In British Columbia's interior, the Okanagan Lake Basin and the Okanagan River form a valley that's peppered with lakes, dotted with ski hills and covered in rolling orchards and vineyards - this is the Okanagan Valley. Sometimes referred to as the Thompson-Okanagan, this region attracts visitors all year around with everything from its amazing beaches to amazing snow. For a more modern experience, please also try our new site at The Okanagan Vacation Rentals.
While places like Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and Osoyoos are famous for their summer camping and swimming, but it's the area's grapes which really take centre-stage in the warmer months. Not unlike California's Napa Valley, the Okanagan Valley is a patchwork of rolling vineyards, many producing award-winning vintages that are enjoyed the world over. Wine production centres include Vernon, Winfield and Oyama in the North Okanagan, Kelowna, Westbank and Peachland in Central Okanagan and Summerland, Penticton, Naramata, Oliver and Osoyoos in South Okanagan. The proliferation of this industry has seen a growth in tourist-oriented wine activities. Annual festivals dot the Okanagan Valley calendar such as the October Fall Wine Festival as well as its smaller but no less popular cousins, the January Icewine Festival, the May Spring Wine Festival and the August Summer Wine Festival. Also, numerous tour companies work with small estates as well as large international operations to bring the romance of the wine-making experience to the region's many visitors.
Come winter, The Okanagan produces some of the most amazing snow in the country. Champagne Snow, a particularly pristine form of powder, occurs when the high-pressure areas over the Pacific meet the area's local weather systems. Several amazing alpine facilities take advantage of these as well as similar excellent conditions. Silver Star in Vernon brags pipes, parks, 11 lifts and a 762 meter vertical drop. Smaller hills like Mt. Baldy in Oliver or even Crystal Mountain enjoy several lifts, multiple runs plus impressive vertical drops as well. Just 35 minutes from Penticton, Apex Resort offers 1,112 acres of skiable terrain, a half-pipe, 4 lifts and a vertical drop of 610 meters. Outside of Kamloops, Sun Peaks has 3,678 acres of skiable terrain and 122 runs! And Kelowna's Big White boasts over 27 thousand acres of skiable terrain with 118 runs, 5 alpine bowls, 16 lifts, cross-country trails, snowshoeing wilderness and snowmobile tracks.
Placid lakes, perfect powder or Pinot Noir, The Okanagan will always have you coming back for more!