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Enjoy a late fall getaway to Canada’s Okanagan region

World-class wineries, stunning scenery await in British Columbia

The beautiful Hotel Eldorado and boardwalk overlooking Okanagan Lake. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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Kelowna, British Columbia, is considered the gateway to the Okanagan Valley. The city sits on the eastern shore of Okanagan Lake, surrounded by vineyards and wineries, orchards, mountains and many provincial parks (the Canadian equivalent to U.S. state or national parks).

Situated in an area packed with things to do, Kelowna makes a great base for a visit to this area. It is a little more than a six-hour drive from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, or you can fly nonstop from Sea-Tac in a little over one-hour flight time.

If driving, plan to stop at the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre for the opportunity to explore Canada's only desert. It is located just across the U.S.-Canadian border and is in the town of Osoyoos.

The interpretive center is an ecologically sensitive building constructed into a hillside. Explore the interior and view all the exhibits, then take time to view the outdoor exhibits on a short hiking trail.

Also on the property is NK'Mip Cellars, the first indigenous people-owned winery in North America. Enjoy lunch at the farm-to-table restaurant with gorgeous views of Lake Osoyoos.

Not far away, the Hotel Eldorado has welcomed guests to Kelowna since 1926. This historic property overlooks Okanagan Lake and is chock full of amenities. The company purchased the Hotel Manteo next door and has connected both resorts with a boardwalk overlooking the lake and marina.

Plan to have dinner at least one night at the award-winning lakeside restaurant. The Okanagan is known for its produce, and Chef Oliver Kaiser takes advantage of all the local suppliers have to offer. Throw in a wine list with 150 labels, and you have the ingredients for a memorable meal. The local cheese and charcuterie board is memorable, as are the beef dishes. 

There are more than 40 wineries in and around Kelowna. Late fall and winter are the perfect time to visit, as the summer crowds have thinned out. Once the wine grape harvest is over, you may even meet the winemakers at some of the wineries. Many are open year-round, and most offer property tours.

An interesting wine fact: Canada is the largest producer of ice wine in the world. For a fantastic lunch, check out the Home Block at Cedar Creek Estate Winery. With its wood-fired grill fueled with wood from local fruit orchards, you are in for a delectable meal. The large restaurant building is open concept, with breathtaking views and dramatic artwork to complement the meal. 

After all the eating and wine tasting, plan to take a hike at Myra Canyon. There are a variety of options for hiking, but the local favorite is the Myra Canyon Trestles. There are some 18 trestle bridges and two tunnels. The trail is relatively flat, but it is an elevated drive from Kelowna on a gravel road, so be sure to check weather conditions. It is also a fun place to snowshoe in the winter, but note the trail is not maintained. The views are excellent, and children will love hiking through the tunnels.

For more information about the area, visit: and

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