Is Osoyoos Worth Visiting? Reasons & Things To Do

Are you wondering is Osoyoos worth visiting?

In the Okanagan Valley, Osoyoos is one of British Columbia’s unique places worth visiting because it’s one of the only deserts in Canada.

While many locals like to travel to Osoyoos for staycations, Osoyoos will be for you if you like a slower-paced environment, lakeside activities, camping, or checking out a vineyard.

I’ve been to Osoyoos many times when I was growing up. While it’s a quieter place to visit, there are things to do in and around the town.

Is Osoyoos Worth Visiting

The quick answer is yes, Osoyoos is worth visiting if you want a quieter and slower-paced environment.

Before we start, you’re probably wondering how to pronounce Osoyoos correctly. It’s pronounced UH-SOO-YOUS. There’s no “soy,” but it may sound like it.

Osoyoos is one of the warmest locations in Canada because of its unique desert-like climate, creating an arid landscape with sagebrush and cacti.

Osoyoos receives about 5.4 centimetres (2.1 inches) of snow annually. Many people who travel to Osoyoos are called “snowbirds” because of the mild winter climate.

The distinctive climate has also made the area a hub for viticulture, with many vineyards producing high-quality and award-winning wines.

And if you’re looking for outdoor activities, they include hiking, biking, and bird-watching in nearby mountains and parks.

Osoyoos is also located in the traditional Syilx (Okanagan) First Nation territory.

A view of Osyoos on a cloudy day and the sun is shine bright. There is part of Osoyoos Lake and around the side are vineyards, homes, and farm land. There's also the desert mountain ranges surround the entire lake.

10 Things To Do & See In Osoyoos

Again, Osoyoos is a small town, so here are some things to do when you’re visiting Osoyoos.

Osoyoos Lake

Osoyoos Lake offers water activities. The lake’s warm waters make it ideal for swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, and boating.

Fishing is also popular here, and the lake is home to various fish species, such as largemouth bass, rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, and more.

Additionally, the surrounding area of Osoyoos Lake provides opportunities for hiking, biking, and exploring the desert landscape.

Rattlesnake Canyon

Rattlesnake Canyon is a family-friendly small amusement park with a Western mining town theme. When I was younger, one of my favourite things to do when visiting Osoyoos was go-kart races at Rattlesnake Canyon.

The park has attractions such as an 18-hole Mini Golf Course, a go-kart track with 12 single karts and six double karts, and an ice cream parlour housed in an authentic windmill. There’s also an arcade, Bumper Boats, and much more.

There is no entrance fee to Rattlesnake Canyon, and pets are welcome. However, attractions and rides are priced individually, or you can purchase a package that’s suitable for you.

Sw̓iw̓s (Haynes Point) Provincial Park

Sw̓iw̓s (Haynes Point) Provincial Park was created in 1962 and is now managed by the Osoyoos Indian Band. The park’s cultural heritage is marked by its use as a crossing area and habitation site for the Osoyoos Indian Band’s ancestors.

The park also safeguards endangered species and ecosystems, including wetlands vital to the region.

In terms of conservation, the park protects endangered species like the Western small-footed myotis bat, barn owl, spadefoot toad, painted turtle, and red-listed tiger salamander, which could also be found in the park.

You can also camp at Sw̓iw̓s Park. This compact park features 41 campsites accessible by vehicle, including 7 double sites.

Reservations are available for all sites and are highly recommended, especially during weekends from May to September and in July and August.

Is Osoyoos worth visiting? Yes! One way too explore the middle of Osoyoos Lake is at Haynes Provincal Park. 
A sandy shallow walking area where you can see water on both sides. There's mountains in the distance as well as properties and farming land.

Anarchist Mountain Lookout

The Anarchist Mountain Lookout in Osoyoos offers beautiful views day and night. In the daytime, it’s a beautiful spot overlooking Osoyoos town, and at night, you can see the Big Dipper, the Milky Way Galaxy, shooting stars, and satellites.

The view from Anarchist Mountain Lookout in Osoyoos overlooking Osoyoos lake, vineyards, homes, and mountains.


Osoyoos is one of the best places to grow grapes in the Okanagan Valley and is known for its diverse wineries. The region’s favourable climate supports various grape types, creating multiple types of wines.

Wineries offer stunning vineyards spread across the landscape, and they often provide tasting rooms and tours for visitors to explore their winemaking processes.

Some of these wineries host wine events and festivals year-round. Some Osoyoos-based wineries have earned national and international awards, so you could visit award-winning and well-known local wines sold throughout British Columbia.

List Of Some Wineries In Osoyoos:

  • Moon Curser Vineyards
  • Adega Estate Winery
  • Nk’Mip Cellars
  • Bordertown Vineyards & Estate Winery
  • La Stella Winery
  • Liber Farm & Winery
  • Burrowing Owl Estate Winery*

*Outside Osoyoos in Oliver, they’re well-known, incredibly popular, and not far away from Osoyoos.

A lush green vineyard that goes on for kilometres in the distance.

Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre

The Nk’Mip (pronounced IN-KA-MEEP) Desert Cultural Centre offers a journey into the Okanagan people’s lands, legends, and culture. There are indoor and outdoor exhibit galleries, interactive displays, and multimedia theatres.

You can explore the outdoor “Living Lands” exhibit, walk trails scented with wild sage, and witness a reconstructed village.

Spotted Lake

Spotted Lake is a unique geological location known for its circular mineral pools. The lake’s water evaporates during summer, leaving concentric circles of colourful minerals, including magnesium, calcium, and sodium.

