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40 EPIC Things to do in Vernon, BC

40 EPIC Things to do in Vernon, BC

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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.


40 BEST Things to do in Vernon, BC

Go on a Wine Tour

Daniel leans on the railing at the Arrowleaf Winery in Lake Country near Vernon, BC
At Arrowleaf Winery, one of our favorites!

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 Valley so there’s always plenty of vineyards to explore and new wines to taste only minutes from Vernon!

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!

There are a few regions within the Okanagan that tours base themselves around. They are Lake Country, East, and West Kelowna and you can book wine tours to these regions that depart right from Vernon!

A tour to any region is great and I’ve personally toured them all. With that said though, Arrowleaf is my favorite winery in the region and it’s located in Lake Country!

Regardless of which region you tour, joining a wine tour in Vernon is a must!

It’s most common for the wine tours to leave from Kelowna, however, this particular wine tour leaves from Vernon and includes lunch!


Visit Davison Orchards

Bailey stands out the front of Davison Orchards in Vernon, Canada
The orchard and little village are so cute!

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!

There is also a cafe on-site and they sell delicious sandwiches, cakes, and one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever had!

The food at Davison Orchards is all top quality and homemade using local products. Davison’s is also 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!

After you’ve tried all the food you can stomach, head to the back of the property to walk through the animal barn. Here you can feed sheep, chickens, and goats! There is also a paid tractor ride around the orchard which kids typically love!

A visit to Davison Orchards can quickly turn into a half-day event so get there early and also to avoid the crowds!


Learn About Bees at Planet Bee

Planet B honey in Vernon BC, Canada
Planet Bee honey in Vernon BC, Canada

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!


Enjoy Local Craft Beer at Marten Brewing Co.

Bailey holding a berr at Marten Brew Pub, Vernon
The beer selection is so good!

If there’s a brewery in the area, Bailey and I will find it! In fact, one of the first things we look for when we visit a city or town is where the closest craft brewery is. In Vernon is was Martens Brewing which we visited on a very hot summer day in Vernon.

The brewery was really good and we must have tried around 6 different beers. If you love craft beer then you’ll love their selection, however, if you like your classics you may not find something you like as most of the beers are very unique!

Be sure to go at happy hour which runs from 3 pm to 6 pm Monday to Saturday. During this time you can get a sleeve of beer for only $5 and also lots of food specials which include their amazing beef burger!

For beer lovers, a visit to Marten Brewing will be one of your highlights in Vernon!


Cruise Okanagan Lake on a Pontoon

Hanging out on Lake Okanagan on our boat tour in Vernon
Hanging out on Lake Okanagan on our boat tour in Vernon

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!


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.

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, 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!


Okanagan Spirits Distillery Tour

tasting spirits at the Okanagan Distillery in Vernon, BC
Just trying a few spirits on a tasting tour at Okanagan Distillery.

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! It includes 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!

The Whisky Tour costs $40 CAD and they recommend you book in advance to secure your time and day.

For those who aren’t huge fans of whisky (like myself) Okanagan Distillery also offers a basic tasting tour for $15 per person. This is the tour we did and we really enjoyed it. Our guide taught us about how they make spirits and the history of the distillery before we got to try four different samples for ourselves. The tour only lasted for about half an hour, but let me tell you, these guys make some really tasty spirits!


Join a Food Tour

A meal we had on our food tour in Vernon, BC
A meal we had on our food tour in Vernon, BC

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!

Related Read:   50 BEST Things to do in Vancouver, Canada

Spend a day at Kalamalka Beach

The jetty at Kalamalka Beach, Vernon BC
The jetty at Kalamalka Beach, Vernon, BC

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 the cool 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 in 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!


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 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!

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

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!


Enjoy a Walk at Polson Park

Daniel enjoys a Tim Hortons coffee in Polson Park
Polson Park with a coffee in hand!

Bailey and I are early risers. We love the cool crisp air in the mornings – especially during summer in the Okanagan. The best place to enjoy a walk and that cool air in Vernon is Polson Park.

