Canada – Okanagan Day 1

Lake Country/Vernon – Day 1 of a 6-Day Trip in the Okanagan

The Okanagan is a beautiful region in British Columbia known for its wineries and fruit orchards. It is about a 4 hour drive east of Vancouver. We were visiting at the end of July, and there were unfortunately quite a few wildfires in the area. The smoke was not too dense at the beginning of the trip, but it got worse as the trip progressed. That said, the Okanagan is gorgeous and definitely worth a visit.

Day 1

Lake Country/Vernon

Day 1 began with a 5 hour drive from Vancouver. We started our day early, leaving at around 8am, and arrived in Lake Country just before 1pm. Lake Country is approximately a 15 minute drive north of Kelowna and Vernon is another 15 minutes north of Lake Country. There was more traffic than expected in Kelowna, adding another 20 minutes to the drive.

After a long drive, we finally arrived in Lake Country and we were starving! We met up with some friends for lunch at the Salty Caramel Kitchen. The Salty Caramel Kitchen is a plant-based cafe with a selection of baked goods, coffee, tea, and an assortment of lunch options. We ordered coffee, the scrambled bowl, the fried egg sandwich, the chick’n bacon ranch sandwich, and the buffalo chick’n quesadilla (top left to bottom right). The food was very tasty!

Next stop, wineries! Our first winery was Grey Monk Winery. Grey Monk is the oldest winery in the Okanagan, first opened in 1972, and is owned by the Heiss Family. Tasting fees vary per winery, but for Grey Monk Winery, it is $10/person. For the tasting, we tried the Pinot Gris, Rosé, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. We left the winery with a bottle of Rosé in hand. Note: Most of the wineries in the Okanagan will waive the tasting fee if you buy a bottle of wine.

We stopped at Arrowleaf Cellars Winery next. I had made a reservation at Arrowleaf Cellars Winery ahead of time, so we got in fairly quickly. Arrowleaf Cellars Winery first opened its doors in 2003. The wine tasting is $5/person. The tasting room was designed by award-winning architect, Robert Mackenzie, and opened in 2014. For the tasting, we tried their Summerstorm, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Field Collection. We particularly liked the Riesling and our friends bought a bottle of sparkling red wine.

After the winery tastings, we headed to our airbnb to check in. On the way to the airbnb, we passed by a cherry u-pick and had to make a stop! The climate in the Okanagan is ideal for fruit orchards and what better way to experience the Okanagan than by picking whatever fruit is in season yourself!

We were originally supposed to stay at the Sparkling Hill Resort, but due to some last minute issues, we had to scramble to find an Airbnb. In the end it worked out, the Airbnb was located in an apple orchard with an amazing view of the valley (minus the smoke). We’ll have to save Sparkling Hill Resort for our next visit.

View from Airbnb

We decided to rest up at the Airbnb for a bit. If you are looking for something to do, a suggestion would be to visit 50th Parallel Estate Winery. I have not been, but it is on my list to visit. After resting up, we headed to Vernon.

We stopped by Kal Beach and walked along the sandy beach. It was early evening, and the beach was quiet and relaxing.

We then headed to dinner at Marten Brewing, a craft brewery located in downtown Vernon. We visited on Wings Night Wednesday, their special was 1 pound of wings for $7.50. I ordered the brisket and bread with truffle fries, and he ordered wings. This was more than enough food for the two of us. For drinks, we shared a flight of beer – yum! It must have been a busy day for them, as some of their beers were sold out.

After dinner, we headed back to the Airbnb for the evening. We tried some of the sparkling red wine once back at the Airbnb – I had never had it before, but it was good! Would recommend!

Complete Day 1 Itinerary

*Travel times may vary. Check Google Maps for most accurate travel details.

8:00am: Drive to Lake Country (5 hour drive from Vancouver).

1:00pm: Have lunch at Salty Caramel Kitchen in Lake Country.

2:30pm: Visit Grey Monk Winery (2 minute drive from Salty Caramel Kitchen).

3:00pm: Visit Arrowleaf Cellars Winery (3 minute drive from Grey Monk Winery).

3:30pm: Stop at a U-pick!

4:00pm: Visit 50th Parallel Estate Winery (18 minute drive from Arrowleaf Cellars Winery).

5:00pm: Relax at Kal Beach (23 minute drive from 50th Parallel Estate Winery).

7:00pm: Dinner and drinks at Marten Brewing Co (7 minute drive from Kal Beach).

6-Day Okanagan Itinerary

Click “Download” below for an excel version of my 6-Day Okanagan Itinerary. Feel free to use the excel file as a planning template for your own trip in the Okanagan!

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