British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley has a lot to offer residents and visitors all year round. In truth, this list of 73 great things to do in the area barely scratches the surface! Consider it a taster or maybe even a bucket list, here’s my complete guide to what I think to be the best things to do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan based on 2.5 years of living here and hosting A LOT of visitors over that time. Enjoy your adventures in the Southern Okanagan!

NOTE: Some of the ‘seasonal’ activities listed below can be done in more than one season but not quite year round. In this case, I have simply listed them in what I think to be the most favourable season. Paddling on the lakes is great from spring to fall but my personal preference for the trip to Rattlesnake Island is autumn for calm conditions, lack of traffic on the water and beautiful autumn colours.

Paddling on Okanagan Lake - just one of the many things to do in Penticton and the Southern OkanaganHiking McIntyre Bluff - just one of the many things to do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan

Things to do in Penticton and the southern Okanagan all year round

No matter the season, the following activities can be done all year round (subject to business opening days and hours).

  1. Walk the Kettle Valley Railway trail (Vancouver Ave) to see lake views, vineyards, hops and a railway trestle
  2. Browse The Bookshop on Penticton’s Main Street, Western Canada’s largest second-hand bookstore
  3. Explore the beautiful Naramata Bench – distilleries, wineries, bistros, beaches
  4. Go back in time at the S.S. Sicamous Museum on Lakeshore Drive, Penticton
  5. Follow Penticton’s Ale Trail and visit 5 unique breweries
  6. Prefer cider to beer? Check out Summerland (3 cideries), Oliver (3) or Cawston (2)
  7. Go on a self-guided tour of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Kaleden
  8. Visit the Penticton Ikeda Japanese Garden (say hi to the koi carp!)
  9. Walk the Okanagan Lake promenade and see the Peach in Rotary Park
  10. Shop local, independent retailers in Penticton’s downtown (Front St and Main St)
  11. Get up close and personal with the Penticton sign (and amazing views) at Munson Mountain
  12. Be transported into a world of miniatures at the Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad
  13. Go for a hike to Naramata Falls in Naramata Creek Park
  14. Take a trip to Penticton Art Gallery on Marina Way
  15. Taste fresh, seasonal food at Craft Corner Kitchen or Brodo on Main Street, Penticton
  16. Discover the legends of Sen’klip (Coyote) at the Nk’mip Cultural Centre in Osoyoos
  17. Pick a wine area and go for a tasting – many wineries are open all year round

Walking the KVR trail - just one of the many things to do in Penticton and the Southern OkanaganVisiting wineries - just one of the many things to do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan

Spring

Things warm up quickly in the Okanagan Valley, take advantage of what is usually BC’s best spring weather and get outside!

  1. Go on a walking wine tour of the Naramata Bench
  2. Visit the Penticton Farmers Market and Community Market, every Saturday starting in April
  3. Explore the Osoyoos Desert Centre, open in mid-April
  4. Go on an adult Easter egg hunt at Liquidity Winery, Okanagan Falls
  5. Climb some of the 1000+ routes in the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park, Penticton
  6. Not a climber? Go hiking in the Bluffs instead – the views are stunning and you may spot bighorn sheep toop
  7. Go kayak/canoe camping in Okanagan Mountain Park
  8. See the spring blossoms at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens
  9. Spot returning migratory birds in the Vaseux Lake bird hide, just south of Okanagan Falls
  10. Take a shuttle to Myra Canyon in Kelowna and bike downhill all the way back to Penticton over 17 trestles and through several tunnels
  11. Hike the scenic Peach Cliff trail in Okanagan Falls

Climbing in Skaha Bluffs - just one of the many things to do in Penticton and the Southern OkanaganPenticton Farmers Market - just one of the many things to do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan

Summer

The heat, the shimmering lakes, the flourishing fruit trees and vineyards, the golden colours on the hills and mountains beyond. Summers here are blissful. You’ll never be at a loss for things to do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan!

