Flowers in the Thompson Okanagan, Photo Allen Jones
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 locally-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!
From the very beginning, the Thompson Okanagan’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 at 3,954 m (12,972 ft) – the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies – and Canada’s only true desert environment in Osoyoos. 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 Okanagan Valley is one of Canada’s most desired destinations. Fresh, clean lakes offer 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 major city of Kelowna includes attractions, trendy shops and delectable food. It’s a truly great place where you can do just about anything, or nothing at all. More »
Gold Country 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 today’s traveller. More »
Kamloops Country is the heart of British Columbia and home to the second largest city in the Interior – Kamloops. 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 »
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 (660 mi) 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, or any other water activity. 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 – for family and friends. More »
Long, hot summer days provide ample opportunity to laze on the beaches or to cool down in the Similkameen River. Go fishing or just drift down the river. Sample the locally-grown fruit available from one of the many fruit stands in Keremeos, see how a Grist Mill works, hike the Kettle Valley Trail or bike the Trans Canada Trail. Then sip on some award-winning Similkameen wines, perhaps paired with local fruit. Mountains, mountain biking, wildlife and more await you in the Similkameen Valley. More »
Hugging the US/Canada border, the communities of Boundary Country lie along the Crowsnest Hwy (Hwy 3) between Osoyoos to the west and Christina Lake in the east. Fishing, swimming, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and more are in abundance here. The lakes and rivers are popular for cooling off in the summer and provide many opportunities for an array of water sports, particularly Christina Lake which is the most popular lake in the area. The Kettle Valley Rail Trail and Trans Canada Trail provide miles of hiking and cycling opportunities that take you through lush forests, ranch lands with stunning mountain views and fertile valleys. More »
Heading northwest from Kamloops along Hwy 5 is the Wells Gray to Mount Robson area, known for its pure wilderness that is made for fishing, hiking and canoeing. The two dominant features of the area are the provincial parks for which the region is named – Wells Gray and Mount Robson Provincial Parks. There is no shortage of outdoor adventure in this area as the captivating landscape teems with Mother Nature’s finest features. More »