One of the biggest cities in the central Okanagan valley with a population of over 40,000, Vernon is a desirable destination for both tourists and those looking to make a move to British Columbia's interior. It has also been named as one of the best cities to retire in within North America. With all of these different population segments clamouring to visit the area, it is no wonder that Vernon has developed a robust complement of summer activities geared towards showing off the best of the region.
Here is a list of some of the highlights you can expect to see when visiting the Vernon area in the summer:
Swimming and Suntanning
Given its location in the Okanagan, it should come as no surprise that one of the top summer activities in Vernon is hitting the beach. Like Yin and Yang, the Kin and Kal beaches mirror each other on opposite sides of Highway 97, with Kal Beach settled on Kalamalka Lake and Kin Beach located along the northern stretches of Okanagan Lake. In the summer, you can bet these beaches are packed with locals and tourists alike hoping to catch some of the rays that are so plentiful to the region.
Since British Columbia is home to some of the most beautiful campgrounds the world over, camping is a very popular summertime hobby in Vernon. Most popular in the area is the Kekuli Bay Provincial Park campground, with beautiful sweeping vistas and a desirable location right near Kal Beach. It hosts a number of amenities including wheelchair accessibility, drinking water, and showers. Interested parties need to book quickly, however, as with most BC campgrounds, spots at this locale tend to sell out quite quickly.
Visit the Farm
Founded in 1867, O'Keefe Ranch is a popular tourist attraction that is only open to the public in the summer months, from May to October. They have a boardwalk to walk along, animals to visit, and historic buildings you can walk through. In fact, O'Keefe Ranch is one of the oldest historic locations in the Okanagan that is publically accessible.
Grab a Brew
Thanks to its thriving farmer's market culture (and likely helped by the booming wine industry), the Okanagan is one of Canada's major hot spots for craft beer. There are a number of award-winning breweries and pubs to visit, but the one that takes the cake for most locals and visitors is the famous Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery. This distillery is the only one in North America to be honoured with the World Class Distillery award from the World Spirits Awards, and patrons can sample any spirit they can think of (incidentally, it is the only place in Canada to buy the first official genuine Absinthe). What's better than a cold beer or cocktail on a hot summer day in the Okanagan?
Sample the Local Fare
Located in a hot, dry climate, Vernon is home to a number of orchards, since different varieties of fruits tend to thrive in the Okanagan. Davison Orchards Country Village is one of the older orchards in the area, established in 1933, and is full of amenities to keep any family busy on a sunny summer day. Visitors can see the growing process from start to finish by wandering through the sapling trees, seeing the harvest, and sampling the fruits (pardon the pun) of Davison Orchards' labour.
No matter which of these activities you decide to undertake, we hope you enjoy your time in Vernon!