Okanagan British Columbia Travel

Get To The Interior BC By Air, Land & Scenic Routes

okanagan valley map

British Columbia travel into the Okanagan is simple and basically straight forward.

And once you're in the Okanagan Valley, getting around is easy.

There are some beautiful BC highway routes for getting around and for taking day trips.

If you are flying into the Okanagan you will most likely be arriving at the Kelowna International Airport.

And if you drive here, the Okanagan is surrounded by coastal mountains to the west, and the Monashee and Rocky Mountains to the east.

So, there's plenty of scenery to enjoy along the way whether you take the northern route to BC through Banff National Park, Glacier National Park, the Rogers Pass and Revelstoke or whether you drive the southern route through the Crowsnest Pass to Osoyoos BC, or even if you travel from the west through Manning Park or the Coquihalla highway. :-)

Air Travel To The Okanagan

kelowna international airportKelowna International Airport

Kelowna airport is located about 20 minutes from the city center.

Though the airport is expanding and growing, it's still small enough that you can get in and be out on your way to enjoying your time here much more quickly than large city airports - it's one terminal :)

WestJet and Air Canada are the two major airlines that fly into the Okanagan, as well as Air Canada Jazz (a subsidiary of Air Canada). There are daily flights to Kelowna from various major Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto, as well as some U.S. cities, and you can usually find pretty good deals on flights if you search around a bit.

If you're from out of country you can get acquainted with things like local time zones, holidays and other stuff here.

If you need transportation from Kelowna airport to wherever you are going, you'll find a variety of local taxi services and limousine services, bus charters, local ski shuttles and golf shuttles, as well as car rentals and Kelowna Regional transit system available to help you out! If you're renting a car, you'll want to have that booked in advance, as there are limited options for car rental directly from airport kiosks, and you'll likely end up paying more.

If you're destination is the South Okanagan, you can potentially fly directly into the Penticton airport from Vancouver, if you're coming from there.

Driving To The Okanagan

okanagan british columbia travelScenic Valley View From An Okanagan Vineyard

Travel routes leading to the Okanagan from any direction is extremely beautiful - hope you don't get sidetracked ; )

The Okanagan Valley is surrounded by British Columbia coastal mountain ranges to the west, and the Monashee and Rocky Mountains to the east. And although most people coming by ground drive, you can also travel by Greyhound Bus to nearly any city or town in the interior BC. In summer, highways here a very busy. Winter driving in the mountains can be treacherous and you'll want to be sure you're well equipped for winter road conditions, especially if you're heading to any of the Okanagan ski resorts.

From the west coast BC interior British Columbia travel will take you through a number of different highways including the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1), BC highways 3 (Hope-Princeton) through E.C. Manning Provincial Park, BC highway 5 - the Coquihalla Highway, and intersecting highway 97C.

Highway 97 is the Okanagan Valley main north - south highway. From Highway 97 the connections to east – west include:

  • Highway 1- Trans Canada Highway
  • Highway 3 - Crowsnest or Southern Trans Provincial Highway
  • Highway 3A – connects with Castelgar/Creston
  • Highway 6 – connects with the Kootenay Region
  • Highway 97C - Okanagan Connector
  • Highway 97A – connects with Armstrong/Sicamous

North - South routes that parallel various sections along the Highway 97 spine include:

  • Highways 97A – connects to Armstrong/Sicamous
  • Highway 97B – connects Grindrod/Salmon Arm
  • Highway 33 – connects Rock Creek/Crowsnest Highway

Check out travel routes from within Canada here.

Highway 97 intersects with U.S. Route 97, which begins in northern California. Once you're in BC, the highway runs straight north and south from the US-Canada border at Osoyoos BC all the way to the Yukon-British Columbia border at Watson Lake, Yukon. Check out our page on driving to the Okanagan Canada from the USA here.

If you're visiting the Okanagan from out of country or province, you'll want to know about seat belt and speed limit laws, and safe travel on BC roads.

view of vernon bc from highway 97View Overlooking Vernon BC From Highway 97

Scenic Okanagan BC Highways

If you're looking for some scenic routes or even some day trips, you can dart off of Okanagan Highway 97 into some gorgeous rural areas, that all provide access to the Okanagan Valley.

Several interior British Columbia travel routes will take you into outlying areas, where you will find Okanagan wineries, do some sightseeing and stop to enjoy a leisurely lunch.

Many people travel these routes every year, and some are especially popular for those who travel by motorcycle. There are a number of places to stop along each route. Here are common trips people travel.

  • Highway 33 - Kelowna to Rock Creek
  • Highway 97C - Peachland to Merritt
  • Highway 97 - Vernon to Kamloops
  • Highway 5A - Princeton to Merritt & Kamloops
  • Highway 3 - Osoyoos to Princeton
  • Highway 1 - Kamloops to Sicamous

A day trip around the valley during the fall season when the air is crisp and fresh, the scenery is rich and colorful, and traffic isn't nearly as busy as the summer months is a perfect way to enjoy the region.

Whatever mode of transportation you choose for your Okanagan British Columbia travel, it is sure to be a wonderful and memorable experience. So take your time getting here, enjoy all that beautiful interior BC has to offer, and don't forget to bring your camera along! You don't want to go home without plenty of pictures to remind you to come back :-)

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