Looking for the best things to do in Osoyoos, British Columbia?
Our ultimate Osoyoos attractions guide is the perfect resource for visitors or residents keen to discover the province’s famous wine region located within a scenic desert landscape.
Read on to discover the history of tourism in Osoyoos, best accommodation options, popular annual festivals and a list of the top fun things to do in Osoyoos on a weekend getaway.
The friendly four seasons destination is one of the best getaways in the South Okanagan. It offers winter skiing, summer water sports and scenic wine tours during the busy autumn grape harvest.
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History of Tourism in Osoyoos
The name Osoyoos is derived from the Syilx word soo-yoos, referring to the narrows formed by two spits across Osoyoos Lake.
Aboriginal communities have lived in the region for thousands of years, as evidenced by rock art and an oral tradition explaining their history before Europeans arrived in 1811.
Although fruit-growing potential was recognized by early settlers, it was not until 1907 when the first commercial orchard was established. Osoyoos soon became famous for its juicy fruit, growing sweet cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, and apples.
Osoyoos Orchard Limited launched in 1920 and an irrigation project was planned which finally brought water to the west bench in 1927. It was not until the 1960s that grape-growing became established on a large scale. Today, wineries are a major feature of the local landscape.
Osoyoos was incorporated as a village on January 14, 1946 and was registered as a town on June 30, 1983.
Today, with a population of around 5,000, agriculture and tourism are the community’s most important industries. Osoyoos’ motto is “Canada’s warmest welcome.” Indeed, Osoyoos has been welcoming visitors for over 200 years!
How To Get To Osoyoos
Osoyoos can be accessed by car within British Columbia via Highway 3 to the east and west and Highway 97 north towards Kelowna.
The drive from Vancouver typically takes around 5 hours. Leave the city in the early morning and you’ll be noshing on lunch at a scenic winery in no time!
The closest major airport can be found in Kelowna, which is a 1 hour 45 minute drive from Osoyoos.
Best Osoyoos Hotels
There are plenty of accommodation options in Osoyoos to fit every budget. Here are three of our favourite Osoyoos hotels and resorts.
- Watermark Beach Resort: One of the most luxurious resorts in town sits perched over Lake Osoyoos. Enjoy a romantic getaway by booking one of the hotel’s modern condo-style suites, which feature a kitchen and are pet-friendly. The property also features a full service spa, outdoor pool, fine dining restaurant and craft brewery.
- Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Osoyoos: This midrange 3 star hotel offers well appointed corporate suites, indoor pool, hot tub, and casual dining room.
- Super 8 by Wyndham Osoyoos: Traveling on a budget? The Super 8 is our favourite budget hotel in Osoyoos, offering clean rooms, complimentary breakfast and an outdoor pool.
Fun Osoyoos Festivals
If you’re researching the best things to do in Osoyoos you might want to plan your visit around one of these fun annual festivals.
- Osoyoos Spring Music Festival
- Meadowlark Nature Festival
- Cherry Fiesta Canada Day Celebration
- Half Corked Marathon
- Pig Out Festival
Best Osoyoos Tours
While you can easily experience all the best things to do in Osoyoos on a DIY itinerary sometimes it’s nice to just sit back, relax, and have a local guide show you the ropes.
We suggest booking a tour if you’re visiting the Osoyoos wineries, so everyone in your group can enjoy vineyard hopping safely. Pay someone to be your designated driver and enjoy the Chardonnay and Shiraz responsibly.
- Okanagan Morning Stand Up Paddleboard Tour and Yoga
- Oliver & Osoyoos Wine Tour Full Day
- Osoyoos/Oliver Wine Trail Holy Sip Lunch Shared Tour
- Oliver and Osoyoos Wine Tour from Kelowna
- South Okanagan Desert Tour
Things To Do In Osoyoos On A Weekend Getaway
Planning a road trip with friends, looking to book a romantic getaway or an active outdoor adventure with family? There are plenty of fun Osoyoos attractions to experience over a long weekend.
