Top 10 Best Things to Do in Penticton: By a Local

Thanks to the incredible natural beauty in this area, there are SO many things to do in Penticton. But don’t worry if you’re more of an urbanite – there’s plenty for you here as well.

This post features more than 70 ideas, with a range of suggestions suitable for all ages and fitness levels. I have set aside my top 10 must-do’s at the start.

Many of these activities are completely free or low-cost. Some are touristy ‘must dos’ while others are a little further off the beaten path. Please note that some of these suggestions are weather and season-dependent.

Side view looking down pristine Okanagan Beach in Penticton, with manicured stretch of golden sand. A red and blue slide is visible close to shore. Forested hills in the background. The lake is very calm
Okanagan Beach, Penticton

As Penticton residents, we have personally tried and tested almost every single recommendation here, with a couple of exceptions for obvious reasons (sadly, we’re a little too old for some of the activities!)

Whether you’re looking for fun things to do in Penticton today or an upcoming trip, we’ve got you covered!

Last updated July 2023. For the most up-to-date information, contact individual businesses before visiting. There are some affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase, we may receive a small percentage of the sale.

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Top 10 Things to Do in Penticton

This section features my absolute favourite things to do in Penticton with visitors.

This ‘ultimate’ list provides a great introduction and overview of the city. When we have family and friends to stay, these are the ten activities we make sure we do during their visit.

It’s possible to do most of these suggestions in one day. Even better, at least half of these activities are completely free. The others can be adapted to your personal budget.

Visit Munson Mountain and the Penticton sign

Munson Mountain is home to the iconic Penticton sign, as well as some of the most impressive (and easily accessed) views in Penticton. In my mind, it’s a must-stop for anyone visiting Penticton.

From the parking lot, it’s only a three minute (or less) walk along a flat, paved path to the first viewpoint, which offers spectacular vistas of the city and Okanagan Lake.

A gravel trail ascends higher to a plateau above the Penticton sign (some loose gravel, one steeper section), where sweeping panoramas of the Naramata Bench vineyards and wineries await.

Side view of bench on Munson Mountain hike, with expansive views of Okanagan Lake and city of Penticton below, with forested hills as backdrop
Just some of the scenic views on offer at Munson Mountain

Relax on the beach

The beach is a perfect place to wind down after a busy day exploring wineries, breweries and the local Farmers Market. With two lakes, Penticton is blessed with several options. Please note that there are no lifeguards at any of the following beaches.

  • Okanagan Beach is, unsurprisingly, located on the Okanagan Lake (north) side of town. It features 1km of sandy beach with swimming area slides, rafts, washrooms, two fire pits and some picnic benches. The beach is backed by Lakeshore Drive
  • Okanagan Lake Park is on the other side of the Penticton Lakeside Resort and has a small sandy beach with fenced off-leash dog area, washrooms and benches. It also has day moorage for boats so isn’t my top pick for the average beach user
  • Marina Way Beach is a little further along the lake and has a small sandy beach with a raft (sometimes a slide as well) plus picnic tables and grassy space. It’s my favourite of the downtown beaches on Okanagan Lake
  • Skaha Beach is Penticton’s premier beach with an expansive stretch of sand (just less than 1km) and a swimming area backed by parkland. The latter features playgrounds, picnic benches, washrooms, concession stands, volleyball courts, a water park and more
  • Sudbury Beach is just west of Skaha Beach, separated by a compact residential area. It has a large beach area with a swimming area, concession stand, fire pit, washroom and slides
View of the sandy beach of Penticton Marina beach with reflection of trees in the water.
Marina Way Beach

Tour the local wineries

The Okanagan Valley is one of two major wine producing regions in Canada along with the Niagara Peninsula.

There are more than 50 winery tasting rooms located within a 20 minute drive of downtown Penticton. The biggest concentration of wineries is found on the Naramata Bench, a narrow, elevated strip of agricultural land on the eastern side of Okanagan Lake.

Even if you don’t have much interest in the specifics of wine, the beauty of the Naramata Bench is undeniable. Many of the wineries offer outside tastings, in which the wine is accompanied by a backdrop featuring rolling vineyards and Okanagan Lake.

With the wineries being located so close, it’s possible to walk or cycle between them. Alternatively, you can head out on a self guided tour (with a designated driver) or book with a wine tour company.

