In case you’re in search of a getaway that provides out of doors journey, world-class wineries, and a number of other distinctive eating experiences in a sustainable and accountable method, then the South Okanagan must be in your radar. This sunny, dry area in southern British Columbia is residence to eight communities (Penticton, Naramata, Summerland, Peachland, Kaleden, Okanagan Falls, Oliver and Osoyoos), a number of lakes together with Vaseux and Skaha Lakes together with 135-kilometre-long Lake Okanagan. You’ll discover pleasant individuals, awe-inspiring landscapes, fairly seashores, mountains, and a number of distinctive actions you received’t discover in an enormous metropolis. It’s a really perfect vacation spot if you wish to recharge mentally and bodily.
Plan to remain in or close to Penticton – a small metropolis with a inhabitants of 37,000. It’s residence to an airport that could be a mere 8-minute drive away from the downtown. From Penticton, you possibly can discover the world nearly fuel-free by strolling, biking, e-biking, and kayaking. Anything you intend to do will solely be a brief drive away.
South Okanagan information abstract
- Plan on a minimal of three nights to profit from a go to to the South Okanagan. I stayed on the Penticton Lakeside Resort overlooking Lake Okanagan.
- Discover as much as eight communities nearly gas free by renting bikes or ebikes in Penticton.
- High out of doors actions embody biking a piece or two of the Kettle Valley Railway and kayaking Vaseux Lake. In case you have time, raft the river channel in Penticton or attempt SUP or kayaking on Lake Okanagan.
- Wine, beer, and cheese tasting are tops for the culinary crowd with an unimaginable alternative within the quantity and calibre of wineries and craft breweries you possibly can go to.
- Get pleasure from two distinctive eating experiences at Elma in Penticton and The Restaurant on the Naramata Inn.
- Get up to espresso, baked items and á la carte decisions at Wayne and Freda, The Bench Market and Loki’s Storage in Penticton.
Attending to the South Okanagan
The South Okanagan is a straightforward place to go to, even when you solely have just a few days. It’s a brief 45-minute flight to Penticton from Calgary – and 50 minutes from Vancouver. In case you’d moderately drive, it’s 4.5 hours from Vancouver – however shut to eight hours from Calgary.
A information to three excellent days within the South Okanagan
Most of us can discover the time for a three-day getaway. It’s not lengthy, nevertheless it’s sufficient to recharge, get a brand new view on life and overlook about work and all of the issues that make up your day-to-day life. Described is a 3-day itinerary, and whereas it doesn’t cowl every thing the South Okanagan has to supply, you’ll hit most of the highlights.
Fly into Penticton for a late afternoon arrival: Try the microbrewery scene in Penticton with a cease at Cannery Brewing. Get pleasure from dinner at one of many eating places on the strip – Socialē, Elma, Salty’s Seaside Home, or Cambo Seaside.
Day 1 within the South Okanagan: Breakfast at Wayne & Freda’s. Observe up with a motorbike experience on the Kettle Valley Railway, a cheese and wine tasting at Poplar Grove Cheese, a beer or slushie at Deserted Rail Brew Co and at last dinner at Elma.
Day 2 within the South Okanagan: Breakfast at The Bench Market adopted by a kayaking tour on Vaseux Lake. Then take pleasure in a farm tour at Covert Farms Household Property adopted by an area charcuterie board and a wine tasting. Try the District Wine Village and eat dinner at The Restaurant at Naramata Inn in Naramata.
Day 3 in Summerland: After breakfast at Loki’s Storage in Penticton, head to Summerland to bike a piece of the Kettle Valley Railway. Clear up and head for the airport for a day flight residence.
What to do in your arrival day in Penticton
Try the craft beer scene in Penticton
Named as Canada’s Craft Beer Capital by Lonely Planet, Penticton is the house to eight craft breweries. Strolling between a lot of the breweries is simple as 5 are in downtown Penticton. If a brewery crawl is in your agenda, you received’t even want a taxi to get again to your lodge.
Cannery Brewing is the craft brewery I visited. It’s a household enterprise that’s been round for 20 years. They are saying that their beer is made with coronary heart they usually actually care in regards to the group. That was very a lot in proof on our tour with Patt Dyck, one of many house owners.
Their brewery can also be one of many solely locations which permits minors to go to after 6 PM, due to one thing referred to as a lounge endorsement. Mother and father can come right here after work with the children for a beer and bites – like a regionally produced cheese or meat board.
The Yard adjoining to the brewery is an informal place to hang around. It options picnic tables, astro-turf, a slushie machine, and a devoted bar. There’s a rotating meals truck every weekend as nicely. Canine are allowed when you hold them beneath the picnic desk. It’s open seasonally from Wednesday to Sunday.
With as much as 13 beers on faucet, there may be going to be a beer for everybody. I for one turned a fan of the Kindling Imperial Stout – although I’ve to say the blackberry porter was notable too.
Day one within the South Okanagan
Gas up at Wayne & Freda
I’m an enormous fan of Wayne and Freda. Their espresso is improbable and their house-made granola scrumptious. Ditto their muffins. One in every of my colleagues loved an order of salmon toast that was nearly too fairly to eat. The place has a fantastic vibe and seems to attract an enormous native crowd.
The Wayne & Freda story is an effective one too. Ryan and Jen, the couple who began the espresso store have been courting once they realized that their respective grandparents – named Wayne and Freda, have been in the identical care residence and finally on the identical eating desk within the care residence so that they have been capable of look out for one another. What a beautiful tribute to their grandparents to call the restaurant after them.
Cycle the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) from Penticton to Little Tunnel
The Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) is an deserted railroad observe that stretches throughout the Okanagan and Similkameen areas in southern British Columbia. In case you have been to bike the whole KVR, you’d cycle about 650 km. Happily, there are a number of brief options which can be excellent for the leisure bike owner. Among the finest is the bike experience from Penticton up previous Naramata to the Little Tunnel lookout, a one-way distance of about 17 km.
You’ll be able to hire an ebike from Pedego Bikes Penticton and have a really fulfilling return experience that may take you two to 4 hours, relying on what number of stops you make. You too can hire highway and mountain bikes from Freedom Bike Store in Penticton. The largest hill you’ll encounter is the one to get out of Penticton. The excellent news is that it goes proper by the The Bench Market – the place you possibly can choose up picnic provides.
The Kettle Valley Railway is well-signed out of Penticton. Cycle by way of residential neighbourhoods, with views of Lake Okanagan and downtown Penticton. Proceed previous vineyards, orchards, a microbrewery and on by way of candy smelling pine forest to achieve the Little Tunnel lookout. This can be a effective spot to take pleasure in your picnic with a view. Retrace your steps – stopping in at Deserted Rail Brewing, Hillside Vineyard and/or Poplar Grove Cheese for a beer, wine, or cheese tasting.
Cease at Poplar Grove Cheese on the way in which again to Penticton
Chances are high excessive you’re on a vacation when you’re out biking the Kettle Valley Railway. So why not indulge and cease in at Poplar Grove Cheese for a cheese and Lock & Price wine tasting. The truth is, half the people who cease in for a tasting come from the KVR!
Usually three cheeses are paired with three wines, however we have been fortunate to attempt all 4 cheeses they make together with their ever fashionable Tiger Blue and Okanagan Double Cream Camembert. The minimalist, unfiltered wines produced by Lock & Price come from a few of the oldest vines within the Okanagan. One of many nice mixtures I loved was a sauvignon blanc – semillon mix with the camembert. Wow!
In case you can swing it, choose up some Poplar Grove cheese to take residence with you. It is going to be a fantastic reminiscence of your time within the South Okanagan.
What is going to it’s – an apple slushie or a beer?
You might be scorching and dusty close to the top of your bike experience, so plan to cease for a chilly drink at Deserted Rail Brewing Co, the latest microbrewery to open in Penticton. In case you’ve ever cycled the KVR, you could bear in mind The Path Retailer that served slushies in the identical location. The current house owners purchased that retailer and as a nod to how nicely cherished it was, included the Path Retailer design into their constructing and better of all – they proceed to serve apple slushies together with beer.
After parking your bike or automotive, wander previous some productive fruit timber to enter the constructing. Select your beer (they’re recognized for his or her Pilsners) or slushie and revel in patio seating or discover a picnic desk with an umbrella, sit again, and benefit from the sight of swaying barley within the 5-acre area subsequent door. Their estate-grown barley is used of their beer, making certain a hyper-local product.
