Off Track Travel

50+ Best Things to Do in Vernon: Ultimate Guide

Set into rolling grasslands, bordered by three lakes and backdropped by mountains, Vernon is surrounded by stunning scenery.

This bountiful area is not only pretty, but also FULL of fun things to do. But if you speed in and out of Vernon on Highway 97, you may not see much of this.

This busy road passes right through the middle of Vernon’s commercial district and those who do not make the effort to stop are likely to completely miss everything this area has to offer!

Elevated view from Middleton Mountain looking down at housing estate and Kalamalka Lake below

Being Okanagan Valley locals, we were also guilty of this until 2020.

The pandemic pushed us to explore more local places and we discovered just how much there is to do in Vernon! We have now visited in all four seasons and I can confirm that Vernon is a year round destination.

This post, part of our Vernon series , showcases the very best that this city has to offer. It includes our favourite activities as well as the best places to eat and top picks for places to stay.

I hope it will prove useful for trip planning and also for anyone already visiting and looking for fun things to do in Vernon, BC.

Last updated March 2023 . We visited Vernon in 2020, 2021 and 2022 as guests of Tourism Vernon and have also travelled independently in the area.

Street view of downtown Vernon with parked cars, shops, trees and orange downtown sign

A quick introduction to Vernon

Vernon is a city in the Okanagan Valley region of British Columbia, Canada. The population of Greater Vernon (including Coldstream) is around 60,000.

The first name given to the location by the Syeelhwh Nation was Nintle – Moos – Chin , which refers to “jumping over place where the creek narrows.”

Vernon is located on the traditional territory of the Syilx (Okanagan), Secwepemcúl’ecw and Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Okanagan Lake view from Paddlewheel beach with kayaker and grassland hills behind

How to reach the city of Vernon

The drive from Vernon to Vancouver is just over 5 hours (444m). From Calgary, it’s just over 6 hours (555km).

This is one factor that makes Vernon an excellent stopover when travelling between the coast and Rocky Mountains.

We live in Penticton, at the other end (the southern side) of the Okanagan Valley. The drive between these two cities takes around two hours, making Vernon is very convenient weekend destination for us.

Looking down on two stand up paddleboards near shore on Kalamalka Lake with turquoise waters

Weather in Vernon

Like the rest of the Okanagan Valley, Vernon has a semi-arid climate with hot (and I mean hot !), dry summers and mild winters.

The long, sunny days of July and August offer so many opportunities for outdoor fun. Just be sure to get up early if you plan to hike in exposed places!

The great thing is that many of these summer activities can still be done in the shoulder seasons too (April, May, June, September, October), thanks to Vernon’s wonderfully warm climate.

Fall lasts a long time, with the colours lasting into early November. There are so many things to do in Vernon in fall , making it my second favourite season to visit.

Elevated view looking down towards Vernon with rolling grasslands, mountains and lakeshore

Winter is surprisingly mild at winter level. Though cold snaps do happen, weather temperatures hover around -2°C to +2°C.

No matter the temperature in town, however, there’s a ton of soft powdery snow to be found up in the mountains surrounding Vernon!

This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

The drive from Vernon to Vancouver is just over 5 hours (444m). From Calgary, it’s just over 6 hours (555km). This is one factor that makes Vernon an excellent stopover when travelling between the coast and Rocky Mountains.

This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. We visited Vernon in August 2020 as guests of Tourism Vernon.

Gemma sat in front of shady tree with elevated view of Okanagan Lake

The best things to do in Vernon, British Columbia

I’ll first share what I think to be the top 10 best things to do in Vernon .

These are the activities that I think are an absolute MUST when visiting this beautiful region. Plan your trip well and you can visit most of these places over a weekend.

Soak up the sun at Kalamalka Beach

Visit bx falls, hike to the top of middleton mountain, have brunch at eatology, sip cider at bx press.

  • Hike to Rattlesnake Point

Go paddling on one of three local lakes

Walk or bike the okanagan rail trail, try local craft beers at marten brewing co., swim at juniper and jade beaches.

If this list sounds a little too outdoorsy for you, keep on reading! The following section features 20+ more activities in the Vernon area.

The last part of the guide includes things to do in Vernon in the cooler months, though be sure to read our dedicated guide to visiting in Vernon in winter . We have a fall v ersion too!

We have personally tried and tested almost every entry on this things to do in Vernon list .

Google map with things to do in Vernon marked on graphi

Spending some time by one of Vernon’s three lakes is definitely a must do in summer.

The most popular beach is Kal Beach , situated just a 10 minute drive from Vernon’s downtown area.

This long strip of soft golden sand on Kalamalka Lake has plenty of trees for shade as well as restrooms, snack bars, SUP rentals, beach volleyball courts and even a wooden pier.

Parking is fairly plentiful too, even on busy summer days. Expect to walk 5-10 minutes to reach the beach from the parking. Facilities aside, the view from Kal Beach is hard to beat on a sunny day.

Lakeshore with people on beach and in the water, swimming and on stand up paddleboards

BX Falls has to be one of the loveliest spots in Vernon on a hot summer day.

The viewing area is shaded by forest and kept fresh by the falling water, providing welcome relief from the heat. The water levels vary throughout the year, with spring providing the most dramatic scenes.

The hike to reach BX Falls is incredibly short and easy (700m return), with the hardest part being a 89 step staircase. The path follows the BX Creek from the Tillicum Road trailhead, a peaceful walking experience in its own right.

There is the option of visiting BX Falls as part of a longer hike (6.6km return), from the Star Road trailhead. For more details, read the dedicated feature within our Vernon hikes post .

BX Falls cascading down small canon with tree roots

When it comes to things to do in Vernon, visiting Middleton Mountain is an absolute must.

In addition to offering magnificent views of lakes and rolling grassland, hiking this trail is also an excellent way to orient yourself when visiting Vernon for the first time.

There are four different hiking loops in the summit area, all being relatively flat once you have ascended to the plateau itself. The perimeter loop is 3km and features panoramas of Kalamalka Lake, downtown Vernon, Swan Lake and beyond.

One important thing to know about Middleton Mountain is the lack of shade on the trail.

Be sure to start this hike early (before 9am!) during the summer months, wear a hat and use plenty of sunscreen (we recommend Just Sun , a local all natural brand). More information and tips in our Vernon hiking guide .

Gemma hiking away from camera on Vernon hiking trail on Middleton Mountain, with views of Kalamalka Lake behind

With an abundance of fresh, local produce, Vernon is home to a number of impressive eateries.

Of all the places that we have tried over the years, EATology remains my stand out pick. This friendly eatery in downtown Vernon serves up delicious breakfast and lunch classics with quirky, modern style. There’s plenty of choice for vegans and gluten free folks alike.

Brunch happens to be my favourite meal of the day and I’d happily eat at EATology every day if I could! My favourite dish is the Caprese (tomato, pesto, mozzarella) Eggs Benedict (tomato, pesto, mozzarella).

EATology is a popular place and operates a waiting list at busy times. Put your name down on the list, go for a short walk around downtown and then you’ll be called when a table is ready (usually 20-30 minutes).

Close up of Eggs Benedict meal at Eatology in Vernon

Apples have been grown in the Vernon area for well over a hundred years. BX Press celebrates this heritage at their third generation orchard, where they create premium, innovative ciders.

Visiting the cidery is an experience in itself, with the laid back tasting room and patio set right next to the orchard.

Flights offer a chance to taste the variety of BX Press’ ciders, from the traditional style (my favourite) to more experimental fruit-infused blends.

The name of the cidery, BX Press, provides another nod to Vernon’s history.

Starting during the Cariboo Goldrush in the 1860’s, the Barnard Express stagecoach company once serviced British Columbia’s interior region. Each cider pays homage to a character of the Barnard Express days.

Birds eye view of BX Press cider flights with eight different variations

Hike to Rattlesnake Point, Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park

The tip of a rocky peninsula jutting into Kalamalka Lake, Rattlesnake Point is one of the most scenic spots in the Vernon area.

The views showcase Kalamalka’s intense turquoise colours as well as the rolling grasslands beyond the lake shore. It’s the perfect place to take a break and watch the world go by (or boats, in this case).

Located in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, the shortest route to Rattlesnake Point involves a reasonably easy 2.5km loop hike.

While there is no beach at the Point itself, Jade and Juniper beaches are only a short walk away. I’d suggest going for a refreshing dip after your hike.

Please note that Rattlesnake Point is also known as Upper Turtles Head Point Lookout.

Lookout view of Kalamalka Lake with powerboats passing

Bordered by three lakes, paddlers are truly spoiled for choice in Vernon. Paddle one or paddle them all! If you don’t have your own kayak, canoe or SUP, there are a number of local watersport rental companies .

  • Shallow and marshy, Swan Lake is the smallest of the three lakes and is a protected wetland area – over 200 species of birds are found here, as well as many amphibians and mammals. We paddled at sunset with a soundtrack of chittering birds and fish jumping. There’s a boat launch and parking at the end of Meadowlark Road
  • Kalamalka Lake ‘s dazzling green and blue hues (a result of glacial limestone deposits) make it a very popular paddling spot, especially on sunny days. There are plenty of places to launch too, such as Kal Beach, Kekuli Bay, Juniper beach, Pumphouse Veach and Kalavista Beach. I’d recommend going out early when there are less powerboats on the water
  • Okanagan Lake is a huge body of water, stretching 135km south to Penticton. With depths as deep as 232m, it’s said to be home to the legendary Ogopogo (which is actually more like a lake spirit than a monster). Kin Beach provides the closest launching point to Vernon

Kayak view of Swan Lake at sunset with orange yellow skies and calm water

Once utilised to bring the produce of the Okanagan Valley across the country, the discontinued Kelowna Pacific Railway line is now the Okanagan Rail Trail , a 52km multi-use pathway travelling between Coldstream and Kelowna.

The Okanagan Rail Trail section closest closest to Vernon follows the shore of Kalamalka Lake, showcasing some spectacular Okanagan scenery. On a sunny day, you’ll be able to enjoy the spectacular blue/green colours of the water.

The easiest access points for the Okanagan Rail Trail from Vernon are Kekuli Bay Provincial Park and the northern terminus, close to Kal beach and the Rail Trail Cafe .

JR walking on the Okanagan Rail Trail near Vernon, following Kalamalka Lake, one of the best things to do in Vernon

JR and I love to check out craft breweries wherever we travel in BC. Vernon may have a small craft beer scene right now, but what it does have packs a punch.

Located in the heart of downtown in a stylish two story brick building, Marten Brewing Co produces and serves an exciting range of craft beers.

The fruity and light Rail Trail Apricot Ale is the perfect refreshing drink for Vernon’s summer heat, but there’s a little something for almost all tastes (IPA, stout, sour, lager, bitter and more)

Not a fan of beer? Marten Brewpub also produces kombucha, with four different varieties currently on offer. The food menu at Marten is pretty great too!

Tasting flight at Marten Brewing Co in Vernon, BC with four different varieties of beer

For an Okanagan Valley beach experience with a difference, take a trip to Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park .

Juniper and Jade beaches are walk-in only, meaning you must hike to access them. Those who make the effort will find pretty twin bays with warm, crystal clear water.

To reach Juniper and Jade beaches, park at the Twin Bays (Yellow) Gate parking lot in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park.

A 600m paved trail descends a short hill to Juniper Beach. The path to Jade beach is flatter but is slightly longer and is not paved. Jade Beach is smaller than Juniper. Combine a trip to these beaches with a hike to Rattlesnake Point .

Cosens Bay is another great beach in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, also accessible by foot from the Yellow Gate parking lot

Lakeshore beach in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park in Vernon, with people sunbathing on beach and swimmers in lake

Other great things to do in Vernon

Have some more time to spend in Vernon? Check out these additional activities!

Explore downtown Vernon

Vibrant, walkable and filled with independent and locally owned businesses, downtown Vernon is definitely worth a visit (and not just for the murals !)

Besides the downtown businesses already mentioned elsewhere in this post ( Marten Brewpub and EATology ), I’d also recommend checking out Wedge Cheesery.

In addition to selling artisan cheeses by weight, they also make tasty ‘to go’ picnic boxes includes several specially selected cheeses, crackers, fruit, nuts and locally made condiments.

For something less savoury, take a trip to Sweet Hoopla and check out their super range of sweet treats as well as locally made gelato. The perfect way to cool down in the summer months!

Hand holding up gelato pot in front of colourful mural in Vernon

Tour Vernon’s downtown murals

Vernon is host to one of the largest collections of outdoor art in Canada. While you’re in downtown Vernon, take the time to tour the collection of outdoor murals.

Painted by local artists as part of a revitalization project over two decades ago, 28 beautiful murals tell the story of Vernon, featuring notable people, places, businesses and events that have shaped local history and culture.

Going on a self guided mural tour is easy – simply download the map and start walking!

A hot spot for murals is around Jubilee Park, near the Transit Loop. My favourites include ‘Kalamalka Lake’ and the Okanagan Science Centre’s ‘Ogopogo.’

Gemma standing on sidewalk looking up at Kalamalka Lake mural in Vernon, BC

Explore the Swan Lake Nature Reserve

Despite being a very short drive from from downtown Vernon, Swan Lake is an exceptionally peaceful place. 

Part of a protected wildlife management area, it’s also home to a huge variety of birds, amphibians and mammals.

While paddling is one way to explore the reserve, there’s also an easy 1.8km interpretive hiking trail located to the south of the lake. A viewing platform was recently added.

While the path stays a respectable distance from Swan Lake itself, the surrounding views are still worth the time to see. Remember to keep an eye out for wildlife!

Close up of grass with ladybird at Swan Lake Nature Reserve, one of the best places to visit in Vernon

Visit Davison Orchards

Vernon’s most family friendly destination is Davison Orchards Country Village .

Popular with visitors and locals alike, Davison Orchards is a family run farm with local produce market, bakery, cafe, playground, U-pick (seasonal) and ice cream shop. There are tractor pulled wagon rides around the farm too.

The Davison Orchards experience is incredibly wholesome , with visitors being able to do as much or as little as preferred. There’s no entrance fee so you can just wander and take it all in.

Davison Orchards is a great place to get a taste of Vernon’s agricultural roots.

I loved meeting the farm goats and pigs. I can assure you that the frozen apple slushies are a MUST on hot summer days!

In October, it’s possible to pick your own pumpkins in the wagon-accessed patch.

