Live life to its fullest on this discovery of food, wine, and cultural beginnings. Top it off with a visit to the premiere wine tasting event of the year — the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival in the South Okanagan!
Day 1 — Vancouver to Summerland (4.5 hours)
An early morning start in Vancouver has you following the Trans Canada Highway (#1) to the city of Merritt and here you head east on the Okanagan Connector 97C and climb to over 5,000 ft. before beginning your descent into the Okanagan Valley. This route provides a magnificent view of the mountains circling Okanagan Lake. Your first glimpse of the lake provides you with a sense of enormity as it is endless in sight from both directions.
Your first turn off will be onto Highway 97 south to Summerland, only a short drive down the lake. You will pass by the lakeside and farming community of Peachland and encounter convenient pull-offs beside the road to stop and gaze at several vistas overlooking the lake.
Make your lunch stop in Summerland before continuing on to one of the local wineries. Here on a sunny patio next to the marina, you can plot your next move and enjoy your first glass of BC wine! Your next destinations are only 10 minutes into the heart of Summerland and through the winding valley roads above it. Many wineries are located on “Bottleneck Drive”, in close proximity to each other and are equally impressive in their settings with stunning views. Proceeding back to the highway on a country road laced with orchards and vineyards, your next stop is the Summerland Ornamental Gardens. Located immediately across cavernous Trout Creek Canyon, the gardens provide an oasis of peacefulness and beauty that are truly representative of the Okanagan Valley. This is a perfect place to think about the day’s events and what’s to come. Your final destination of the day is within sight and only 10 minutes down the road. Tonight is the big night to dress up and prepare to sample the best Okanagan wines and sample some divine cuisine at the annual Fall Okanagan Wine Festival held at the Penticton Trade & Convention Centre.
Overnight in Penticton or Summerland.
Travel Trade Partners:
Summerland Waterfront Resort and Spa
Day 2 — Penticton
You can start your day off by spending part of the morning discovering Penticton and its quaint downtown core or strolling along the lakeside boardwalk. Before you depart for the day, you may want to stop by the Okanagan VQA Wine Store located at the Visitor Information Centre. It features a full selection of wines from one end of the valley to the other.
Your first visit this morning takes you to the Art Gallery of the South Okanagan. Here you’ll discover a wide variety of exhibitions of fine and decorative art from regional, provincial and national sources. There is a gift gallery featuring original works of art and crafts from British Columbia and a tea room that overlooks the lake.
There are many options for lunch in Penticton and the Naramata bench area. After lunch, you can drive five minutes or stroll down the shaded beach walk to step into the world of transportation in the early 1900’s. The SS Sicamous is the largest remaining sternwheeler in Canada, resting on the shores of Okanagan Lake, which has been restored to its original epitome of luxury. It’s a fascinating look back at the most prominent and practical way to travel the Okanagan before major roads were built.
For those wine enthusiasts who are looking for many wineries within close proximity to each other, than the Naramata Bench is where you want to head for. Located in north Penticton, Naramata Bench Wineries consist of twenty two boutique wineries who have staked their claims to this prime agricultural land. Some are situated on the picturesque rolling hillsides of the Bench while others are perched at the edge of cliffs that fall perilously towards Okanagan Lake. The area is in a remarkable setting, perhaps the most scenic wine region in all of Canada.
Day 3 — Penticton to Osoyoos (1.5 hours)
Continue south on Highway 97 along Skaha Lake and through the farming community of Oliver until you arrive at Osoyoos. This home to the famous “Golden Mile” area of wineries, known for producing fine red wines! For a complete list of the many wineries, go to:
This oasis of agriculture and holiday beaches is not far from the USA border and is an important junction for roads leading in all directions. It’s also a favourite for recently retired Canadians because of its warm winters, hot summers and the country’s warmest lake! As well, Osoyoos boasts Canada’s only desert and your final stops for the day are located right next to it. Your lunch stop is Nk’Mip Cellars, North America’s first aboriginal owned and operated winery. Overlooking vineyards and Osoyoos Lake, Nk’Mip Cellars is a perfect place for lunch on their outdoor patio. The final destination of the day takes you subterranean. The Nk’Mip Heritage Cultural Centre is built into the hillside and has stunning views of the southern Okanagan Valley. Here you will be immersed in the Okanagan First Nation’s habitation with on site tours of a traditional village, performing arts theatre, water gardens and interactive displays.
Return to Vancouver (4.5 hours) or optional overnight in Osoyoos.