Eat dinner at Elma
I want there was an Elma in Calgary. This Turkish impressed restaurant on Lakeshore Drive operated by Michael and Ayse Barluk is one in every of my all-time favorite eating places.
What makes Elma so nice? It’s a mix of issues – the area, their artistic tackle Turkish meals, the presentation, and the pleasant, impeccable service. The brilliant area with a view to Lake Okanagan is full of lights and tiles sourced from Turkey. The bar upstairs with a backdrop of ferns is extraordinary. And the superbly offered meals is solely out of this world – particularly the labne, described as a creamy strained yogurt with spicy honey and herbs. That doesn’t start to painting how one thing so easy is so out of this world scrumptious.
I’m not a meals author – however I do know good meals after I style it. And that is one restaurant you MUST completely go to on a visit to the South Okanagan. They’re open Wednesday to Sunday. I might counsel that you just make reservations.
Day 2 within the South Okanagan
Begin the day with breakfast at The Bench Market.
The Bench Market is a laidback place to take pleasure in an all-day breakfast, weekend brunch, scrumptious recent baked items and top-notch espresso. Eat inside or out, relying on the climate. And when you’re in search of a singular present to take again with you, take a look at their number of BC made distinctive meals objects like native jams, honey, barbeque sauces, oils, cookbooks, or cocktail napkins with loopy sayings.
Kayak on Vaseux Lake
Vaseux Lake situated between Oliver and Okanagan Falls is a nature lover’s dream. The non-motorized lake is a fowl sanctuary that attracts individuals from all over the world, particularly in the course of the spring migration. The realm across the lake can also be famous for its painted turtles whereas on the hills and cliffs you possibly can usually spot huge horn sheep, deer, elk, and even moose and bears.
The lake is a good place to take pleasure in a straightforward kayaking expertise. In case you don’t have your personal kayak, PFD, and security gear, join a tour led by Hoodoo Adventures and discover the lake and lagoon at a relaxed tempo. If it’s windy, it will likely be a tad more difficult however there may be the choice to paddle into the lagoon. That’s the one time you’ll really feel the present, a testomony to the truth that the water from Vaseux Lake is transferring slowly into the Columbia River Basin.
Go to Covert Farms Household Property
In case you have two to 3 hours, embody a go to to Covert Farms Household Property, a 650-acre winery and farm on the finish of a scenic winding highway in Oliver. It’s in contrast to some other winery or vineyard I’ve visited. This can be a vacation spot because it provides one thing for all members of your loved ones from the little ones to seniors. I do know of no different wineries that supply mini farm excursions, juice, meat and cheese tastings – designed only for children, a protracted slip and slide, and a large bouncy equipment to call however just a few cool kid-loving distractions.
Gene Covert, the grandson of George Covert who purchased the land in 1959, alongside along with his spouse Shelly Covert are on a mission to farm and develop their grapes and produce in a sustainable and regenerative method – that means that they’re working laborious to rebuild the soil’s natural matter and enhance the water cycle. They’re getting there! Within the scorching summer time of 2021, their pinot noir was watered simply thrice.
Their fascinating one-hour farm tour is a should. Hop at the back of their cherry crimson ’52 Mercury truck and uncover the property – together with a large pond with a bubbler and a few ski jumps that’s used for observe by Olympians in summer time. In fact, you’ll study the historical past of the property and a few of the methods they’ve included lentils, flax, flowering vegetation, grasses, plantain, and a small herd of west highland cattle to help in soil regeneration. On the tour, you’ll additionally take pleasure in a wine tasting and even perhaps a grape tasting. And when that’s all completed, you possibly can choose a field of natural strawberries to take residence with you.
End the go to with essentially the most vibrant and scrumptious charcuterie board you’ve ever seen – paired with a sampling of seven wines together with their sparking zinfandel, a rosé, a sauvignon blanc-semillon combine, and their gold profitable 2019 Amicita. This was a memorable cease within the South Okanagan I extremely suggest you incorporate in your go to.
