This small city of Penticton, B.C., located in the South Okanagan Valley, has grown as a popular tourist destination over the last decade. A report published by analysis systems firm, Esri, estimated that Penticton attracted about 1.2 million visitors per year (prior to the covid-19 pandemic).

But how did this small city become the famous holiday destination that it is today?

Click the links in the Table Of Contents to skip ahead to the category that interests you the most, or sit back and enjoy reading through this list of the top reasons to visit the Okanagan Valley’s most popular vacation destination.

A Brief History of Penticton

Brief History of Penticton, B.C.

You can take in the history of Penticton and the Okanagan at the S.S. Sicamous Museum, located on the southwest side of Okanagan Lake (just look for the big boat!).

Photo by: Visit Penticton; Visit the S.S. Sicamous Museum to see largest surviving sternwheeler in British Columbia.

The S.S. Sicamous is the largest surviving sternwheeler in British Columbia, launched in 1914 for cargo and passenger transportation. It has been preserved as a museum and event venue, cared for by the S.S. Sicamous Marine Heritage Society, a non-profit organization. We recommend viewing the public calendar before you visit to make sure the museum isn’t booked out for a private event.

So what is Penticton known for today? There are plenty of reasons that tourism is still booming in this small lake-side city.

Photo by: Travel Penticton; Penticton is in the middle of two beautiful lakes, Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake.
Photo by: Travel Penticton; Penticton is in the middle of two beautiful lakes, Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake.

Lakes & Beaches

Penticton quickly became known by travellers in the province of British Columbia for its ideal location, situated between two massive freshwater lakes, Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake. Both lakes offer stunning views and serene beaches that tourists flock to on hot summer days.

To see both Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake, we recommend floating “The Channel”, the Okanagan’s man-made river channel that was created in the 1950s to control flooding and water flow.

Photo by: Travel Penticton; Floating "The Channel" in Penticton is a fun-filled day for the entire family.
Photo by: Travel Penticton; Floating “The Channel” in Penticton is a fun-filled day for the entire family.

Floating “The Channel” is an absolute must-do in the summertime in Penticton. The float starts at the Riverside Drive launch site and proceeds down the channel through Penticton towards a half-way point at Green Mountain Road, where many floaters stop for lunch. The channel ends as soon as you float into Skaha Lake. 

There is a parking lot near Skaha Lake Park where you can leave a vehicle to get back to Penticton, or you can purchase a bus ticket in advance from Coyote Cruises and leave your vehicle at the launch point. If you don’t have your own supplies, you can purchase everything you need from Canadian Tire, off Highway 97. 

Coyote Cruises also rents floaties, dry bags, and safety gear at a low cost. There is a public inflation station located at the Riverside Drive launch point for a $2.00 charge.

Photo by: Travel Penticton; Enjoy breathtaking views of scenic Okanagan Lake on a hike or bike ride.
Photo by: Travel Penticton; Enjoy breathtaking views of scenic Okanagan Lake on a hike or bike ride.

Rolling Hills & Mountains for Hiking and Cycling

Breathtaking views of rolling hills and tree-topped mountains surround Penticton, offering exceptional trails for every level of hiker. Tourists arrive in spades to meander through pine and fir tree forests with rewarding views of crystal lakes below. Check out Penticton’s recommended trails to plan your hike. 

Penticton also has cycling routes for every type of rider. The quiet streets of Penticton city are easy to ride around if you’re simply looking for recreational cycling to Penticton’s beaches, boutiques, and restaurants. You can also ride a small or large section of the famous Kettle Valley Rail Tail, which conveniently intersects with Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre.

Photo by: Travel Penticton; The Okanagan offers scenic cycling routes for every type and age of rider.
Photo by: Travel Penticton; The Okanagan offers scenic cycling routes for every type and age of rider.

