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50+ Best Things to Do in Vernon: Ultimate Guide

Set into rolling grasslands, bordered by three lakes and backdropped by mountains, Vernon is surrounded by stunning scenery.

This bountiful area is not only pretty, but also FULL of fun things to do. But if you speed in and out of Vernon on Highway 97, you may not see much of this.

This busy road passes right through the middle of Vernon’s commercial district and those who do not make the effort to stop are likely to completely miss everything this area has to offer!

Elevated view from Middleton Mountain looking down at housing estate and Kalamalka Lake below
One of the panoramic views from the Middleton Mountain trail, Vernon

Being Okanagan Valley locals, we were also guilty of this until 2020.

The pandemic pushed us to explore more local places and we discovered just how much there is to do in Vernon! We have now visited in all four seasons and I can confirm that Vernon is a year round destination.

This post, part of our Vernon series, showcases the very best that this city has to offer. It includes our favourite activities as well as the best places to eat and top picks for places to stay.

I hope it will prove useful for trip planning and also for anyone already visiting and looking for fun things to do in Vernon, BC.

Last updated March 2023. We visited Vernon in 2020, 2021 and 2022 as guests of Tourism Vernon and have also travelled independently in the area.

Street view of downtown Vernon with parked cars, shops, trees and orange downtown sign
Downtown Vernon

A quick introduction to Vernon

Vernon is a city in the Okanagan Valley region of British Columbia, Canada. The population of Greater Vernon (including Coldstream) is around 60,000.

The first name given to the location by the Syeelhwh Nation was NintleMoosChin, which refers to “jumping over place where the creek narrows.”

Vernon is located on the traditional territory of the Syilx (Okanagan), Secwepemcúl’ecw and Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Okanagan Lake view from Paddlewheel beach with kayaker and grassland hills behind
Okanagan Lake, one of Vernon’s three nearby lakes

How to reach the city of Vernon

The drive from Vernon to Vancouver is just over 5 hours (444m). From Calgary, it’s just over 6 hours (555km).

This is one factor that makes Vernon an excellent stopover when travelling between the coast and Rocky Mountains.

We live in Penticton, at the other end (the southern side) of the Okanagan Valley. The drive between these two cities takes around two hours, making Vernon is very convenient weekend destination for us.

Looking down on two stand up paddleboards near shore on Kalamalka Lake with turquoise waters
The blue-green waters of Kalamalka Lake are stunning

Weather in Vernon

Like the rest of the Okanagan Valley, Vernon has a semi-arid climate with hot (and I mean hot!), dry summers and mild winters.

The long, sunny days of July and August offer so many opportunities for outdoor fun. Just be sure to get up early if you plan to hike in exposed places!

The great thing is that many of these summer activities can still be done in the shoulder seasons too (April, May, June, September, October), thanks to Vernon’s wonderfully warm climate.

Fall lasts a long time, with the colours lasting into early November. There are so many things to do in Vernon in fall, making it my second favourite season to visit.

Elevated view looking down towards Vernon with rolling grasslands, mountains and lakeshore
Vernon from the road to Silver Star Ski Resort

Winter is surprisingly mild at winter level. Though cold snaps do happen, weather temperatures hover around -2°C to +2°C.

No matter the temperature in town, however, there’s a ton of soft powdery snow to be found up in the mountains surrounding Vernon!

This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

The drive from Vernon to Vancouver is just over 5 hours (444m). From Calgary, it’s just over 6 hours (555km). This is one factor that makes Vernon an excellent stopover when travelling between the coast and Rocky Mountains.

This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. We visited Vernon in August 2020 as guests of Tourism Vernon.

Gemma sat in front of shady tree with elevated view of Okanagan Lake
Taking in the views of Okanagan Lake

The best things to do in Vernon, British Columbia

I’ll first share what I think to be the top 10 best things to do in Vernon.

These are the activities that I think are an absolute MUST when visiting this beautiful region. Plan your trip well and you can visit most of these places over a weekend.

If this list sounds a little too outdoorsy for you, keep on reading! The following section features 20+ more activities in the Vernon area.

The last part of the guide includes things to do in Vernon in the cooler months, though be sure to read our dedicated guide to visiting in Vernon in winter. We have a fall version too!

We have personally tried and tested almost every entry on this things to do in Vernon list.

Google map with things to do in Vernon marked on graphi
Click below or above to view interactive Google Map featuring 50+ things to do in Vernon, BC

Soak up the sun at Kalamalka Beach

Spending some time by one of Vernon’s three lakes is definitely a must do in summer.

The most popular beach is Kal Beach, situated just a 10 minute drive from Vernon’s downtown area.

This long strip of soft golden sand on Kalamalka Lake has plenty of trees for shade as well as restrooms, snack bars, SUP rentals, beach volleyball courts and even a wooden pier.

Parking is fairly plentiful too, even on busy summer days. Expect to walk 5-10 minutes to reach the beach from the parking. Facilities aside, the view from Kal Beach is hard to beat on a sunny day.

Lakeshore with people on beach and in the water, swimming and on stand up paddleboards
Kal beach is one of the most popular places in the Vernon area

Visit BX Falls

BX Falls has to be one of the loveliest spots in Vernon on a hot summer day.

The viewing area is shaded by forest and kept fresh by the falling water, providing welcome relief from the heat. The water levels vary throughout the year, with spring providing the most dramatic scenes.

The hike to reach BX Falls is incredibly short and easy (700m return), with the hardest part being a 89 step staircase. The path follows the BX Creek from the Tillicum Road trailhead, a peaceful walking experience in its own right.

There is the option of visiting BX Falls as part of a longer hike (6.6km return), from the Star Road trailhead. For more details, read the dedicated feature within our Vernon hikes post.

BX Falls cascading down small canon with tree roots
BX Falls in August

Hike to the top of Middleton Mountain

When it comes to things to do in Vernon, visiting Middleton Mountain is an absolute must.

In addition to offering magnificent views of lakes and rolling grassland, hiking this trail is also an excellent way to orient yourself when visiting Vernon for the first time.

There are four different hiking loops in the summit area, all being relatively flat once you have ascended to the plateau itself. The perimeter loop is 3km and features panoramas of Kalamalka Lake, downtown Vernon, Swan Lake and beyond.

One important thing to know about Middleton Mountain is the lack of shade on the trail.

Be sure to start this hike early (before 9am!) during the summer months, wear a hat and use plenty of sunscreen (we recommend Just Sun, a local all natural brand). More information and tips in our Vernon hiking guide.

Gemma hiking away from camera on Vernon hiking trail on Middleton Mountain, with views of Kalamalka Lake behind
The Middleton Mountain trail features spectacular panoramas – it is definitely one of my top things to do in Vernon!

Have brunch at EATology

With an abundance of fresh, local produce, Vernon is home to a number of impressive eateries.

Of all the places that we have tried over the years, EATology remains my stand out pick. This friendly eatery in downtown Vernon serves up delicious breakfast and lunch classics with quirky, modern style. There’s plenty of choice for vegans and gluten free folks alike.

Brunch happens to be my favourite meal of the day and I’d happily eat at EATology every day if I could! My favourite dish is the Caprese (tomato, pesto, mozzarella) Eggs Benedict (tomato, pesto, mozzarella).

EATology is a popular place and operates a waiting list at busy times. Put your name down on the list, go for a short walk around downtown and then you’ll be called when a table is ready (usually 20-30 minutes).

Close up of Eggs Benedict meal at Eatology in Vernon
My Caprese Eggs Benedict at Eatology in Vernon

Sip cider at BX Press

Apples have been grown in the Vernon area for well over a hundred years. BX Press celebrates this heritage at their third generation orchard, where they create premium, innovative ciders.

Visiting the cidery is an experience in itself, with the laid back tasting room and patio set right next to the orchard.

Flights offer a chance to taste the variety of BX Press’ ciders, from the traditional style (my favourite) to more experimental fruit-infused blends.

The name of the cidery, BX Press, provides another nod to Vernon’s history.

Starting during the Cariboo Goldrush in the 1860’s, the Barnard Express stagecoach company once serviced British Columbia’s interior region. Each cider pays homage to a character of the Barnard Express days.

Birds eye view of BX Press cider flights with eight different variations
Bx Press Cidery has two flights (each with four different cider varieties) – one dry and one sweeter

Hike to Rattlesnake Point, Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park

The tip of a rocky peninsula jutting into Kalamalka Lake, Rattlesnake Point is one of the most scenic spots in the Vernon area.

The views showcase Kalamalka’s intense turquoise colours as well as the rolling grasslands beyond the lake shore. It’s the perfect place to take a break and watch the world go by (or boats, in this case).

