Kelowna is the largest city in the Okanagan region of British Columbia. It is right in the middle of the province’s wine region. It is a beautiful city on the east side of Okanagan Lake, which is surrounded by mountains.
Kelowna has a lot to offer all year long, and the valley and mountains are two of the main reasons why. Every year, lots of skiers, hikers, mountain bikers, and wine lovers come to the city to enjoy what it has to offer.
The best thing about the city is the great outdoors, but there are also things to do inside.
Let’s look at Kelowna’s best things to do:
1. Have fun on the hills
If you go to Kelowna in the winter, you must hit the slopes at the Big White Ski Resort and go skiing. The resort is on Big White Mountain, which has the highest peak in the area.
The resort has 16 lifts that take people up and down the 777-meter vertical drop. There are also 118 marked trails, and more than half of them are for skiers and snowboarders who are at an intermediate level.
Big White Ski Resort also has night skiing, and in fact, it has the most night skiing in all of western Canada. People who don’t ski or snowboard can try tubing, riding in a sleigh, dog sledding, or walking on snowshoes.
2. Go mountain biking
Mountain bike fans should go to the SilverStar Mountain Resort in the Monashee Mountains, which are close by. From June to September, the resort has lifts that make mountain biking possible.
There are over 50 kilometers of downhill bike trails and 4 bike carrier lift systems that make it easy to bring your bike uphill. There are also more than 30 kilometers of XC trails at the resort.
There are trails for beginners, trails for intermediate riders, trails for advanced riders, and trails for experts. This means that anyone can enjoy mountain biking here. You can ski or snowboard on one of its 132 winter trails when you go there in the winter.
3. Drink wine
Kelowna’s great wineries are also a big draw for tourists. There are more than 40 wineries in and around the city, and all of them can be reached by car in less than 20 minutes.
You can go to the wineries and try the different kinds in a number of ways, such as on a guided wine tour, a self-guided wine tour, or by walking or biking along one of the wine trails. There are a total of five wine trails, and each one takes you to a different part of the country.
No matter how you visit a winery, you will find out about its history and often meet the owner or winemaker. You will also get to try wines, which is pretty much the whole point.
4. Go to the lake for the day
On a hot summer day, there are a lot of things to do on Okanagan Lake. The length of the lake is 135 kilometers, and Kelowna is about halfway along it.
The best thing about the lake is its beaches, which have playgrounds, food stands, and public bathrooms. You can also rent a wakeboard, a stand-up paddle board, a canoe, a kayak, or a pedal boat.
If you like to sail or drive boats, you can rent one for the day. You can also just lie around on the beach and enjoy the sun.
5. Find out about the history of the city
You can look at local and regional artifacts that tell the story of the city’s history as you walk around the Okanagan Heritage Museum. The museum’s collection is shown in two rooms where people can look at it.
The oldest log cabin in Kelowna is one of the most popular things to see. There is also an original “Chinatown” shop that is very interesting.
The Okanagan Heritage Museum has a permanent collection, but it also has special shows. The Kelowna Public Archives and the Ursula Surtees Regional Conservation Laboratory are also there.
6. Look around the valley
In the Okanagan Valley, there are a lot of trails that are great for getting to know the area. There are trails that range from easy to hard, with the hardest ones being in the mountains.
Some of the trails have amazing views of the city and Okanagan Lake. On other trails, you can walk along the lake and see the mountains in the distance.
Not only do they vary in difficulty, but they also vary in length, with the longest being about 55 kilometers, though it can be broken up into smaller sections. About one kilometer is the length of the shortest hike.
7. Spend time with pets
Spend the day at the Arion Therapeutic Farm and hang out with animals. On the farm, there are goats, llamas, sheep, and donkeys, among other animals.
You can feed the animals lunch, brush a pony, or watch them get ready for bed. There are also special events on the farm, such as picnics, making jam, and horse shows.
Therapeutic equine experiences are a big part of Arion Therapeutic Farm. These experiences are made to meet the physical and emotional needs of each person. There are also guided tours of the farm that will teach you more about how things work on a farm.
8. Look at the past
Go back in time and check out the Father Pandosy Mission, which was the first European settlement in Kelowna. In 1860, three Oblates Mary Immaculates were sent there to start a mission, which is when it was first set up.
The mission did a good job until 1906, when it was shut down. It is now a historical site where some of the original buildings can be seen.
Wander around the Father Pandosy Mission to see the original chapel, barn, Root house, and Brothers’ house.
The Blacksmith shop, the Caretaker’s quarters, and the Christien house were also moved to the site because they were important to the pioneers. It’s open all year long, but you can only go inside the buildings from March to October.
9. Sample local products
You can visit a number of farms in and around Kelowna to try out local food. Visit and look around the farms to see how honey is made, pick cherries, or even ride a tracker.
If you like cheese, you should go to Carmelis and try their homemade goat cheese. If you like sweets, you should go to Gambell Farms and try their fresh fruit pie and scones.
Go to Hillcrest Farm Market, Gatzke’s Farm Market, or Don-O-Ray Vegetables if you just want to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget to take a guided tour of the Caldwell Heritage Farm, where you can meet free-range chickens and get farm-fresh eggs.
10. Go golfing for a round
Kelowna is a beautiful city that has more than 2,000 hours of sunshine each year. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are 18 golf courses in and around the city.
In fact, Kelowna has one of the driest and longest golf seasons in the country. It has beautiful orchards, vineyards, rolling hills, big lakes, and semi-desert areas that make for some beautiful golf courses with lots of hazards.
There is a golf course in Kelowna for everyone, no matter how good you are. Some of the courses in the area also have restaurants, from casual to gourmet, where you can eat after you play.