Adventure Awaits – 24 Epic Things To Do In Osoyoos in 2024

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Are you planning a trip to British Columbia’s South Okanagan and looking for the best things to do in Osoyoos? Let’s start with some insight from our last trip to help set the scene for what you can expect when visiting this beautiful lakeside town. 

I could hear the kids screaming from the top of the waterslides as their bodies flew side to side down the big yellow tube. Their giggles and squeals represented everything right about summer… splashing around in the water, family time, adrenaline rushes, and laughing until your stomach hurts. As we wrapped up our final days on our big BC adventure we realized we had done one thing right… spent a whole lot of time playing together. 

Osoyoos gives families exactly that, the chance to slow down and spend a lot of time together doing quality activities in the summer in one of Canada’s warmest climates. A quaint, lakeside community begs you to slow down as soon as you enter. Their attractions are small when compared to bigger communities like the Cultus Lake waterslides however, it’s their size that allows you as a parent to be able to sit back and relax a bit more, and worry less about where they are as you can see and hear them no matter where you are in the park!

When you need time to cool off there are many indoor activities for families to explore too! With world-class resorts and accommodations of every style and budget, Osoyoos is ready for families looking to slow down and spend time together in the summer. In this article, I’ll showcase the top 24 things to do in Osoyoos and leave you with the difficult decision of choosing what to do and how many adventures you can fit into your vacation!

Disclaimer: While I share my own thoughts and stories about these experiences, should you click on the affiliate links, I may receive a small commission on that sale which helps fund Adventure Awaits.

24 Things To Do In Osoyoos

Best Things To Do At Osoyoos Lake

As Canada’s warmest city and our nation’s warmest lake, British Columbia’s Osoyoos is the perfect place for families to spend a few days (or a week) exploring. Centered around the beautiful Osoyoos Lake you can play all day on the water, kayaking, SUPing, swimming, boating, playing volleyball, or building sandcastles in the sun. The two most popular beaches in Osoyoos are Gyro Beach and Cottonwood Beach. If you’re staying in a hotel many of them come with their own private beach for guests.

Osoyoos Lake – Summer Fun Begins!

view of osoyoos lake on a bright sunny day
Photo Credit: Tourism Osoyoos

The town of Osoyoos is situated around the lake, and signs like “Lake Life” and “What Happens at the Lake” can be found in the downtown decor shops. The lake isn’t just an iconic landmark in town, it’s a way of life, a sign to slow down (or speed up) and embrace all that summer has to offer. With so much to do at the lake, we had to break it down into these H2O-infused adventures!

1. Stay Lakeside at Watermark Resort

Book a hotel like the Watermark so you can access your own private beach within steps from your front door! I’ve been visiting this beach resort since it first opened and they did a fantastic job of creating family-friendly rooms right along the water, giving you a Hawaii resort feeling, without the flight. If you’re more of a play-by-a-pool kind of family, the Watermark Resort has a great swimming pool that overlooks the lake. The Watermark also has townhouses for those wanting more space and perhaps traveling with extended family. I highly recommend staying on the lake to maximize your time out on the water!

Book your stay at the Watermark Beach Resort here!

2. Go Waterskiing, Wakeboarding, Wake Surfing, or Jet Skiing

If you like the idea of getting out on the lake to do some watersports, ATB Watersports is a rental company that offers all-inclusive tours in Osoyoos. Rentals include a boat, driver/coach, gas, and gear all customized to the activity you want to do.  They have a Super Air Nautique which has room for 12 people, meaning the whole family can come! If you’re new to watersports this is a great way to cut the learning curve and try out gear without having the investment of a boat! I grew up waterskiing and it is still one of my favourite things to do, but we don’t have a boat so this would be a great way for us to get out and get some runs in!

3. Rent a SUP, Kayak or Canoe

people swimming in a lake, one of the things to do in osoyoos

If you’re looking for people-powered adventure, ATB Watersports also offers stand up paddleboard, kayak, and canoe rentals on an hourly basis. I love SUPing and kayaking as I find it a great way to get close to the water and if you’re hot, you can just hop in and go for a swim! 

