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5 Unique Things To Do in Penticton, BC

Did you know that Penticton is one of very few towns in the world located between two lakes? The most famous is Interlaken in Switzerland. After learning this, I had a little think about what else makes the small town of Penticton (my home for over two years) so special.

Read on to discover the top five unique things you must do in Penticton, British Columbia. 

View of Penticton from the KVR Trail
Penticton, BC, as seen from the KVR Trail

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Planning a trip to Penticton? You may find these other posts helpful:

74 Things to Do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan

The Perfect Itinerary for a Summer Weekend in Penticton

11 Fast and Fun Hikes in Penticton, BC

A pink and blue sunset on Okanagan Lake, Penticton
Sunset on Okanagan Lake

Walking wine tours on the Naramata Bench

Located in the heart of the Okanagan wine country, Penticton has over 100 wineries within an hour’s drive. The highest concentration of wineries and vineyards is just a short cycle northeast from downtown on the Naramata Bench.

The wineries here are generally small-scale, independent businesses, typically producing 2000-15,000 cases a year. The compact size of the vineyards means it is actually possible to visit a handful of wineries within just a few kilometres of walking or cycling!

Having visited some more famous wine regions around the world (I’m looking at you Marlborough and Margaret River), I know this is definitely unusual!

Hand holding up glass of wine in front of vineyard and lake views on the Naramata Bench
The Naramata Bench is home to 40+ boutique wineries
The views from the Naramata Bench wineries are often incredible!

Visit the Penticton sign

I don’t know about you, but the only other place I know with a giant sign stating the area’s name is Hollywood. Munson Mountain, above Okanagan Lake, is home to the highly visible Penticton sign. It was originally built with thousands of white pebbles by the Board of Trade in 1937.

A few decades ago, the pebbles were replaced by concrete and silica. You can see the letters (up close and personal!) via a short walk from the Munson Mountain parking lot. I’m not sure that it’s so easy in Hollywood…

View of Penticton sign from Okanagan Lake
The Penticton sign above Okanagan Lake
Close up of white Penticton sign on side of Munson Mountain
Close up of the Penticton sign

Floating the Channel

Drifting down a slow river on a plastic floating device (a ‘floatie’) is a pretty common part of any summer in British Columbia. Penticton, however, is home to what must be the laziest river of them all!

Created in the 1950’s to control water flow between Okanagan and Skaha lakes, the River Channel hosts the province’s biggest floating party every summer.

The slow, shallow river is the perfect place to relax, listen to music, drink, chat and sunbathe. There’s even an Elvis impersonator who pops up at the half-way point. Depending on the time of year, it takes about 2-3 hours to drift the full 7km length.

Water level view of people sitting in inflatable tubes floating down Penticton Channel, one of the most unique things to do in Penticton
Floating the Penticton Channel

Six craft breweries

Not just a town for wine lovers, Penticton is something of a craft beer mecca. Lonely Planet recently named it as “Canada’s Craft Beer Capital.”

Penticton, a relatively small town with a year-round population of 32,000, has a total of six breweries! To save you doing the maths, that’s one brewery for every 5,333 people.

Three breweries are located in the downtown core, just a few blocks from each other. Another downtown brewery is due to open in autumn 2020.

Cannery Brewing beer flight with popcorn in Penticton
Tasting beer at Cannery Brewing

World class climbing

The world-renowned climbing destination of Skaha Bluffs is hidden in the hills just south of Penticton. Three parallel canyons offer over a thousand climbing routes to visitors. The Bluffs may be every sport climber’s heaven, but some traditional climbing is possible here too.

The consistently dry conditions in the Bluffs provide almost all-year-round climbing opportunities that other Western Canadian climbing destinations (Squamish, Bugaboos et al) simply cannot. Best of all, the Bluffs are easily accessible and completely free to visit.

Climbers ascend rockface in Skaha Bluffs, Penticton
Climbing at Skaha Bluffs, one of the best places to climb in Canada

Looking to book a stay in Penticton?

Lakeside Villa Inn and Suites – Great value 

Penticton Lakeside Resort – Awesome location

House Victoria Bed and Breakfast – Highly rated on Booking.com

If you’d like to stay in a unique place during your Penticton visit, consider Chute Lake Lodge. This historic property is located right on the Kettle Valley Railway Trail. As well as lodge rooms and cabins, there are glamping tents, campsites and a cosy bar/restaurant. Not only can you bike right from the property, but you can also go fishing, swimming and paddling.

Looking from the bed outside in one of Chute Lake Lodge's Glamping tents, with wood stove and chairs on deck
One of the glamping tents at Chute Lake Lodge

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Penticton is one of the only towns in the world located between two lakes. The other is Interlaken in Switzerland. After learning this, I had a little think about what else makes the small town of Penticton (my home for over two years) so special. Read on to discover the top five unique things you must do in Penticton, British Columbia. offtracktravel.ca
Did you know that Penticton is one of the only towns in the world located between two lakes? Here are five other awesome unique attractions in Penticton, British Columbia that will definitely entice you to visit! offtracktravel.ca

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kira

Tuesday 3rd of October 2017

Hey there, My name is Kira and I am a student graduating my last year this year. I live in Ontario but I am compelled to move out West. I have quite a few friends that live in Penticton and I will be moving there with my boyfriend next September. I was just wondering if you have any advice for what to do for my first year in BC, should I rent a house with a few friends, or rent a single bedroom apartment? I am also looking into working for charities doing Project Coordination work. I've been on several jobs sights but I find that I get the best answers from people who live there. Do you know of any small organizations that I could check out?

Any kind of response is greatly appreciated, Thank-you! Kira Kaj

Gemma

Tuesday 3rd of October 2017

Hi Kira! Wow, that's a big move! It's great you already know some people here. If you did not already have some contacts here, I would have definitely recommended renting a room in a house so you'd be able to meet people easier. There's not a huge amount of 'young' people here (under 40 or so!) so living with other people would certainly help your social life ;) Another piece of advice I can give you is the rental market in Penticton has really blown up in the last few years, especially for one or two bedroom apartments. So be prepared to have to look around for a while. With the charity work, it is, unfortunately, something I really don't know about at all. If you like the outdoors though, you should check out Hoodoo Adventures.