Okanagan Valley

Okanagan Valley visitors can enjoy a number of rewarding activities. In fact, this fairly arid valley to the near south of British Columbia's high country offers things to do to suit just about every taste and preference. Okanagan wine tours are popular, thanks to the area's winemaking prowess, and if you are interested in regional festivals, the Okanagan wine festivals are worth keeping in mind. When you're not sampling local wines in the Okanagan Valley, you can fill your time with any number of recreational pursuits. Boating is among the most popular recreational activities, as the valley boasts a chain of inviting lakes, and during the winter months, the nearby mountains are likely to beckon with their snow sports opportunities.

Lake Okanagan
Lake Okanagan  Image: erwlas (flickr)

The Okanagan Valley in southern British Columbia is one of Canada's warmest regions. The winters are mild, which helps to attract retirees, and the summers are quite dry. The main cities in the valley are Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, and Osoyoos, and among the most renowned natural attractions is Okanagan Lake. This lake is especially ideal for swimming, boating, and fishing—rainbow trout and kokanee salmon are among the main catches. Other activities that can be enjoyed on the 79-mile-long Okanagan Lake are windsurfing and waterskiing.

For those who are interested in Okanagan history, it is worth noting that ranches have been thriving in the area for more than 100 years now. Fruit orchards and vineyards have also been in place for some time now. In fact, monasteries in the valley started planting fruit trees and vineyards as far back as 1859. Fruit production and wine making are among the main industries to this day, and thanks to the valley's all around appeal, tourism is growing steadily. Summer is the optimal time to hit the regional fruit stands, many of which can be found along Highway 97. As for the main Okanagan Valley wine festivals, they include a festival for every season. When festivals aren't going on, wine enthusiasts can take solace in the fact that the region's more than 100 vineyards and wineries offer free tastings and tours year round.

While planning a trip to the beautiful Okanagan Valley, another activity that you might look to include on the itinerary is golfing. The region is home to a splendid collection of golf courses and ski resorts. Golfing enthusiasts will have more than 50 18-hole courses to choose from in the Okanagan Valley, and many of these courses have won numerous awards. Among the best are the Gallagher's Canyon Golf & Country Club course and the Jack Nicklaus-designed Bear Course, both of which are found in Kelowna. The Bear Course is just one of the fantastic courses that the Okanagan Golf Club has to offer. The other is the dynamic Quail Course.

Ski resorts are also found in the Okanagan Valley region, and include the Sun Peaks Resort, Big White, and Silver Star, just to name a few. These Okanagan resorts are also among the best of their kind in all of Canada, and they certainly help to make the region a prime winter vacation destination. There really isn't a bad time to visit the Thompson Okanagan area when it comes down to it. Perhaps you'll arrange multiple visits in an effort to enjoy everything that this wonderful part of the world has to offer.

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