25 Bucket List Activities in the Okanagan Valley

25 Bucket List Activities in the Okanagan Valley

Credit: Coyote Cruises

Stretching along the basin of Okanagan Lake and the Okanagan River, this area is sometimes referred to just as the Okanagan or the Okanagan Country.This region is a favourite for outdoor loving travellers who want to spend time in the year-round warmer climates, along with those who love the easygoing culture and history of these parts. Vineyards and orchards dot the landscape, offering unique culinary aspects to days spent here. With the main city of Kelowna, along with numerous towns offering plenty of accommodations and eateries, you will easily find favourite places to spend a week or two.

Float the Penticton River Channel

One of the top things to do in the area, this is a much-loved activity for visitors and locals alike. Sit back on a tube or a floatie and relax your way down the river. If you don’t have your own, you can rent one from the launch site. The 7-kilometer ride will be a great way to spend a lazy day enjoying the sun and water. If you don’t have two vehicles (one to leave at each end), you can hop the shuttle to come back to the start for a small fee.
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Visit the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory

This research center is an internationally known facility for science and technology based on radio astronomy, so this is a unique destination, not only in this area, but in Canada. You can visit year-round for self-guided tours and on weekends and holidays have the special occasion to have a free guided tour by a professional from the site. Not only that, there are phenomenal views of the area from up here.
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Spend a Day at the O’Keefe Ranch

Located near Vernon, the O’Keefe Ranch is a historic site that is worthy of a visit when you are in the area. The ranch is dedicated to preserving historic ranching items along with the history of the O’Keefe family in the area. The O’Keefe family settled on the farm in 1867, when it was considered the end of the wagon trail, and at one point was a town in itself, with a post office, blacksmith shop, mill and church. There are heritage buildings and museum exhibits to explore, farm animals to visit and much more to keep you busy all day.
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Visit the Osoyoos Desert Centre

This 67-acres is an interpretive nature center where you can learn about the unique desert ecology and conservation of endangered ecosystems. You should plan to spend up to two hours exploring the 1.5-kilometer wooden boardwalk area with a guided or self guided tour. Fun, hands on exhibits and a native plant display complete the experience. Take a picnic and enjoy the spectacular views.
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Take in the Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm

25 Bucket List Activities in the Okanagan Valley

Credit: Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm

A very unique farm that will be of interest to travellers who want to learn the traditional craft of essential oil and hydrosol distillation done here. This farm grows eight different aromatic herbs and plants, including over sixty varieties of lavender. They are then harvested, dried and distilled on-site for use in the botanical products that are available in their farm boutique.
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Celebrate Peachfest

This is an event in the Okanagan that you don’t want to miss. Every year adults and kids of all ages can enjoy this free event held in Penticton to celebrate the peach harvest. There are so many fun aspects of this event it will be hard to choose what to do first. Enjoy a parade, peach bin races, slo-pitch tournaments, a square dance and lots of live entertainment during the five-day festival.
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Visit the SS Sicamous

The largest surviving sternwheeler in British Columbia and was originally used to transport passengers and cargo to remote shores of Okanagan Lake. Filled with interesting exhibits and historic displays, this museum is a great testament to what life was like in the early days of the province. Located on the shore of the Lake in Penticton, this is an easy access site that everyone can enjoy.
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Take a Wine Tour

What better way to explore the vineyards of the area then by a guided tour? There are more than 200 wineries that make up this famous region and, while you may not be able to visit all of them, taking a tour will ensure that you get a wide variety of tastes and wines. Relax and enjoy while you are taken on a wine journey through the area.
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U-Pick at an Orchard

One of the benefits of being in a warm climate is the fresh fruit and vegetables that can be found in the region. The blossoms come out in the spring, bringing the promise of fresh produce, and as the season progresses visitors and locals alike flock to the orchards to pick their own fruit. From cherries to peaches and apricots to apples, not to mention the variety of vegetables, there will be something coming ripe at most times of the summer.
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Take a Ride on the Kettle Valley Steam Railway

Ten miles of preserved railway track provides an opportunity to ride the historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway. Built between 1910 and 1015, this railway opened the route to the coast for the fruit trade in the region to reach world markets. The ride will take you through the beautiful scenery of the area, like orchards and vineyards, and allow you to have sweeping views of the lake region while giving you an unforgettable experience.
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Enjoy the Okanagan Wine Festival

With this many vineyards and wineries in the region it makes sense that there are festivals to celebrate all the wine available! Four festivals through the seasons welcome 70 wineries and host more than 100 events so that every attendee will enjoy every single moment of tasting and experiencing the world class product from the area.
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Feast on Maeg’s BBQ Boats

This is a fun and unique way of spending time on Okanagan Lake. Cruise along the downtown waterfront while having a BBQ on board. You can be your own captain and bring your family members or friends along for the ride (and lunch or dinner). You have the option of bringing your own food along or choose to use the fantastic catering available.
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Take a Sip at the Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