The park is actually really beautiful and filled with small walking trails, bridges, and a small creek! You can also mingle with some of the hundreds of Canadian Geese that call the park home.

My favorite thing to do is grab a coffee from the Tim Hortons (a Canadian favorite) across the street from the park and take a relaxing walk.


Visit O’Keefe Ranch

O'Keefe Ranch Vernon BC
O’Keefe Ranch Vernon BC

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.


Taste Local Cider

Trying cider at BX Ciders in Vernon, BC
Trying cider at BX Ciders in Vernon, BC

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 SilverStar 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!


Go Tubing or Wakeboarding

Tubing on Okanagan Lake, Vernon
So much fun!

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. Also, after an hour or so of wakeboarding and tubing you’re ready to call it a day!

This is a great activity for those wanting a little extra excitement on their holiday. You can book your hourly rental here in advance!


Go Berry Picking

Bailey picks berries in Vernon, BC
Bailey picks berries in Vernon, BC

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!


Explore Downtown

Street art in downtown Vernon, NC
You’ll find street art all over downtown Vernon.

Downtown Vernon is actually a really neat place to explore. 30th Ave is the main street in town and it is full of unique shops, cafes, and restaurants. Head to Vernon Teach & Learn for some children’s toys and books. Stop in at high-end consignment stores, visit the Fish and Chips shop, or stop at the pub for a drink.

Even just wandering the streets of downtown you’ll find plenty of street art and unique places to check out. In the summer months, there are often buskers and sometimes you’ll even stumble upon an outdoor market. Spend a couple of hours downtown and you’ll quickly understand Vernon’s small-town charm.


Eat and Drink at Ratio Coffee & Pastry

Sitting outside Ratio cafe in Vernon
There’s some outdoor seating at Ratio, perfect for enjoying a coffee and snack.

Ratio Coffee & Pastry is a popular local coffee shop that serves freshly baked goods and even pizzas in the evenings. It is a popular local hangout spot right downtown with plenty of seating both indoors and outdoors. The outdoor patio is really inviting right next to the train tracks and makes for a nice place to have a beer in the evening or coffee in the morning.

They are also famous for their homemade donuts available every Friday. In fact, the donuts are so popular that you should pre-order some if you want to try them – they often sell out the day before. Visit Ratio’s website for updated info on days donuts are available as well as opening hours and daily specials.


Walk to BX Falls

BX Falls, Vernon in winter
In winter be sure to bring crampons or spikes!

For a nice outdoor activity in Vernon walk to BX Falls. Located in the area of BX, this short 400-meter long trail takes you through the forest and down some stairs to a viewpoint over a gorgeous waterfall. It is an easy trail and suitable for families and most fitness levels.

This walk is open all year round and in the winter months, the waterfall freezes creating what looks like Winter Wonderland! Just be warned, in the winter it can be very slippery so ice cleats are recommended.

There is a small parking lot at the start of the trail which you can find on Google Maps.


Cycle the Okanagan Rail Trail

a viewpoint along the Okanagan Rail Trail in Vernon, BC
One of the many beautiful viewpoints along the Rail Trail. Photo Credit: Okanagan Rail Trail

The stats for this walking and biking trail are pretty impressive: 52km long, connecting 212,000 people in communities along the way, 43 points of cultural or recreational interest, and an estimated 588,000 annual users!  

The trail goes along Kalamalka lake and is the perfect biking trail. You can either use your own bike or rent one in town. As you’re biking along the lakeside, stop at some of the viewpoints and take in the scenery.

The Okanagan Rail Trail begins at the north end of Kalamalka Lake in Vernon and ends in downtown Kelowna, beside Okanagan Lake. The trail can undergo maintenance, so check out the current updates for which sections are currently open.  


Visit the outdoor waterslides  

people riding in tubes at Splashdown Vernon waterpark
The tube ride is my absolute favorite! Photo Credit: Splashdown Vernon

Unleash your inner child and have some good ol’ fashioned fun! It can get pretty hot in the summer in Vernon, and a day at the waterslides is just the thing to stay cool while having a blast! Splashdown has slides for the whole family, from kid-friendly ones, to ramp slides to race a friend down, to “river riot” tube slides.

