Summertime means road trip time! Whether you are coming to Canada from abroad or taking the time to get to know your home country, it is well-known that one of the best ways to enjoy the breathtaking views of British Columbia is by taking a drive down a country, mountain, or lakeside road. BC is a huge province, and we know it can be overwhelming, but don’t worry! Here’s your guide to the ultimate Okanagan Valley summer road trip!
The Okanagan Valley Region
KELOWNA – VERNON – SALMON ARM – KAMLOOPS – KELOWNA
Travel through the Okanagan Valley and experience jewel-toned water, vast deserts, and lush forests. If you’re a fan of lakes, you will not be disappointed! There are many breathtaking lakes on this route.
The Okanagan Valley is home to so many incredible experiences and activities; we definitely can’t contain them all in one list! That being said, here are some suggestions on what to do in each community to make the most of your summer and have the ultimate BC summer road trip.
Ultimate Okanagan Valley Summer Road Trip Day One: Kelowna
Did you know that Prestige Beach House Kelowna is located right across from Hot Sands Beach? We suggest you start your day by basking in the sun and soaking up the breathtaking vistas. There’s often a variety of food trucks right by the beach; you won’t need to leave unless you want to!
Once you’ve had your fill of the sun and the water, it’s time to enjoy what the Okanagan is best known for: wine! By renting an e-bike from Lakeside Ecosport, you can explore the city’s scenic bike paths and charming neighbourhoods at your own pace. They have a wonderful winery package that will ensure you get a variety of what Kelowna has to offer. Immerse yourself in the region’s renowned wine culture by visiting unique wineries, indulging in tastings, and savouring the rich flavours of the Okanagan.
As twilight falls, head to Bernie’s Supper Club and Cinema – just a few blocks from The Prestige Beach House – for a relaxing evening. Treat yourself to a delectable dinner and catch a captivating movie on the big screen! This boutique theatre offers an exceptional cinematic experience with a curated selection of both timeless classics and newer film releases. Bernie’s has a special Cinema Menu you can order from during the movie; it’s a carefully crafted menu of some of their best selections!
Ultimate Okanagan Valley Summer Road Trip Day Two: Vernon
After having breakfast at West Coast Grill in Prestige Beach House Kelowna, follow Highway 97 out of Kelowna, and head north to Vernon. This winding route brings you through Lake Country. If you’re eager to get to Vernon, stay on Highway 97, but if you’re looking to expand your experience, we suggest taking a slight detour on Pelmewash Pkwy. This road provides you with intimate views of Wood Lake and brings you to Oyama. A charming neighbourhood, Oyama is situated between Kalamalka and Wood Lake. It’s a great place to stop for a snack, hit up a fruit stand, or dip your feet in the water before you continue on your road trip.
Begin your time in Vernon by venturing into the historic charm of Davison Orchards Country Village. Stroll through this delightful destination, exploring its picturesque orchards, sampling fresh produce, and indulging in delectable baked goods that celebrate the region’s essence.
To continue your adventure, embark on a memorable journey through history and time at the O’Keefe Ranch. This living museum showcases the area’s rich heritage and provides a glimpse into the past with its preserved buildings, interactive exhibits, and engaging demonstrations. Get a taste of life as a rancher and discover the stories that shaped the region. O’Keefe Ranch is only an 11-minute drive from both of our two hotels in Vernon, but you’ll feel like you’re in a totally different world!
Our Properties in Vernon, Prestige Vernon Hotel and Prestige Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre, have amazing onsite restaurants. Bourbon Street Bar and Grill in Prestige Vernon Hotel offers Okanagan casual with a Creole Twist. Cabana Bar + Kitchen is situated in the atrium at Prestige Vernon Lodge, offering an upscale dining experience with a delicious experimental menu situated amongst the beautiful garden atrium. Either way, you will surely have a great dining experience in Vernon.
Wrap up your day in the tranquil beauty of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. Marvel at the mesmerizing turquoise waters and embark on a leisurely hike along the park’s scenic trails. Capture breathtaking views, breathe in the warm summer mountain air, and embrace the serenity surrounding you. If you’re tired from your day of adventures but still want to unwind somewhere special, then the Prestige Vernon Lodge is the place for you. Lounge by the pool surrounded by more than 1,000 tropical plants. Let the sound of the river running through the atrium ease your tension, and get ready for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Ultimate Okanagan Valley Summer Road Trip Day Three: Salmon Arm
Time for a backroad cruise. Head out of Vernon taking Old Kamloops Road, and enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Experience the rustic charm of sprawling farms and lush fields, showcasing the region’s agricultural heritage. Amidst this scenic journey, Swan Lake is a consistent backdrop, with its shimmering waters mirroring the vibrant sky above. Immerse yourself in the peace of it all, taking in the simple joys of nature’s embrace along the way. This is the perfect time to roll down the windows and turn the AC off.
Make a left at Highway 97 and follow it as it weaves until you make a right on Salmon River Road, and then make a left at Yankee Flats Road. This backroad route takes you through idyllic farmland. As you meander through the countryside, the landscape unfolds in an expansive tapestry of natural beauty. Rolling hills stretch out as far as the eye can see, their gentle slopes adorned with greenery. The scenery is peppered with quaint barns and vibrant orchards. Those who love wine may find it worthwhile to stop in at Ovino Winery along the way. Yankee Flats Road reunites with Salmon River Road and brings you down into Salmon Arm.