This beautiful wine region is truly unique and visiting a tasting room or two is definitely one of the best things to do in Penticton.

Close up of red wine glass on table in front of lawn and vineyard view, with Okanagan Lake visible in background
Wine tasting at Deep Roots on the Naramata Bench

Stroll the Okanagan Lake promenade

For a quick introduction to Penticton, take a stroll on the Okanagan Lake promenade. This 1km (one-way) completely flat, paved walk parallels the beach and offers spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

The historic SS Sicamous sternwheeler sits at one end of the promenade, with the iconic giant peach structure (also a concession) at the other end. Art sculptures and picnic benches are located all the way along.

For an extended walk, follow the shore through Rotary Park and towards the Kiwanis Walking Pier. The shoreline path then travels through the Penticton Lakeside Resort to reach Okanagan Lake Park and the beautiful Ikeda Japanese garden.

Marina Way Park and the adjacent beach await on the other side of the garden. The return distance from the SS Sicamous to Marina Way Park is just under 5km – the perfect morning or evening walk.

Looking up at four level wooden SS Sicamous sternwheeler ship, sitting on golden Okanagan Beach in Penticton. The boat's name is visible on the side
SS Sicamous sternwheeler

Browse independent downtown stores

Penticton has a lively and vibrant downtown, with restaurants, stores and cafes spread across a seven block area.

The heart of Penticton’s shopping area is Main Street, where you’ll find a mix of independent clothing boutiques, specialist stores and gift shops alongside banks, services, cafes and restaurants.

A highlight is the Bookshop, a haven for book lovers since the 1970s. It’s a great place to browse, as is Teas & Weaves, Sirius Science and Nature, the Grooveyard (record shop) and vintage stores like Elizabeth O. Other favourites include the Petrasek Bakery and Maison Mulnati, a vegan chocolate shop.

Front Street branches off from the upper end of Main Street and features a strip of colourful and historical buildings, many hosting independent businesses such as Dragon’s Den, the Lloyd Gallery and Eskala Mountain Sports.

View from outdoor gear displayed on wall and shelves at Eskala Mountain Sports store in Penticton.
Eskala Mountain Sports

Check out the local breweries

With as many as seven breweries, Penticton has a solid craft beer scene. Four of these breweries are found within the downtown core, with three actually located within the same two block radius!

No matter the style of beer you prefer, there’s a little something for everyone in Penticton.

  • Neighbourhood Brewing is the newest downtown brewery and usually has the largest range, with up to 17 different beers available on tap alongside a Mexican-Canadian fusion menu
  • Slackwater Brewing is also pretty new and serves approachable, nature-inspired brews in an airy converted club with a full menu
  • Cannery Brewing is one of Penticton’s oldest breweries and has a tried and tested selection of beers, as well as the best nachos in town
  • Highway 97 Brewing is located opposite Cannery Brewing (the perfect pairing!) and has four core beers plus seasonal and limited offerings, served with appetiser-style menu
  • Tin Whistle Brewing, recently taken over by new owners, is located in the historic Cannery building and is a particular favourite with dark beer lovers
  • Barley Mill Brew Pub is a casual British themed eatery on the Skaha side of town, serving handcrafted ales and lager with a full pub menu
  • Abandoned Rail Brewing is situated right on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Cool down with a cold beer in the garden after a walk or bike ride
Tin Whistle Brewing tasting flight of 4 beers lined up in its holding tray and description of beer written in white chalk on black line of tasting tray. Beer growler and person holding beer glass in blurred background.
Beer tasting flight at Tin Whistle brewery

Shop for local produce at the Penticton Farmers Market

Penticton hosts one of the largest outdoor seasonal markets in British Columbia, a combination of the Downtown Community Market and Penticton Farmers Market.

More than 150 vendors and food trucks set up along four city blocks every Saturday from mid April to the end of October.

The Farmers Market features a core group of regular local vendors who either ‘make it, bake it or grow it.’ It’s a great place to buy locally grown fruit and vegetables, fresh flowers, artisan bread, handmade decorative items and more.

Not visiting Penticton on a Saturday? Check out the Naramata Community Market on Wednesdays from mid June to early September. Summerland has a Sunday Market during these months as well. If these timings do not work out, check out Jasar Fruit Stand (Google map directions) on Upper Bench Road.