Located in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, the shortest route to Rattlesnake Point involves a reasonably easy 2.5km loop hike.

While there is no beach at the Point itself, Jade and Juniper beaches are only a short walk away. I’d suggest going for a refreshing dip after your hike.

Please note that Rattlesnake Point is also known as Upper Turtles Head Point Lookout.

Lookout view of Kalamalka Lake with powerboats passing
The hike to Rattlesnake Point (Turtles Head Point) hike many amazing viewpoints of Kalamalka Lake

Go paddling on one of three local lakes

Bordered by three lakes, paddlers are truly spoiled for choice in Vernon. Paddle one or paddle them all! If you don’t have your own kayak, canoe or SUP, there are a number of local watersport rental companies.

  • Shallow and marshy, Swan Lake is the smallest of the three lakes and is a protected wetland area – over 200 species of birds are found here, as well as many amphibians and mammals. We paddled at sunset with a soundtrack of chittering birds and fish jumping. There’s a boat launch and parking at the end of Meadowlark Road
  • Kalamalka Lake‘s dazzling green and blue hues (a result of glacial limestone deposits) make it a very popular paddling spot, especially on sunny days. There are plenty of places to launch too, such as Kal Beach, Kekuli Bay, Juniper beach, Pumphouse Veach and Kalavista Beach. I’d recommend going out early when there are less powerboats on the water
  • Okanagan Lake is a huge body of water, stretching 135km south to Penticton. With depths as deep as 232m, it’s said to be home to the legendary Ogopogo (which is actually more like a lake spirit than a monster). Kin Beach provides the closest launching point to Vernon
Kayak view of Swan Lake at sunset with orange yellow skies and calm water
Paddling at sunset on Swan Lake, Vernon

Walk or bike the Okanagan Rail Trail

Once utilised to bring the produce of the Okanagan Valley across the country, the discontinued Kelowna Pacific Railway line is now the Okanagan Rail Trail, a 52km multi-use pathway travelling between Coldstream and Kelowna.

The Okanagan Rail Trail section closest closest to Vernon follows the shore of Kalamalka Lake, showcasing some spectacular Okanagan scenery. On a sunny day, you’ll be able to enjoy the spectacular blue/green colours of the water.

The easiest access points for the Okanagan Rail Trail from Vernon are Kekuli Bay Provincial Park and the northern terminus, close to Kal beach and the Rail Trail Cafe.

JR walking on the Okanagan Rail Trail near Vernon, following Kalamalka Lake, one of the best things to do in Vernon
Almost half of the Okanagan Rail Trail follows lakeshore and creeks

Try local craft beers at Marten Brewing Co.

JR and I love to check out craft breweries wherever we travel in BC. Vernon may have a small craft beer scene right now, but what it does have packs a punch.

Located in the heart of downtown in a stylish two story brick building, Marten Brewing Co produces and serves an exciting range of craft beers.

The fruity and light Rail Trail Apricot Ale is the perfect refreshing drink for Vernon’s summer heat, but there’s a little something for almost all tastes (IPA, stout, sour, lager, bitter and more)

Not a fan of beer? Marten Brewpub also produces kombucha, with four different varieties currently on offer. The food menu at Marten is pretty great too!

Tasting flight at Marten Brewing Co in Vernon, BC with four different varieties of beer
A tasting flight at Marten Brewing Co in Vernon

Swim at Juniper and Jade beaches

For an Okanagan Valley beach experience with a difference, take a trip to Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park.

Juniper and Jade beaches are walk-in only, meaning you must hike to access them. Those who make the effort will find pretty twin bays with warm, crystal clear water.

To reach Juniper and Jade beaches, park at the Twin Bays (Yellow) Gate parking lot in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park.

A 600m paved trail descends a short hill to Juniper Beach. The path to Jade beach is flatter but is slightly longer and is not paved. Jade Beach is smaller than Juniper. Combine a trip to these beaches with a hike to Rattlesnake Point.

Cosens Bay is another great beach in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, also accessible by foot from the Yellow Gate parking lot

Lakeshore beach in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park in Vernon, with people sunbathing on beach and swimmers in lake
Juniper beach

Other great things to do in Vernon

Have some more time to spend in Vernon? Check out these additional activities!

Explore downtown Vernon

Vibrant, walkable and filled with independent and locally owned businesses, downtown Vernon is definitely worth a visit (and not just for the murals!)