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Credit: Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

Take a step away from the wine tastings in the region to instead enjoy some award-winning spirits from western Canada’s first craft distillery. Ten years in business has allowed them to create some incredible spirits to choose from. Go in for a tasting of one of their 25 crafted spirits and enjoy every sip.
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View Spotted Lake

A wonderfully strange natural mineral rich lake located in Canada’s only true desert area – Osoyoos – this incredible lake is best viewed during the summer months. Due to the heat of the summer, much of the water in the lake evaporates, leaving large concentrations of various minerals that form the spots visible in the lake. Throughout the summer, the spots shift in size and colour as the minerals within each change with further evaporation. You can see colours ranging from blue to green to yellow dependant on the mineral makeup in the water that’s left. Note to travellers: you can not swim in this lake at any time of year.
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Take in a Picture at the Starlight Drive-in Theatre

In Enderby you will find one of the last remaining drive in theatres in the country. This is one of the best family, couple or group of friend’s experience that you can have in the area. The theatre shows all the newest movies and, as usual with drive ins, you can enjoy a double feature. Check the schedule for the opening dates and movie times.
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Visit Davison Orchards Country Village

A family friendly destination that will allow you to experience the countryside and farm. There are tours of the orchards, a collection of antique tractors to view, lots of activities for kids to enjoy, along with a gift shop featuring homemade preserves, pies and more. The café on site will allow visitors to feast on some incredible food made from fresh ingredients right from the farm.
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Take in an Outdoor Play at the Caravan Farm Theatre

A fantastic outdoor experience that will knock your socks off, this theater is set on an 80-acre farm near Armstrong. Run by a not for profit society, this theatre puts on a variety of live plays and events throughout the year. Check out their shows and dress appropriately, it can be cool at night during the winter months!
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Go Downhill at Big White Ski Resort

25 Bucket List Activities in the Okanagan Valley

Credit: Big White Ski Resort

Just southeast of Kelowna you will encounter an amazing ski resort – Big White. It is incredible to be able to travel from the warmer valley up to the snow covered slopes to have some skiing or snowboarding fun. There are an amazing number of runs to enjoy here – 118 alpine trails and 25 Nordic trails. While winter can provide tons of fun, if you are in the area in the summer you can also check out the hiking trails in the area.
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Hike to Paul’s Tomb

Not as sinister as the name implies, this is actually a favourite hike and destinations for the locals of Kelowna. Located on Knox Mountain, this is a relatively easy hike that should take you about an hour in total to go and return. The views are incredible and there is actually a tomb near the end, which has a great story behind it. At the end of the trail there is a lovely little secluded beach, along with lots of benches along the trail, so there are plenty of places to sit and rest or enjoy the fresh air.
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Hike or Cycle Myra Canyon Trestles

Outside of Kelowna you can find some great hiking and biking trails, including the Myra Canyon Trestles, which were part of part of the Kettle Valley Railway. There are two tunnels and eighteen trestle bridges to hike or bike over. If you are not comfortable with biking on your own, join a tour with one of the local companies. Great views and amazing history await you along this unique trail.
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Take Some Time Out at Beaver Lake Mountain Resort

25 Bucket List Activities in the Okanagan Valley

Credit: Beaver Lake Mountain Resort

A nice place to get a bit more off the beaten track as you explore the outdoor activities available here, along with comfortable cabins and camping options. With plenty of activities available, such as fishing, swimming, boating, hiking and biking, you can choose to fill every moment or just relax. Unique massages and a Finnish sauna are available to help you relax.
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Enjoy Some Fishing at Dee Lake Wilderness Resort

After time in the cities and populated areas of the Okanagan Valley, the wilderness may be calling to you. This heritage resort has been here since 1926 and provides visitors with some world-class fishing opportunities. If you would like to visit during the winter you can rent cabins by the month, otherwise make sure you reserve for at least a couple of nights in order to properly enjoy that area.
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Visit the Vaseux Lake Bird Sanctuary

Located south of Penticton, this is a migratory bird sanctuary where you can take a walk on an elevated boardwalk through a protected marsh to view the birds and wildlife. This is an excellent spot to learn about some of the migratory birds, some of which only come to this area, as it is the most northern spot on their route. There are interpretive signs available to help you identify those that you may see.
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Learn at the Nk’Mp Desert Cultural Center

In Osoyoos you will have the chance to spend some time at this interesting center. The interpretive center was built in order to provide visitors the information to understand and learn about the First Nations of the area and their culture and history. The theatre experiences, variety of exhibits and the reconstructed village here will take you into the culture of the Osoyoos Indian Band.
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Climb Skaha Bluffs

Climbing enthusiasts will want to include this destination on their vacation, as this is one of the most popular places to climb in the province. With over 50 crags there are plenty of routes to choose from, with grades ranging from 5.0 to 5.13, and an amazing number of 5.10 to 5.12 routes. Being so close to Penticton allows climbers to spend days out climbing and nights in the city.
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