Spring into B.C.’s hottest lakeside city
From beaches and wine to hiking and fine dining, Kelowna really is the perfect getaway
If you’re struggling to decide between visiting a foodie hot spot or a nature-lover’s paradise for your next spring getaway, look no further than Kelowna. Just a four-and-a-half-hour direct flight away in the heart of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Kelowna is an incredible hybrid of food, culture, beaches and outdoor adventure that will make your Instagram profile the envy of all your friends and family. Here are just a few of the ways that you could fill your itinerary while staying in this outdoor adventure destination.
Explore the region’s rolling landscapes
You can’t travel to beautiful B.C. without spending some time (or a lot of time) in nature. If you’re a golf enthusiast, we don’t need to tell you about the Okanagan’s world-renowned courses, including Harvest Golf Club—a unique 18-hole course located on the grounds of a stunning fruit orchard—and the celebrated Kelowna Springs, designed by prominent Canadian golf course architect Les Furber and favoured by local players. But even if you’re not an experienced golfer, the views alone are worth squeezing in a game at one of Kelowna’s lakeside courses, such as Two Eagles.
That same landscape also makes for some pretty incredible cycling routes. Consider signing up for a G.O. Cycling Experience (a carefully curated day trip that combines cycling, adventure and history) or simply renting a bike from Giro Okanagan. For those who prefer a slower, more scenic pace, there are hiking trails for all skill levels, many with panoramic views of the city below. Whether you are exploring by bike or on foot, a trip to Myra Canyon Trestles—a particularly scenic portion of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) that runs along a steep-walled canyon—will provide endless photo opportunities, so don’t forget to pack your camera or charge your phone before you go.
Flip, fly and float on the lake
No matter how you spend your time in Kelowna, you’ll be greeted by stunning views of Okanagan Lake, which is lined with more than 30 beaches—perfect for resting your legs after a long bike ride through the surrounding countryside. If you want to see another side of the lake, there are endless ways to get on the water. You can hop aboard a tour boat with organizations like Luxury Lake Tours and Kelowna Cruises; carve your own path with a power boat, Sea-Doo or stand-up paddleboard from Kelowna’s Downtown Marina; or soar above the water with a jetboard, flyboard or parasail. If you’re travelling with a group of close friends, we recommend planning an intimate barbeque lunch aboard one of the fun and unique boats that can be rented from Maeg’s BBQ Boats. Looking for something a little more luxurious? Climb aboard one of Okanagan Yacht Tours‘ luxurious 36-foot sailing yachts, complete with your very own captain, and enjoy all the comforts of home while skimming across the water.
Devour the freshest farm-to-table cuisine
Whether you’re dining streetside or lakeside, it’ll be difficult to focus on much beyond the freshness of the farm-to-table fare served at Kelowna’s hottest restaurants. Because the farms and restaurants are so close in this city, it’s not uncommon for chefs to create mouth-watering works of art the same day they source the ingredients from local farms. New and noteworthy eateries to add to your itinerary include Basil and Mint, which serves West Coast cuisine like wild-caught prawns and seafood risotto; The Chase Wines Garden Bistro, a new winery that’s perfect for patio lunches; and Sunny’s, a stylish and modern diner owned by the same team behind RauDZ. For those who have a little more time to spare, consider taking a self-guided farm tour through the gorgeous rural landscapes surrounding the city, which will give you the unique opportunity to meet the locals, and talk to the farmers and chefs who are fuelling the focus on locally grown food.
Tour the city’s famous wineries
As the largest city on Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is filled with attraction —but it’s become synonymous with wine. In fact, some of B.C.’s first vines were planted in Kelowna, whose surrounding area is now home to more than 40 wineries. For an experience that’s part wine tasting, part outdoor adventure, consider following one of the city’s five wine trails. You’ll find closely located collections of the region’s best grapes, be greeted by knowledgable hosts and hear the stories of world-renowned winemakers. For those who have been to Kelowna before, check out some of the more newly established wineries, like Ricco Bambino, an urban winery set to open soon, or The Hatch. The latter is worth visiting just for the tasting room: an old tractor shed with a rusty tin ceiling, complete with an antique shovel collection and philosophy books scattered among the display bottles.
Add to the wine tours with breweries, distilleries and cideries
A stop at one of the city’s breweries, distilleries or cideries. But for many craft beer connoisseurs, stopping at one or two microbreweries simply isn’t enough. If you feel the same, we recommend following the Kelowna Ale Trail: a three-day adventure with recommended stops for hiking, biking, diving, sipping coffee and, of course, indulging in the city’s best beer.
When travelling to a place like Kelowna, you don’t need to decide between the food and culture of a big city, and a rural outdoor adventure — you simply need to figure out how you’re going to fit all of the fun into a single trip.