12 Totally Awesome Things to do in Vernon, BC, Canada
Vernon, BC, Canada holds a special place in our hearts. In fact, we have family who call this small-town home, and as such, we visit the area all the time!
Vernon, Canada sits only a 40-minute drive from the hugely touristic city of Kelowna in the province of British Columbia. Both places share many great activities but Vernon has a few of its own things to do that make it worth the visit!
On every visit we make to Vernon, we love to get out and see the sights. This last time we were there during the beautiful Okanagan summer!
But regardless of when you visit there’s always plenty of things to do in Vernon. From visiting the ski fields to cooling off in the stunning lakes, here’s our list of all the best things to do in Vernon, BC.
12 BEST Things to do in Vernon, BC
1. Go on a wine tour
|Location:||Tours usually pick up in Kelowna but a select few also |
pick up in Vernon (we have one linked below.)
|Price:||Prices vary but generally, tours are around |
$150 without lunch and $200 with lunch
|Rating:||5/5 – This is a must-do tour if you’re in Vernon|
Wine is what the Okanagan is famous for. So, it’s no surprise we always take a tour of the region every time we visit. There are over 100 wineries in the Okanagan so there’s always plenty to explore and new wines to taste.
We prefer to join an organized wine tour as opposed to self-driving ourselves. In all honesty, we can never agree on who will be the designated driver and we love having an expert of the area on hand – although, if we keep doing them I’d say we’ll be the experts soon!
Regardless, joining a wine tour in Vernon is a must!
2. Visit Davison Orchards
|Location:||3111 Davison Road, Vernon, BC, V1H 1A2|
|Price:||Free to visit, the tour of the farm is $7 for adults and $4 |
|Rating:||5/5 – I love the food here and kids love the farm tour|
Davison Orchards is my favorite place to try amazing food in Vernon. The Orchard is home to a bakery and other shops that include the sale of jams, juices, fresh fruit, cakes, pies, and so much more!
The food at Davison Orchards is top quality and it’s all homemade on the property. It’s family-owned and the products are really well priced. They also provide a huge range of free samples so you’re bound to leave with a full belly regardless of whether you buy something or not!
A visit to Davison Orchards can quickly turn into a half-day event and you can even take a tour of the farm on a tractor.
3. Learn about bees at Planet Bee
|Location:||Next door to Davison Orchards|
|Price:||Free to visit and learn about bees|
|Rating:||3/5 – It’s worth a visit because it’s so close to Davison |
Located only a short walk from Davison Orchards is Planet Bee Honey Farm. This place is all about fresh Okanagan honey and they sell a huge range of products made from that honey. These range from creams, supplements, and even alcohol.
In the shop, they have a live beehive on display and lots of information on bees in general. It’s honestly very interesting and reading up on the bees really gave me a newfound respect for them!
A visit to Planet Bee isn’t the number one thing to do in Vernon but it’s just down the road from Davison Orchards so I still recommend visiting!
4. Cruise Okanagan Lake on a pontoon
|Price:||$215 per hour (3-hour minimum) for 10 people.|
|Rating:||4/5 – An awesome day out that with a large group is |
In the summer months, the Okanagan sees temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius. And during our visit, those temperatures led us to the many lakes in the area. One of my favorite days on the lake was spent on a pontoon boat.
A pontoon boat is a flat deck boat that can hold lots of people and are great for relaxing on the water. In Vernon, you can hire a pontoon boat for an hourly rate with a captain – so that’s just what we did!
We loaded up our coolers and brought some snacks and headed off to Okanagan Lake for a day on the water. We anchored up at secluded beaches and headed to the middle of the lake for a refreshing swim! It was a day well spent!
Tours on the lake cost around $215 CAD per hour but can hold up to 10 people! This tour here is a really good option too and is $109 CAD per person and includes fuel, wine tasting, and lunch at a vineyard!
5. Okanagan Spirits Distillery Tour
|Location:||5204 24 St, Vernon, BC V1T 8X2|
|Price:||$40 for the tasting|
|Rating:||3/5 – If you love Whisky then you’ll love this!|
Wine is not for everyone and many people much prefer to sample fine whiskey instead. Well, in Vernon you can do that at the Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery.
The distillery is open for sales to anyone but if you want a unique experience then joining their Craft Whisky Experience is a must!
The tours of the distillery include tastings of whiskey and finger foods to cleanse your pallet. They will teach you what craft whiskey is and you’ll get to taste a fair few fine whiskeys!
Tours are $40 and they recommend you book in advance to secure your time and day!
6. Join a food tour
|Rating:||4/5 – A great way to find some of the best restaurants in |
By now you must be so full! But there’s still plenty more food and drinks to try in Vernon and a food tour is a great way to explore the best the city has to offer.
I actually did my food tour in Kelowna with Okanagan Foodie Tours but they actually run a tour in Vernon too.
Now I can’t say if the tour in Vernon is amazing because I haven’t been, but what I can tell you is that their tour in Kelowna was awesome! We ate so much food and tried some incredible dishes from cafes and restaurants with their own unique twists.
I have actually done several food tours around the world including a food tour in Vancouver as well as one in Hong Kong, Myanmar, and Puerto Vallarta, so I know what makes a good food tour – and these guys do it right!