Old rec truck parked outside Davison Orchards country Village buildings with hanging flowers and wooden frontage

Explore the alpine at Silver Star Ski Resort

A snowy wonderland in winter, Silver Star Ski Resort transforms into an alpine paradise in summer. The drive to the village is a surprisingly short 23km from downtown Vernon.

Home to Canada’s second largest bike park, there are over 100 kilometres of challenging mountain bike trails to explore on the mountain. There’s a trail network for hikers too, showcasing the spectacular views and gorgeous meadows of alpine flowers.

The Des Scheumann Summit Express Gondola travels to the top of the mountain on summer weekends. It’s super quick, reasonably priced and offers a shortcut to Silver Star’s alpine trails with no tiring uphill hiking required. The bike park lift is open Thursday to Monday.

Mixture of subalpine wildflowers with purple daisies, lupins, paintbrush etc at Silver Star Ski Resort

Visit O’Keefe’s Ranch

Another family friendly attraction is O’Keefe’s Ranch , where you can travel back in time and discover the very beginnings of European settlement in the Okanagan Valley.

Founded in 1867 during the Cariboo Gold Rush, O’Keefe’s Ranch is a living heritage site complete with blacksmith shop, general store, church, school, mansion and more.

The O’Keefe’s lived and worked on the ranch for almost a hundred years, before transforming it to a heritage site in the 1960’s. It’s now a non-profit society. This year, visitors are encouraged self tour the grounds in exchange for a donation.

In late summer, a corn maze is developed. At Halloween, the corn maze is transformed into a haunted version called Field of Screams .

19th century white paneled farmhouse building at O'Keefe's Ranch in Vernon with wooden fence

Explore the hiking trails at Predator Ridge

Predator Ridge is a resort community about twenty minutes drive south of Vernon, BC. Hiking and walking trails weave through residential areas, lakes and fairways to ascend the rocky ridges that give the resort its name.

While it may not be wilderness, the 35km long network of well maintained and interconnected trails is definitely worth exploring.

The Okanagan Lake Lookout Loop is definitely our favourite Predator Ridge trail. It takes about an hour, with plenty of stops to check out the epic vistas of Okanagan Lake, Terrace Mountain and the fairways of Predator Ridge.

I’d recommend hiking the Okanagan Lake Lookout Loop in a counter clockwise direction. We also like the Ridge Trail , which first leads to a large yoga platform set above Okanagan Lake.

Side/back view of Gemma sat on yoga platform at Predator Ridge Resort, with views of snowy Terrace Mountain behind and Okanagan Lake

Go wine tasting on the Scenic Sip

The Scenic Sip Wine Trail encompasses eight wineries in Lake Country, just a short drive south of Vernon. The region is best known for aromatic whites.

My favourite winery experience within the Scenic Sip is Arrowleaf Cellars. The setting is simply spectacular, with the modern wine tasting room set above vineyards that slope down towards Okanagan Lake. Tastings are $5 for four wines.

Just in front of the vineyards is a gorgeous picnic area, where you can sip on Arrowleaf wine in the sun. Dogs and children are welcome. On the wine side, we were surprised by the red blends here, with the barrel-aged Field Collection being our favourite.

We also really like Ex Nihilo Vineyards, where the Signature Tasting ($14) includes four pours paired with locally charcuterie, cheese and preserves. The views are also stunning.

The best (and safest!) way to tour the Scenic Sip is to join a wine tour. We recommend Wine Boss Tours for a fun, knowledgeable experience!

Elevated view looking down on vineyards (with vines turning from green to yellow/orange) sloping down to Okanagan Lake, which is covered with a fog haze

Sample whiskey, gin and more at Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

Okanagan Spirits ‘ flagship distillery in Vernon is a must visit if you like a tipple or two.

The first of its kind in Western Canada, over 30 different varieties and variations of whisky, gin, vodka and other liquors are made here. The choice of small batch whiskies is particularly special, with the bourbon style being our favourite.

The distillery is family owned and operated, wonderfully demonstrated with family photos hung on the tasting room walls. Also standing proud is North America’s tallest copper pot still.

Choose between a casual drop-in tasting or book ahead for one of their signature distillery tastings. These range from an intimate tasting in a private room to guided gin and whiskey experiences (subject to pandemic restrictions).

An Okanagan Spirits glass sits on a wooden countertop with a bottle of AppleJack IPA Whisky behind

Relax at Sparkling Hill Resort

Vernon is home to one of Canada’s largest spas, the seriously dreamy Sparkling Hill Resort .

Situated at the top of a granite bluff just south of Vernon, Sparkling Hill is a luxurious adults-only resort. It’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway or ‘treat yourself’ weekend.

The spacious rooms are open plan and feature gorgeous floor to ceiling windows. A two person bath sits in front of the spectacular views, with crystals studded into the ceiling above (there’s a reason behind resort’s name!)

Hotel guests have access to the Kurspa’s eight themed steam and sauna rooms, plus multiple swimming pools and relaxation rooms.

Over 100 different treatments are also available, including signature couples experiences.

Sparkling Hill Resort has three on-site restaurants, with in-room dining also being an option. Hiking trails leave right from the entrance, another way to connect with the stunning landscape around the resort.

Four spa seats are lined up in front of floor to ceiling windows, looking out to Okanagan Valley scenery

Taste mead at Planet Bee Honey Farm and Honeymoon Meadery

Craft breweries are a given in most BC towns, but how about a meadery? Honeymoon Meadery , part of Planet Bee Honey Farm, specialises in hand crafted honey wine made with natural ingredients.

Mead tastings are complimentary and feature a choice of up to eight different varieties! We tried them all and to my surprise, they ranged widely in both flavour and sweetness.

In addition to mead tastings, the Planet Bee Honey Farm experience also includes a large honey gift shop and educational centre with a indoor glass observatory hive.

Did you know? Mead is actually one of the oldest alcoholic beverages on earth, with remnants being found in 9000 year old pottery. Indeed, the term ‘honeymoon’ refers to the old custom of consuming mead for one moon cycle after marriage to encourage vitality and fertility (and hence the name of Planet Bee’s meadery!)

Two bottles of Ode to Odin Honeymoon Mead on tasting bar at Plant Bee Honey Farm in Vernon

Explore the alpine Silver Star Ski Resort by foot or bike

Home to Canada’s second largest bike park, there are over 100 kilometres of challenging mountain bike trails to explore on the mountain.

There’s a trail network for hikers too, showcasing the spectacular views and gorgeous meadows of alpine flowers.

Close up of colourful wildflowers at Silver Star resort, with purple, red and blue flowers

Follow Vernon’s Tasting Trail

The Okanagan Valley is a bountiful place, with Vernon being no exception. The city’s Tasting Trail highlights local food and drinks producers and retailers, enticing visitors to sip, sample and savour.

Many of the Tasting Trail locations are found in and around downtown Vernon, making it easy to visit multiple locations in the same morning or afternoon.

I’ve already mentioned some Tasting Trail locations in this post ( Sweet Hoopla , Scenic Sip wineries , Marten Craft Brewery , Wedge Cheesery Planet Bee Honey Farm ) but here are some more:

  • Olive Us – Premium and infused olive oils, with paired balsamic vinegars
  • Hot Bread Shoppe – Small batch artisan bakery, where everything is made from scratch without preservatives
  • Helmut’s Sausage Kitchen – Artisan meats, perfect for a DIY charcuterie board
  • Midtown Bistro – Fresh, innovative dishes made with as many local ingredients as possible

Modern predominately white bakery interior, with many different varieties of breads on counter and displayed behind

Visit the Allan Brooks Nature Centre

Perched atop a grassy hill above Vernon’s downtown area, the Allan Brooks Nature Centre is a interpretive site with a view. It showcases the Okanagan Valley’s rare and sensitive ecosystem, including its endangered animal and plant species.

Transformed from a discontinued weather station in the late 90s, the family friendly centre is named after Okanagan based naturalist (and self-taught painter/wildlife artist) Allan Brooks.

As well as indoor interpretive displays, there is a wheelchair friendly grasslands trail, pond, native plant garden and picnic area. And it’s all backdropped by sweeping panoramas of the city of Vernon and surrounding mountains!

Looking across brown grassland at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre towards Vernon, with rolling hills around the city

Play golf at Predator Ridge

Predator Ridge is one of Canada’s best golf resorts. There are two award winning courses , offering 36 holes of championship golf.

I may not be much of a golfer myself, but if there was ever place to play golf, this would be my choice! The setting is simply gorgeous.

Non-golfer in your group? The 35km long Predator Ridge trail network offers plenty of biking and hiking opportunities.

Alternatively, stay at Sparkling Hill (less than 5 minutes drive from Predator Ridge) and enjoy the spa facilities while the golfers play.

Elevated view looking down from restaurant patio towards very green golf course, with rolling hills in background

Even more great Vernon activities

Still looking for more to do in Vernon? We’ve got you covered!

  • Go climbing at Cougar Canyon or Aberdeen Columns (PDF guidebook here )
  • Hike the Nature Trail at Ellison Provincial Park and finish with a swim in one of the scenic bays
  • Browse locally grown fruits and vegetables and artisan made breads and pastries at the Vernon Farmers’ Market
  • Try wakeboarding on Okanagan Lake with Tricky Wakesurf School
  • Take in the gorgeous views from Kalamalka Lakeview Drive Lookout , just off Highway 97

Looking down from elevated viewpoint towards winding road heading towards calm surface on Kalamalka Lake, which is reflecting the surrounding hills and clouds

  • Learn about what lies beyond the starts at the Okanagan Science Centre
  • Pick your own seasonal fruit at Peter’s U-Pick Orchard or Bright Angel Farm
  • Rent a pontoon, boat or jet ski on Okanagan Lake or Kalamalka Lake
  • Go camping at Ellison Provincial Park on Okanagan Lake (reservation recommended)
  • Catch a show at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre
  • Cool down at the Splashdown Vernon Family Waterpark
  • Swim, sunbathe and picnic at beautiful Paddlewheel Beach in Okanagan Landing
  • Play even more golf at four other locations in Vernon ( the Rise , Hillview , Spallumcheen and Vernon Golf & Country Club )
  • Enjoy some jazz music at the Vernon Jazz Club , hosted in a downtown heritage building
  • Hike the impressive Enderby Cliffs Trail , just a short drive from Vernon

Brick wall of Okanagan Science Centre with painted green/blue Ogopogo monster mural

The best things to do in Vernon: Winter and fall edition

As the temperatures start to drop in late September, some of the above activities become a little cool for comfort. But don’t worry, fall and winter have their own surprises in store!

  • Pick your own pumpkin at Davison Orchard’s extensive pumpkin patch
  • Go on a mushroom identification tour with Elements Adventures
  • Escape the haunted corn mazes at the Field of Screams , hosted at O’Keefe Ranch in October
  • Experience the Walk of Terror , an immersive (and terrifying!) ramble through the woods
  • See the fall colours on Vernon’s hiking trails – we recommend Cosens Bay in Kal Park and the Grey Canal Trail above Davison Orchards

For more details, head to our Fall Vernon guide

A hand is holding a brown coloured mushroom towards the camera, in a forest setting

  • Explore the winter wonderland of SilverStar Ski Resort (late November to mid-April)
  • Check out Vernon’s frozen waterfalls – BX Falls and Cosens Bay Waterfall ( microspikes required)
  • Go heli-skiing from Predator Ridge and enjoy deep, dry powder in the Monashees
  • Hike the Grey Canal Trail and enjoy the snow dusted views of Vernon ( microspikes recommended)

Back view of JR with snowboard looking out over Monashee Mountains at SilverStar Mountain Resort

  • Slide and spin down four lanes at SilverStar’s Tube Town – perfect for kids of all ages (including the young at heart)
  • Cross country ski or snowshoe at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre
  • Watch a Vernon Vipers Junior A hockey game at Kal Tire Place
  • Go fat biking on the dedicated trails at SilverStar Mountain Resort
  • Attend Vernon’s 10 day long Winter Carnival and take part in tournaments, tastings, races, themed dinners and more
  • Skate on a natural pond at SilverStar Ski Resort
  • Take a horse drawn sleigh ride to the Wild Horsemen’s Cabin

More information in our detailed Winter Vernon guide

Frozen waterfall on left of photo, cascading over canyon wall, surrounded by trees

Where to stay in Vernon

My top recommendation for overnight accommodation in downtown Vernon is the Prestige Vernon Lodge . Despite the unassuming exterior, it’s a real one of a kind place to stay.

The three story tropical atrium houses a natural creek, indoor pool, hot tub and restaurant. Most of the hotel rooms look out into the atrium, providing a fun ‘outside in’ vibe. The hotel is three minutes drive from everywhere downtown.

Restaurant with orange chairs and wooden flooring in glass atrium at Prestige Lodge hotel with tropical plants

If being in downtown Vernon isn’t important to you, I would suggest heading south of the city to Predator Ridge Lodge .

Located in the center of two championship golf courses, this resort features high-end studio, one bedroom and two bedroom condo suites. Hiking trails begin right from the front of the lodge and guests also have use of the outdoor swimming pool and hot tub.

Looking out from Predator Ridge Resort lodge balcony towards golf course with large lake in middle

Sparkling Hill Resort should be your destination for the ultimate romantic weekend. This modern, luxurious adults-only spa hotel retreat sits atop a granite bluff, offering spectacular panoramas of Okanagan Lake.

The open plan guest rooms sparkle with hidden diamonds and feature huge floor to ceiling windows. A two person bathtub sits in front of the window in every room – the perfect indicator that it’s time to relax!

Bathtub in front of floor to ceiling windows at Sparkling Hill Resort, with chairs and table on left hand side

If you just need a place to hang your hat at the end of a long day of exploring, check out the Fairfield Inn & Suites .

While the location isn’t amazingly scenic, it is very convenient, with easy highway access and many nearby shops and restaurants. The modern rooms are well appointed and breakfast is included. Kids will love the indoor pool and waterslide.

For more details and recommendations, check out our dedicated Vernon accommodation guide!

View of Vernon city and suburbs from Middleton Mountain, surrounded by rolling grasslands

Where to eat in Vernon

Vernon has a great range of eateries and we’ve been fortunate enough to dine at a fair number of them. Our top picks are:

Coffee shops and bakeries

Ratio – Handcrafted pastries (with a different specialty highlighted each day) accompanied by quality coffee. Visit on Friday for some of the best doughnuts in the Okanagan Valley! Triumph Coffee is also worth a stop.

