mountain to get even better views and wow, it was so worth it!

Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon, BC
SilverStar Mountain Resort near Vernon, BC in the summer.

The gondola costs $55 CAD per person and travels high above the valley floor. From the top, you can even see Vernon and Kalamalka Lake!

Both the ski and downhill mountain biking passes come in single-day, multi-day, and season pass options. You can book tickets here in advance as early bird specials are the cheapest way to get tickets!

Related Read: Be sure to head to Banff for skiing too, it’s definitely one of the best things to do in Banff National Park!

8. Go boating

Hanging out on Okanagan Lake on our pontoon tour
Hanging out on Okanagan Lake on our pontoon tour

If you’re looking for some excitement during your trip, spending a day out on the lake is the answer! It is something I’ve always personally enjoyed. So, during our visit to the Okanagan Valley, we were sure to head out to Lake Okanagan for some fun in the sun

We spent a full day speeding around the lake, enjoying the packed lunches we brought, and taking plunges into the refreshing water. You’ll be able to see places like Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, and Snake Island from the perspective of the water!

These rentals cost around $200-$300 CAD per hour but on most boats, you can fit up to 9 people.

This is a great activity for those wanting to relax and enjoy the natural views during their holiday in the Okanagan Valley. You can book your private boat rental here in advance!

If you want a more laid-back day out on the water and don’t care about going fast on a speedboat there are also pontoon rentals like this luxury captained charter on Okanagan Lake for either 3 hours or 6 hours. They are awesome for large groups of up to 11 people.

9. Spoil yourself at Sparkling Hill Resort & Spa

view of Sparkling Hill Resort & Spa from Above
This place is stunning! Photo Credit: Sparkling Hills Resort & Spa

If you’re looking for a real treat-yourself experience in the Okanagan, then you’ve got to head to Sparkling Hill Resort! You can either plan to visit for the day and head to the spa, or really splurge and spend a night.

The resort itself is luxurious and truly sparkling – it has over 3.5 million Swarovski crystals integrated into the resort’s architecture and design! It’s outfitted with the best amenities, including an infinity pool, the KurSpa, a Serenity room, complimentary breakfast, and much more.

three girls inside Sparkling Hills  Resort & Spa
My sister, my mom, and I at Sparkling Hills Resort & Spa a few years ago.

The views over the lake from anywhere in the resort are absolutely stunning. Believe me, I’ve been before. Although it was a few years ago (check out those baby checks in the photo above), I remember how luxurious the building felt and the lake views from every window.

If you choose to go for a spa day, KurSpa has a lot to offer – over 100 services to be exact! You can choose from a variety of massages like a Lavender Fields Massage or Hot Stone Massage, or get a facial, mud bath, or manicure. Prices begin at $90 CAD and vary depending on your treatment but they are worth a splurge for this luxurious experience!  

Included in a booking for any of the treatments you will gain access to the spa’s indoor/outdoor pools, 3 different saunas, and 4 different steam rooms. There is also the Igloo room to cool off in and stimulate your senses with the peppermint aroma and sound of crackling ice after enjoying the warm rooms and pools.

But if you can afford the splurge, treat yourself to a night or two here. Especially for couples, spending the night is easily one of the most romantic things to do in Okanagan Valley – you won’t regret it! You can expect to pay around $310 CAD per night for a king-size room with a mountain view. In my opinion, this is a steal!

10. Eat at Station BBQ  

the Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich from Station BBq in Vernon
The Montreal Smoked Sammich comes highly recommended. Photo Credit: Station BBQ

Perhaps you’ve been out hiking, swimming on the lake, or are just really hungry – Station BBQ is waiting for you in Vernon! They serve the most amazing slow-smoked BBQ, authentic and delicious.  Just make sure you go hungry!

You can get your meals as “sammiches” (served on a bun) or as plates with side dishes. They offer brisket, pulled pork, Andouille sausage, and more. Side dishes include gumbo, smoked beans, and slaw. They are the “best BBQ north of the South” and I believe it!

If you have room to squeeze in dessert you must try a slice of their incredible Pecan Pie!

Station BBQ is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11:30 am to 7 pm except for Friday and Saturday when they are open an hour later until 8 pm.

