British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is bursting with vineyards, orchards, outdoor activities, and charming small towns. The latter offer wine-tasting rooms, fantastic restaurants, vibrant arts scenes, and resorts that serve as jumping-off points for adventures around the area. It all combines to make for a deservedly popular year-round destination.The Basics
Rows and rows of grapes ripen among the rolling hills around Okanagan Lake, earning the area its nickname: Napa Valley of the North. Okanagan’s wine scene is dominated by sweet whites, and the local ice dessert wine—made using grapes that have frozen on the vine during Canada’s chilly winter nights—is a must-try.
The Okanagan Valley is also home to numerous outdoor activities and is popular among water-sport aficionados, golfers, mountain bikers, and hikers. In winter, snowy Okanagan Valley becomes a popular skiing destination. The backcountry teems with old mining settlements toward the valley’s US border, while the north is dominated by those famous orchards and vineyards. The largest city, Kelowna, is known for its arts and restaurant scenes, and is an ideal base for exploring the region; other popular cities locales around the lake are Vernon and Penticton.
Explore the valley independently, join a popular wine tour, or ride to craft distilleries and breweries on a bike tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Okanagan Valley is a must for wine enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.
- The region is also ideal for families, as the activities aren’t too rigorous to exclude younger or older travelers.
- The desert climate here can range from very cold to very warm; be sure to check the weather forecast before you travel.
- Much of the valley’s attractions and wineries are accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Kelowna has a regional airport with regular flights arriving from Vancouver International Airport. If driving, the Okanagan Valley is about five scenic hours east of Vancouver.
When to Get There
The timing of your trip depends on the activities you’re pursuing. Ski and snowboard in winter, hike and swim in summer, and sip wine year-round—there’s no bad time to visit the Okanagan Valley.Okanagan Valley Wine
The Okanagan Valley is British Columbia’s top wine grape–growing region. Visits to wineries like Grizzli, Summerhill, Cedar Creek, Mission Hill, and Quails’ Gate allow visitors to sip local specialties and learn about the entire winemaking process from the experts.