Shuswap Lake is the perfect setting for boating, fishing, or simply soaking up the sun. But first; lunch! Nineteen05 Kitchen & Raw Bar has a fabulous menu inspired by international dishes with a wide range of options from sushi to duck and even vegan options.
Now back to the lake! Canoe Beach is a beloved beach known for its inviting atmosphere. With a large stretch of shoreline, there’s room for everyone to enjoy. There are picnic tables, and barbeques, so you can really make the most of your time there. The grassy area provides plenty of space for frisbee, soccer, and other outdoor activities.
For those looking for something a little more adventurous, you have to check out our Prestige Rewards Partner Sea-Dog Rentals. They’re the best place to go for boat and Sea-Doo rentals. Shuswap Lake stretches out for miles. Get out there and check out one of the best lakes in BC! Head out on a journey of exploration where many secluded coves and beaches await your discovery.
Because you’re in Salmon Arm, you must check out the wharf, but the good news is it’s only a two-minute walk from Prestige Harbourfront Resort Salmon Arm! The wharf is a haven for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, and those who appreciate a good view. When you’re ready, head downtown and see the world’s largest treble cleft on your way to dinner at any of the amazing restaurants downtown. After dinner, we highly suggest you head back to your room and enjoy a glass of wine on your patio overlooking the calm waters of Shuswap Lake.
Ultimate Okanagan Valley Summer Road Trip Day Four: Kamloops
The drive from Salmon Arm to Kamloops is sure to delight you. The Trans-Canada Highway will take you straight there; you don’t have to worry about missing a turn! Enjoy the many small communities you will weave through, each with its own unique character for you to discover. Get ready to witness the captivating transformation of the environment as you say farewell to the lush beauty of the Shuswap and travel to the fascinating arid desert landscapes of Kamloops.
As you venture out of Salmon Arm, panoramic views of Shuswap Lake and then Little Shuswap Lake unfold before you. As the landscape gradually transitions into the arid desert scapes that define Kamloops, you will watch the lush greenery of the Shuswap transition to the golden grasslands and rugged canyons. A stark yet breathtaking contrast! The Thompson River follows your route, a constant companion weaving through the sagebrush and rocks.
We suggest picking up some locally sourced groceries or your favourite type of take-out and heading to Kenna Cartwright Park for lunch. This park has scenic trails with panoramic vistas that unveil the city’s sprawling landscapes and rugged mountains.
A visit to the BC Wildlife Park is a must! Witness the wild British Columbia is known for, with bears, cougars, wolves, birds of prey, and more. Gain a deeper understanding of the local fauna and the park’s conservation efforts. Ride the train around the park and get a more intimate view of the animal enclosures. The park often puts on educational shows, a real crowd-pleaser for children and adults alike.
When you’re all wilded out, head back to Prestige Kamloops Hotel and get ready to have an unforgettable meal at one of the newest restaurants in the Kamloops scene. Don’t worry! You don’t have to walk far, as it’s onsite. Isagani F2T Café is a family-friendly farm-to-table restaurant featuring a rotating fresh menu of locally sourced ingredients, local brews, custom cocktails and BC wine. Enjoy the beautiful dining space, and get out on that patio!
As twilight descends, treat yourself to a captivating performance at the Kamloops Symphony or immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene at the Kamloops Art Gallery. These cultural gems offer a glimpse into the city’s creative spirit and provides a memorable finale to your exploration!
Ultimate Okanagan Valley Summer Road Trip Day Five: Return to Kelowna
Today is all about the drive. So buckle in, plug in your road trip playlist, and don’t forget to stop for your favourite road snacks. Hop back on the Trans-Canada Highway and reunite with the Thompson River as you weave out of Kamloops before taking the exit for Highway 97.
Ranches and farmland spread out as far as you can see as you cruise through the rural outskirts of Kamloops. The landscape changes around you once again as you leave behind the dry, rugged terrain and notice the flourishing trees and vegetation. Rolling hills surround you, pocketed with evergreen forests and the smell of pine. As you come around to Monte Lake, you’ll witness a piece of BC’s tragic history. In 2021, the White Rock Lake fire destroyed the area around Monte Lake, which spanned over 81,000 hectares. Over 2,000 properties were under evacuation order, and many structures, including homes, were lost. Marvel at how the community bounced back, and maybe take a break to dip your feet in Monte Lake!
The next community you will arrive in is Falkland. Nestled in the rolling hills of the Salmon River Valley, it is a picturesque and quirky community. Up on Gyp Mountain, you will see one of Canada’s biggest Canadian Flags. At 56 feet wide, it is a sight to see. On most days, Falkland is a sleepy town unless you come through on May Long weekend during the Falkland Stampede when it becomes a bustling tourist town. The Falkland Pub is the best place in town to stop for food. Using only the freshest ingredients, you’re in for a delightful lunch! The Falkland General Store is right across the road, a great place to replenish your road snacks.
Once you’re back in the car, you’ll see some familiar sites from when you drove to Salmon Arm. Just before O’Keefe Ranch, you’ll make a right onto Westside Road. This road certainly provides its share of adventure, which is a nice way of saying “be careful.” This scenic route provides gorgeous views of Okanagan Lake and is famous for its sharp, snake-like bends and steep drops. Remembering the speed limit and always being aware of your surroundings is important on any road trip, but Westside Road demands the respect it is due. Be sure to be on the lookout for bighorn sheep, as they regularly use the road for their own travels! Westside Road brings you into West Kelowna just before the bridge for one last breathtaking view of Lake Okanagan. Welcome back to Kelowna!