4. Go Fishing on Osoyoos Lake

Whether you’re new to fishing or a seasoned angler, you can take part in a guided fishing experience with Rodney’s Reel Outdoors. On Osoyoos Lake, you’ll be fishing for Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass as well as Sockeye Salmon (when they are in season). The Bass fishing is a small group activity as you’ll be heading out on a 14-foot Crestliner boat that can accommodate 2 anglers plus your fishing guide. When fishing for salmon they head out on the Thunderjet boat that can accommodate up to 6 anglers plus a guide.

5. Waterpark Play at Osoyoos Splash Park

If you have littles in your group then a visit to the Jack Shaw Splash Park may be the perfect micro-adventure. When my kids were little I loved being able to engage in water play without them having to wear lifejackets. Plus let’s be honest, I’m a big kid and it was fun to chase them around the waterpark, splashing them with water and teaching them all the tricks of how to have a good waterfight!

6. SUP Yoga

woman doing sup yoga, one of the things to do in osoyoos

Could you imagine starting your day with a SUP yoga class and tour? SIGN. ME. UP. Locally owned and operated by a certified yoga instructor, Yinet, Wakepilot is passionate about gently introducing you to Osoyoos Lake and sharing this special place with you. With yoga and tours in the warmest lake in Canada, this is a must for anyone visiting Osoyoos. 

Mom Tip: Book this adventure for yourself and enjoy a morning of your holidays investing in some self-care and an adventure that is just for you! You’ll come back refreshed and inspired, and maybe even with brunch ready for you!

7. Gyro Beach

Photo Credit: Tourism Osoyoos

Gyro Beach is the main beach in Osoyoos offering you direct access to the downtown core where you can get food, drinks, snacks, and even invest in some new water toys or shovels while you’re there (my husband always shops for shovels at the hardware store, getting the kids stronger ones so they can build bigger castles). If you’re looking for a gorgeous sandy beach, Gyro is the place to go. Gyro also has shaded areas which is great for those hot summer days.

8. Cottonwood Beach

Cottonwood Beach is perfect for families as it has a very gentle slope and is shallow, which means that kids can wade out pretty far and still be waist-deep (note: always wear a life jacket no matter how shallow the water is).

9. Lions Park

Located just north of Gyro Beach, Lions Park features a playground for the young ones, as well as grassy and shaded areas. The beach here is a little rockier versus sandy, so proper footwear is definitely recommended. 

Mom Tip: When we are visiting we like to pick a new beach each day, it helps keep kids engaged and entertained by mixing up the scenery and park amenities.

Best Hiking and Biking Trails In Osoyoos

a woman hiking, one of the many things to do in osoyoos
Photo Credit: Tourism Osoyoos

Early morning or late afternoons are a great time to head to the hills and do some hiking and biking in Osoyoos, as mid-day adventures are often too hot. I am an avid hiker and always try to sneak at least one mountain lookout into our family itinerary, allowing us to escape into nature, and see the place we are visiting from a different perspective. Check out these awesome family-friendly trails in Osoyoos:

10. International Hike and Bike Trail

a group of people biking on a trail past a vineyard in osoyoos
Photo Credit: Destination BC/Hubert Kang

The International Hike and Bike Trail is an 18km round trip trail that takes you from Osoyoos to Oliver in beautiful British Columbia. It starts at the north end of Osoyoos Lake, about 8km North of town. You can access it via the wooden bridge on Road 22. The trail itself runs alongside the canal and you can go for the full return route, or just do part of the trail. Depending on how far you travel, you can expect to travel through vineyards and farms. It’s relatively flat and hard-packed gravel, making it accessible.

11. The Canal Walkway

This relatively flat trail takes you through a piece of Osoyoo’s history as the canal used to be the only source of water, providing drinking water to the town and also irrigation to the local wineries and orchards in the region. Now the canal is a great trail for walking, cycling, rollerblading, strollers, or even horseback. On this trail, you’ll enjoy views that showcase the unique desert ecosystem, and look down on the town of Osoyoos and local orchards. The Canal Walkway starts at the corner of 62nd Street and is just under a 5km trail.

