52 Things to Do in Osoyoos, British Columbia

The small town of Osoyoos in British Columbia is synonymous with heat. Classified as Canada’s only desert, Osoyoos has the warmest annual temperature, lower annual precipitation and also the warmest fresh water lake!

Osoyoos is also absolutely gorgeous to look at, from the rugged hills and surrounding mountains all the way to the rolling vineyards and sandy lakeshore. There’s plenty of fun things to do in Osoyoos, too, whether you want to be active or prefer to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Elevated view looking down on the town of Osoyoos next to Osoyoos Lake with hills and mountains in the background
Osoyoos from the Anarchist Mountain viewpoint on Highway 3
Downtown Osoyoos with parked cars on right hand side in front of stores
Downtown Osoyoos

In this post, I’ll be sharing 50+ of our favourite things to do in Osoyoos, BC. We live about an hour’s drive away and visit the area reasonably often. Despite the short distance, a trip to Osoyoos always feels like a holiday to me!

Please note – at the time of writing (June 2020), some of the mentioned businesses are temporarily closed. Look for the * mark for confirmed closures. Check online for opening times before visiting to avoid disappointment.

Gemma standing on elevated rock platform above vineyards near Osoyoos, BC
Hiking the scenic Golden Mile Stamp Mill Trail
Saline alkali lake with multiple pools of water in parched landscape
Spotted Lakes is one of Osoyoos’ most unique attractions
Google map screenshot with things to do in Osoyoos marked
Click here to go to interactive Google Map featuring 50+ things to do in Osoyoos

How to get to Osoyoos

Osoyoos is a small town (year round population of 5,000) located in the southern Okanagan region of British Columbia’s interior. Situated just above the USA border, Osoyoos is accessed via major highways to the north, east and west.

The fastest and most straightforward route to Osoyoos from Vancouver is along the Crowsnest Highway (3). The 400km journey takes around 4h 30 to drive. An ideal place to stop is E.C. Manning Park, about half way along the route.

Osoyoos is 125km (1h 45) south of Kelowna, the biggest city in the region. Highway 97 connects Osoyoos and Kelowna, travelling through other Okanagan communities including Summerland, Penticton, Okanagan Falls and Oliver.

The Crowsnest Highway (3) continues to the east, heading towards Midway, Grand Forks, Castlegar and, eventually, the Alberta border.

Elevated view looking down on Osoyoos Lake lined with brown hills
Looking south from the Anarchist Mountain viewpoint
Tinhorn Creek Winery entrance with stone arch and wine barrel
There are over 40 wineries in the Osoyoos area

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Summer fun

If you like summer, you will LOVE visiting Osoyoos! Make the most of the hot, dry weather with the following activities:

  • Swim, float, sunbathe and picnic at Osoyoos Lake, Canada’s warmest lake
  • Camp at sẁiẁs (Haynes Point) in the middle of Osoyoos Lake (reservations necessary)
  • Take in the views of Osoyoos from the Anarchist Mountain Lookout on Highway 3
  • Enjoy the tranquility of a walk along the Osoyoos Lake Oxbows
  • Cool down at the Splash Park in Jack Shaw Gardens
  • Let the kids run wild on the Osyoos Wibit, a floating obstacle course on the lake (*currently closed)
  • Explore the Pioneer Walkway, an easy paved (bike friendly) trail along Osoyoos Lake
  • Walk or cycle the International Hike and Bike trail along the Okanagan River channel
  • Play a game of golf in the desert at Sonora Dunes, Nk’Mip or Osoyoos Golf Club
  • Have a go at climbing, boating, karting, mini golf and more at Rattlesnake Canyon amusement park
Osoyoos Lake shore with people swimming and grass border
Gyro Park in Osoyoos

Outdoor adventure

From the lake to the hills and mountains beyond, there are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors in Osoyoos. Here are some ideas:

JR at on bench looking out to elevated view of Osoyoos set into rolling hills and vineyards
Mount Kobau has incredible views of Osoyoos

Taste local produce

Being the hottest spot in Canada, Osoyoos is also one of the best places to grow fruit. Cherries are first to ripen, in mid to late June. Peaches and apricots come next around mid July, early August. Pears and plums follow on in August/September with some apple varieties. Wine grapes are usually harvested in late September, early October.

