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A Warm Weather Escape to Beautiful B.C.

When the time is right to travel again, take a trip to B.C.’s endlessly appealing interior or the oasis playground of Vancouver Island. You just may decide to stay.

Due to the cancellation of two events — the PRISMA music festival in Powell River and the Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan road race in Penticton — this advertising feature has been edited from its original version, which appears in the April 2020 issue of WestJet Magazine.

Beautiful Osoyoos Lake. Photograph courtesy of Destination Osoyoos.

When it comes to planning a vacation in a gorgeous natural setting, one can choose from mountains, rainforests or beach destinations. But on a trip to British Columbia, you can have all three. A warm-weather holiday in the province’s interior or around Vancouver Island means long, warm days and cool, electric nights.

Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure or encounters with the arts, there’s no shortage of amazing options to be found on the western edge of the continent.

Exploring the Interior

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery. Photograph courtesy of Burrowing Owl Estate Winery.

Osoyoos, in the heart of wine country, is an ideal starting point for a north-bound exploration of B.C.’s interior. There are unique cultural attractions, like the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre and Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad, and other-worldly natural gems like Mount Kobau and Spotted Lake. Of course, there are also more than 40 wineries to explore. Numerous wine tour options are available in the region, and many wineries offer even more to visitors. The Burrowing Owl Estate Winery just outside the town’s limits, offers an exclusive 11-room guest house with a private outdoor pool and fine dining at the on-site Sonora Room. It’s a beautiful spot to enjoy breathtaking views and taste award-winning wines. Or book a stay at Spirit Ridge Resort, where Nk’Mip Cellars is located on-site. With views of glittering Osoyoos Lake, vineyards and mountains surround the luxury resort, which offers an array of suites, condos, or villas. Take a dip in one of two private outdoor pools (there’s one for adults only!) and indulge in fine dining at the on-site restaurant, The Bear, The Fish, The Root, & The Berry featuring modern vineyard cuisine inspired by the resort’s Indigenous roots.

The vineyards at Nk’Mip Cellars. Photograph courtesy of Destination Osoyoos.

It would be tempting to spend your entire trip in Osoyoos, but then you’d miss out on the busy summer season just an hour away in the City of Penticton.

Penticton is also a wine lover’s dream, given that there are more than 80 wineries within a 20-minute drive from the downtown core. Plus, it has the most breweries per capita of anywhere in B.C., as well as three craft distilleries and one cidery.

Penticton and Osoyoos are an outdoor-lovers paradise. Photograph by Matt Clarke/Visit Penticton.

Penticton has the most breweries per capita in B.C. Photograph courtesy of B.C. Ale Trail.

That kind of indulgence calls for some time in nature to balance things out, and the options to do so are numerous. Penticton is nestled between two idyllic lakes, Lake Okanagan and Skaha Lake, which both offer lush parks and sun-kissed beaches. One of the most popular leisure activities for visitors of all ages is to float down the seven-kilometre Okanagan River Channel while relaxing and admiring the adjacent rolling hills. The average float time is two-and-a-half hours, and shuttle service is available to return you to your vehicle. The city’s close proximity to an international airport, mild climate and well-maintained trails and roads also make it an ideal spot for cycling adventures.

Floating on Okanagan Lake. Photograph by Robert Harding/Alamy.

The next must-stop destinations in the interior are twin waterfront cities Kelowna and West Kelowna. Get outside and experience some of the top-rated natural attractions in the province like Myra Canyon Park, Knox Mountain Park and Lake Okanagan. Then, at night, take advantage of cultural offerings such as craft breweries, food trucks, French restaurants and wine-pairing experiences.

A rendering of Lakeview Village Residences in Kelowna. Photograph courtesy of Lakeview Village.

In particular, West Kelowna is a vibrant place to stay awhile, or even long term. Situated on the picturesque west bank of Lake Okanagan, West Kelowna preserves its rural and agricultural heritage while focusing on creating a modern haven for comfort and livability. At the forefront of this is the new Lakeview Village Residences development.

After six years of developing and approving this exciting urban/rural masterplan, the revitalized community is set to become the urban heart of West Kelowna. Offering a mix of outdoor recreation, stunning views, easy socializing and healthy living, Lakeview Village is a thoughtful community by design. Perched above and looking over the majestic Lake Okanagan, and bordering a working vineyard, the community allows residents to simultaneously connect with nature and a plethora of modern, on-site amenities. Residents will enjoy a private pool and hot tub, walking trails for all levels of mobility, community and rooftop gardens, an indoor year-round greenhouse, a fitness centre, dog-washing area, coffee-house, microbrewery and other commercial and retail offerings. With The Lakeview Village Mall, a Montessori school and the Anders Park tennis centre and Community Hall across the street, homeowners have little need to leave the area—though there is an abundance of additional cultural, natural and recreational options just a short distance away.

