I knew that the Oregon part of our road trip was going to be dog-friendly but I wasn’t sure what to expect in Oliver, BC. We ended up having an awesome time there with Patches so I thought I would share our experiences in dog friendly travel in the “Wine Capital of Canada”.
[We were traveling in the summer which I think makes it easier. We enjoyed sitting outside with Patches and were able to do lots of active things.]
Where to Stay
Our B and B (Riverside Trails) was dog friendly (the hosts have two dogs). We had a suit with a private entrance and a deck to eat breakfast on. They had a nice lawn for Patches and backed onto a river path where we could walk and Patches could swim. Our hosts were great and had lots of helpful information about the area. There is a BBQ and small kitchen area so it was easy to either bring home takeout or cook so we didn’t have to worry about eating out with the dog. If you’re travelling with your dog (or even if you’re not) they are a great option for a dog friendly stay.
What to Do
I hadn’t been able to find much information about visiting wineries around Oliver with your dog, but since Patches couldn’t stay at the B and B alone we took him with us to sample wines when we first went out on Saturday morning. It was super hot, +30C, so we knew he couldn’t stay in the car but we figured we could take turns sitting outside with him in the shade if we had to. We packed him three water bottles in the cooler and his collapsible dog bowl to make sure he’d stay hydrated. Luckily, we didn’t need to take turns sitting with the dog because he was able to come with us everywhere! He still required all that water though.
At the first winery Jon went in to ask about the dog while Patches and I waited in the car, but after that we would usually just bring him to the door to ask. While I don’t know if wineries are officially “dog friendly”, every winery we asked let Patches into the wine room to taste with us. It was fairly quiet at all the wineries we visited and none of the other guests seemed put out by having Patches there but we always politely asked and had Patches on his clip on walking leash. Burrowing Owl provided a dog water bowl and Platinum Bench has a resident winery dog who graciously shared his treats with Patches. The other wineries we visited were Stoneboat, Le Vieux Pin, LaStella, Covert Farms and See Ya Later Ranch. See Ya Later Ranch is dog friendly and welcomes dogs with a dog yard out front and water bowls. Patches was very well behaved and lay down beside me everywhere (except Platinum Bench where he was too busy convincing people to feed him).
Hiking and Walking
There are lots of well known hikes in Oliver but the downside to dog travel was that we didn’t get to experience them. Our hosts gave us directions to a private park where it was more shaded to walk, and we also had the river path behind the B and B which had a few swimming holes. In cooler weather (spring/fall) there are lots of walking options or if your dog can handle the heat you could try something.
There are several dog friendly beaches along the strip from Summerland to Oliver. We took Patches to the closest beach every day in the afternoon – the dog beach at Skaha Lake in Okanagan Falls. The beach is part of the Christie Memorial Provincial Park and has a fenced swimming area for dogs. Dogs aren’t allowed on the rest of the beach but the park has a large grassy area with lots of trees where you can spread your blanket and relax between dog swims. The lake is really shallow so Patches was able to wade to his heart’s content.
Sun-Oka Provincial Park and Peach Orchard Dog Beach (both near Summerland) also offer opportunities for dogs to swim.
Breakfast was provided at our B and B and we ate outside while Patches lounged on the grass. For lunch on our first day we ate fresh bread from Platinum Bench, some cheese we had from earlier and fresh cherries while we relaxed at the dog beach. On Sunday we ate at Covert Farms – we had their farm platter (meat, cheese, fruit and crackers) with some wine and ate outside on their patio. Their menu isn’t very extensive but the dog was welcome to join us. Dinner was take out on two evenings (we ordered, did a scenic drive while it was being made and then ate it back at our B and B) and on the third evening we BBQed back at the B and B. One downside to dog travel is that you can’t visit most restaurants (unless you are ordering to go).
I wouldn’t select Oliver as a dog destination on its own but if you are traveling with your dog it is possible to enjoy the area. We found it easy enough to have Patches with us, but there were a few things that I would have liked to do (eat at a fancy restaurant, hike McIntyre Bluff or the Golden Mile Trail) that we couldn’t do with Patches.