If you love wine, lakes, and long sunny days, camp in this BC region east of Vancouver.
Extending more than 170 kilometres (105 miles) from the US border north to the city of Vernon, the Okanagan Valley is Western Canada’s major wine-producing region, with more than 200 wineries amid the rolling hills. The Okanagan is also an agricultural area, where farmers’ markets and roadside stands sell peaches, corn, tomatoes, and more. You can swim or paddle the region’s lakes, including the 135-kilometer (84-mile) Okanagan Lake. Peak camping season runs from April through October in this dry, sunny region. Spring and fall are usually pleasant, and summers can be hot—the valley encompasses Canada’s largest desert. Winters are milder and drier than in other Canadian regions, although snow can fall December through February.
This hot, dry region is Canada’s desert—the northernmost end of the Sonoran Desert. You’ll find some of British Columbia’s top wineries wines located in the hills around the towns of Oliver and Osoyoos. You can also learn more about the region’s Indigenous cultures, including Indigenous wine-makers here.
You’ll find dozens of wineries and several lakes at the center of the Okanagan Valley. Penticton is the area’s commercial hub, and the nearby town of Naramata above Okanagan Lake, is an especially scenic area for wine-touring.
The Okanagan’s largest city sits directly on Okanagan Lake, with restaurants, craft breweries, and shops within walking distance of the waterfront. The city spreads out from the lakeshore into the surrounding hills, where you’ll find lots of wineries, as well as hiking and cycling trails.
Several wineries have set up shop in Lake Country, a scenic community above Okanagan Lake north of Kelowna. Further north, the city of Vernon is another commercial center, with several provincial parks nearby.
Along Highway 3 west of Osoyoos, the Similkameen Valley is both a traditional agricultural area and an emerging wine region. Plan a tasting tour of the small, family-run wineries here.