Best things to do in Kelowna BC

Best things to do in Kelowna BC

Looking for things to do in Kelowna, BC? We’ll cover you. During a road trip from Vancouver to Revelstoke, we had the opportunity to revisit one of our favorite places in British Columbia, the Okanagan Valley. It’s been a while since we’ve explored this beautiful community and quickly learned why so many people move to Kelowna. Not only does this town have a wonderful wine scene, but it also has a fabulous food scene, distilleries, and tons of outdoor activities. If you’re planning a weekend getaway from Vancouver or exploring the province of British Columbia, Kelowna should be high on your list.

Landmarks in Kelowna, British Columbia

Best things to do in Kelowna

Kelowna is located in inland BC in the Okanagan Valley. It is halfway between Vernon to the north and Penticton to the south. It’s a four-hour drive from Vancouver and is on the east side of Okanagan Lake. Kelowna is surrounded by vineyards, orchards, mountains and of course the beautiful lake. A visit to Kelowna is a must on any British Columbia itinerary and below are the reasons why. So read on to see all of the things to do in Kelowna to help you plan your trip.

Myra Canyon – Kettle Valley Railway

This was by far our favorite of all things to do in Kelowna. Everyone we met along the way commented on how spectacular it was and we agree. The trestles of the Kettle Valley Railway in Myra Canyon offer some of the most spectacular views in British Columbia, not to mention the Okanagan Valley. The Kettle Valley Rail Trail itself runs from Hope to Castlegar and is actually 650 kilometers, but the best views are just outside Kelowna in Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park.

You can hike or bike to see the 18 trestle bridges that hang on the sides of the Myra Canyon. There are two impressive train tunnels carved through canyon walls and the views are lovely. Get off early in the morning and either go hiking or rent bicycles from 9:00 a.m. at the bike rentals that are set up at the starting point.

Vineyard hopping

There are a whopping 40 wineries within a 20-minute radius of Kelowna, so it’s no wonder wine tasting and wine tours are among the most popular things to do in Kelowna. Pick up a Wine guide to take a self-guided tour on your own or book a Kelowna wine tour. The Okanagan Valley produces some of Canada’s finest wines from Summerhill to Cedar Creek, where you can sample the delicious vintages. Enjoy lunch on one of the terraces overlooking the valley and Lake Okanagan. If you find a wine you like, you can even have it delivered to your home. Book this Kelowna Wine Tour to explore established and family-run wineries in a Mercedes.

Suggestions for vineyards:

Take a tour of Lake Okanagan

Speaking of Okanagan Lake: Kelowna is located on the east bank of the largest lake in the Okanagan Valley. This fjord lake is a deep lake that was carved out by glaciers and formed a 135 km (84 miles) long reservoir that you can explore from Vernon to Penticton. The lake warms up to a mild 19-23C (69-71F) in summer, making it an inviting place to swim. Stand-up paddleboards (SUP), kayaks, pontoon boats, and pedal boats can be rented on the Kelowna coast. You can even try your hand at flyboarding.

If you’re looking for something unique in Kelowna, take a Maeg’s BBQ boat tour. You can either join a 45-minute guided sightseeing tour or rent your own Barbecue Boat Float and host your own barbecue on the water as you explore the Kelowna coastline.

Watch the sunset from the beach

Kelowna has some beautiful beaches that are perfect for watching the sun go down. There’s a beach right downtown next to the Kelowna Visitor Center and the marina, but there are other beaches in town as well. Our favorite for the sunset was Rotary Beach Park. Kelowna has 30 beaches with lakefront parks along the shores of Lake Okanagan.

The beaches are great places to relax even if you’re not watching the sunset. Many have amenities, playgrounds, and water sports rentals. Some of the most popular beaches in Kelowna are Hot Sands Beach, Boyce-Gyro Beach, Sarson’s Beach, and Strathcona Park.

Park on the water

Kelowna has a beautiful waterfront and the city made the most of that view by building the beautiful Waterfront Park. A long paved path meanders along the lake and creates a great atmosphere for an afternoon stroll. There are plenty of green spaces and parks, art sculptures and art along the way. There are restaurants nearby, sandy beaches to relax in and there are even Muskoka (Adirondack) chairs set up for you to relax and enjoy the view.

Stroll through the Kasugai Gardens

In the heart of downtown is a quiet retreat that you will surely miss if you don’t know it. Kasugai Gardens was created in honor of Kelowna’s sister city in Japan, Kasugai. It is a typical Japanese garden with waterfalls, rock gardens, a koi pond and lanterns. Make sure to stroll through this garden for a little escape.

