Merritt is a city in the Nicola River valley of the Thompson-Nicola region of British Columbia. There isn't much to see in town, other than a certain vintage Old West flavour, but as a location makes it a convenient place to stop for a rest or to get some food.
Merritt is at the junction of four highways, of which the Coquihalla (Hwy 5) and the Okanagan Connector (Hwy 97C) are the most important. This makes it easily accessible by car from Vancouver (2.5 - 3 hours), Kamloops (40-60 minutes) and Kelowna (1 hour).
Downtown is definitely small enough to get around on foot, although getting from the downtown center up to the newer developed areas can take up to an hour. Almost anywhere in the city can be reached by an hour on foot. A car or at least a good bike (with a good state of health) is recommended to explore around the city.
Douglas Lake Ranch Canada's largest working cattle ranch is located to the Northwest of the city.
Walk of Stars A collection of hand imprints of various country music stars spread throughout downtown.
- Mountainfest (Merritt Mountain Music Festival), . Merritt's annual July country music festival. It is billed as the largest in the country. edit
- Mountain Biking A dry climate and many mountains combine to make a great place for more adventurous mountain bikers. Trail maps and information are available in several downtown stores as well as City Hall. A more sedate bike trip can be found by following the abandoned railroad out towards Spences Bridge.
- Fishing The Nicola Valley is home to many lakes and rivers and freshwater fishing is popular both during the summer and in the winter. Equipment can be purchased at the Canadian Tire or Powderkeg shop downtown. Nicola and Douglas lake are the most popular locations.
- Swimming For people that don't mind the cold water, Nicola Lake is incredibly refreshing on an August day. Monck park operates a small beach on the Northern shore, which is probably the most popular place to swim. Two local swimming holes in the Coldwater river are also worth paying a visit. Ask for directions from a local to reach Little Box and Big Box. Be warned that Big Box requires a good pair of hiking boots and about 45 minutes of hiking to reach.
- On the Water Nicola Lake is a very large lake with many summer homes and good winds. As such, during the summer months, motorboats, sailboats and wind-surfers can all be seen out on the water. Kayaking on Nicola or any of the smaller lakes can also be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, but be warned that there are no rental companies in town.
- Camping Several campsites are open year-round in the valley. The most popular campsite is Monck Park, roughly 20km to the East of Merritt, although it is only open during the summer. Be sure to check the Wildfire Danger Level before going out camping to see if a campfire ban is in effect.
Nicola Valley Honey Named Canada's Best Honey in a national survey, this stuff is liquid gold. Usually easy to find, local grocery stores stock it. Also worth trying is the strawberry rhubarb spread.
There are a number of fast food restaurants off the highway in town.
- Merritt Sushi Prepared by a local Japanese-Canadian family, this restaurant is very popular with locals and has quality to match that of much more expensive sushi restaurants in bigger cities.
- Mandolins Small cafe downtown, this place scratch-bakes the majority of it's products. Giant cookies, cinnamon buns and biscotti are all excellent choices. Also does very good sandwiches and home-made soups.