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Vernon, BC is the ultimate holiday destination in the Okanagan Valley. Although just a small town, Vernon is packed full of fun things to do in British Columbia. From hitting the slopes to enjoying beautiful blue lakes for a lazy beach day, I’m certain you’ll find a few activities to enjoy in Vernon.
With that said, some of the best activities are rather unknown to tourists, and these “hidden gems” are the best!
We’re lucky because we know a few Vernon locals who always show us around. We both visit Vernon all the time. In fact, my grandma and cousins call Vernon home, so we visit a couple of times every year. It’s safe to say we’ve explored Vernon well – which is why we’ve written this blog!
Here, you’ll find the 33 best things to do in Vernon! We’ve included everything from the most popular tourist attractions to off-the-beaten-path activities you’ve probably never heard of!
- BEST Things to do in Vernon, BC
- 1. Visit Davison Orchards
- 2. Spend the day at Ellison Provincial Park
- 3. Learn about bees at Planet Bee
- 4. Go on a wine tour
- 5. Visit the Historic O’Keefe Ranch
- 6. Okanagan Spirits Distillery Tour
- 7. Cruise Okanagan Lake on a pontoon
- 8. Spend a day at Kalamalka Beach
- 9. Visit Silver Star Mountain Resort
- 10. Walk to BX Falls
- 11. Join a guided tour at Allan Brooks Nature Centre
- 12. Spoil yourself at Sparkling Hill Resort & Spa
- 13. Walk around Polson Park
- 14. Explore Downtown
- 15. Eat and Drink at Ratio Coffee & Pastry
- 16. Enjoy Local Craft Beer at Marten Brewing Co.
- 17. Pick fresh berries
- 18. Shop at the Farmer’s Market
- 19. Join a Food Tour
- 20. Taste locally-made cider
- 21. Cycle the Okanagan Rail Trail
- 22. Visit the outdoor waterslides
- 23. Go tubing or wakeboarding
- 24. Visit Canada’s only Opal producing mine
- 25. Go cross-country skiing
- 26. Go camping at Kekuli Bay Provincial Park
- 27. Golf at Predator Ridge
- 28. Get some cheese to-go at the Wedge Cheesery
- 29. Go hiking
- 30. Go snowshoeing
- 31. Eat at Station BBQ
- 32. Day trip to Kelowna
- 33. Go sailing
- Where to Stay in Vernon, BC
- Before you go…
BEST Things to do in Vernon, BC
1. Visit Davison Orchards
Davison Orchards is an attraction unique to Vernon. This large farm is home to an orchard producing delicious fruit to make their very own products. There is also lots to explore on the farm including a cafe, shop, antique cars, petting zoo, special events, and more. Besides all of that, the place is 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 tractor tour 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 avoid the crowds!
2. Spend the day at Ellison Provincial Park
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 but there are plenty of picnic tables and even fire pits. The swimming area is stunning in a small sheltered cove surrounded by mountain views. But what’s better is that it is typically much less crowded than the other well-known beaches around 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 in the middle of summer and enjoyed Ellison for around 2 hours with almost no people from 10 am until 12 pm!
3. Learn about bees at Planet Bee
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 while you’re in the area.
4. Go on a wine tour
Wine is one of the things that the Okanagan is famous for, so it’s no surprise that we go on a wine tour every time we visit. There are over 100 wineries in the Okanagan Valley so there are always plenty of vineyards to explore and new wines to taste only minutes from Vernon!
We always prefer going on an organized tour instead of driving ourselves. In all honesty, we can never agree on who will be the designated driver and we love having an expert on hand (although, if we keep doing wine tours I’d say we’ll be the experts soon!)
There are a few different wine regions near Vernon that you can choose to tour. The following tours all have the option to depart from Vernon and come highly rated:
- West Kelowna – This particular tour visits 4 amazing wineries in West Kelowna. it lasts for about 5 hours, and includes hotel pick-up/drop-off and lunch!
- East Kelowna – This particular tour visits 4 wineries in East Kelowna. It visits some of the most famous and unique wineries in the area and also includes pick-up/drop-off as well as lunch.
