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32 BEST Things to do in Vernon, BC

32 BEST Things to do in Vernon, BC

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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 32 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

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

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

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 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

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!

Another fun thing you can do here is take part in a Mead Tasting which is on offer daily from 9 am to 5:45 pm and from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm on Sunday. If you didn’t know, mead is a delicious fermented drink made with honey, water, and yeast.

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

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

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:

  • 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 is an amazing value costing just $229 CAD per person and visits five different wineries for delicious samples over 5 hours. There is also a stop for lunch but this cost is separate, however, pick-up/drop-off at select Vernon locations is included.
  • East KelownaJoin this private tour to explore the sunny valley of East Kelowna (the area gets around 2,000 hours of sun annually)! There are 4 different stops included on this tour many of which are the most famous and unique wineries in the area. To break up all of the wine and keep your pallet fresh you will be offered chocolate and cheese pairings and for lunchtime, you’ll be served a gourmet charcuterie picnic (GF, vegan, vegetarian, and LF requests will be honored)! Pick-up/drop-off are included in this 5-hour experience. The cost is $335 CAD for a group of 3 or more. For groups less than 3 contact the company for pricing.
  • West KelownaThis particular tour starts with a scenic drive through the Okanagan Valley and then proceeds to visit 4 small production wineries in West Kelowna. Besides sipping on great wine you’ll also get to snack on cheeses and charcuterie. It lasts for about 5 hours which is plenty of time to relax and take in the sights at each spot. Hotel pick-up/drop-off is included and the cost is $335 CAD for a group of 3 or more. For groups less than 3 contact the company for pricing.

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 also visit Kelowna. There are some really unique and special wineries in Kelowna as well as a ton of different wine tours you can choose from!

5. Visit the Historic O’Keefe Ranch

the outside of the general store at the Historic O'Keefe Ranch
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time!

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 $10 CAD for adults but you can check all pricing information on their website.

6. 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 sale 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 $50 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 Farm-to-Flask Tasting for only $25 CAD. 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 from across the different categories.

Of course, there are whiskies but also vodkas, gins, natural fruit liqueurs, and brandies (Eau de Vie), and even the more exotic Aquavit, and Canada’s first genuine Absinthe (Taboo) which is also made here. The tour only lasted for about 45 minutes, but let me tell you, these guys make some really tasty spirits. For such a low price booking this tour will definitely be well worth it!

If however, you are looking for more of a full-day tour with lots of inclusions I’d recommend checking out this High Spirits Tour that is 5.5 hours long and departs from Vernon and makes its way to Kelowna (round-trip transport is included). You’ll be introduced to craft breweries, local wineries, a cidery, and the largest craft distillery which is in Kelowna!

Plus, the best part is that the tour company’s famous Charcuterie/Artisanal Cheese Picnic is included in the price of the tour (starting at $500 CAD per person but is cheaper with more people).

7. 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. 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

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. Arrive early to ensure that you can get a parking space.

9. 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 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!

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

The gondola only costs $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!

If you don’t have a car or don’t want to worry about parking at the resort you can alternatively book a taxi, bus, or shuttle.

The Public SilverStar Ski Shuttle is the most popular option that offers several pick-up spots including the airport and nearby hotels. This costs $65 CAD one way per person or $85 CAD round-trip.

If you want to elevate your transport experience or your desired pick-up location for the public shuttle isn’t offered you can also book this private one-way or round-trip SilverStart Shuttle which can pick you up from your exact Vernon or Kelowna hotel or even straight from the airport if you are staying at the resort (they will even let you make a grocery stop!). It costs $120 CAD per person and while it is expensive it is a luxury service.

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

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. This short 400-meter long (1,312 feet) 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 but not ideal for dogs.

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

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, 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 promoting 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

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. Yes, those are all crystals behind us!

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 Vernon – 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!

13. Walk around Polson Park

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

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

Bailey walks downtown Vernon
Downtown Vernon in summer!

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 Lobster Pot Vernon for some seafood, 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

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 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.

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, 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 and again from 9 pm to 9:30 pm Monday to Saturday. On Sunday, happy hour is all day long! How amazing is that? During this time you can get a sleeve of beer for only $6.50 CAD 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

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.

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  

aerial view of the Vernon Farmers Market
There are so many vendors! Photo Credit: Vernon Farmers 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 Place parking lot (downtown Vernon) every Monday and Thursday from 8 am to 1 pm during the months of April through October.  

19. Taste locally-made 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!

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

Another good cidery worth checking out is Farmstrong Cider Company. It is located about 30 km (19 mi) 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 periodically 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.

20. 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: 52 km long (32 miles), 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.  

21. 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 relaxing experience! There is an additional cost of $55 for the cabana (fits 2-6 people).

22. 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 $300 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. There are several different boat rental companies in Vernon, like LakeSurf or Okanagan Recreational Rentals and you can most easily book your hourly rental online in advance!

