The largest community in the Okanagan Valley, with a regional population of more than 180,000, Kelowna makes a good base for exploring the region's beaches, ski hills, wineries, and numerous golf courses. Although its edges are untidily urban, with strip malls and office parks sprawling everywhere, the town’s walkable downtown runs along and up from Okanagan Lake. So even though the city continues to expand, you can still enjoy a stroll in the restful lakeside park.
Okanagan Lake splits Kelowna in two. On the east side of the lake is Kelowna proper, which includes the city's downtown and the winery district south of the city center that the locals call the Mission. On the west side of the lake is the community of West Kelowna, which is frequently still known by its former name, Westbank. Several wineries are on the west side, on and off Boucherie Road. The William R. Bennett Bridge connects the two sides of the lake.
Vernon is at the northernmost point of the Okanagan Valley. Lying in the heart of Lake Country and snuggled against the Monashee Mountains, Vernon is growing in popularity as a year-round vacation destination, most notably because the city's proximity to Kalamalka Lake makes it an ideal summer getaway with sandy beaches and miles of fresh, emerald green water for every kind of water sport. Predator Ridge Golf Resort and Sparkling Hill Resort have put Vernon on the map for international visitors and small, rural communities nearby such as Armstrong (famous for its cheese) and Enderby, on the banks of the Shuswap River, make for exploring a very lush, and quaint part of the Okanagan. And for winter visitors, it's near Silver Star Mountain Resort.