Blink and you may miss the Hot Bread Shoppe , a small batch artisan bakery perched on 31st St. Once inside, however, you will be held captive by the heavenly smell of bread and cinnamon buns (all made from scratch with organic flours from a local mill).

Looking up at Wedge Cheesery building in downtown Vernon, which features white tables and chairs outside

Planning to explore one of Vernon’s hiking trails? Pick up a Wedge Cheesery charcuterie platter featuring specially selected cheeses, crackers, fruit, nuts and locally made condiments.

Vernon has a choice of sushi restaurants, with Kawakubo being our go-to. It’s always busy and the fish fresh. The pad thai at Amarin Thai is also reliably good.

For pizza, we really like the chewy thin crust kind from Pallino’s at Predator Ridge Resort. The handmade pizzas from Easthill Eatery are also great.

Breakfast and brunch

I’ve already told you how much I love EATology , but here’s another recommendation just in case. Expect creative dishes, made with local ingredients, served in a modern yet quirky setting.

If you don’t have the time to wait for a table at EATology, check out Okanagan Eatery (more details below).

Side view of seating at Okanagan Eatery, with elephant painting, low lights and wooden sign

Okanagan Eatery is a hip downtown spot specialising in tasty comfort food. Breakfast is served all day, alongside lunch dishes too. I loved my Vegetarian Portobello Smash Burger, which was unusually stuffed with falafel.

If you love the idea of eating plant to table, make a beeline for the Farmhouse Café at Davison Orchards . Located in the original 1940’s farmhouse, most of the menu items are made from ingredients grown and prepared on the farm.

Casual dinner

For a beer and burger, head directly to Marten Brewing Co . Many items on the menu are made from scratch, with other items sourced from local producers (such as bread, honey, gelato). Time it right and you can enjoy live music too.

As already mentioned, we like Kawakubo Vernon for sushi. Dishes are well priced and the staff are super friendly.

Close up of pizza at Marten Brewing Co with wings and tuna in the background

Special occasions

Looking to celebrate? Don’t hesitate, make a booking for Intermezzo , where the food is as elegant as the intimate setting. All dishes are made in house, from scratch, with local ingredients where possible. The wine list is also excellent.

Another good choice is Phoenix Steakhouse . JR’s steak was cooked to perfection on our last visit – he always chooses blue so it usually a bit and miss.

Lake and city views from Rattlesnake Point in Kalamalka Lake in Vernon

You may find these other Okanagan Valley posts helpful:

Pinnacle Lake Hiking Trail Guide, Cherryville 74+ Things to Do in Penticton and the Southern Okanagan A Local’s Guide to the Best Okanagan Valley Wineries Hiking the Myra Canyon Trestles near Kelowna Twin Lakes Hiking Trail Guide, Cherryville 47 Things to Do in Summerland

11 Fast and Fun Hikes in Penticton

Set into rolling grasslands, bordered by three lakes and backdropped by mountains, Vernon is surrounded by gorgeous scenery. But if you speed in and out of Vernon on Highway 97, you may not see this. Click here to discover over 30 fun things to do in Vernon that help make the stop more than worthwhile! offtracktravel.ca

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One half of the Canadian/British couple behind Off Track Travel, Gemma is happiest when hiking on the trail or planning the next big travel adventure. JR and Gemma are currently based in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

Diane j toth

Friday 30th of April 2021

I'm very disappointed that you did not include THE ALLAN BROOKES NATURE CENTRE!!!! It's very informative re the flora, fauna and all about the local birds and wildlife. It has a wonderful discovery room, mural room and trails with informative signage and the view is all encompassing!!! Please visit to see what you are missing.

The Allan Brookes Nature Centre is on our list for our next visit to Vernon. We have passed it a number of times and the location is spectacular! Thanks for being so passionate about including the centre, I'm sure they would appreciate it too :)

Vicki Proulx

Thursday 10th of September 2020

Hey Gemma! Thanks for the great promotion of Vernon! You must come back in February! The 61st Annual Vernon Winter Carnival will be happening Feb 5-14, 2021! It’s the largest Winter Carnival in Western Canada and a staple tradition in Vernon!

Happiest Outdoors

30+ Things to Do in Vernon, BC

By: Author Taryn Eyton

Posted on Last updated: January 12, 2023

30+ Things to Do in Vernon, BC

Vernon is a small town nestled between two huge lakes in British Columbia’s Okanagan region. I recently spent a few days there and discovered so many things to do in Vernon, BC including tons of hiking and lots of delicious food! In fact, I didn’t have enough time to do everything!

British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is a popular vacation destination. But it’s a huge region so it can be tough to decide where to go. Without naming names, I think that some towns in the Okanagan are a bit too touristy or get too crowded.

But as one of the oldest cities in the Okanagan, Vernon has heart. It has a cute downtown district with lots of shops and restaurants. And the surrounding hills are full of orchards, hiking trails, and viewpoints. I definitely recommend visiting in spring to see the orchards and wildflowers blooming!

And of course, the Vernon is next to both Okanagan Lake and Kalamalka Lake, so there are lots of beaches and places to get out on the water.

In this post, I’ll give you the run-down on the best things to do in Vernon, BC. It includes:

  • A custom map of Vernon that shows all the key locations I mention
  • A list of my personal recommendations for the best things to do in Vernon, BC
  • My picks for where to stay in Vernon
  • A list of the best places to eat in Vernon
  • A Vernon FAQ to help you plan your visit

This is a sensitive wilderness area. Learn how to Leave No Trace to keep the wilderness wild. Make sure you are prepared by bringing the 10 Essentials . Get ready for adventure with this checklist of things to do before every hike .

Hey there: Thanks so much to Tourism Vernon for hosting me in Vernon. All opinions in this post are my own. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support! -Taryn

Table of Contents

Vernon, BC Map

Vernon is a pretty easy city to navigate. But since it is in a rural area, some locations are a few minutes outside the city centre. I’ve put together a custom google map of Vernon for you. It shows all the locations I mention in this post. Click the map to explore.

A custom google map of Vernon showing all the best things to do in Vernon, bC

The Best Things to Do in Vernon

Explore the murals.

Vernon’s downtown is dotted with 28 murals that depict the city’s history and culture. Most of the murals are within a few blocks of the intersection of 32nd Street and 32nd Avenue.

I found it fun to just wander around and see what murals I could find, but you can also download this Vernon mural map and guide that has the location and info for each one.

A railway themed mural in Vernon - visiting the murals is one of the best things to do in Vernon, BC

Shop on 30th Avenue

Vernon’s streets use a grid system, but confusingly, 30th Avenue is basically the town’s main street. That is where you’ll find lots of cute shops and boutiques.

I loved browsing at Expressions of Time , a bookstore with a huge selection of used books as well as crystals and other new age stuff. Stop in to Kaleco to browse sustainable clothing and gifts.

Take a Tour of the Kalamalka Indigenous Garden

Known as K’nmalka? Senqalten in the Syilx/Okanagan language, a tour of the Kalamalka Indigenous Garden at Okanagan College was one of the highlights of my visit to Vernon. Our guide, Justen Peters, showed us many of the local plants and explained how they are used for food, medicine, and more. (There is a teepee made of reeds on-site!)

Justen Peters, a Syilx guide, leads a tour at the Kalamalka Indigenous Gardens in Vernon, BC

For me, the most interesting part of the experience was the way that Justen wove traditional stories about the landscape, people, and plants into the tour. The views of Kalamalka Lake from the garden were also incredible.

I’m committed to contributing to reconciliation with Indigenous groups in Canada, so it is important to me to seek out Indigenous tourism experiences when I travel. I loved the personal perspective that Justen brought to the tour and the way he was open and honest about the way he is connecting with his culture.

Eat Your Way Through the Vernon Tasting Trail

Since it is surrounded by farmland and orchards, Vernon is foodie heaven. The Vernon Tasting Trail includes 27 local food and drink producers. Many of them are in the surrounding farmland, but a few have storefronts in downtown Vernon.

I recommend Ratio Coffee and Pastry , and Helmut’s Sausage Kitchen . (More on both of these in the “Where to Eat” section.) I also wanted to visit Wedge Cheesery and Kin+Pod Chocolate but didn’t have time on my visit. (Next time!)

Map of the Vernon Tasting Trail, a collection of wineries, orchards, farms, shops, and cafes in Vernon.

Visit Davison Orchards Country Village

The apple trees of Davison Orchards line the hills at Vernon’s northwestern edge. But this family-run orchard offers a lot more than just apples. We had a delicious lunch at the Farmhouse Cafe, served on the patio which has an incredible view.

They also have a cute gift shop, a coffee shop, ice cream, a kids’ play area, and farm animals. Don’t miss the bakery which sells fresh-baked pies. We bought their adorable personal-sized apple pies – called “cutie pies”!

The exterior of the shops at Davison Orchard Country Village in Vernon

Shop at the Vernon Farmer’s Market

Vernon is home to one of the Okanagan’s largest farmer’s markets. The Vernon Farmer’s Market has been around since 1979. The market runs on Monday and Thursday mornings from mid-April to the end of October. Find it behind Kal Tire Place (the city’s biggest arena).

Look for lots of fresh produce, eggs, meat, prepared food, and crafts. On my spring visit, there were also lots of vegetable seedlings and flowers.

Stalls set up at the Vernon Farmer's Market

Visit Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

The award-winning Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery uses local apples (instead of grain) as the base for many of their spirits. They were pressing apples when we visited and the whole place smelled like apple juice!

My husband was so impressed with their whiskey and fruit brandy that he bought a few bottles. Their distillery has a huge tasting room and shop right next to their enormous copper stills. In addition to tastings, they also have tours.

The tasting room at Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery in Vernon

Drink Craft Beer at Marten Brewing Co.

Marten Brewing Co. is a craft microbrewery located in the heart of downtown Vernon. They brew all of their beer on-site, with their brewing equipment located in the centre of their pub! You can buy beer to-go or stay to sample a flight of beer.

They also have a restaurant with a full kitchen serving up pub fare like sandwiches, burgers, and wings. I had a delicious Cubano sandwich.

Sample Cider at The BX Press Cidery

If you prefer cider to beer, don’t miss a visit to The BX Press Cidery . Their on-site apple orchard produces all of the apples they use in their ciders. They make a staggering variety of apple ciders, ranging from sweet to dry, many of which have fun flavours like cherry, vanilla, and even Earl Grey tea!

On my visit they were in the middle of a big renovation to create a new restaurant and patio space, so we didn’t linger. (The restaurant opens in summer 2022.) But that didn’t stop us from buying a case of cider to take home with us! I also ducked into the orchard to enjoy the apple blossoms.

Psst! Want to visit the distillery, BX Press Cidery, and four wineries? Book the Vernon High Spirits Tour and let your guide do the driving.

Apple blossoms at The BX Press Cidery in Vernon

Hike to BX Falls

The hike to BX Falls is short but worth it. The trail descends beside the creek before plunging down a set of well-constructed stairs to the base of the waterfall.

The 30-meter tall falls cascades through a tight canyon before emptying into a pool. On my visit, it had been raining all day so the falls were really raging.

If you want to go directly to BX Falls, you can start your hike from the parking lot on Tillicum Road. But if you want a longer hike you can follow the BX Creek Trail uphill from the trailhead on Star Road.

The BX Falls Trailhead on Tillicum Road in Vernon - one of the best things to do in Vernon, BC

Explore the Grey Canal Historic Trail

The Grey Canal Historic Trail is one of the most interesting trails I have come across. Built between 1905 and 1914, the Grey Canal was a system of pipes, ditches, and flumes that supplied irrigation water to the hills around Vernon.

A hiker walks along the Grey Canal Trail in Vernon

Today you can hike and bike sections of the 50-kilometre-long route as it curves across the hillside high above orchards and farms. That means it has incredible views. We explored the Turtle Mountain section which includes an incredible viewpoint on Rocky Ridge.

The best info and maps for the Grey Canal trail are on the Ribbons of Green Trails Society’s website – click on the Grey Canal tab on the top left.

A hiker stands at the Rocky Ridge Viewpoint on the Grey Canal Trail, one of the best things to do in Vernon

Bike the Okanagan Rail Trail

The Okanagan Rail Trail stretches for over 50 kilometres on an old railway bed between Vernon and Kelowna. It runs along the shores of Kalamalka and Wood Lakes and is FLAT, making it a great place to go biking.

A woman bikes along the Okanagan Rail Trail next to Kalamalka Lake in Vernon, BC

On my trip, we rented e-bikes from Kalavida Surf Shop at the start of the trail in Vernon and biked all the way to the tiny town of Oyama and back on the shores of Kalamalka Lake – a round trip of nearly 40 km. The e-bikes made what would normally be a long ride easy – we finished in just a few hours.

Along the way, we stopped a lot to admire the flowers growing beside the trail. (Our spring visit included tons of wildflowers!) We even spotted a huge hawk hunting on the top of a cliff.

The views of the lake were also incredible. The lake water changes colour with the seasons. It was a dark blue-green on my trip, but as it warms up it becomes more turquoise.

A cyclist bikes past spring wildflowers on the Okanagan Rail Trail in Vernon

Hike at Predator Ridge and Sparkling Hill

The high ridge between Okanagan Lake and Kalamalka Lake is home to two neighbouring resorts with a big network of hiking trails: Predator Ridge Resort and Sparking Hill. The trails lead from the resorts, past a golf course and residential community, into the hills.

Many of the trails have incredible views down to Okanagan Lake and the Predator Ridge area. Some even have picnic tables or wooden yoga platforms, perfect for soaking up the views.

On my trip to Vernon, we stayed at the Predator Ridge Lodge and loved being able to go for hikes right out the front door. The Okanagan Lake Lookout is a great sunset spot (although the clouds obscured the sunset a bit on my visit.) We also loved evening bird watching at the easy Birdie Lake Trail.

Wildflowers along the trail at Predator Ridge in Vernon, BC

There are over 35 km of trails, so I wasn’t able to explore them all – I’ll just have to go back! But I definitely recommend a spring visit as there were wildflowers everywhere.

For info on the trails, Predator Ridge has a good trail map . Some of the trails are shared with bikes and on a few access paths you may encounter golf carts, so keep your head up!

Explore Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park

This gorgeous provincial park sits on the eastern shore of Kalamalka Lake. It has a huge network of hiking and biking trails. We only had time to explore a small section but it was spectacular! First, we hiked to Jade Bay and Juniper Bay, two small beaches that are popular for swimming in the summer.

