A lakeside paradise

Cradled within a glorious range of mountains, the Okanagan Valley is a sanctuary blessed with pristine lakes, orchards, vineyards, and sandy beaches. Kelowna and Vernon are the jewels of the Okanagan Lake with an endless choice of recreation and dining experiences. With alpine delights in the winter or sunny summer fun, families are in for a year-round playground paradise.

The fun never ends in Kelowna and Vernon. Between the two jewels of the Okanagan, there are over 20 golf courses, two ski mountains and endless sandy beaches to conquer. The balmy summers and mild winters make these twin communities the perfect destination for family fun.

In winter, it is tough to choose between the two excellent ski resorts of Silver Star and Big White for snowboarding and skiing. Famous for dry, light snow and nearly two thousand annual hours of sun, the Okanagan alpine season never disappoints. If it is cross-country skiing is in the cards, Silver Star has 55 km of groomed trails vs Big White’s 8 km. But at both resorts snowshoeing, or even a scenic dogsled tour are options on down days.

As the largest city located on stunning Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is a recreational lakeside paradise with miles of beautiful parkland and beaches that offer swimming, boating, water skiing, windsurfing or catching a massive trout. Even Kelowna’s main street ends at a beach. Hop over to Vernon and continue to enjoy lake life, or visit honey farms, hot springs or a bike park. The whole region is bursting with the outdoors and climbing, caving and horseback riding are just some of the summer activities.

Both cities have thriving arts scenes and it’s easy to spend time wandering the galleries or taking in a community theatre production. Stroll the streets, enjoy the coffee shops and take advantage of the network of lakeside trails for biking or an early morning walk. Kids will love the splash parks strategically placed along the way so they can cool off in the summer heat.

With almost two dozen exceptional wineries in Kelowna alone, at least one winery tour is a must. Numerous farms and orchards are open for tours and provide great learning opportunities for visitors of all ages. Visit a honey farm and learn how the different flowers affect the taste and quality of the honey produced by the bees and wander through the lavender fields and breathe in the sweet scent. The Okanagan has attracted a number of top-notch chefs attracted to the fresh local produce and thriving Slow Food movement so be sure to bring an appetite!

Kids might enjoy picking fresh fruit off the vine in a lush orchard. Mom and dad might want to amble along the “Scenic Sip” to taste some award-winning wines, ciders or ales. There’s a good reason they call it the Napa Valley of the North. With over 120 wineries in the region, there’s something for everyone. Unique dining experience and boutique shopping await – Kelowna and Vernon have it all.