Discover the "Napa of the North"
The Okanagan Valley is nicknamed "The Napa of the North" for the many world-class wineries in the region. The region is also one of Canada’s top recreational destinations, offering opportunities for hiking, water sports and biking, to name just a few.
Almost all of British Columbia’s wine comes from the Okanagan region. Distinct micro-climates created by the valley’s lakes, hot, sandy desert soils of the south, and the deep top soil in the cooler north help ensure a diversity of wines.
Vineyards at the southern end of the valley produce such vintages as Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, while the cooler central and northern valleys specialize in Pinot Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer wines. Some of the Okanagan’s most picturesque sites are the orderly rows of grapevines covering hillsides that overlook deep blue lakes.
The many lakes in the region are ideal for water recreation, including sailing, paddle boating, kayaking, fresh water fishing or canoeing, or for just relaxing at the beach. One such lake, Kalamalka Lake, is nicknamed the “lake of a thousand colours.” Situated eight kilometers southeast of Vernon, this largely undeveloped provincial park boasts plenty of wildlife and is a great place for bird-watching.
Nearly 40 golf courses are scattered from Vernon to Osoyoos. Thanks to the Okanagan’s mild climate, most courses open as early as March, and golfers frequently play into November. Farmers markets and fairs abound in the Okanagan, and you’ll find a market in almost every major community. Most run well into September and October. Enjoy fresh and organic produce, local arts and crafts, and entertainment. For a listing of local markets, visit HelloBC.com.
For a special, one-of-a-kind place to stay, try Sparkling Hill Resort. This European-inspired hotel and wellness centre is nestled in the mountains near Vernon, British Columbia, and overlooks Lake Okanagan. Offering a range of services and amenities unprecedented in North America, Sparkling Hill has twice received Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and was named a 2012 Fodor’s Top 100 Hotel in the trendsetter category.