Jade Bay Beach at Kalamalka Provincial Park

We also hiked out to a beautiful viewpoint at the end of Rattlesnake Point. From there, you can also follow another trail to a lookout on a rock outcropping at the top of Rattlesnake Point. The views were even better from up there.

It’s also a good place to admire the colourful waters of Kalamalka Lake which change from dark blue in the winter to green and turquoise in the summer.

Wildflowers at Rattlesnake Point in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park in Vernon

During our spring visit, the trails were covered in wildflowers. Even though our hike was only 4 km long, it took forever since I kept stopping to take photos of the flowers. If you’re interested in flower ID, I recommend the Seek app by iNaturalist which uses your phone camera to tell which plant you are looking at.

Kalamalka Provincial Park has a huge trail system of both hiking and biking trails. Next time I visit, I want to hike to Cosens Bay. I’d also like to bring my mountain bike too!

A hiker walks past a field of yellow wildflowers in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park

Hit the Beach

On my spring visit, it was a bit too chilly for swimming. But we still visited several beaches in Vernon to go for a walk or have a picnic.

Kal Beach on Kalamalka Lake is just a few drive minutes from Vernon. There’s a paved multi-use path most of the way too. It’s a beautiful sandy beach with a long pier.

We also visited Kin Beach on Okanagan Lake. The sandy beach has lots of big trees for shade as well as a big grassy area.

Jade Bay and Juniper Bay in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park also have great beaches (although they are small).

Rotary Pier at Kal Beach in Vernon, BC

While I didn’t actually go golfing in Vernon, I feel a bit like I did since we stayed at Predator Ridge. Our room looked out on the course and we watched golfers swinging clubs and zipping around on golf carts while relaxing on our patio.

The two golf courses at Predator Ridge are famous for their incredible views. There are also a few other golf courses around Vernon , including The Rise, which sits high above Okanagan Lake and also has panoramic views.

The golf course at Predator Ridge in Vernon is flanked by cottages.

More Things To Do in Vernon

While we managed to see and do a lot during our three days in Vernon, we couldn’t see everything. Here’s what is on my list for my next trip!

More Outdoor Things To Do

  • More hiking ! – Vernon has dozens of hiking trails. This interactive Vernon hiking trail map from Ribbons of Green Trail Society has all the details. I’d also love to explore the alpine hiking trails at Silverstar Mountain .
  • Explore Ellison Provincial Park – This park on Okanagan Lake has a campground, sandy beach, and hiking trails. It also has a huge network of mountain biking trails that connect to the Predator Ridge system up the hill.
  • Go mountain biking – My mtb-loving husband spent most of the trip wishing he had brought his bike. We’ve heard there are great mountain biking trails at Ellison Provincial Park, Kalamalka Provincial Park, Silver Star Mountain, and Predator Ridge. Use the Trailforks app to find the trails.
  • Go skiing and snowshoeing – Silverstar Mountain Resort is just up the hill from Vernon. I spent a winter weekend there about 15 years ago and loved the ski-in, ski-out lodging and snowshoe trails.
  • Go cross-country skiing – Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre is home to a huge network of cross-country ski trails. They have snowshoe trails too.
  • Wander through Polson Park – We drove past this lush city park but didn’t have time to stop. It has lots of walking paths through gardens. There is even a unique floral clock.
  • Visit the Allan Brooks Nature Centre – Perched on top of a hill, this nature museum has lots of indoor and outdoor exhibits. But I mostly want to visit to see the marmot colony!
  • Rent a boat – Wakeboarding, tubing, and just cruising around are popular summer activities on the lakes. There are several motorboat rental places in Vernon .
  • Take a private boat cruise – Get out on the water on a pontoon boat, then anchor in a secluded bay to go swimming. This private Okanagan Lake 3-hour cruise is on my list. It comes with a captain and picks up from docks in Vernon.
  • Go paddleboarding or kayaking – Paddle in Kalamalka or Okanagan Lakes. You can rent SUPs and paddleboards from a few places around Vernon. I recommend Kalavida Surf Shop – the staff are super friendly.

Extra Things To Do in Vernon

  • Visit Historic O’Keefe Ranch – Founded in 1867, this historic ranch was an important stop at the end of the wagon road in the Okanagan Valley. Today it’s full of preserved buildings, museum exhibits, and farm animals.
  • Visit the Okanagan Science Centre – This cute science centre looks like a great rainy day activity, especially if you are travelling with kids. It even includes a planetarium.
  • Go wine tasting – There are several wineries near Vernon . It’s easiest to visit as part of a tour so you don’t have to worry about a designated driver. This Lake Country winery tour visits nearby wineries and offers pickups from Vernon hotels.
  • Visit Planet Bee Honey Farm – This cute farm shop has everything honey, including mead, a wine made from honey. They also have bee-friendly gardens to explore.
  • Relax at KurSpa – This huge spa has steam rooms, saunas, and an infinity pool with an incredible view. It’s located high on Predator Ridge at Sparkling Hill Resort .

Where to Stay in Vernon

Vernon has a huge variety of accommodation options from upscale to budget. If you’re visiting in prime summer season, book far in advance, especially for camping.

Outdoor Focused Resort: We stayed at the huge Predator Ridge Resort , which has a mix of lodge suites and cottages, all with their own kitchens. There are two restaurants on-site and a small grocery store. It’s a bit of a drive outside of town, but the location is stunning with incredible views. The main attraction is golfing, but as hikers, we enjoyed exploring the huge trail system instead. Check prices .

The lodge at Predator Ridge with the golf course in the foreground.

Upscale Spa Resort: Located next to Predator Ridge, Sparkling Hill Resort is an adults-only hotel with a luxurious spa and incredible views. The place has unique architecture and is also covered in Swarovski crystals. Check prices .

Unique Hotel: The Prestige Vernon Lodge has a feature I’ve never seen anywhere else – a natural creek running through it! The hotel has a huge glass atrium with tons of plants, a swimming pool, a restaurant, and yes, a creek. Many of the rooms face the atrium and prices are reasonable. Check prices .

Reliable Chain Hotel: I’ve stayed at Fairfield Inn and Suites locations all across Canada and the US. They are consistently clean, well-equipped, newly renovated, and come with free breakfast. Check prices .

B&Bs and Vacation Rentals

There are tons of great B&Bs and vacation rentals around Vernon . Many of them have great views or locations near beaches.

Townhouse With Private Beach: Located right on Okanagan Lake, The Outback Lakeside Vacation Homes have two- and three-bedroom units with kitchens and access to both a private pool and private beach. Check prices .

Rural B&B: The Country Cottage B&B is really cute. It’s set in rolling farmland a short drive from Okanagan Lake. All the reviews mention the delicious breakfast. Check prices .

Rustic Tiny House Cabin: Step back in time while enjoying all the modern conveniences at The Little House on Pottery Road . The rustic tiny house has pioneer-era decor and a wrap-around veranda perfect for soaking up the views. Check prices.

In the summer, the Okanagan is a popular spot for camping trips. There are several great campgrounds near Vernon.

Kekuli Bay Provincial Park: We biked past Kekuli Bay Provincial Park on the Okanagan Rail Trail. The new-ish campground is on the shores of Kalamalka Lake in a rural area grassland area. You can bike or walk on the Rail Trail or swim from the small beach. Reserve with BC Parks .

Ellison Provincial Park: You’ll find Ellison Provincial Park a few minutes outside of Vernon on Okanagan Lake. In addition to the campground, it has a beach, hiking trails, and tons of mountain bike trails. Reserve with BC Parks .

Glamping: If you want something less rustic, book a stay at the Utopia Feels Glampground in nearby Coldstream. Their luxurious tent suites have comfy beds and great views. The property has gardens and a micro-farm with lots of adorable animals. Check prices.

Where to Eat in Vernon

Between the Tasting Trail, the brewery, cider press, and distillery, it felt like we were always eating and drinking something delicious in Vernon. But for a town in orchard and farm country, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Here are my picks for where to eat in Vernon.

Coffee Shop: We loved Ratio Coffee so much that we went twice. It is located in the old railway station. Be sure to try the daily bakery specials and sit on their great patio.

Croissants and coffee on an outdoor table at Ratio Coffee in Vernon, BC.

Pizza: We had amazingly authentic pizza at Pallino’s Italian Bistro at Predator Ridge. You can eat-in, sit on the patio, or get a pizza to go. They also make their own gelato, but I was too full of pizza to try it.

Deli with Sandwiches: Helmut’s Sausage Kitchen is a quirky European deli that specializes in sausages. But they also make truly amazing hot sandwiches. They have a small eating area, but we took ours to-go and ate at the beach.

The deli counter at Helmut's Sausage Kitchen

Pub: Marten Brewing Co. makes craft beer and great pub food to go along with it. If you’re looking for a burger or wings, this is where to get it. Their menu also has a few more innovative offerings like tempura bites, truffle fries, and fish tacos. We loved the house-made guac.

Cafe: I had heard lots of great things about EATology , but unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit. They are only open for breakfast and lunch, but people rave about their eggs benny.

Vernon, BC FAQ

Do you have questions about Vernon? Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Vernon, BC.

Where is Vernon, BC?

Vernon is located in the Okanagan region of British Columbia’s interior. It is in the northern part of the Okanagan, about 45 minutes north of Kelowna and 1.5 hours southeast of Kamloops.

How big is Vernon, BC?

Vernon has a population of about 40,000 people. It covers an area of 96 square kilometres. It has a compact downtown core, but also includes a lot of surrounding rural land.

What is Vernon, BC known for?

Vernon is known for being the commericial hub city for the Northern Okanagan. It is surrounded by lakes (Okanagan, Kalamalka, and Swan Lakes) making it a popular place for summer recreation. Silverstar Mountain ski hill is just outside of town. The surrounding area is rural, with lots of farms, orchards, hiking trails, and golf courses.

How to get to Vernon, BC?

The easiest way to get to Vernon is to drive. It’s about 5.5 hours from Vancouver and 7.5 hours from Calgary . You can also fly into Kelowna airport. From there, you can take an airport shuttle van from Kelowna to Vernon . The ride takes about 30 minutes.

When is the best time to go to Vernon, BC?

Vernon is a year-round destination. It is most popular in the summer, but it can be incredibly hot and sunny. The winter months are a good time for skiing. If you visit in April and May, you’ll skip the crowds and enjoy gorgeous wildflowers. The months of September and October are also less busy and have beautiful fall colours as the leaves change.

What is the weather like in Vernon, BC?

In general, Vernon has cold winters (1°C/33°F) and hot summers (30°C/80°F). June, July, and August are the warmest. December, January, and February are the coldest. Compared to coastal BC, Vernon has a relatively dry climate. The spring months are the rainiest, but it still only rains a little bit. Check the Vernon weather forecast here.

How long should you spend in Vernon, BC?

There is no easy answer to this question. If you just want to see the highlights, a quick weekend trip will suffice. But if you really want to experience the best things to do in Vernon, spending a long weekend or a full week would be better. I spent three days in Vernon and managed to cram a lot in… but I left with lots of things still on my Vernon bucket list. Next time!

What is the Indigenous context of Vernon, BC?

Vernon is in the traditional territory of the Syilx (Okanagan) First Nation . Before European contact, the Syilx were semi-nomadic, living in pit houses called kekulis in the winter and teepees made of tule reeds in the summer. Their territory extended through the Okanagan Valley and down into the United States.

The area that is now Vernon was called Nintle-Moos-Chin, which means “jumping over creek” since BX Creek narrowed enough that it was possible to leap across it.

In the 1800s fur traders and miners came through the Okanagan Valley, disrupting the Syilx way of life and displacing them from their lands. Today, the Syilx continue to live and practice their culture in the Okanagan Valley.

What is the history of Vernon, BC?

The Vernon area has been the traditional home of the Syilx people since time immemorial. European fur traders and prospectors arrived in the mid-1800s. Some of the Europeans settled in the area, starting ranches.

The town of Vernon was incorporated as a city in 1892 and was named after Forbes George Vernon, a member of British Columbia’s legislative assembly. Irrigation projects and a railway made the fruit industry possible in Vernon in the early 1900s. Today Vernon is a commercial hub for the region, which still relies on ranching, farming, and orchards as its main industries.

If you haven’t been to Vernon yet, I encourage you to go, especially in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming. There are so many things to do in Vernon, BC that I wasn’t able to see everything I wanted in just one trip. I’ll definitely be back (with my mountain bike next time!)

Do you have questions about things to do in Vernon? Leave them in the comments so I can help you out.

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The Best Things to Do in Canada

28 Fun Things to Do in Vernon

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One of the top things to do in Vernon is hiking the Grey Canal Trail for amazing views of the area.

Last Updated: October 18th, 2022

Located at the north end of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley, Vernon is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the province, including many lakes, mountains, and farmland. This makes Vernon a great place for outdoor adventure.

Smaller than Kelowna , which is located further south, Vernon is also a great place to enjoy the Okanagan without as much hustle and bustle. You can rest and relax while golfing, bike or hike the many trails, or strap yourself into a kayak and paddle across the scenic lakes.

The population of Greater Vernon is just over 60,000 and like the rest of the Okanagan Valley, Vernon has a semi-arid climate with very hot dry summers and mild winters. If you’re looking for a lush green look, you might want to come in the spring before the sun turns everything yellow. However, the summer is when the city really comes to life with lots of tourists and locals enjoying that summer heat.

Whether you’re a local looking for new things to do or you’re visiting Vernon for the first time, below are the top things to do in Vernon, British Columbia !

Exploring Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park is one of the best things to do in Vernon.

Kalamalka Lake

Named for a local Indigenous chief, Kalamalka has been described as the “lake of a thousand colours” thanks to it being a rare “marl” lake, which changes colour throughout the year. Green, blue, or turquoise in colour, depending on the season, Kalamalka Lake is largely made up of calcium carbonate deposits (a component of limestone) that changes colour according to the temperature and the sunlight.

When sunlight reflects off the limestone crystals in summer, the colours are in the green and turquoise range. However, in winter, when the temperature drops, the crystals dissolve, and the colour turns blue. This makes Kalamalka a beautiful lake to admire during your visit to Vernon, but also a wonderful lake to explore.

