The Getaway
15 Things to Do in Penticton and the Naramata Bench

Penticton and the Naramata Bench are premier destinations in British Columbia for nature lovers, viniculture aficionados, and adventure seekers. Gallivant through world-class wine country (reservations may be necessary), sampling cheese and charcuterie boards, and take in the sight of lakes as sparkling as the local beverages. Picturesque trails delight hikers, bikers, and horseback riders, and in the winter, you can swap trail running shoes for snow shoes. Savor leisurely farm-to-table lunches on patios overlooking orderly vineyards and sigh at your good fortune.

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01 Explore the Naramata Bench Wineries

Drone aerial view Canadian landscape of an organic winery vineyard and Okanagan Lake located in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada.

The Naramata Bench has a large concentration of wineries—within 12 miles, you'll find around 40, which means it's easy to cycle from one beautiful estate to another or even go on a walking tour of this stunning region and its vineyards. The local microclimates mean sunshiney days and warmth on your skin, all while the Okanagan Lake, valleys, and mountains provide a soothing backdrop. Bench 1775 has such a beautiful patio that is perfect for a romantic outing, and they host a range of events. Da Silva Vineyards is a fab place to dine on farm-to-table fare, as is Hillside, Lake Breeze, and Upper Bench Winery.

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02 Cycle the Kettle Valley Railway Trail

Biking Trails over the Wooden Trestle Bridges of the abandoned Kettle Valley Railway in Myra Canyon near Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

The Kettle Valley Rail Trail is a long stretch between Castlegar and Hope—it covers 400 miles and offers gorgeous views of the surrounding landscapes. Ride it all over a week, or pick a section, park, and get those legs working. Either way, you'll have a ball, no matter your skill level, as you cross Myra Canyon's trestles, unwind next to Skaha Lake, and feast on the bounties of this fruit-producing region. You can hike this historical trail too and hop on the steam railway. Do a self-guided experience or join a tour. Passenger trains in these parts first departed in 1915 and operated for half a century. Remember to check trail conditions and brush up on general safety tips before heading out.

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03 Dine at the Naramata Inn

Search for Naramata Inn, and the first thing you'll notice about this 4-star hotel's website is pride in its "Really Good Bread." If you want a high-end dining experience with exceptional food and service, you won't be disappointed. Each dish is presented with finesse, and the flavors live up to the visual promise with every bite. A running thread throughout the menu is the focus on responsibly sourced, seasonal ingredients and showcasing the region's agricultural excellence. Reserve a table for dinner or a weekend brunch, order the Basque cheesecake, sit back, relax, and say yum. You can also take foodie classes here to learn how to make pasta and sourdough bread.

04 Kayak on Okanagan Lake

There's no shortage of venues that take advantage of their lakeside locations to provide visitors with scenic vistas. But getting on the lake can offer a different perspective. Sun n' Sup in Naramata is a great place to rent gear or book a lesson. HooDoo Adventures will hook you up if you're closer to Penticton. You can go on a four-hour fully-guided tour with them, which Readers' Digest has called the 'third best kayaking experience in the country,' and it won't cost you an arm and a leg. Guides share fascinating info about the area's flora, fauna, history, and culture.

05 Visit Munson Mountain for Panoramic Views

Looking for the ideal sunrise or sunset spot? Munson Mountain is a local favorite for its spectacular views of the city of Penticton. It's where the iconic Hollywood-like Penticton sign has sat since 1937 and is a must-visit free attraction if you're in town. The first and lowest viewpoint is paved and wheelchair-accessible, and from that point on, a short, steep dirt path will take you right to the sign, where you can take pictures and look out for miles.

06 Attend the Meadowlark Nature Fest

For the last few decades, the May long weekend has become a time to celebrate the environment and the Okanagan Similkameen. The Meadowlark Nature Festival facilitates inspiring encounters with the natural world via themed canoe trips, guided hikes, screenings, lectures, exhibitions, and tours. Botany, astronomy, geology, and more—go green and meet others with similar passions.

