Plan a ‘green getaway’ to the Okanagan
No need to leave a trail of dirty airborne carbon—check out these alternative vacation ideas close to home.
A few other alternatives include booking a farm stay, like this one at O'Reilly's Organic Farm, where tourists can enjoy the food grown right out the front window.
Camping in the Okanagan is another great option. Just remember to buy used gear, solar lanterns and chargers and use eco-friendly toiletries.
Ditching the car once you get there for bus tours or walking tours could be a better way to enjoy a vacation. It’s environmentally friendly, it’s a little more involved with the scenery and surroundings— and isn’t that why we go on vacation? Click here for some of the shuttles and charter buses in the area.
Where should you go? – Walking and biking tours
Kelowna’s cultural district is just a 50-minute stroll with only one traffic light. The trek begins at Waterfront Park and ends at Kelowna Farmers’ Market where you can enjoy delicious organic vegetables.
While in Summerland (south of Kelowna), be sure to check out the Kettle Valley Steam Railway, which was built in 1910 – 1915. The only preserved section of this 90-minute historic railway route offers 16 km of orchards and vineyards, and amazing views from the Trout Creek Bridge 238 feet above the canyon floor.
Photo by Sarah Kim via Flickr
Another great way to enjoy the views over Kelowna and Okanagan Lake is from Myra Canyon. A scenic, 12km portion of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR), it features 18 trestle bridges and two tunnels (a dozen of the bridges were rebuilt after the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire in 2003).
Many tourists choose to travel the length by foot, but another eco-friendly idea is to rent bikes up at the Myra to take in the full canyon. There's a bike rental business, Myra Canyon Bike Rentals, located right at the parking lot from Myra Forest Service Road.
Let’s face it, one of the biggest reasons Vancouverites swarm to the Okanagan isn’t just to take in the breathtaking scenery, it’s for the wine. Visitors can sip stellar wines with an impressive view along the 14 km Naramata Bench. There are around 24 wineries on this winding road; the first winery starts in the city limits of Penticton and the last one just above the heart of Naramata Township.
Photo by Naramata Bench Wineries via Flickr
Summerhill Pyramid Winery is another option for being a certified organic winery and foremost producer of sparkling wine in Canada. The restaurant on site, Summerhill Sunset Bistro, serves food grown and raised by local organic producers, including a permaculture style veggie garden.
Other ways to have a ‘Greener’ vacation
It seems archaic to think that these exist, but tourists still use disposable cameras on vacation, so they don’t have to haul or risk their DSLR. But these end up in the waste stream, so in terms of images, stick to digital. This is part of the general theme: when you depart from your vacation spot, don't leave a waste trail. When in doubt, follow the famous eco-travel tagline: Take only pictures, leave only footprints.