Street view of Saturday Farmers' Market in Penticton, with small stalls on both sides of the road, pedestrians walking inbetween
Saturday Farmers’ Market in Penticton

Dine with a view

One of my absolute favourite things to do in Penticton with visitors is to enjoy a meal at one of the many local restaurants with exceptional views. And we really are spoiled for choice here. Some popular options are:

  • The Hooded Merganser is quite literally located on Okanagan lake, elevated above the water on stilts
  • The Barking Parrot is a casual bar just behind the Hooded Merganser, with surprisingly spectacular views of the lake
  • Salty’s is a favourite with visitors and has two patios overlooking Okanagan Lake and the SS Sicamous
  • Elma is an upscale Turkish-inspired restaurant situated just next door to Salty’s and enjoys similar views
  • Sonetto at Play Winery sits on a hill overlooking the vineyards below as well as Skaha Lake and the surrounding mountains
  • The Restaurant at Poplar Grove is located on the slope of Munson Mountain, with every seat offering a great view of Okanagan Lake and the city below

Read Next: The Best Restaurants in Penticton, Recommended by a Local

Patio at Play Winery featuring tables and red chairs on concrete surface with red umbrellas. In the background is a beautiful view of Skaha Lake, surrounded by mountains
Sonetto patio at Play winery

Walk the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail

Originally built in 1915 to serve mining interests, the Kettle Valley Railway line travelled almost 500km between Midway to Hope.

Abandoned in the 1980s, it has since become an impressive multi-use trail for cyclists, walkers and horse riders. It is part of the Trans Canada Trail.

The Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail approaches Penticton via the Naramata Bench, runs close to the downtown area and then exits towards Summerland. There is a secondary ‘branch’ line that follows the shore of Skaha Lake towards Osoyoos as well.

A visit to Penticton would not, in my opinion, be complete without a walk on the KVR. The path is almost completely flat all the way along, so it’s easy for everyone to access and enjoy.

My favourite section is between Vancouver Place and the McCulloch Trestle (5km return). This section offers spectacular views of Okanagan Lake, the city of Penticton and surrounding vineyards.

A cyclist is riding away from the camera on a downhill dirt path, with fencing on both sides and vineyards beyond. In the background, a calm lake is visible as well as mountainous terrain on the other side
Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail between Vancouver Place and McCulloch Trestle

Visit a local coffee shop

Take a break from exploring with a freshly roasted coffee at a local Penticton café. Not only a chance to get a caffeine hit, it also provides a chance to explore more of the downtown area and do some people watching. Here are our top recommendations for coffee in Penticton:

  • Wayne and Freda is undoubtedly downtown Penticton’s most popular spot for coffee. It’s less than a block from the beach and features a bright, airy modern space with comprehensive breakfast and lunch menu
  • A Penticton institution, the Bench Market is well known to have the best coffee in town. Healthy, seasonally inspired dishes are also available with brunch on the weekends
  • Situated directly across from Marina Way Beach, the Prague Café offers coffee with a view. The owner supplies seating overlooking the sand. On a sunny day, there’s no better place to be
  • Committed to sustainable practices and fair trade, Seis Cielo roasts coffee in small batches to ensure freshness. This easily overlooked spot is located opposite City Hall

Not a coffee lover? Pick up an ice cream from Tickleberry’s or Ogo’s.

View of Wayne and Freda serving counter and display of branded merchandize on a long wooden table seen trough decorative grass.  Four black black boards display the menu next to the Wayne and Freda logo painted on wall.
Wayne & Freda

Other great things to do in Penticton

Now you’ve heard my favourite things to do in Penticton, here are 60+ more ideas! I’ve also included some suggestions for places immediately outside Penticton, within a 30 minute drive.

