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Free Fun

This is a running list of the many FREE things we have found to do in Penticton. It has grown over time, and will continue to grow as we experience more things. Enjoy.

Float Down the Canal

Access to the canal is free. If you have a floatie, or can borrow a floatie, and if you can figure out how to get to the starting point and get picked up at the end of your journey, then the whole day can be FREE.  If you don’t have a floatie, the cheapest place to find one is at the dollar store.  Canadian Tire has some better quality options, and it’s located right beside the canal as you drive from Okanagan to Skaha Lake.  You can’t miss it!

Float Down the Canal

You may also simply rent a tube at the canal starting point, and while you’re at it, you can also arrange a return ride on the “Coyote Tours” bus back to the start when you’re done – $12 per person all inclusive. Discounts for groups. The journey can take between 2-5 hours, depending on how fast the water is flowing. Usually it’s somewhere in the middle.

Canadian Tire sells a LOT of floaties in the summer

Hang out at Skaha Lake Park

There is so much FREE stuff to do at Skaha Lake Park.  There is, of course, the water. And there are rafts to swim out to and to jump off of.  There are also a number of free playgrounds and a kids’ water park.

One of the favourite things to do at Skaha Park in the evenings is to go for a walk or a jog.

For the bigger kids there are beach volleyball nets, tennis courts, basketball hoops, an inline skating rink, a fitness area with stationary equipment, a FREE boat launch (if you have a boat or a seadoo or something you want to put in the water), and tons of picnic tables with tall shady trees.  The area really is a small piece of paradise.

A day at skaha lake park
Paddle Boarding Penticton
Top 10 Things to Do On The Water

Swim in the Okanagan Lake

There are free slides for kids placed sporadically along the beach. There are also several rafts to swim out to. There is nothing like a nice dip in the lake to cool off. And while you’re drying off why not build a sand castle or two? The sand is plentiful and perfect for forming that masterpiece!

A smaller, quieter beach on the shores of Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake Penticton
Playing on the Wibitt at Oakangan Lake
Evening swim in the Okanagan Lake
There is plenty of room to romp and play in the water at this beach, without the need of a leash

Visit Munson Mountain

This is the mountain where the letters are located: PENTICTON. From the beach at Okanagan Lake you can see the letters quite clearly. The “mountain”  (hill) is just a short drive away and a great place to get an overall perspective of the city. The views up here are fantastic. And they are FREE. While you are there, just for fun take a picture of yourself sitting on one of the mega-letters.

Munson Mountain is where the big Penticton sign resides
The views of Penticton are quite extensive from this little perch on the mountain

Climb Giant’s Head

Just a short jaunt away in Summerland is Giant’s Head mountain, with a paved road most of the way to the top.  Many people hike from the bottom, but some do drive most of the way and then hike the last 100 meters or so.    The views are fantastic.   And it’s free!

Giants Head in Summerland has some fantastic views

The road up is paved, but a little narrow and windy.     If you choose to drive the road instead of walking, keep your eyes open for hikers and bikers, there will be quite a few!

This is only a portion of the 360 degree view you can get from the top of the Giant’s Head

Play Frisbee Golf

Have a frisbee with you?   If not, there is always the Dollar Store, Walmart, or Canadian Tire…..

This is not as well- known as many other attractions in town.  But it is not that hard to get to and could be a lot of fun for a few hours one day.  It is right off of Okanagan Lake near the boat launch.   There is a foot path entrance on Abbott Street between Vancouver Avenue and Marina Way.

The object of the game is to get the frisbee into the cage in as few throws as possible

The entrance to the course is easy to find right up the road from the Boat Launch and Marina at Okanagan Lake

Have a Bike?

The Kettle Valley trail is a wonderful ride on an old railway bed, away from traffic and sided with greenery and panoramic lake views.  

Biking the KVR trail is a common thing to do on a nice day
The KVR Trail runs on an old railway line from Kelowna to Penticton

The most convenient place to start your bike journey is just off of Vancouver street – (look on a map to see where the trail crosses).    Ride the trail as long as you want and then turn back the way you came.

The KVR Trail has many entrances

People who are more adventurous get someone to drive them up to Kelowna and drop them off at Myra Canyon for an 80 km, slightly downhill ride all the way to Penticton.   For a shorter adventure, you can head up past Naramata to Chute Lake – it is a mere 30 km, mostly downhill.    Either of these options do take some planning.   HooDoo adventures offers shuttle services to both starting points and also have plenty of helpful advice on what to take with you.   There are other routes you can take as well, check out the map.

Wine Tasting

Yes, many of the wineries do have tasting fees, but many of them do not. Pretty much all of the wineries to the south in Oliver and Osoyoos charge, but bottleneck drive (Summerland) and Naramata, has a blend of both. Here is an (incomplete) list of wineries that do not have tasting fees.

Summerland:  Dirty Laundry, Thornhaven, Heaven’s Gate

For more on wine tasting activities and ideas check out the article Three Days of Wine.  Here you will find maps and wine touring ideas.

While you’re here, visit some wineries!

Visit A Farmer’s Market

The most notorious Farmers Market is downtown Penticton on Saturdays.   There are plenty of vendors of both fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a whole section of the market dedicated to crafts and homemade products. 

Naramata has a smaller market on Wednesday afternoons you can check out, and Summerland has one on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Stroll through the market on a nice morning

Kid’s Skate Park

One of the largest and best skate boarding parks in the Okanagan is located right beside Loco Landing – just down the way from the Sicamous

As skate parks go, this is a pretty big one.   And best yet, it is FREE.    If you have kids that haven’t worn off enough steam yet, this is a great place to take them for an hour or so.

The skate park is located right beside the Loco Landing at the Okanagan Lake head.

 

Visit the Dam

This Dam helps control the water flow between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake

No, it’s not the Hoover dam.   It is just a little dam that divides the Okanagan Lake from the canal upon which you float (see #1).   The dam is used to regulate how much water leaves the Okanagan Lake and flows down into Skaha Lake.  The amount of water let through is based on recent weather conditions, overall water levels in the area, time of year, and probably just someone’s whimsy.   It is a short jaunt up a path located near the rose garden, just past the Sicamous and before you get to the Loco Adventure park.     If you’re in the vicinity, many of these named attractions are worth the visit, even if they do cost a few bucks.