Besides the downtown businesses already mentioned elsewhere in this post (Marten Brewpub and EATology), I’d also recommend checking out Wedge Cheesery.

In addition to selling artisan cheeses by weight, they also make tasty ‘to go’ picnic boxes includes several specially selected cheeses, crackers, fruit, nuts and locally made condiments.

For something less savoury, take a trip to Sweet Hoopla and check out their super range of sweet treats as well as locally made gelato. The perfect way to cool down in the summer months!

Hand holding up gelato pot in front of colourful mural in Vernon
Locally made gelato from Sweet Hoopla, Vernon

Tour Vernon’s downtown murals

Vernon is host to one of the largest collections of outdoor art in Canada. While you’re in downtown Vernon, take the time to tour the collection of outdoor murals.

Painted by local artists as part of a revitalization project over two decades ago, 28 beautiful murals tell the story of Vernon, featuring notable people, places, businesses and events that have shaped local history and culture.

Going on a self guided mural tour is easy – simply download the map and start walking!

A hot spot for murals is around Jubilee Park, near the Transit Loop. My favourites include ‘Kalamalka Lake’ and the Okanagan Science Centre’s ‘Ogopogo.’

Gemma standing on sidewalk looking up at Kalamalka Lake mural in Vernon, BC
Touring the murals collection is definitely one of the best things to do in Vernon – this is ‘Kalamalka Lake’

Explore the Swan Lake Nature Reserve

Despite being a very short drive from from downtown Vernon, Swan Lake is an exceptionally peaceful place. 

Part of a protected wildlife management area, it’s also home to a huge variety of birds, amphibians and mammals.

While paddling is one way to explore the reserve, there’s also an easy 1.8km interpretive hiking trail located to the south of the lake. A viewing platform was recently added.

While the path stays a respectable distance from Swan Lake itself, the surrounding views are still worth the time to see. Remember to keep an eye out for wildlife!

Close up of grass with ladybird at Swan Lake Nature Reserve, one of the best places to visit in Vernon
Don’t forget to look closely at your surroundings when walking in the Swan Lake Nature Reserve

Visit Davison Orchards

Vernon’s most family friendly destination is Davison Orchards Country Village.

Popular with visitors and locals alike, Davison Orchards is a family run farm with local produce market, bakery, cafe, playground, U-pick (seasonal) and ice cream shop. There are tractor pulled wagon rides around the farm too.

The Davison Orchards experience is incredibly wholesome, with visitors being able to do as much or as little as preferred. There’s no entrance fee so you can just wander and take it all in.

Davison Orchards is a great place to get a taste of Vernon’s agricultural roots.

I loved meeting the farm goats and pigs. I can assure you that the frozen apple slushies are a MUST on hot summer days!

In October, it’s possible to pick your own pumpkins in the wagon-accessed patch.

Old rec truck parked outside Davison Orchards country Village buildings with hanging flowers and wooden frontage
Davison Orchards is a favourite of many Vernon locals as well as visitors

Explore the alpine at Silver Star Ski Resort

A snowy wonderland in winter, Silver Star Ski Resort transforms into an alpine paradise in summer. The drive to the village is a surprisingly short 23km from downtown Vernon.

Home to Canada’s second largest bike park, there are over 100 kilometres of challenging mountain bike trails to explore on the mountain. There’s a trail network for hikers too, showcasing the spectacular views and gorgeous meadows of alpine flowers.

The Des Scheumann Summit Express Gondola travels to the top of the mountain on summer weekends. It’s super quick, reasonably priced and offers a shortcut to Silver Star’s alpine trails with no tiring uphill hiking required. The bike park lift is open Thursday to Monday.

Mixture of subalpine wildflowers with purple daisies, lupins, paintbrush etc at Silver Star Ski Resort
We couldn’t get enough of the stunning wildflowers at Silver Star Ski Resort!

Visit O’Keefe’s Ranch

Another family friendly attraction is O’Keefe’s Ranch, where you can travel back in time and discover the very beginnings of European settlement in the Okanagan Valley.

Founded in 1867 during the Cariboo Gold Rush, O’Keefe’s Ranch is a living heritage site complete with blacksmith shop, general store, church, school, mansion and more.

The O’Keefe’s lived and worked on the ranch for almost a hundred years, before transforming it to a heritage site in the 1960’s. It’s now a non-profit society. This year, visitors are encouraged self tour the grounds in exchange for a donation.