Where to Stay in Vernon

If you find yourself more drawn to the activities in Vernon in the Okanagan Valley, then here are some personal recommendations for accommodation in Vernon.

If you’re on a budget and want a central location then Canada’s Best Value Inn is a good option. Their rooms are nice but a little outdated. Still, for around $100 a night including breakfast, it’s good value!

If you’re looking for something a little more high-end, Prestige Vernon Lodge is the most luxurious hotel in Vernon. It features a pool, hot tub, and glass-enclosed atrium! They have so many rooms but there’s usually only a few left so you know it’s good! Fairfield Inn Suites is a decent backup if they are full!

Related Read: If you do stay in Vernon, you’re only 20 minutes from the cute town of Armstrong, BC that’s worth a visit!

11. Enjoy the local cuisine on a food tour

Bailey enjoys a drink on our Kelowna food tour in British Columbia
Bailey tasting a frozen lemonade with her meal on our Kelowna food tour!

Like I mentioned before, the Okanagan Valley is all about fresh produce, and along with that comes all of the treats made with it! That being said, it’s no surprise a food tour is one of the best things to do in Kelowna. We actually love food tours and have done them all over the world including a food tour in Vancouver recently.

Our Downtown Kelowna Walking Food Tour included 8 stops at different restaurants around the city. We tried food and drinks from some of the best restaurants in town, and the portions were very generous at each place. It’s certainly not a tour you’re going to leave hungry from!

There’s also much to learn about the culture of the Okanagan and throughout the day your guide will show you many cool gardens, statues, and gardens around town.

This tour is with A Taste of Kelowna Food Tours and I couldn’t recommend this experience enough! We had a fantastic time on our tour and at only $83 CAD per person for the tour, it’s really good value!

The easiest way to reserve your date and time slot is to book online in advance!

12. Experience Flyboarding!

Flyboarding in kelowna
I was surprised by how high you go!

Did you know that you can actually fly over Okanagan Lake while in Kelowna? Well, you can on a water-propelled Flyboard! This is a super unique activity in Kelowna that involves flying on a board and it works by fastening yourself into the boots on the board and having water funneled from a jet ski into the jet turbines underneath the board that will propel you upward so that you can actually fly.

On the flyboard, you will explore Okanagan Lake taking in the views and having a few laughs along the way. Don’t be mistaken though, these flyboard go fast! On the flyboard, you can reach speeds of up to 55 km/h (34 miles/h) and beginners can expect to reach a height of around 1.5-3.7 meters (5-12 feet). This makes for a thrilling ride and it’s a great alternative to a jet ski, plus, it’s something that you’ve probably never done before!

Flyboarding is also much easier than it looks and with some simple instructions, most people the hang of it within a few minutes – anybody can do it!

This flyboarding experience in Kelowna costs $127 CAD for a 30-minute session that includes all safety gear as well as instructions on how to control the board. The company that offers this unique experience is called Okanagan Flyboard and you should book online in advance since there are only limited boards available.

You must be 12 years or older to ride a flyboard.

13. Hit the slopes

Skiing at Silver Star Ski Resort
Let’s gooooo!

If you’re in Okanagan Valley in winter, then be sure to head up for some skiing and snowboarding at Kelowna’s local ski field called Big White Ski Resort. There are plenty of runs for all levels and the views from there are epic.

Expect to pay around $135 CAD for a full-day lift pass. Gear rentals and lessons will be extra. But, if you want more than one day of shredding, multi-day passes are available at a discount.

If I have one piece of advice though, try to go during the week. Over the weekends it’s much busier and you’ll spend a lot of time waiting in line for the chairlifts, plus it is also cheaper!

Note: If you’re visiting Kelowna in the summer you can alternatively visit the ski hill for downhill mountain biking or sightseeing and hiking.

Related Read: Visiting the Okanagan in winter? Read about all of the best things to do in Kelowna in the winter!

14. Go ziplining

oyama zipline adventure park near kelowna
Doesn’t this look EPIC?! Photo Credit: Oyama Adventure Park

Located just 20 minutes north of Kelowna is Oyama Adventure Park. Here you’ll find all sorts of aerial attractions including my personal recommendation – ziplining! You’ll whizz through the treetops along their huge zipline course consisting of 7 different zip lines totaling over 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) of line! It is exciting, and the views from up there are stunning too.

