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19 Things to Do in the Okanagan (+ Hidden Gems and Unique Ideas)

19 Things to Do in the Okanagan (+ Hidden Gems and Unique Ideas)

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Perfect for active travelers, those that love outdoor adventure, vacationers who just want to relax and enjoy nice weather (and no bugs) and everything in between, there are so many things to do in the Okanagan for any type of holiday.

The sprawling vineyards and endless wine tasting opportunities always draw me in, but the endless outdoor activities, unique attractions and warm hospitality keep me here longer!

wine barrels and a picnic table sit in a vineyard overlooking the valley and lake

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What the Okanagan Valley is Famous For

The Okanagan Valley is famous for its hot summer climate and mild winters making it a perfect vacation destination for many.

You could spend your entire summer here and wouldn’t run out of things to do.

Long, warm lakes and sandy beaches, over 200 vineyards that offer an exquisite mix of wine touring opportunities, orchards are full of fresh fruit in the long growing season and outdoor recreation opportunities are fueled by a growing craft beer and foodie scene.

aerial view of rows of green vineyards among desert hills
The Naramata Bench north of Penticton

Cities and Towns That Are Part of the Okanagan

Vernon, Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Penticton, Oliver and Osoyoos are the cities and larger towns that are part of the Okanagan, with a few smaller communities sprinkled in between.

While Kelowna is the largest hub of the region, each area has unique attractions making the entire Okanagan Valley full of fun places to visit.

aerial view of a winding roads overlooking  lake
Peachland and Okanagan Lake

Here Are the Best Things to Do in the Okanagan

1. Swim in Kentucky Alleyne Lake (the most vibrant turquoise water)

This lake might be the brightest azure-blue color you’ve ever seen, and even rivals the hues of the water you see in the caribbean.

It’s a non-motorized lake, so bring your floatie or kayak and enjoy some time in the sun. Best enjoyed on a hot day as the water is chilly.

There’s a campground here too as part of the provincial park. Located about an hour west of West Kelowna. 

aerial view of a vibrant turquoise lake through a desert-like landscape

2. View Spotted Lake’s Natural Phenomenon

You can’t swim in Spotted Lake but it’s fascinating to see in person.

Large pools of mineral deposits can be seen in mid to late summer as the water evaporates from the lakebed making it an interesting visual for onlookers.

The concentrated minerals create massive polka dots of different colors. Located near Osoyoos. 

3. Hit the Stellar Hiking Trails

It’s safe to say that any trail you choose to hike will come with a view. The first thing you notice when you drive through the Okanagan is all the massive hills that surround all the lakes.

The Enderby Cliffs are challenging but have an epic view of the whole valley at the top.

The Oyama Lookout in Lake Country isn’t really a hike, but a killer spot for a drive.

In Kelowna, Mt. Boucherie and Mount Knox are popular spots with many trails.

Apparently there’s a natural waterslide you can find in Mill Creek Regional Park on the north end of Kelowna.

The view from Knox Mountain

Pincushion Mountain in Peachland is a straight up leg burner, but most people can do it.

Finally, Munson Mountain trail is a quick and easy hike overlooking the main beach at Penticton. 

4. Hidden Waterfalls 

If you prefer hiking to waterfalls instead of elevated lookout points, the Okanagan has you covered.

One of my favorite’s is the Naramata Falls, where you can access after about 15 minutes if you park at the KVR Smethhurst parking lot along the Naramata Bench road.

Christie Falls near Fintry are also a hidden gem, but for the more adventurous traveler. 

several small waterfalls over large rocks

5. Wine Touring at Unique Wineries

Perhaps what the Okanagan is most well-known for is the almost 200 wineries in the region.

I recommend visiting at least a few wineries in different areas due to the differences in terrain and terroir, so you’ll get slightly different tasting wines (grapes) everywhere you go.

Even if you’re not a big wine drinker, it’s still fun to visit all the vineyards and wineries for the epic views and tasting experiences.

a man and woman sit on a patio with a wine barrel bistro set

If you’re an ice wine fan, Hainle Vineyards in Peachland is the birthplace of ice wine in North America.

The Hatch and Blackswift Wineries in West Kelowna are laid back, fun and great for the younger demographic and non-pretentious winos.

Lang Vineyards in Naramata has some of the smoothest reds in the area.

Covert Farms down in Oliver has a gorgeous ‘secret garden’-vibe outdoor tasting area and lots of other fun things on their property, like animals and a giant jumping pillow. 

an outdoor pergola with tables

| Read More: the 23 Fun Wineries in the Okanagan to Get Your Sip On

| Read More: 7 Naramata Wineries I Had the Most Fun At

P.S. – If you’re traveling in the Okanagan and interested in wine tasting, staying at a vineyard is a pretty amazing experience!

My favorite was staying at the Wesbert Winery on the Naramata Bench. The view from our room was incredible, it included home cooked breakfast and was walking distance to several wineries.

a hotel room with a view of the vineyard
The view from our room at Wesbert Winery

Our room and view at Wesbert Winery, check prices on or Expedia.

6. Roam With Alpacas

In Vernon, the Camelot Haven Alpacas farm allows visitors to roam the wildflower fields and pet and potentially cuddle the fuzzy alpacas.

Or you can book a guided alpaca walk where you each get to walk an alpaca on a leash and learn about these docile cuddly animals. 

alpacas in a field behind a wire fence
Camelot Haven Alpacas, credit to @miraecampbell

7. Cuddle with Kangaroos

Kangaroo Creek Farm is just north of Kelowna in Lake Country, and is definitely a place you should visit in the Okanagan.

