Chances are if you live in Seattle you’ve definitely heard of Stand Up Paddleboarding, aka SUP. Maybe you’ve even tried it in the chilly waters off the shores of Ballard or on a tropical holiday in Kauai. But have you ever heard of a single Stand Up Paddleboard that you can ride with up to seven of your closest buddies?
There may be only one place you can try this in the Pacific Northwest and if you drive about six hours northeast of Seattle to Vernon, British Columbia you’ll find “The Kraken” board at the Kalavida Surf Shop on Kalamalka Lake. If you’re the type of traveler to head this far for a cool ride, then you’ll also probably want to stay a few days in this mural-filled, lakeside wine and growing craft brewery town.
Where to Stay
The Predator Ridge Resort community has a variety of accommodations from family-friendly cottages and lodge rooms to pet-friendly rooms that would make a great home base for the area. The Predator Ridge Golf Course has clinics and pros that can help you with your golf game and you can rent mountain bikes at the resort to ride miles and miles of dedicated biking trails for beginner to expert mountain bikers. If you are traveling without kids, you might also check out the nearby Sparkling Hill Resort which includes access to pools, sauna and steam rooms with every stay.
What to Do
Before you arrive in Vernon, make sure you call ahead to confirm you can ride the Kraken, a 6-8 person 17-foot-long paddleboard made by Twin Fish that is usually booked in advance and can be booked in hour increments. There are also smaller versions of this paddleboard available but if you have seven friends visiting Vernon with you, it would be a shame not to try it. Once you get your selfie on the Kraken, head to downtown Vernon where you can find 28 giant murals on buildings throughout the city just waiting for you to pose with them too. Everywhere you turn there are farmstands with fresh local produce for sale and the Davison Family Orchards is one farm you definitely have to visit. Kids will want a couple loonies (Canadian for dollars) to buy a rubber duck to race in the duck races while kids at heart will have their fill of pie and ice cream and other fun farm treats. Pair this visit with a stop at Planet Bee next door where you can sample honey and mead and see thousands of bees. If hugging a kangaroo could make this trip any more over the top for you then make sure you stop by the Kangaroo Creek Farm while you're in the area as well.
What to Eat and Drink
The Block One restaurant at 50th Parallel Winery has lake and vineyard vistas that will have you dreaming of Tuscany and delicious food that will remind you of all the farm to table ingredients Vernon has to offer. The Gray Monk Estate Winery is another favorite with the locals and after asking a group of moms at the Okanagan Science Center, I learned that most winery restaurants in the area will be okay if kids tag along for dinner too. If you are a fan of baked potatoes, you might need to stop at Jolly Good Spudz even just to check out the cool London-themed decor and the fancy oven the potatoes are baked in. Pallino's Pizza has a heavenly appetizer of marscapone cheese, honey, pepper and fresh baked pizza bread that I wish I could recreate at home. Ratio Coffee and Pastries is where it's at if you want delicious pastries and a perfectly pulled espresso shot. If you happen to be in Vernon on a Friday, wow your seven friends with the most fabulous donuts in town by pre-ordering through their site - you won't even have to wait in line and you might even forget that the reason you're in Vernon to begin with is because you wanted to ride an epic Stand Up Paddleboard.