In late summer, a corn maze is developed. At Halloween, the corn maze is transformed into a haunted version called Field of Screams.

19th century white paneled farmhouse building at O'Keefe's Ranch in Vernon with wooden fence
O’Keefe’s Ranch, Vernon

Explore the hiking trails at Predator Ridge

Predator Ridge is a resort community about twenty minutes drive south of Vernon, BC. Hiking and walking trails weave through residential areas, lakes and fairways to ascend the rocky ridges that give the resort its name.

While it may not be wilderness, the 35km long network of well maintained and interconnected trails is definitely worth exploring.

The Okanagan Lake Lookout Loop is definitely our favourite Predator Ridge trail. It takes about an hour, with plenty of stops to check out the epic vistas of Okanagan Lake, Terrace Mountain and the fairways of Predator Ridge.

I’d recommend hiking the Okanagan Lake Lookout Loop in a counter clockwise direction. We also like the Ridge Trail, which first leads to a large yoga platform set above Okanagan Lake.

Side/back view of Gemma sat on yoga platform at Predator Ridge Resort, with views of snowy Terrace Mountain behind and Okanagan Lake
The Ridge Trail

Go wine tasting on the Scenic Sip

The Scenic Sip Wine Trail encompasses eight wineries in Lake Country, just a short drive south of Vernon. The region is best known for aromatic whites.

My favourite winery experience within the Scenic Sip is Arrowleaf Cellars. The setting is simply spectacular, with the modern wine tasting room set above vineyards that slope down towards Okanagan Lake. Tastings are $5 for four wines.

Just in front of the vineyards is a gorgeous picnic area, where you can sip on Arrowleaf wine in the sun. Dogs and children are welcome. On the wine side, we were surprised by the red blends here, with the barrel-aged Field Collection being our favourite.

We also really like Ex Nihilo Vineyards, where the Signature Tasting ($14) includes four pours paired with locally charcuterie, cheese and preserves. The views are also stunning.

The best (and safest!) way to tour the Scenic Sip is to join a wine tour. We recommend Wine Boss Tours for a fun, knowledgeable experience!

Elevated view looking down on vineyards (with vines turning from green to yellow/orange) sloping down to Okanagan Lake, which is covered with a fog haze
Autumn views at Arrowleaf Cellars

Sample whiskey, gin and more at Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

Okanagan Spirits‘ flagship distillery in Vernon is a must visit if you like a tipple or two.

The first of its kind in Western Canada, over 30 different varieties and variations of whisky, gin, vodka and other liquors are made here. The choice of small batch whiskies is particularly special, with the bourbon style being our favourite.

The distillery is family owned and operated, wonderfully demonstrated with family photos hung on the tasting room walls. Also standing proud is North America’s tallest copper pot still.

Choose between a casual drop-in tasting or book ahead for one of their signature distillery tastings. These range from an intimate tasting in a private room to guided gin and whiskey experiences (subject to pandemic restrictions).

An Okanagan Spirits glass sits on a wooden countertop with a bottle of AppleJack IPA Whisky behind
Tasting whisky at Okanagan Spirits, Vernon

Relax at Sparkling Hill Resort

Vernon is home to one of Canada’s largest spas, the seriously dreamy Sparkling Hill Resort.

Situated at the top of a granite bluff just south of Vernon, Sparkling Hill is a luxurious adults-only resort. It’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway or ‘treat yourself’ weekend.

The spacious rooms are open plan and feature gorgeous floor to ceiling windows. A two person bath sits in front of the spectacular views, with crystals studded into the ceiling above (there’s a reason behind resort’s name!)

Hotel guests have access to the Kurspa’s eight themed steam and sauna rooms, plus multiple swimming pools and relaxation rooms.

Over 100 different treatments are also available, including signature couples experiences.

Sparkling Hill Resort has three on-site restaurants, with in-room dining also being an option. Hiking trails leave right from the entrance, another way to connect with the stunning landscape around the resort.

Four spa seats are lined up in front of floor to ceiling windows, looking out to Okanagan Valley scenery
One of the relaxation rooms at Sparkling Hill

Taste mead at Planet Bee Honey Farm and Honeymoon Meadery

Craft breweries are a given in most BC towns, but how about a meadery? Honeymoon Meadery, part of Planet Bee Honey Farm, specialises in hand crafted honey wine made with natural ingredients.

