As the summer season north of the border moves towards its climax, the sense of urgency to enjoy its finest summer getaways while the weather is favourable is rising. One of these choice destinations is British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a semi-arid valley where a series of lakes left over from the last Ice Age are the centrepiece.
The cities, towns and rural regions between are home to a variety of top-shelf experiences, from some of the best wineries in Canada to houseboating expeditions that will allow you enjoy some of the best swimming in Western Canada in a very lively manner.
So that you might plan a journey that doesn’t cause you to accidentally miss out on something that you are passionate about, we will cover the primary centres of this region from north to south, listing the highlights that can only elevate your trip from great to extraordinary by doing them.
If you are an avid golfer, then you will be pleased to know that the vaunted Predator Ridge Golf Course can be found here. Ranked as the #1 course in British Columbia by the Vancouver Sun, it boasts killer views of the valley and lakes below, as it is situated high in the benchlands above. If you’d rather play on the water, Kalamalka Lake is an ideal place to do so, as water skiing is a popular activity of this luminous glacial body of water.
The biggest centre of the Valley by far, Kelowna offers the best urban attractions of any city in the Okanagan Valley. A large selection of fine restaurants await, both in the downtown core, and in the many wineries found just outside city limits. Tasting tours can be done to these vineyards, found to the north and the south, an activity that will leave you positively tipsy at its conclusion.
Those looking for a wildly fun multi-day trip can rent a houseboat in town, taking to the waters with several days worth of booze and food with your friends. The real value of this experience is hooking up with fellow houseboaters to have epic parties out in the middle of one of Canada’s most spectacular lakes – whether it is 3 pm in the afternoon, or 2 am at night.
If merely visiting a winery isn’t enough for you, why not stay at one? This can be done at the Burrowing Owl Estate near the desert town of Osoyoos, where 140 acres of wine grapes ensures that the good stuff just keeps on flowing. Orchards that produce fruit other than grapes sell their produce and baked goods by the roadside here as well, and if you always wanted to try your hand at sailing, lessons can be taken in town on Osoyoos Lake.