Piet and I grew up in a region of British Columbia called the Okanagan. This place has it all!! I'm talking beaches, golfing and wineries but for some reason we both left it to pursue our blossoming careers. Lucky for us it's only a 7 hour drive from where we live now so we try and make the trip back at least a few times a year.
So what do we like to do when we are at home? We love to act like tourists and go see all the best sites. Some of our favorites include:
1. Wine Touring
There are many areas in the Okanagan Valley where groups of wineries are located within a 5-10 minute drive from each other making for an easy way to spend an afternoon. There are numerous tour companies that can be arranged to take you from location to location or else grab a Designated Driver and buy them lunch at one of the amazing stops you make. Better yet- we discovered they've now got winery cycling tours that suit pretty much everyone- No designated driver needed for this one!
Piet and I recently went to a wedding that had separate venues for the ceremony and reception so we had a couple of hours to kill in the middle of the day and what better way to spend than to do our own mini wine tour. So we hopped in the car with another couple and headed out- determined to make the most of our afternoon. We started at Mission Hill, 2015 Canadian Winery of the Year, and made our way through 10 (yes 10) different wineries. This is how close they are together! Nearly 5 of the wineries are within walking/biking distance of each other.
We loved Beaumont Winery for entertainment. The owner loves to interact with all the guests and will often start singing and playing guitar for everyone. He’s actually quite good too.
Qrizzli Winery is a new winery that had one of the most impressive tasting rooms we’d ever seen. The counter space was incredible- you definitely won’t have a problem finding a spot to get a tasting here.
Our last stop was a new winery we’d never been to- Indigenous Winery. This one probably surprised us the most as one of our new favorites. The red wines were bold and flavorful- our perfect kind of wine!
See the map below to take the same DIY wine tour we did!
For those of you looking to get out and enjoy the links, the Okanagan Valley has some amazing golf courses. Many of the courses offer spectacular views of lakes, vineyards, mountains and orchards. From beginners (like me) to experts (like Piet) there's a course made to challenge everyone. The Okanagan Valley has about 50 golf courses between Osoyoos and Kamloops, many of these are some of our favorite golf courses we have played around the world!
Spending 5 or so hours out in nature chasing a little white ball around may not seem exciting to some but when you add in your friends, family, scenery, sunshine and a beverage (or 10), this makes for a relaxing and entertaining afternoon in the Okanagan Valley. Piet was lucky enough to grow up playing and working at not only one of the best courses in the Okanagan Valley but in Canada. Fairview Mountain Golf Course is located in Oliver, BC and has consistently been ranked in the top 100 golf courses in the country. It stretches just over 7000 yards from the championship tees and is a traditional set up of par 3’s, par 4’s and par 5’s to make it a par 72. This is a special place for Piet as he gets butterflies every time he comes to play as he gets to re-live his childhood and see all of his old friends.
FUN FACT: Fairview Mountain is also where Piet has played his best round of golf ever, he has shot a 64 3 times here and also has a HOLE IN ONE!!! What he doesn’t talk about though is how his twin brother holds the course record with a 63. (Poor Piet)
Piet and Brianne’s Top 5 golf courses in the Okanagan Valley:
- Fairview Mountain Golf Course (Oliver BC)
- Tobiano Golf Course (Kamloops BC)
- Predator Ridge Golf Course (Vernon BC)
- Kelowna Golf and Country (Kelowna BC)
- Tower Ranch Golf Course (Kelowna BC)
3. Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake spans 135km from Vernon all the way through Kelowna and down to Pencticton. With numerous isolated beach accesses to the popular hot spots there's a place for everyone to enjoy. Water sports are very popular in the Okanagan so you'll have your chance to try any number of sports from wake boarding to water jet packs to stand up paddle boards. I can guarantee you there's no dull moments here!
There's a great easy hike up Knox Mountain that leads you above the city with stunning views of the mountains and gorgeous lake. Follow it along to Pauls Tomb for a nice refreshing dip in the water.
FUN FACT: Okanagan Lake even has a famous lake monster called Ogopogo (like the Loch ness monster in Scotland.) See if you can spot him on your next visit.