Locals often refer to Osoyoos as British Columbia’s desert, as summers are generally hot and dry. The average daytime temperature in Osoyoos is 17.0 °C, which is the warmest in Canada. Osoyoos also has an average annual temperature of 10.7 °C, which is one of the warmest in the country.
The number one reason to visit Osoyoos on a weekend getaway is to swirl and sip your way through picturesque postcard-perfect vineyards.
Wine tourism has exploded in the Okanagan Valley in recent years. While Kelowna may feature some of the most established vineyards in British Columbia, in-the-know oenophiles recognize Oliver & Osoyoos Wine Country for its exceptional viticulture, which offer excellent quality thanks to the regions uniquely dry terroir.
Today, Osoyoos and the surrounding area are home to over 50 wineries!
100 Enterprise Way, 250-535-1575
One of the most exciting additions to the Osoyoos wine scene is the jaw-dropping District Wine Village located near Oliver.
Dubbed the first true wine village in Canada. The must-visit wine destination is located in the heart of the South Okanagan, surrounded by vineyards and home to 16 artisan producers – including 13 wineries, 1 brewery, 1 distillery and a restaurant.
The concept of District Wine Village was a brilliant idea dreamed up by two friends Max Brock and Matt Kenyon. Max had travelled throughout America and had seen the model of winery clusters in other wine regions and wanted to bring the model to British Columbia.
Visit District Wine Village for it’s awesome architecture and outdoor gardens, on-site vineyard, 610-person capacity amphitheatre and opportunity to enjoy a true taste of the Okanagan in a glass.
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If you’re visiting Osoyoos on a weekend getaway you’re guaranteed a delicious meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Here are some of our favourite local spots, from casual coffee shops to fine dining fancy.
- The Bear, the Fish, the Root and the Berry: is an indigenous restaurant serving fine dining fare at Spirit Ridge Resort. An excellent opportunity to sample bannock and game meats.
- Nk’Mip Cellars: offers a gourmet lunch menu on its winery patio with pretty views overlooking the valley.
- 15 Park Bistro: located in the Watermark Beach Resort this chic waterside restaurant offers fine dining favourites like steaks, lobster and creamy burrata salad.
- Jojo Cafe: the neighbourhood brunch restaurant is popular with locals for their breakfast sandwiches.
- Junction 3 Coffee: on a sunny morning this is the spot to grab a frothy latte and pastry, best enjoyed on the outdoor patio.
- Masala Bistro: the best Indian restaurant in Osoyoos can be found at Kismet Winery. Sip sweet syrah while feasting on bowls of butter chicken and spicy vindaloo.
15 Park Pl Unit 226, 250-782-0923
North Basin Brewery is Osoyoos’ only microbrewery, located in the same complex as Watermark Beach Resort.
Visiting hop heads have been enjoying the craft breweries ales and lagers since first opening in November, 2020.
Founder Wesley Greve had been brewing his own beer at home for five years, but when it came time to produce commercially and open a taproom and storefront, he recruited professional Kody Rosentreter as head brewmaster.
The Osoyoos brewery has partnered with nearby Lake Village Bakery, which uses the spent grains from the brewing process to make pretzels and crackers, which are sold in the taproom.
North Basin Brewery often has around 10 beers on the go at a time. Highlights from their first year of brewing include Beta Pilsner, Big Air Burton Ale, Baby Yogurt Dark Lager, Big Shiny Porter, Bounce Back Wheat Ale, Facon Sweet Seltzer, Pound It Pale Ale, The Ditch IPA and Winter Onesie Spiced Ale.
You can buy and drink beer at the North Basin Brewery taproom and retail shop or buy it to take home seven days a week, 11 am to 10 pm.
Osoyoos Lake is the town’s biggest attraction, straddling both Canada and the US. The lake is approximately 43 kilometers long.
In the summer months its sandy beaches offer the perfect spot to sun tan or cool off with a refreshing swim. Water temperatures reach anywhere from 26 and 33 degrees Celsius in July and August, making it one of the warmest freshwater lakes in Canada.
It’s a popular place to visit for a swim, go fishing, or take a boat for a spin. Water skiing and wakeboarding are two popular activities, while renting a Sea-Doo, kayak, canoe or sailboat is a fun thrill for all ages.
