The Okanagan is a region in the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada. The name “Okanagan” comes from the word meaning “sparkling water”. This area is perfect for those looking to explore nature and experience some of BC’s best wines. In this blog post, we will be exploring what you need to know about visiting the Okanagan!
A Beginner’s Guide to Travel in the Okanagan, BC
Traveling in BC’s Okanagan: Fast Facts to Know Before You Go
Here are a few key facts to keep in mind before heading to the Okanagan for the first time:
Currency: Canadian Dollar
Population: The population of the Okanagan region is 362,258. The three regional districts
within the Okanagan are Central Okanagan (194,822), North Okanagan (83,022) and OkanaganSimilkameen (84,354).
Temperature: Temperature: The average temperature in the Okanagan during the summer is 24 degrees celsius.
The Best Time to Visit the Okanagan
The summer months are the best time to visit the Okanagan. The tourist season starts in April and runs through October, with most of the visitors coming from around BC as well as Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. The wineries begin to open in mid-April and the wine festivals take place in late September after the harvest.
How to Get Around the Okanagan
The best way to get around the Okanagan is to rent a car. You can find this information online at any of the major rental companies, such as Avis, Budget or Hertz. The wineries are spread throughout the regions and are not close enough to walk to so you will require transportation of some sort.
If you do not want to rent a car during your stay, there are a few shuttle companies that specialize in wine tours that can show you some amazing wineries. Where to Stay In the Okanagan You will want to stay in either the Central Okanagan or the South Okanagan for easier access to
the best wineries in the region. The Central Okanagan is the most popular destination for visitors due to its proximity to Kelowna, which features many of the best restaurants in the area. It also provides easy access to wine trails and a greater selection of accommodations.
Kelowna is the unofficial capital of Okanagan wine country due to its popularity for both tourists and locals as well as the variety of accommodations available in this region. From boutique hotels to resorts, Kelowna offers something for everyone seeking an elegant vacation experience.
The South Okanagan may have a more limited supply of accommodation options, but it does offer a more relaxed experience. The South Okanagan region closely resembles the early days of Napa and Sonoma Valley, where visitors will find fewer crowds, smaller wineries and a more
A Quick Note On Accommodation
There are plenty of hotels in the Central Okanagan region but there are no wineries that offer accommodation on site. The South Okanagan has the only Okanagan winery accommodations. If you plan to visit the South Okanagan region, make sure to book well ahead, especially during the
busy summer months.
There are a variety of fantastic inns and hotels around the city with different price ranges depending on the location, hotel level and amenities. Here are a few fantastic hotels that are very well reviewed in the area.
Watermark Beach Resort – beautiful waterfront location on Osoyoos with a great beach and location in a condo style suite
Delta Hotels by Marriott – Lakeside resort with a beautiful resort, modern and deluxe amenities
Best Western Plus Wine Country Hotel and Suites – A nicely styled mid ranged hotel, continental service, friendly front desk service and comfortable rooms.
Check out these other well reviewed hotels and inns with TripAdvisor for the best reviewed sites here with availability, amenities and current prices.
Wineries to Visit In the Central Okanagan
With over 40 wine vineyards surrounding our modern, lakeside city, there is plenty to see and do. Take a self-guided tour using the Wine Trail Guide or book a guided wine tour led by knowledgeable proprietors and award-winning winemakers.
Mission Hill Family Estate
Mission Hill Estate Winery is one of the most famous wineries in Kelowna with truly outstanding architecture. This winery put the Okanagan region on the map and the tours and tastings are highly recommended. There is also a restaurant on-site which makes for the perfect spot for a delicious lunch while you enjoy the spectacular views.
Quails Gate Winery
Quails Gate Winery is one of the most famously recognized names in BC winemaking. This is a stunning property with acres and acres of vineyards, rolling hillsides and spectacular views. Tastings are available at Quails Gate Winery year-round but they also offer tours by reservation only. If you visit Quails Gate, you cannot leave without having a meal at Old Vines Restaurant. It overlooks the lake and offers some of the most delicious food in all of Kelowna.
Mt Boucherie Estate Winery
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery is located in the Kelowna hills and has one of the largest vineyard holdings in British Columbia. The winery opened a brand-new long-awaited wine experience centre in 2020. The 15,000 square foot building features a tasting room, lounge with dining and multiple event facilities overlooking the valley – not to mention some magnificent views!
Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Summerhill is the most visited winery in British Columbia. It was the first winery to be certified an Organic Winery in BC. The winery features a bistro that serves organic selections for lunch and dinner. Summerhill Pyramid Winery offers a picturesque event backdrop, overlooking the organic farms
and vineyards as well as the breathtaking lake. It’s one of the most popular venues in the Okanagan Valley.
Cedar Creek Estate Winery
If you are travelling to the Okanagan, do not miss experiencing a wine tasting at CedarCreek. Cedar Creek Estate Winery is renowned for its award-winning wines and all that they have to offer in the way of wine tasting. Cedar Creek has a bistro on site that serves up some delicious dishes, while you enjoy your wine!
Wineries to Visit In the South Okanagan
The South Okanagan is known for the Black Sage Bench and the Golden Mile. You can go on a wine tour of the South Okanagan and visit numerous wineries in just a few hours.
Phantom Creek Estates
Phantom Creek opened their doors in 2020 to huge acclaim in the Okanagan. The winery is reminiscent of something you would find in Napa Valley and they offer one of the best wine tours in the region.
Book a tasting and relax on the patio overlooking the vineyards while you sample the fantastic wines. Or visit the bistro and enjoy a meal while you wait for your tasting to start. The bistro’s menu is full of delicious dishes that pair well with wine, including some vegetarian options too!
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
A visit to the Okanagan is not complete without a visit to Burrowing Owl. Tasting wine at the Burrowing Owl Estate Winery is like visiting your favorite aunt’s house: warm, friendly and welcoming. The tasting room has an old-fashioned feel with a modern twist that will have you feeling right at home.
Book a reservation for dinner at the Sonora Room, and you can expect a phenomenal meal made with the freshest of ingredients. You will also be able to order past vintages which are no longer for sale at the winery.
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
There are many reasons to visit Tinhorn Creek Vineyards. The tasting room is a perfect place to start sampling the wines and the tours they offer are well worth the experience. Also on-site is Miradoro Restaurant with one of the best patios in the area. An insider tip for you; a fantastic hike called the Stamp Mill Trail that starts right in the parking lot and offers some of the best views in the Okanagan. It’s a great trail to do first and then go for
lunch at Miradoro afterwards.
Covert Farms Family Estate
One of the only family-friendly wineries in the Okanagan is Covert Farms Estate. This is the perfect place for visitors to take in a tasting, while the kids are taken off to explore the farm and meet the farm animals or jump on the gigantic air pillow. With summer on the way, travelers are constantly looking for new experiences in the region. One local tip is to hike up to McIntyre Bluff at Covert Farms. The 17 kilometre loop trail provides a beautiful view of the Okanagan Valley. Make sure to stop by Covert Farms after your hike for tastings and charcuterie. It’s a perfect end to an amazing day!
Noble Ridge Vineyards
Noble Ridge Vineyards perhaps has one of the most incredible views of all the vineyards in the South Okanagan. As the name suggests, the winery sits atop a ridge with a beautiful picnic area and views of the valley below. Once a month during from July to October, you can experience “Vine Dining” which is a culinary adventure in the vineyards. Enjoy a multi-course dinner by the Chef of Backyard Farm and specially curated wine pairings.
Where to Eat in the Okanagan
The Okanagan has a thriving restaurant scene and offers a variety of cuisines. It can be difficult to choose where to eat but here are some suggestions for places that you must try on your next visit:
Old Vines Restaurant, The Pyramid Lounge at Summerhill Vineyards, Waterfront Wines Restaurant, Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl, Backyard Farm, Masala Bistro at Kismet Winery, Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek and Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek.
Enjoy Travel in BC’s Okanagan
There you have it: a brief beginner’s guide to travel in the Okanagan of BC. Touring wineries in the Okanagan Valley should be at the top of any wine lover’s list for Canadian vacations!
Guest Post Bio
Casandra is the founder of Karpiak Caravan Adventure Family Travel and a mother to two adventurous, young boys. She is a family-focused, adventure travel advocate who grew up in Toronto with Danish roots. Casandra has visited over 20 countries on three continents often with her two boys in tow!
Follow her blog at Karpiak Caravan.com
Conclusion on Visiting Okanagan Valley, Canada
Okanagan valley, Canada is one of those places that once you set your foot in, you’re taken by the thrill of the activities and attractions in this region, the gorgeous landscapes, wine country and the charming vibe of Okanagan Valley. Travel destinations don’t come better than this.
That’s all for the Visiting Okanagan Valley! Do tell us if you found the post helpful and drop in any questions in the comments section below.
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