From kangaroo farms and local breweries to paddleboarding on the lake, here are 13 reasons why you need to visit the Okanagan this summer
It’s been a wet spring over Okanagan way, but things are heating up and it’s time to plan a road trip. Here are five campgrounds to check out between Osoyoos and Kelowna, and some excellent stops along the way!
1. Spotted Lake
This stop off Hwy 3—right before Osoyoos reveals itself—is easy to miss but really interesting to see. Spotted Lake is a saline endorheic alkali lake, and in the summer months, the water burns off and the pools of minerals are far more visible. The lake can be viewed from a fenced gateway just off the road; but make sure you're careful when pulling off the highway.
2. Sẁiẁs Provincial Park (Haynes Point)
This unique-looking park extends its way out into Osoyoos Lake and is also home to a natural marsh and tons of bird life. You can watch the sunset over the city of Osoyoos, but are far enough away to be immersed in nature. Have a campfire, maybe do some water sports and fishing, or just hike around the breathtaking expanse.
3. McIntyre Bluff
A short while up the road in Oliver is the McIntyre Bluff hike. Starting at the Covert Farms winery, the 10 km trail offers stunning views of the city, nature and beyond. The trail takes approximately two to three hours to complete, but if you only want a short hike (the view is worth the climb, though), Rattlesnake Lake is a great turnaround point.
4. Covert Farms
Hiking not your thing? Or maybe it is, but you're just in the mood for a snort of wine in between trails? Lucky for you, Covert Farms has an excellent patio. Enjoy a sample or glass of their excellent vintages, and perhaps a meat-and-cheese platter. You could also book a tour of their vast acreage and meet the friendly farm animals too. Don’t forget to grab a bottle to take to the campsite!
5. Vaseux Lake Provincial Park
This campground right off the highway (literally, right off) might be a bit noisier but the view of McIntyre Bluff is stunning, and the lake offers many activities in the warmer months. Take a paddleboard out on the water, hop in a boat and fish for some trout, or just sit in the sun and take in that incredible view.
No trip through Okanagan Falls is complete without a stop at Tickleberry’s for some ice cream. The choices may be overwhelming (as are the sugary sweet smells), but it’s an excellent way to cool down—and tasty to boot. Some free advice: go for the waffle cone.
7. Okanagan Falls Provincial Park
This campground may not have a swimming hole but the hike it offers along the Okanagan River makes up for it. There’s a fishery next to the campground where the salmon run. There are tons of bird species in the area, and apparently it's also home to 18 species of bats... if you're into that sort of thing.
8. Upper Bench Winery and Creamery
When rolling through Penticton on the way to Okanagan Lake, be sure to stop in at the Upper Bench Winery for some of their homemade cheese. The U&Brie cheese is a personal favourite, and starting in the summer they’ll also have a wood-fired pizza oven out on the patio. It's a great place for a picnic or some brie and wine to go!
9. Breweries in Penticton
Penticton has quite a few beer makers now, which make for a perfect place to grab some food, a drink and/or fill your growlers on the go! I’d recommend Bad Tattoo Brewing for their pizza if you’re looking for a place for lunch. Also great is Cannery Brewing at their new location with a large outdoor patio. Or lug that growler to Hwy 97 Brewing to make sure your campsite is stocked for the day.
10. Okanagan Lake Provincial Park
This campground, just off the highway, is large and peaceful, and is situated on a truly gorgeous lake. Many of the lakeside campsites have a path down to the water, where you can sit in the sun, swim and maybe even have a meal (TV tray not included). If you’re fishing, you’ll need a boat to get out from the shallow shores, but the view alone might be worth battling your way onto the water. Bonus, this campground comes complete with showers.
11. Hardy Falls
This very short (I’m talking five minutes) walk gives you a place to stretch your legs, while also checking out some rapids and a cute little waterfall at the end. Blink and you might miss the turnoff to the entrance, so keep that GPS on. Take a coffee, grab your camera and have a stroll before heading up to Kelowna.
12. Kangaroo Creek Farm
Ever wanted to pet a kangaroo? Hold a baby one? Get up close to a furry little sugar glider or emu? You can do all of this at the Kangaroo Creek Farm in Lake Country. This unique stop just northeast of downtown Kelowna is a hidden gem, cheap ($10 for adults!) and oodles of fun. Make sure it’s a sunny day when you go, or the animals might be hiding under cover.
13. Bear Creek Provincial Park
This large park just west of downtown Kelowna on Okanagan Lake has loads of campsites and tons of amenities. Even the small sites are just a short walk down to the water, and grassy areas are great for picnics or a game of Frisbee. This one will definitely be busy in the summer months, as its location being close (but not too close) to town is a big draw.