- Written by Dan
Okanagan Valley Sweet Summer Bliss
By Hostelling International / Photo by CKGolfSolutions
From Sunshine to Winery Tours, This is Summer in Okanagan Valley
The classic one-liner description of the Okanagan valley is about all the sunshine the area gets: more than 2000 hours a year.
With all those rays comes lazy summer days on sandy beaches, juicy fresh fruit on every corner, and the biggest ice cream cones on the planet, according to HI-Canada’s resident Scotsman (“Every time I order ice cream in the Okanagan it is always bigger than my heed!”) And of course, with the optimum growing conditions for grapes, the region produces some of the world’s top wines.
The heart of this unique area of Canada is Penticton. Nestled between Okanagan valley and Skaha Lakes, it has been described as the perfect beach town and is all about fun in the sun. The lakes provide some of the valley’s best windsurfing and boating conditions. World class climbers descend on the cliffs of Skaha Bluffs regularly. And biking in the area —whether your style is laid back or full on—is a must.
It’s easy to get around town on foot and Okanagan Beach is close to downtown. You can’t beat lounging on the beach for hours without a care in the world. But you’ll also find plenty of good restaurants, pubs, and café’s in the downtown area, all within walking distance of the HI-Penticton hostel.
If you plan things right you’ll be in the city just in time for one of many annual festivals. Actually, it’s probably more likely you’ll be in town when one’s happening than when one isn’t. Choose from the Beach Blanket Film Festival, Peach Fest, Ironman, Pentastic Jazz Festival, the Wine Festival and many more.
So choose your own summer adventure. What will it be? Cliffs and Canada Day parties? Winery tours and wind surfing? Beaches and biking? You’ll find it all in the Okanagan Valley.
Best of the Okanagan Valley
- Ice cream bigger than your ‘heed’
- Lake swimming & beach lounging
- Fresh fruit from a local farm
- Ride the Kettle Valley Steam Railway
- Festival & Winery tours
- Rock climb Skaha Bluffs
- Take part in Ironman
- Go windsurfing
- Bike the KVR
Now let’s just start off by saying that we aren’t suggesting you get plastered and ride your bike through the hills. But winery tours by bike are definitely a fun, affordable, and popular way to enjoy two of the Okanagan’s finest pastimes.Winery Tours by Bike
Outside the hostel’s door is the start of the Kettle Valley Trail. You can literally leave the HI-Penticton hostel on bike, ride for less than 30 minutes, and be on the steps of a winery to start touring and tasting. Along the way you’ll ride through a range of scenery; the trails go from the beach, to the top of a clay cliff, and thru lush orchards.
The Hillside Winery is fantastic; it’s in a beautiful location just minutes from the hostel (www.hillsideestate.com). An easy ride north of Penticton is the Naramata wineries. Many are free and each offers a selection of award-winning wines (www.discovernaramata.com).
Hawthorne Mountain Vineyards is another favorite. It’s located south of Penticton, just past Okanagan Falls in a picturesque setting, dramatically perched above the valley. It may be more of a long haul by bike but the views at the end make it all worthwhile.