  1. Pick a lake, pick a beach, swim, sunbathe, paddle, float, repeat
  2. Watch the Canada Day fireworks – Osoyoos has the biggest display in Canada outside of Ottawa!
  3. Go on a guided tour of Mascot Mine in Hedley
  4. Ride the Kettle Valley Steam Railway in Summerland
  5. Enjoy a backcountry base camping experience at Cathedral Provincial Park near Keremeos
  6. Float the Penticton Channel between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake
  7. Shop fruit stands in Keremeos
  8. Go parasailing on Okanagan Lake
  9. Watch and listen to music and displays at Penticton’s Peachfest in August
  10. Go camping at Haynes Point – a natural spit of land in the middle of Osoyoos Lake
  11. Hike in the alpine of Beaconsfield (Apex) Mountain
  12. Enjoy live entertainment at Penticton’s Gyro Park, usually every Saturday and Sunday in July and August
  13. Play disc golf at the Rotary Marina View course in Penticton
  14. Pick your own fruit in Oliver
  15. Watch a movie under the stars (Okanagan Falls – August, Penticton – September)
  16. Eat breakfast with a lakefront view at the Hooded Merganser
  17. Have a picnic lunch at a winery – Mocojo’s has epic views over Okanagan Lake and the vineyards of Naramata Bench
  18. Hire a canoe, SUP or kayak and paddle Skaha, Osoyoos or Okanagan Lake
  19. Search for pictographs around Vaseux Lake
  20. Choose between over 60 flavours of ice-cream at Ogo’s on Main Street, Penticton
  21. Go alpine fishing for rainbow trout at Nickel Plate Lake
  22. Visit the working 1877 waterwheel at Grist Mill and Gardens in Keremeos

Have breakfast with a view at the Hooded Merganser - just one of the many things to do in Penticton and the Southern OkanaganBackcountry hiking and camping in Cathedral Provincial Park just one of the many things to do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan

Autumn

Plenty of clear days with cooler temperatures offer lots of opportunities to get out and explore the changing autumn colours in the valley. Autumn is also a busy time for local events.

  1. Mountain bike on the Three Blind Mice trails on the Naramata Bench
  2. Watch the races at the Dragon Boat Festival on Skaha Lake in September
  3. Visit the wonder of Spotted Lakes in Osoyoos
  4. Hike the McIntyre Bluff trail near Oliver or Giant’s Head Mountain in Summerland
  5. Watch a film festival or two – the Banff Mountain Film Festival is in September and the Warren Miller ski show in November
  6. Taste wine and food pairings on Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive during the annual Light Up the Vines event
  7. Paddle to Rattlesnake Island and discover its fascinating history
  8. See the colours change in local parks
  9. Attend a wine festival or event – September/October is harvest time in the vineyards
  10. Play the ‘Haunted Holes’ miniature golf course at Loco Landing Adventure Park
  11. Go fishing at Yellow Lake between Kaleden and Keremeos
  12. See the fireworks in Summerland (Festival of Lights, November) or Oliver (Christmas Light Up, November)

Spotted Lake - just one of the many things to do in Penticton and the Southern OkanaganPaddling to Rattlesnake Island - just one of the many things to do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan

Winter

With fairly mild temperatures and a low amount of snow (for Canada!), winter is not necessarily a time for hibernation in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan region.

  1. Glide through the trees on Apex Ski Resort’s ice skating loop
  2. Snowboard at Baldy Mountain Resort
  3. Climb at Hoodoo Adventures’ indoor gym on Ellis Street
  4. See the Christmas Eve fireworks and torchlight parade at Apex Mountain Resort
  5. Snowshoe the Carmi hill trails in Penticton or at Mt Baldy
  6. Taste paired cheese and wine at Upper Bench Winery – they only close for a few days around Christmas
  7. Visit the latest exhibition at the Penticton and Archives (in the library building)
  8. Downhill ski at Apex Mountain Resort
  9. Shop at the Winter Indoor Farmer’s Market in Penticton
  10. Cross-country ski at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre
  11. See a hockey game at South Okanagan Events Centre, Penticton

Winter in Penticton, view from the KVR trail

Gliding through the trees on Apex's ice skating loop - just one of the many things to do in Penticton and the Southern OkanaganRead these articles next:
A Perfect Summer Weekend in Penticton
5 Unique Things To Do in Penticton
Just Beyond the Beaten Path Okanagan Valley Road Trip

Are your favourite activities on this list? share your suggestions for things to do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan!

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Gemma
Author

One half of a Canadian/British couple currently living in Penticton, British Columbia. Gemma is happiest with a paddle in her hand, on the trail or planning the next big adventure.

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