If you’re looking for a more extreme cycling experience, there are downhill mountain biking trails located in and around Penticton. Plenty of great information can be found online for all the mountain biking trails nearby. We recommend checking out the popular mountain biking blog, SingleTracks, for more information on the following recommended mountain bike trails below:

  1. Three Blind Mice Trail Network
  2. Cartwright Mountain
  3. Mt. Conkle

Didn’t bring a bicycle? No problem! Bicycle rental shops are located in downtown Penticton. Start by visiting Penticton Bike Rentals or Freedom Bike Shop to see a wide variety of road bike and mountain bike rentals in Penticton.

Photo by: Travel Penticton; The Kettle Valley Railway has been preserved as a popular hiking and biking trail .
Photo by: Travel Penticton; The Kettle Valley Railway has been preserved as a popular hiking and biking trail.

Kettle Valley Railway

The Kettle Valley Railway has been preserved as a popular hiking and biking trail for locals and visitors alike. This expansive rail network once served as British Columbia’s longest railway track, connecting Hope to Castlegar. The KVR now offers nearly 650km of connected pathways in the Okanagan region, with a conveniently located intersection in front of the destination hotel, Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre.

Photo by: Travel Penticton; view a massive model of the Kettle Valley Railway at the S.S. Sicamous Museum in Penticton.
Photo by: Travel Penticton; view a massive model of the Kettle Valley Railway at the S.S. Sicamous Museum in Penticton.

You can also view a massive scale model of the Kettle Valley Railway on the cargo deck of The S.S. Sicamous Museum. Check it out for an aerial view of Western Canada’s historic rail network.

Photo by: Travel Penticton; The Okanagan is home to more than 100 wineries.
Photo by: Travel Penticton; The Okanagan is home to more than 100 wineries.

Wineries

The Okanagan boasts the highest concentration of B.C. wineries and the Naramata Bench has over 40 of them located within a 20 minute drive of each other. Located just north of Penticton, the Naramata Bench is famous for its award-winning vineyards and scenic lake-view patios. 

Getting to the Naramata Bench is easy when you’re in Penticton. From the centrally located Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre, the closest winery is approximately 5 minutes by car. You can also hop on a bus, rent a bicycle, or simply walk to Naramata Road to start your wine-tasting experience.

Photo by: Travel Penticton; Get exclusive offers on wine tours when you book with Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre.
Photo by: Travel Penticton; Get exclusive offers on wine tours when you book with Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre.

Multiple tour operators offer day trips to select wineries along the Naramata Bench. Check out Top Cat Tours for details on private charters and all-inclusive experiences. If you want to plan your own trip, start by reading our post on the five wineries you can’t miss during your trip to the Okanagan. We also recommend stopping by the town of Naramata to visit boutique fashion stores and cafés — a great way to break up your day of wine tastings.

There are many ways you can start your personal wine-tasting experience in the Okanagan, including by bike, all-inclusive tour, or as part of a vacation package when you book directly with Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre.

Photo by: Travel Penticton; Enjoy a wide variety of Okanagan craft beers when you visit Penticton, B.C.
Photo by: Travel Penticton; Enjoy a wide variety of Okanagan craft beers when you visit Penticton, B.C.

A Burgeoning Craft Beer Scene

Did you know that Penticton is quickly becoming a hotspot for B.C. beer enthusiasts? Notable microbreweries such as Highway 97 Brewery, Cannery Brewing, and Bad Tattoo have opened their doors in the last two decades, serving a variety of lagers, pale ales, hefeweizens, porters, and IPAs. 

Visit a tasting room to grab some sudsy drinks and delicious food. You can start your Penticton craft-beer tour by reading our Local’s Guide to Penticton Microbreweries, where we provide the low-down on all the best beers in town, including information from the Penticton Ale Trail.

Photo by: Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre; Taken at the Valley View Farm.
Photo by: Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre; Taken at the Valley View Farm.

Fresh, Organic Fruit & Vegetables

Farmer’s Markets and road-side fruit stands are common throughout Penticton and its surrounding area. In fact, much of Penticton’s early tourism was driven by the famous annual Penticton Peach Festival, which is scheduled to return in August of 2021.

