Follow the Lake — in the Heart of the Central Okanagan
Sometimes it’s the journey. Sometimes it’s the destination. In the case of British Columbia’s Central Okanagan, it’s most definitely both! Take a road trip along Route 97 as it hugs the banks of Okanagan Lake. Enjoy the scenery as it winds its way along a shoreline that stretches 110 km (68 mi) through the heart of the region. The Okanagan Corridor is a road trip that was made for adventure. The northern tip of the Similkameen Valley Loop starts here, as does the southern most portion of the Gold Country Loop.
Take in the Central Okanagan
Enjoy a constant backdrop of the Cascade and Coastal Mountains to the west and the Monashee Mountains to the east. The Central Okanagan, and its communities of Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna, and Lake Country are ripe for exploring.
Throughout the Central Okanagan you’ll find a vibrant arts and entertainment scene. In Kelowna, take your time and walk our downtown core. There’s also a cultural district centred around Kelowna’s waterfront. Keep your eyes on the lake. You may see the legendary Ogopogo beneath the shimmering surface of the water. There’s also boundless outdoor recreation here. One of BC’s finest family ski resorts is within an hour’s drive of Kelowna. You may have to pull over, check in and stay a while to take all of it in.
Taste our Terroir
The Central Okanagan, long known as Canada’s fruit basket, has orchards and vineyards and now includes craft distilleries, breweries, cideries, meaderies, cheese makers and more. When you stop here, make sure you bring an appetite! There are five unique wine trails and a cornucopia of farm-to-table agri-tourism experiences. Enjoy an Okanagan Wine Festival, and meet local growers at farmer’s markets, roadside stands or in their own fields and orchards. Sample your way from Peachland to Lake Country. You’ll taste the Central Okanagan with every sip and bite.
On the Waterfront
Pack your bathing suit because summer is a full-immersion season in the Central Okanagan. In addition to great weather, there are three lakes and more than 30 beaches here. They range from pebbled shores to broad expanses of golden sand. You’ll find plenty of room to stretch out and work on your tan.
Go fishing from tranquil shores of Wood or Kalamalka Lake in Lake Country. You can also hop in a boat and find that sweet fishing hole. Paraglide above Okanagan Lake at sunset or enjoy a relaxing wander in downtown Kelowna’s parkland waterfront and boardwalk. You’ll find plenty of ways to unwind by a sun-soaked shore.
Bright Lights and Nightlife
Kelowna is the largest urban centre in the Central Okanagan and it has all you’d expect from a city. There are choice restaurants, a vibrant nightlife, and a rich cultural scene. You’ll probably need more than a few days to take in all the museums, art galleries, live theatres and live entertainment. Check out the complete line-up of festivals and events taking place throughout the year.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Get outside and play! The Central Okanagan gets over 2,000 hours of sun every year. The rolling terrain is great for hiking, cycling, and exploring. Scale Knox Mountain in downtown Kelowna. While you’re here, get in a round or two of golf at one of our 20 courses. Escape summer’s heat at Hardy Falls or on the Mission Greenway.
Take a tour or go on your own as you cycle or hike the Kettle Valley Rail portion of the Trans Canada Trail. Take the time for some photo ops as you pass over 18 trestle bridges and go through two tunnels. Start at Myra Canyon and if you’re adventurous, go all the way to Penticton in the South Okanagan Region. For a better view, soar among the trees, zip lining in Oyama or Peachland. In the winter, head up Hwy 33 to Big White, for champagne powder skiing for the whole family.
Discover Our Mountains
The Central Okanagan is the jumping off point for exploring several of the mountains in our area. Big White is a one hour drive from Kelowna and open year round for all season enjoyment. Drive south on Route 97 to the South Okanagan and from Penticton, it’s a short 40-minute drive up to Apex Mountain. From Oliver, it’s a 45 minute drive to Mount Baldy. Drive north from Kelowna to Vernon and you’ll be in the North Okanagan and a half hour away from SilverStar. Most of our mountains are open to the public in the warmer months for great hiking and biking adventures. And in the winter. . . it’s pure champagne powder heaven.
Connect to the Thompson Region and Lower Mainland
It’s easy to get to the Thompson Region and Hwy 1 to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Simply take Route 97C, the Okanagan Connector, from West Kelowna. Drive drive through forested high mountain passes and past rolling ranch lands. This highway has four to six lanes and a speed limit of 110 km/h (70 mph) throughout much of its 220 km (136 mi) length. That means you’ll make good time traveling to Merritt, Kamloops, and Cache Creek along this route.
Need to Know:
|97 Distance – Summerland to Lake Country:||72km/45mi|
|Duration to drive:||Minimum one to two hours|
|Best time to drive:||Year round|
|97C Distance — West Kelowna to Cache Creek: 220km/137mi||220km/137mi|
|Duration to drive:||Minimum three to four hours|
|Best time to drive:||Spring, Summer, Fall|
British Columbia Visitor Centre at Merritt
Kelowna International Airport Information Booth
Kelowna Visitor Centre
Lake Country Visitor Information at Gatzke Orchards
15975 Old Mission Road
Lake Country, British Columbia