On the west side of Okanagan Lake sprawls Summerland, one of the warmest and driest places in Canada. Located in the Interior of British Columbia, the town is set between Peachland and Penticton. Aside from being a retirement community, Summerland is also an excellent tourist destination. Its rich agriculture, various world-renowned wineries and endless natural wonders continue to attract many visitors every year. There are also lovely beaches and several golf courses to enjoy.
Summerland is characterized by ridges of plateaus and valleys. At its center lies the dominating Giant’s Head Mountain, a gigantic extinct volcano that provides picture perfect views for nature lovers and an hour hike for the adventurous ones. Visit the Giant’s Head Mountain Park to explore its wilderness of sage grasslands and ponderosa pine forest. Be awed by the wide array of wildlife within the area such as Canada geese, mule deer, coyotes and more. You can also admire Summerland Ornamental Gardens’ well-manicured lawns and flowerbeds. The vast gardens overlooking the stunning Okanagan Lake and the amazing Giant’s Head Mountain are perfect spots for some serene afternoon walks. They are open all year round. For some bird-watching, stop by the Adams Bird Sanctuary and try to spot a Williamson’s sapsucker.
People come and visit Summerland to buy fresh and organic fruits from local farms. Naming agriculture as one of its major industry, due to its fertile land, tree fruits such as peaches, cherries and pears are abundant in this area. Many family farmers produce fresh fruits and vegetables. They set up fruit stands by the roadside to showcase their harvest. They also allow visitors to wander their orchard and farms. You can also get to see the tallest orchard ladder in the world at Dickinson Farm.
Because of its numerous wineries, Summerland is popular for its Bottleneck Drive, a road system that connects a large variety of wineries. The wine route includes one of the oldest wineries in the Okanagan, the Sumac Ridge Estate Winery. Visit their vineyard, a cellar and take the Champagne Cave Tour for some wine tasting. One of the newest on the winery scene is Bonitas Winery. They offer exhilarating views of mountains and vineyards from their patio. Other notable wineries you must visit include Thornhaven Estates Winery that is nestled under Giant’s Head Mountain with beautiful scenery; Dirty Laundry Vineyard with some of the oldest vinifera vines in the region; and Sonoran Estate Winery, offering lunch while enjoying their patio. Hollywood and Wine Estate Winery is known for its certified organic wines while Valentine Farm is home to Vinegar Works, makers of balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar and fruit-infused vinegars. There are two options visitors can choose from on how they want to explore these wineries: cruise the back roads in a chauffeur-driven convertible or enjoying the lake and mountain sights from above on a heli-wine tour. It’s your choice. Wine sampling in Summerland is a wonderful experience.
People also come to Summerland to have a glimpse and take a ride aboard one of the trains of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway. The 90-minute journey on the historic Kettle Valley Railway takes you to the rural Summerland and the Trout Creek Bridge where you can admire the spectacular view of Okanagan Lake and its canyon. Riding this well-preserved century old steam engine is another excellent and nostalgic experience you don’t want to miss. Discover Summerland history by visiting the Summerland Museum that features Okanagan nation’s culture, fur trade routes, tent houses and more. You might also want to check out the works of Summerland painters and artists at Summerland Arts Center & Gallery and the plentiful studios and galleries downtown. Some of the note-worthy studios you might want to see are Sage Fine Art Gallery that features six Summerland painters, the DeLong Studio in Trout Creek area that specializes in sterling silver jewelry designs, and Hermesh Studio that displays sculptures as well as photography and digital art of Carol Hermesh. For car junkies, feast your eyes on the collection of more than 100 cars dating from 1937 to 1970. These vintage automobiles are being displayed at Nixdorf Classic Cars.
Summerland trails include panoramic views, beautiful landscapes, historical sites and wildlife encounters. No doubt hiking in Summerland is another one-of-a-kind experience. You can follow the fur traders’ path by taking the Brigade Trail or if you want to see the Trout Creek Bridge or the Summerland Ornamental Gardens, hike on the Trans-Canada Trail. Summerland Rotary Loop gives a glimpse of parks, vineyards and even the Adams Bird Sanctuary. For 360-degree views of Okanagan Lake, the Monashee Mountains and downtown Summerland, climb the summit of Giant’s Head Mountain.