Province/Territory: British Columbia

BC's Pastoral Wine and Lake Country

  • 200 wineries
  • 200-plus lakes
  • 40 golf courses

Follow BC's scenic self-guided wine trails along lakefront vineyards, past lush fruit orchards and into Canada's only pocket desert. Watch Shakespeare performed in a hilltop amphitheatre at sunset. Golf among hoodoos and canyon fissures. Go horseback-riding through silent sagebrush-covered hills. Tour North America's only underground wine cellars carved into a volcanic rock hillside at an architecturally stunning winery with a 12-storey bell tower. Learn the ancient secrets of pyramid power at an organic winery, where 40 types of heirloom tomatoes are grown. Tour a First Nations desert cultural centre. While boating on Okanagan Lake, keep your eyes peeled for the legendary monster, Ogopogo.

Outdoor adventure

  • Cycle the Okanagan through idyllic "Napa of the North" vineyards.
  • Heli-ski in the magnificent Monashee and Cariboo Mountains, 2.5 hours north of Kamloops or in champagne powder at Big White, Silver Star or Apex Mountain.
  • Hike over 18 historic wooden trestles in the Myra Canyon on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail.
  • Pick apples off the tree while playing 18 holes of golf in a fruit orchard.
  • Swim, sail and picnic at 30 local beaches during almost-tropical Okanagan summers.

Arts & Culture

  • Tour Nk'Mip Cellars, Canada's first Aboriginal-owned-and-operated winery, and the stop at the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos.
  • Hear summer concerts and plays at Mission Hill's outdoor grass amphitheatre in view of the iconic 12-storey bell tower.
  • Tour the Geert Mass Sculpture Gardens and Gallery.
  • Hop aboard the S.S. Sicamous in Penticton, a historic steel-hulled sternwheeler, now a living lakefront museum.

Food & Drink

  • Sample dishes made with local ingredients like organic salmon coated in dried grape dust on a four-day wine and restaurant tour.
  • Taste organic gold-medal winning wines aged and finished in a replica of the Great Pyramids of Egypt.
  • Dine gourmet-style in a domed observation car aboard the Rocky Mountaineer from Vancouver to Kamloops.
  • Delight in the "nectar of the gods," icewine, made from grapes harvested by moonlight and pressed while frozen.
  • Cozy up to the oenophiles in a tasting salon at Mission Hill's Wine Education Centre.

Nature & Wildlife

  • Take a guided tour to Adams River to Salute the Sockeye as they complete their life cycle amid brilliant fall foliage.
  • See wildflowers explode around Kalamalka Lake in spring.
  • Photograph fruit orchards and vineyards nudging up to a rare pocket desert overlooking Osoyoos Lake.
  • Tour an orchard in a tractor-driven hay wagon while your guide points out Okanagan apple varieties.
  • Fill a basket with sweet-scented lavendar at a u-pick farm.

Weather

Quick facts

Area: 20,829 sq-km (8,042 sq-mi)
Vineyards: 320 sq-km (200 sq-mi)
Total Population: 461,858
Largest City: Kamloops
Lake Okanagan: 113-km (70 mi) lon
Sunshine: An average 2,000 hours per year at the Okanagan's south end.

When to go
  • Ski at the Okanagan's six mountain resorts from December until April.
  • Golf at the Okanagan's numerous scenic golf courses from April until October.
  • Smell the heavenly scent of 60 varieties of lavender in bloom at a lavendar and herb farm from April to September.
  • Tour local farmgate wineries during the Okanagan's Valley's wine festivals, held in January, May, July and October.
  • Sip Okanagan ice wines with fellow wine lovers at the annual Winter Wine Festival at Sun Peaks Resort.
Getting Here
Getting around