Penticton is a city in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, located along Highway 97 between Skaha and Okanagan Lake. The city’s name comes from the Salish Indian word for “place to stay forever”. The name is fitting considering Penticton’s warm, dry climate and the beautiful lakes and beaches that make it such an appealing a destination. The town is popular among vacationers and very tourist-oriented. In and around Penticton, Highway 97 is lined up and down with motels, waterslide parks, and other facilities. The two lakes near Penticton give visitors the opportunity to embrace all kinds of water sports. In peak season, the beaches are overwhelmingly crowded.
The town is also famous for its orchards particularly its peach orchards, the first of which was planted in 1874. In July and August, the Penticton Peach Festival is held to celebrate the harvesting of peaches. Music, dancing, sports events, and the consumption of peach brandy provide both residents and tourists with ample recreation. In September, the city also celebrates the grape harvest. Wine-tasting, on the other hand, is year-round. The Casabella Wines at 2210 Main Street offers free tastings of local wine as well as a free tour of the vineyards. The city is known as the wine touring hub of the valley, and you can find close to 90 other wineries within an hour’s drive. The Naramata Beach, in particular, is a must with its 23 wineries.
A great way to view the beautiful Okanagan Lake is to hop aboard the Casabella Princess and take a cruise. This stern wheeler, however, operates only in the summer. Anchored along the lakefront is the S.S. Sicamous. This old sternwheeler belonged to the Canadian Pacific Railway and was once the only way of getting around on the lake. The Art Gallery of the South Okanagan is also located along the lakefront, specifically at 11 Ellis Street. The gallery displays local and international works and does not charge any admission.
The Apex Mountain Ski Resort is located along Green Mountain Road about a half hour west of Penticton. If you want to escape the city, you can take a road at the north end of town that leads to the eastern side of the lake. The road will reach the border of Okanagan Mountain Park. On the west side of the lake, Highway 97 provides a scenic route through vineyards, orchards, provincial parks, and other smaller communities.
If you are a golfer, the area around Penticton is also home to many courses. Hikers and mountain bikers should visit the Kettle Valley Railway Trail, and mountain climbers should try their hand at the Skaha Bluffs.
How to Get There
Penticton has a regional airport, which is served by Air Canada Jazz with flights to and from Vancouver. The Greyhound bus station is located at 307 Ellis Street and links with Vancouver, Kelowna, and Vernon.
Carroll, Donald. Insider’s Guide Canada. Edison: Hunter Publishing, Inc, 1996. ISBN: 1556507100.
“Penticton.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penticton>
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