12. sẃiẃs Park (Haynes Point)

Formally known as Haynes Point but renamed to reflect the traditional Okanagan place name for the area, sẃiẃs Park is a great simple local trail for families to explore. You can choose to walk from downtown Osoyoos through the residential area to sẃiẃs Park, which is a lovely lakeside stroll. Or you can head to the Provincial Park, park your car and then hit the 2km trail, which offers gorgeous views and a perfect family-friendly trail.

13. Lakeshore Drive and the Pioneer Walkway

a picnic table sits along the trail that is beside osoyoos lake

This truly is a lakeside trail, so I would recommend packing a backpack and having no estimated time of return, allowing you to walk as much (or as little) of the trail, stopping at places that inspire you or catch your kids’ eyes. 

This trail starts at the lake in Goodman Park and you’ll walk alongside the lake by the Watermark Resort, past the Holiday Inn, and to the end of Lakeshore Drive. The total path is about 3km, but if you want to go further you can keep going to Pioneer Walkway and into the paths that are in Gyro and Lions Park. 

Mom Tip: I used to have “Park Hopper Days” where we would load up backpacks and see how many parks we could visit in a day. We’d be gone for the whole day exploring and upon our return, our dinner conversations were always interesting as we discussed our favourite playground, favourite treat, and favourite unexpected moment of the day. 

14. McIntyre Bluff

If you are looking for an intermediate day hike, the McIntyre Bluffs hike comes highly recommended. Located just north of Oliver, this 10km round trip hike will take 3-4 hours but will bring you to a scenic outlook showcasing gorgeous views. I found this great blog sharing insights on what to expect including pictures.

15. Mount Kobau Trail

an off road vehicle sits at the top of a bluff trail in osoyoos
Photo Credit: Destination BC/Shayd Johnson

If you drive a 4X4 and are up for a little adventure, the hike to Mount Kobau may be the perfect fit. You’ll start your adventure with a 40-minute bumpy road drive to the trailhead. Once on the trail, you’ll have a relatively easy stroll, that will take about 20 minutes and have you at the top of Mount Kobau, overlooking the beautiful scenic view of the mountains. Be sure to practice bear safety and bring your ten essentials as it’s unlikely that you’ll see others on the trail. 

Best Wildlife Viewing and Bird Watching in Osoyoos

Osoyoos is on the migratory path of many bird species and is one of the best places in the provinces to watch birds and is also a part of the BC Bird Trail.

16. Vaseux Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary

boardwalk trail at bird sanctuary, one of the things to do in osoyoos

The Vaseux Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located a 30-minute drive North of Osoyoos. It was initially formed to offer a protected habitat for trumpeter swans and now many waterbirds call the region home. The region is special as it is the most northern point to which the birds migrate, making it one of the unique places to see some of these birds. 

When you visit you’ll find a small parking lot near the north end of the lake and a boardwalk and information kiosk will mark the start of your visit. Be sure to seek out the wildlife viewing tower. 

Mom Tip: With so many beautiful birds to see it’s tempting to bring out your camera and take photos. However, sometimes I take photos with my iPhone and they don’t turn out and I’ve missed a magical moment with the kids. So I only take bird photos when I have a zoom lens, otherwise, I leave the camera at home and just enjoy the experience with the kids.

17. Osoyoos Desert Centre


Did you know that Osoyoos is home to Canada’s only true desert? The Osoyoos Desert Centre is a not-for-profit society set up to protect and help educate visitors on how precious this ecosystem is and what we can do to protect it. 

Home to over 100 rare plants and 300 rare invertebrates, visitors can take a 45-minute guided tour and walk around the 1.5km raised boardwalk exploring the region. Watch out for burrowing owls, rabbits, snakes, and signs of bigger predators like coyotes and bears. One of our favourite highlights of the tour was learning that burrowing owls are released at the Desert Centre. After meeting them at the BC Wildlife Park and learning about their rehabilitation program, it was neat to connect with the environment where they are released and get to call home!

