Our home town of Penticton has SO much to offer residents and visitors all year round. In truth, this list of 80+ things to do in the Penticton and the southern Okanagan 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 activities in and around Penticton, as tried and tested by us.
For reference, we have now lived in Penticton for 5+ years and hosted many friends and family during that time.
Enjoy your adventures in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan!
First published 2017, updated 2022. This post includes affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. We visited Chute Lake Lodge with the help of Travel Penticton.
Penticton is located on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Syilx people. Some of these activities take place on Penticton Indian Band reserve land.
Must do Penticton activities
I’m going to start this post of the best things to do in Penticton with my absolute five favourite activities.
These are the places we make sure to take every visitor who comes to stay with us, no matter how long they spend in town. The great thing about this ‘must do’ list is that all of the these activities can be done in one day.
Here we go!
Check out the views from Munson Mountain
Visiting Munson Mountain is definitely one of the best things to do in Penticton. Not only does Munson offer incredible views, but it’s easily accessible and also completely FREE!
Munson Mountain is the remains of an extinct volcano and is home to the Penticton sign. The parking lot is only five minutes drive from downtown.
A very short, flat path leads to a spectacular viewpoint overlooking the city and Okanagan Lake. There is a shelter and benches here.
Visitors who want to ascend higher can follow the trail up to the plateau above the Penticton sign. There is one steep section that does have some loose gravel. Panoramic vistas over the Naramata Bench await at the top.
Stroll along Okanagan Lake
The Okanagan Lake promenade provides an ideal introduction to Penticton. Start at the historic SS Sicamous sternwheeler at the western end.
The paved 1km lakeshore path leads along the beach to city’s iconic giant peach structure (also a concession). There are picnic benches and art sculptures located along the way.
For a longer walk, continue following the shore through Rotary Park towards the Kiwanis Walking Pier.
From here, walk through the Penticton Lakeside Resort (past the Barking Parrot patio) to Okanagan Lake Park and the wonderful Ikeda Japanese garden. The red bridge here is actually an old trestle from the days of the Kettle Valley Railway.
On the other side of the garden is Marina Way Park, which features another beautiful (and quieter!) beach. The return distance from the SS Sicamous to Marina Way Park is just under 5km – we walk it at least five times a week.
Visit at least one local brewery or winery
No trip to Penticton would be complete without visiting at least one local brewery or winery…and there are a lot to choose from!
Penticton currently has eight craft breweries, with five located right in the downtown core. All serve food as well as beer, so consider stopping for lunch or some appies before dinner.
The largest concentration of wineries in Canada can be found on the Naramata Bench, just a short drive from downtown Penticton. There are more than 40 wineries along this 20km stretch of elevated strip of agricultural land above Okanagan Lake.
Most wineries offer a tasting flight of wines for $5-15 (though there are a couple that remain free!), often accompanied by spectacular views of the rolling scenery. Consider taking a wine tour.
Dine with a view
With Penticton being situated between two lakes, we’re spoiled for choice for restaurants with gorgeous views! Some upscale examples at Elma, the Hooded Merganser, Sonetto at Play Winery and the Restaurant at Poplar Grove. For something more casual, head to the Barking Parrot or Salty’s.
Relax on the beach
Visiting during the warmer months? You simply must spend an hour or two on the beach. In the heat of the summer, it’s likely that you’ll end up in the water too!
Choose between Okanagan Lake (north side) and Skaha Lake (south side).
Okanagan Lake is much closer to downtown and has restaurants and bars right on the lakeshore. There’s a water park for kids too.
Skaha Lake has a larger, wider beach and is backed by a lush park featuring playgrounds, volleyball courts and two concessions.
It is possible to rent paddleboards and other boats at either beach.
The best things to do in Penticton
Now that I’ve shared my ultimate ‘top 5’ things to do in Penticton, it’s time to list all of the other amazing activities here! You’ll never be at a loss for things to do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan.
Things to do in downtown Penticton
- Visit the Penticton Farmers Market, every Saturday from mid April to late October
- Tour the Community Market (adjacent to the Farmers Market), every Saturday from May to September
- Browse The Bookshop on Penticton’s Main Street, Western Canada’s largest second-hand bookstore
- Shop local, independent retailers in Penticton’s downtown district (Front St and Main St)
- Follow the BC Ale Trail and visit all 8 Penticton craft breweries
- Enjoy the best brunch in town at Loki’s Garage
- Take part in trivia night at Slackwater Brewing, held every Tuesday
- Visit the Penticton Ikeda Japanese Garden (say hi to the koi carp!)