1000 Rancher Creek Rd, 1-888-495-8555
The Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre is a popular interpretive centre in Osoyoos. It is owned and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band. It’s the best Osoyoos attraction to learn about local indigenous history and culture.
The mission of Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre is to exhibit the Okanagan Desert, culture of Okanagan indigenous people, and to promote conservation efforts.
Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre offers both indoor and outdoor exhibits and trails. It is designed as an interactive learning environment with hands-on displays and two theatres. Exhibits include recreated examples of Aboriginal architecture structures: a Tipi, Pit-house, and Sweat lodge.
The building is adjacent to a remnant of the desert, approximately 1,600 acres of which are being preserved as a conservation area. Trailheads lead to 50 km (30 mi) of desert paths leading to reconstructed examples of First Nations buildings and interpretive sculptures.
Visitors can also purchase from a greenhouse that grows indigenous plants and explore a community arts and crafts market.
A stroll through Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre is one of best things to do in Osoyoos for those keen to learn about aboriginal history and culture.
The most affordable of our favourite Osoyoos attractions is the panoramic view you can enjoy from Anarchist Mountain Lookout. It’s free!
Rising 1,491 metres above sea level, Anarchist Mountain offers panoramic views of Osoyoos Lake, the town, as well as South towards Washington State and the Town of Oroville, Washington.
How to get there: Head East on Highway 3 from Osoyoos. Follow the switchback for approximately 7 km until you reach the area to safely pull off on the right handside. Viewpoint signs will prompt you as you head to this area.
14580 146 Ave, 250-495-2470
The Osoyoos Desert Centre is an outdoor interpretive facility where visitors learn about desert ecology, habitat restoration, and conservation of endangered ecosystems in the semi-arid South Okanagan.
Visitors can explore Canada’s desert by taking a guided or self-guided tour along a 1.5 km elevated wooden boardwalk. You’ll also find a interpretive building with hands-on exhibits, and a native plant demonstration garden.
If you’re looking for things to do in Osoyoos for people with mobility issues the Desert Centre is wheelchair accessible and can be enjoyed at your own pace.
5502 Main St, 250-495-3544
Rattlesnake Canyon has been entertaining locals and tourists in Osoyoos since it opened in 1998.
Designed with family fun in mind, Rattlesnake Canyon is a western mining town themed amusement park. There is no admission fee to enter into the park and it’s pet-friendly so bring your pooch!
Looking for the best things to do in Osoyoos with kids?
Rattlesnake Canyon features plenty of fun including an 18 hole Mini Golf Course, Arcade, Bumper Boats, a Tumble Whirl, Tornado, Bungee Tree, a 30 foot Rock Climbing Wall, Helicopter Ride, Aeroball Basketball Trampoline and Gemstone Mining Station.
If you’re short on time visit simply to satisfy your family’s need for speed. Gas powered Go Karts are popular with all ages. The challenging track layout features an overpass and spectacular backdrop for high performance car enthusiasts.
Researching the best things to do in Osoyoos for geology lovers?
Spotted Lake is a saline endorheic alkali lake located northwest of Osoyoos in the eastern Similkameen Valley.
Spotted Lake is known to the First Nations People of the Osoyoos region as Kliluk, and it is a sacred site that has been considered a revered place of healing for centuries. The belief is that each of the different circles holds its own unique medicinal and healing properties.
Spotted Lake is a small lake rich in a variety of minerals, including calcium, sodium sulphates and magnesium sulphate. During the hot summer months, much of the water in the lake evaporates, leaving concentrations of these minerals that form the spots visible in the lake.
Throughout the summer, the spots shift in size and colour as the minerals within each change with further evaporation. Colours ranging from blue to green to yellow appear, depending on the mineral makeup of each spot.
To reach the Spotted Lake, follow Highway 3 west out of Osoyoos for 10 km. Out of respect for the sensitive environment and for the Okanagan Nation, visitors are not permitted beyond the viewpoint. The view and photo opportunities from the highway are excellent.
15 Park Pl #232, 250-495-8312
Levia Wellness Spa is located within the Watermark Beach Resort.
