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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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 entrance to the course is easy to find right up the road from the Boat Launch and Marina at Okanagan Lake
The Kettle Valley trail is a wonderful ride on an old railway bed, away from traffic and sided with greenery and panoramic lake views.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kid’s Skate Park
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
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.