Okanagan & Area
There is so much to see and do in the Okanagan. But sometimes you just want to park the car and relax. That’s why NEW! for this year the Summerland Waterfront Resort has created an activities calendar for the whole family. Activities include evening boat cruise, beachfront yoga, lego building sessions, artist workshops, movies in the park, and so much more.
THINGS TO DO
At the Resort: NEW! Check out the calendar for RESORT SUMMER ACTIVITY PROGRAMS. The Summerland Waterfront Resort offers guests; large outdoor pool, sundeck, two outdoor hot tubs, fitness facility, onsite boardwalk of wetlands area, beachfront, boat dock / moorage, Beyond Wrapture Day Spa, Local Lounge • Grille (patio), onsite Café (summer only) free guest laundry, free parking and free Wi-Fi.
Boat Rentals SWR Boat Rentals, located on site at the Summerland Waterfront Resort, is a popular activity for groups. A cruise around south Lake Okanagan aboard a 16 passenger pontoon boat makes for a memorable event. Learn to wakeboard or rent a wave runner for an adrenalin boost. Or unwind with a relaxing paddle in a canoe, kayak or pedal boat. SWR also rents scooters to tour the town.
Boat Tours: Charter the Casabella Princess Paddle Wheeler for your group event or book in for a scenic
Beach Yoga & Yoga Sessions: A relaxing vacation at the Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa is complete with a relaxing and invigorating yoga session. Summerland Resort has partnered with Reflexions Studio of Penticton for our summer programs and for yoga retreat weekends year round.
Bike Touring: Biking on the classic Kettle Valley line (former railway line) is spectacular way to experience the terrain and witness outstanding views. Bikes are available for rent through Freedom Bike Shop in Penticton
Mountain Biking and Cycling: Canada, especially British Columbia, is one of the best biking destinations in the world. The Okanagan Valley area is great for mountain biking and road cycling. Click here for Mountain Biking Trails or Click here for Cycling Routes starting at Vernon in the north and ending at Keremeos near the Canada-US border.
Dining: Here’s a few recommended places for group dining – Local Lounge • Grille (beside the Resort), Zia’s Stonehouse, the Hooded Merganser (Penticton overlooking the Lake). Visit the Dining page of our website for some more local options.
Diving: When diving at Paul’s Tomb in the Knox Mountain Nature Park in Kelowna, you can see, at a depth of 25 feet (8 m), a replica of Ogopogo, a mythological creature reputed to inhabit the waters of nearby Okanagan Lake. Otter Bay in Ellison Provincial Park in Vernon is the site of western Canada’s first freshwater scuba diving and snorkelling park. A number of objects have been sunk here to attract a variety of fish and other lake-dwelling creatures.
Entertainment: From casual pubs with live music to Lake City Casino in Penticton, there are a variety of evening entertainment options in the south Okanagan.
Garden Tours: 15 acres of spectacular gardens and grounds await discovery at Summerland Ornamental Gardens. Situated above Agriculture Canada’s Pacific Agri-Food Research Station, where scientists are still developing new varieties of apples, cherries, grapes and other fruit, the Gardens include rose gardens, a Xeriscape garden, a butterfly garden, a cactus garden, vegetable plots, a sundial, sculpture, meadows, and much more.
Hiking For awe-inspiring views of Okanagan Lake and Summerland, hike the trails up to the summit at Giant’s Head Mountain Park, an extinct volcano which is now a mountain with a face that resembles the profile of a man. This hike is about 5 minutes drive from the Resort. You can walk or hike as much or as little of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail, in Summerland, as you feel inclined to tackle. Stamina, more than conditioning, will determine if you complete the 15-mile (24-km) round trip between the trail heads on the Little White and Myra Forest Service Roads. As the trail follows an abandoned railbed, the grade is moderate. This was one of the more challenging sections of the route to engineer, and required 18 trestles and two tunnels.
Golfing: South OKanagan boasts 37 golf courses scattered from Osoyoos to Vernon. Most courses open in March, and some years golfers play into November. Fruit trees and water hazards challenge the patrons on many courses. Popular golf courses near Summerland British Columbia, Canada is the Summerland Golf & Country Club and the Penticton Golf Course. Sumerland Waterfront Resort & Spa offers Okanagan golf packages from May to October.
Orchards & Fruit Tours: The Okanagan Valley, stretching from Osoyoos at the US border north to Vernon, is laden with orchards, making it especially appealing in spring when the fruit trees are in full bloom. The best time to pick up some of the valley’s bounty is mid-August through early September; however, as early as the end of June, the fruit starts ripening: cherries (late June through mid-July), peaches (mid-July through September), pears (August through September), apricots (mid-July through mid-August), plums (September), apples (August through October), and grapes (September through mid-October). There are even free Tree Fruit Tours in Summerland, BC. Dickinson’s Family Farm, since 1912, is well known in the Okanagan for its large orchards of peaches, apricots, cherries, pears, prunes, apples and plums. Private group tours are available but you also walk amongst the 10 acres in a self guided tour.
Rail Tours: The Kettle Valley Railway offers a unique two-hour steam powered train journey on one of BC’s few remaining fully operational steam railways. From May to October, enjoy a tour along a preserved ten-kilometre section of the original railway. Fun for groups is the Great Train Robbery and BBQ. Experience the thrill of seeing the Garnett Valley Gange ride out of the hills to board the train and rob passengers for donations to local charities.
