Many travellers that visit Osoyoos during the summer have been coming annually for years and are very familiar with what the resort town has to offer.
Of course, the more you frequent Osoyoos as a traveller, you start to develop your favourite activities, but what should the first-time visitors be looking to do?
Many travellers who are new to the area will stop at the Osoyoos Visitor Centre and ask “What should we try while we are here?” In order to help answer that question, we’ve pulled together ten activities that first-time visitors should definitely consider trying during their stay!
Go On A Wine Tour
The South Okanagan is covered in vineyards as far as the eye can see, boasting world-class wineries with stunning views and award-winning products. The wineries near Osoyoos are a major draw for visitors and if it is your first time here, wine touring is an absolute must.
There is a good selection of wine tour companies in the region and a guided tour is a great way to explore the area, get the inside scoop on some of the favourite wineries in the valley, visit multiple locations and give a stress-free experience where you don’t have to worry about the driving. Most tour companies offer the ability to customize your tour to fit your needs as well!
Take a Stroll Along Gyro Beach
Gyro Park is one of the most popular parks in town, located right at the bottom of the section of Main Street that runs through downtown Osoyoos.
This park features accessible beach access, great views of the lake and surrounding hills, beach volleyball courts, the Osoyoos Wibit, a bandshell for live music and much more.
In addition to all the park amenities, Gyro Park is a great place to enjoy an evening stroll. In the summer, the warm weather lasts well into the evening, however, it is the time of day that isn’t too hot to be outdoors. Gyro features a flat, paved trail that runs all the way from the Osoyoos Marina to where it meets Highway 3. Any visitors looking to extend their walk can cross the bridge and join Pioneer Walkway to get views of the south side of the lake as well.
Explore The Murals of Downtown Osoyoos
Art lovers take note as the Town of Osoyoos has continued to add splashes of colour to its walls with its growing network of murals.
Over the last few years, a handful of local artists have helped beautify the town, using their talents to put up some incredible murals — many within striking distance of each other when on foot.
From beating hearts to quail, and from Bugs Bunny to water skiers, we have built a guide to the vibrant murals of Osoyoos for you to discover during your stay!
Shop Main Street
The Main Street of Downtown Osoyoos (Highway 3) is a place every first-time visitor needs to check out. It features a good mix of restaurants, cafes, treats, and retail stores that are all worthy of being explored during your stay.
One of the stores that is a must-visit is the iconic Osoyoos Home Hardware. It has everything you’d expect from a typical Home Hardware but there is so much more to it. You’ll be able to explore the shelves for hours, taking in the uniqueness of the goods it has to offer. The store also often features seasonal displays that the workers have spent long hours perfecting to be worth your while.
Main Street is also home to one of Osoyoos’ most iconic fashion brands: Unity Clothing. The recognizable skate brand has been recognized by rappers, hip-hop artists and even Bob Barker. You are sure to see people wearing Unity clothing around town during your first visit and you might just want to pick up a t-shirt as a souvenir. The store recently underwent a renovation and added some really interesting historical exhibits to become almost like a mini museum as well, which is worth checking out!
Try Watersports on the Lake
One of the biggest things Osoyoos is known for is its watersports. Whether it be sailing, wake surfing behind a power boat, floating on a paddleboard, or kayaking, we have all the options for you during your first visit!
Osoyoos Lake is considered the Warmest Lake in Canada and you’d be remiss to come to town and not even dip your toe in the water. The lake averages temperatures of over 25 degrees Celsius in July and August, making it a place where you will want to spend some time!
There are multiple companies in town that can either rent you the equipment you need, take you out on a boat, or even give you lessons on a watersport of your choice!
Cycle the International Hike & Bike Trail
Many first-time visitors are travelling with their bikes and the International Hike & Bike Trail is a must when considering places to ride.
The International Hike and Bike Trail is an 18.4 km (11.4 mi) trail beginning at the north end of Osoyoos Lake, 8 km (5 mi) north of town, and is accessed at the wooden bridge on Road 22. This gorgeous trail follows along the Okanagan River Channel passing through vineyards and farms.
The trail is nice and wide, and relatively flat, making it great for all ages and all biking abilities. There are spots along the way as well that are great places for a cycling break or even a picnic.
If you are a visitor without your own bike, you are able to rent them for the day or by the hour from either Double O Bikes or Sessions Outdoor Sports — both stores located right in the heart of Osoyoos.
Plan A Farm Adventure
For any first-time visitor, arranging an adventure out at Covert Farms Family Estate is certainly something to consider adding to the agenda.
This family-run property is a 650-acre regenerative organic farm and vineyard that offers all sorts of fun for the whole family.
Not only can you have your own private picnic, fireside cookout or wine tasting, but you can enjoy all the amenities of the farm in a variety of ways.
Hop aboard their cherry-red ’52 Mercury truck and enjoy breathtaking landscapes, learn about the fascinating world of sustainable farming and winemaking, meet their resident farm animals, enjoy a wine tasting in the vineyards, and pull fresh strawberries from the U-pick (when in season). You can also partake in one of the many farm field games or bounce on the giant yellow jumping pillow!
Visit a Fruit Stand
One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about the South Okanagan is the bountiful fruit.
The fruit found across the region is grown to perfection, from apples so juicy that they drip down your chin when you bite into them to clusters of bright red cherries that will fill you up on a summer’s day.
It is an absolute must when visiting the Osoyoos area to stop by one of the numerous fruit stands to shop the fresh produce as you will not be disappointed.
Although driving along any of the major highways will most certainly lead you to one of these fruit stands, we’ve pulled together a map, marking the locations between Osoyoos and Oliver worth visiting!
Catch Sunset at the Anarchist Mountain Lookout
Many first-time visitors will not have heard about the Anarchist Mountain Lookout, but it is an absolute must.
Just 10 minutes east of Osoyoos, along Highway 3, sits the Anarchist Mountain Lookout, which gives you one of the best easy-access vantage points of the town in the entire region. Drivers will find a pull-out on the side of the road where they can park, get out of their vehicles and take in the views.
The views only get better just ahead of sunset as well, with incredible orange, yellow and pink hues reflecting on the lake as the sun dips behind the distant mountains.
It is a great spot to see the whole lake and get a complete lay of the land, the valley, the vineyards and the area that surrounds Osoyoos.
Learn About The Land And People
Learn about the desert when you visit the spectacular Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre. This state-of-the-art interpretive centre is an architectural marvel sensitively constructed into a hillside.
Discover the fascinating stories of this desert and share in the rich living culture of the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Syilx of the Okanagan Nation. There is also an opportunity to see a western rattlesnake up close as part of an exhibit at the centre.
You can also immerse yourself in the landscape when you visit the Osoyoos Desert Centre, a 67-acre interpretive facility. Enjoy a guided or self-guided tour along the centre’s brand new 1.5 km boardwalk, explore hands-on displays in the interpretive building, and stroll through the native plant demonstration garden. There is also a good chance you spot one of the many wildlife species that inhabit the South Okanagan.