Penticton may just be the ultimate summer getaway town in British Columbia. With two glittering lakes, dozen of sandy beaches, hot sun, endless vineyards and views to die for, it’s a hedonist’s dream.
And after three summers here, plenty of guests and a whole lot of exploring, I think we’ve found the best Penticton has to offer. Here’s our itinerary for the perfect summer weekend in Penticton, British Columbia.
Day 1 – Lakeside wanderings and local craft beer
An evening stroll along Lakeshore Drive is a great introduction to your weekend in Penticton. Check out the S.S Sicamous and Rose Garden at the western end before returning to the downtown core.
Drinks are waiting at Cannery Brewing on Ellis St. This laid-back tap room (and patio) offers a wide selection of craft beer alongside the best nachos in town. New for 2020, the Backyard is an additional, casual outdoor space with rotating food trucks.
After the Cannery closes, head a few blocks over to Slackwater Brewing. This stylish spot is open a little later (except on Sundays) and often features live music on weekends.
Day 2 – A celebration of wine and food
Start your day with the Penticton Farmers’ and Community Market, starting at 8.30am. Spanning four downtown blocks, this market is one of the biggest in BC (2020 update – the Farmer’s side of the market is OPEN but with reduced vendors). Be sure to take a hat or sunscreen; it gets hot here early!
If you’re a coffee lover, head to nearby Wayne & Freda or Seis Cielo for a brew. Hungry? Consider picking up something at the market or head to Loki’s Garage for late breakfast or brunch (more info below).
Saturday afternoons are for wine tasting. Just a short distance uphill from downtown is the start of the Naramata Bench, an area nicknamed ‘Napa of the north.’ Here, you can drive, cycle or even walk between 40+ wineries on a self-guided tour.
Lunch is taken on one of the many winery patios or lawns. For the ultimate in Naramata Bench experiences, picnic at Poplar Grove Cheese with a bottle of Lock and Worth wine and a round of Okanagan Double Cream Camembert (2020 update – some picnic area and winery restaurants are closed, others have reduced capacity. Check in advance).
For your post-wine tour dinner, my top picks are:
- Time Winery & Kitchen – upscale downtown dining experience with elevated Canadian classics
- Bad Tattoo – the most inventive and tasty pizza in town! JR and I usually share the large size with different toppings on each half
- Elma – Turkish inspired dishes designed to share in airy lakefront building
- Play Estate Winery & Bistro – farm-to-table cuisine served on sunny patio with incredible panoramas of Skaha Lake
Day 3 – Lazy brunch and beach time
Today is a relaxed day, designed to make the most of the sun. It starts with brunch. My recommendations are:
- Loki’s Garage – the best Eggs Benny in town plus home made pastrami and focaccia
- Hooded Merganser – well executed brunch classics with epic views of Okanagan Lake (2020 update – not currently open for brunch at this time)
- The Nest – Canadian classics with a twist, made with local ingredients
Be sure to stay close to the water for the rest of your time in town, whether that means some quality beach time (with a dozen local options to choose from!), a little paddle boarding or a lazy float down the Penticton Channel.
If you feel like being more active, take a walk on the KVR from Vancouver Place to McCullough Trestle. It’s a 5km return easy stroll lined with vineyards, offering spectacular views of Okanagan Lake and Penticton. You can also rent bikes downtown, if preferred.
Before you depart, take a trip the top of Munson Mountain. The parking lot is just a quick drive from town.
Aside from being the home of the Penticton sign, Munson also offers panoramic views across both lakes, Summerland and the mountains beyond.
It’s a final look of paradise before you return home! (Also a good chance to pick up any wine you may have forgotten to buy the day before…)
Other things to do in Penticton
Here are some more ideas for your weekend stay in Penticton:
- Cycling the KVR on e-bikes
- Touring all six (soon to be seven) local breweries
- Rock climbing at Skaha Bluffs, one of Canada’s best climbing areas
- Kayaking on Okanagan or Skaha Lake
- Shop BC’s largest book store, the Bookshop on Main Street
- Visiting distilleries and cideries on the Naramata Bench
- Tour Penticton’s impressive collection of downtown street art
- Play mini-golf at Loco Landing, near Okanagan Lake
- Check out colourful Front Street, with a choice of independent stores to browse
- Hiking Campbell Mountain (other suggested local hikes here)
- Explore the inside of the S.S. Sicamous, one of BC’s last surviving sternwheelers
Where to stay for your weekend in Penticton
Penticton Lakeside Resort – Stay in the middle of all the action! The Lakeside Resort is located on the shore of Okanagan Lake, just one block from downtown Penticton. The all new ‘West Wing’ is a beautiful timber constructed building with high ceilings, stylish furnishings and amazing views
E’Laysa Guesthouse and Vineyard Retreat – Gorgeous property on the Naramata Bench, very close to the KVR Trail. A full breakfast is included with every stay
Casa Grande Inn – Highly rated B&B situated just across the road from Okanagan Lake with large outdoor patio and comfortable rooms