Trip and Wellness

11 Best Things to Do in Penticton, B.C

11 Best Things to Do in Penticton

Nestled in the interior of British Columbia, the quaint city of Penticton is perfectly positioned between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake. Surrounded by water on two sides and embraced by mountains adorned with orchards on the other two sides, the city offers a wealth of both land- and water-based activities. It serves as an ideal destination for families, with a plethora of reasonably priced, family-owned hotels.

Beyond the water attractions, the revitalized downtown area, mainly focused on Main Street and Front Street, boasts a diverse array of retail shops, including the renowned Book Store, and a variety of small eateries offering local and international cuisines. The downtown area buzzes with energy during the summer weekends, featuring a vibrant farmers market.

True to the Okanagan Valley’s character, Penticton experiences long, hot, and sunny summers, coupled with mild winters. This favorable climate attracts a mix of vacationers and retirees. Explore the best things to do in Penticton with our curated list.

1. Skaha Lake Park

Skaha Lake Park
Skaha Lake Park

This delightful lakeside park stands out as one of Penticton’s primary attractions. The broad beach, adorned with golden sands, is embraced by warm, crystal-clear waters, complemented by a lakefront promenade.

Designed with families in mind, the park features extensive play structures, a water park, and green spaces with picnic tables beneath towering pine trees, offering a serene setting. Additionally, a concession stand providing quick bites is operational on most days.

Spanning 21 acres, Skaha Park is an excellent venue for various recreational activities. Visitors can engage in tennis, basketball, beach volleyball, and softball on a first-come, first-served basis. For those inclined to explore the water, a boat launch is available, facilitating activities such as tubing, wakeboarding, and waterskiing.

2. LocoLanding Adventure Park

LocoLanding Adventure Park
LocoLanding Adventure Park

LocoLanding stands out as the premier destination in town for families looking to let their kids expend some energy. Encompassing a sizable area, this park is a widely favored attraction for families.

The array of activities includes bumper boats, a high-level ropes course, a jump and slide, miniature golf, Aeroball (a dodgeball variation on a trampoline), Monkey Motion (an exhilarating spinning ride propelling you 18 feet into the air), Go Karts, rock climbing, and a challenging Big Baller course (requiring you to traverse four giant balls without falling off).

Guests have the option to purchase individual activity passes or opt for a comprehensive day pass covering all attractions. Situated just off the beach on the eastern side of Penticton, LocoLanding is conveniently located near the SS Sicamous.

3. Munson Mountain

View from Munson Mountain
View from Munson Mountain

Munson Mountain, with its prominent Penticton letters adorning the hillside, is easily visible from virtually any part of the town.

Situated atop Vancouver Hill, this public park offers sweeping panoramic views of the Okanagan Valley, the city, and the glistening waters of the lake below.

Entry to the park is free, and it features a variety of both paved and unpaved walking trails. Some of the paths, especially the one leading to the summit, can be steep, but strategically placed benches offer resting points along the way.

A notable attraction within the park is Pen-Henge, located at the summit. The markers precisely align with the summer and winter equinox sunsets and sunrises.

To reach Munson Mountain, drive towards Naramata, watching for the sign on the roadside and taking the left fork in the road.

4. Kettle Valley Rail Trail

Kettle Valley Rail Trail
Kettle Valley Rail Trail

If you have had your fill of beach relaxation and seek some activity, explore the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Hikers, walkers, joggers, and bikers can enjoy breathtaking views along this mostly flat and well-graded former railway line. With inclines never exceeding 2.2 percent, most of your energy will be spent taking in the stunning scenery and vistas overlooking Lake Okanagan.

While the most striking segment is further north in the Myra Canyon section, the trail along the valley wall near Penticton is also worth exploring. A popular approach is to commence the trail at the tunnel and bike downhill, passing through orchards, farms, and small restaurants along the route.

Local bike shops offer bike rentals, providing you with bikes, riding gear, and transportation to the starting and ending points.

5. Skiing at Apex Mountain Resort

Skiing at Apex Mountain Resort
Skiing at Apex Mountain Resort

While Penticton is primarily recognized as a summer destination, the winter activities here should not be underestimated. Skiing at Apex Mountain Resort caters to both families and powder enthusiasts, thanks to the unique fluffy light snow, known as champagne powder, that graces the slopes. As a standout ski destination in the Okanagan since 1961, the resort provides a relaxed atmosphere.

Waiting times are typically short, with high-speed detachable quad or triple chairs whisking you away for exhilarating descents on over 120 trails. Apart from regular daytime skiing, the resort offers tubing and limited night skiing.

Situated just a 33-kilometer drive along well-maintained roads from Penticton, the resort is easily accessible for day trips. If you prefer an extended stay on the mountain, a range of accommodations, from hotel rooms to fully equipped condominiums, is available for rent.

Planning a complete ski vacation in BC’s Interior is straightforward. Two remarkable resorts, Silver Star Mountain, and Big White are conveniently located up the road from Penticton.

6. The Book Shop

The Book Shop
The Book Shop

A fixture on Main Street since 1974, this iconic store is a haven for books covering practically every subject imaginable. Encompassing 5,000 square feet, The Book Shop is a must-visit when exploring Main Street or seeking refuge on a rainy day.