This natural phenomenon creates a mesmerizing mosaic of colours on the lake’s surface.

Beyond its geological significance, Spotted Lake is culturally significant to the Syilx/Okanagan Nation. It has been a sacred site for generations and is believed to possess healing properties.

While visitors cannot swim in the lake, it’s also a designated viewpoint. Here is Spotted Lake’s Google Maps location.

A spottle colourful looking lake (you can't swim in it) with different cheminal properties making circle patterns. The backgorund has rolling hills and people's property.


Camping in Osoyoos offers options, including campgrounds and RV parks. These sites offer picnic tables, fire pits, and restrooms, and some RV parks offer full hookups. Most of the campsites are on the South end of Osoyoos Lake.

I highly recommend making reservations, especially during the summer. Campgrounds generally operate from spring to fall, with some open year-round.

Osoyoos Visitor Centre

The Osoyoos Visitor Centre is a helpful resource for those looking for more in-depth information, maps, and guidance on activities, attractions, and services in the Osoyoos area. It also has a boutique shop offering local art, jewelry, fashion, unique gift ideas, and more.

Osoyoos Golf Club

Established in 1973, the Osoyoos Golf Club sits on a hill in Osoyoos and has two full-length courses.

The Park Meadows course is a walker-friendly “resort-style” setting in a park-like environment. In contrast, the Desert Gold course is more complicated than the Park Meadows course, which cuts along a curve and gradually climbs up the side of a mountain.

The club strongly emphasizes environmental protection, particularly preserving the antelope brush ecosystem. It also has “do not enter” zones to protect and minimize disturbance.

A green part of a golf course in Osoyoos British Columbia. There's a man made pond with a small fountain, a yellow building to the left in the distance. There surround area has a mountain on the right and the lake and another mountain is off in the background.

How To Get To Osoyoos From Vancouver

Travelling by car will be the most convenient way to reach Osoyoos. Take Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) Eastbound from Vancouver to Hope. From Hope, continue Highway 3 (Crowsnest Highway) through Princeton until you reach Osoyoos.

It takes approximately 4.5 to 5.5 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. However, from Princeton to Keremeos, there are no actual rest stops or gas stations in between.

Best Time To Visit Osoyoos

The best time to visit Osoyoos is during the spring. April and May are the best times to visit because of the comfortable temperatures.

You can also visit in the summer, but it will be hot and dry, making it ideal for water activities and wine tasting. However, it’s also the busiest and priciest season.

Fall, from September to October, milder temperatures, fewer crowds, and grape harvest events make it a fantastic time to visit. Still, there could be potential snowfall along the highway routes. 

Winter is the off-season, with mild temperatures between November and March, and nothing too much happens during this time. The coldest month is December.

How Many Days Do You Need In Osoyoos

If you only want to visit wineries in or outside Osoyoos, a weekend or three days will be enough time.

However, four to five days will be ideal if you plan to do more activities like relaxing by the lake, travelling to the city of Penticton, or exploring Oliver and more wineries.

How To Get Around Osoyoos

Osoyoos is relatively small, so there’s only one public bus, the #41, that navigates around Osoyoos or the #40 bus that travels between Osoyoos and Penticton. 

Driving or walking are the best options for getting around Osoyoos. Other options include renting a bike, scooter or, taking a taxi.

Where To Stay In Osoyoos

These are a couple of places to stay in Osoyoos.

Spirit Ridge Resort features a beachside bistro and bar. It’s adjacent to a vineyard and a private beach on Osoyoos Lake. The three restaurants serve cuisine inspired by Indigenous roots. On-site amenities include canoe and boat rentals, a family pool area with a waterslide, an adults-only pool (during the summer), and more.

Sandy Beach Suites sits on the shores of Osoyoos Lake and offers a private beach, volleyball, and tennis courts. All suites, cottages, and studios feature fully equipped kitchens, seating, and dining space. The motel also provides free canoes for guest use and maintains a non-smoking policy throughout the property, including the beach.

Is Osoyoos Worth Visiting – FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions on if Osoyoos is worth visiting.

How To Pronounce Osoyoos?

It may be difficult for some to pronounce, but Osoyoos is pronounced UH-SOO-YOS. It’s NOT pronounced OH-SOY-YOS.

Is Osoyoos in the Okanagan?

Yes, Osoyoos is part of the Okanagan Valley region. It’s the Southernmost town in the Okanagan. It’s also close to the Canada/United States border, with an approximately 7-minute drive.

Are There Rattlesnakes In Osoyoos BC?

Yes, there are rattlesnakes in Osoyoos. Other snakes live there, but rattlesnakes are the most frequently found. They can be seen on trails or hiking routes in the area.

If you see one, you can let a conservation officer or the campground workers know if you see one around your campsite.

Where To Stop Between Osoyoos And Vancouver?

There are few stops between Osoyoos and Vancouver. However, popular stops include Hope, EC Manning Provincial Park, and Princeton.  

How Close Are Penticton And Osoyoos?

Penticton and Osoyoos are 63 kilometres (39 miles) and approximately an hour’s drive apart. 

What Does Osoyoos Mean?

Osoyoos gets its name from the Syilx, or Okanagan Indian, and is believed to mean “narrowing of the waters,” referring to the town’s location near the narrowest point of Osoyoos Laketerm “soo-yoos,” which signifies the narrowing of the lake due to two spits extending across it.


As you can see, Osoyoos is worth a visit. With one of the warmest climates in Canada, it supports vineyards and warm lakes, desert surroundings, and many outdoor activities; Osoyoos is an excellent place for a quiet getaway.

Have a good day 🙂