Of course, this is a summer activity that should be booked in advance on their website. Expect to pay around $124 CAD per person for the zipline experience. Kids who weigh less than 50 lbs will, unfortunately, have to give this a miss. However, they have other things to do for kids at the park too like the Aerial Obstacle Park or the Little Monkey Play Park.

This is one of the most adventurous things to do in the Okanagan Valley.

15. Drink ALL the craft beer

two women enjoying beers at the outdoor patio at Red Bird Brewing in Kelowna, BC
My sister and I enjoying beers at one of our favorite breweries in Kelowna!

Kelowna isn’t just for wine lovers (although there are plenty of amazing wineries in Kelowna too). In fact, these days Kelowna has just as much to offer craft beer connoisseurs.

New craft breweries are popping up all over Kelowna and the newfound craft beer scene has since started the annual Okanagan Craft Beer Festival each May in Kelowna.

There are literally so many different breweries to visit in Kelowna, but some of my personal favorites include:

  • BNA Brewing – This brewery is located in a historic building with decor that will blow you away! They have lots of rotating taps and also serve food. Oh ya, they also have a bowling alley so you can have beers and bowl!
  • Barn Owl Brewing Co – A fairly new brewery in Kelowna, Barn Owl Brewing is set in a – you guessed it – barn! They do not have their own kitchen so they only have baked goods and flatbreads or they encourage you to bring your own food, so a great place for a summer picnic complete with craft beer.
  • Kelowna Brewing Company – If you’re going to visit just one brewery in Kelowna, make it Kelowna Brewing Company. Located in downtown Kelowna this huge brewery also doubles as a pub and restaurant offering a huge variety of craft beers from around the area, and delicious food too!

For more info about the best breweries in Kelowna read my blog!

16. Walk the waterfront

The Kelwona Waterfront
The Kelowna Waterfront Marina

One of the best free things to do in Okanagan Valley is simply walking the waterfront in Kelowna along Okanagan Lake.

Head to downtown Kelowna and go for stroll along the water’s edge. Visit the marina, waterpark and playground, Hot Sands Beach, and of course the iconic bear statue! For a little longer walk, walk the Waterfront Boardwalk to Tugboat Beach – it’s beautiful at sunset!

Where to Stay in Kelowna

Unlike the previous two destinations I mentioned in the Okanagan Valley (Vernon and Salmon Arm), there are so many hotels in Kelowna to choose from. This is a great area to stay in if you plan on partaking in the activities Kelowna has to offer, or if you plan on visiting several parts of Okanagan Valley, as this is the most central location.

Easily the best budget option is Samesun Kelowna. It’s only of the only options for backpackers and it’s close to downtown. You also have the option to book on either or

The Coast Capri Hotel is affordable without sacrificing any of the comforts you’ll need for a relaxing and enjoyable stay! Be sure to go to the pool where you can order food and drinks to enjoy poolside.

If you have a big budget then Delta Hotels can deliver on luxury! It has both an indoor and outdoor pool as well as an onsite casino!

17. Vineyard and winery hop

Tasing wines at Rollingdale Winery Inc
Wine tasting is easily one of the best things to do in Okanagan Valley!

If you didn’t get enough wine in Lake Country and Kelowna then you’re in luck – Peachland is another destination in the Okanagan Valley that has a nice mix of small and large wineries, with several of them set along the lake with nice outdoor terraces and sweeping views.

Three of my favorite wineries near Peachland in the Okanagan (that are all decently close to one another) are:

  • Sumac Ridge Estate Winery — Sumac was actually the first operating estate winery in British Columbia. All of their wine produced is from 100% British Columbian grown grapes. They offer tastings, snacks, and lunch options. Their tastings start at just $5 CAD.
  • Back Door Winery — The staff is extremely knowledgeable, and they have a wonderful selection of wine. They also frequently have sales and deals, so it may be hard to leave without a bottle, or two!
  • Sage Hills Estate Winery and Vineyards — Get ready to be equally impressed with the wine and the views at this spot. They are also dog and kid-friendly so you can bring the whole crew. Their wines are made exclusively from organic, hand-picked, Okanagan grapes. Tastings here are $5-10 CAD, but the fee is waived with wine purchase. They also offer amazing charcuterie as well.

