Submitted by Kelsey on
The Thompson Okanagan truly has everything needed of a British Columbian paradise. Warm, sunny valleys, narrow lakes with sandy beaches and lush, fruit laden orchards make it a vacation hot spot. People come to relax by the water, golf championship courses and sip regional wines. When boating, water-skiing and swimming are not in season, the region's mountains become some of the province's best snow-sport resorts.
Provincial Parks beckon to those whose paradise is wilderness serenity. In Wells Gray Provincial Park you can find both Dawson and Helmcken Falls, two of the most spectacular falls in Canada. Further up the highway is Mount Robson Provincial Park, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Hiking trails are abundant and visitors are often treated to wildlife sightings - bears, moose and beavers are just a few of the many species. These parks possess some of the province's most majestic scenery and wildlife and are all within a day's drive from the cacti and vineyards of the Southern Okanagan.
The Thompson Okanagan really holds something for every kind of traveller. The land is diverse and provides not only an abundance of scenery, but activities, too. Among the most popular are water sports. Wind surfing conditions are great on all the region's warm lakes, and the same winds make parasailing a favourite with the adventurous. Jet ski and speed boat rentals are never difficult to come by, but canoes and kayaks are just as accessible. Pack up the camper and visit some of the most beautiful lakes by following our Water Recreation Circle Tour.
Away from the water, the hills and valleys offer exciting mountain biking and hiking. Fast single-track is plentiful and the spectacular parks offer many wilderness hiking trails. For an amazing view of the Okanagan valley, venture out on the Kettle Valley Railway - an easy hike or cycling route that crosses the original trestles from the 1916 rail line.
The Okanagan is an agricultural mecca and grows an abundance of fruits and vegetables for British Columbia and the rest of Canada. Wherever one travels, they are never far from a fruit stand selling freshly picked and branch-ripened produce. Stop and taste the Okanagan difference, or sample the products of the fertile vineyards and local world-class vintners. Our Valley Vineyards Circle Tour can help you plan the route for your wine-tasting vacation, but with over 40 VQA wineries along the way, it's up to you to pick your favourites.
Golf in the Thompson Okanagan carries with it all the beauty and mystique of the landscape. Often scrubland and wild grass grow right along side the manicured greens, which many golfers find suggestive of the region's lush orchards and surrounding desert hills. Most communities offer golf and many championship courses. Predator Ridge, for example, was recently the host of the 2000 Skins Game.
The Thompson Okanagan is a region that boasts high glacial peaks, Canada's only desert and excels at everything in between. With so much to offer, you can be sure of a vacation that is either adventurous or relaxed - but never boring!