Ranked as the best full service spa in Osoyoos, Levia Wellness Spa was the creation of Leanna Stevenot and Sylvia Calado when it first launched. Leanna has taken the reins of the business for the last 5 years.
The spa’s name has a Hebrew meaning of “combined forces.” The owners explained, “Together we have given life to our business by combining our forces of passion, creativity, gratitude, joy, knowledge, experience, and self love.”
The soothing spa overlooks Lake Osoyoos and offers romantic couples on a weekend getaway a blissful opportunity to unwind.
The comprehensive spa menu features massage, face and body treatments, float experience, reiki, reflexology, hair removal and professional hair services.
3974 BC-97, 778-437-3133
If you’re looking for a great gluten-free sipping option, or simply love orchard apples, pay a visit to the tasting room at Maverick Estate Winery.
The hand-crafted philosophy at The Maverick Cider Co. produces a crisp, dry cider perfect for slurping on a hot summer day!
Maverick Cider makes hard apple cider, blush and pear ciders from freshly pressed, unadulterated fruit juice. Single variety estate apples are handpicked and processed on the family estate located on the Golden Mile, in Oliver.
Maverick is the only cider brand in the Okanagan offering hard cider that is blended with local wine. The Blush Cider is a blend of Braeburn and Granny Smith apples with a touch of our Estate Pinot Noir to add extra depth and complexity of flavour.
6001 Lakeshore Dr, 778-437-2221
Osoyoos really is a alcohol aficionados nirvana. Thirsty travelers can enjoy award winning wine, craft beer, artisanal cider and spirits.
If craft cocktails are more your thing head to Tumbleweed Distillers.
Osoyoos’ only craft distiller sources local British Columbia grains harvested at their peak, and the best Okanagan fruit and botanicals, and distills them using time honoured traditions.
Visit Tumbleweed Distillers and you’ll find a selection of Moonshines (cherry, maple and raspberry, oh my), rye whiskey, brandy, gin, and vodka.
On a sunny day we suggest sipping cocktails on the distillery’s front patio.
4001 Golf Course Dr, 250-408-9990
A visit to Sun Hills Riding Centre is one of our favourite fun things to do in Osoyoos for animal lovers.
Whether it’s your first time hopping on a saddle or you’re an expert horseback rider, Sun Hills offers a fun way to explore the unique desert landscape in Osoyoos.
One hour tours are on offer along a guided trail that trot past stunning valley views overlooking lush orchards, vineyards and Osoyoos Lake.
“We are a different kind of riding centre. We believe in a healthier way of being with horses. We use alternative riding equipment on horses that promotes comfort and longevity. Most of our horses have come to us through rescue,” reads the Sun Hill Riding Centre website.
Guests can enjoy intimate small group horseback riding adventures averaging 3-6 riders. Private group bookings are also available.
12300 Golf Course Dr, 250-495-7003
Researching the best things to do in Osoyoos for links lovers?
The Osoyoos Golf Club is Canada’s only desert-style golf course, originally established in 1973. It boasts 36 holes of championship golf in the heart of British Columbia’s South Okanagan Wine Country.
Play one of their 2 full-length courses, Park Meadows & Desert Gold, then stop in at the Greenside Bar & Grill for a cold beer and celebratory snack.
Or simply stop by to practice your swing at the driving range.
2680 Mount Baldy Rd, 250-498-4086
A visit to Baldy Mountain Resort is one of the funnest things to do in Osoyoos in the winter.
The alpine resort is located a short 40 minute drive north east of the town of Osoyoos.
Athletic adventure seekers brave the cold to access world class tree-skiing and boarding, carving up untracked powder through lush forests. Beginners are encouraged to sign up for a lesson at the Baldy Snow School.
Take a snowshoe excursion in the woods on 20 kilometres of marked, ungroomed trails. Explore the groomed, track-set cross-country ski trails at the Mount Baldy Nordic Centre. Test your skills with jibs, rails, jumps and more at the Terrain Park.
Or enjoy the relaxed, fun family atmosphere with a day of toboggan ride thrills.
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