In fact, we spent a large portion of our time in Vernon around Kalamalka Lake. It’s a great lake for paddling and watersports, as well as picnics and short hikes. It’s also home to the Okanagan Rail Trail, which is great for walking and biking. Plus, there’s a variety of provincial parks that dot the shore as well.

If you just want to see the lake, we’d recommend either a stroll along the Okanagan Rail Trail or a short hike along the Kalamalka Lookout Trail, a 2.6 Kilometre nature loop that can be found just off Highway 97 that offers beautiful views of the lake.

Kayaking is a wonderful way to explore Vernon's Kalamalka Lake.

Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park

Located on the east side of Kalamalka Lake is Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, a beautiful slice of wilderness that’s perfect for picnics, short hikes, or relaxing at the beach. If you end up kayaking from Kal Beach as we did, this provincial park is a great place to stop, take a break, and perhaps climb up to Rattlesnake Point for stunning views of the lake. Other popular spots are Juniper Bay and Cosens Bay, the former being accessible by boat or on foot.

Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park covers 3,218 hectares and is a lovely example of North Okanagan grassland that is dotted with ponderosa pine and groves of Douglas-fir. The spring wildflower show is also spectacular to witness and the largely undeveloped park has an all-season appeal to those interested in its natural setting.

The park is also home to a variety of animals, birds, and reptiles. To date, around 432 varieties of plants have also been discovered, which is quite rare for such a small area.

The main beach on Kalamalca Lake is Kal Beach, which can get quite busy during the hot summer months. This is where we started kayaking on the lake but it’s also home to a prominent pier for boating and is popular for swimming, picnicking, and fishing.

Boating enthusiasts can bring their own boats or rent canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards nearby. If you’re hoping to park, it’s advised to arrive early. There’s free parking on the other side of the train tracks via Husband Road or paid parking to the east of the beach, across the street from Alexander’s Pub and Liquor Store.

One of the best things to do in Vernon is kayaking or other types of watersports on one of the many lakes nearby.

Go Kayaking or Paddle-Boarding

On a calm day, kayaking or paddleboarding around Kalamalca Lake is pure bliss. However, there are other lakes as well, such as Okanagan Lake and Swan Lake. Whichever lake you choose, you’ll need something to paddle.

During our visit, we rented kayaks from Ed’s Mobile Kayak Rental , which is really convenient as he can meet you where you want to paddle, eliminating any need for you to transport them. If you’re looking for paddleboards, Kalavida Surf Shop is a great option as they’re within walking distance of Kal Beach.

Go Water Biking

Why ride a bike on land when you can peddle one across the lake? Kelowna Water Bikes is one of the newest attractions in Vernon, providing super fun Water Bikes that anyone can enjoy. Peddle at your own pace across Kalamalka Lake, enjoying the spectacular views all around you. These bikes are super easy to use as they don’t require balance, are almost impossible to capsize as they have a catamaran-style configuration, and are fast and efficient. Go alone or race your friends. Any excuse to get out on the lake is a good one!

Biking or walking around the Okanagan Rail Trail is one of the best things to do in Vernon, British Columbia.

Okanagan Rail Trail

Once home to the Kelowna Pacific Railway, which was used to transport produce from the Okanagan Valley to the rest of Canada, Okanagan Rail Trail is now an easy, flat, and super scenic trail that travels along the edge of Kalamalca Lake. Once the entire trail is complete, it will connect Coldstream with Kelowna, providing you with a gorgeous 52-kilometre multi-use pathway.

The pathway is very wide and mostly flat, consisting of gravel as its base. It’s great for walking, biking, or jogging, and can be used by almost anyone. You can start the trail near Kal Beach and along the way, you’ll pass by some educational signs, Kekuli Bay Provincial Park, a private campground, and Campbell – Brown Ecological Reserve.

If you’d like to bike the trail and don’t have your own, you can rent one from Kalavida Surf Shop , which is right next to the beginning of the trail, as well as the Rail Trail Cafe for those looking for a bite to eat. We rented e-bikes during our visit, which makes it extra easy to traverse the entire trail.

The Historic O'Keefe Ranch is a great place to learn about the history of Vernon while being transported back more than 100 years.

Historic O’Keefe Ranch

If you’re interested in the history of Vernon and the Okanagan Valley, a great place to visit is O’Keefe Ranch , a living history museum that showcases more than a dozen historic buildings, many of which feature staff in period costumes. There’s an original log cabin, the owner’s residence mansion, a schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, a church, and a cowboy bunkhouse.

Originally established in 1867 during the Cariboo Gold Rush (and the same year Canada became a country), O’Keefe Ranch was one of the earliest cattle empires in the Okanagan and was also the site of the Okanagan Post Office in 1872.

The O’Keefes lived and worked on the ranch for almost a hundred years, before transforming it into a heritage site in the 1960s, which is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. It’s also donation-based and non-profit, which means your money is going to a great place. The ranch opens in May and closes in September.

Davison Orchards makes some of the best apple juice we've ever tried and is one of the top things to do in Vernon.

Davison Orchards

Located close to downtown Vernon but high enough to offer stunning views of the valley, Davison Orchards is a great place to visit for the whole family. Whether you’re looking for a light lunch, a place for the kids to play, or a place to buy some local products like jams and apple juice, Davison Orchards is a great place to visit.

During our visit, we had lunch at the Farmhouse Cafe, walked around the farm, fed the goats, and ended up buying a few jugs of apple juice, the best apple juice we’ve ever had. We also bought some homemade jams to bring home.

On a warm sunny day, this place is just a pleasant way to widdle away the day. You can jump on the Johnny Popper Train and take a tour of the farm to learn everything there is to know about growing and picking apples, grab a handful of food pellets to feed the goats, enjoy the little playground, or shopping for a variety of tasty food or homemade goods.

Just around the corner from Davison Orchards, Planet Bee is a wonderful place to try and buy different kinds of honey and mead.

Whether you’re looking for a variety of honey products or want to see bees producing honey, Planet Bee is a great place to visit. Family-operated since its founding in 1975, it’s a “sweet” place to visit.

Located right next to Davison Orchards, we’re happy we popped in for a visit. First, they have an awesome interactive learning area where you can actually see the bees producing honey. You can see the worker bees moving around the honeycombs, and if you have good eyes, you might be able to spot the queen bee. There’s a whole interactive exhibit to learn all about the bees and how they produce this amazing sugar.

After learning about bees and honey, it’s time to taste it and buy some. Planet Bee offers all sorts of honey products including the honey itself, candles, soap, mead, and more. They also offer a tasting area where you can sample all the different kinds of honey they offer. What makes Planet Bee such a wonderful place for honey is that they make all sorts of different flavours, such as Blackberry, Dandelion, Maple, Cinnamon, Lemon Ginger, and more. We sampled almost all of them before buying three jars of the flavours we liked best.

Views of Vernon from Turtle Mountain

The Grey Canal Trail

If you’re looking for some hiking options that are basically within the town of Vernon, look no further than the Grey Canal Trail. In the early 1900s, the Grey Canal was BC’s longest irrigation channel extending 50 km from Lavington to Okanagan Lake. Today, you can find remnants of the canal and its elaborate system of ditches while hiking the trail and admiring the many stunning views.

There are a variety of hiking trails within the Grey Canal Trail, such as Turtle Mountain, Bella Vista/Okanagan Hills, Swan Lake East, Silver Star Foothills, East Vernon, Boss Creek Trails, and Coldstream Valley Estates.

We didn’t have time to do a multi-hour hike, but wanting to see a good view, we made our way to Turtle Mountain, which is literally a 5-minute drive or less from downtown Vernon. From the parking area, it’s a 5-10 minute climb to the viewpoint, which in all honesty, is one of the best views we’ve ever seen of Vernon and Okanagan Lake. It’s truly stunning and we highly recommend it.

To learn more, grab one of the hiking maps from the City of Vernon or download it here .

Middleton Mountain Circle Trail

Another great nearby hiking area is the Middleton Mountain Circle Trail, which offers magnificent views of lakes and rolling grassland. There are four different hiking loops in the summit area, all being mostly flat once you have ascended to the plateau itself. However, because of the ascent, this trail is rated as difficult. It starts at the Kal Beach parking lot and continues to the summit, passing through Middleton Mountain Park, Farnsworth Nature Reserve, McKergow Meadow Natural Area, and eventually leads back to the parking lot. The hike offers stunning views of the lake, as well as Vernon and the farmlands all around it.

However, like many of the hikes near the town itself, there’s not a lot of shade on the trail. If you’re hiking during the hot summer months, you’ll want to wear a hat and use sunscreen.

One of the best golfing courses in British Columbia can be found in Vernon.

While driving around Vernon, one thing we noticed is the number of golf courses in the area. It’s obviously a popular thing to do here. In fact, we stayed at Predator Ridge Resort , which is one of the premier golf courses in the Okanagan. Although we didn’t drive any balls, our vacation overlooked part of the golf course, and it’s really one of the most scenic golf courses we’ve ever seen.

There are actually two golf courses at Predator Ridge Resort, totalling 36 holes. For those who just can’t get enough, they offer unlimited golfing, where you can play on either course and get unlimited access all day long for roughly $160. They also have an award-winning practice facility with high-quality instructors, making it a great option for those looking to learn.

Other nearby golf courses include the Vernon Golf & Country Club, The Rise, Hillview, Spallumcheen, Royal York, and Coldstream.

Learn the History of Vernon through Murals

Do you love murals as much as we do? Murals are such a great way to see art and to really brighten up a city. In Vernon, however, it’s also a great way to learn about the city!

Painted by local artists and displayed throughout the downtown core, there are 28 murals that capture historical highlights, scenic attractions, cultural achievements, and important events. You can learn how Vernon got its name, the history of Okanagan Lake’s “Ogopogo monster”, the Vernon fire brigade, the women of the Great Depression, and much more.

To see the murals, you can easily do your own self-guided tour by downloading the map or if visiting in the summer, you can also arrange a guided tour by calling the Downtown Vernon Association.

The Okanagan Rail Trail.

Allan Brooks Nature Centre and Grasslands Trail

If you’re interested in learning about the natural world of the North Okanagan, you won’t want to miss the Allan Brooks Nature Centre . Allan Brooks was an outstanding naturalist, illustrator, and educator, and it is here where you can learn about the place we are on the verge of losing: grasslands and the wildlife that calls it home.

While inside, you can get interactive, such as touching feathers, handling bones, and admiring a live hive of working bees, which is accessed by bees from outside through a tiny tunnel. Then there’s the outdoor area and gardens, such as the impressive Grasslands Trail, which offers a wheelchair-accessible walk with interpretation signs and bluebird houses attached to fence posts. You may spot a sunbathing rodent or one of the many warblers whizzing above the pond.

The Okanagan Rail Trail is a great place to spot wildlife.

Splashdown Vernon

When the summer heat arrives, you can either jump in the lake to cool down or ride the waterslides at Splashdown Vernon. Located in North Vernon, this popular waterpark features 10 waterslides, including River Riot, which recreates the experience of being on cascading rapids.

As you’ve probably guessed, this is a family waterpark and a really good place to bring the kids. Supervised young children can start on the basic Kiddie Slides before potentially graduating to two intermediate slides. Once the confidence is in full swing, there’s Zoom Flumes, Ramp Slide, and Double Trouble. These slides are steeper and faster and just more fun.

If you’re looking for some heat, there’s also a hot tub that allows you to keep an eye on the landing pools at the base of the slides. If you’d rather not get wet, there are cabanas as well. If you do plan to visit during the busy months, we’d recommend buying your pass in advance as it can get quite busy.

Vernon has many beautiful landscapes.

Swan Lake Nature Reserve

If you do one of the scenic hikes for a birds-eye view of Vernon, you’ll notice three lakes. One is the massive Okanagan Lake, another is the very big Kalamalca Lake, and the other is Swan Lake , which is the smallest lake of the three. This is another great lake for a paddle but is also a great place to spot birds and wildlife, thanks in part to it being a nature reserve.

You don’t have to be on the lake, however, as there’s also a short, easy, and gravelled 1.9-kilometre loop trail that gets you close to the lake and the wetlands to spot some beautiful birds. Depending on when you visit, you’ll likely see birds migrating, breeding, or nesting. Spring and fall are the best times to observe migrations of trumpeter swans and white pelicans whereas year-round, the nature preserve is a hunting ground for birds of prey and a good spot to see great blue herons feeding on fish, frogs, snakes, and insects.

For the best view, you’ll want to bring some binoculars. However, there’s a new deluxe wooden observation tower as well, which has a mounted scope to help you spot the birds.

Okanagan Science Centre

Located in one of the most beautiful historic buildings in Vernon, not to mention the oldest brick schoolhouse still standing in British Columbia, the Okanagan Science Centre continues its legacy of education to this day.

Kids and adults alike can enjoy a hands-on experience at many of the exhibits, such as exploring a simulated galaxy of life on Mars, living with dinosaurs, robotics, and more. You can even meet some cute little critters, such as a bearded dragon, a leopard gecko, hermit crabs, marine salamanders, and a tarantula named Rosie.

One of the star attractions is the Gyro Chair, which gives you the opportunity to experience space training while being strapped into the chair while being spun 360 degrees. Another popular feature is the planetarium show. Either way, the Okanagan Science Centre is a fun, learning experience, but we recommend you check in advance in terms of timing and what you’d like to experience.

A short scenic nature hike can be found at BX Falls.

If you’re looking for a simple hike next to a creek and through a beautiful forest while admiring a thundering waterfall, look no further than BX Falls . The waterfall, which is very powerful in the spring, is only 350 metres from the car park, but you can also continue on the trail for more than three kilometres, enjoying the creek and the cool forest of Douglas fir, spruce, larch, and oak ferns.

The trail is easy and straightforward, although there’s a steep 100-step staircase down to the waterfall and to the hiking trail, so keep that in mind if that presents any issues. The water you’ll see travels from Silver Star Mountain, down through Vernon and ends up in Swan Lake. Watch for remnants of a massive irrigation system associated with BX Ranch and Barnard’s Express, which was once the largest freight company in British Columbia.

Please keep in mind that like any wilderness area, there’s always a potential of running into wildlife, such as bears. It’s always a good idea to carry bear spray in the case of an encounter. During our walk, we saw people with their dogs but have been told that they are prohibited here to protect wildlife such as bears.

