Penticton is a very popular summer resort town in BC’s southern Okanagan Valley. June-September the area is busy with locals and tourists enjoying the hot weather, beaches, lakes, vineyards and fruit markets.
During long summer weekends, tens of thousands of people pile into town to celebrate whatever festival or event is happening, from running races to classic car parades to Elvis gatherings and more.
Visiting Penticton in winter
Penticton in winter is a different story. The streets and promenades start to seriously clear out following Thanksgiving and the last Farmer’s Market in October. The evenings draw in, the leaves fall and the lake calms. All is quiet.
For Canada, Penticton offers a pretty mild winter. Snow occasionally falls and then disappears a few days later, maybe a week tops. For this reason amongst many others, Penticton is a great place to walk year round. Here’s a little walking tour of Penticton’s Okanagan lakefront area in winter.
Magnificent Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake, being so big, doesn’t freeze over in winter. Snow may cover the sandy beaches but otherwise not to much is different from the summer. Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park is more easily visible in winter (centre right of this photo) due to snow on its barren slopes.
With the winters being so mild in Penticton, we have actually paddled on Okanagan Lake every month of the year. Of course, you have to take precautions but winter paddling is worth it. The quiet and calm of the lake over the winter months makes for a wonderfully peaceful paddle.
Penticton’s quiet beachfront
At the end of Okanagan Lake beach, the S.S. Sicamous keeps watch over the lake, while the Canadian Pacific Railway tug boats rest nearby. In the summer, this area is a hive of activity with restaurants, motels, the mini golf park, food trucks and stalls. Things are quieter in winter but it’s not a bad thing. The waterfront is a more peaceful place to walk in winter.
The Kiwanis Walking Pier, Penticton
The Kiwanis walking pier next to the Lakeside Resort is always a good place to stop to take in the views, both out to the other side of the lake and back to the town.
In the above photo, some blue sky is peeking through the cloud cover that seems so prominent in this valley during winter. It can feel very gray sometimes!
Below is downtown Penticton just after Christmas. Main Street (aptly named) works on a one-way system, which can cause some confusion in the summer with so many visitors around. In the winter, it makes it very easy to cross the street!
The Ikeda Japanese garden
Just behind Penticton’s Art Gallery is the Ikeda Japanese Garden, a tribute to Penticton’s sister city in Japan. The koi pond is mostly frozen over at this time of year.
Below, the view of Mount Munson from near Marina Beach. The Penticton sign (on the ‘bump’ of Mount Munson) is no longer visible due to snow. The last photo is of the marina from the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) trail – spot the frozen moorings and the walking pier.
It may be overcast a lot, but we are enjoying the mild winter the Okanagan brings. We can still canoe and walk almost every day and if we’re feeling like a spot of snowshoeing or snowboarding, Apex Resort is just a 50 minute drive away.
Looking to book a winter 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
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