Are you searching for the Best 12 Things to Do in Vernon, British Columbia? In that case, you have come to the right place.
Vernon is a city in British Columbia, Canada, situated at the north end of the picturesque Okanagan Valley.
The city of Vernon, located in British Columbia, is widely known as the commercial hub city for the Northern Okanagan. However, it is surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes in the province, including many lakes, mountains, and agriculture.
Even though it’s just a small town, Vernon is jam-packed with exciting and entertaining things to do.
It offers activities like wine tasting, but you can also go cycling and hiking and have picnics in parks with stunning views.
Vernon is the place to go if you enjoy taking a seat and soaking in the beauty of nature.
Vernon offers a few more activities. Some of them, like our top attractions, is impossible to do in a single day.
Our list of the 12 Best Things to Do in Vernon, British Columbia, will help you organize your visit and find even more locations to see.
12 Things to do in Vernon, British Columbia
1. Tour the Swan Lake Nature Reserve
Swan Lake is relatively tranquil despite being only a short drive from downtown Vernon. It is a protected wildlife management area home to many mammals, birds, and amphibians.
Three lakes can be seen if you take one of the beautiful treks for a bird’s-eye perspective of Vernon.
One is the enormous Okanagan Lake, another is the enormous Kalamalka Lake, and the third is Swan Lake, the smallest of the three lakes. This lake is fantastic for paddling and a great area to see wildlife and birds because it is a nature reserve.
Although kayaking is one way to explore the reserve, there is also an easy hiking trail that is informative that is located to the south of the lake. The walk is 1.8 kilometres long.
The Vernon region has a large number of lakes and canals, which attract a variety of birds and other species.
On a stroll along the gravelled 1.9-kilometre loop track at the Swan Lake Nature Reserve, bring your binoculars and camera.
1.1. Why Swan Lake Reserve Nature is a Must-visit?
Some of the most intriguing wildlife in British Columbia can be found around Swan Lake, an important wetlands environment.
A large variety of waterfowl, including ducks, geese, swans, and grebes, breed in the area, which is home to over 200 bird species.
2. Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park
The Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park must be included among the top tourist destinations in Vernon.
The park and lake there, which is home to numerous animals, trees, birds, and reptiles, provide a wonderful view.
Kal Beach is the most popular beach on Kalamalca Lake, and as a result, it may get pretty crowded on those hot summer days.
2.1. Where Is It Located?
Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, a stunning area of nature ideal for beach lounging, quick walks, and picnics, may be found on the east side of Kalamalka Lake.
2.2. What Is Kalamalka Lake Known For?
Kalamalka Lake is known for its crystal-clear blue water, and you may spend the entire day there relaxing with loved ones and friends or by yourself.
As a rare “marl” lake, Kalamalka is mostly composed of calcium carbonate deposits, which are a component of limestone and change colour in response to temperature. In reality, it’s just science, yet it appears to be magic.
The colours are in the green and turquoise range when sunshine reflects off limestone crystals in the summer. In the winter, the crystals melt, the temperature decreases, and the colour shifts to blue.
Behold Kalamalka Lake’s magnificence if you simply do one thing to feel it.
The Kalamalka Lookout Trail, a well-liked 2.6-kilometre nature loop trail, can be reached by pulling off Highway 97 at a picturesque viewpoint or by hiking parts of it. The entire Okanagan Rail Trail surrounds the lake and is very recommended.
The finest place to appreciate nature and the splendour of meadows dotted with ponderosa pine and Douglas fir is on a trail.
Visitors to Kalamalka Lake have the chance to see what is valuable and what we can still preserve for future generations to enjoy.
The park is open all year long.
3. Discover the Okanagan Rail Trail
The Okanagan Rail Trail runs along the edge of Kalamalca Lake and was once the location of the Kelowna Pacific Railway, which was used to transport agricultural products from the Okanagan Valley to the rest of Canada.
The Okanagan Rail Trail is a 50 km long pathway that begins north of Kalamalka Lake and finishes in the middle of Okanagan Lake.
The trail is presently simple, flat, and incredibly beautiful.
3.1. What are the Best Things to do Here?
The most popular things to do in this area include hiking, biking, and, of course, strolling along this lovely trail.