Lakeview Village Residences is a community by design. Image courtesy of Lakeview Village.

The initial phase will feature an exciting offering of 100 units, with homes custom-designed for everyone from singles and families to empty nesters. Lakeview Village Residences is also the first community in West Kelowna to include a selection of concrete homes—the first two floors of the Residences are proposed to be built with this enhanced construction method. It also boasts two spectacular penthouses, featuring stunning interiors and meticulously landscaped outdoor areas. These spacious penthouses are equipped with super-sized decks, high ceilings, grand entrance lobbies and an abundance of windows from which to marvel at West Kelowna’s pristine beauty. Plus, each suite has direct access to underground parking with electric vehicle charging stations.

Just a two-hour scenic drive from West Kelowna lies Kamloops, a perfect part of the Okanagan to enjoy cultural events and attractions and savour some local wine. Located at the junction of the north and south Thompson rivers, Kamloops has a unique, desert-like landscape thanks to its grasslands, hoodoos, sandstone valleys and pine forests.

Back Alley Art Gallery Tour. Mural photograph by Scott Bakken courtesy of Tourism Kamloops.

Monte Creek Ranch Winery. Photograph courtesy of Tourism Kamloops/Wines of British Columbia.

As well as its stunning natural beauty, Kamloops has a vibrant arts and culture scene. There are world-class formal institutions like the Kamloops Symphony, Western Canada Theatre, Kamloops Art Gallery and Kamloops Museum & Archives, as well as more underground options like live indie-music venues and the self-guided Back Alley Art Gallery tour. Meanwhile, the city’s rich Indigenous culture can be explored at the Secwepemc Museum & Heritage Park or on a canoe tour led by Indigenous tour company Moccasin Trails.

Moccasin Trails’ popular canoe tour. Photograph by Candace Hansma courtesy of Tourism Kamloops.

Kamloops is also home to four different wineries, each with its own specialty and expression of terroir. There’s Harper’s Trail Winery, the oldest in the area known for its diverse landscape, and Monte Creek Ranch Winery, which is located on a working ranch and features a boutique of locally made goods. Next, Privato Vineyard & Winery operates an on-site cidery and specializes in Burgundy, and lastly, Sagewood Winery is Kamloops’ first estate winery and is open by appointment.

Ainsworth Hot Springs is Worth a Trip to the Kootenays

Photograph courtesy of Ainsworth Hot Springs.

Take a break from your packed interior itinerary for a rejuvenating stay at Ainsworth Hot Springs in the Kootenays near Nelson. Here, you’ll enjoy soothing mineral waters in both a pool and natural cave—which is unique to Ainsworth—while overlooking the Purcell Mountains and Kootenay Lake. Many visitors opt to stay overnight at the comfortable on-site hotel. You can also experience Ainsworth’s brand-new rooftop patio at the Ktunaxa Grill. Sample innovative cuisine and watch the sunset post-soak with a beverage in hand.

A Slice of Coastal Life

Make the most of the warmer season by heading to B.C’s stunning and diverse coast, including Vancouver Island.Comox is a perfect gateway to the island. Shutterbugs will enjoy the sights along a two-hour road trip through Qualicum Beach and Nanaimo to the picturesque Shawnigan Lake region. Home to the historic and prestigious Shawnigan Lake School, known for its outstanding athletic facilities and elite curriculum, Shawnigan Lake is a recreational paradise. From the namesake lake—which includes the Read Crewhouse where Rowing Canada is training for the Tokyo Summer Olympics—to The Historic Kinsol Trestle, you’re not going to want a waste a second indoors during your visit. The school itself is a destination for rugby matches (thanks to its immaculate Canada Field), as well as wildlife enthusiasts, including biologists and falconers who formed the Pacific Northwest Raptors, a wildlife organization that brings people closer to birds of prey.

Shawnigan Lake School is a destination for rugby matches. Photograph courtesy of Shawnigan Lake School.

Photograph courtesy of A Paddle in the Park.

Of course, a trip to the island isn’t complete without a visit to Victoria—B.C.’s capital city and a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Kayaking is a must-do, and A Paddle in the Park, located in nearby Sidney, offers tours for all levels in both French and English. Plus, kids five and younger are free. A kayak voyage along the spectacular Gulf Islands National Park Reserve provides some of the best views in the province and is a highlight of any B.C. adventure.


This content was developed for the advertiser’s commercial purpose. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of WestJet Magazine editorial staff.