18. Zipzone Adventure Park

girl on the zipline at Zipzone in the Okanagan Valley
Woohoo! Photo Credit: Zipzone

Experience adventure at Canada’s highest freestyle zipline! Ziplining at Zipzone Adventure Park is one of the most thrilling things to do in the Okanagan Valley.

On the “Bucket-Lister” you will have the opportunity to fly 116 meters (381 feet) over the stunning Deep Creek Canyon in Peachland. I can’t think of a better way to scope out the area, can you?

The great thing is, Zipzone is more than just ziplines, they also offer a DynaClimb climbing wall, a ninja course, and a game area. The cool thing about the DynaClimb is it’s a shifting wall that moves as you climb it it literally shifts with your weight!

For the zipline tours you can do 2, 4, or 6 lines depending on your budget and the amount of time you have. General admission starts at $79 CAD.

Be sure to book your reservations in advance, because they do book up!

19. Hike to Hardy Falls

Hardy Falls in the Okanagan in winter
Hardy Falls in the winter

Who doesn’t love an easy trail with high reward? That’s exactly what you’ll get with Hardy Falls. It’s a 0.8 km (0.5 mile) out-and-back trail right in Peachland.

It’s accessible year-round and takes you along Peachland’s Deep Creek, while crossing eight bridges before arriving at Hardy Falls. During August and September is peak Salmon spawning season so there will be hundreds of Kokanee Salmon to watch swimming!

This is one of the best short hikes in the Okanagan Valley and it’s also wheelchair accessible so you can bring the whole family!

Because of how accessible it is the trail tends to get busy on weekends so if you’re looking for serenity plan to visit on a weekday.

Where to Stay in Peachland

Peachland is small, but you can still find some great options for hotels if you choose to stay in this area. Lakeview Gardens B&B is very adorable, just 3.2 km (2 miles) from the heart of Peachland, and close to all of the attractions. You can find rooms here for under $150 CAD per night.

Personally, I would splurge a little bit more and stay at The Cove Lakeside Resort. It’s located about 10 km (6 miles) outside of Peachland in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, but the lake and mountain views are out of this world! They have spa services and a marina with boat tours and water sport lessons as well.

The Cove is also great if you’re wanting to explore Peachland and Kelowna, as it’s right in between the two! Rooms here start at $165 CAD.

20. Walk the Historic Trout Creek Trestle

Enjoy a short, scenic stroll across the Trout Creek Trestle Bridge and take in all of the glory of Trout Creek Canyon and Okanagan Lake.

Along with beautiful views, there is also a lot of history here. The bridge was the highest structure on the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) (more on that later). This section of the KVR is the only area that still features a working 1912 steam train during the summer and for special events.

If you have plenty of time to explore you can always do the full 6 km (3.7 mile) hike.

After you’re done treat yourself to something sweet from Summerland Sweets. They have gourmet jams, nut brittles, jelly candies, and more!

21. Explore the Summerland Ornamental Gardens

entrance to Summerland Ornamental Gardens
These gardens are well worth a visit when you’re in the Okanagan Valley. Photo Credit: Summerland Ornamental Gardens

Explore 15 acres of flower beds, shrubs, and heritage trees at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens. While you’re there you can also learn about topics such as conserving water and the value of native pollinators.

Better yet, enjoy a picnic in the Weeping Beech Garden, or take a hike along the Canyon Trail.

The gardens are open year-round, however, they have the most beautiful blooms in the spring and summer. There is no admission fee, they just ask for donations. Hours vary by season.

22. Hike the summit of Giant’s Head

Views of the lake and valley from the summit of Giants Head Mountain
Aren’t the views from the top stunning?

Giant’s Head Mountain is a dormant volcano and one of the most distinctive peaks in the southern Okanagan region. It’s another easy trail, that provides great views and a unique experience.

Giant’s Head Loop is a 2.6 km (1.6 mile) moderately trafficked out-and-back trail. It’s best hiked between the months of May through October, and you can even expect to see wildflowers on the trail during this time.

You can kind of choose your own adventure with Giant’s Head. If you want to have a longer trek to the summit, you can park at the base of the hill. If you’re looking for something a little shorter, you can drive up a little further to the parking lot at the top of the hill.

