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Okanagan Valley, BC

What to Do in the Okanagan Valley Vineyards are one of the most common things to see in the Okanagan Valley, and you could easily spend several months just touring the region's wineries. We suggest focusing your winery hopping on a specific area. More than a dozen that are open to visitors are clustered in the vicinity of Oliver , at the southern end of the valley, where grapes ripen more than three weeks earlier than they do in the north. The British Columbia Wine Information Centre, 553 Railway St. in Penticton, is a good resource for all things relating to wine; phone (250) 490-2006.

Visit the Quails' Gate Estate Winery and have lunch on the outdoor patio at the Old Vines Restaurant, one of the most popular places to eat in the area. Fresh seasonal and local ingredients highlight the menu selections, all paired with Quails' Gate wines, but it's the view that deserves applause—a hillside setting overlooking vineyards, orchards and the blue expanse of Okanagan Lake.

The Okanagan Fall Wine Festival celebrates the harvest of the grape on the heels of a sun-kissed summer. Many valley wineries offer free tours that include samples of the year's new vintages, and special events run the gamut from casual lunches to formal tasting banquets. The festivities take place during the first half of October.

Stop at a fruit stand. They're everywhere, so just watch for a roadside sign. Harvest time for the valley's cornucopia of fruits and vegetables begins in late June and lasts until mid-October. The family-run No. 1 Fruit Stand, right on Hwy. 97 in the town of Kaleden (between Penticton and Okanagan Falls), has them all, plus homemade jam; August and September are good months to visit. At Robert's Fruit Market & Orchard, on Hwy. 97 in Summerland (north of Penticton), you can try the rich Canadian specialty known as a butter tart.

Hit the beach—literally—at Penticton . This breezy resort town at the southern end of Okanagan Lake has a Coney Island atmosphere in the summer, when families head to miniature golf courses and amusement parks and take advantage of all kinds of water recreation activities and fun things to do with kids.

After an afternoon spent strolling around Kelowna's downtown lakefront, treat yourself to a romantic dinner at Bouchons Bistro . The menu is classic French—fresh duck foie gras, French onion soup with chablis, cassoulet (the house specialty). And the extensive wine list pays tribute to both France and the valley. You'll definitely want to linger.

Explore downtown Vernon , graced with 27 outdoor murals illustrating Okanagan history, culture and folklore. Then take a walk through Polson Park, on downtown's southern edge, and admire the gardens and floral clock.

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There's a sense of Zen tranquility in the Okanagan's wide open spaces and panoramic landscapes. Further that feeling with a pampering spa treatment at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort . It's a relaxing option if you're looking for things for couples to do on vacation.

Drive across the Red Bridge, just south of Hwy. 3 on the western outskirts of Keremeos (about a 45-minute drive west of Osoyoos). Straddling the Ashnola River amid a dramatic backdrop of mountain scenery, it's one of only a handful of covered bridges still standing in Canada and a reminder of southern British Columbia's gold mining era more than a century ago.

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Okanagan Valley, BC

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