Mom Tip: As this is a 45-minute walk in one of Canada’s warmest cities, I recommend that you go early morning, or later in the afternoon when it’s not as hot outside. Dress for the sun as you’ll be in direct sunlight for the whole tour (including hat, sunscreen, and a water bottle). Also set aside a couple of dollars for the gift store, my daughter found an owl shirt she loved and there were some fun educational gifts as well that were great for kids.

Cultural Experiences in Osoyoos

18. Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre

a woman gives a tour to two people at the nk'mip desert cultural centre, one of the things to do in osoyoos
Photo Credit: Destination BC/Hubert Kang

Not to be confused with the Desert Centre, the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre is a place where families can learn more about the First Nations from the region, their history, and their experience living in Osoyoos. There are a lot of great hands-on displays inside as well as a “Living Lands” outdoor exhibit where guests can explore the living culture of the Osoyoos Indian Band. 

Our favourite part of our visit to the Cultural Centre was the 45-minute snake presentation. Osoyoos has a very large snake community and the educational tour allowed us to learn all about the local residents. From how to identify snakes, to how to act safely when outdoors, to coming face to face with a rattlesnake, my kids loved the presentation (and looking for snakes outside afterwards!). I loved the practical knowledge that was passed on about the snakes including how to avoid being bitten and what to do if you are. Like bears, snakes don’t want to be bothered or to bite you so as long as you’re making noise and avoiding confrontation the odds of having a snake encounter are rare.

19. See Spots – Visit Osoyoos’s Spotted Lake

spotted lake in osoyoos

If you search for the hashtag #SpottedLake, the world-famous lake in Osoyoos will most likely pop up in multiple formats on your feed. And that’s for a good reason, this natural phenomenon of a lake is really neat to see in person! Located only 8 minutes out of town, a quick roadside stop will allow you to pull over and take photos and videos of this lake. Are you wondering what makes these spots? It’s a unique combination of magnesium sulfate, sodium sulfates, and calcium that leaves the surface covered in large polka dots.

“Spotted Lake is known to the First Nations People of the Osoyoos area as kłlilx’w, and it is a sacred site that has been considered a revered place of healing for centuries. The belief is that each of the different circles holds its own unique medicinal and healing properties.”

This lake is ecologically sensitive and therefore is closed to the public, so be sure not to pass the fence when visiting. Here’s a link to the exact pull-off location on Google Maps.

Best Kid-Approved Adventures

20. Rattlesnake Canyon

Locally owned and operated by someone with my same last name (Paul Savage), Rattlesnake Canyon is a kid-approved amusement park in the heart of downtown Osoyoos. For over 25 years families have been visiting Rattlesnake Canyon, a western mining town-themed adventure mecca! The best part, you don’t have to pay to go in, you can choose to pay by attraction or get an all-day pass. 

Some of their activities include mini golf, a go-cart track, ice cream parlour, an arcade, bumper boats (my personal favourite), tumble whirl, tornado, bungee tree, climbing all, tattoo parlour, helicopter ride, aeroball basketball trampoline, gemstone mining, spin art, and more!

Located at 5502 Main Street, it is walking distance from most hotels.

21. Horseback Riding in Osoyoos

people on a horse back riding trail ride, one of the things to do in osoyoos
Photo Credit: Indigenous Tourism BC / Indian Grove Riding Stables

There’s nothing like experiencing a destination via horseback and a guided tour is the perfect way to learn more about the places you are traversing through. Indian Grove Riding Stables has been welcoming guests to the Osoyoos desert region for over 40 years. With fun tours that take you through what they call “paradise,” you and the family will get to navigate breathtaking trails that lead to spectacular views.

Things To Do Inside In Osoyoos

22. Take A Stroll Down Main Street Osoyoos

aerial view of the town of osoyoos

I LOVE shopping in a small town and the streets of Osoyoos ooze personality when you go for an afternoon stroll. From lake life decor to finding everything under the sun at Home Hardware (no really, you need to experience it!) to local eats and treats, spending time in the core of the town is a great way to soak in the local culture (and spend locally supporting their economy too!) 