- Take a trip to Penticton Art Gallery on Marina Way
- Play disc golf at the Rotary Marina View course
- Taste fresh, seasonal food at Brodo on Main Street, Penticton
- Stroll along Penticton Creek and watch for salmon (September)
- Choose between over 60+ flavours of ice-cream at Ogo’s or Tickleberry’s on Main Street, Penticton
- Play a couple of games at Meeples and Milkshakes Board Game Café
- See the colours change in local parks in autumn (October)
- Walk the Kettle Valley Railway trail (Vancouver Ave section) to see lake views, vineyards, hops and a railway trestle
- Go on a walking wine tour of the Naramata Bench
- Mountain bike on the Three Blind Mice or Campbell Mountain trails on the Naramata Bench
- Climb some of the 1000+ routes in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park, Penticton
- Not a climber? Go hiking in the Bluffs instead – the views are stunning and you may spot bighorn sheep too
- Rent a canoe, SUP or kayak and paddle Skaha or Okanagan Lake
- Hike to the top of Campbell Mountain (head to the Meat and Potatoes Trail for beautiful views)
- Go alpine fishing for rainbow trout at Nickel Plate Lake
- Rent electric bikes and cycle the Kettle Valley Rail Trail
- Ride the bicycle pump track on the corner of Popular Grove Road on the Naramata Bench
- Hike in the alpine of Beaconsfield (Apex) Mountain
- Hike to the top of the G-Spot Trail for epic views of Okanagan Lake
- Check out the BMX track behind Munson Mountain
Things to do in Penticton in summer
- Float the Penticton Channel between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake
- Play the miniature golf course at Loco Landing Adventure Park
- Pick a lake, pick a beach, swim, sunbathe, paddle, float, repeat
- Go parasailing on Okanagan Lake
- Fish for rainbow trout on Skaha Lake
- Shop at fruit stands on Upper Bench Road and Highway 97
- Hire a boat or jet ski and explore one of the lakes
- Cool down at the Lakawanna Park splash pad (Okanagan Lake)
- Let the kids go wild at the Splash BC (formerly Wibit) inflatable water park on Okanagan Lake
- Visit the latest exhibition at the Penticton Museum and Archives (in the library building)
- Have a go at laser bowling and blacklit mini golf at the Rock n Stones Fun Centre
- Try your luck at the Cascades Casino
- Go back in time at the S.S. Sicamous Museum on Lakeshore Drive, Penticton
- Go climbing at Hoodoo Adventures’ indoor gym on Ellis Street
- Gather a team and try to solve one of the escape rooms at EXIT
- Taste paired cheese and wine at Upper Bench Winery or Poplar Grove Cheese
- Check out the vintage cars at the Penticton Beach Cruise, usually held in late June
- Watch the Canada Day fireworks
- Indulge at the Penticton Ribfest in Skaha Lake Park, usually held in September
- Enjoy live entertainment at Penticton’s Gyro Park, usually every Saturday and Sunday in July and August
- Watch and listen to music and displays at Penticton’s Peachfest in August
- Watch the races at the Dragon Boat Festival on Skaha Lake in September
- Attend a wine festival or event – September/October is harvest time in the vineyards
Things to do in Penticton in 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.
- Downhill ski or snowboard at Apex Mountain Resort, open December to early April
- Glide through the trees on Apex Ski Resort’s ice skating loop
- See the Christmas Eve fireworks and torchlight parade at Apex Mountain Resort
- Go snowshoeing – here are my recommendations where to go!
- Shop at the Winter Indoor Farmer’s Market in Penticton
- Cross-country ski at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre
- See a Penticton Vees hockey game at South Okanagan Events Centre, Penticton
- Snowboard at Baldy Mountain Resort
Things to do beyond Penticton
The following activities are located within 65km of Penticton, perfect for an afternoon excursion or full day adventure.
- Go for a hike to Naramata Creek Falls in Naramata Creek Park
- Cycle (or walk) the KVR Trail to see the historic Little Tunnel
- Take a drive up to historic Chute Lake Lodge – swim in the lake, bike on the KVR or even stay overnight
- Try small batch fruit brandies and liqueurs at Maple Leaf Spirits
- Go on a self-guided tour of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Kaleden
- Discover the legends of Sen’klip (Coyote) at the Nk’mip Cultural Centre in Osoyoos
- Check out even more breweries in Summerland (Giant’s Head Brewing), Oliver (Firehall, Trading Post) and Osoyoos (North Basin)
- Browse unique antiques and collectibles at Ravens Oddities in Okanagan Falls (1040 Main Street, opposite the Fire Hall)
- Prefer cider to beer? Check out Summerland (4 cideries), Oliver (3) or Cawston (2)
- Explore the Osoyoos Desert Centre and learn more about this unique natural area of Canada
- Summit Giant’s Head Mountain in Summerland by foot or road
- Go kayak/canoe camping in Okanagan Mountain Park
- See the spring blossoms at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens
- Spot returning migratory birds in the Vaseux Lake bird hide, just south of Okanagan Falls
- Take a shuttle to Myra Canyon in Kelowna and bike downhill all the way back to Penticton over 17 trestles and through several tunnels
- Go fishing at Yellow Lake between Kaleden and Keremeos
- Hike the scenic Peach Cliff trail in Okanagan Falls
- Ride the Kettle Valley Steam Railway in Summerland
- Enjoy a backcountry base camping experience at Cathedral Provincial Park near Keremeos
- Pick your own fruit in Oliver
- Watch a movie under the stars (Okanagan Falls – August, Penticton – September)
- Go camping at Haynes Point – a natural spit of land in the middle of Osoyoos Lake
- Search for pictographs around Vaseux Lake
- Visit the working 1877 waterwheel at Grist Mill and Gardens in Keremeos
- Hike the McIntyre Bluff (nʕaylintn) trail near Oliver
- Visit the wonder of Spotted Lakes in Osoyoos
- Taste wine and food pairings on Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive during the annual Light Up the Vines event
- Paddle to Rattlesnake Island and discover its fascinating history
- See the fireworks in Summerland (Festival of Lights, November) or Oliver (Christmas Light Up, November)
Looking to book a stay in Penticton?
Penticton Lakeside Resort – Awesome lakefront location on north side of town, within walking distance to beach, shops, entertainment, restaurants, trails
Wesbert Winery and Guest Suites – Upscale B&B rooms with wonderful vineyard views, ideal location for wine touring
Chute Lake Lodge – Great for outdoor adventurers or anyone looking for an escape, historic Chute Lake Lodge is a scenic 45 minute drive from Penticton. It’s located right on the KVR Trail and offers lodge rooms, glamping tents, cabins and campsites. There’s an on-site restaurant too
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