Coldstream is a small village located close to Kalamalka Lake (just beside Vernon), and the official beginning of the Okanagan Rail Trail’s northern terminus is there.
The trail then continues immediately alongside the lake for more than 24 kilometres!
This trail is highly scenic and tries to be fairly accessible for all levels of hiking and bikeability. Gravel makes up the majority of the path’s flat, extremely wide base.
It’s fantastic for jogging, biking, and walking, and virtually anyone can use it.
The walk can be started close to Kal Beach, and on the way, you’ll pass by some educational signs, Kekuli Bay Provincial Park, a campground for guests only, and Campbell-Brown Ecological Reserve.
4. Explore the Beauty of Ellison Provincial Park
Be sure to visit the Ellison Provincial Park before returning home as it will end your concern of what are the Top 12 Things to Do in Vernon.
Children who enjoy lakes and fish feeding should visit Ellison Provincial Park. One of the most breathtaking views imaginable is offered there.
You cannot overlook the view of Vernon’s pure sky reflecting magnificently on the lake, especially during the summer.
Compared to other beaches in the area of Vernon, it’s usually considerably less busy, but it’s still a terrific site for beach relaxation, paddleboarding, and so much more. Even those who just wish to stay the night can do so in the nearby campground.
The greatest time to avoid people is in the morning. A popular destination for locals, this provincial park offers fantastic opportunities for trekking across the park and great hilltop views of the lake.
You can find a dozen geocaches buried across the park if you are willing to explore the region’s tough and rocky environment. Hunting for catches is, therefore, a lot of fun while taking in the surroundings’ beautiful scenery.
4.1. In Which Region is Ellison Provincial Park?
Ellison Provincial Park is near Okanagan Lake, and it’s only a 20-minute drive from Vernon.
Although there are few picnic tables and even fire pits, the park is large enough.
The swimming area is beautiful, situated as it is in a little sheltered bay surrounded by views of the surrounding mountains.
4.2. What Are the Best Things to Do Here?
The best things to do at Ellison Provincial Park include hiking some of the short paths, lounging on the beach, cooking a barbecue over a wood fire, and paddleboarding.
For those who prefer to spend the night in this tiny corner of paradise, there is also a campground within the park.
5. Davison Orchard Country Village
Davison Orchards is a fantastic destination to visit for the whole family to enjoy interesting things to see and do. It is situated near downtown Vernon but high enough to offer breathtaking views of the valley.
The farm has a lot to offer as well, including a café, a shop, vintage automobiles, a petting zoo, special events, and more. In addition to all of that, the location is quite adorable.
All of the food served at Davison Orchards is prepared with premium ingredients from the area.
Davison Orchards is a nice spot to go whether you’re looking for a quick meal, a playground for the kids, or a place to get some locally produced goods like jams and apple juice.
If your children believe that apples come from the grocery store, Davison Orchards and Country Village is your chance to have fun with them while teaching them about food production on a real farm.
Join us on the Johnny Popper Train, which is comprised of apple boxes and is hauled by an old John Deere tractor.
The location is dependent on the season and what is being collected, and it is a favourite with children. For instance, you’ll visit the orchard in September and discover everything there is to know about apples, including how to choose one expertly.
You won’t be able to avoid the pumpkin patch once October rolls around. You might not realize that real people actually labour on this farm, preparing food from the produce they cultivate, because it is so amusing and laid-back.
For instance, apples are used to make non-alcoholic cider, pies, and apple cider doughnuts.
6. Silver Star Mountain Resort
Vernon’s winter playground is Silver Star, where you can go skiing and snowboarding, as well as less conventional sports like tubing, ice skating, and even horseback riding through the snow. Thanks to its fantastic skiing and snowboarding run, Silver Star Mountain is a popular destination. But in the summer, it’s also a fantastic location to explore.
The Silver Star Mountain Resort features a Gnome Roam in addition to other outdoor activities such as hiking and bicycling. No matter your age, it’s entertaining for everyone; however, it can be a little tricky to discover them all as they do a good job of hiding!
Thus, this sparkling hill resort offers many fun activities for visitors.
Silver Star has a well-liked wheelchair-accessible gondola that can transport you to the top of the mountain, providing you with easy access to a choice of hiking routes or viewing locations, whether you just want to take in the views or would like to embark on some wonderful hikes.
