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.
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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).
- Walk the Kettle Valley Railway trail (Vancouver Ave) to see lake views, vineyards, hops and a railway trestle
- Browse The Bookshop on Penticton’s Main Street, Western Canada’s largest second-hand bookstore
- Explore the beautiful Naramata Bench – distilleries, wineries, bistros, beaches
- Go back in time at the S.S. Sicamous Museum on Lakeshore Drive, Penticton
- Follow Penticton’s Ale Trail and visit 5 unique breweries
- Prefer cider to beer? Check out Summerland (3 cideries), Oliver (3) or Cawston (2)
- Go on a self-guided tour of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Kaleden
- Visit the Penticton Ikeda Japanese Garden (say hi to the koi carp!)
- Walk the Okanagan Lake promenade and see the Peach in Rotary Park
- Shop local, independent retailers in Penticton’s downtown (Front St and Main St)
- Get up close and personal with the Penticton sign (and amazing views) at Munson Mountain
- Be transported into a world of miniatures at the Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad
- Go for a hike to Naramata Falls in Naramata Creek Park
- Take a trip to Penticton Art Gallery on Marina Way
- Taste fresh, seasonal food at Craft Corner Kitchen or Brodo on Main Street, Penticton
- Discover the legends of Sen’klip (Coyote) at the Nk’mip Cultural Centre in Osoyoos
- Pick a wine area and go for a tasting – many wineries are open all year round
Things warm up quickly in the Okanagan Valley, take advantage of what is usually BC’s best spring weather and get outside!
- Go on a walking wine tour of the Naramata Bench
- Visit the Penticton Farmers Market and Community Market, every Saturday starting in April
- Explore the Osoyoos Desert Centre, open in mid-April
- Go on an adult Easter egg hunt at Liquidity Winery, Okanagan Falls or Upper Bench Winery and Creamery, Penticton
- Climb some of the 1000+ routes in the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park, Penticton
- Not a climber? Go hiking in the Bluffs instead – the views are stunning and you may spot bighorn sheep toop
- 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
- Hike the scenic Peach Cliff trail in Okanagan Falls
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!
- Pick a lake, pick a beach, swim, sunbathe, paddle, float, repeat
- Watch the Canada Day fireworks – Osoyoos has the biggest display in Canada outside of Ottawa!
- Go on a guided tour of Mascot Mine in Hedley
- Ride the Kettle Valley Steam Railway in Summerland
- Enjoy a backcountry base camping experience at Cathedral Provincial Park near Keremeos
- Float the Penticton Channel between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake
- Shop fruit stands in Keremeos
- Go parasailing on Okanagan Lake
- Watch and listen to music and displays at Penticton’s Peachfest in August
- Go camping at Haynes Point – a natural spit of land in the middle of Osoyoos Lake
- Hike in the alpine of Beaconsfield (Apex) Mountain
- Enjoy live entertainment at Penticton’s Gyro Park, usually every Saturday and Sunday in July and August
- Play disc golf at the Rotary Marina View course in Penticton
- Pick your own fruit in Oliver
- Watch a movie under the stars (Okanagan Falls – August, Penticton – September)
- Eat breakfast with a lakefront view at the Hooded Merganser
- Have a picnic lunch at a winery – Mocojo’s has epic views over Okanagan Lake and the vineyards of Naramata Bench
- Hire a canoe, SUP or kayak and paddle Skaha, Osoyoos or Okanagan Lake
- Search for pictographs around Vaseux Lake
- Choose between over 60 flavours of ice-cream at Ogo’s on Main Street, Penticton
- Go alpine fishing for rainbow trout at Nickel Plate Lake
- Visit the working 1877 waterwheel at Grist Mill and Gardens in Keremeos
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.
- Mountain bike on the Three Blind Mice trails on the Naramata Bench
- Watch the races at the Dragon Boat Festival on Skaha Lake in September
- Visit the wonder of Spotted Lakes in Osoyoos
- Hike the McIntyre Bluff trail near Oliver or Giant’s Head Mountain in Summerland
- Watch a film festival or two – the Banff Mountain Film Festival is in September and the Warren Miller ski show in November
- 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 colours change in local parks
- Attend a wine festival or event – September/October is harvest time in the vineyards
- Play the ‘Haunted Holes’ miniature golf course at Loco Landing Adventure Park
- Go fishing at Yellow Lake between Kaleden and Keremeos
- See the fireworks in Summerland (Festival of Lights, November) or Oliver (Christmas Light Up, November)
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.
- Glide through the trees on Apex Ski Resort’s ice skating loop
- Snowboard at Baldy Mountain Resort
- Climb at Hoodoo Adventures’ indoor gym on Ellis Street
- See the Christmas Eve fireworks and torchlight parade at Apex Mountain Resort
- Snowshoe the Carmi hill trails in Penticton or at Mt Baldy
- Taste paired cheese and wine at Upper Bench Winery – they only close for a few days around Christmas
- Visit the latest exhibition at the Penticton Museum and Archives (in the library building)
- Downhill ski at Apex Mountain Resort
- Shop at the Winter Indoor Farmer’s Market in Penticton
- Cross-country ski at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre
- See a hockey game at South Okanagan Events Centre, Penticton
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
Are your favourite activities on this list? share your suggestions for things to do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan!
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