The Okanagan Valley is one of the most desirable areas to live in Canada with short winters and long, hot, summers. It is well known for its spectacular location between valleys, mountains and lakes and is considered a tourism destination all year round. There is a higher English-speaking population than in other cities in Canada with a strong family culture in its smaller communities. Outdoor activities, as in the rest of the province, are some of the key attractions of the region including, mountain climbing, kayaking, cycling, sailing surfing, skiing, snowboarding, golf and many others.
The natural landscape of the Thompson Okanagan includes mountains, valleys, desert, and everything in between.
The region has an international airport in Kelowna and other smaller airports in the cities of Kamloops and Penticton, with direct flights from Vancouver, Victoria, Prince George, Calgary, Toronto, Seattle and Los Angeles.
By Road from Vancouver
A road trip to the city of Kelowna takes around five hours by car. It is absolutely worthwhile to take this tour to enjoy the landscape, stopping to picnic in one of the many parks, overlooking the rivers and other natural beauty.
With a thousand lakes and a pleasant climate, the Okanagan is the ideal region for fishing and offers several types of accommodation and areas for camping. The Adams River is the location with the largest crossing of Salmon Sockeye in the world. Every four years, millions of salmon return to the river where they were born!
With its hot summer and spectacular, warm lakes, it is hard to resist taking a dip in the water. All types of water sports are practiced on the lakes throughout the season and people come from all over to enjoy themselves.
There are dozens of trails for biking and for all tastes. Terrain that allows easy cycling through peaceful forests and trails with the only purpose of enjoying the landscape to paths with obstacles for all terrain riding in locations like Silver Star and Sunpeaks Mountain resorts are everywhere.
There are mores than 50 golf courses in the entire region with magnificent views and vistas of vineyards, lakes, mountains and even semi-arid landscapes.
As if these activities were not enough, the Valley also boasts several ranches with horse back riding for riders of every level. Some of these ranches have spas and the amenities of a luxury hotel.
One of the most relaxing, natural activities is to immerse yourself in the healing waters of a natural hot spring. BC has many natural hot springs for a wide range of tastes and styles – inside a world-class resort, in a rock-lined pool in the midst of the forest or in a remote area that can only be reached by water.
Winter Snow Activities
If we talk about snow, British Columbia is the province that stands out for its spectacular mountains and easy, winter weather. The Okanagan region is known for its four, major resorts including Sun Peaks, Big White, Silver Star and Apex Mountain and there are smaller mountains in the region to be enjoyed as well. All of the mountains have slopes for skiers and “snowboarders” of all levels. In addition to these two major sports, you can also try “backcountry” skiing”, “cross country” skiing, “snowshoeing” , or even bike riding in the snow!
The Wine Region
With over 100 vineyards in the region, tours of the wine routes are one of the main attractions. Okanagan wines have won awards internationally and one of the highlights is to enjoy a variety of exclusive wine from this region called Ice Wine. This delicious digestive drink is made with grapes that have been frozen after the first snowfall, making them especially sweet. All of the vineyards in the region have a bar or tasting room and most include bistros and restaurants that work in conjunction with local farmers, resulting in exquisite and fresh dishes with ingredients from the region.
The British Columbia Wildlife Park
This zoological facility is home to bears, Cougars, moose, wolves, birds of prey and many other species, large and small. To visit it you’re also supporting the efforts for the conservation of the wildlife of the region. It is truly amazing to have the chance to see at a safe distance, some of the fiercest predators of these forests.