A vacation destination in south-central British Columbia, the Okanogan Basin is unlike any other place in the province. Stretching just over 100 miles from north to south, this region contains excellent recreational opportunities in a semi arid environment. That's right, this is hot Canada!
Osoyoos, situated just north of the Washington state border, is renowned for its wine as well as its desert. Steep cliffs drop into a hot valley, and there is a very distinct Southern culture here. The ground grows wonderful grapes, but watch out for snakes. Other wildlife in the area include mule deer, badgers, and cougar.
A little further north, Penticton is a very popular tourist town. The small city sits between two large freshwater lakes, Skaha and Okanogan, and boasts a lazy channel for floating between the two. Farmers markets meet beaches, wineries meet vibrant nightlife, nature is waiting just outside the limits holding it all in.
Kelowna, the largest city of interior British Columbia, is another short drive north. With a population nearing 200,000, this is where city folk can feel a little more at home. Small league professional sports teams meet a bustling downtown, but there is also the opportunity to get out on Lake Okanogan or take a short trip out of town and get lost in the massive countryside. Kelowna is truly a beating heart at the center of the Okanogan Basin.
At the top of the basin sits Vernon, BC. Average temperatures here come close to 80°F in the summer, making it a more moderate destination than other places in the Okanogan Basin. The Vernon Winter Carnival is the largest carnival held in Western Canada and second-largest in North America. Water recreation is very important here as well.
Connecting all of these locations is Highway 97. It continues from the USA border north through BC all the way to the Yukon. They say half the fun is in getting there, and this road will take you further than you bargained!