Mead tastings are complimentary and feature a choice of up to eight different varieties! We tried them all and to my surprise, they ranged widely in both flavour and sweetness.

In addition to mead tastings, the Planet Bee Honey Farm experience also includes a large honey gift shop and educational centre with a indoor glass observatory hive.

Did you know? Mead is actually one of the oldest alcoholic beverages on earth, with remnants being found in 9000 year old pottery. Indeed, the term ‘honeymoon’ refers to the old custom of consuming mead for one moon cycle after marriage to encourage vitality and fertility (and hence the name of Planet Bee’s meadery!)

Two bottles of Ode to Odin Honeymoon Mead on tasting bar at Plant Bee Honey Farm in Vernon
Honeymoon Mead’s Ode to Odin is aged in Whisky Barrels for over 6 months

Explore the alpine Silver Star Ski Resort by foot or bike

A snowy wonderland in winter, Silver Star Ski Resort transforms into an alpine paradise in summer. The drive to the village is a surprisingly short 23km from downtown Vernon.

Home to Canada’s second largest bike park, there are over 100 kilometres of challenging mountain bike trails to explore on the mountain.

There’s a trail network for hikers too, showcasing the spectacular views and gorgeous meadows of alpine flowers.

The Des Scheumann Summit Express Gondola travels to the top of the mountain on summer weekends. It’s super quick, reasonably priced and offers a shortcut to Silver Star’s alpine trails with no tiring uphill hiking required. The bike park lift is open Thursday to Monday.

Close up of colourful wildflowers at Silver Star resort, with purple, red and blue flowers
Wildflowers at Silver Star Resort in summer

Follow Vernon’s Tasting Trail

The Okanagan Valley is a bountiful place, with Vernon being no exception. The city’s Tasting Trail highlights local food and drinks producers and retailers, enticing visitors to sip, sample and savour.

Many of the Tasting Trail locations are found in and around downtown Vernon, making it easy to visit multiple locations in the same morning or afternoon.

I’ve already mentioned some Tasting Trail locations in this post (Sweet Hoopla, Scenic Sip wineries, Marten Craft Brewery, Wedge Cheesery Planet Bee Honey Farm) but here are some more:

  • Olive Us – Premium and infused olive oils, with paired balsamic vinegars
  • Hot Bread Shoppe – Small batch artisan bakery, where everything is made from scratch without preservatives
  • Helmut’s Sausage Kitchen – Artisan meats, perfect for a DIY charcuterie board
  • Midtown Bistro – Fresh, innovative dishes made with as many local ingredients as possible
Modern predominately white bakery interior, with many different varieties of breads on counter and displayed behind
Hot Bread Shoppe in Vernon

Visit the Allan Brooks Nature Centre

Perched atop a grassy hill above Vernon’s downtown area, the Allan Brooks Nature Centre is a interpretive site with a view. It showcases the Okanagan Valley’s rare and sensitive ecosystem, including its endangered animal and plant species.

Transformed from a discontinued weather station in the late 90s, the family friendly centre is named after Okanagan based naturalist (and self-taught painter/wildlife artist) Allan Brooks.

As well as indoor interpretive displays, there is a wheelchair friendly grasslands trail, pond, native plant garden and picnic area. And it’s all backdropped by sweeping panoramas of the city of Vernon and surrounding mountains!

Looking across brown grassland at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre towards Vernon, with rolling hills around the city
Downtown Vernon from the Allan Brooks Nature Centre in late October

Play golf at Predator Ridge

Predator Ridge is one of Canada’s best golf resorts. There are two award winning courses, offering 36 holes of championship golf.

I may not be much of a golfer myself, but if there was ever place to play golf, this would be my choice! The setting is simply gorgeous.

Non-golfer in your group? The 35km long Predator Ridge trail network offers plenty of biking and hiking opportunities.

Alternatively, stay at Sparkling Hill (less than 5 minutes drive from Predator Ridge) and enjoy the spa facilities while the golfers play.

Elevated view looking down from restaurant patio towards very green golf course, with rolling hills in background
Looking over one of the golf courses at Predator Ridge

Even more great Vernon activities

Still looking for more to do in Vernon? We’ve got you covered!

