Osoyoos is one part desert, one part lake life, and one part wine country, making it a travel destination that makes the ‘must-visit’ lists regularly. If that’s not enough throw in an abundance of local vineyards, great farm to fork food, and a rich Aboriginal cultural experience, all of which makes it a spot we love to visit year after year in spring, summer or fall.
This desert oasis is just a 55-minute flight away (or alternatively a 4.5 hour road trip), which means in less than one hour, you can be having dinner in a vineyard or stocking up on local BC VQA wines.
Curious as to where you should stay and drink? Here are our picks for wineries and accommodations to enjoy in and around Osoyoos.
Where to drink
There are nearly 40 wineries in and around Osoyoos, most of which are opened year round for tasting and tours. Desert Hills Estate Winery is a two-time recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for excellence in wine making, and the winner of Canada’s Best Red.
Although they’ve secured a number of accolades, this family-run operation has very humble beginnings. The three brothers that run the vineyard built it from the ground-up, first starting off as growers.
If you’re only going to sip one: try their Gamay (Noir).
Address: 4078 Black Sage Road, Oliver
At Black Hills Estate you won’t find the standard stand up tasting bar. This vineyard has taken the wine tasting to an elevated level, offering sit-down only educational experiences.
If you’re feeling nibbly, you can order from the Vineyard Kitchen (a converted shipping container) that does a fantastic thin crust pizza and a grilled peach and prosciutto salad.
If you’re only going to sip one: try their Nota Bene
Address: 4190 Black Sage Road, Oliver
If you’re looking for a full vineyard and dining experience, we suggest heading on over to Tinhorn Creek. The property is beautiful, the wine selection is vast and their vineyard restaurant Miradoro has patio with a stunning view that is not to be missed.
If you’re only going to sip one: try their Oldfield Series Syrah 2012
Address: 537 Tinhorn Creek Road, Oliver
For a full list of Osoyoos wineries, visit the Destination BC website.
Where to stay
We love that Osoyoos has a wide range of accommodations, making travel customizable depending on your budget and mood. You can pitch a tent and be one with Mother Nature, or treat yourself to the finer hotels and resorts.
If a fall getaway is what you’re looking for and you’re staying for a week minimum, your best bet will be a VRBO rental or Airbnb although the former seems to offer more choice and inventory. This is particularly ideal if you have a larger party, making it a popular choice for family and group travel.
Nearly all of these rentals will come fully equipped with a kitchen, laundry machines, BBQs and the works, which makes cooking family-style meals a breeze. For these rentals, we suggest booking early, as the best properties are at capacity well in advance.
If R&R is the theme of your getaway (read: wine, dine, lounge, repeat) then you’re best staying at a full service resorts in the area. Spirit Ridge Resort is the only full-service resort in Osoyoos and is a popular pick as they offer the A-Z of an Okanagan holiday.
On-site, there is the popular NK’Mip (pronounced ink-a-meep) winery that is the first Aboriginal-owned winery in North America. You’ll find a spa, two outdoors pools (one just for adults) and a beach-styled cantina complete with a shuttle and snacks.
If you find the need to take a break from wining and dinning, you can visit the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre that offers both indoor and outdoor exhibit, daily trail walks, and group tours.
Address: 1200 Rancher Creek Rd, Osoyoos
How to get there
Fly from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Penticton (YYF) or Kelowna International Airport (YLW). Penticton Regional Airport offers daily flights to and from Vancouver on Air Canada Jazz. Kelowna International Airport (138km/86mi north) offers multiple daily flights to and from Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton and Seattle, Washington, plus other regional airports. Flight costs range from $200-$500.
Alternatively, get there via the Trans-Canada Highway. Prepare for a 4.5 hour drive on the road in good road conditions.