- Lake country – Lake country is my personal favorite wine region near Vernon. Here, the wineries are stunning and many have lake views (see the photo above from Arrowleaf Cellars.) This particular tour visits five different wineries and also includes pick-up/drop-off at select Vernon locations.
Regardless of which region you visit, joining a wine tour in Vernon is a must!
If you love wine as much as I do, then be sure to head to Kelowna. There are some really unique and special wineries in Kelowna as well as a ton of different wine tours you can chose from!
5. Visit the Historic O’Keefe Ranch
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 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 CAD for adults but you can check all pricing information on their website.
6. Okanagan Spirits Distillery Tour
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 tried 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.
7. Cruise Okanagan Lake on a pontoon
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. It’s perfect for relaxing on the water and socializing. In Vernon, you can hire a pontoon boat with a captain for 3-hours – so that’s just what we did.
This particular pontoon experience is completely private for your entire group and can hold up to 11 guests. The price is only $950 CAD (a steal for such a large group!) It includes your captain, safety, gear, and a cooler which you can stock up with your own snacks and drinks! The pontoon boat also anchors at a private bay so you can enjoy a beach without the crowds.
8. Spend a day at Kalamalka Beach
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. Arrive early to ensure that you can get a parking space.
9. Visit Silver Star Mountain Resort
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 resort 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 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 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!
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!
10. Walk to BX Falls
For a nice outdoor activity in Vernon, walk to BX Falls. 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 a 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.
11. Join a guided tour at Allan Brooks Nature Centre
If you’re looking to get outside and enjoy nature, then 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!
12. Spoil yourself at Sparkling Hill 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.
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!
13. Walk around Polson Park
Daniel 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 at Polson Park.
The park is 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 along the trails. Sometimes, they also host events here at the outdoor theatre.
14. Explore Downtown
Downtown Vernon is actually a really trendy place to explore. 30th Ave is the main street in town and it is full of unique shops, cafes, and many of the best restaurants in Vernon.
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. A couple of my personal favorite places in downtown Vernon are mentioned next in this blog (the local brewery and a cute cafe!)
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.
15. Eat and Drink at Ratio Coffee & Pastry
Ratio Coffee & Pastry is a popular local coffee shop in Vernon 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.
16. Enjoy Local Craft Beer at Marten Brewing Co.
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, it was Marten Brewing which we visited on a very hot summer day.
The brewery was really good and we must have tried around 6 different beers between our group. 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!
17. Pick fresh berries
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.
U-Pick farms are what we Canadians call farms where you can pick your own produce. Although a little work is involved, it’s a fun experience and you’ll get to keep the produce that you pick for a really cheap price.
We personally picked up over 3 pounds of raspberries for around $7 CAD (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!
18. 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 from April-October.
19. Join a Food Tour
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 the same company actually runs 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 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!
20. Taste locally-made cider
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!
Another good cidery worth checking out is Farmstrong Cider Company. It is located about 30 km north of Vernon, near the town of Armstrong, BC (Armstrong… Farmstrong… get it?)
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.
21. Cycle the 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.
22. Visit the outdoor waterslides
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).
23. Go tubing or wakeboarding
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’ll be 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!
24. 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.
25. Go cross-country skiing
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.
26. Go camping at Kekuli Bay Provincial Park
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!
27. Golf 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.
Even if you don’t golf, go up and check out this fantastic course and enjoy lunch at the Range Lounge & Grill at Predator Ridge. They serve some fantastic food, and they have a beautiful outdoor patio with epic views of the gold course.
28. Get some cheese to-go at 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!
29. Go hiking
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.
30. Go snowshoeing
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.
31. Eat at 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!
32. Day trip to 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 from Vernon to Kelowna 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!
33. Go 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
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, it’s 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 Inn 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 are usually only a few left so you know it’s 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!
Renting a Car in British Columbia
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!
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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Exciting Things to do in Saskatoon
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Sunday 27th of June 2021
Great tips, we just moved to Vernon and there’s a lot of really cool stuff we will be sure to explore! Thank you for taking the time to showcase everything the way you have - we have a lot to do! ☺️
Friday 14th of August 2020
Thank you Dan and Bailey! This helped a lot!
Friday 14th of August 2020
Thas so great to hear. We hope you have an amazing time in Vernon!