Splashdown has a hot tub, concession stand, and lockers available to rent. The cost for a full day of sliding is $30 CAD. If you want to upgrade your experience, they have VIP cabanas for a luxury relax experience! There is an additional cost of $55 for the cabana (fits 2-6 people).


Visit Canada’s only Opal producing mine

If you’re looking for a beautiful souvenir or gift, you must visit Canada’s only Opal mine! Canadian Opals is the name of the Opal Mine and gift shop located 40 km from Vernon, BC.

Opal is the October birthstone and is a greeny-blue gem that makes for gorgeous, unique jewelry and other accessories.  

To get your hands on some Opal, you can shop at the store and pick out some treasures. However, I definitely recommend that you participate in the “You Dig” experience, get your hands dirty, and mine some yourself!

The cost is $50 CAD/person and includes transportation via an SUV on a rough road out to the mine. You can dig up your own opal from the property and keep what you find (within 2.5 kg of material).

When I was a kid, I actually grew up in Salmon Arm (just 30 minutes from Vernon) and one year my school did a field trip here. I remember searching for Opal with the assistance of the guides and actually finding a very small piece to keep!

This is definitely one of the more unique things to do in Vernon, a must for any rock or gemstone lover.


Go cross-country skiing

Cross country skiing during winter in Canada
Its a really easy sport to pick up on the groomed runs!

If you are in Vernon for the winter, you’re in for a treat! The city can transform into a wintery wonderland with a ton of fun outdoor activities to participate in. Cross-country skiing is one of my favorite activities in Vernon and it’s a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the scenery.

Every winter, Sovereign Lake Nordic Club grooms over 105km of trails for cross-country skiers to enjoy. Because of the climate and dry snowfall, the conditions are ideal and it is a great place to try this sport if you’ve never been before.

It costs $21 CAD/adult for a day ticket to use the trails. There is a ski rental shop available, and the total package (skis, boots, poles) only costs $15 CAD for the day.  

Sovereign Lake Nordic Club is located about 20km from Vernon, and is close to the popular downhill ski resort, SilverStar.


Visit Farmstrong Cider Company  

Bailey and her mum at Farmstrong Cider Company near Vernon, BC
Cold cider on a warm Okanagan day? Yes, please!

I can be convinced to visit just about any brewery or cidery while traveling, but if it has live music and events? I’m so there!

Farmstrong Cider Company is such a fun, community destination. They have live music every Thursday night with local musicians. They also host events and festivals on their large property, such as the Harvest Festival or the Annual Pickle Festival (yes, pickles!)

Farmstrong produces all-natural and additive-free ciders from the neighboring orchards. Order a flight and pick out some unique options like Rhubarb, Black Currant, or Hopped Apple cider. Farmstrong Cider Company is located about 30 km north of Vernon, near the town of Armstrong, BC (Armstrong… Farmstrong… get it?)

I have family who live in Armstrong and visiting Farmstrong is one of our go-to places every time I’m in town visiting them. I really love it there, and I’m sure you will too!


Go camping at Kekuli Bay Provincial Park

view of Kalamalka Lake
Kalamalka Lake is seriously stunning!

Vernon enjoys awesome, sunny weather throughout the summer months, so camping is a great option to choose! Kekuli Bay Provincial Park is located in a bay in Kalamalka Lake, 11km south of the city of Vernon. It is absolutely stunning with views of the lake from all around. There are large landscaped grassy areas with trees for shade.  

The campsite has amenities like a boat launch, campfire pits, drinking water, and electrical hookups, so it’s good for tents and RVs alike. The campsite intersects with the Okanagan Rail Trail (see #19), so has great access for walking and biking along the lake.

Plus, since it is on the lake, you can take full advantage of the area – swimming, boating, kayaking, and canoeing. Just get out there and enjoy!


Join a guided tour at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre

two gophers coming out of their hole at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre
You’re pretty much guaranteed to see gophers during the summer months.