JR's hand holding a cup of gelato from Roberto's Gelato in Osoyoos
Roberto’s Gelato is a must while in the Osoyoos area!

Discover Osoyoos culture and geography

There’s more to Osoyoos than the lake! Go beyond the surface and discover the stories and ecology that have shaped Osoyoos as we know it today.

  • Walk the 4.3km paved Canal Walkway loop and take a closer look at Osoyoos’ unique desert biome
  • Observe the wonder of Spotted Lake from the viewpoint on Highway 3
  • Discover the legends of Sen’klip (Coyote) at the Nk’mip Desert Cultural Centre
  • Explore the 1.5km elevated boardwalk (wheelchair friendly) at the famed Osoyoos Desert
  • Learn more about the origins of Osoyoos and its early inhabitants at the Museum
  • Be transported into a world of miniatures at the Desert Model Railroad
  • Discover the creative side of Osoyoos at the Art Gallery and Summer Artisan Market
  • Browse, shop and stop for coffee on Osoyoos’ Main Street
Metal sculpture of horse and rider on rock plinth at the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural centre
The Chief Sculpture at Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre

Exciting events

Osoyoos’ annual events calendar features a number of unique celebrations and races. Here are just a few of my favourites for inspiration!

  • Run the Half Corked Marathon, a joyous ‘race’ (more akin to a party!) through vineyards with wine tasting along the way (May, postponed to September in 2020)
  • Watch the Canada Day fireworks – Osoyoos has the biggest display in Canada outside of Ottawa! (*postponed to 2021)
  • Enjoy parades, water fights and pit spitting contests at the Cherry Fiesta (July long weekend, *postponed to 2021)
  • Celebrate all things wine at the Festival of the Grape in nearby Oliver (October, *postponed to 2021)
  • Kick off the holiday season with Osoyoos’ Christmas Lite Up featuring carols, late night shopping, breakfast with Santa and a parade (late November)
Close up of Osoyoos cherries
The area around Osoyoos is one of the most productive fruit growing regions in Canada

Other things to do around Osoyoos (40km radius)

The fun doesn’t stop in Osoyoos – there’s plenty more on offer within just a short drive. Here are my top picks!

Still looking for things to do in Osoyoos? Read this post next:
73 Things to Do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan, British Columbia

Paved cycle path next to Osoyoos Lake with rolling hills behind
The Pioneer Walkway in Osoyoos

Where to stay in Osoyoos

The Watermark Beach Resort is my top pick for where to stay in Osoyoos, BC. Located right beside the lake, the hotel is also only 5 minutes walk from a choice of restaurants and shops.

Guests can choose to swim in the lake or the on-site swimming pool. All suites have a full kitchen as well as separate dining and living rooms.

If budget isn’t an issue, consider booking one of the fabulous beachfront townhomes.

Spirit Ridge is a close second choice, with its spectacular position overlooking vineyards and Osoyoos Lake. There is a heated outdoor pool, hot tub and highly rated restaurant.

Budget conscious travellers would do well to check out Westridge Motor Inn. The clean, well decorated rooms have everything you need for a few days in Osoyoos and provide excellent value for money. There’s an outdoor pool too.

For something a little different, check out Shiraz Villa. Set into a vineyard about five minutes drive from Osoyoos, the rooms are spacious and the views fabulous.

Outside view of tan coloured Watermark Beach Resort building with four floors, bordered by yellow flowers
Watermark Beach Resort

Check out these other Okanagan Valley posts next:

Okanagan Valley Road Trip, BC: What to Do and Where to Stop

47 Things to Do in Summerland, British Columbia

A Local’s Guide to the Best Okanagan Valley Wineries, British Columbia

11 Fast and Fun Penticton Hikes, British Columbia

A Complete Guide to Okanagan Valley Ski Resorts, British Columbia

A Wine Lover’s Guide to the Naramata Bench eBook

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