Skiing: Many don’t think of the Okanagan as a ski destination but the surrounding mountains and dry precipitation provides the perfect environment for a BC ski vacation. Choose from Vernon, British Columbia at Silver Star, Kelowna, BC at Big White, or Penticton BC at Apex Mountain Resort (only 20 minutes away from the hotel)
Wine & Wine Tours: Winemaking is the hot ticket in the Okanagan. British Columbians have long taken inordinate pride in their wines, even when those mostly came from a few largish factories. But ever since the province authorized estate and smaller farmgate wineries, many excellent wineries have popped up. Seventy two wineries operate in the Okanagan Valley from Vernon to Osoyoos; some have tasting rooms. Most are open summers and through the wine crush in September.
Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive is the latest hot spot on the Okanagan wine scene. Your group will experience four award winning wineries as well as the spectacular vistas and rolling hills of the surrounding agricultural landscape. Wine tours of the Naramata Bench are also popular as well as Okanagan Crush Pad which serve the regional wine producers of southern Okanagan Valley, BC. Customized tours are available for groups with Top Cat Tours or Okanagan Wine Country Tours.
Wildlife: For a special wildlife-viewing experience, take a day to visit Vaseux Lake Provincial Park, about 15 miles (25 km) south of Penticton on Hwy 97. Here, the Vaseux Lake Nature Trust operates the Vaseux Wildlife Centre in a multiagency cooperative project. In addition, there is a Canadian Wildlife Service wildlife sanctuary adjacent to the park and two Wildlife Management Units ensuring protection of critical bighorn sheep winter range. The cliffs surrounding the park include spring and winter range of California bighorn sheep, and the area is famous for bird watching. Grasses, reeds, willows, and shrubs along the shore afford a home to many varieties of birdlife.
Waterfowl, including trumpeter swans, widgeons, Canada geese, wood ducks, and blue-winged teal, are common. In spring, the beautiful lazuli bunting has been seen. Other bird species present include chukar partridge, wrens, swifts, sage thrashers, woodpeckers, curlews, and dippers. Mammal species found here include beavers, bats, cottontail rabbits, muskrats, deer, and mice. Rattlesnakes, toads, and turtles also live in this area. Considerable populations of largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and carp make their home in the water, and in winter, the frozen lake offers excellent conditions for ice fishing as well as other ice-related activities.
If you’re in the town of Kelowna itself, you can watch kokanee salmon spawning mid-September to mid-October in Lion’s Park from a BC Wildlife viewing area off Springfield Road or during a guided tour; and you can take advantage of another BC Wildlife migratory bird-viewing site at Bertram Creek Regional Park.
About Summerland & Nearby Towns
Summerland is a theme town done in the spirit of old English Tudor style. Old Summerland is down on the water, but most of the town’s business now thrives up on the hill. Pick up the pamphlet A Walking Tour of Summerland, available at the museum or Visitor Info Centre. Also of note is the Agricultural Research Station, the only active agricultural research centre in the Okanagan. Its interpretive centre, research facilities, and ornamental gardens have become a draw for thousands of international visitors every year.
Okanagan Falls is a charming town best visited for its tasty pleasures: it’s home to the increasingly famous chocolate factory Snowy Mountain Chocolate; the largest ice-cream cone seller in the valley, Tickleberry’s; the world-famous fruit-snack producer, Okanagan Dried Fruit; and two prestigious wineries, Wild Goose Vineyards and LeComte Estate Winery. Samples of all these treats await you – enjoy.
Penticton takes full advantage of its dual lakefronts. The south end of town (with its go-cart tracks, amusement centres, miniature golf courses, water slides, and RV parks) touches the north shore of Skaha Lake. The north end of town sidles along the southern tip of 70-mile-long (113-km) Lake Okanagan. Visit the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, operated by the National Research Council, which draws astronomers from around the world. It’s open to the public during daylight hours, and tours are available Sunday afternoons.
On the east side of Lake Okanagan, Kelowna is the largest and liveliest of the Okanagan cities, with some noisy nightlife, a bit of culture (an art museum and summer theatre), a range of continental and ethnic restaurants, a big regatta in July, and an interesting historical preserve at Father Pandosy’s Mission. Kelowna even has its own version of the Loch Ness monster: Ogopogo. Keep a lookout for him (her?) while supping on the gaily decked-out paddle wheeler Fintry Queen or touring aboard the Okanagan Princess.
About the Okanagan
The Okanagan Valley is almost dry enough to warrant being called a desert. After even one visit to this spectacularly diverse area, you’ll understand why superlatives are constantly used to describe it. Beloved by thousands of visitors and inhabitants alike for the unparalleled variety of its climate and landscape, the Okanagan Valley has something for everyone: hoodoos, orchards, vineyards, mountains, valleys, lakes, highlands, ski slopes, and trails. This is truly one of the most desirable locales in British Columbia for year-round outdoor fun.
Starting in the south, near the US border, you’ll find spectacular backcountry, with the remains of old mining settlements dotting the highway. After you pass through the arid Osoyoos and Oliver regions and head north up the valley, you will encounter orchards and vineyards, evidence of some of the best fruit- and vegetable-growing land in the world.
The Okanagan’s open terrain makes for ideal hiking and backpacking, with little or no bushwhacking required. The parks in the Okanagan offer remoteness, breathtaking landscapes, and challenging outdoor adventure.