There are also wallabies, capybaras, sugar gliders and other animals to enjoy.

It’s not a zoo, but a hobby farm that originated from bringing these once unwanted animals from New Zealand to Canada. 

two girls petting a small kangaroo

8. Penticton River Float

Floating down the whole length of the Penticton River Channel will take about 3 hours as you leisurely make your way down this 7km waterway that connects Okanagan Lake to Skaha Lake.

This is one of the most popular summer attractions in Penticton.

You can either bring your own inner tubes, or book a package with Coyote Cruises (they’ve got 12-person islands you can rent)!

groups of people in tubes float down a river channel

9. Kayak to Rattlesnake Island

From the main beach in Peachland, you can kayak to Rattlesnake Island which is free to roam around.

Decades ago, this small island was originally meant to be developed into an amusement park by a local entrepreneur. It was supposed to have mini-golf (which you can still see the abandoned course), a ferris-wheel and other attractions.

Due to local political disagreements, the theme park never came to fruition but the business man did build a large villa across from the island, now known as the Peachland Castle.

You can actually stay here – view prices on!

10. Explore the Kettle Valley Railway

The now abandoned Kettle Valley Railway corridor has been developed into a 650km multi-use trail system through southern British Columbia.

No matter where you go in the Okanagan, you can access parts of this trail.

Some of the most interesting parts of the KVR are the Myra Canyon trestles near Kelowna, which will take you 3-4 hours if you’re biking at a leisurely pace and enjoying the scenery.

If you’re visiting Naramata, you can take the KVR trail all along the bench and do wine tasting along the way! 

aerial view of people biking on an old trestle bridge
Cycling the Myra Canyon section of the Kettle Valley Railway near Kelowna – image credit Destination BC/Grant Harder

11. Catch a Flick at the Starlight Drive-in Theatre 

In the adorable town of Enderby, a drive-in theatre still exists with the largest screen in North America! There aren’t many of these places left in the world, so it’s a unique experience if you’ve never done it.

Visiting the Drive-in theatre in Enderby is also a great activity to do in the Okanagan when it rains, as it’s open rain or shine! Located less than an hour north of Kelowna.

12. Free Yourself at a Clothing Optional Beach

I know this isn’t for everyone, but if you’re open to the idea, Three Mile Beach in Penticton is not only a very welcoming spot to newcomers, it’s actually a great beach area in a perfect little cove.

The only view you get from Three Mile Beach!

You’re covered from onlookers by the cliffs above and no one on the beach really bats an eye. Bring your chilled bottle of wine and enjoy the late afternoon sun. 

| Read More: Everything You Can Expect When Visiting Three Mile Beach

13. Ice Cream and Quirky Shopping at Tickleberry’s

Just south of Penticton is the small community of Okanagan Falls. Tickleberry’s is a must-do spot on a road trip in the area for the best hard ice cream and all kinds of unique gifts. 

a woman sits on a bench eating ice cream

14. Stay in a Hobbit House 

About 30 minutes outside of Osoyoos you can rent your own little slice of Middle Earth as part of your Okanagan vacation.

With all the detailed touches, you will 100% be transported into a magical world. Check out all the photos and details on Airbnb.

15. Pick Your Own Juicy Fruit

Of all the things to experience in the Okanagan, picking and enjoying fresh fruit is a must. Apples, peaches, cherries and blueberries grow in abundance here (among many other fruits and veggies).

Be sure to stop at a highway fruit stand or some of the larger orchards and fruit markets. I love Davidson’s Orchards in Vernon and even the Log Barn north of town is a fun visit. 

16. Craft Breweries

Besides wine, the Okanagan has a booming craft beer scene (many of which have patios that are pet friendly).

BNA brewing might be the most well-known, due to its indoor bowling alley and bocce ball area.

We enjoyed Red Bird Brewing for a little quieter vibe and excellent food truck eats on site.

In Penticton, head to Bad Tattoo Brewing for their long list of unique ales and the most excellent pizza (the cheeseburger was our fave)!

Cannery Brewing is also a must – they’ve got a great patio and a huge array of beers on tap. 

Road Tripping through the Okanagan? Read a more in depth travel guide for the must-see stops from Kelowna to Osoyoos.

Things to Do in the Okanagan in Winter

17. Skiing and Snowboarding at World-Class Mountain Resorts

Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna and Silver Star Mountain in Vernon are the two major mountains in the Okanagan to get your fresh turns in. Ski resorts in the Okangan are well-known for large dumps of champagne powder (perfect dry snow).

Each resort has a village with condos, restaurants, shopping and extra activities available like snowshoeing, skating and snow tubing.

I especially love the colors of the village at Silver Star Mountain.

Silverstar Mountain Resort

18. Winter Wine Touring

Many wineries in the Okanagan are open year round or during certain winter months.

This is often a great time to do some wine tasting, as the wineries are usually much less busy in the winter months, so you might get a much more personal and in-depth learning experience.

rows of bare grape vines in the winter with snow on the ground
image courtesy of

If you’re a fan of icewine, plan a visit in late November to mid-December for harvesting these special grapes. Plus, seeing the snow-covered vines are quite beautiful.

19. Outdoor Skating

Visit Stuart Park in downtown Kelowna and skate under the beautiful lights and holiday decorations. Then wander over to a downtown cafe or restaurant to warm up with a hot chocolate or a warm drink.

Read More British Columbia Posts: 

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