23. Visit Canada’s only Opal producing mine

opal in a rock
Ready to go look for some opal?

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 10 km (6.2 miles) 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.

24. 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 105 km (65 mi) 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 and $25 CAD at the window the day of. 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 20 km (12 mi) from Vernon, and is close to the popular downhill ski resort, SilverStar.

25. 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, 11 km (6.8 mi) 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 #20), so has great access for walking and biking along the lake. You can easily reverse a site on the BC Parks website.

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!

26. Golf at Predator Ridge  

Bailey watches the golfers from the restuarant at Preditor Ridge Golf Course
I don’t golf, but I don’t mind a drink while Daniel is off with his friends!

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 in peak season costs $235 CAD and the course is located just outside of Vernon. If you stay at the resort the fee is $200 CAD.

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 golf course.

27. 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 (#19) or local wine from a wine tour (#4) 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-$120 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!  

28. 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 relax on the 1.9 km (1.2 mile) Swan Lake Loop Trail, or brave the incline and catch a view on the 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 4 km (2.5 mi) trail, climbing just 70 meters (230 feet) 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 on the public or private shuttle. You can ride the chairlift up to the top of the mountain and walk various easy trails from there.

29. 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 16 km (10 mi) 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.

30. 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!

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.

31. 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 50 km (31 mi) 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, from checking out the best craft breweries to relaxing on the pristine sandy beaches to exploring countless shops and restaurants as well as the beautiful waterfront marina but one of the main highlights has to be joining a wine tour!

One of our favorites is this Sightseeing Wine Tour of West Kelowna and it’s one of the most frequently booked tours in Kelowna for a reason! It includes touring 4 different boutique wineries, transport, snacks, and tastings. During this half-day adventure, you’ll also learn about the region and what makes the soil so special for growing grapes and see beautiful viewpoints. Another great aspect is that this tour isn’t overly expensive at $159 CAD.

Flyboarding is a super unique summer activity in Kelowna that takes place on Okanagan Lake. Once you get your feet fastened into the boots on the flyboard you will quickly get lifted from the water by a water-propelled jet system. Enjoy flying above the lake taking in the views while experiencing the thrill that comes with being around 1.5-3.7 meters (5-12 feet) in the air and zipping around at high speeds.

While it seems intimidating it is actually extremely easy for beginners and it usually doesn’t take more than 10 minutes for most people to catch on! Flyboarding costs $127 CAD so make sure to book it in advance so you don’t miss out on the fun!

Bike riding the Kettle Valley Trail around the Myra Canyon is one of the most popular activities for outdoor adventurers and view seekers! What was once a railway for trains is now a beautiful trail for cyclists or walkers.

You can either rent bikes for around $39 CAD from the start of the trail or join this guided bike tour for $259 CAD that includes learning about the history as you go, lunch at Meadow Vista Honey Wines (at your own cost), and a complimentary tasting at 3 to 4 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).

The Okanagan Valley is all about fresh produce and all of the treats made with it. With that in mind, it’s no surprise a food tour is one of the best things to do in Kelowna. This highly rated food tour costs about $83 CAD per person and includes 7-8 different tastings around downtown Kelowna. You’re guaranteed to be stuffed!

As you can see there are lots of options in Kelowna to keep you busy so 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!

32. Kangaroo Creek Farm

A Kangaroo hops around at the The Kangaroo farm in Kelowna!
A Kangaroo hops around at Kangaroo Creek Farm in Kelowna!

Kangaroo Creek Farm is exactly what it sounds like… a farm filled with kangaroos!

I have to be honest though, this isn’t something I was overly keen on doing. I mean, I am from Australia and have seen thousands of Kangaroos before. In fact, we try to avoid them when we’re driving on country roads back home.

However, having Canadian in-laws meant a visit to Kangaroo Creek Farm was certain. For anyone who hasn’t seen a kangaroo before, this is one of the best chances you’ll get outside of Australia.

The drive to the farm from Vernon is around 30 minutes south going towards Kelowna.

The entrance costs $16 CAD for adults and $8 CAD for kids making it one of the cheap things to do in Vernon. The farm is home to many types of kangaroos including small joeys (baby kangaroos). In addition, they also have other types of animals here too including but not limited to a sugar glider, a capybara, a pot-bellied pig, an emu, and a peacock.

Kangaroo Creek Farm is a really unique opportunity and the farm is run by lovely people who really love their kangaroos!

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 for hotels in the area to suit all budgets!

  • 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 not much over $100 CAD a night including breakfast, it’s good value!
  • 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 $165 CAD 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! The best part is that it’s priced well under $200 CAD which I find to be an extremely great value!

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

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!

Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!

If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!

SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. 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!)

It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!

Thanks for reading!

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!

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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

Hey Kasin!

Thas so great to hear. We hope you have an amazing time in Vernon!

Thanks Daniel