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The Ultimate South Okanagan Guide: Places to Stay, Eat + Play

sip and savouring in Okanagan Falls, Oliver and Osoyoos

Welcome to Okanagan wine country! With its stunning natural beauty, friendly locals, and top-notch wineries, it’s no wonder that the Okanagan is quickly becoming one of Canada’s premier wine destinations.

The towns of Oliver, Osoyoos, and Okanagan Falls serve as some of region’s primary destinations in the south. They offer a diverse range of activities to choose from. Golfers can take advantage of the well-manicured courses. Moreover, spa enthusiasts can indulge in rejuvenating treatments, and music lovers can experience lively events. After a long day of exploring, visitors can relish in the local culinary scene, featuring mouth-watering dishes made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.

In this comprehensive South Okanagan guide, I’ll share some of the locals’ best kept secrets. Whether you’re looking to relax on a sandy beach, explore or indulge, there are several options available to help you make the most of your time in the South Okanagan.

Table of Contents

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How to get to the Okanagan Valley

By air – fly to Kelowna International Airport (YLW). Then you will have to rent a car and drive south 1 hour along highway 97 to Okanagan Falls in the Southern Okanagan.

Car Rental at the Kelowna airport: Enterprise or Budget

 

Or fly into Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

By car – from Vancouver takes 4.5 hours. Take Trans Canada Highway BC-1 East and then BC-3 East

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Getting Around

It’s Canada, so you will need a car, or a driver. There’s no Über in the Okanagan Valley, but there are lots of cab companies available everywhere.

Truly, the best way for you to experience the Okanagan is to let the experts take care of it for you. Hence, the many excellent winery tour operators in the area such as Grape Escapes Wine Tours.

 

Save one day to take your group on the Coconut Express Shuttle that offers daily trips from Osoyoos to the new District Wine Village in Okanagan Falls (OK Falls). District Wine Village is a collection of wineries (and a brewery)  allowing you to sip and savour many producers all at once. 

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South Okanagan Guide to Places to Eat

The Okanagan region is not only known for its world-renowned wineries but also for its excellent cuisine. There are numerous restaurants in the area that offer everything from food-trucks and casual to fine dining experiences. Many of the wineries also have restaurants, serving up delicious dishes that pair perfectly with their wines. Additionally, tour operators may offer their own picnic options, allowing guests to enjoy a delightful meal in the vineyards or on a hilltop overlooking the stunning landscapes.

Here’s a short list of my favourite places to go for foo

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For budget savvy and delicious, stop at the food truck run by moms from El Salvador at the side of the highway. Called El Sabor de Marina (Latin American/ Mexican food), they offer an array of homemade spicy and non-spicy sauces to add to any dish. It’s healthy, fresh and flavourful.

 

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If you’re in search of a place that perfectly complements your wine selection, look no further than Oliver Eats. Dine at a charming patio table, or grab a ready-made meal to go, Oliver Eats combines the best of a farmer’s market and a bistro. Choose from a variety of locally sourced meats, sustainable seafood, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables. No matter what your preferences, Chef Derek Uhlemann’s menu has got you covered. It’s a must-stop visit in the South Okanagan which is why it made this guide.

For those seeking an Italian-inspired dining experience in a cozy ambiance, Campo Marina in Osoyoos is the spot. Not only does this restaurant offer an impressive selection of Okanagan wines, their inviting atmosphere make it the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends.

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Looking to indulge in a leisurely and upscale dining experience? Try one of the regions famed winery restaurants.

At Mirodoro Restaurant in Tinhorn Creek Winery (Oliver) renowned chef, Jeff Van Geest creates culinary masterpieces. Enjoy taking in the breathtaking views for lunch or dinner with creations paired beautifully with Tinhorn Creek wines. In addition to this, Tinhorn Creek occasionally hosts live Canadian bands and concerts in their natural amphitheater. Check their website for updates.

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But if you’re in Osoyoos and looking for indigenous-inspired cuisine made with fresh ingredients, The Bear, the Fish, the Root and the Berry at Spirit Ridge Resort is a fantastic choice. They serve lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

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South Okanagan Guide's Places to Stay

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There are many campgrounds and RV parks to choose from and many have lakeside views. In Oliver, both Desert Lake RV Resort and Apple Beach RV Park are on the beach. That’s why they both made my South Okanagan Guide on places to stay!

There are no hostels in the South Okanagan. However, you’ll find HI Penticton (in Penticton further north). It sits in a heritage house right downtown and just 3 blocks from the beach at Skaha Lake.

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Holiday Beach Motel in Okanagan Falls is a 2-star location that offers spotless-clean vintage rooms that easily make the cut for this South Okanagan guide. The property also has a pool, a manicured garden and it’s right on Skaha Lake. Most rooms are equipped with fridges and cooking areas so if you’re travelling on a budget, Holiday Beach Motel is fantastic.

Or, experience the hospitality at a local bed and breakfast.  Uncork Bed & Breakfast is just half a block from Tucelnuit Lake in Oliver.

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Airbnb and Vrbo both operate here. If using Airbnb, make sure you select the filter ‘superhost’ to ensure you are getting the best stay.

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In Osoyoos, choose from the following resorts – all known for their fantastic hospitality.

Walnut Beach Resort offers lake views and kitchenettes in studio, 1 and 2-bedroom suites. There’s also a pool and restaurant on location so you rarely have to leave.

