Stunning mountain landscapes, warm turquoise lakes, sweeping valleys, the sweetest fruit and hundreds of vineyards…welcome to the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada. There’s no better way to experience all of the above than taking a road trip from Kelowna to Osoyoos.
Sun tan on the soft beaches, hang out on your unicorn floatie, hike up to never ending views, buy freshly picked peaches at a farmers market, check out a desert and taste all the wine you can handle…these are just a sample of all the things you can do in the Okanagan.
Whether you’re planning a road trip, or flying into Kelowna to explore the area, this list should keep you busy!
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P.S. – don’t have time to read the full post? Check out these quick 19 things to do in the Okanagan (some hidden gems and unique ideas)!
Be sure to watch the video below for some of the highlights you’ll see in this Okanagan road trip itinerary!
Kelowna to Osoyoos Road Trip Itinerary
Things to Do in Vernon
I’m actually starting with the city of Vernon, British Columbia, which is less than an hour north of Kelowna. Since there’s a few hidden gems worth mentioning, I didn’t want to leave it off of this road trip list.
This is one of the first major areas and the beginning of the Okanagan.
If you’re on road trip, it is most definitely worth a stop at the Log Barn. It’s kind of a cheesy road side attraction, but I stop every time I’m driving by.
They have the best homemade pies, jerky and all kinds of sauces. They’ve got a fresh fruit stand and a nice little yard with flowers and animals to looks at. There are even goats and horses to feed.
Either way, it’s a great place to stop if you’re travelling with a dog and/or kids and need a stop to stretch your legs.
Vernon itself has a cute downtown main street. There are a ton of unique antique shops. Wander around and find some hidden treasures.
When it’s too hot, grab a couple scoops of hard ice cream at the Garden Ice Cream Parlour at the Blue Stream Motel.
Enjoy some agritourism experiences. Davidson Orchards is always a hit. Learn all about one of the oldest fruit farms in the area.
Their market has all kinds of great finds and there’s a little cafe that serves up some huge servings of mouthwatering pie. There’s vintage farm equipment and a mini train ride for the kids.
Not far from here is the Planet Bee Honey Farm. Learn all about the honeycomb and honey bee life where you can see real bees working away in real time! Separated by glass of course.
They even have daily presentations about how it all works. You can even purchase some if their delicious mead (honey wine) that they make in house.
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Head up to Silver Star Ski Resort for some epic downhill mountain biking. You don’t even need your own bike! You can rent them and all the equipment you need.
If you’re not up for that kind of adventure, the little village is still super cute to check out. And there’s a couple great restaurants up there as well.
Spend some time down at Kalamalka Lake or what the locals call Kal Lake. This is your first introduction to the turquoise waters of the Okanagan.
The beach is great, you can rent stand up paddle boards and go exploring to do some cliff jumping. And if you just want to chill, grab a seat on the patio at Anderson’s Pub for a nice shady breeze with views of the lake.
Looking for a place to stay in Vernon? Sparkling Hill Resort sits high above Okanagan Lake is one of the most beautiful hotels in all of Canada.
As you head further south you enter Lake Country, British Columbia. This area is between Vernon and Kelowna and is mostly home to residences built up in the hills.
This is a beautiful of the Okanagan. Many homes overlook either Wood Lake to the east or the beginnings of Okanagan Lake to the West.
There are a ton of golf courses and a few wineries you can tour. Gray Monk Winery is a popular one.
The best thing to do in Lake Country though, is to pay a visit to the Kangaroo Creek Farm.
Yes, there are kangaroos, wallabies, sugar gliders, capybaras, pot belly pigs and other animals!
They all roam around on a nice farm setting. Plan to arrive early as it gets busy in the peak summer season and you’ll want to get in line early to get a chance to hold and snuggle a baby kangaroo.
Then grab a bite to eat on the patio at 19 Okanagan Bar & Grill. It’s a good one!
Things to Do in Kelowna
Kelowna is the largest urban centre of the region, and the main hub. This is where the international airport is located as well.
You can plan an entire week and just stay in Kelowna, but since there are so many great things to do in the Okanagan region itself, I’m focusing on a few of the top recommended Kelowna attractions!
Downtown Kelowna is absolutely gorgeous and you can spend an entire day or afternoon strolling the waterfront, getting sun-baked at Gyro Beach, or chowing down at the many great restaurants.
