Vernon is an ideal city in both size and location. The number of activities and amenities eclipse what one would expect to find in a city of only 40,000 residents.
So, where is Vernon? Vernon sits at at the intersection of 2 beautiful valleys in BC’s North Okanagan. It is home to Swan Lake and has waterfront parks and beaches on each both Okanagan Lake and Kalamalka Lake. The surrounding hillsides provide a beautiful backdrop to the open landscape and offer a wealth of year-round activities.
With a quick look at the list of things to see and do in Vernon (below this article), you will see there are few activities that you cannot do here.
Downtown Vernon – Unique Shopping and Dining Choices
While Vernon is famous for its outdoor-focused lifestyle and activities, it offers plenty of other things to see and do as well. The downtown core, especially along 30th Avenue, is a vibrant area lined with unique shops and restaurants that will appeal to those who love shopping or dining. There are two really good Toy stores, both on 30th Avenue, something rarely found in a city of this size.
It’s nice to see such a vibrant Downtown, especially considering how the downtown core of many similar sized towns have deteriorated. Several heritage buildings have been preserved helping maintain the character of the older downtown core.
History and Science
If you would like to learn about some of the area’s history, check out the Historic O’Keefe Ranch located just north of Vernon on Highway 97 going toward Kamloops. There’s plenty to explore including pioneer buildings, animals and more at this family-friendly venue.
In town, you can learn about the history of the North Okanagan and Vernon at the Vernon Museum and Archives on 32nd Avenue.
Kids and adults can enjoy a visit to the Okanagan Science Centre located in beautiful Poulson Park. The interactive exhibits help make science interesting and fun for all ages.
Getting back to the outdoor activities, especially during the summer, you will want to visit Kal Beach at the north end of Kalamalka Lake or Kin Beach on Okanagan Lake. For more summer fun consider biking along the Okanagan Rail Trail that follows Kalamalka Lake all the way to Oyama and beyond. It is a nice level trail that’s easy to ride and very scenic.
Speaking of Oyama, check out the Oyama Zipline Adventure Park – one of the largest and best in the province.
Near the North end of Swan Lake, you can take your family to Atlantis Water Slides for a fun way to cool down on those warm summer days. Take the Pleasant Valley Road exit from Highway 97 northbound then turn left on Greenhow Road.
Silver Star Mountain – Summer and Winter Fun
During the winter months, Silver Star Mountain Resort really comes to life. This popular Ski Resort offers skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, tubing, sleigh rides, and snowcat tours. The village is wonderfully festive over the holiday season. Summer is also great with 16km of hiking trails and more than 120 kilometres of mountain bike trails.
Vernon Golf Courses
Vernon is a golfer’s paradise. Golfers can choose from 3 fantastic golf courses in and around Vernon. Beautiful Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club boasts both a 9 hole par 34 course and an 18 hole par 71 course. It is located north of town on Highway 97. The Rise is an 18 hole course situated on the hillside south of town and offers beautiful views while playing. Hillview is a mid-length golf vourse with low green fees for 9 or 18 hole rounds. Immediately south of the City Center is the Vernon Golf and Country Club, the oldest golf course in Vernon. If you are willing to drive just a bit further the selection of courses is even greater.
Destination Orchards and Farms
Another popular place to visit is Davidson Orchards Country Village located West of downtown Vernon on the hillside overlooking Okanagan Landing. This family-run business features a unique outdoor play area with all kinds of kid’s activities. Kids can enjoy a tractor pulled “train” tour around the orchard. Discover abundant unique products, fresh produce and baked goods in the large country store. The cold-pressed apple juice and apple cider are a must.
While in the same area, check out Planet Bee Honey Farm and pick up some fresh local honey.
Other Vernon Attractions
Other attractions and activities in Vernon include a Casino, Live Theatre, 5 Pin Bowling, Paragliding and more.
Vernon has plenty of accommodation options ranging from campgrounds and RV parks, B&Bs, motels, and most of the major hotel chains.
What are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to this North Okanagan paradise today.