The Okanagan is a beautiful region of southern British Columbia defined by the basin of Okanagan Lake and encompasses the cities of Kelowna, Penticton, and Vernon.
The valley is made up of majestic mountains and forests, is surrounded by hiking and walking trails, boasts several ski resorts, and is sprinkled with hundreds of wineries.
Whether you’re into rock climbing, hiking, biking or kayaking, you’ll find plenty of amazing spots to get your thrills. And if you’ve got kids in tow, the area also has a ton of cool attractions and activities for families to enjoy.
If you’re considering the Okanagan for your summer getaway, here are 7 super destinations to consider:
1. Okanagan Science Centre – Looking for fun for the whole family in the Okanagan this summer? The Okanagan Science Centre in Vernon offers all kinds of fun and educational exhibits and interactive science displays.
This summer the centre features daily hands-on ocean activities with Think Ocean, where you can learn to code with a riverbot and gobble up garbage. You’ll also explore microplastics in the ocean and their impact on organisms living in the ocean.
The centre has also opened a new interactive exhibit, Arctic Voices, which takes you on a journey through the region, where you’ll make your way through the wildlife in one of the world’s harshest environments.
2. West Kelowna Wine Trail – Discover some of the best wineries in the Okanagan Valley on this tour of five wineries, tasting award-winning wines, and enjoying breathtaking views of Okanagan Lake and the hills and vineyards that surround it.
Possible wineries include Crown & Thieves, Frind, Mt Boucherie, Indigenous World, Black Swift, Quails Gate, The Hatch, Volcanic Hills, Off the Grid and Rollingdale. Brought to you by Metropolis Wine Tours, this is a fun and quirky tour where guests are encouraged to pick a theme and dress up in costumes!
3. Penticton Farmers’ Market – Held in downtown Penticton every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., this market welcomes close to 8,000 visitors and boasts vendors mainly made up of small local farms.
From fresh veggies and fruits to honey, eggs, baking, handmade crafts and preserves, everything is grown or produced in the South Okanagan, and vendors proudly make, bake, or grow everything they sell. The market also hosts a selection of local liquor vendors every week.
All of this makes for a fun place to enjoy the summer sun while you shop, grab a bite from a food truck, and maybe just people watch for a while!
4. Margaret Falls in Herold’s Provincial Park – 15 kilometres west of Salmon Arm just off Highway 1, and nestled on the shores of Shuswap Lake in Herold’s Provincial Park, this incredibly beautiful waterfall is a must-see.
This family-friendly 20-minute hike through an amazingly scenic canyon filled with lush, vibrant old-growth trees that feed off the moisture given off by the falls can be enjoyed by anyone.
You’ll walk over several wooden bridges as you take in the stunning canyon with its sheer cliff walls towering overhead. A nature lover’s dream without having to do anything too extreme!
5. Historic O’keefe Ranch – Located just north of Vernon, this ranch lets you take a step back in time to learn about the old west and the history of the region, including the story of ranching in B.C. Events coming up at the ranch this summer include a cowboy poetry and music festival, a vintage tractor pull, local bands on Saturday nights, and more fun on Canada Day, and Family Days! The ranch also hosts different types of events including weddings at St. Annes Church, and for something quirky they have goat yoga June 22!
6. Echo Lake Provincial Park – Located southeast of Lumby in the North Okanagan Valley, Echo Lake is a hidden secret of the region, and is known for the great echo that gives the lake its name.
Known for its beautiful clear turquoise water and has excellent fishing, it’s a perfect destination for anyone who’s into kayaking, paddling or canoeing.
If you’re looking for a great place to stay while you visit, two resorts are situated at either end of the lake. You can rent a campsite or rustic cabin at Echo Lake Resort where they rent boats and canoes, or you can stay at Cozy Cabins Nature Resort where you can let your kids unplug and explore the forest, rope swing over their private lake, use the free rowboats, or even go for a wagon ride!
7. Myra Canyon Adventure Park – This adventure park, situated right above Kelowna and below the famous Myra Canyon trestles, has something for everyone.
This outdoor high ropes and zip line park, nestled in the beautiful wilderness of Myra Canyon offers a variety of exciting activities for ages 3+, including aerial courses and kinder zip lines, slacklines, balance boards, swings, and a netted climbing course.
They host all types of events, including birthday parties, corporate and team building activities, and they even offer training and tours on off-road Segways!
An admission ticket gets you unlimited fun for the entire day, and you can book a picnic site and barbecue with propane included.
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