7. Spend a day at Kalamalka Beach
|Location:||North shore of Kalamalka Lake, Vernon BC|
|Rating:||4/5 – Great free activity in Vernon|
Kalamalka Lake is easily the most beautiful lake in the Okanagan. It shines many shades of green and Kal Beach is the perfect place to enjoy ice-cold water on a hot summer day.
For Bailey, a visit to Kal Beach was a childhood memory and something she did a lot while she lived in the Okanagan.
For that reason, we simply had to take a trip down memory lane and well, it was an amazing place to cool down under the Okanagan sun!
Kal Beach is located on the north side of Kalamalka Lake near Vernon. At the lake, there is a large sandy beach area as well as toilets and a small shop. There’s also a jetty at the lake, and on a hot day expect the place to be very busy!
8. Visit Silver Star Mountain Resort
|Location:||Silver Star Mountain|
|Price:||$25 for the gondola, check their website for ski and |
|Rating:||4/5 -Awesome views, this place is simply stunning!|
It doesn’t matter whether you’re visiting Vernon in 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.
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!
The gondola only cost $25 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 a 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!
Be sure to head to Banff for skiing too, it’s definitely one of the best things to do in Banff National Park!
9. Visit O’Keefe Ranch
|Location:||9380 Hwy 97N Vernon, BC V1T 6M8|
|Price:||$13.50 entrance fee for adults, |
children $8.50, and youth $10
|Rating:||3.5/5 – Easily the best and most fun history lesson in |
O’Keefe Ranch is easily one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vernon, BC. This historic ranch was founded in 1867 and was a small self-contained community complete with a blacksmith, church, and post office.
These days it’s a place for tourists to step back in time and learn about the simple days of the 1800s. There are several events on at the ranch as well as attractions such as the blacksmith’s workshop, the pottery shop, St Anne’s Church, and much more. They also do lots of dinner shows throughout the summer.
The Ranch isn’t open all year round and instead opens in May until September. From July to September you can also enter the corn maze for an additional fee. Entrance fees to the ranch start at $13.50 for adults but you can check all pricing information on their website.
10. Taste some local cider
|Price:||Tastings by donation or a small fee|
|Rating:||4/5 – You simply must try some Okanagan cider while |
your in Vernon
Apples! They’ve been growing in the Okanagan since the beginning and for the most part, used for eating or juicing. However, cider has made a comeback around the world and now it’s one of the most popular summer drinks of choice.
That demand means that many of the orchards that once grew apples to eat have now switched their focus to this delicious drink.
The best cidery near Vernon, in my opinion, is BX Press Ciders. Bx Ciders is located just outside of Vernon towards Silver Star Mountain. The cidery is on their orchard farm and they offer a tasting by donation which they actually donate to charity!
Now, I know I’ve been talking about apples. but their ciders don’t stop there, in fact, my favorite is their cherry cider!
If you love cider be sure to check out this place or one of the other cideries in the area!
11. Go tubing or wakeboarding
|Price:||$200 per hour|
|Rating:||4/5 – In summer this is one fo the best ways to spend the |
Tubing and wakeboarding on the lake is something I’ve always enjoyed. So, during our visit to Vernon, we decided to head out on Okanagan Lake for some adrenaline-filled fun!
For 3 hours we sped around the lake holding onto the tube for dear life.
On a calm day, the lake is perfect for water sports and you can actually rent boats per hour with a captain to drive. These rentals cost around $200 per hour but on most boats, you can fit 8+ people.
This is a great activity for those wanting a little extra excitement on their holiday. You can book your hourly rental here in advance!
12. Go berry picking
If you want to try the freshest produce the Okanagan has to offer then you’re going to need to head off and pick your own! Straight from the tree to your mouth, you can pick up a large number of fresh berries and fruit for next to nothing.
We personally picked up over 3 pounds of raspberries for around $7 (not to mention the ones we ate as we picked them!) There are plenty of U-pick farms around Vernon and you can see them all here on Tourism Vernon’s website!
Where to Stay in Vernon
If you’re visiting Vernon you’ll need somewhere to stay! Below are some of our personal best recommendations of hotels in the area to suit all budgets!
Riviera Village Green – This is a comfortable hotel at a really affordable price. In fact, its the cheapest hotel in Vernon with a private bathroom but still has great reviews! Rooms are around $70 per night.
Canadas Best Value Inn – If you want a central location then Canadas Best Value in is a good option. Their rooms are nice but a little outdated. Still, for under $100 a night including breakfast, it’s good value!
Days Inn – Another mid-range hotel that’s a little nicer than Canadas Best. It’s superbly located with modern rooms and amenities.
Fairfield Inn Suites – I would say this is the best value hotel in Vernon! It has a pool and a hot tub. It also includes breakfast and the reviews are awesome. At around $150 a night, this is the place I’d stay!
Prestige Vernon Lodge – The Prestige Lodge is your 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 its good!
Before you go…
Vernon is really a special town. It is a great holiday destination and if you do even a fraction of the things I’ve listed here, you’re sure to have a good time (just like we did!)
Thanks so much for reading! If you have any questions please leave them below. Also if you loved this travel guide jump over and check out all our Canada travel guides here or these related articles below!
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July 12, 2020