You’ve been dreaming of an amazing summer getaway, and British Columbia’s stunning South Okanagan region is calling your name. With stunning lakes, world-class wineries, farm-to-table cuisine, and outdoor adventures galore, the Okanagan Valley has something for everyone.
Before you start planning your road trip and packing your bags, here are a few tips for travelling in Okanagan. By following these guidelines, you’ll do your part to protect the natural beauty and resources in the Okanagan and have an unforgettable vacation you can feel good about. Get ready for the trip of a lifetime!
The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia
One area of British Columbia, Canada, that sets itself apart from all other Canadian travel destinations is the Okanagan Valley. This particular singularity, of which I speak, is typified by hot, dry weather that verges on desert conditions. There are sand desert regions, hoodoos, bluffs, and dry grasslands in the South Okanagan.
Heading north into the Shuswap or east towards the Kootenays, you'll find a somewhat colder and rainier continental climate with fewer arid regions, some pine woods, and even deep green rainforests. Travellers from near and far may visit this produce-growing paradise to enjoy the numerous varieties of fruits, vegetables, and fine wines that are abundant during the summer.
With all of Okanagan's wonderful qualities, it's no surprise that a large number of travelers choose to vacation there each summer. The Okanagan receives so many visitors that in 2019 the valley had over 11.4 million overnight stays, with 1.9 million of those coming from outside the country.
Planning Your Trip to the Okanagan Valley
When planning your trip to the stunning South Okanagan, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, book your accommodation in advance, especially if traveling during peak summer months. The Okanagan has over 200 hotels, motels, resorts and campgrounds to choose from at a range of prices. Some great Osoyoos hotels with pools are the Best Hotel Osoyoos or Coast Osoyoos Beach Hotel.
Second, make sure you have a valid passport if entering from the U.S. and allow extra time at the border, which can have long wait times, especially on weekends. Consider crossing during off-peak hours if possible.
The best way to explore the Okanagan is by car. Rent a vehicle to visit wineries, golf courses, hiking trails and all the attractions at your own pace. Drive the scenic road from Osoyoos to Penticton for stunning lake vistas. If wine tasting, use a shuttle or tour service so you can sample without worrying about driving.
Cycling is also popular, with routes like the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Rent bikes or join a guided tour. Public transit and taxis can get you between towns and cities.
Things to Do
With 300 days of sunshine each year, outdoor activities abound. Go boating, swimming or beachcombing along 85 miles of shoreline. Check out world-class golf Osoyoos courses, like Gallagher's Canyon. The region has 200 wineries producing award-winning wines. Take a tour and enjoy tastings at vineyards like Tinhorn Creek, Jackson-Triggs or Nk'Mip Cellars.
Rich in culture, visit the Osoyoos Desert Center, Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Center or Penticton's Leir House Museum. Take in a show at the Frank Venables Theater or Penticton Peach Festival. With stunning scenery, sunny weather and so much to experience, the Okanagan Valley is a perfect getaway. Follow these tips and you'll have an amazing, responsible holiday.
Top Things to Do in Osoyoos and the South Okanagan
The South Okanagan is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Here are a few of the best activities to do when visiting this breathtaking area.
Find the Finest Wineries
There are more than 200 wineries in the Okanagan Valley, which is well known for them. Within a fifteen-minute drive, there are over a dozen wineries in Osoyoos alone. Enjoy a day in the vineyards sipping their award-winning ice wines, Chardonnays, and Merlots. Two of the vineyards that are a must-see are Moon Curser Vineyards, which is well-known for its powerful red blends, and Nk'Mip Cellars, which is the first Aboriginal-owned and -operated winery in North America.
Step Your Feet into the Water
Osoyoos Lake is perfect for water activities because of its hot, dry summers and more than 2,000 hours of sunshine annually. You may hire boats, jet skis, paddleboards, and kayaks to spend a leisurely afternoon at the lake. If you're feeling adventurous, try kiteboarding or windsurfing. These sports are perfect because of the lake's shallow, warm waters and consistent winds.
Take to the Trails for Hiking
Because of its beautiful landscape, the South Okanagan offers excellent hiking opportunities. Discover the Okanagan Highlands' paths, such as the 5-kilometer Coyote Crush route, which provides panoramic views of the valley. The Osoyoos Desert Center features informative trails that delve into the unique desert ecosystem. Walk a portion of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, which follows a historic railway and travels through the beautiful rural landscape. You'll find a path that works for you regardless of your ability level.
There is something for everyone to do in the South Okanagan, whether it is hiking through the woods, visiting vineyards, or lounging by the lake. Make the most of this special place in a responsible, sustainable, and safe way by following these guidelines. The trip will be one you won't soon forget due to the amazing scenery and constant sunlight.