Penticton has one of the longest growing seasons in all of British Columbia thanks to the fertile land and high year-round temperatures, which brings us to the next big item that Penticton is known for…

Photo by: Travel Penticton; The city of Penticton is famous for its nearly year-round sunshine.
Photo by: Travel Penticton; The city of Penticton is famous in B.C. for its nearly year-round sunshine.

Sunshine, Sunshine, and more Sunshine

With an average of 304 days of sunshine per year, travelling to Penticton for its sunny climate is a safe bet in any season. This interior B.C. city, just a short drive south of Kelowna, offers one of the warmest and driest year-round climates in all of British Columbia.

For many visitors to Penticton, simply choosing to lay back on the sandy beaches of Okanagan Lake with a cool drink and a book is the perfect way to spend their time. Penticton is an ideal place to have a picnic with fresh produce from a Penticton Farmers Market, build a sand castle with your family, or just bask in that famous Penticton summer weather.

Photo by: Drip Marketing for the Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre; Okanagan Lake paddle boarding.
Photo by: Drip Marketing for the Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre; Okanagan Lake paddle boarding.

Okanagan Lake is an ideal place to swim, kayak, or go boating — just don’t forget your sunscreen! Psst… You can also take advantage of the private beach and marina at Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre when you book your room today. Remember to book with us directly to save! receive exclusive offers! Find out more here.

Photo by: Travel Penticton; Hit the slopes on Apex Mountain, a short drive from Penticton.
Photo by: Travel Penticton; Hit the slopes on Apex Mountain, a short drive from Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre.

A Winter Wonderland

All kinds of winter activities have put Penticton on the map for winter travel. Skating, sledding, snowshoeing, or just building a snowman with your family are all available in the winter season. 

Penticton is also closely located to Apex Mountain Ski Resort, which has a base elevation of 5,197ft (higher than Big White), which makes for ideal fresh powder days on the mountain followed by a comfortable retreat to a lakeview guestroom.

Photo by: Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre, where your ideal vacation resort awaits.
Photo by: Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre, where your ideal vacation resort awaits.

Many Reasons to Visit

It’s no secret that Penticton is one of Canada’s most popular holiday destinations. A Facebook survey published by the Huffington Post even named Penticton as a Top-10 World Travel Destination

There are a plethora of reasons that Penticton is such a massively popular location for local and international travellers. The climate, scenery, and abundance of activities for families, couples, and adventurers are all main draws of this small B.C. city. Plus, it’s an easy 5-hour drive from Vancouver, B.C., where domestic and international vacationers frequently arrive by air travel to YVR airport.

Photo by: Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre; where luxury and the great outdoors come together.
Photo by: Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre; where luxury and the great outdoors come together.

Where to Stay In Penticton

Locals and frequent visitors know that Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre is the perfect location for families, friends, and solo travellers to stay during their vacation to Penticton.

With an award-winning restaurant, lively late-night pub, and exclusive amenities including a private sandy beach on beautiful Okanagan Lake, there are plenty of reasons to take advantage of this top-rated resort. 

Visitors also get special offerings from Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre, such as the Naramata Wine Tour Package, which includes accommodations, bus transportation, and a full-day wine tour by Top Cat Tours. Check out other great hotel deals in Penticton by visiting our Deals page.

Take a Break From Planning

Looking to discover Penticton without all the planning? We don’t blame you! Your vacation should allow you to unwind and enjoy the many activities that Penticton has to offer, without the stress of planning activities each day. Check out vacation offerings at Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre to find great deals on holiday packages in Penticton. Offers include wine tours, romance packages, and discounted rates for qualifiers — see more deals online!

There are also exclusive amenities available to our hotel guests. Visit our Amenities page to see the availability of our pool, hot tub, fitness centre & juice bar, skating rink, and private outdoor patios.

Now that you know what Penticton is known for, you can discover all that this ideal Okanagan city has to offer for yourself when you book your stay directly on Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre website.

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