Camelot Haven Alpacas

You don’t have to travel all the way to Peru to see Alpacas. In Vernon, you just need to visit Camelot Haven Alpacas , an alpaca sanctuary that offers guided walks and alpaca-wool products such as socks, sweaters, and cat toys. If you’re feeling really cheeky, you can even buy your own alpaca!

The most popular thing to do here is to book a one-hour guided walk, which will teach you all about Alpacas, which come all the way from the Andes in South America. Open by appointment only, Camelot Haven Alpacas needs one day of notice to arrange group and private tours.

Polson Park is a beautiful park to visit in Vernon, BC.

Polson Park

If you happen to be in Vernon on a Friday night, you may want to consider visiting the Polson Park Night Market, which takes place from 4 pm to 8 pm. This is a great chance to meet local vendors, buy some goods, enjoy some live music, and even fill your belly with a variety of food trucks.

However, even if you’re not interested in the night market, Polson Park is a beautiful park to explore. Located in downtown Vernon, you’ll find a variety of plants, trees, and flowers. In fact, there’s a lovely Japanese gazebo and a Chinese Pagoda as well.

It’s not just trees and flowers either. There’s also a skateboard park, tennis courts, a place to play football and soccer, a lawn bowling area, ponds, and a waterpark for the kids.

Vernon Farmers’ Market

With the fertile Okanagan Valley and the variety of farms in the area, why buy food from a grocery store when you can buy it fresh from the Vernon Farmers’ Market ? Every Monday and Thursday during the summer, from 8 am to 1 pm, you can meet up with farmers selling their produce, artisans selling their crafts, and cooks working their concessions at the Vernon Farmers’ Market. It’s the longest-running Farmers’ Market in the area and has everything from fruits, veggies, and baked goods, to hand-crafted goods and flowers.

Ellison Provincial Park

Located along the shores of Okanagan Lake, Ellison Provincial Park is a local gem. It’s only a 20-minute drive from Vernon and features a beautiful swimming area that sits in a sheltered cover, mountain views, picnic tables, and fire pits. It’s typically much less crowded compared to other beaches around Vernon and yet it’s such a great place for relaxing on the beach, paddle-boarding, and so much more. There’s even a campground for those wanting to spend the night. Mornings are best for avoiding other humans.

SilverStar Mountain

If you happen to be visiting Vernon in the winter, SilverStar Mountain is the star attraction thanks to its awesome skiing and snowboarding runs. However, it’s also a great place to explore in the summer. Whether you just want the views or would like to do some amazing hikes, SilverStar offers a popular wheelchair-accessible gondola that can take you to the top of the mountain, giving you easy access to a variety of hiking trails or viewing areas.

Also cool to note is that dogs that are calm and on a leash can accompany their owners on the gondola ride and proceeds from pet season passes are donated to the BC-SPCA. Children under 12 ride for free.

Davison Orchards is a great place to bring the family.

Winery Tours

For those who don’t know, the Okanagan region is one of the most famous wine regions in Canada and there are more than 100 wineries to explore. However, there aren’t any wineries around Vernon as they’re mostly located down in Kelowna and further south. However, it’s not a far drive for those who want to experience it and there are even tours from Vernon if you’d rather enjoy the wine and not worry about driving back.

Most of the wine tours are going to take you south of Vernon to visit Lake Country, West Kelowna, or East Kelowna. There are more than a half dozen tour companies offering this experience, so for more information, visit Tourism Vernon.

Read More: Check out our guide to the BEST restaurants in Kelowna !

Okanagan Spirit Distillery Tour

If wine isn’t your thing but spirits are, you’re in luck because Vernon is home to the Okanagan Spirit Distillery , which offers tours and tastings. In fact, if you’re into whisky, you’ll definitely want to join in on their Craft Whisky Experience, which includes whisky tastings, finger foods, and a whisky-infused education. This tour costs around $40 CAD and it’s recommended to book in advance. If whisky isn’t your thing, they also offer a basic tasting tour for $15. You’ll learn how the spirits are made before sampling four of them.

Marten Brewing is the only brewery in Vernon and one of the top restaurants in Vernon as well.

Marten Brewery Co.

If anything surprised us about Vernon, it’s the fact that there’s only one brewery! British Columbia is home to a lot of craft breweries, but in Vernon, it’s only Marten Brewery that provides such a service. Thankfully, that’s okay, because they make some delicious beer, as well as some great-tasting food to go along with it.

As far as we know, they don’t do brewery tours but they certainly offer flights of bearing, allowing you to try 4-5 different beers that come on a really cool beer rack. During our visit, we tried their Swinging Tail Blueberry Vanilla Ale, The Bonnie Blonde Ale, Rattlesnake Sour, Grapefruit Radler, and their Hello Okanagan Peach Wheat Beer. We loved them all but our favourites were the Blueberry Vanilla Ale and the Sour. However, we also especially loved one of their cocktails, which was prepared using kombucha!

Throw in a delicious food menu (we recommend the Ahi Tuna to start), daily specials, and live music on Fridays, and you’ve got a great place to sip back on some craft beer.

Davison Orchards, Vernon, BC.

Drink Some Ciders

We’re starting to sound like alcoholics, but we’ve already covered wine, beer, and spirits, so now it’s time to cover cider! After all, the Okanagan Valley is known for producing excellent apples, so it should come as no surprise that they make one heckuva cider as well.

There are a few cideries around the area but the one we hear about the most is BX Press Ciders . Located just outside the city near SilverStar Mountain, BX Press Ciders is situated right on their orchard farm with tastings offered by donation, which are then donated to charity!

The apple ciders are made from the apples grown on-site, including the pressing, fermenting, and bottling! However, they make ciders from other fruits as well, including cherry, haskap, and rhubarb.

If that’s not enough, there is another popular cidery just 30-minutes north of Vernon called Farmstrong Cider Company . This fun, community-minded cidery produces all-natural and additive-free ciders from the neighbouring orchards and showcases live music every Thursday. They also host quite a few events such as the Harvest Festival and the Annual Pickle Festival.

Sparkling Hill Resort & Spa

If you’ve completed this entire list of things to do in Vernon, you might be in need of some spa time. Well, located next to Predator Ridge Golf Resort, Sparkling Hill Resort & Spa offers luxury accommodations and a luxury spa experience. In fact, it’s the largest luxury spa in Canada!

The resort literally sparkles, thanks in part to its 3.5 million Swarovski crystals integrated into the resort’s architecture and design. It’s outfitted with the best amenities, including an infinity pool, the KurSpa, a Serenity room, and more. If you choose to go for a spa day, KurSpa offers more than 100 services, including massage, facials, mud baths, and manicures.

In addition to the spa and accommodation, this place also offers some of the best views of Okanagan Lake.

This panoramic image shows Kalamalka Lake in Vernon, BC.

Looking For More Things To Do ?

While Vernon can keep you busy for many days, if not weeks and months, there are lots more things to do in British Columbia. For more on what to do in BC or nearby provinces, check out these travel guides below:

  • Things to Do in Vancouver
  • Things to Do in Victoria
  • Things to Do in Calgary
  • Things to Do in Banff
  • Things to Do in Lake Louise
  • Things to Do in Golden BC

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About Matthew G. Bailey

Matthew G. Bailey is the founder and editor-in-chief of Must Do Canada. Growing up in Alberta to a mother from Quebec and a father from Newfoundland, Matt spent his childhood playing hockey under the Northern Lights and hanging out in the forest before moving to Calgary and travelling to more than 250 cities spanning 42 countries and 6 continents. He loves travel, learning new things, playing sports, writing, making videos, photography, and scuba diving. You can also find him at LiveLimitless.net .

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THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Vernon

Things to do in vernon, explore popular experiences, tours in and around vernon.

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Farm-to-Flask Tasting Experience in Vernon

tourist attractions near vernon bc

  • Scenic Sip Wine Trail Holy Sip Wine Tour With Lunch Stop Shared Tour

tourist attractions near vernon bc

West Kelowna Tour from Vernon - Classic - 4 Wineries

tourist attractions near vernon bc

  • Get Your Okanagan On! Full Day Private Captained Boat Cruise

tourist attractions near vernon bc

East Kelowna Wine Tour from Vernon - Classic - 4 Wineries

tourist attractions near vernon bc

  • Lake Country Wine Tour from Vernon - Classic - 4 Wineries

tourist attractions near vernon bc

  • Private Boat Tour with Beach and Picnic Stop

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Scenic Sip Wine Trail Sip Disturber Half Day Wine Tour Shared Tour

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Sunset Sip Wine Tour

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Downtown Kelowna Walking Food Tour with 7 Tastings and Drinks

Food, wine & nightlife.

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Top Attractions in Vernon

tourist attractions near vernon bc

1. Davison Orchards Country Village

tourist attractions near vernon bc

2. Planet Bee Honey Farm & Meadery

tourist attractions near vernon bc

3. Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park

ryanvanveener

4. Ellison Provincial Park

Titansun1

5. Polson Park

tourist attractions near vernon bc

6. Historic O'Keefe Ranch

tourist attractions near vernon bc

7. Silver Star Provincial Park

bailiej757

8. Okanagan Rail Trail

214cliffordh

9. Kal Beach

LoganWackyTravels

10. Okanagan Science Centre

tourist attractions near vernon bc

11. Allan Brooks Nature Centre

tourist attractions near vernon bc

12. BX Falls

Travelmore001

Wine Tastings

Tours & sightseeing.

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Private & Custom Tours

Cultural & theme tours, what travellers are saying.

Wanda R

  • Davison Orchards Country Village
  • Planet Bee Honey Farm & Meadery
  • Historic O'Keefe Ranch
  • Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park
  • Okanagan Rail Trail
  • Ellison Provincial Park
  • Polson Park
  • West Kelowna Tour from Vernon - Classic - 6 Wineries
  • Canadian Wildlife Museum
  • Camelot Haven Alpacas

Vernon Attractions Information

Top Things to Do in Vernon, Canada - Vernon Attractions

Things to do in vernon, explore popular experiences, tours in and around vernon.

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Farm-to-Flask Tasting Experience in Vernon

tourist attractions near vernon bc

  • Scenic Sip Wine Trail Holy Sip Wine Tour With Lunch Stop Shared Tour

tourist attractions near vernon bc

West Kelowna Tour from Vernon - Classic - 4 Wineries

tourist attractions near vernon bc

  • Get Your Okanagan On! Full Day Private Captained Boat Cruise

tourist attractions near vernon bc

East Kelowna Wine Tour from Vernon - Classic - 4 Wineries

tourist attractions near vernon bc

  • Lake Country Wine Tour from Vernon - Classic - 4 Wineries

tourist attractions near vernon bc

  • Private Boat Tour with Beach and Picnic Stop

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Scenic Sip Wine Trail Sip Disturber Half Day Wine Tour Shared Tour

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Sunset Sip Wine Tour

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Downtown Kelowna Walking Food Tour with 7 Tastings and Drinks

Food, wine & nightlife.

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Top Attractions in Vernon

tourist attractions near vernon bc

1. Davison Orchards Country Village

tourist attractions near vernon bc

2. Planet Bee Honey Farm & Meadery

tourist attractions near vernon bc

3. Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park

ryanvanveener

4. Ellison Provincial Park

Titansun1

5. Polson Park

tourist attractions near vernon bc

6. Historic O'Keefe Ranch

tourist attractions near vernon bc

7. Silver Star Provincial Park

bailiej757

8. Okanagan Rail Trail

214cliffordh

9. Kal Beach

LoganWackyTravels

10. Okanagan Science Centre

tourist attractions near vernon bc

11. Allan Brooks Nature Centre

tourist attractions near vernon bc

12. BX Falls

Travelmore001

Wine Tastings

Tours & sightseeing.

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Private & Custom Tours

Cultural & theme tours, what travellers are saying.

Wanda R

  • Davison Orchards Country Village
  • Planet Bee Honey Farm & Meadery
  • Historic O'Keefe Ranch
  • Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park
  • Okanagan Rail Trail
  • Ellison Provincial Park
  • Polson Park
  • West Kelowna Tour from Vernon - Classic - 6 Wineries
  • Canadian Wildlife Museum
  • Camelot Haven Alpacas

Vernon Attractions Information

Top Things to Do in Vernon

Things to do in vernon, explore popular experiences, tours in and around vernon.

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Farm-to-Flask Tasting Experience in Vernon

tourist attractions near vernon bc

  • Scenic Sip Wine Trail Holy Sip Wine Tour With Lunch Stop Shared Tour

tourist attractions near vernon bc

West Kelowna Tour from Vernon - Classic - 4 Wineries

tourist attractions near vernon bc

  • Get Your Okanagan On! Full Day Private Captained Boat Cruise

tourist attractions near vernon bc

East Kelowna Wine Tour from Vernon - Classic - 4 Wineries

tourist attractions near vernon bc

  • Lake Country Wine Tour from Vernon - Classic - 4 Wineries

tourist attractions near vernon bc

  • Private Boat Tour with Beach and Picnic Stop

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Scenic Sip Wine Trail Sip Disturber Half Day Wine Tour Shared Tour

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Sunset Sip Wine Tour

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Downtown Kelowna Walking Food Tour with 7 Tastings and Drinks

Food, wine & nightlife.

tourist attractions near vernon bc

Top Attractions in Vernon

tourist attractions near vernon bc

1. Davison Orchards Country Village

tourist attractions near vernon bc

2. Planet Bee Honey Farm & Meadery

tourist attractions near vernon bc

3. Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park

ryanvanveener

4. Ellison Provincial Park

Titansun1

5. Polson Park

tourist attractions near vernon bc

6. Historic O'Keefe Ranch

tourist attractions near vernon bc

7. Silver Star Provincial Park

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8. Okanagan Rail Trail

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9. Kal Beach

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10. Okanagan Science Centre

tourist attractions near vernon bc

11. Allan Brooks Nature Centre

tourist attractions near vernon bc

12. BX Falls

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  • Davison Orchards Country Village
  • Planet Bee Honey Farm & Meadery
  • Historic O'Keefe Ranch
  • Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park
  • Okanagan Rail Trail
  • Ellison Provincial Park
  • Polson Park
  • West Kelowna Tour from Vernon - Classic - 6 Wineries
  • Canadian Wildlife Museum
  • Camelot Haven Alpacas

Vernon Attractions Information

About Vernon

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10 Reasons You'll Want to Embrace Winter in Vernon

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Snow, Sun & Fun: The Ultimate Winter Adventure

Winter in Vernon, where snow meets soul.  Make the most of this beautiful season in the North Okanagan.  Take in the snow kissed slopes, pamper yourself, tantalize your taste buds or enjoy some family fun. We can't wait to welcome you to our winter wonderland.

