This city of 30,000 sits at the southern end of Okanagan Lake, nestled between it and Skaha Lake to the south on a 3.5 kilometre wide delta. The towns name is the Salish word for "the place to live forever." The town began when Tom Ellis moved into the area. In 1874, when the natives where moved to a a reservation, he planted the first orchard in the Okanagan, though Ellis became famous as a cattle baron. In1905 the Southern Okanagan Land Company purchased his estate and began development of the town. The fruit industry, particularly peaches, followed by tourism and lumber are the core of the town's economy. There are over 1,014 hectares of orchards within city limits.
The extensive beachfront on the two lakes on the northern and southern end of the town are the focus of summer recreation. The gentle Okanagan River between the two lakes is popular for tubing for water lovers of all ages (there are even shuttle bus services). The town has several golf courses including the 18 hole Penticton, the 9-hole Pine Hills and the 9-hole Pleasant Valley. Penticton is also famous for its early August Peachfest, and its mid-August Ironman Triathlon race.
In the winter, Apex Alpine offers downhill skiing just 30 kilometres west of Penticton, a very short drive from the city's airport.