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Stake Your Claim On Summertime

Hot weather, gorgeous mountain landscapes and enticing local culture make Interior British Columbia the ideal place for a summer escape.

A hike up Giant’s Head Mountain, above the town of Summerland, offers idyllic views of Okanagan Lake. / Photo by Grant Harder

Seize the summer in the scenic interior of British Columbia, where sparkling lakes and majestic peaks provide the perfect stage for activities like hiking, biking, swimming, and, above all, getting exactly what you want. Add to that hot, sunny weather, an unforgettable wine region and friendly locals, and you can see why Interior B.C. keeps drawing visitors back.

Idyllic Okanagan

In the summer, the sun rises over the rolling hills and peaceful lakes of the Okanagan Valley, flooding the area’s thriving vineyards, scenic golf greens and natural forests with gorgeous light.

Luckily, this beautiful destination can be reached with ease, as WestJet offers frequent flights into Penticton, Kelowna and Kamloops. Put yourself right in the centre of the action by flying into the newly expanded Kelowna International Airport, your gateway to a summer of adventure.

The Kelowna International Airport is a gateway to the Okanagan Valley. / Photo supplied

The Kelowna International Airport welcomed more than two million passengers in 2018.

This part of B.C gets more than 2,000 hours of dry, hot and sunny days each year — and there’s no shortage of ways to spend those hours. Outdoor activities abound here, from boating and swimming to mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing and golfing. In the Kelowna area alone, you can enjoy more than 20 pristine golf courses, including the legendary Black Mountain Golf Club, which cuts right into the side of the mountain.

If wine- or fruit-sampling is more your speed, the valley’s hot climate and rich soil also provide ample opportunities to taste to your heart’s content. Sample wine varietals like refined Pinot Noirs and crisp Sauvignon Blancs at some of the region’s 50-plus wineries, or visit a roadside fruit stand to savour in-season cherries and peaches. Seeking to taste more of the land’s bounty? The Okanagan is dotted with many creative farm-to-table restaurants.

Embrace your wild side in Fernie

Canoeing on Island Lake. / Photo supplied

Venture east of the Okanagan and you’ll notice the mountains grow taller and the vegetation grows wilder. Here, at the centre of the Elk Valley in the southeastern Kootenays, lies the historic and friendly town of Fernie.

With peaks on all sides, Fernie draws in many outdoor enthusiasts who come enjoy its untamed natural playground. Here, family or friends can embark on heart-pumping adventures like whitewater rafting in a group along the Elk River or following a local guide on a wildlife tour. The area is also popular for its well-established trails, where you can trail-run amid the trees or kick up some dirt on a mountain bike.

Island Lake Lodge boasts dramatic views of the Rocky Mountains. / Photo supplied

Experience even more of what makes the area special by choosing to stay at Island Lake Lodge, 30 minutes from town. The incredible property is surrounded by old-growth forest and features authentic, luxury wooden lodges, with irresistible amenities like private saunas, soaker tubs and an on-site day spa. Guests can dine at the more casual Bear Bistro, which has a patio with a view of nearby Island Lake, or enjoy unique creations — such as quail in a lavender and stone fruit glaze — at the lodge’s gourmet Tamarack Restaurant.

Want to mingle with the locals? Visit Fernie Brewing Company’s popular tasting room for a pint, then wander into the historic downtown area, where you can chat with proprietors and shoppers alike inside the community’s many boutique shops and artisan galleries — and maybe pick up a locally made souvenir or two.

Kick back in Kimberley

Pedal & Tap Pub is a popular spot in Kimberley. / Photo by Nicole Leclair Photography & Media

A little over an hour west of Fernie sits the charming mountain city of Kimberley. Take in its numerous local delights, like the lively Kimberley Farmer’s Market and quirky Pedal & Tap Pub. And be sure to spend time outside, where towering cedar trees, rocky bluffs and the turquoise Kootenay River beckon onlookers to enjoy. Whether you choose hiking, biking, fishing or floating, you’ll enjoy your summertime in this outdoor paradise.