Horse drawn sleigh ride

1. Book a Sleigh Ride

Horse Drawn Okanagan ’s holiday sleigh rides are a favourite tradition for many locals. After a ride through a beautiful snow-covered farm, you can warm up beside a bon fire with a cookie and cup of hot cocoa. This annual sleigh ride event takes place over eight days – December 22 to 30 (excluding December 25).

Caravan Farm Theatre ’s magical winter sleigh ride show is an experience you won’t want to miss. This year’s production features a new take on an old classic: The Nutcracker – playing December 5 to January 7.

woman sitting in sauna

2. Spa & Stay at Sparkling Hill Resort

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season at Sparkling Hill Resort where you can disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself. Rest, relax and enjoy their rejuvenating spa and wellness services.

Book a Stay

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3. Snowshoeing at Predator Ridge Resort

The breathtaking trails at Predator Ridge Resort offer snowshoeing options for all fitness and skill levels.  Grab a free trail map and rent a pair of snowshoes at the Commons Racquet Clubhouse.  You can even bring your pooch as “ Petador Ridge ” welcomes dogs (on-leash) on their trails.

Predator Ridge Resort

people at skill hill

4. Visit SilverStar Mountain Resort

There are so many fun winter activities to do at SilverStar Mountain Resort (Vernon’s winter playground).  You will want to check all of these off your must-do-list:

  • Alpine Skiing & Snowboarding
  • Nordic Skiing
  • Skating on Brewer’s Pond
  • Tubing at Tube Town
  • Snowshoeing

SilverStar Mountain Resort

woman cross-country skiing

5. Explore Sovereign Lake Nordic Club

Sovereign Lake offers 50 kilometres of world-class groomed Nordic ski trails and 14 kilometres of majestic snowshoe trails of varying difficulty. There’s no need to bring your own equipment, they have rentals for the whole family.

Sovereign Lake Nordic Club

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6.  Laidback Après

Après means fun, and in Vernon we do après well. After conquering one of the many winter activities in the Trails Capital of BC, check out these spots to re-fuel and share your stories of the day’s adventures:

  • Marten Brewing Co.
  • The Roster Sports Club Bar & Grill

public gallery

7. Experience the Arts & Culture Scene

Vernon’s Arts and Culture scene is vibrant and growing.  Winter is the perfect time to enjoy a performance, take an art class, view an exhibit or expand your knowledge with a tour. 

  • Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre
  • Vernon Community Arts Centre
  • Vernon Public Art Gallery
  • Caetani Centre

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8. Indulge in Fine Dining

Discover small city charm, with big city fine dining.  Enjoy world-class culinary experiences, celebrate winter and treat yourself to an evening out at one of our top restaurants:

  • The Phoenix Steakhouse
  • Intermezzo Restaurant and Wine Cellar
  • The Med Restaurant
  • Cabana Bar & Kitchen

family tobogganing

9. Go Tobogganing at the Locals’ favourite spots

No Canadian winter vacation would be complete without tobogganing with your family.  Toboggan like a local at one of our favourite hills:

  • Clarence Fulton Secondary School
  • Heritage Park
  • Mission Hill Dog Park
  • Mission Hill Elementary School
  • Okanagan Landing Elementary School
  • Silver Star Elementary School
  • St. James School
  • Vernon Christian School
  • Vernon Secondary School

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10. Join in the fun at Vernon Winter Carnival

Join us in February for the largest annual winter carnival in Western Canada. The theme for the 2024 Vernon Winter Carnival is Carnival of Games.  There are typically over 100 fun events happening during this 10-day festival from February 2 to 11.

Vernon Winter Carnival

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20 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in British Columbia

Written by Lana Law and Michael Law Updated May 26, 2022 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

British Columbia's mountains, lakes, islands, rainforests, beautiful stretches of coastline, picturesque cities, attractive towns, and world-class skiing make it one of the most popular destinations in Canada .

Most visitors to BC begin in Vancouver , which makes a great starting point for touring the province. A short flight or ferry trip from here will take you to Vancouver Island and the provincial capital, Victoria . Less than a two-hour drive from Vancouver is the resort town and ski destination of Whistler . In the interior of BC, the Okanagan Valley is another year-round hot spot, with the beaches on the shores of Okanagan Lake, golf courses, and numerous ski resorts.

For a more complete overview and to help plan your itinerary , see our list of the top tourist attractions in British Columbia.

1. Whistler

2. vancouver island, 3. okanagan valley & kelowna, 4. tofino and pacific rim national park reserve, 5. vancouver and stanley park, 6. victoria & the inner harbour, 7. yoho national park, 8. old-growth forests, 9. butchart gardens, 10. haida gwaii, 11. glacier national park, 12. salt spring island, 13. kootenay national park, 15. emerald lake, 16. mt. robson provincial park, 17. barkerville historic town, 18. hell's gate airtram in the fraser canyon, 19. squamish, 20. revelstoke, map of tourist attractions in british columbia.

Whistler

At the foot of the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains , Whistler is the center of the biggest winter sports area in Canada. In 2010, this world-class ski resort attracted much international attention when it hosted the downhill ski events for the Winter Olympic Games.

While it is closely associated with skiing and snowboarding in Canada , Whistler is a year-round destination with hiking trails , mountain biking trails, golfing, and beautiful scenery to explore in the summer. Visitors don't even need to ski or be active to enjoy this lovely town. One of the main attractions is the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which joins Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. The distance covered is a record breaking 4.4 kilometers. The ride takes only 11 minutes and offers spectacular views of the area.

Whistler Village is a modern, upscale town with luxury hotels, high-end shopping, and fine dining. Although, you can still find casual restaurants and regular retail and grocery stores.

The town's close proximity to Vancouver, only a two-hour drive from the city, means it is also easily accessible. The drive to Whistler from Vancouver along the Sea-to-Sky Highway is beautiful. Popular stops on this route include the community of Squamish and Shannon Falls.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Whistler

Vancouver Island

On Canada's far western coast, Vancouver Island is home to some spectacular coastal scenery, mountains, lakes, and other natural attractions, as well as lovely small towns and the provincial capital of Victoria . Coastal beaches provide year-round surfing, particularly near the popular tourist town of Tofino and nearby Pacific Rim National Park .

Vancouver Island is the largest island on the Pacific coast of North America. Much of it is very remote with limited access. If you take the time to explore the island, you'll find some incredible hiking trails , including the epic multi-day West Coast Trail , one of the best hikes in Canada . Campers can find a variety of excellent campgrounds spread around the island.

Vancouver Island is located west of the city of Vancouver and reached either by a short flight or a ferry ride. Ferries or flights will take you to the Victoria area or into Nanaimo , another popular town on the Island.

Accommodation: Top-Rated Resorts on Vancouver Island

Okanagan Valley

Found in the interior of the BC, the Okanagan Valley, most often referred to simply as the Okanagan, is a lush, sunny valley with lakes, beaches, rolling mountains, and orchards. At the heart of the region is the 120-kilometer-long Okanagan Lake and the city of Kelowna on the eastern shore of the lake. Other popular towns in the area include Summerland , Peachland , Penticton , and Vernon .

The Okanagan has hot dry summers and mild winters making it a popular retirement destination and a prominent summertime retreat for people from across British Columbia and neighboring Alberta. Some of the most common summertime activities are houseboating, golfing, and spending time at the beach.

In winter, many people come here to enjoy some of the best ski resorts in British Columbia , including Big White Ski Resort and SilverStar Mountain Resort.

Surfer in Tofino

This tiny tourist town on the edge of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is the perfect place for nature lovers looking for a coastal retreat. Endless stretches of beach attract surfers year-round, but most people come here simply to stare out at the waves, storm watch in the off season, or walk for miles on the hard-packed sand.

Off the beach, visitors can hike through old-growth forests or camp along the oceanfront in some of the most stunning coastal scenery in British Columbia.

Couples often come here for a romantic getaway and to relax at one of the luxury seaside resorts and charming lodges . A variety of tours are also offered in the area, from kayaking on Clayoquot Sound to whale watching.

Tofino has an extremely remote feel to it, but it's relatively easy to access from places like Victoria or Nanaimo. Nearby, Ucluelet is another small town that makes a nice day trip from Tofino.

  • Read More: Top Things to Do in Tofino

Stanley Park

Stanley Park is one of the great features of Vancouver that sets it apart from other major cities across Canada. This huge green space on the edge of the downtown core offers a beautiful nature retreat for visitors and locals.

The park is home to ancient cedars and huge Douglas fir trees. The seawall is one of the main attractions, offering miles of scenic paved path for walking, jogging, or biking. Trails also run through the forest. Within the park is the Vancouver Aquarium , as well as various other attractions, including totem poles, gardens, and beaches.

  • Things to See and Do in Stanley Park
  • Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Vancouver

Victoria's Inner Harbour

Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and one of Canada's most scenic cities. Removed from the mainland, this city has the feel of a small town, but is home to a wealth of attractions and things to do . The city is considered by many locals and tourists alike to be one of the best places to visit in BC.

You'll find a mix of people living here, from retirees fleeing the cold in one of Canada's warmest cities to young tech workers and a large segment of the population working for the provincial government. Somehow it all works, and the people of Victoria tend to be relaxed and friendly, always happy to point you in the right direction should you get lost.

At the heart of the city for both locals and tourists is the Inner Harbour , dominated by the grand Empress Hotel , built in 1908 for the Canadian Pacific Railway. This area is always alive with visitors and locals enjoying the waterfront, particularly in the summer when restaurants open their patios for outdoor dining and street performers take to the sidewalks.

If you are looking for things to do, take in the incredible mountain and ocean views from hiking trails in and around Victoria . For something a little less strenuous, consider High Tea at the Empress Hotel or wander by the Parliament Buildings.

Read More: Best Campgrounds near Victoria

Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park is home to some of British Columbia's most rugged and scenic mountain terrain. Snowcapped peaks, waterfalls, rivers, and crystal-clear lakes, including spectacular Lake O'Hara , draw large numbers of visitors to this park during the summer months.

Incredible hiking trails allow easy access to the backcountry, but even a drive through the park offers enough exposure to appreciate the landscape. If you are touring Yoho National Park by car, one of the highlights is Takakkaw Falls, one of the highest falls in North America .

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Yoho National Park

  • Read More: Exploring the Top Attractions of Yoho National Park

Author Lana Law at Eden Grove

BC has some of the world's most intact old-growth forests, these giant trees have stood as sentinels over the millennia. A visit to one of the stands of trees is a humbling experience that makes you feel small and insignificant.

The old-growth stands are located around the province, but the most accessible locations are on Vancouver Island. The most popular and easiest place to see the trees is at Cathedral Grove on Highway 4 between Qualicum, near Parksville , and Port Alberni. Here, you'll find walkways throughout the giant trees along with informational exhibits.

Another great spot to see the old growth trees is in the Pacific Rim National Park near Tofino. Excellent trails with raised boardwalks wind their way through the trees, up and down small valleys and over burbling brooks.

If you truly want to see the trees in their natural environment and have a sense of adventure, head to the logging roads north of Sooke in the small town of Port Renfrew. Up here are groves of majestic trees, some of which are threatened by logging. The main groves are Avatar Grove and Eden Grove . You'll find short walks through the forest along some stretches of boardwalk in both areas.

You'll need a high clearance vehicle to see the ones at Eden Grove, as the road gets very rough at one point. Most people drive to this point and walk along the road to the grove. Of all the groves in BC, this is the one most in danger of being cut down. See it before it's gone.

Butchart Gardens

Set in an old quarry, Butchart Gardens offers a fabulous display of plants, trees, and flowers. Located just outside Victoria, the mild climate is perfect for changing seasonal displays. Spring through fall is outstanding, when the spring blooms come out and the fabulous display of summer color peaks.

Fall brings the changing leaves of autumn and a burst of color from a wide variety of trees and blooming plants. Extensive walkways wind their way around themed gardens and water features over the 20-hectare property.

Official site: https://www.butchartgardens.com/

Haida Gwaii

Haida Gwaii is one of Canada's undiscovered treasures. These remote islands provide a wealth of culture and natural beauty, but are often overlooked by tourists. Formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida Gwaii is an isolated group of more than 150 islands in the Pacific Ocean at the western edge of the continental shelf. The two main islands, Graham and Moresby , are located about 50 kilometers and 150 kilometers respectively off the coast of British Columbia.

The native inhabitants, the Haida people , are thought to have lived on these islands for at least 8,000 years. They were known as proud warriors and daring navigators. With their awesome 20 meter-long war canoes, they traversed the length of the Inside Passage as far south as Puget Sound.

Today, they are more famous for the skill and artistry of their carving. Their totem poles and elaborate argillite carvings can be found in every ethnographic museum on the Canadian Pacific coast.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Haida Gwaii

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, along with Mount Revelstoke National Park a few miles further west, is a scenic area and a favorite with climbers and hikers. The parks lie in one of Canada's most inhospitable mountainous regions, the almost inaccessible northern Selkirk Range of the Columbia Mountains .

The landscape is one of jagged peaks, steep descents, and narrow valleys cut deep into the rock. There are approximately 400 glaciers in and around Glacier National Park. At lower levels, up to about 1,300 meters, the dense forests are home to some enormous old trees - western red cedars, hemlocks, and firs - as well as a ground cover of ferns. Mountain goat, woodland caribou, black bears, and grizzly bears are some of the wildlife that can be found in the park.

Most visitors simply drive through, but there are numerous hiking trails and camping facilities. Rogers Pass National Historic Site is also located within Glacier National Park.

Official site: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/glacier

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Glacier National Park

Salt Spring Island

In the Gulf Islands between Victoria and Nanaimo, Salt Spring Island has a small population and is known for its laid-back Bohemian lifestyle. Around this scenic island are artists' studios and farms selling cheese and homemade products. Funky shops sell clothes and trinkets you might expect to find in Southeast Asia.

The main town on the island is Ganges , where visitors will find ice cream shops, cafes and restaurants, and more traditional retail establishments and souvenirs. There is a provincial park on the oceanfront with walking trails, camping facilities, and day use areas. The island also offers inns and other accommodation options.

Ferries run from Tsawwassen on the mainland (Vancouver), Swartz Bay (Victoria), or Crofton (Nanaimo).