Get a ticket for the wheelchair-accessible SilverStar Mountain Resort gondola if you’re going during the summer.
You will have access to hiking trails at the peak, where you can snack on berries and observe wildflowers along the way if you purchase a ticket. Enjoy the panoramic vista of the Okanagan Valley and Monashee Mountains while inhaling the cooling mountain air.
Look for all the locations you’ve gone to as well as the sights you want to see.
It’s also wonderful to know that the BC-SPCA receives a portion of the proceeds from pet season passes and that calm, leashed dogs are permitted to travel with their owners on the gondola. Riding is free for kids under 12 years old.
There is one thing you can be sure of Silver Star has a tonne of winter activities if you’re looking for winter activities in Vernon.
7. Historic O’Keefe Ranch
The Historic O’Keefe Ranch is a great place to visit in Vernon, even in the winter.
O’Keefe Ranch, a living history museum with more than a dozen ancient buildings and workers dressed in period attire, is a terrific location to go if you’re interested in the history of Vernon and the valley of Okanagan.
7.1. Where is it Located?
The historic O’Keefe Ranch was established in 1867 by Cornelius O’Keefe and is now located close to Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley, northwest of Vernon.
The goal of building the ranch was to pass down to future generations the rich history and culture of the early days of ranching.
For pony and trail rides, board real farm animals. The ranch is not frozen in time and is an active participant in local community life, offering heritage tours, ghost tours, blacksmithing lessons, and goat yoga.
7.2. Its History
One of the original cattle empires in the Okanagan, O’Keefe Ranch was founded in 1867 during the Cariboo Gold Rush (the same year Canada became a nation). In 1872, the ranch served as the location of the Okanagan Post Office.
The O’Keefe family lived and worked on the ranch for a century before deciding to turn it into a historic landmark in the 1960s. Since then, it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region.
8. Wine Tour
Since wine is one of the things that the Okanagan is known for, it should come as no surprise that we always go on a wine tour whenever we are in the area.
In the Okanagan Valley, there are over 100 wineries, and going on a tour in a group is always preferable to driving independently.
You have a choice of visiting a few different wine districts close to Vernon. High-rated tours that can all leave from Vernon include the ones listed below:
8.1. West Kelowna –
On this specific trip, you’ll stop at four outstanding wineries in West Kelowna. It lasts for around 5 hours and includes lunch and hotel pickup and drop-off.
8.2. East Kelowna –
On this specific trip, four wineries in East Kelowna are visited.
In addition to providing pick-up and drop-off services, it also includes lunch and visits to some of the region’s most well-known and noteworthy vineyards.
8.3. Lake Country —
The Lake Country is the go-to recommendation when it comes to wine regions close to Vernon. The vineyards in this area are gorgeous, and many have lake vistas.
The trip in question stops at five different vineyards and includes pick-up and drop-off at specific Vernon locations. No matter whatever location you visit, taking a wine tour in Vernon is essential!
9. Planet Bee
The Planet Bee Farm in the Okanagan Valley seeks to provide clients with the highest quality packaged products sourced from the local beekeeper while also providing tourists with a rare opportunity to discover intriguing things about honey bees.
So Planet Bee is a terrific place to go whether you want to see bees making honey or are seeking a range of honey products. They offer a fantastic interactive learning space where you can really watch the bees make honey.
The worker bees can be seen flying around the honeycombs, and if you have sharp eyes, you may be able to detect the queen bee as well.
You must stop by for a visit since it is conveniently close to Davison Orchards.
9.1. Why Should You Go There?
The honey itself, candles, soap, mead, and other goods are all available at Planet Bee. The variety of flavours that Planet Bee produces, including Blackberry, Dandelion, Maple, Cinnamon, Lemon Ginger, and others, is what makes it such a great site to buy honey.
You may watch bees frantically constructing honey at Planet Bee because it is a functioning honey farm.
In order to have a first-hand feel for how the company operates, visitors are given the opportunity to sample unpasteurized honey from all over the world, which is kept in a large assortment.
10. Explore the Beautiful Allan Brooks Nature Center
The Allan Brooks Nature Centre needs to be your first stop if you want to get outside and experience nature.