Looking down from elevated viewpoint towards winding road heading towards calm surface on Kalamalka Lake, which is reflecting the surrounding hills and clouds
Kalamalka Lake viewpoint in winter
Brick wall of Okanagan Science Centre with painted green/blue Ogopogo monster mural
Ogopogo mural on the side of Okanagan Science Centre

The best things to do in Vernon: Winter and fall edition

As the temperatures start to drop in late September, some of the above activities become a little cool for comfort. But don’t worry, fall and winter have their own surprises in store!


  • Pick your own pumpkin at Davison Orchard’s extensive pumpkin patch
  • Go on a mushroom identification tour with Elements Adventures
  • Escape the haunted corn mazes at the Field of Screams, hosted at O’Keefe Ranch in October
  • Experience the Walk of Terror, an immersive (and terrifying!) ramble through the woods
  • See the fall colours on Vernon’s hiking trails – we recommend Cosens Bay in Kal Park and the Grey Canal Trail above Davison Orchards

For more details, head to our Fall Vernon guide

A hand is holding a brown coloured mushroom towards the camera, in a forest setting
Elements Adventures’ mushroom identification tour


  • Explore the winter wonderland of SilverStar Ski Resort (late November to mid-April)
  • Check out Vernon’s frozen waterfalls – BX Falls and Cosens Bay Waterfall (microspikes required)
  • Go heli-skiing from Predator Ridge and enjoy deep, dry powder in the Monashees
  • Hike the Grey Canal Trail and enjoy the snow dusted views of Vernon (microspikes recommended)
Back view of JR with snowboard looking out over Monashee Mountains at SilverStar Mountain Resort
Snowboarding at Silver Star Ski Resort

More information in our detailed Winter Vernon guide

Frozen waterfall on left of photo, cascading over canyon wall, surrounded by trees
Frozen Cosens Bay waterfall in winter

Where to stay in Vernon

My top recommendation for overnight accommodation in downtown Vernon is the Prestige Vernon Lodge. Despite the unassuming exterior, it’s a real one of a kind place to stay.

The three story tropical atrium houses a natural creek, indoor pool, hot tub and restaurant. Most of the hotel rooms look out into the atrium, providing a fun ‘outside in’ vibe. The hotel is three minutes drive from everywhere downtown.

Restaurant with orange chairs and wooden flooring in glass atrium at Prestige Lodge hotel with tropical plants
The restaurant section of Prestige Lodge’s tropical atrium

If being in downtown Vernon isn’t important to you, I would suggest heading south of the city to Predator Ridge Lodge.

Located in the center of two championship golf courses, this resort features high-end studio, one bedroom and two bedroom condo suites. Hiking trails begin right from the front of the lodge and guests also have use of the outdoor swimming pool and hot tub.

Looking out from Predator Ridge Resort lodge balcony towards golf course with large lake in middle
View from our balcony at Predator Ridge Resort

Sparkling Hill Resort should be your destination for the ultimate romantic weekend. This modern, luxurious adults-only spa hotel retreat sits atop a granite bluff, offering spectacular panoramas of Okanagan Lake.

The open plan guest rooms sparkle with hidden diamonds and feature huge floor to ceiling windows. A two person bathtub sits in front of the window in every room – the perfect indicator that it’s time to relax!

Bathtub in front of floor to ceiling windows at Sparkling Hill Resort, with chairs and table on left hand side
Imagine yourself here!

If you just need a place to hang your hat at the end of a long day of exploring, check out the Fairfield Inn & Suites.

While the location isn’t amazingly scenic, it is very convenient, with easy highway access and many nearby shops and restaurants. The modern rooms are well appointed and breakfast is included. Kids will love the indoor pool and waterslide.

For more details and recommendations, check out our dedicated Vernon accommodation guide!

View of Vernon city and suburbs from Middleton Mountain, surrounded by rolling grasslands
Looking over Vernon from Middleton Mountain

Where to eat in Vernon

Vernon has a great range of eateries and we’ve been fortunate enough to dine at a fair number of them. Our top picks are:

Coffee shops and bakeries

Ratio – Handcrafted pastries (with a different specialty highlighted each day) accompanied by quality coffee. Visit on Friday for some of the best doughnuts in the Okanagan Valley! Triumph Coffee is also worth a stop.

Blink and you may miss the Hot Bread Shoppe, a small batch artisan bakery perched on 31st St. Once inside, however, you will be held captive by the heavenly smell of bread and cinnamon buns (all made from scratch with organic flours from a local mill).

