Welcome to Vernon
Sitting conveniently at the north end of Okanagan Lake and Kalamalka Lake is Vernon, British Columbia. Surrounded by stunning lakes, rolling mountains, vineyards, and orchards, this beautiful small city is one of BC’s top destinations for travellers from near and far.
Home to almost 50,000 residents, it is the second largest city in the Okanagan Valley. This quickly growing area is a must-visit when in the Okanagan, thanks to its vast landscapes, abundance of outdoor activities, and friendly locals that call this place home.
With a regional airport in the city, and the Kelowna International Airport less than 30 minutes away, Vernon is easily accessible. By vehicle, it’s 4.5 hours east of Vancouver and 6.5 hours west of Calgary.
Hot, dry summers combined with mild winters and ample amounts of snow in the mountains make Vernon a popular year-round destination. During the summer, the masses flock to the world-famous Okanagan and Kalamalka Lakes, whereas in the winter it’s Silverstar Mountain Resort that provides the fun.
We’ve highlighted our favourite things to do, places to stay, and local food/drink options in the city. Click through to find all the local favourites that will help you plan your Vernon getaway today!
Things to Do
No matter what activities you’re into, you’ll have your pick at a variety of different things to do. Whether it’s hiking to beautiful viewpoints, exploring the various art galleries, relaxing by the lake, or checking out the local shops, you won’t be bored here. There’s a reason why it’s one of the top travel destinations in BC, so come check it out for yourself!
Vernon attracts people from all over to experience world-class mountain biking, hiking, and water sports. Spend your day exploring the vast trail network in Kalamalka Provincial Park, hike to the popular BX Falls, or rent a bike and cycle the Okanagan Rail Trail. When the snow flies, hit the slopes for incredible terrain for all skill levels at Silverstar Mountain Resort.
It wouldn’t be a true Okanagan city without a healthy number of wineries close by. Although not directly in Vernon, these world-class wineries are a 20-minute drive south in Lake Country. Spend your day exploring the Scenic Sip Trail and learn the unique history of these wineries. Come for the tasting and stay for a fine dining experience at many of the world-class restaurants inside these beautiful wineries!
Vernon in the summertime radiates classic beach culture. Having both Okanagan Lake and Kalamalka Lake within a 10-minute drive from downtown, the options are seemingly endless when it comes to picking a beach. Kal Beach is the most popular where the crowds gather on those hot summer days, whereas others like Kin Beach and Jade Bay provide more seclusion and relaxation.
There’s no shortage of kid-friendly activities here in Vernon. No matter what time of year, there’s a variety to choose from. Spend the day at the Splashdown Vernon Family Waterpark, take a tour of the Historic O’Keefe Ranch, or head to the Okanagan Science Center for some indoor education and fun!
Perhaps the largest draw to Vernon in the summertime is the abundance of water sports available. Stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming, and boating are activities that can keep you busy for days on end. With a variety of rental shops to choose from, you’re able to rent anything from a simple kayak to a high-end wakesurf boat. Okanagan Lake and Kalamalka Lake are known for their warm waters and beautiful scenery – come and see what they’re all about!
Being in the Okanagan, Vernon has one of the longest golfing seasons in Canada. For the avid golfer, book a tee time at Predator Ridge and The Rise to experience beautiful views, manicured greens, and premier service. Other popular courses in Vernon are the historic Vernon Golf & Country Club and the executive-style Hillside Golf Course.
Arts & Culture
The rapidly growing art scene is obvious here in Vernon. With multiple art galleries and theatres that host a variety of performances, it’s becoming a popular place for artists to express their wonderful talent. Be sure to check out the Museum & Archives of Vernon – a special place that teaches the rich history of this beautiful city and region.
Shopping & Markets
Home to one of the Okanagan’s oldest farmer’s markets, the Vernon Farmer’s Market is the go-to local shopping in town. Head to Village Green Shopping Center for more retail therapy with over 60 shops to choose from. Whatever you’re after, Vernon is a great spot in the North Okanagan for all your shopping needs.
Health & Wellness
After spending days adventuring outdoors, it’s likely you’ll be craving some rest and relaxation. Whatever type of treatment you prefer, you’ll be able to find it here. From active sports massages to relaxing couples massages and facials, Vernon has an abundance of high-quality wellness centres and day spas to choose from.
No matter the time of year, Vernon is constantly hosting events that cater to a variety of interests. The popular annual events that draw people from all over the region are the Sunshine Festival and Carnival of Lights, along with concerts frequently being played at various locations throughout the city.
When the snow flies, the masses migrate to SilverStar Mountain Resort, only 45 45-minute drive from downtown. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, tubing, and ice skating are just a few of the popular winter activities that you can enjoy in this winter wonderland. Stay for a few nights at the on-mountain accommodation and experience what BC mountain culture is all about.
The Vernon & District & Performing Arts Center and Powerhouse Theatre are frequently hosting a variety of plays and shows. For movie lovers, head to Galaxy Cinemas or the Vernon Towne Theatre to see the newest blockbuster hits. If movies and plays aren’t your thing, catch a Vernon Vipers game to see the local up-and-coming hockey stars battle it out on the ice! There’s always something to do here, whatever your preference is.
Places to Stay
There’s a wide variety of wonderful places to stay in Vernon. Luxurious resorts, cozy bed & breakfasts, lakefront vacation homes, and beautiful campgrounds are scattered throughout the North Okanagan and are waiting to be explored by you.
Resorts in Vernon
Sparkling Hill Resort is widely known as one of the country’s top resort destinations. Sitting in the rolling Okanagan mountains, Sparkling Hill is a European-inspired destination that offers relaxation, fine dining, and first-class accommodations. Enjoy a round of golf, a top-quality spa experience, and delicious cuisine at this truly deluxe resort.
Hotels in Vernon
The Castle at Swan Lake Hotel is described as the perfect place to stay and play. From deluxe king-bed rooms to spacious chalets with 5 bedrooms, The Castle can suit any accommodation need. This hotel sits on Swan Lake and is within minutes of Okanagan Lake and Kalamalka Lake, making it an ideal location for any activity you choose.
Riviera Plaza & Conference Center has everything you need for a comfortable stay in Vernon. Conveniently located close to shops, restaurants, and popular local attractions, it’s a great place to explore. With a variety of conference rooms, the Riviera is well-suited for hosting conferences, meetings, and large events.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Vernon Sits near Swan Lake and close to a variety of shops and tasty restaurants. Carrying its strong name, the Fairfield Inn provides ample comfort and top-notch service. No matter what your reason for visiting Vernon is, this hotel is sure to provide a relaxing and enjoyable stay.
Motels in Vernon
Silver Star Motel provides easy access to beautiful golf courses, lakes, and wineries. As the go-to budget-friendly accommodation option in Vernon, Silver Star Motel offers all the necessary amenities for a comfortable and relaxing stay.
Okanagan Royal Park Inn is conveniently located near restaurants and shopping and is within walking distance from the downtown strip of Vernon. Simple, yet comfortable, the large rooms and excellent service are key reasons why this budget-friendly motel has been around for so long.
Schell Motel provides amenities that ensure a comfortable stay. Enjoy their seasonal outdoor swimming pool, BBQ area, and convenient location to Vernon’s most popular attractions. This throwback-style motel is a great budget-friendly option in Vernon.
Bed & Breakfasts in Vernon
O’Keefe’s Landing B&B is Vernon’s only lakeside bed & breakfast. The two-room options both feature incredible lake views and comfortable beds, and each has its own unique amenities. Enjoy some quiet time in the common room and receive the best local knowledge from Mary Jo and Dave!
Turtle Mountain Inn B&B allows for the perfect romantic getaway, Nestled in the rolling mountains, guests have easy access to a variety of walking trails that lead to incredible valley views. The private patio, entrance, and quiet lounge area allow for total relaxation and comfort, so guests can feel right at home.
Vernon Country Cottage B&B is your home away from home. Located less than 10 minutes from downtown Vernon, this B&B is surrounded by open fields, large trees, and a quiet, country feeling. Enjoy the 2km paved walkway that leads to Okanagan Lake, perfect for those warm summer mornings.
Camping & RV Parks in Vernon
Swan Lake Campground & RV Park sits on the shore of Swan Lake and is ideal for those looking to enjoy a variety of water sports in a beautiful setting. Swan Lake Campground offers tent sites, electrical hookup sites, and even RV rentals. A little bonus, pedal boats, canoes, SUPs, and rowboats are free for campers to use!
Dutch’s Campground is located in the heart of Coldstream and within a 5-minute walk from Kalamalka Lake, The Okanagan Rail Trail, and Kal Surf Shop. What makes Dutch’s unique is that it’s “in the city”, allowing for easy access to popular shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Kekuli Bay Provincial Park Campground is one of the province’s nicest campgrounds. Set on the western shores of Kalamalka Lake, this provincially run campground is perfect for those looking to take advantage of easy access to beaches, boating, and hiking trails. Fair warning, this campsite fills up very quickly, so be sure to reserve a site far in advance.
Eat & Drink
Experience the wide selection of incredible restaurants, bars, cafes, and wineries that Vernon has to offer. Locally sourced ingredients are a common theme amongst the city’s top eateries and are a key reason why foodies love it here. Indulge your cravings during your time in Vernon, you won’t regret it.
Breakfast & Brunch in Vernon
Eatology offers a friendly and bright environment for breakfast and lunch lovers to enjoy delicious meals. Since 2015, Eatology has been serving Vernon a variety of creative dishes that have people raving. They pride themselves on serving fresh, high-quality, and hearty meals – something that is obvious as soon as you take your first bite!
The Okanagan Eatery is where locals go for brunch. This restaurant features tastes of the Okanagan by sourcing ingredients from local vendors. Putting a modern spin on traditional comfort food, you won’t be disappointed by the tastes, atmosphere, and genuine service.
Rosalinda’s will make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time. The hearty diner-style food mixed with a funky atmosphere provides a unique and fun experience. If you’re craving classic breakfast dishes to fuel your day, this is the place to be.
Lunch in Vernon
The Fig cares about nourishing each customer one bite at a time. Using local ingredients to produce the best quality food, this is the go-to place for a healthy lunch. If eating challenges are your thing, try the “Big Fig” Challenge – 10 minutes and 2 people to devour a 3.5-pound monster sandwich. If you finish it in time, you get it for free!
RAKU Rice & Noodle Bar is Vernon’s best Asian Fusion and Tapas Bar. Whether you’re after a tasty vermicelli bowl, fried rice, or sushi, RAKU is the place to be. Located in downtown Vernon, this delicious restaurant has gained a lot of popularity from locals thanks to its high-quality food and great service.
C-Lovers Fish & Chips is a Vancouver-based restaurant that prides itself on being the best seafood destination around. C-Lovers focuses on high-quality seafood, fresh ingredients, and a family-friendly atmosphere. If you’re extra hungry, enjoy all-you-can-eat fish and chips for under $20!
Dinner in Vernon
Intermezzo Restaurant & Wine Cellar provides an elegant dining experience that is unmatched by any restaurant nearby. Their menu features dishes from all around the world and features both local and international ingredients such as Spanish Saffron and Black Truffle. Pair your meal with the finest local Okanagan wine and treat yourself like you deserve.
Midtown Bistro has mastered the simple and efficient menu. Beautiful artwork, good music, and tasty food are the main features of this local gem. Their modern dishes combined with a relaxing atmosphere and friendly service make it the perfect place for a date night.
The Med Restaurant offers incredible Mediterranean-inspired dishes and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Enjoy the quaint patio on warmer evenings or sit in the cozy dining room. The Med also offers private and semi-private rooms for those looking to host larger groups.
International Restaurants in Vernon
The Curry Pot is a local favourite for Indian and Nepalese cuisine in Vernon. Traditional, tasty, and fresh food made to the spice level of your choice. From classic Chicken Tikka Masala to Steamed MoMo, The Curry Pot is sure to fill your cravings.
Sushi Kawa is known as the best authentic & fusion Japanese restaurant in Vernon. Their extensive menu features sushi of all types, flavours, and combinations. From classic Maki to specialty Kawa rolls, you’ll taste the freshness and care that goes into each roll.
Royal Garden Restaurant features a large selection of Chinese dishes that are sure to satisfy. What was previously a buffet-style (pre-pandemic) restaurant is now a popular spot for locals to eat. Check out their special family dinners and combo offers for a mixture of your favourite dishes!
Wineries in Vernon
50th Parallel Estate Winery has received numerous international awards since its beginnings. This winery sits in a stunning landscape complemented by endless views of Okanagan Lake. Enjoy a tasting or tour and learn how their wine is produced, and be sure to visit BLOCK ONE Restaurant for a memorable dining experience.
Ex Nihilo Winery is Latin for “Out of Nothing”, and perfectly exemplifies the beauty that has been created at this winery. Experience an in-depth tasting and learn how these delectable wines came to be. CHAOS Bistro, the winery restaurant features dishes that are meant to be paired perfectly with their wine.
Intrigue Wines was created by two families joining together through their shared love of wine. This cozy winery features friendly staff, delicious vino, and oftentimes live music in the summer. Be sure to try their wine and cheese tasting – something you can’t experience at many other places!
Breweries in Vernon
Marten Brewing Co. is located in downtown Vernon and is a go-to watering hole for locals and visitors alike. This microbrewery specializes in creating Indy Craft Beer that is made without preservatives and additives. With continuously changing taps, you’ll always have a new beer to taste when you arrive. Come for the beer, stay for the food. Their tasty restaurant offers a variety of dishes that are meant to be enjoyed with a cold pint!
Okanagan Springs Brewery has been around since 1985 and is very well known. This is a unique brewery as the actual location is used for the production and not for tastings. Okanagan Springs sells their beer at various liquor stores around the country, so grab a pack and enjoy the delicious brews they have to offer!
Cambium Cider Co. produces authentic ciders on land that has been growing apples since 1946. Stroll through the orchards, sip & learn about the cider-making process, and enjoy a delicious meal at the on-site restaurant. If you’re looking for a unique place for a celebration or event, Cambium can be that place too!
Tony’s Craft Cidery is a family-owned and operated craft cidery that produces and packages its craft side on the beautiful orchard in Vernon. Their gluten and sulphate-free ciders are becoming very well-known around the region and for good reason!
Pubs & Bars in Vernon
1516 Pub & Grill offers some of the best patio views in the Okanagan. What’s better than a delicious burger while catching the sunset on a warm summer evening? You’ll notice a large variety of foods – from their Ahi Poke Bowls to the Chicken Apple Brie Sandwich, you’ll be satisfied with whatever you choose.
Longhorn Pub is the place where people love to meet for good food, tasty drinks, and quality entertainment. With dedicated events throughout the week like bingo, trivia, and karaoke, you’re sure to have a good time here. Enjoy the wide variety of pub-style food served by the friendly and welcoming staff. Longhorn also features the only drive-thru liquor store in Vernon.
Sir. Winston’s Pub serves authentic British Pub Food that makes you feel like you’re across the pond. Deluxe twists on classic pub dishes make Sir. Winstons is an easy choice when you have a pub craving. A special food feature every day of the week mixed with a warm and inviting ambiance makes Sir. Winston’s one of the best pubs in the North Okanagan.
Vernon Coffee Shops
Ratio Coffee & Pastry is the common coffee shop meet-up for Vernon locals. Mouth-watering donuts, delicious coffee, and an inviting atmosphere are what make this space so special. For us, we don’t see a better way to start your day than at Ratio.
Triumph Coffee is the place to be for finely roasted light & medium coffee. With an ambiance that reminds you of your favourite Vancouver coffee shop, Triumph offers a contemporary and inviting space for good conversation, comfortable workspaces, and your preferred cafe drinks.
Bean To Cup is the only coffee bar in the North Okanagan that roasts its own coffee beans. Having been around since 1998, locals love to sip their fine coffee amongst the beautiful garden and pair it with a delectable pastry.