If you want a unique experience, try renting a barbecue boat!
With Maeg’s BBQ Boat Rentals and Tours, you and up to 9 friends can float around, catch views of downtown Kelowna, and enjoy a BBQ you cooked up right on your boat!
Plan to spend some time up at Knox Mountain, home to some of the best spots for Kelowna sightseeing.
There are plenty of trails, some easier than others, but you’re guaranteed some astonishing views up top.
You have your choice of whether you want to park at the bottom, top or middle parking lots, depending how much or how little you want to hike.
Pay a visit to the Okanagan Lavender and Herb Farm. In early August the rows of purple are breathtaking. They offer farm tours, workshops and have some cute spots to take great photos.
If you can’t make it to Provence, France, this is a great way to experience the vibrant purple shrubs.
Close by is Arlo’s Honey Farm. If Planet Bee piqued your interest or if you didn’t get a chance to visit, this working apiary is a must see.
There’s a great little shop onsite that sells their unique honey flavors like lavender, lemon and vanilla.
Keeping with the agritourism theme, Carmelis Goat Cheese is another hidden gem Kelowna attraction.
They produce fresh goat cheese, ice cream, gelato. It’s small, nothing fancy but absolutely authentic.
Looking for places to stay in Kelowna? If you want to stay downtown, the Royal Anne Hotel is reasonably priced and walking distance to everything. Or try the Royal Kelowna on the waterfront and the highest rated downtown hotel.
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Now, what you really came here for, the wine! There are tons of world class wineries and vineyards you can visit in the Okanagan. Most of which are located in West Kelowna.
Mission Hill is one of the largest and most popular. The atmosphere is grandiose and a bit posh; as far as the wine goes, you won’t be disappointed.
For a small cost you can also go on an underground wine cellar tour as well. Quail’s Gate is another impressive winery with stunning views of Okanagan Lake.
There are many great wine tour companies that will take you around to a great selection of wineries. Or you can self-drive and go exploring. Just watch for the road side signs that mention wine route!
I also love The Hatch. It’s a little more low key with a laid back vibe, and perfect for the younger demographic. And it’s dog friendly!
Or check out these 23 hidden gem wineries a little more off the beaten path for a more unique and personal experience.
Looking for a place to stay close to wineries? This guest suite is located minutes (some walking distance) to several wineries in the area. Imagine wine tasting all day and then coming back to your own garden patio to enjoy your favorite bottle of wine from the day!
If you’re looking for things to do in the Okanagan that are a little more laid back, less busy and at a slower pace, head to Peachland.
As you leave West Kelowna and continue down Highway 97, in about 20 minutes you’ll arrive at the adorable little beachfront community of Peachland.
The long stretch of beach with large canopied trees make for the perfect sunny afternoon.
There’s even a fun dock to jump off of complete with a rope swing and a mini zipline above the water.
There’s an amazing German restaurant called the Gasthaus with a gorgeous outdoor patio that reminds you of something like the secret garden.
Then visit the Parrot Island Sanctuary. Run by a local couple, this parrot sanctuary provides homes to unwanted or abandoned parrots.
For one of the best road trips from Kelowna, head to Kentucky Alleyne Provincial Park to see the vibrant azure-blue lake.
This lake is absolutely stunning. So many shades of turquoise blue water with a white sandy bottom. It seriously rivals some places in the Caribbean.
The lake is non motorized and very calm, so it’s perfect if you like to kayak, stand up paddle board or float. There’s a campground with some nice little private spots near the water as well. Can’t recommend this place enough.
Looking for a place to stay in Peachland? We loved our stay at the ‘Mustard House’ which is in the heart of downtown and has kept its vintage charm.
Things to Do in Penticton
As you continue to make your way further into the Okanagan Valley, you will soon arrive in Penticton. This is pretty much the exact halfway point between Kelowna and Osoyoos.
You will love this gorgeous resort community with many waterfront hotels and a nice large concrete boardwalk all along the beachfront.
One of the most popular things to do in Penticton is to go floating down the channel! On a tube or other floatie of course. You can hop in at one end and have a bus or a taxi pick you up at the end.
There are a couple great craft breweries and restaurants to satisfy you pizza and beer cravings!
The patio at Cannery Brewing Co is super cute. But the Bad Tattoo Brewing Company took the prize for fun vibes and great beer flights.
