There is nothing quite like a road trip, be it cruising along the highway solo or heading on the open road, music blaring while laughing with your friends and family. Canada’s westernmost province of BC (which I call home) has an abundance of places to get the wheels spinning while taking in stellar scenery and enjoying the journey AND the destination. The city of Penticton is a perfect place to head to for a weekend roadtrip.
Heading west from Vancouver towards the interior of the province you will pass through a number of places that you can road trip to. Today we’ll head to the centre of the Okanagan Valley to Penticton, BC; a city that I have visited a couple time and will likely go again. This city of 33,000 lies south of Kelowna, nestled between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake. Not only that, it is situated very nicely in the BC’s Wine Country. Here you have two lakes and an a plethora of wineries – it’s not a wonder why this is a very popular place in the summer!
From Greater Vancouver, you can take two routes: the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) and then onto Highway 97C or take Higway 3 through Manning Provincial Park and onto Highway 3A, both being roughly 400 km/ 250 mi long and each providing varying scenery and stops. To find out what current highway conditions are just check the Drive BC website.
When I have visited Penticton the primary reason has been to have a visit with an old friend as well as incorporate the various activities of the area. And the summer months are fabulous for enjoying all that there is to offer. I’d be lying if I said the 170 wineries in the area are not a draw. I always come back with a number of bottles of wine in the back of the car to enjoy at home later (though not much later as they tend to disappear quickly). A sip here and buy a bottle there. Some wineries offer tours or have an on-site restaurant to enjoy scrumpious food paired with the delectable wines. Others have on-site guest suites or inns where you can revel in the lovely wines and views. Some of these include Farmhouse at D’Angelo Wines, the Guest Suites at Westbert Winery, (both in Penticton) as well as Therapy Wines and Inn in nearby Naramata. Of course there are plenty of hotels, motels, B & Bs and more in Penticton proper. During my most recent visit in June of 2021, I stayed at the Sandman Hotel Penticton which was great as it is a central location, has free parking, and a refreshing pool.
Wine is not the only draw. Hiking and walking in a picturesque setting can be good for the soul. This area has a few trails that you can enjoy whilst taking in some beautiful natural vistas. Just remember to stay hydrated on those hot sunny days. Speaking of hot sunny days, the beaches of both lakes can cool things off and be fun for the whole family. If you are heading to the waterfront of Lake Okanagan make sure pop by The Peach – an iconic giant peach serving up creamy cool ice cream for everyone. Enjoying the sun and fun of the lakes isn’t the only way to cool off on those hot summer day. Floating down the river channel on a tube is relaxing and fun, just don’t forget your sunscreen. Coyote Cruises operates the local lazy river channel float. Only a short walk from my hotel it was very easy to find. My travel companion and I had booked online for their Tube and Bus option though they do offer larger quad rafts that can be hooked together for larger groups and families. Having the option of being whisked back to the start point by bus was a great bonus. As well, they sell dry bags at a reasonable rate. They kept our phones, clothes, and water bottles dry and safely clipped to our respective tubes. I consider this a “must do” when visiting Penticton in the hot and dry summer months.
As mentioned, there is no shortage of wine in this region of BC though you can find craft beers as well. Quality local beers can be found in pubs, restaurants, and the breweries themselves. With a current count of eight microbreweries you can cool off with a refreshing lager, hoppy IPA, or fruity sour beer. As part of the BC Ale Trail you can even earn points at many of these fine barley pop establishments. Distilleries and cideries are also growing in numbers.
Penticton is definately a road trip worthy locale, whether it be a stop along the way or your intended destination. Happy road trippin’ !
Covid-19 related protocols may still be in place at time of posting.
All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders the World