The Top 5 Things to Do in Kelowna, British Columbia
Canada's Kelowna is home to British Columbia’s breathtaking Okanagan Valley wine country. While this is Kelowna’s ticket to fame, there is an abundance of lesser-known and equally magical things to do within the region. From where to sip on fancy cocktails to the best beaches and hikes, this is your must-do guide to experiencing the best of Kelowna:
Sip on the best wine in British Columbia
With over 40 wineries found within a 20-minute drive of each other and scattered across the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna is a wine-lover's dream. For the most exquisite experience, I recommend visiting Mission Hill. This winery is set atop a lush green knoll with panoramic views of orchards, the Okanagan Valley and Okanagan Lake. To complement this breathtaking backdrop, the winery’s architecture aspires to be just as impressive. Fortress-like gates create a grand entrance, followed by huge, imposing, limestone curved arches that guide visitors through the winery to the restaurant. The grandeur of the experience doesn’t stop there. You’ll taste dazzling culinary delights and award-winning wines while enjoying exceptional service. Mission Hill is an experience that will stay with you forever.
Spoilt for choice and not sure which winery to visit? Opt for a wine tour customised to your taste so you can skip between a number of orchards across the Valley.
Bike or hike Big White
In the winter, this mountain is one of Canada's most popular ski resorts, but when the snow melts away and the wildflowers bloom it transforms into a lush green haven for bike enthusiasts and hikers to explore during the summer months. Big White’s hiking and downhill mountain biking trails are open from 28th June to 3rd September each year. For hikers, I recommend taking the Rhonda Lake Trail from the village centre to summit. This hike will reward you with a panoramic vista of the Monashee Mountains that stretch as far as the United States. This shaded trail is lined by Engelmann spruce and lodgepole pine forest which eventually opens up to reveal a natural bowl and Rhonda Lake, which is frozen over and hidden underneath metres of snow during winter. Once you’ve reached this point you can choose to explore the lake's edge or hike a little higher for a view overlooking the water. This 2.8-mile trail is perfect for intermediate hikers with an approximate round-trip hiking time of two hours and an elevation of 456 metres. If you don’t want to commit to the uphill hike, you can take the Bullet chairlift up the mountain and hike down to the lake. I recommend spending a full day at Big White, which is a 45-minute drive from Kelowna. Parking is available in the village centre and there are many delicious restaurant and café options so you can refuel post hike.
Hike Knox Mountain
Located north of the city’s core, Knox Mountain offers a variety of gentle hiking trails with breathtaking scenery. Trails are accessible from Ellis Street, and parking is available at the bottom, midpoint, and top of the mountain. Paul’s Tomb is a popular and gentle 1.8-mile hike that will wind you around Knox Mountain to its peak. Here, breathe in panoramic views of Kelowna’s city skyline, the Okanagan Valley, and Okanagan Lake, which borders most of Knox Mountain’s shoreline. Allow arond an hour return trip for this hike.
Swim at Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake spans 84 miles and stretches 2.5 miles wide, making it the ultimate playground for water sports. Dive into the lake’s crisp waters or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of the lake’s quiet, secluded bays. Over 30 beaches are scattered along the lake’s shoreline, and Boyce-Gyro Beach is a must-visit. Equipped with a playground, rope swing, inflatable water park, volleyball courts, and water sports rentals - this beach has everything you need to make the most of summer.
Taste the best of Kelowna
Kelowna may be best known for its crystal-clear waters and endless beaches, but this vacation destination also serves up delicious culinary options to match. Many beach-goers will flock to the big-name restaurants dotted along Okanagan Lake, but the top taste destinations can be found in Kelowna’s Cultural District at Raudz Regional Table and BNA Brewery Co & Eatery. BNA dishes up elevated pub fare and quality craft beer in an old-school rustic warehouse. You can’t go wrong with BNA’s cheeseburger washed down with their craft beer tasting flight. If you’re chasing a more refined dining experience, then Raudz is for you. Raudz is big on naturally and regionally-sourced ingredients, so much so that portraits of its suppliers decorate the walls of the 106-year-old heritage building. To get a real taste of the Okanagan region, treat yourself to the bacon-wrapped plums topped with blue cheese mousse and port syrup, followed by the wild boar meatballs with pappardelle pasta (for a truly Canadian experience!). Raudz also houses a selection of the finest wines from around the region to pair perfectly with each dish.
Choose from our range of British Columbia holidays, or chat to a Travel Expert about tailor making a trip to suit you.