Once you’re at the top, enjoy the patchwork of vineyards and the sparkling waters of Okanagan Lake. 

23. Shop Summerland’s downtown

The downtown area of Summerland is vibrant and charming. You can easily spend an enjoyable morning or afternoon checking out the boutiques, shops, and restaurants.

The downtown is easily walkable so stop in at True Grain Bakehouse and grab one of their amazingly fresh, local, organic, handcrafted bread, that pairs nicely with a coffee from The Beanery Cafe.

If it’s too late for coffee, that means it’s just in time for wine! You won’t be short on options for a fruitful glass but they are scattered a bit on the outskirts of downtown so you’ll need to drive to them.

24. Paddle on Okanagan Lake

Okanagan Lake with mountains in the back and a peninsula of homes.
Simply stunning!

Head over to Sun-Oka Beach Provincial Park and rent something fun to take out on the water from Okanagan Beach Rentals. They have kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, pedal boats, and water trikes.

This is an activity in Summerland that is great for all ages and skill levels! Even if you don’t want to do a rental you can enjoy sunbathing, floating, or picnicking at the beach. They even have a playground and beach volleyball court.

Okanagan Beach Rentals are open from the end of June through Labor Day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm with the last rental being at 5:00 pm. Rentals start at around $25 CAD an hour, with 2-hour rates slightly discounted.

Where to Stay in Summerland

If you decide on staying in Summerland there are only a handful of hotels to choose from. If you’re on a budget Rosedale Motel is going to be your best bet. It’s located right in the middle of Summerland, and just a 5-minute walk from the town center.

Aside from a great location, Rosedale Motel provides free WiFi, a seasonal outdoor pool, and a fridge and coffee maker in every room. Rooms start at $95 CAD per night.

If you really want an experience, check out Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa. It’s located on a secluded stretch of Okanagan Lake and offers a private beach. They have a seasonal outdoor pool and a year-round hot tub. Each suite has a fully equipped kitchen, fireplace, and soaker tub.

It’s also in a great location, minutes from wineries, golf courses, or skiing. If possible, be flexible with your dates if you want to book here and save. Rates range from $191-350 CAD per night. Check out the rates for your dates here.

25. Visit Skaha Lake Park

Views at Skaha Lake Park
Views at Skaha Lake Park

I told ya, the Okanagan Valley didn’t get its name for no reason. One of the best things to do in the Okanagan Valley is to check out all of the amazing lakes and beaches, and Skaha Lake Park is one of the top beaches in Canada! This is hands down one of Penticton’s top things to do.

Skaha Lake Park is a great activity whether you’re with friends or family. There are playgrounds, watersports, ball courts, and plenty of other outdoor fun offered. The 21-acre park has quite the variety of year-round recreational opportunities ready to be taken advantage of.

What’s the best way to end a beach day? With a couple of scoops of ice cream, of course! On you’re way out be sure to stop at Tickleberry’s – On The Beach to try one of their 72 flavors!

26. Check out the Kettle Valley Rail Trail

Kettle Valley Rail Trail in Penticton
Kettle Valley Rail Trail in Penticton

What was once a rail corridor for the now-abandoned Kettle Valley Railway, is now a multi-use recreational rail trail caled the Kettle Valley Rail Trail.

You can jog, walk, cycle, or even go horseback riding on the trail. This is the same trail that I mentioned previously, as it also runs through Summerland and Kelowna.

The part of the trail that runs through Penticton is McCulloch Trestle. Some of the highlights include the amazing views, the huge Penticton sign, and the wooden trestle bridge. I recommend parking in town and walking to this trail, as parking can get tricky depending on the time of day you come.

The trail is mostly gravel, and can be dusty on dry days. If it isn’t too dry I recommend biking this trail. You can rent a mountain bike from Hoodoo Adventures online (with a 48-hour notice) or in person for just $55 CAD for the full day and if you only want a half-day rental (4 hours or less) these are only available in person after 1 pm and are first come first serve.

Another fun option is to join this guided bike tour from Penticton to Myra Canyon for $259 CAD. It includes learning about the history as you go, lunch (at your own cost) at Meadow Vista Honey Wines, and a complimentary tasting at 3 to 4 different wineries once you finish the 24-kilometer (15 miles) ride in Pemberton (don’t stress about the length, the trail is at a gradual decline).

