Bordered by mountains to the west and Okanagan Lake to the east, Westbank welcomes visitors with a host of attractions, including wineries, golfing, and impressive art and antique shops.
Okanagan Valley, BC
Quieter and smaller than Kelowna across the lake, Westbank is a popular spot for those who seek a more relaxing experience on Okanagan Lake: boating, sailing, canoeing, houseboating, windsurfing and swimming, and in winter, downhill and cross-country skiing.
Before the arrival of white settlers, the area was the home of First Nations people in the Stekatkolxne'ut village, which overlooked Okanagan Lake. Fur traders in the early 1800s used the area as a stopping place, calling it MacDonald's Plain, after a Hudson's Bay Company officer. The settlement was renamed Westbank in 1908, due to its location on the west bank of Okanagan Lake.
Population: 24,600 (Westside)
Location: Westbank is located on Highway 97 near the western shore of Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Peachland and 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Kelowna.
- The Okanagan Valley, stretching from Osoyoos at the US border north to Vernon, is laden with orchards, making it especially appealing in spring when the fruit trees are in full bloom. The best time to pick up some of the valley's bounty is mid-August through early September. However, as early as the end of June, the fruit starts ripening: cherries (late June through mid-July), peaches (mid-July through September), pears (August through September), apricots (mid-July through mid-August), plums (September), apples (August through October), and grapes (September through mid-October).
- Fruit aside, winemaking is the hot ticket in the Okanagan, and British Columbians have long taken inordinate pride in their wines. Ever since the province authorized estate and smaller farmgate wineries, many excellent small wineries have popped up. Nearly three dozen quaint wineries set in lush vineyards operate in the Okanagan Valley, welcoming visitors to sample world class wines while enjoying the scenery of nearby lakes and mountains. Take a self-guided wine tour, and experience the magic first hand.
Brush up on the pioneer history of the region at the Westbank Museum, located on highway 97 South in Westbank.
Basking in glorious Okanagan sunshine, Westbank Visitor Centre advises on area attractions
- Plan to visit the area during the annual spring and fall Okanagan Wine Festivals, to enjoy celebrations of wines and fine foods.
- If you're looking for a short break from the central Okanagan's summer heat, Bear Creek Provincial Park may be the place to visit for easy camping and picnics. Here, 5 minutes from Westbank, is everything from soft beaches to a wild, rocky canyon. On the lakeshore are beautiful, sandy beaches and a parkland campground with showers and a horseshoe pit. In the open hillside behind the campsites are 23 km of nature trails to explore. Bear Creek flows through the bottom of the tree-walled canyon, bringing with it small flakes of placer gold. Along the trails above the canyon, ponderosa pine and Douglas fir compete with juniper, bunchgrass, and prickly-pear cactus for the area's meagre rainfall. Below, moistened by the mist rising off the waterfalls, is yet another world, one of maple and birch, wild rose, horsetail, and moss. Wildlife abounds here. The park is located 8 km north of Westbank on the west side of Okanagan Lake.
- Fintry Provincial Park, is a getaway with a historical flavour. Located on the west side of Okanagan Lake, its site was the transportation hub of the valley; Hudson's Bay Company fur brigade traders passed through here. Easy walking through the park will bring you to the waterfalls and deep pools of Shorts Creek, as well as a suspension bridge and the remains of irrigation and power generation structures. Other features from the past are a ferry wharf from which freight boats operated, a preserved Manor house, a caretakers' house, and several barns. The surrounding hillsides have a canopy of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. In addition to the campsites, there are almost 2 km of waterfront, and a large picnic and day-use area. The park, which is home to black bears, bighorn sheep, deer and bald eagles, offers great outdoor activities, with hiking trails leading to Shorts Creek Canyon. Take Westside Road off Hwy 97 and drive north for 34 km.
- There are Regional Parks from Peachland in the south to Carrs Landing, north of Westbank on the east shore of Okanagan Lake. All parks have grassed picnic areas, and most have beaches, play areas and hiking trails. Closest to Westbank are Shannon Lake Regional Park and Glen Canyon Park.
- Golf: Westbank offers two golf courses:
Shannon Lake Golf Course is an 18-hole championship course (5,506 yards, par 72) offering panoramic views and a challenge for both beginners and seasoned veterans.
Two Eagles Golf Course is a grand mid-length, 18-hole course (4,661 yards, par 63) with lakeview scenery, sunny rolling hills, and an outstanding layout designed by architect Les Furber. The Vintage Hills Golf Academy encompasses everything you need to improve your golf game.
Golf Vacations in Kelowna and the Okanagan, BC.
- Experience the beautiful wilderness of the Okanagan on the trails overlooking Okanagan Lake. Just ten minutes from downtown Westbank you will find lush forests and unrivaled scenery that is great for Horseback Riding. Guided tours are available on well trained horses suitable for all ages and levels of experience. Recreation in the Thompson Okanagan.
- Whether you ski the diamond slopes or challenge the all-natural snowboard park, Crystal Mountain can be addictive. Watch for signs of rosy complexion, a steady smile and a general feeling of well-being. Skiing and Winter Recreation in the Okanagan Valley.
- See the best of the area on The Okanagan and BC Rockies Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through the Southern Okanagan, starting and ending your sun-drenched voyage in Osoyoos, the place where two lakes come together. Circle Tours in BC.