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Okanagan Dreamin’: Why You Need To Visit Right Now

Escape to B.C.’s South Okanagan for local delicacies, fine wine and summer adventure

A luxury resort with outdoor hot tub and long pool are seen beside the hilly vineyards in Okanagan

Day One: Enjoy Local Sights and Delights

Bring an appetite to the Penticton Farmers’ Market, which is also brimming with local crafts, clothing and curios. Snack on fruit galettes from Joy Road Catering as you shop for juicy peaches and cherries from nearby orchards. Next, pack sunscreen, water and a waterproof bag for a leisurely float down the channel that links Okanagan Lake with Skaha Lake. Rent an inner tube from Coyote Cruises, which also transports floaters back to the starting point. Dine outdoors at Craft Corner Kitchen, whose seasonal menu focuses on regional products—think devilled eggs topped with B.C. salmon caviar, or a salad with house-grown herbs and Okanagan fruit. Quench your thirst with a low-sugar soda from The People’s Craft House.

 Fresh raspberry tarts with a sprinkling of powdered sugar sit cooling on a parchment-lined baking tray

Day Two: Get a Lesson in History and Adventure

Arrive at border town Osoyoos early for some outdoor exploration. The Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, which explains local Indigenous history and culture, offers guided trail walks into the surrounding hills. The adventurous can add on a fishing or rappelling excursion, while those seeking to please their palates should walk down the road to Nk’Mip Cellars, North America’s first Aboriginal-owned winery, for a tasting and lunch. Meander through some of the 40-odd wineries in the Oliver-Osoyoos region, which run the gamut from cozy VinAmité to organic and biodynamic Covert Farms and winery-cum-bakery Platinum Bench. Finish at Burrowing Owl Estate, where main courses at the Sonora Room come with wine-pairing suggestions.

 An Indigenous statue is shown on the grounds at the Nk'mip Cellars in Okanagan

Day Three: Put in Some Pedal Power

Skip the vino today in favour of beer and spirits. Hoodoo Adventures will shuttle you, your guide and your bikes up the Kettle Valley Trail so you can pedal the gentle descent back to Penticton. Drop in at distilleries and breweries along the way, with a final stop at bustling Bad Tattoo, where you can pair craft beer with pizzas categorized as red, white or weird. (Try the Black and Blue—blue cheese, blackberry compote and roasted apple—for dessert.) Finally, pick a spot on the kilometre-long stretch of sand at Okanagan Lake Beach, where amenities include rest rafts, kiddie slides, washrooms and firepits. The people-watching is captivating, but no one will blame you if you take a nap.

The rock expanse of the Kettle Valley Trail looking out on the beautiful waters of Okanagan Lake

Image credit: Kat Tanock, HooDoo Adventures, Joy Road Catering and David Wei/Alamy Stock