Watermark Beach Resort is the place to go to moor your boat; it just had to be in our South Okanagan guide. A chic bar and a pergola covered patio lead to perfect manicured green lawns. 

Just a short hill up, experience the view from Spirit Ridge Resort which has Solterra Dessert Spa and a golf course on site (see more below under Things to Do).

Or stay at one of the South Okanagan’s famed winery guesthouses. Burrowing Owl Winery in Oliver has 10 deluxe rooms with balconies and cozy fireplaces in every one. It boasts a gorgeous view of the valley and a large swimming pool.

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Things to do when you're visiting the South Okanagan...

The Okanagan is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts with a plethora of activities to choose from. I’ll highlight the golfing hotpots, a cultural escape and some events in the area that you won’t want to miss.

Other posts from my site...

[If you’re looking for some ideas about great south Okanagan wineries to visit, check out my post about BC wine trends where I feature Noble Ridge, Phantom Creek and Black Hills – all wineries south!]

[Check out a new BC wine project called Mayhem Wines is located on McLean Creek Road at the Meyer Family Vineyard property. See what this new winery is all about here.]

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South Okanagan Guide to Golfing in the area

So many dunes and so little time. There are 4 golf courses in the South Okanagan and even more up north to keep you busy outside. In Oliver, there’s Nk’Mp Canyon Desert Golf Course [pron. Ink-a-meep] a full-length Championship course, and Fairview Mountain Golf Course, rated one of the best public courses in the country.

Two more are in Osoyoos. The Sonora Dunes is a par-35 golf course at Spirit Ridge Resort mentioned above. Finally, Osoyoos Golf Course offers 2 18-hole courses, with captivating views and ‘Ironman’ competitions.

 

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South Okanagan's Cultural Guide

Discover stories, history and the art of the Osoyoos Indian band at the Nk’Mp [pronounced: ink-a-meep] Desert Cultural Center in Osoyoos. Hear the legend of Sen’klip, the coyote. For both the Syilx Okanagan and Secwepemc peoples (Kamloops area), the coyote is a conniving trickster.

(As a side note, many of you may have seen the Jade Canoe by artist Bill Reid at the airport in Vancouver. To the Haida nations, it was the Raven who is the trickster and he is the spirit animal who is steering the boat.)

Visitors to the Desert Cultural center can stare at a rattlesnake eye-to-eye. Later on, discover how native plants may be used for both medicine and food. Guided tours are offered just in the summer months.

Finally, a year-round must-do activity is to stroll through the outdoor trails. Lined with sculptures from artist Smoker Marchand, the trails lead to an indigenous village where you can see inside a traditional pit house and sweat lodge.

When you’re finished, head down the road to the Nk’Mp winery for a tasting.  It’s a full experience all in one place so the Desert Cultural Center just had to make my South Okanagan Guide.

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Events

The South Okanagan runs a series of fun events that are great for couples, a group of friends, or for families.

Covert Farms, a charming family-owned organic farm and winery, is known for its weekly live music events held every Sunday during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Be sure to check their schedule for upcoming performances.

If you’re visiting in late September, the Festival of the Grape is THE place to be. Join the Grape Stomp Competition or Beer Olympics for a fun-filled day of entertainment. Family-friendly activities also abound with the Amazing Race Oliver or the interactive Kids Zone. It’s an ideal event for visitors of all ages.

Yet, there are simply too many fantastic things to do in the South Okanagan for me to cover them all. With so many options to choose from, you may find yourself struggling to decide what to do first!

Summary

Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or just looking to explore South Okanagan’s wine culture, my guide has got you covered. From expert-led wine tours to the best places to stay, I’ve compiled all the information you need to plan the perfect South Okanagan wine tour. Plus, if you’re looking to take your wine knowledge to the next level, be sure to check out our online wine course, which will help you get the most out of your wine touring experience.

The Okanagan region in British Columbia, Canada is a fantastic vacation spot filled with endless activities, delectable dining options, and breathtaking landscapes. Oh yes, and the region has AMAZING wines such as this new winery, Mayhem.

Ready to start exploring Okanagan's wine country?

Don’t forget to sign up for our online wine course which will give you the knowledge and tools you need to fully enjoy the region’s wines. With my expert guidance, you’ll be able to taste, savour and appreciate the best the Okanagan has to offer.

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4 Comments

  1. SommWine | The Ultimate South Okanagan Guide: Places to Stay, Eat + Play

    Golf Osoyoos is a golfer’s paradise nestled in the picturesque town of Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada. With its stunning natural beauty and ideal weather conditions, this destination has become a haven for golf enthusiasts.

    For more information visit our website – https://www.bestwesternosoyoos.com/site/golf-packages-osoyoos

    Call us at – 1-877-878-2200

    • SommWine | The Ultimate South Okanagan Guide: Places to Stay, Eat + Play

      Thanks for adding some great information to my Ultimate South Okanagan Guide! It is a golfer’s paradise!

  2. SommWine | The Ultimate South Okanagan Guide: Places to Stay, Eat + Play

    😆 You can also fly into Penticton, although from fewer starting points – Calgary, Vancouver, and Edmonton for now.

    • SommWine | The Ultimate South Okanagan Guide: Places to Stay, Eat + Play

      Ooo, I did not know that and great advice! Thanks Carole!


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