If you’re looking to get outside and enjoy nature, the Allan Brooks Nature Centre needs to be your first stop! It is located just outside of Vernon city and is committed to increasing awareness of habitat conservation and promote recreation in nature.  

They offer guided trail tours ($5 CAD) along the Grasslands Trail by passionate educators and volunteers. It is about 40 minutes long and is a relatively easy, flat trail to follow. Along the way, you will learn about grassland plants and animals in the area (including plenty of gophers!)

In addition to the guided tour, they have Nature Talks which educate visitors on different topics. These talks are free and very entertaining, as they use a variety of props and taxidermy!


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, 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 vary depending on your treatment and are worth a splurge at this luxurious experience!  

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 Vernon – you won’t regret it!


Go golfing at Predator Ridge  

Predator Ridge is one of the premier golf courses in the Okanagan region. There are two courses, 36 holes total, in an absolutely beautiful setting. They offer unlimited golfing, where you can play a round on either course and get unlimited access all day long.  

Predator Ridge has an award-winning practice facility with high-quality instructors, so it is a good option for new and first-time golfers. There are also three on-site restaurants to relax and enjoy a meal at after a day on the greens.

A day at Predator Ridge costs $160 CAD and the course is located just outside of Vernon.


Get some cheese to-go at the Wedge Cheesery

a cheese board from the Wedge Cheesery in Downtown Vernon
Doesn’t that look delicious?! Photo Credit: The Wedge Cheesery

You really can’t ever go wrong with trying some delicious, high-quality cheese. Especially if you’ve picked up some cider at Farmstrong (#23) or local wine from a wine tour (#1) to pair it with!

Wedge Cheesery opened in 2019 with a mission to bring high-quality cheese to the Okanagan from all over the world. Here, you can pick out specific cheeses, or just go for a Wedge Board, which will include cheese, crackers, jams, fruits, and meats – the full experience!

Boards range from $15-$81 CAD and so you can enjoy just a small snack or a true feast with a bunch of friends. The Wedge Cheesery is located right in downtown Vernon, so you have easy access to all your cheesy needs!  


Shop at the Farmer’s Market  

It’s so fun to walk around a good framer’s market, looking at all of the artisan goods and getting to know the locals. The Vernon Farmer’s Market has served the community since 1979, operating as a place to connect with neighbors and support local farmers, artists, and businesses.  

The Vernon Farmer’s Market has a wide variety of products, including in-season produce, bread, pastries, meat, in addition to fresh-cut bouquets, homemade pottery, and other expert handicrafts.

My grandma actually lives in Vernon and when I visit her we always go to the Farmer’s Market (she loves to shop!)

You can check it out at the Kal Tire parking lot (downtown Vernon) every Monday and Thursday a week from April-October.  


Go hiking  

Hiking in Vernon, BC
Get out amongst the mountains!

Vernon and the surrounding area are truly beautiful, and hiking is one of the best ways to enjoy getting out into nature! There are a lot of good options, depending on your skill level and time. You can try something peaceful and relaxing (Swan Lake), or brave the incline and catch a view (Kalamalka Lookout Trail).  

Rattlesnake Point is one of my favorite hikes in the area. It’s a pretty easy one and good for all skill levels. You can reach the viewpoint from a few different connecting trails, but the best place to start is at the Jade and Juniper parking lots, off of Kidston Road, leaving Vernon. This will take you on a 4km trail, climbing just 70 meters to reach the view from Rattlesnake Point at the tip of Kalamalka Lake – absolutely stunning! It’s worth bringing a picnic lunch or some snacks to sit up here and take it all in!  

If you want epic views without the effort, head to Silver Star in the summer months. You can ride the chairlift up to the top of the mountain and walk various easy trails from there.


Go snowshoeing  

Snow shoewing in Vernon in Winter
Without snow shows some trails are almost impossible to hike!

Snowshoeing is really just winter hiking, so you can absolutely re-purpose all of the hiking trails mentioned above – Okanagan Rail Trail, Nordic Club cross-country ski trails, Rattlesnake Point trail – into a snowshoe adventure!