Photographer Tip: I love street photography and during golden hour is a great time to capture this little town.

The Art Gallery Osoyoos is “A Community Gallery For Creative People” with a focus on showcasing Okanagan art that is produced by local art and artisans from around the Okanagan Valley. For over 30 years this not-for-profit organization has been connecting artists and artisans with locals and visitors alike through their art gallery. This is a great place to stop in and see if you spot something that inspires you and want to take home. There’s no admission charge to enter.

24. Osoyoos Visitor Centre

outside entrance of the osoyoos visitor centre

I always like to stop at the local Visitor Centre when we arrive at a new destination. The visitor centers in British Columbia have a reputation for being well-staffed with many great resources to help you plan your trip. I like going when we visit because you can sometimes find out about events and activities that are exclusive to your visit (like a festival) and some of those unexpected additions to your itinerary can be wonderful hidden gems and memories waiting to be made.

FAQs About Things to do in Osoyoos

Is Osoyoos worth visiting?

I personally love Osoyoos and totally recommend spending a long weekend, or ideally a full week there. I’d book in advance to have the best selection in terms of popular dates and accommodations as it is does get especially busy during peak season.

Why do people go to Osoyoos?

The warm weather is the number one attraction to Osoyoos, but what will keep you there are all the things to do both on and off the lake.

Is Osoyoos Lake the warmest in Canada?

Yes! It’s best verified by running wildly into the lake and splashing around!

Can you swim in Osoyoos Lake?

Yes. Always practice water safety. One of the things I see the most is adult boaters not wearing life jackets because “they can swim.” But in the case of an emergency you won’t have time to find a life jacket so just put it on and be a good role model to your kids (end rant.)

Are there snakes in Osoyoos?

Yes! The best thing to do is plan a trip to the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre where you can take part in an interactive snake presentation that will teach you all about snakes, how to identify them, and what to do if you encounter one. Now please note that you’re most likely not going to see a snake downtown and need to be more wary of them if you’re off hiking or in remote locations.

What should I bring to Osoyoos?

  • Most families like to travel to Osoyoos and stay in accommodations that have a kitchen, so I recommend stocking up your coolers with some of your favourite easy meals to help cut down your time in the kitchen (if you’re like me and dislike being in the kitchen). Things like lasagnas are a time saver and don’t cut into your beach time! 
  • Beach essentials, as you’re most likely to spend a lot of time at the beach. This includes towels, sunscreen, hats, water toys, sandcastle-building tools, and shade protection. 
  • Bikes – If you plan on doing any of the amazing bike trails, bring your bikes!

In Conclusion…

As one of the most desirable lakes in all of Canada, the town of Osoyoos is where summer, sun, and fun all collide. This small town especially comes alive in the summer, with a great combination of outdoor adventure, fun activities, and downtime that makes for the perfect summer vacation. Whether you’re looking to spend your days splashing in the water, or slowing down and taking in the surrounding desert, Osoyoos is the perfect small town to spend your summer in. 

And if you visit and find a new adventure you think we should add to this list please know we’re always looking for great places to recommend so don’t hesitate to reach out! 

Heading to the Okanagan? Check Out These Articles for Trip Planning Inspiration!

Is this a sponsored post?: While we were invited to experience and visit Osoyoos, our thoughts and opinions of things to do in Osoyoos in summer are our own.

About The Author
Jami Savage
Jami Savage
Jami Savage is one of the top Family Travel Writers in Canada, and has been featured on CTV and Vancouver Sun, and more. Go here to read our families story about how we went from backyard adventurers to world travelers, and how you can do the same. If you want to send Jami a quick message, visit her contact page here.
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Jami Savage

Full Time Travel Writer, Mom who is passionate about empowering and educating travelers on how you can use your own tourism dollars as a catalyst for positive change worldwide. Click here to learn more about us, our family, and how we lead an adventure filled life!

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