Accommodation: Where to Stay on Salt Spring Island

  • Read More: Top Attractions & Things to Do on Salt Spring Island

Kootenay National Park

Kootenay National Park, in southeastern British Columbia, adjoins Banff National Park and Yoho National Park , and takes in the magnificent western flank of the Canadian Rockies. The main mountain range in Kootenay National Park reaches heights of over 3,000 meters, and the landscape features rugged rocky ridges and sawtooth peaks, snow and ice-covered mountains, cirques, glaciers, hanging valleys, and narrow gorges cut deep into marbled limestone.

Numerous day hikes in the park pass some of these unique sites and natural features. Key highlights in Kootenay are the narrow gorge of Marble Canyon , hiking around Sinclair Pass , and Stanley Glacier .

Official site: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/kootenay

Nelson

Nelson lies in a beautiful spot on the western arm of Kootenay Lake , surrounded by the snow and ice-covered peaks of the Selkirk Mountains . This former mining town grew up at the end of the 19th century and quickly developed into a tourist center and one of the best cities in British Columbia . The town still has many carefully preserved Victorian buildings, which give it a charm all of its own. Nelson is also known for attracting artists and young adults interested in alternative lifestyles.

Nearby is the wild country of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park , containing numerous picturesque mountain lakes. Most of this pristine mountain region lies at a height of more than 2,100 meters above sea-level. Kokanee Peak , at 2,774 meters, towers majestically above the rest of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Also nearby is Kokanee Creek Provincial Park with sandy beaches and campsites.

Canoeing on Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake is one of the most spectacular lakes in the Canadian Rockies. Its green hues and glass-calm waters never fail to win the hearts of the casual visitor and amateur photographers. This lake is near the Alberta border but is considerably less busy than Moraine Lake or Lake Louise, and if you only have time for a quick look and don't want to take shuttles, this is the place to visit.

An easy, level gravel trail runs along one side of the lake for 5.2 kilometers and offers walkers incredible views of the surrounding mountain peaks and glaciers. Another popular pastime here is canoeing on the clear waters of the lake. Rentals are available at the concession stand near the lakeshore.

If you work up an appetite or thirst, stop in at the historic Emerald Lake Lodge . Dine inside the building and admire the architecture dating from 1882, or grab a patio seat and soak up the surroundings. If you want to spend the night here, be sure to book well in advance.

Mt. Robson Provincial Park

Near the BC-Alberta border, north of Jasper , Mt. Robson Provincial Park is home to Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies , at 3,954 meters. The magnificent mountain landscape is dominate glacier-capped peaks and huge waterfalls.

One of the most popular hikes here is the 25-kilometer trail through the " Valley of the Thousand Falls " to the lovely turquoise lake at the foot of Mt. Robson. On rainy days, the name "thousand falls" becomes obvious as the streams of water pour off the cliff walls.

The area was designated a provincial park in 1913. Even in those days, mountaineers and tourists were drawn to the area, undeterred by the distances involved. Today, the remoteness of this park means that it does not see the great numbers of tourists seen by parks to the south.

Official site: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/mt_robson/

Barkerville Historic Town

Barkerville Historic Town has an interesting history. In 1858, when news spread that gold had been found in the fluvial sand of the Fraser River, there were soon thousands of men panning for gold all along the river and its tributaries. In the summer of 1862, Billy Barker made his sensational find here at Williams Creek and a typical gold-digging town of simple wooden huts, tents, saloons, and shops sprang up almost overnight. Until it burned down in 1868, Barkerville was the "largest town west of Chicago and north of San Francisco".

Although the town was immediately rebuilt, the end of the gold boom was already apparent. The introduction of machinery meant there was a need for fewer men. Following the end of the gold-rush, Barkerville continued, but was inhabited by settlers and lumberjacks.

Today, visitors will find a restored gold-mining town with about 75 historic buildings making this a fun destination and one of the best places to visit in BC. In summer, costumed interpreters dressed in period costume act out "living history," making it possible to visit a printing-works or smithy, a typical general store, a barber shop, or the "Barkerville Hotel" and feel completely transported back to the times of the gold-rush.

In winter , visitors can participate in snow and cold weather activities, like skating and tubing, or simply enjoy a hot chocolate and some time outdoors.

Official site: http://www.barkerville.ca/

Hell's Gate Airtram in the Fraser Canyon

A three-hour drive east of Vancouver is one of Canada's most impressive gorges. Here, the raging torrents of the Fraser River force their way through a narrow pass, known as Hell's Gate, between rocky walls towering almost vertically above the river.

The Hell's Gate Airtram is the best way to view this part of the Fraser Canyon. In days gone by, the Indians found a perilous way across by using ladders. Today, a funicular railway , with impressive views of the wild gorge below, leads down to the lower bank 150 meters below. At the base, are souvenir shops, a restaurant, and a small information center. A climb of a few minutes takes visitors down a reasonable path to the white, foaming river below. The opposite bank can be reached by means of a swaying suspension bridge .

Official site: http://www.hellsgateairtram.com/visit/

Boats at the docks in Squamish

Once a sleepy town with an industrial economy, Squamish today is a fast growing, bustling community. Filled with an eclectic mix of those fleeing Vancouver, longtime locals, and a transient population made up of skiers and climbers, Squamish has a vibe all its own.

The city is located at the far end of Howe Sound and is spread out along Highway 99. Downtown is a collection of interesting and functional stores and, of course, a good number of coffee shops. Although the town is nice, the main draw here is the scenery, with the 700-meter-high Stawamus Chief rock face and Shannon Falls both located nearby.

Stawamus Chief and Garibaldi Mountain in Squamish, British Columbia

One of the popular things to do when visiting Squamish is to ride the Sea to Sky Gondola. This incredible sightseeing experience allows you to access areas that would normally take long hours, if not days, of hiking to reach. At the top, a suspension bridge extends to a fantastic lookout.

In the summer you used to see kiteboarders and their colorful kites racing across the water. Unfortunately with the closure of the road to the launching site due to environmental concerns, this spectacle is now much, if not completely, diminished.

Read More: Top-Rated Hikes in Squamish, BC

Powder skiing in Revelstoke

The small town of Revelstoke, more commonly referred to as "Revy," is one of the best places to visit in the interior of BC. Roughly halfway between Banff and Kamloops, Revelstoke is known as one of the premier destinations in Canada, if not the world, for heli-skiing. Towering peaks stuffed with powder snow surround the town, and people come from far and wide to make fresh tracks in the untouched wilderness.

If heli-skiing isn't in your budget, the local ski hill, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, is a good option. The resort gets its fair share of the legendary snow falling on the nearby peaks. The town itself is a decent place to stay, with a cute main street and an excellent railway museum.

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  1. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Vernon (Updated 2024)

    THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Vernon Things to Do in Vernon Popular things to do Wine Tastings Top Picks Parks Tours & Sightseeing Day Trips & Excursions Private & Custom Tours Cultural & Theme Tours Bus Services Luxury & Special Occasions Tours in and around Vernon Book these experiences for a closer look at the region. See all

  2. 14 Top-Rated Things to Do in Vernon, BC

    1. Visit Kalamalka Lake Park Kalamalka Lake | Photo Copyright: Colin J. McMechan You would need more than one day to explore Kalamalka Lake Park, a large day-use park (3,218 hectares) that was created in part to protect dry forest and disappearing grasslands.

  3. 32 BEST Things to do in Vernon, BC

    1. Visit Davison Orchards The orchard and little village are so cute! Davison Orchards is an attraction unique to Vernon. This large farm is home to an orchard producing delicious fruit to make their very own products. There is also lots to explore on the farm including a cafe, shop, antique cars, petting zoo, special events, and more.

  4. 50+ Best Things to Do in Vernon: Ultimate Guide

    Last updated March 2023. We visited Vernon in 2020, 2021 and 2022 as guests of Tourism Vernon and have also travelled independently in the area. Downtown Vernon A quick introduction to Vernon Vernon is a city in the Okanagan Valley region of British Columbia, Canada. The population of Greater Vernon (including Coldstream) is around 60,000.

  5. 30+ Things to Do in Vernon, BC

    By: Taryn Eyton Last updated: January 12, 2023 Vernon is a small town nestled between two huge lakes in British Columbia's Okanagan region. I recently spent a few days there and discovered so many things to do in Vernon, BC including tons of hiking and lots of delicious food! In fact, I didn't have enough time to do everything!

  6. Vernon BC Trip Planner

    Vernon BC Trip Planner | Official Tourism Vernon Website Things to do 1 of 6 Welcome to the official Vernon BC trip planner. Visit us in the beautiful Okanagan for your best Vernon vacation yet!

  7. 28 Fun Things to Do in Vernon

    One of the many landscapes of beautiful Vernon, BC. Swan Lake Nature Reserve. If you do one of the scenic hikes for a birds-eye view of Vernon, you'll notice three lakes. One is the massive Okanagan Lake, another is the very big Kalamalca Lake, and the other is Swan Lake, which is the smallest lake of the three.

  8. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Vernon

    Top Things to Do in Vernon, Canada - Vernon Attractions Things to Do in Vernon Popular things to do Wine Tastings Top Picks Parks Tours & Sightseeing Private & Custom Tours Day Trips & Excursions Cultural & Theme Tours Luxury & Special Occasions Bus Services Ways to tour Vernon Book these experiences for a close-up look at Vernon. See all

  9. Vernon, British Columbia 2024: Best Places to Visit

    West Kelowna Tour from Vernon - Classic - 4 Wineries. 1. from C$693 per adult. East Kelowna Wine Tour from Vernon - Classic - 4 Wineries. 6. from C$300 per adult. Scenic Sip Wine Trail Sip Disturber Half Day Wine Tour Shared Tour. 5. from C$190 per adult.

  10. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Vernon

    Things to Do in Vernon, Canada - Vernon Attractions Things to Do in Vernon Popular things to do Wine Tastings Top Picks Parks Tours & Sightseeing Day Trips & Excursions Private & Custom Tours Cultural & Theme Tours Bus Services Luxury & Special Occasions Tours in and around Vernon Book these experiences for a closer look at the region. See all 2022

  11. Things To Do

    Things To Do | Tourism Vernon Things To Do In a place where sunlight spends its day dancing across endless mountain peaks, illuminating the depths of pristine waters, ripening grapes on their way to your glass, and warming the faces of smiling adventurers, there is no end to what can be done in a place like this. When will you visit? All Winter

  12. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Vernon (Updated 2023)

    Things to Do in Vernon Enter dates Attractions Filters Sort All things to do Category types Attractions Tours Day Trips Outdoor Activities Concerts & Shows Food & Drink Events Shopping Transportation Types of Attractions Fun & Games Nature & Parks Spas & Wellness Sights & Landmarks Boat Tours & Water Sports Museums Nightlife Classes & Workshops

  13. Vernon Visitor Guide

    Our most recent Vernon Visitor Guide is full of information and ideas to help you plan your next visit to beautiful Vernon, BC. 2023 Visitor Guide PDF (21MB)

  14. Top 15 Things To Do In Vernon, Canada

    Explore the majestic city of Vernon to experience the top attractions of the Okanagan region. Here's a list of the best things to do in Vernon, Canada. ... A post shared by Tourism Vernon (@tourism_vernon) ... 4900 Anderson Way, Vernon, British Columbia V1T 9V2, Canada. Website: Lake City Casino. Opening hours: Sun - Wed: 10am - 12pm; Thu - Sat

  15. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Vernon for Couples (Updated 2024)

    Okanagan Rail Trail. ... of the Kettle Valley Railway at Myra Canyon we thought that the ORT might be a nice bike ride from Vernon to Oyama. 7. Kekuli Bay Provincial Park. The lake is clean and really clear. Access to the lake is off the trail and there are small 'beach' areas you can walk...

  16. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Vernon

    Top Things to Do in Vernon, Canada - Vernon Attractions Things to Do in Vernon Popular things to do Wine Tastings Top Picks Parks Tours & Sightseeing Day Trips & Excursions Private & Custom Tours Cultural & Theme Tours Bus Services Luxury & Special Occasions Tours in and around Vernon Book these experiences for a closer look at the region. See all

  17. The Ultimate 3-day Vernon Family Vacation

    The Ultimate 3-day Vernon Family Vacation. From the young to the young-at-heart, Vernon has a little something for everyone. Check out our curated suggestions for building your family's ultimate Okanagan getaway. 3 days. Jan - Dec. Easy.

  18. 17 Top-Rated Attractions in Kelowna & the Okanagan

    1. Okanagan Lake 2. Big White Ski Resort 3. Silver Star Mountain Resort 4. Kettle Valley Rail Trail in Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park 5. City Park 6. Downtown Kelowna & the Farmers' and Crafters' Market 7. Waterfront Park 8. SS Sicamous Okanagan Heritage Museum 9. Kangaroo Creek Farm 10. Knox Mountain Park 11. Kasugai Gardens

  19. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Vernon with Kids (Updated 2024)

    Filters • 1 Sort All things to do Category types Attractions Tours Day Trips Outdoor Activities Concerts & Shows Food & Drink Events Shopping Transportation Types of Attractions Nature & Parks Sights & Landmarks Museums Water & Amusement Parks Boat Tours & Water Sports Fun & Games Traveller rating & up Good for Good for Kids Budget-friendly

  20. Top Things to Do in Vernon

    Things to Do in Vernon, Canada: See Tripadvisor's 25,198 reviews & photos of 100 Vernon attractions.

  21. 10 Reasons You'll Want to Embrace Winter in Vernon

    We can't wait to welcome you to our winter wonderland. Winter in Vernon, where snow meets soul. Make the most of this beautiful season in the North Okanagan. Take in the snow kissed slopes, pamper yourself, tantalize your taste buds or enjoy some family fun.

  22. 20 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in British Columbia

    2. Vancouver Island Vancouver Island . On Canada's far western coast, Vancouver Island is home to some spectacular coastal scenery, mountains, lakes, and other natural attractions, as well as lovely small towns and the provincial capital of Victoria.Coastal beaches provide year-round surfing, particularly near the popular tourist town of Tofino and nearby Pacific Rim National Park.

  23. TOURISM VERNON

    We are the Official Tourism Vernon Visitor Services Team. Whether you're a local or a visitor, here for a day, a weekend, or the best time of your life, you'll be amazed at what Vernon has to offer. Let us help plan your perfect Vernon BC experience! We are available to help by phone or email Tuesday to Saturday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Suggest ...