Golfing at Osoyoos' Premier Courses
Osoyoos is a top golf destination because of its breathtaking desert landscape and more than 300 sunny days each year. Here are some of the best courses in the Okanagan Valley, catering to every ability level.
Desert Gold Golf Course
This championship 18-hole course winds through sagebrush, rolling hills, and wetlands with stunning lake vistas. As the only fully public course in Osoyoos, it’s popular yet still affordable. The front nine holes have more elevation changes, while the back nine cruise along the lake. With five sets of tees, you can choose the perfect challenge for your game.
Osoyoos Golf Club
Established in 1926, this semi-private club is one of the oldest in BC. The historic 18-hole course has lush fairways lined with mature trees, as well as scenic lake views. While memberships are available, they do offer public tee times if you want to experience a classic Okanagan course. The restaurant and lounge overlooking the final hole are perfect spots for a post-game drink.
Fairview Mountain Golf Club
Just 15 minutes east of Osoyoos, this course’s elevated tees provide panoramic vistas of the valley. The 18-hole championship track winds through natural sagebrush and wetlands with abundant wildlife. With slope ratings from 122 to 139, it offers a fun yet challenging game for golfers of all abilities. The new clubhouse and restaurant have quickly become a popular spot, even for non-golfers.
With spectacular scenery and courses for players of all levels, the South Okanagan is a premier golf getaway destination. Tee up at one of the top courses in Osoyoos for a perfect day enjoying the weather, views and your favorite game. Whether you’re a scratch golfer or just starting out, there are options to suit your skills and budget. Grab your clubs and come experience golf in paradise.
Responsible Tips for Travelling in Okanagan Region
As a responsible traveler, there are some important tips to keep in mind when visiting the Okanagan region. Following these guidelines will help ensure you have an enjoyable trip while respecting the local communities and environment.
Choose sustainable accommodation
Look for hotels in Osoyoos that promote eco-friendly practices. Options include obtaining locally grown food, reducing waste, and utilizing energy-efficient equipment. In Osoyoos, Best Western Plus, Coast Osoyoos Beach Hotel, and Super 8 by Wyndham are a few great sustainable choices.
Encourage regional companies
There are many locally owned companies in the Okanagan, ranging from restaurants and retail stores to vineyards and orchards. Plan ahead and conduct some study before visiting locations that support the regional economy. Instead of purchasing imported souvenirs, purchase locally produced stuff.
Honour natural regions and wildlife
One of the things that draws people to the Okanagan so much is its natural beauty. Remember to properly dispose of rubbish and leave natural places in their original state. Allow lots of room for wildlife, refrain from feeding the animals, and heed any signs indicating closures to preserve habitat. There may be heavy penalties for breaking these guidelines.
Select environmentally sustainable modes of transportation
Once you're in the Okanagan, think about using public transportation, biking, or walking as more environmentally friendly modes of transportation than your car. Numerous resorts, vineyards, and downtown regions are excellent places to cycle or stroll. When driving, make every effort to carpool.
Learn about local First Nations
The Okanagan Valley is the traditional territory of the Syilx (Okanagan) people. Take time to learn about the history and culture of the Syilx Nation. Visit local museums like the Osoyoos Desert Center, NK’Mip Desert Cultural Center, and Nk’Mip Cellars which showcase Syilx culture and history. Showing respect for indigenous communities is an important part of responsible travel.
Three Days in the South Okanagan: A Guide
Most of us are able to schedule a three-day vacation. Even if it's short, it's enough time to unwind, gain a fresh perspective on life, and forget about work and everything else that occupies your daily schedule. The three-day plan that is described will take you to many of the South Okanagan's attractions, but it won't cover everything.
Arrive in Penticton late in the day by plane. Visit Cannery Brewing to learn more about the city's brewing culture. Savor supper at one of the eateries on the strip, such as Cambo Beach, Salty's Beach House, Elma, or Socialđ.
On the first morning in the South Okanagan, we went to Wayne & Freda's for breakfast. After that, head to Poplar Grove Cheese for a wine and cheese tasting, Abandoned Rail Brew Co. for a drink or slushie, Kettle Valley Railway for a bike ride, and Elma for supper.
After breakfast at The Bench Market, go on a kayaking excursion on Vaseux Lake on your second day in the South Okanagan. After that, take a farm tour at Covert Farms Family Estate, which is followed by a wine tasting and a local charcuterie platter. In Naramata, have supper at The Restaurant at Naramata Inn and explore the District Wine Village.
Day 3 in Summerland: Cycle a portion of the Kettle Valley Railway in Summerland after eating breakfast at Loki's Garage in Penticton. Get ready and travel to the airport in time for your afternoon departure back home.
Also read: Benefits Of Having Swimming Pools At Hotels
What is there to do in the Okanagan?
