Run Away To The Canadian Desert For A One-Of-A-Kind Staycation

Travel & Outdoors

Who says exploring a desert is just for the summer months? Run away to one of the only desert destinations in Canada, right here in B.C.

Experience all the natural beauty the South Okanagan Valley has to offer with a memorable stay in Osoyoos this fall or winter.

It’s home to “Canada’s pocket desert” and it’s one of the country’s most fragile and endangered ecosystems.

Discover its vast history while taking in unsurpassed mountainous views in the region. It’s also the perfect place to go off winery hopping as it borders Canada’s wine capital.

RELATED: Mysterious & Spotted Lake In Osoyoos Is An Incredibly Weird Hidden Gem

Where To Stay

Photo: Watermark Beach Resort

At just 4.5 hours away from Vancouver, Osoyoos is an idyllic getaway. After a scenic drive you’ll want to kick back and relax somewhere both comfortable and central.

Watermark Beach Resort offers just that with its studio, one and two bedroom suites, as well as beachfront villas right in the heart of the town. It’s also right on the shores of Okanagan Lake with 1,000 feet of sandy beach mere steps away (hence its name).

You’ll quickly feel like it’s your home away from home. The rooms come equipped with several amenities including a full kitchen where you can cook up a meal while taking in all the views right from the comfort of your suite.

It’s the ultimate spot for relaxation, as it has an outdoor hot tub open year-round and a spa located on-site. Make sure to book a massage or another signature spa treatment to enhance your stay.

What To Eat

Photo: Restaurant at Watermark

You don’t have to travel far to get a good meal as the Restaurant at Watermark offers seasonal favourites sure to warm you up during the colder months.

Take advantage of their wine bar with local offerings you can sip on along with their signature charcuterie board. It has a selection of homemade cured meats and cheeses, along with several preserves and crackers. Their baked brie is also a must-try menu item, with caramelized onions and topped off with a sweet cranberry compote served with toasted focaccia crostini. Their entrees include: butternut squash spaghetti with goat cheese, kale and toasted pumpkin seeds and a braised lamb shank with barley risotto, roasted root vegetables and a cinnamon quince puree. Save room for dessert though as they have two decadent offerings, like a warm pumpkin pecan bread pudding with a spiced vanilla cream and a red wine poached apple tart complete with caramel and a scoop of gelato.

If you’re looking for a coffee and a quick bite head to Jojo’s Cafe, which is about a 5 minute walk away from the resort. Other favourites in the area include: Campo Marina Italian Restaurant, Diamond Steak & Seafood House and Sofia Mexican food.

For some of the best Indian food you’ll find in B.C., venture to the nearby town of Oliver where you’ll find the Kismet Estate Winery. It features an authentic Indian restaurant overlooking the sprawling vineyard.

Where To Go

Photo: ZenSeekers/Nancy Shields

There’s a beautiful boardwalk right outside the Watermark Beach Resort where you can soak up the sunrise before heading off for the day. Less than a 20 minute drive away, Oliver is known as being Canada’s take on “wine country.” It’s home to a plethora of amazing wineries where you can enjoy tours and tastings.

We suggest Oliver Twist Estate Winery, which is a small but mighty (almost) all-female staffed business offering some of the best wine the region has to offer. You’ll also find passionate wine makers, including owner Gina Harfman, who is carrying on her family’s business and tradition of growing the highest quality grapes. They offer a wide variety of wines, which include everything from dry and off-dry whites and roses to full-bodied reds, desserts, port and late harvest. Most notably, it is known for its Kerner, which is grown widely across Germany but it’s a rarity in the Okanagan Valley.

After sampling Oliver Twist, head to Rust Wine Co. for a tasting of their incredible wines which are sourced from five different vineyards planted as far back as 1973. Their tasting room overlooks the stunning vineyards so you’ll be treated to amazing views as you sip on their signature Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay or whatever your preference is.

To learn more about the history of Osoyoos, stop by the Nk’Mip Cultural Centre. The 9,000 square-foot state-of-the-art interpretative centre offers several interactive indoor and outdoor exhibits and a 1.5 kilometre walking trail that leads you into the desert.

Photo: @simplynorah/Nora Hamade

Osoyoos, A One-Of-A-Kind Staycation In The Desert

Where: Nestled in the Okanagan Valley, just 4.5 hours away from Vancouver

For more places worth exploring in beautiful B.C., check out our Travel & Outdoors section.

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