Why Osoyoos should be on your radar for a springtime vacation

Feb 21, 2024

The lakeside town of Osoyoos is one of the hottest places in Canada, and not just because it has a desert climate and the country’s warmest freshwater lake. Sitting at the southernmost tip of the Okanagan Valley near the US border, Osoyoos is the perfect destination for those seeking outdoor adventure, winery tours and lakeside relaxation.

While this southern Okanagan town is a draw during the summer, those in the know understand springtime is ideal to enjoy the region's warm weather and the recreation that comes with it—all while avoiding the summer crowds.

Here are five reasons to book your spring Osoyoos vacation now. 

Experience the Canadian desert, sustainably 

Osoyoos offers many eco-friendly activities 

Most don’t think about dry desert landscapes when it comes to Canada and while you won’t find giant cacti, the unique desert climate in Osoyoos offers much to explore. There’s a big focus on preserving this desert too, with sustainability top of mind in agriculture and tourism in the region. Destination Osoyoos has signed the UN World Tourism Organization’s Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge intending to promote the region while also helping travellers enjoy it in an eco-friendly way.

Vacationers can opt to take an e-foil on the lake, choose e-bikes for their winery tours or head to Phantom Creek Winery, which is leading the charge in biodynamic winemaking (forgoing the use of chemicals in favour of natural materials and composts) and sustainability practices. Take a guided tour at the Osoyoos Desert Centre to see the yellow Antelope Brush and purple upland larkspur in bloom during the spring months.

See Cherry Blossom Season on overdrive

Travel during spring to catch the cherry blossoms in full bloom

Springtime in British Columbia means cherry blossoms—cherries are the first fruit to bloom each year. But in Osoyoos, the blossoming magic is on another level. With rows and rows of apple, peach, apricots, pear and cherry trees bursting with flowers, seeing the orchards is a one-of-a-kind (and beautifully fragrant) experience.

The blossom season usually happens from the end of March through the beginning of May every year, making it a great time to enjoy many of the outdoor adventure activities on offer in Osoyoos. Make your way along the 18km-long International Hike and Bike Trail, stopping to enjoy the views. Get your adrenaline pumping while mountain biking on the Strawberry Creek Trail. Or, go birding around Osoyoos Lake to welcome the arrival of Cinnamon Teals, Green-winged Teals, Redheads, and Northern Pintails.

Dive into downtown’s shopping and dining

Enjoy views of the Okanagan Valley

The Okanagan Valley is well-known for its wineries and with that great terroir comes fantastic farmlands, too, offering up some of the best fruits and veggies in the country. That translates into a vibrant local dining scene in downtown Osoyoos, with restaurants, cafes and food trucks dishing up a variety of cuisines to choose from, all paired with local wine and gorgeous mountain views.

While you’re shopping at the many boutiques and galleries along the main street heading towards Osoyoos Lake, it’s hard to miss the many colourful murals that adorn the town, portraying historic events, pastoral scenes and Indigenous art.

Sip under the sun at Osoyoos’ many wineries

Choose from one of many restaurants on the city's main street

All that sunshine and a dry climate mean the Southern Okanagan is red wine country. With more than 60 wineries to choose from between Osoyoos, Oliver, and the Similkameen wine regions, the glass is always full. The slopes of the Osoyoos region make for a great view over the vineyards and lake when enjoying lunch at one of the wineries and, in the spring months, you’ll never have to wait for a table. Plus, seasonal wine releases mean you’ll get the first sip of new and exciting vintages.

There are dozens of ways to explore the wineries of Osoyoos, from limousine rides and private tours to renting e-bikes from Sessions Sports or Double O Bikes.

Experience the living culture of the Okanagan peoples

Learn about its local Indigenous culture and heritage at the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre

Osoyoos and the area surrounding the lake are home to the Osoyoos First Nation and the Syilx of the Okanagan Nation, who live in eight communities in the interior of British Columbia and across Washington in the United States. More than 400 of the Osoyoos Indian Band members live and work on the Osoyoos Indian Reserve which translates into a variety of cultural and tourism experiences across the region.

Experience the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre to learn about the people, desert lands, and legends of the Syilx of the Okanagan Nation with the state-of-the-art interpretive centre complete with extensive indoor and outdoor exhibit galleries. Visit Nk'Mip Cellars, North America's first Indigenous-owned winery and sample Merlots and Pinot Blancs. Have dinner at The Bear, The Fish, The Root & The Berry which serves up a modern vineyard take on the creation stories of the Sylix people, or marvel at kłlilx’w (Spotted Lake) the mineral lake which is a sacred place of healing for the Syilx people.

Ready to go? Check out Destination Osoyoos.

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