This nature center, which is located south of Vernon, is a well-known destination that draws lots of visitors each year.
10.1. Where Is It Located?
It is located on top of the grasslands and reaches from the Great Basin into the forest of south-central British Columbia. The North Okanagan’s natural environment can be fully understood by visiting the Allan Brooks Nature Centre.
10.2. What Services Does the Allan Brooks Nature Center Provide?
Through the numerous displays, information, and programs of the natural regions, the center provides visitors with a first-hand opportunity to learn about the distinctive history of Okanagan.
They offer guided tours of the Grasslands Trail that are led by volunteers and educators who are very enthusiastic about the area. The trail is generally flat and easy to follow for around 40 minutes.
In addition to the guided tour, they offer Nature Talks that instruct guests on a variety of subjects. These talks include a variety of props and taxidermy, are free, and are quite entertaining. Allan Brooks was an exceptional naturalist, illustrator, and educator throughout his lifetime.
Here, we are taught to appreciate the grasslands and the wildlife who rely on them as their home because we are in danger of losing them. You will discover the significance of preserving the ecosystem that is still present from the lofty vantage point that was originally the Vernon Upper Air Weather Station.
11. Polson Park
Polson Park is the ideal location in Vernon to take a stroll and take in the crisp air.
A little brook and numerous bridges may be seen in the park, which is also very lovely.
You can also get to know some of the hundreds of Canadian Geese who make this park their home by mingling with them.
11.1. What Are the Top Things to Do?
The two most popular activities are grabbing a coffee at the Tim Hortons (a Canadian classic) across from the park and taking a leisurely stroll around the paths.
In addition, they will occasionally hold events right here in the outdoor theatre. This is a fantastic opportunity to interact with local business owners, purchase some things, take in some live music, and even fill your stomach with food from various food trucks.
However, Polson Park is a lovely park to visit, even if the night market isn’t your thing. There are many different kinds of plants, trees, and flowers in the center of Vernon.
There are additional ponds, tennis courts, a lawn bowling alley, a skateboard park, and waterparks for youngsters. There are also areas for playing football and soccer.
A skateboard park, tennis courts, a football and soccer field, and lawn bowling are available for tourists who like to be active. Polson Park hosts many weddings and concerts, which is the cultural aspect.
12. Explore the Vernon Farmers Market
Why buy food from a grocery store when you can buy it fresh from the Vernon Farmers’ Market when the Okanagan Valley is known for its lush soil, and there are a number of farms in the surrounding area?
At the Vernon Farmers’ Market, you can talk to farmers who are selling their vegetables, craftsmen who are selling their crafts, and chefs who are running concession stands.
Locals and tourists alike who have a taste for the tastiest food grown in the rich fertile Okanagan Valley may get it at markets such as this one, which offer a festive alternative to shopping at traditional grocery stores.
The Okanagan Valley’s oldest farmer’s market offers more than simply fresh produce.
There is a flower shop, a bakery, and a craft fair there as well. It serves as a hub for gatherings and tradition.
A decent framer’s market is so much pleasure to explore while admiring the handmade crafts and meeting the locals.
Since 1979, the Vernon Farmer’s Market has been providing members of the community with a venue to socialize, connect with one another, and support the efforts of local farmers, artists, and business owners.
12.1. Why This Vernon Farmer’s Is a Must-Visit?
The Vernon Farmer’s Market offers a wide range of goods, such as seasonal fruit, bread, pastries, and meat, as well as freshly cut bouquets, homemade pottery, and other expertly crafted items.
Thank you for reading this article. Hope you found this article helpful.
Vernon is a sweet little city with lots of exciting things to see and do. This list of 12 Things to Do in Vernon mixes the spirit of exploration with historical legacy through its museums, recreation areas, and antique stores.
The Okanagan Valley, often known as Vernon, is a region in British Columbia, Canada, with a number of tourist attractions and picturesque countryside. Three lovely lakes surround Vernon.
There are numerous wineries and orchards in the city, which have moderate temperatures. We advise you to visit each of the locations listed in the best 12 Things to Do in Vernon while visiting in order to get the most out of this location.
Also Read: 12 Fascinating Things to do in Grasslands National Park
What is the Legal Drinking Age in Canada
Best Thrift Stores in Montreal