If you want to join the Kettle Valley Rail Trail from Kelowna Lakeside Eco-Sports conveniently offers e-bike rentals between $39 CAD for 2 hours to $109 CAD for the full day (8 hours).

27. Penticton Farmers’ Market

Locals and visitors exploring the Penticton Farmers' Market on a sunny day
Ready to do a little shopping?

Since the Okanagan Valley is known for their fresh fruit and premiere agricultural regions, you know they have to have great farmers markets! Everything you’ll find at the market is locally grown and produced.

The market is located right on the 100 block of Main Street in downtown Penticton. It runs Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm (mid April through the end of October). There are usually around 80 vendors each week. You can find locally grown fruits and vegetables, artisan goods, fresh honey, and even local wineries and craft distilleries.

Related Read: Another must while you’re here is join one of the top Penticton wine tours in the Naramata Bench region. This beautiful area makes some stellar wine!

28. LocoLanding Adventure Park

bumper boats at Loco Landing Adventure Park in Penticton, the Okanagan Valley
Ready for some bumper boats? Photo Credit: LocoLanding Adventure Park

LocoLanding is an amusement park packed with fun for the whole family. They have rock climbing, go-karts, bumper boats, mini-golf, a ropes course, and more!

They also have Badlands, which is the largest outdoor inflatable park in Canada. I’m not going to lie, you can find me here even without kids.

You have the option to purchase activities individually, or you can do their value pack which includes one time with each activity for just $42 CAD! The best part is, with the value pack you can spread it out over a couple of days if you want. It can be used over multiple days until all of the activities have been done once.

They are only open seasonally in the spring and summer.

29. Float down the Penticton River Channel

people of the Penticton River float
This river float is one of the best free things to do in the Okanagan. Photo credit: amykmitchell on Deposit Photos

This is definitely one of the best things to do in Penticton! I can’t think of a better summer day activity than floating down the 7 km (4.3 mile) Penticton River Channel.

With Coyote Cruises you can rent a single, double, or even quad tube! Prices are $19 CAD per person, $38 CAD for two people, and $100 CAD for groups of up to 12 people so it’s definitely more cost-effective if you’re able to bundle with a large group! This also includes your shuttle ride back to the top. Not too bad for a half-day activity!

If you have your own tube, you can just pay for a shuttle ride from Coyote Cruises, making it an even cheaper activity.

You can expect to be floating down the river for about 1-3.5 hours depending on the water flow and if you want to be picked up at the midpoint or the end.

If you want to bring things that can’t get wet, Coyote Cruises sell dry bags for you to use. Take some snacks and refreshments, and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Where to Stay in Penticton

Penticton is full of so many fun activities, if they wear you out and you end up wanting to check into a hotel in the area here are a couple of options:

Okanagan Lakefront Resort is a great option if you’re not trying to spend too much on accommodation. I’m actually shocked at how affordable this place is with how great the reviews are, and how lovely the rooms and grounds look. You’re even within walking distance to LocoLanding! Rates here start at $127 CAD per night.

For just a little more you can splurge and stay at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. It’s beachfront and has a private beach on Okanagan Lake. The hotel has on-site dining with 24-hour room service, a hair salon, a gift shop, a bar, and a private marina. They also have an indoor pool and hot tub, great for those visiting Penticton in the winter. Rooms start at $185 CAD per night.

30. Rattlesnake Canyon

I know Rattlesnake Canyon sounds like some sort of hike, or strenuous activity, but it’s actually a fun, western mining-themed amusement park located off Main Street in Osoyoos.

They have activities like go-karts and bumper boats, an arcade, and rides like the Tornade which is 30 swing chairs ready to take you on an aerial tour of Osoyoos.

There is no admission fee, you simply purchase tickets individually for any attraction you want to experience. They also offer all-day passes for $59.95 CAD.

For the 2023 season, they are open for the spring every Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm until the May Long Weekend when they will be open daily until the 3rd weekend of September but hours will change and have yet to be announced so be sure to check their website for updates.