Beyond its extensive book collection, the store boasts a rental inventory of over 20,000 videos and DVDs, showcasing one of the area’s premier selections of foreign films.

Easily identifiable, the store features a front adorned with a horse and wooden wagons loaded with books.

7. SS Sicamous Museum & Heritage Park

SS Sicamous Museum & Heritage Park
SS Sicamous Museum & Heritage Park

Located on the southern edge of Penticton’s waterfront, the SS Sicamous Museum showcases a meticulously preserved steam sternwheeler dating back to 1914. Exploring this museum is akin to a journey back in time to the era of opulent ship travel, providing glimpses into cabins, the dining area, and other elaborately adorned spaces.

In its heyday, the SS Sicamous navigated Okanagan Lake, making 14 scheduled stops on its daily journey to the far reaches of the lake, reaching as far as Vernon.

Notable attractions include the Gentleman’s Saloon, featuring its original décor with a red carpet and a cane bench, as well as the Grand Staircase crafted from mahogany imported from Australia. Those with an affinity for mechanics will find the perfectly restored engine room captivating, adorned with colorful pipes and a substantial boiler.

For younger visitors, the engine room also houses a scale model of the Kettle Valley Railway.

8. Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park
Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

Taking advantage of Penticton’s stunning surroundings is effortlessly achieved, with Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park just a short drive from town. Recognized as the premier climbing destination in the Okanagan Valley and among the best in British Columbia, the park boasts sheer rock faces that attract climbers like magnets. The three primary canyons—Shady Valley, Sun Valley, and The Grand Canyon—offer over 1,200 climbs catering to all skill levels, with the climbing season extending from March to October (though the summer months can be quite warm).

Beyond climbing, the park features hiking and mountain biking trails meandering through bunchgrass and Ponderosa pine trees. While exploring, keep a lookout for bighorn sheep, western screech owls, and two varieties of rattlesnakes: night and western. Note that some trails may pose unexpected challenges, so exercise caution when selecting your route.

9. Float the Penticton River Channel

Float the Penticton River Channel
Float the Penticton River Channel

If you are seeking a cost-free and enjoyable activity on a scorching summer day, the Penticton River Channel is the perfect destination.

Simply grab your inner tube or another floating device and leisurely drift down the shallow stream. Should you become too warm, just roll off into the refreshing water, and if you’ve packed a snorkel, keep an eye out for the small fish darting around.

To make the most of the experience, consider packing a lunch for the seven-kilometer float. The entire journey typically takes two to three hours. The first exit point is at Green Mountain Road, approximately 45 minutes into the channel, making it a suitable choice for families with young children.

Keep in mind that you will need two cars—one at each end of the river—or you can opt for the shuttle service at a reasonable fee. Coyote Cruises, situated at the starting point just down from LocoLanding Adventure Park, provides a variety of floaties, from singles to large group versions.

10. Ride the Rails on the Kettle Valley Steam Railway

Kettle Valley Steam Railway
Kettle Valley Steam Railway

Only a brief 10-minute drive away in Summerland, you could travel back to the early 1900s and experience a ride on the meticulously restored Kettle Valley Steam Railway. Following the original tracks, the train meanders along the valley’s edges, offering breathtaking views of the lake and orchards in the foreground.

Passengers can choose between riding in meticulously restored passenger coaches or the open-air car for the 90-minute round trip. The genuine working steam engine, number 3716, constructed in 1912, adds authenticity with its rumbling engine and billowing steam along the track.

A notable moment during the journey is when the train leisurely crosses the 238-foot-high Trout Creek Bridge. The entire trip is accompanied by a narrated commentary from a tour leader, and live music performances enhance the experience.

The train primarily operates from Saturday to Monday between mid-May and mid-September, with additional Thursday runs during the peak of summer. Special Christmas Express trains are available in December, and a Halloween Terror Train runs around Halloween.

11. Penticton Peach Fest

Penticton Peach Fest
Penticton Peach Fest

If you can plan your visit, accordingly, make sure to be in Penticton for the yearly Peach Fest. Each summer during the second week of August, the city bursts with a variety of free family entertainment. Commencing with a city-wide parade on Wednesday, the festivities continue for five days, concluding on Sunday night.

The central hub of activities is Okanagan Lake Park, featuring live music, street performances, softball, and beach volleyball tournaments, and a plethora of summer activities like sandcastle building and eccentric races. A notable attraction is the Canadian Tire Mega Motocross event, showcasing daredevil motorcycle riders executing breathtaking aerial stunts.

Penticton has been hosting the Peach Festival annually since 1947.


Q: Is Penticton a year-round destination?

A: Yes, Penticton’s diverse attractions make it an ideal destination throughout the year.

Q: What is the best time to visit Penticton for wine lovers?

A: The grape harvest season, usually in September, is perfect for wine enthusiasts.

Q: Are there family-friendly accommodations in Penticton?

A: Absolutely, Penticton offers a range of family-friendly accommodations, including resorts and hotels.

Q: Can I explore Penticton on a budget?

A: Yes, there are plenty of budget-friendly activities and accommodations in Penticton.

Q: What is the must-try local dish in Penticton?

A: Don’t miss out on trying the locally sourced and farm-fresh dishes, a hallmark of Penticton’s culinary scene.