The Okanagan offers a wide variety of summer and wintertime activities. Many summertime activities in the region include the water because there are so many stunning lakes in the vicinity. Okanagan Lake, which connects several towns and cities across a distance of 135 km (85 mi), serves as the region's central core.
In the summer, the lake is crowded with speed boats from the popular water sports and fishing industries. Activities like SUP paddle boarding and kayaking are becoming more and more popular since there are so many lakes.
There is an abundance of snowboarding and skiing that can be done in the winter. The skiing areas in Osoyoos have charming communities with a laid-back, alpine feel that are furnished with opulent hotels, condo and cabin rentals, dining options, and bars.
Wineries & Tours for Wine Tasting
This well-known location's dry environment produces some of the greatest wine in the world, and it is proud to be home to over 183 licensed wineries. As a result, there are plenty of top-notch wine tasting excursions available.
Many tourists and travel experts have likened the Okanagan to places like Tuscany in Italy or the Napa Valley in California due to the region's climate and scenery, despite the fact that both are beautiful places in their own right. However, it may be claimed that the Okanagan Valley is unique given all of its resources (50 lakes).
Accommodations in the Okanagan
There are many lodging options available in the Okanagan Valley because it is a tourist destination. As a well-liked family vacation spot, the Okanagan can get pricey when it comes to lodging, particularly during the summer. It's often more cost-effective to arrange a vacation rental through a website like Best Western, so you might want to give it some thought.
Nonetheless, there is something to fit any budget, so it shouldn't be too hard to locate what you need. If you decide to book at the last minute, you may find it difficult to get into the valley. Therefore, it is strongly advised to reserve in advance.
The Best Western PLUS Osoyoos Hotel & Suites, a TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice property, offers contemporary conveniences together with southwestern charm and flair to provide a pleasant and enjoyable stay.
Nestled in the heart of the stunning Southern Okanagan Valley, a place rich in culture and breathtaking natural beauty, we are positioned on the shores of Osoyoos Lake, which also happens to be the hottest lake in Canada.
The 66 tastefully furnished, completely non-smoking guest rooms and suites at our hotel range from Standard Deluxe Queen rooms to King Kitchenette Suites and fully furnished One Bedroom Suites.
So there you have it, a few tips to keep in mind for your next trip to the South Okanagan and British Columbia. Remember to be fire smart, practice bear safety, and do your part to Leave No Trace. Support the local businesses and enjoy the delicious food, wine, and craft beer.
Take time to unwind by the lake, go for a hike, or play a round of golf. Most importantly, be kind to others and embrace the laid-back vibe. The Okanagan has so much natural beauty to offer, so get out there and explore, but do so responsibly. Have a great trip!
1. Do I need a rental car to travel to Osoyoos?
While the towns of Osoyoos, Oliver, and Penticton do have public transit options, the South Okanagan’s attractions are spread out over a large area. Renting a car will allow you to explore at your own pace. Most major rental companies have locations at airports in Kelowna, Penticton, and Osoyoos.
2. What is the Osoyoos weather like?
The Okanagan has a semi-arid climate with hot, dry summers and short, mild winters. Summers are typically very warm, ranging from 77 to 86 F (25 to 30 C). Little precipitation falls between June and September. Winters are cool with daytime highs of 32 to 39 F (0 to 4 C) and nighttime lows sometimes dropping below freezing. Most rain and snow fall between October and March. The shoulder months of April-May and September-October can also be lovely times to visit with smaller crowds and comfortable temperatures.
3. Where should I stay in Osoyoos?
There are many Osoyoos accommodation options, from luxury resorts with golf courses and pools to budget-friendly motels and campgrounds. The towns of Osoyoos, Oliver, and Penticton have the largest variety of hotels, motels, and vacation rentals. Options along Okanagan Lake include beachfront resorts, cabins, and RV parks. The mountain village of Naramata also has secluded inns, B&B’s and vacation rentals with stunning vineyard and lake views.
4. What is there to do in the South Okanagan?
The South Okanagan offers a wide range of recreational activities. You can go boating, swimming or beachcombing along the shores of Okanagan Lake, taste award-winning wines at over 100 wineries, hike scenic trails in the surrounding mountains, play golf at championship courses, or check out the local food, art, and cultural scene in the towns and villages. There’s really something for everyone in this four-season playground.
5. How do I get to the South Okanagan?
The South Okanagan is located in the southern interior of British Columbia, about a 4 to 5 hour drive east of Vancouver. The closest airports are in Penticton (YPP) and Kelowna (YLW) which offer flights from major Canadian cities. Many visitors drive to the South Okanagan, while others fly into Kelowna or Penticton and rent a car to explore the region. Shuttle services and taxis can also transport you between the airports, towns and accommodations.