Largely undiscovered by American travelers, the Okanagan Valley is an easy getaway with a lot to offer just across the Washington border. Not only is it one of North America’s best wine regions, but it’s also home to vast lakes stretching along the valley floor from Osoyoos on the border past Vernon, about 100 miles to the north. Vineyards roll down hillsides to the lake shores, and tasting rooms dot the landscape. A four-day itinerary is perfect for getting a taste of this valley playground, from food to drink to outdoor recreation.
DAY 1: OSOYOOS
Check into a beachfront townhome at the Watermark Beach Resort in downtown Osoyoos, relax and enjoy a farm-to-table dinner at the resort’s restaurant at the hands of Chef Adair Scott and his culinary team. Okanagan is an agricultural valley with the best fresh ingredients from local farms, pastures and the lakes.
DAY 2: OLIVER TO OKANAGAN FALLS
Today is all about sampling the bounty of the valley. Begin your exploration at Covert Farms in Oliver, where much of the food you consumed for dinner last night was grown. Book ahead for the farm tour for a narrated ride around the expansive farm in the back of a vintage pickup (with benches for seating).
Next, visit nearby Tinhorn Creek Winery’s tasting room. This is one of the largest production wineries in the valley, and the grounds, the winery building, the cellar and the demonstration vineyard add up to a wine education. Here, you’ll learn about wines that grow at this northern latitude and the unique terroir features of the Okanagan Valley. The acclaimed on-site restaurant, Miradoro, rightfully claims its place as one of the best in the valley, if not B.C., and the contemporary architecture alone makes it worth a visit. Linger here for lunch (reservations are advised).
Other small-production wineries in the Oliver area worth a visit are: Bartier Brothers, Intersection, Stoneboat and Hester Creek. While tasting at Hester Creek, stop by the restaurant Terrafina for a seat on the patio and an afternoon appetizer to absorb the wines you’ve been sampling.
Spend your second night at Watermark Beach Resort.
DAY 3: OKANAGAN FALLS TO VERNON
On your drive north to Vernon, your destination for your last two nights, stop at Liquidity Wines in Okanagan Falls, and plan to spend some time lingering in the tasting room, admiring the impressive art collection and the building’s contemporary design. Liquidity is the realized vision of owner/designer/art collector Ian MacDonald, whose love of fine wine, great food, art and the good life culminated in Liquidity.
Continue north, through the cities of Penticton and Kelowna, stopping to explore as you desire. Your ultimate destination is Sparkling Hill Resort, perched high above Lake Okanagan, near Vernon.
DAY 4: SPARKLING HILL RESORT, VERNON
Sparkling Hill Resort is another vision realized, this time by the patriarch of the Swarovski Crystal family of Austria. More than 3.5 million crystal elements built into every architectural aspect of this resort make it a unique world destination. The 40,000-square-foot health spa is the main reason guests check in at Sparkling Hill; other amenities, such as the spa guest rooms and the exquisite Peakfine Restaurant simply round out the experience. If two nights aren’t enough to rejuvenate yourself, extend your stay.