Outdoor adventure

  • Go climbing or hiking in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park (never climbed before? Take an introduction to rock climbing course)
  • Bike the Three Blind Mice trails on the Naramata Bench
  • Hike to the top of Campbell Mountain (head to the Meat and Potatoes Trail for great views)
  • Go fishing for rainbow trout on Skaha Lake
  • Paddle on Skaha or Okanagan Lake (SUPs, canoes and kayaks available to rent)
  • Hike to the top of the G-Spot Trail for epic views
  • Check out the cascades at Naramata Creek Falls
  • Keep an eye out for Bighorn sheep on the hills surrounding Penticton (especially in late autumn, when the males fight for dominance)
  • Go camping in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park
  • Rent electric bikes and cycle the Kettle Valley Rail Trail
  • Walk along Penticton Creek and watch for salmon
  • Check out the BMX track behind Munson Mountain
  • Join a local photographer for a guided backcountry hike
  • Bring your binoculars or camera and go on a guided bird watching tour
Back view of man with a red backpack and blue jacket standing on a rock looking up at tall waterfall flowing down in between  large boulders.
Naramata Creek Falls

Food and drink

Loki's Garage sign painted on the upper part of one story building. The gray building has a wooden plank fence surrounding the patio with flower pots hanging from each fence post. The patio has five umbrellas shading the tables from the sun.
Loki’s Garage

Family fun

Red and yellow fake train and caboose with Loco Landing written on the caboose. The train is on a trestle passing over hole 16 of minigolf. In the background colorful yellow fence and a green Ogopogo statue
Loco Landing mini golf

Summer recreation

  • Play volleyball in Skaha Lake Park
  • Rent a boat or jet ski and explore Okanagan Lake or Skaha Lake
  • Take a drive to the (clothing optional) side of Three Mile Beach
  • Check out the vintage cars at the Penticton Beach Cruise, usually held in late June
  • Play a round or two of golf at the Penticton Golf and Country Club
  • Enjoy the free fireworks launched on Okanagan Lake on Canada Day
  • Enjoy free, live music at Peachfest, a week long family friendly event usually held in August
  • Swim in Okanagan Lake or Skaha Lake (the latter is typically warmer)
  • Play frisbee golf at the free Marina View course
  • Try parasailing on Okanagan Lake
  • Watch the races at the Dragon Boat Festival on Skaha Lake, usually held in September
  • Play tennis at one of the many free courts in town
View of lake and marina with a few boats docked on pontoons with large hills in the background.
Skaha Lake marina

Heritage and cultural sights

  • Explore the interior of the five decked heritage SS Sicamous sternwheeler
  • Check out the other historical boats in the SS Sicamous Heritage Park
  • Walk through the Ikeda Japanese Garden, built in honour of Penticton’s twin city
  • Visit the Penticton City Museum & Archives and learn more about SnPink’tn (‘a place to live forever’)
  • Check out the latest exhibits at the Penticton Art Gallery
  • Visit some of Penticton’s heritage houses (exterior viewing only) such as the Ellis Street Cottage
  • Tour Penticton’s permanent art installations (map available)
  • Visit the historic Cannery building (Google Maps directions) – now a trade center with 30+ unique businesses
  • Browse one of the many downtown art galleries
  • Visit the old CNR loading dock by Marina Way Beach, signified with a piece of railway track
  • Take a self guided tour of downtown street art
  • Enjoy the vibrancy of the blooming flowers at the Penticton Rose Garden (Google Maps directions), near the SS Sicamous
  • Visit the 19th century Fairview Cemetery, where some of Penticton’s first non-native residents are buried
Looking into the Penticton Rose Garden, with a bright bed of red roses in foreground, other plants in background and scattering of trees
Penticton Rose Garden

Winter attractions

Ice hockey rink with players skating towards the puck. Above ice, a large score display three zero for the Penticton Vees.
Penticton Vees vs. Vernon Vipers

Beyond Penticton

  • Treat yourself at the original Tickleberry’s location in Okanagan Falls
  • Join a guided tour of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory near Okanagan Falls
  • Tour as many as four small batch cideries in Summerland
  • Walk the Kettle Valley Rail Trail trestle in Okanagan Falls
  • Explore 9 acres of natural beauty at Linden Gardens in Kaleden (there’s a café too!)
  • Learn about sustainable plant and tree growth at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens
  • Hike the Peach Cliff Trail in Okanagan Falls for epic views across Skaha Lake
  • Ride the working Kettle Valley Steam Railway in Summerland
  • Hike the 10km White Lake Loop near Okanagan Falls
  • Step back in time and visit (or stay the night) at Chute Lake Lodge (and stay for lunch)
  • Climb to the top of Giant’s Head, an extinct volcano, in Summerland
  • Relax at the south facing Sun-Oka Beach, one of the best in the entire Okanagan Valley
Panoramic view of lake, mountain and the city of Summerland from Giant's Head Mountain Trail
Giant’s Head Trail

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