Go to the District Wine Village
The District Wine Village close to Oliver is named the primary true wine village in Canada. The idea is to showcase new wineries that produce lower than 2,000 circumstances of wine per yr. It’s a possibility for the wineries to current their wines to a special viewers and construct out their buyer base.
Inside the wine village there are 12 wineries, one craft brewery and a distillery. Every vineyard has cutting-edge gear on website – and the power to press the grapes with transportable group gear. It’s a really collaborative method to wine making. Get pleasure from wine, beer, or spirit tastings, generally paired with meals at any one of many wineries. They provide a twice a day shuttle from Penticton and Osoyoos, so that you don’t even want a automotive to take pleasure in a go to.
The circle pictured under is an emblem of collaboration and cooperation. It’s a place the place individuals collect, drink, discuss, have enjoyable – and revel in occasions just like the weekly Wednesday evening market.
Eat at The Restaurant on the Naramata Inn
We didn’t keep on the Naramata Inn, however I did some 12 years in the past. With new possession, the dozen Mission type rooms have been absolutely refurbished and up to date however they nonetheless supply a view of gardens, lakes and hills, from the shared higher veranda. Even higher, a continental breakfast created by Chef Ned and his crew comes with the room. If it’s something like dinner, you’re in for a deal with.
I had the immense pleasure of assembly Chef Ned Bell throughout our meal at The Restaurant on the Naramata Inn. He is among the house owners of the inn, alongside along with his companion/spouse Kate Colley, Maria Wiesner, and Paul Hollands. His program referred to as “hyper native, hyper seasonal is rooted in technically French meals with Naramata flavours.” He says the restaurant follows the seasons everyday, week to week and never a lot season to season which permits his crew to be extremely artistic. They concentrate on utilizing elements from the area – so there are not any lemons, limes, or olive oil, although just a few exceptions are made like pulses from the prairies and seafood from the west coast. His hope is to “be bringing the very best of the Okanagan to the world.”
Chef Ned did say that each nice meal begins and ends with one thing from the pastry chef. On this case we began with the Naramata apple sourdough bread with home cultured butter. That may very well be a meal in itself. I adopted that with a tomato salad made with Tiger Blue crème, stone fruits and torn herbs in an incredible French dressing made with Venturi-Shulze aged balsamic vinegar. Then it was a effective piece of salmon – pictured under. I ended with among the finest desserts of my life – and I don’t exaggerate right here. The caramel choux à la crème is a slice of heaven – with layers of textures and flavours that have been merely divine. I feel they could be together with the dessert in a cooking class.
In case you plan to be anyplace within the South Okanagan, make a reservation, after which eat calmly all day so you possibly can take pleasure in a effective meal at a beautiful restaurant in a captivating small city.
Day 3 within the South Okanagan
Begin with breakfast at Loki’s Storage
Loki’s Storage in Penticton doesn’t open till 9 AM so you possibly can sleep in or higher but, rise up and stroll the Okanagan Seaside promenade. You’ll share it with different early risers, canine walkers, and even perhaps somebody who has simply had a swim. Then it’s a 5-minute stroll from the Penticton Lakeside Resort to the restaurant. If it’s a effective day, sit outdoors at one of many picnic tables and revel in a brunch till 1 PM.
Their focus is on regionally sourced, house-made elements with a eager eye to presentation. Espresso is French press solely – however they do supply mimosas and Caesars.
Bike the Kettle Valley Railway out of Summerland
The Kettle Valley Railway out of Summerland has a wilder, much less populous really feel to it than the part heading to the First Tunnel lookout from Penticton. The path twists, turns and climbs previous viewpoints, the Kettle Valley Steam Prepare, and a number of other interpretive panels. Do you know that Sam McGee from among the finest promoting poems of all time – The Cremation of Sam McGee lived in Summerland at one level?
The path follows the Trans-Canada Path from Summerland to Osprey Lakes.
Say goodbye to the South Okanagan
Flying out of Penticton is simple because it’s such a small airport – so small that the one issues you should buy come out of merchandising machines. The excellent news although is that you just don’t must be on the airport greater than about 90 minutes earlier than your flight – similar to the “previous days.” Bon voyage and are available again once more to this particular a part of British Columbia.
Additional studying on issues to do in BC
Thanks to Go to Penticton for internet hosting me. All ideas and opinions are mine alone.
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