Another popular area to go snowshoeing in is the Silver Star Mountain Resort (a 25-minute drive from Vernon). They have 16km of singletrack trails that weave in and out of the forested areas of the mountains. Here, trails are well marked and easy to navigate!

If you don’t own your own snowshoes, there are a few places to rent them in town. You can pick some up at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Club or Stussi Sport for $15 CAD/day.


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! They serve the most amazing slow-smoked BBQ, authentic and delicious.  

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! Just make sure you go hungry!  


Day trip to Kelowna

Bailey and I take a photo together at a winery in Kelowna on our wine tour
Just outside of beautiful Kelowna!

Vernon is located within Lake Country, which encompasses Kalamalka, Okanagan, and Wood Lakes. This area of the Okanagan is perfect for a road trip – lake views, rolling hills, and plenty of little towns and cities to stop in and explore.  

Kelowna is located 50km south of Vernon, and the drive will take you alongside both Kalamalka Lake and Okanagan Lake. It’s just a 45-minute drive, but I definitely recommend slowing down and taking in all the sites. You can stop off at orchards along the way to sample fresh fruit or snap some pics from various lookouts along the lake.

Once in Kelowna, you’ll find lots to do, but some of the highlights have to be joining a wine tour, visiting the kangaroo farm, or going for a hike along Kettle Valley Trail! Downtown Kelowna itself is also worth exploring with countless shops and restaurants as well as the beautiful waterfront marina. If you’re a beer lover then you’ll be in heaven with tons of craft breweries in Kelowna to check out.

If you have time, I recommend spending a night or two in Kelowna to really get to know the city. Check out my blog about where to stay in Kelowna for the best areas to stay in as well as top hotel choices!


Visit Kin Beach

You’ve got to keep this one a secret… Kin Beach is the least busy beach around, so it’s a perfect place to go for a quiet day to relax! In the summertime, you can go for a swim or play some volleyball at the on-site courts. They have a playground, washrooms, and picnic shelter, so you can easily make a day of it.

It gets pretty cold in Vernon in the winter and the lake at Kin Beach can freeze over and become a skating rink! You can just skate around or play some hockey to level up to super-Canadian mode. Just make sure you check with locals and official sources to determine if the ice is thick and safe enough to skate on.  


Go sailing

sailing tour in Vernon, BC
Heading back to the marina after a day of sailing!

There is no better way to enjoy Lake Country than by getting out on the water on a sailboat! This unique Airbnb sailing experience takes you on a 2-hour hosted sailboat tour on Okanagan Lake.  

From the water, you can enjoy the views of the city, surrounding hills, waterfront homes, and beaches. Guests are able to participate in the sailing as much or as little as they like, so if you’ve ever dreamed of learning to sail, this is your chance! Price is $150 CAD/person and departs from Kelowna, a 45-minute drive south of Vernon.  


Where to Stay in Vernon, BC

Prestige Vernon Lodge coutryard
Photo credit: Prestige Vernon Lodge

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!

Didn’t find what you’re after? Click here to view all available hotels in Vernon, BC.

Alternatively, Airbnb is also a great option in Vernon! You can browse all of the Airbnbs available in Vernon, or read our blog about the 10 best Vernon Airbnbs!

Related Read:   21 Awesome Things to do in Revelstoke, BC

Renting a Car in British Columbia

Winter road in British Columbia, Canada
Get out and explore in a rental car. The views from the road are just as amazing as the destination!

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 cities and even just getting out to the best attractions within them 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 is relatively cheap especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $70 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Rental Cars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Rental Cars.com 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 ice conditions in the mountains. The pair I use is only $29 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 $12 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 hand so many times especially when I’m looking for wildlife. The best part is, I use a set that only costs $27 and they serve my basic needs without any issues!


Before you go…

Bailey and Daniel take a photo together at another winery in Kelwona
Thanks for reading!

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!

Things to do in Whistler in the Summer

Exciting Things to do in Saskatoon

An Ideal Banff Itinerary

-Daniel


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