Okanagan Spirits and Craft Distillery

The Okanagan Valley may be known for its wine, but spirits are quickly taking over. Visit the Okanagan Spirits and Craft Distillery to sample whiskey, gin, and vodka in their tasting room. They offer free shipping to Canadians on orders over $ 125, and Americans pay a flat fee of $ 30. Or you can just sit on the terrace and enjoy a cocktail.

Craft beer time

Not everyone loves wine. I know my brother will have a beer over wine every day. And luckily, there are several craft breweries in Kelowna. In recent years, several breweries have sprung up in the Kelowna area thanks to the Great Okanagan Beer Festival, which takes place annually in May. Breweries have flights and tastings with great food. One of the more unique breweries is BNA Brewing, which is connected to a bowling alley. The Kelowna Brewing Company is also a great choice for enjoying views of Kelowna from their heated deck while sampling a local beer. Website here.

Food tours in Kelowna

Book this Kelowna food tour. Kelowna has a thriving food scene, and the best way to enjoy local cuisine is to take a tour with a local guide. This tour features up to 8 food and drink stops at local restaurants, but also explores the history and beauty of downtown Kelowna.

Okanagan Lavender Farm

The lavender herb farm is well worth a visit in early summer when the lavender is in full bloom. We went there in late summer so we weren’t so lucky, but you can still shop for some lavender products and essential oils. We have a couple of diffusers at home and we love filling our home with the fresh scent of lavender.

Helicopter tour

Seeing the Okanagan Valley from the air is a must. The beauty of Okanagan Lake really comes to life when you see its shores from above. This huge 351 square kilometer lake is huge and the largest lake in the Okanagan Valley. Book a helicopter tour for a bird’s eye view of not only Okanagan Lake, but also the Myra Canyon Trestles and Okanagan Bridge. We didn’t do that in Kelowna, but in nearby Penticton we took a helicopter tour overlooking Okanagan Lake and it was spectacular. Watch it here.

Hike to Knox Mountain Park

Knox Mountain Park is a great place for hiking and overlooking Kelowna. There are two hiking trails that take you to different viewpoints. One of the most popular hikes is Paul’s Tomb Trail, named after a local Okanagan pioneer, which is a 2 mile loop that offers great views of Okanagan Lake. You can hike up from the parking lot or drive straight up. If you’re looking to take a longer hike, the Apex Trail is a moderately difficult 3 miles that takes you to views of the town and valley.

Ski Big White

I admit we went skiing to Big White years ago when we lived in Vancouver and haven’t been back since, but when we went it was amazing! I will never forget to head out of Vancouver for a long weekend and hit the powdery slopes. It was one of the last times we went skiing before we started snowboarding. There are many intermediate runs that we were back then. I remember loving the mogul slopes. We’re more of the Black Diamond Runs on snowboards these days, but this was an excellent resort for families. Another place we went skiing in the Okanagan Valley was the Apex Mountain Resort near Penticton.

Stroll through the shops of downtown Kelowna

Kelowna has a lovely downtown area with restaurants, breweries, and shops. The main drag is just a few steps from Waterfront Park, where you can sit on an outdoor deck and enjoy a microbrew.

Okanagan orchards

If you’re in Kelowna for a weekend getaway from Vancouver, now is the time to stock up on your fresh produce. Depending on the season, you can stock up on apples, fresh berries and cherries. One of my favorite things to do is go to a farm and pick my own berries. It makes for a great day out. Plus, you can eat any berries you like while stocking up on street treats.

Kelowna Farmers and Crafts Market

If you don’t want to go to a farm, head to the downtown Kelowna Farmers and Craft Market, where you can buy fresh, seasonal fruit for local handicrafts. It’s open all year round by going indoors in the colder months. It is only open on Saturdays during the winter months at the Parkinson Rec Center (indoor) and Wednesdays and Saturdays on the corner of Dilworth and Springfield during the summer months. There is also a satellite market in Kerry Park on Sundays.

Golfing in Kelowna

We’re not much for golfers, but the Okanagan Valley is widely recognized as one of the best places in Canada to golf. Kelowna has the longest golf season in Canada as it attracts many golfers who come to the area solely for golfing. There are courses for all skill levels and you can even get your own golf package with that Kelowna Tourism Website.

Accommodation in Kelowna

We stayed at the Sandman Hotel & Suites. It’s just outside the city center but has all the amenities you could want with an indoor pool, exercise room and two restaurants connected to the hotel. A mall and moxies are also within walking distance. With free parking, it was a great base from which to see the top attractions in Kelowna. Visit their website for pricing and availability.

Use these resources to plan your next trip to BC

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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