07 Relax at Manitou Park and Beach

Manitou Park is a snowball's throw away from downtown Naramata and has a white sandy beach with warm water and an array of amenities. New change rooms and outdoor showers guarantee post-swim comfort. A well-manicured and tree-lined field provides a nice green space for rest and play—throw a frisbee, have a picnic, or read a book. You can also soak up some vitamin D on the floating docks. Manitou Park has a baseball diamond, a volleyball court, a small water slide, and opportunities for water sports.

08 Hike to Naramata Creek Falls

Naramata Creek Falls is fantastic for a 20-minute family-friendly hike, although it's not stroller-friendly. The forested trail begins near the fire station. Stay along the creek (the other path is quite steep if you have kids with you) and expect creek crossings where you'll need to step on rocks. If it's recently rained, the paths can be slippery. The trek leads to an impressive waterfall at the end, with a pool at the base for splashing and cooling down during warm weather. The best time to visit for optimal water flow is in spring and summer, but in fall, you can get closer to the taller waterfall, and the creek crossings are safer.

09 Savor the Flavors at Local Restaurants

Penticton and Naramata offer culinary diversity. Elma, with its Turkish owners, serves Middle Eastern food. Kin and Folk are all about Asian fusion, with hints of Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and even Italian cuisine and lovely non-alcoholic drink options. The Restaurant at Poplar Grove is a solid choice for fine dining and is open between March and December. Head chef Rob Ratcliffe hails from London and brings cosmopolitan flair to the West Coast classics served on Poplar Grove's expansive patio.

10 Discover Arts and Culture

The word Penticton comes from the Interior Salish nsyilxcən word snpintktn. It has a rather charming meaning—"a place where people have always been all year long." With over 7,000 years of history, this region has long inspired art and culture. Today, you can see a traditional arts revitalization at En'owkin Centre. For contemporary pieces, check out Penticton Art Gallery and Cormier's Studio, go on a public art walk to see various outdoor sculptures, or do a workshop at Shatford Center or Leir House Cultural Center.

11 Attend a Festival or Event

Various events take place throughout the year, offering a taste of local life and traditions. Learn about Indigenous culture at the annual Pow Wow Between the Lakes, or get active in the province's endurance sports capital. The Okanagan Granfondo is a family-friendly cycling bonanza, and there's an Ironman iteration to look forward to as well. Pentastic Hot Jazz and Music Festival brings sweet sounds to the valley, and Peach Fest in August puts sweet peaches on a pedestal along with other entertainment. There are more than two dozen annual events, and one of them could be right up your alley.

12 Shop for Local Art and Handicrafts

Penticton Farmer's Market, held for six months of the year between April and October, is a fab place to pick up unique gifts and souvenirs made by local artisans. Grab a bite at one of the food trucks and search for the right polymer clay creation, wooden utensils, stationery, dog accessories, and macrame wall hangings, to name a few of the many products gracing the tables. The Naramata Community Farmers' Market also sells fine art, jewelry, pottery, soaps, and other handmade goodies.

13 Take a Scenic Flight Over the Valley

There are patio views and SUP views, and then there are views from the air. Take to the skies to elevate your Southern Okanagan experience, and the landscapes unfold like a carpet beneath you to breathtaking effect. Valhalla Helicopters serve as aerial tour buses, whisking winery hoppers from one vineyard to the next in a luxurious, ground-covering style. It's worth the splurge for a special occasion.

14 Experience First Nations Culture

We highly recommend driving for about an hour to visit the peaceful Nk'Mip Desert Culture Centre in Osoyoos. Through indoor and outdoor exhibits, you'll learn about the traditional ways of life that enabled First Nations to survive here for so long, including how they interacted with nature. This interpretive center is kid-friendly and has a range of educational events, so look up the schedule before you go. P.S. Take sun protection for the trail.

15 Stay in a Cozy Cabin or Luxury Resort

The Southern Okanagan region offers a variety of accommodation options, from rustic retreats to upscale resorts. Stay at a vineyard in Naramata Bench—you won't go wrong with Wesbert Winery and Guest Suites or D'Angelo Winery Guest House. The Lost Moose Cabins are listed on Airbnb and have private hot tubs and fire pits. For sustainable accommodation, have a look at Summerland Waterfront Resort and Spa.

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