31. Visit Osoyoos Lake

Blue skies and mountains in the background at Haynes Point on Osoyoos Lake
Haynes Point on Osoyoos Lake

Osoyoo Lake is probably Osoyoo’s biggest attraction (literally and figuratively)and this lake actually stretches across the U.S. border into Washington state! Here you will find several peaceful, sandy beaches along the shoreline.

People are drawn to this lake for its beauty, but also for the warm water. During the summers, the water temperature gets to be around 26-33 degrees Celsius (79-91 degrees Fahrenheit). Osoyoos Lake is actually one of the warmest freshwater lakes in Canada.

There are several ways to enjoy this lake including swimming, canoeing, fishing, or water skiing, just to name a few! Regardless of how you choose to enjoy it, it’s sure to be a lovely time on one of the most popular lakes in the Okanagan Valley!

32. Check out the Okanagan Art Gallery

Checking out the Okanagan Art Gallery is a unique thing to do in Okanagan Valley, and also a great rainy day activity in Osoyoos. Here you’ll find art from some of the Okanagan’s most talented artists.

The gallery has art from several different artists with a variety of different styles and mediums. Better yet, local artists are often on-site at the gallery to answer questions and provide insight into their work. It’s not too often you get to experience that at an art gallery!

They also frequently host events, have live demonstrations, workshops, and classes. So be sure to check them out during their hours of operation which are Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.

33. Golf at Fairview Mountain

view of the course at Fairview Mountain Golf Club
A beautiful day for some golf! Photo Credit: Fairview Mountain Golf Course

Osoyoos is home to several amazing golf courses, but Fairview Mountain tops them as it’s one of the most popular golf courses in all of British Columbia. What better than a golf course in the heart of Canada’s wine country? Tee off with views of vineyards beckoning in the distance.

If you visit during shoulder season (March, April, and dates in October), you can experience this amazing course for 2/3 of the price of the regular season. During the regular season, 18 holes has a $98 CAD green fee for open to 2:00 pm.

After a game, be sure to check out their restaurant for a drink and a bite. They have quite an extensive menu with a great variety, and it’s notably one of the best dining spots in the area.

34. Be amazed at Spotted Lake

I know that I said each lake was different from the last, but Spotted Lake truly is like no other lake you have ever seen in the Okanagan Valley. Spotted Lake quite literally looks like a polka-dotted lake. The lake has several rich mineral deposits such as magnesium sulfate, sodium sulfates, and calcium.

When temperatures rise causing some of the water to evaporate, the concentrated mineral deposits create what appear to be large spots on the surface of the lake. The spots are different colors and shades depending on what particular combination of minerals are in that specific area.

Spotted Lake holds significant cultural importance to the Okanagan Sylix people, and the lake is closed to the public. You can still admire the lake and its spots from the fence and is definitely still worth the visit.

If you’re visiting Okanagan Valley in the winter, you won’t be able to see the spots as the water levels are too high.

Where to Stay in Osoyoos

The great thing about Osoyoos is there are a lot of affordably priced hotel options that really give you the most bang for your buck. So if you’re worn out from a long day at Osoyoos Lake and need a place to crash here are a few of the best hotel options for Osoyoos.

For a great budget hotel, I recommend Westridge Motor Inn. This hotel features an outdoor pool, grilling facilities, and a great location (just 3 minutes from downtown). The rooms are also very clean and cozy. Prices start at $117 CAD per night.

Walnut Beach Resort gives you a luxury feel at an affordable price if you don’t mind spending a little more than the hotel I mentioned previously. Rates start at just $150 CAD per night and you will be staying on a beachfront property that has their own private beach. They have rooms with lagoon or mountain views, and even have airport transport available.

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

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

Bailey stands on a mountain in essential gear for the Canadian Rockies
A windproof jacket and Buff will save you in the mountains!

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!

Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!

We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!

SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.

They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)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!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!

Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and I take a photo together at a winery in Kelowna on our wine tour
Thanks for reading!

There are truly so many things to do in Okanagan Valley, this list just hit some of the highlights. But, as you can see, regardless of when you plan your visit to the Okanagan Valley you are sure to have a fun-filled itinerary!

Let us know in the comments which area you are most looking forward to exploring and be sure to check out some of our other Canada blogs before you leave!

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Fun Things to do on Granville Island

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