Looking up at Wedge Cheesery building in downtown Vernon, which features white tables and chairs outside
Wedge Cheesery in downtown Vernon


Planning to explore one of Vernon’s hiking trails? Pick up a Wedge Cheesery charcuterie platter featuring specially selected cheeses, crackers, fruit, nuts and locally made condiments.

Vernon has a choice of sushi restaurants, with Kawakubo being our go-to. It’s always busy and the fish fresh. The pad thai at Amarin Thai is also reliably good.

For pizza, we really like the chewy thin crust kind from Pallino’s at Predator Ridge Resort. The handmade pizzas from Easthill Eatery are also great.

Breakfast and brunch

I’ve already told you how much I love EATology, but here’s another recommendation just in case. Expect creative dishes, made with local ingredients, served in a modern yet quirky setting.

If you don’t have the time to wait for a table at EATology, check out Okanagan Eatery (more details below).

Side view of seating at Okanagan Eatery, with elephant painting, low lights and wooden sign
Okanagan Eatery


Okanagan Eatery is a hip downtown spot specialising in tasty comfort food. Breakfast is served all day, alongside lunch dishes too. I loved my Vegetarian Portobello Smash Burger, which was unusually stuffed with falafel.

If you love the idea of eating plant to table, make a beeline for the Farmhouse Café at Davison Orchards. Located in the original 1940’s farmhouse, most of the menu items are made from ingredients grown and prepared on the farm.

Casual dinner

For a beer and burger, head directly to Marten Brewing Co. Many items on the menu are made from scratch, with other items sourced from local producers (such as bread, honey, gelato). Time it right and you can enjoy live music too.

As already mentioned, we like Kawakubo Vernon for sushi. Dishes are well priced and the staff are super friendly.

Close up of pizza at Marten Brewing Co with wings and tuna in the background
Pizza, wings and tuna at Marten Brewing Co

Special occasions

Looking to celebrate? Don’t hesitate, make a booking for Intermezzo, where the food is as elegant as the intimate setting. All dishes are made in house, from scratch, with local ingredients where possible. The wine list is also excellent.

Another good choice is Phoenix Steakhouse. JR’s steak was cooked to perfection on our last visit – he always chooses blue so it usually a bit and miss.

Lake and city views from Rattlesnake Point in Kalamalka Lake in Vernon
Looking back to Vernon from Rattlesnake Point, Kalamalka Lake Provincial PArk

You may find these other Okanagan Valley posts helpful:

Pinnacle Lake Hiking Trail Guide, Cherryville

74+ Things to Do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan

A Local’s Guide to the Best Okanagan Valley Wineries

Hiking the Myra Canyon Trestles near Kelowna

Twin Lakes Hiking Trail Guide, Cherryville

47 Things to Do in Summerland

11 Fast and Fun Hikes in Penticton

Set into rolling grasslands, bordered by three lakes and backdropped by mountains, Vernon is surrounded by gorgeous scenery. But if you speed in and out of Vernon on Highway 97, you may not see this. Click here to discover over 30 fun things to do in Vernon that help make the stop more than worthwhile!
There are so many awesome things to do in Vernon, BC. This is especially true in the summer, with long, hot days offering endless outdoor opportunities! Click here to discover more!
Set into rolling grasslands, bordered by three lakes and backdropped by mountains, Vernon is surrounded by gorgeous scenery. There are so many fun things to do in this area. This is especially true in the summer, with long, hot days offering endless outdoor opportunities! Click here to discover 30+ things to do in Vernon, BC!

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Diane j toth

Friday 30th of April 2021

I'm very disappointed that you did not include THE ALLAN BROOKES NATURE CENTRE!!!! It's very informative re the flora, fauna and all about the local birds and wildlife. It has a wonderful discovery room, mural room and trails with informative signage and the view is all encompassing!!! Please visit to see what you are missing.


Friday 30th of April 2021

Hi Diane,

The Allan Brookes Nature Centre is on our list for our next visit to Vernon. We have passed it a number of times and the location is spectacular! Thanks for being so passionate about including the centre, I'm sure they would appreciate it too :)

Vicki Proulx

Thursday 10th of September 2020

Hey Gemma! Thanks for the great promotion of Vernon! You must come back in February! The 61st Annual Vernon Winter Carnival will be happening Feb 5-14, 2021! It’s the largest Winter Carnival in Western Canada and a staple tradition in Vernon!