Munson Mountain is a great spot for some epic panoramic views above Penticton. Take Naramata Road and you will see the turn off. There’s a small parking lot and an easy paved trail to explore.
For more hiking, head to the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park. This is a world renowned area for rock climbing.
But even if you’re not a climber yourself, it’s a great way to spend an hour or two and watch others scale these impressive rock walls.
There are many hiking trails around, all varying in levels of difficulty. A great way to spend a few hours burning off those wine calories!
Just north of Penticton is the Naramata Bench, where you will find over 30 wineries waiting for you to visit and do some wine tasting!
The tasting rooms, the epic vineyard views and the patios rival those of Napa Valley and Tuscany.
You can even check out a clothing optional beach! Don’t worry, it’s tucked away in its only quiet little secluded bay. You don’t have to strip down to your birthday suit to enjoy it though, swimsuits are still welcome!
Looking for a place to stay near Penticton? You will love the Naramata Bench. We LOVED our stay at Wesbert Winery, a vineyard with gorgeous views from the kitchen that made us feel like we were in Napa Valley or Tuscany! (also pet-friendly).
It has amazing views of the vineyard from your private balcony and you can even use their wine tasting patio after hours.
Plus it comes with a homemade breakfast. It’s one of the best airbnbs we have ever stayed at!
Crooked Tree Guest Suites are also another great option – this place has the best deck views and have suites that sleep up to 6 adults.
In addition to these 2 places above, Naramata has many other winery accommodations to choose from, including some vineyard guest suites with pools!
When you’re ready to carry onward, head south to Okanagan Falls. Stop at the adorable little shop called Tickleberry’s. There are over 100 flavors of hard ice cream to choose from.
Make sure you plan to do some shopping as well. There are tons of unique travel gifts and other little souvenirs to pick out.
Oliver, British Columbia
Alright, it’s time for more wine! As you head towards Oliver, BC, there’s another great winery that you should plan to stop at.
It’s called Covert Farms Family Estate, and we happened to discover it by accident driving by.
After checking out the estate and having a glass of their Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon, it’s officially my favorite winery in all of British Columbia.
If you’re on an Okanagan road trip, this is my most recommended thing to do! The pergola covered patio is a picture perfect setting to enjoy a glass of wine. And then you can check out the rest of the yard.
They’ve got farm animals like llamas, cows and horses. There’s a slip and slide and some climbing things for the kids.
And the best part, a huge jumping pillow/in-ground trampoline thing!
Fun for the whole family (30 year-olds included)!
Looking for a place to stay near Oliver? Try this gorgeous heritage home located on a vineyard, with a pool and where guests can pick fresh fruit from the orchard. It’s located close to 20 wineries and many gold courses.
Things to Do in Osoyoos
We’re now nearing the end of our Okanagan road trip, with the last stop being Osoyoos. Did you realize that of all the things you can do in the Okanagan, you can visit Canada’s only desert?
Some say it’s the most northern tip of the Sonoran Desert. Word of warning (and maybe stating the obvious here), this place gets hot.
It’s not uncommon to see the majority of summer days reach the 100s (or 40 degrees Celsius), so if you love dry heat, Osoyoos is the place to be.
When you need a little break from the sky high temperatures, jump in Osoyoos Lake. It’s known as Canada’s warmest lake!
Check out the natural phenomenon of Spotted Lake. In the summer when some of the water evaporates, you can see all the circular mineral deposits on the bottom of the lake bed.
And you can even beat the heat by staying in a Hobbit House! Enjoy your own little slice of Middle Earth in one of the most unique Airbnb stays you will ever find.
If you or your travel partners are LOTR fans, you won’t find any other experience like it in western Canada.
And since it’s located on a private ranch, you have hundreds of acres of privacy (no crowds) and the starry skies pop on a clear night.
And there you have it.
There are so many things to do in the Okanagan that you could spend 2 or 3 weeks in the entire region and it still wouldn’t be enough time.
It’s probably for this reason that I seem to visit at least once a year.
Between Kelowna and Osoyoos alone there are so many attractions, amazing landscapes and wineries, let alone everything else mentioned on this list.
And if you want to extend your road trip further west, be sure to read up on the best road trip route to Vancouver!
Don’t forget to pack the 16 most important items to bring on a road trip, either. There’s no worse feeling than thinking you forgot something!
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