The Thompson Okanagan truly has everything needed in a British Columbian paradise. Warm, sunny valleys, narrow lakes with sandy beaches and lush, fruit laden orchards make it a vacation hot spot. Wine enthusiasts come to sample award-winning wines, paired with local-grown foods and prepared by renowned chefs. Others come to relax by the water, golf championship courses or be pampered and rejuvenated at a spa or wellness centre. When boating, water-skiing and swimming are not in season, the region's mountains become some of the province's best snow-sport resorts. With so much to offer, you can be sure of a vacation that is either adventurous or relaxed - but never boring!
Thompson Okanagan in British Columbia's interior is where you can ski, play a round of golf, horseback ride, tour a historic site and visit a winery all in one day. From the very beginning, this region's liveliness has come from the land. Nomadic First Nations people originally inhabited the area until European settlers established cattle ranches, farms and mining operations. Today, the fertile region is world renowned for its vineyards and orchards. The landscape varies wildly from boreal forests in the north to deserts in the south. In the middle is where the wine and fruit-producing valley sits. This 200 km (124 mi) area is bounded by the Cascade Mountains to the west and the Monashee Mountains to the east and stretches from the Shuswap Lake region to the US border. Other unique features of the region include Helmcken Falls - a waterfall higher than Niagara Falls, Mount Robson 3954 m (12972 feet) - the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, and Canada's only true desert environment. Each year, travelers give acclaim to the Thompson Okanagan region for its historic richness, agricultural abundance, and spectacular beauty.
Thousands of vacationers flock to the Okanagan Valley year-round to experience the area's boundless recreational opportunities. Vineyards and wineries, stretching down sunny slopes to the valleys and lakes below produce award-winning wines along with stunning views. Whether visitors come for the wineries, golfing, skiing or just relaxing on the sandy beaches, the Central Okanagan is one of Canada's most desired destinations and no wonder. Fresh, clean lakes flow from north to south offering up incredible beaches and water sports galore. Mountainous terrain is home to some of the best ski resorts around. Lush orchards heavy with fruit and first-class golf courses are everywhere. The many wineries and miles of vineyards serve as a testament to a thriving wine industry. It's a truly great place where you can do just about anything, or nothing at all. More »
The Gold Country sub-region in British Columbia is a land filled with rich gold mining history, captivating prospectors' tales and thrilling accounts of the Wild West. Visitors and historians journey to this open land to experience life as it was in the gold rush era. Outdoor adventurers come here for the great scenery and abundant wildlife. Cloud-tucked mountains and deep plunging valleys along with sprawling lakes and white-water rivers are home to historic towns that provide everything for the modern traveller. More »
Kamloops Country is the heart of British Columbia and home to the second largest city in the Interior. Visitors discover a landscape of scenic Western images: sun-drenched grasslands, cattle ranches, dry sagebrush and mountain vistas. Nestled in the high country of the Thompson Plateau, Kamloops Country is BC's adventure destination. With exceptional terrain and excellent facilities, this is an inspired setting for hiking, mountain biking, golfing, river-rafting, fishing, wildlife viewing, skiing, snowmobiling and much more. More »
The Nicola Valley embodies all that Canada is renowned for: vast, wide-open space, majestic snowcapped mountainscapes, fresh air and clean waterways. Those who appreciate the great outdoors just love this place as the distinct landscape boasts a limitless supply of outdoor adventure. There's something for everyone in Nicola Valley, where world-class guest ranches offer a look at how the B.C. interior came to be cattle country. More »
The North Okanagan is rich in its variety of terrain and ecology, with landscapes that vary from open, semi-arid grasslands to high elevation sub-alpine meadows, to dark, moist temperate rainforests, often only a few kilometers apart! This varied range enables the North Okanagan to support a myriad of lush plant and animal life. Located between the Okanagan Valley to the south and Shuswap to the north, this area is accessed by Highway 97A and 97B. Vibrant and diverse towns and communities are nestled conveniently along Highway 97A, making North Okanagan ideal for family vacations. More »
For many people it's a summer ritual - pack up the car, load the kids and head to the lake. The Shuswap is, without a doubt, one of the most well-known and renowned areas for lakes. With over 1,000 km (660mi) of clean, freshwater lakes to explore - in addition to the Monashee Mountains as a backdrop - it's the ideal setting for leisurely cruising on a houseboat. On land one can bask in the sun on one of the many sandy beaches, play 18 holes of golf, enjoy an afternoon of wine touring or take in a festival. It's the perfect vacation - away from it all and closer to what's truly important - family and friends. More »
South Okanagan is where people come to find dry, hot summertime weather. The entire region is magnificently scenic with rolling hills, pristine lakes and eternally blue skies. It is also home to Canada's only true desert terrain, providing a variety of rare cacti, wild flowers, and animals that make their homes in this unique landscape. Above all, the weather here is ideal for agriculture with an average of only 250 mm (10 in) of rainfall and over 2,000 hrs of sunlight a year. Vineyards, with wineries that produce award-winning wines, orchards and fruit stands dominate the landscape, the latter offering cherries, peaches, apples, apricots, and other fruits and vegtables, many organically grown. The great abundance of sunshine not only provides ideal conditions for producing grapes that create outstanding wines, but provides opportunities for a wide array of outdoor fun. Boating, rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, and camping are just some of the area's recreation activities. Outdoor summer leisure pursuits continue well into the mild winters when the peaks of the Monashee Mountains start to accumulate powder. South Okanagan is truly alive year round giving visitors a lasting impression that keeps them coming back year after year. More »
Wells Gray to Mount Robson is a sub region of pure wilderness made for fishing, hiking and canoeing. The two dominant features of the area are the provincial parks for which the region is named. There is no shortage of outdoor adventure in this area as the captivating landscape teems with Mother Nature's finest features. More »
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Tourism Region Contact
Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association
2280-D Leckie Road
Kelowna, BC V1X 6G6
Phone: (250) 860-5999
Toll Free: 1-800-567-2275
Fax: (250) 860-9993
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia