Summer may have passed us by in the blink of an eye, but fall presents new opportunities for meaningful travel within BC.
Deep in the Okanagan Valley, yet just a short road trip from Vancouver, Vernon offers a retreat from city life that few destinations can match. Its small-town charm, rich history, and world-class outdoor activities check the boxes for a vacation that offers something for everyone.
Autumn transforms Vernon’s hillsides for harvest season, glowing with golden foliage and hues of red, orange, and yellow. Since the weather is mild, it’s easy to immerse yourself in nature, whether your vacation agenda is primed for wellness or wilderness wonderment.
So, to truly reap the rewards of your first fall getaway, consider the unexpected experiences you can have in Vernon.
Explore the great outdoors
Once you’ve set your out-of-office email response, awaken your sense of adventure in Vernon. The interior haven is renowned for its diverse hiking trails that range in levels of difficultly and accessibility, including the scenic Okanagan Rail Trail, historical Grey Canal Trail, and the cedar-lined BX Creek and Falls Trail.
SilverStar Mountain Resort has options for cross-country biking and strolls through tranquil meadows (with a gondola offering unparalleled views as you ride up the mountain). Plus, you can still get out on Vernon’s crystal waters during autumn by renting a boat or stand-up paddleboard.
Walking through Vernon’s quaint downtown area is a real treat for the senses. Foodies can take their pick from 52 local restaurants exuding aromas of everything from Japanese to Mediterranean cuisine. After a splendid dining experience, embark on a treasure hunt for one-of-a-kind pieces at the town’s consignment stores owned by friendly locals.
Visit early in the afternoon to do a self-led tour of the vibrantly coloured murals adorning the sides of downtown buildings. Then, stay through the evening to feel the town’s magic come alive as tree-lined streets illuminate with twinkling lights.
Visit historic ranches
There’s no shortage of epic tours to join in Vernon. But to gain an understanding of times past, exploring at least one of the nearby ranches is a must. Taking a tour of the Historic O’Keefe Ranch gives you access to a (haunted) Victorian mansion, dating back to the 1900s. Here, you can explore a corn maze, learn about blacksmithing, and potentially join a workshop.
For a completely different yet equally fun ranch rendezvous, book a stay at one of the cozy cabins located at ShyLynn Ranch just 20 minutes outside of Vernon. Covering 160 private acres, guests can explore lush trails on foot or horseback.
Sip and savour cider
A trip to the Okanagan Valley wouldn’t be complete without tasting the authentic libations crafted in this region. Discover how fresh-pressed apple juice and cider are perfected at Davison Orchards, learn how the ecosystem impacts cider and luxury lemonades crafted at BX Press Cidery and Orchard, and sip mead (the world’s oldest kind of alcohol) at Planet Bee Honey Farm and Meadery.
If cider isn’t your jam, make a reservation for a tasting at Okanagan Spirits. Build on your whisky and gin know-how with each sip of a handcrafted local beverage.
Learn about local fare
Outside of the options for mouthwatering cuisine at Vernon’s top restaurants, the town’s Farmers’ Market is the perfect place to find local ingredients for a night of dining in. The market runs Monday and Thursday every week to the end of October, moving indoors in November.
You’ll find vendors selling everything you need to make an unforgettable meal, from gourmet treats and fresh-picked fruit, to BC vegetables, seafood, and much more. Other ways to enhance your foodie knowledge include following the Vernon Charcuterie Trail and joining a wild mushroom tour through the dense forest.
Indulge in relaxation
Sometimes, we all need a little time out to recharge. In Vernon, you can do that by treating yourself to a luxurious stay at Predator Ridge Resort. Choose a vacation rental or lodge accommodation and plan your itinerary around wellness-focused activities. Stretch out with a yoga class offering picturesque views of the lake, valley, and mountains from a spectacular outdoor platform or tee off on one of Canada’s best golf courses.
To incorporate spa treatments in your wellness vacation, spend a night (or three) at Sparkling Hill Resort. The on-site KurSpa offers a selection of signature options for revitalization, and the resort also specializes in wellness retreats, which are customized to help guests reach their unique self-care goals.
There’s never been a better time to start planning a fall getaway in BC. To lock in the best hotel rates, book your stay today. You can discover more about experiencing Vernon like a local by signing up to receive newsletters from Tourism Vernon.