12 of the Best Things to do in Kelowna, BC
Incredible wine, fresh fruit, and gorgeous beaches – Kelowna is all about indulging.
Every year thousands of visitors travel from across Canada and across the globe to see what the Okanagan has to offer. And oftentimes, this means spoiling yourself and having a very relaxing holiday full of food and booze.
And on our recent visit to Kelowna, we did just that!
We went to more wineries than we can remember (probably because we did tastings at all of them), picked fresh berries, ate at some gourmet restaurants, tried locally-made cheese, tasted craft beers and ciders, and overall probably gained a few pounds.
But what many visitors don’t realize or take advantage of is the active lifestyle that also surrounds Kelowna. The locals love the area and get out and about all year around. In the winter, they hit the slopes, and in the summer, it is all about the mountains and lakes.
We kept ourselves busy in Kelowna and discovered a ton of fun and amazing things to do in Kelowna.
Some of the things on our list are those most popular “cannot miss” top-rated tourist activities, and some are a little more off the beaten path or local secrets.
12 Things to do in Kelowna
1. Ride the Kettle Valley Trail in the Myra Canyon
|Location:||Myra Canyon, 40-minute drive from Kelowna|
|Price:||The trail is free but it’s $39 for half-day bike rental|
|Rating:||5/5 – If you love the outdoors and scenic rides be sure to |
check it out!
One of the most popular activities in Kelowna these days is bike riding the Kettle Valley Trail around the Myra Canyon.
This route was once a railway that trains passed through. But now, all of the tracks have been removed and what is left behind is one very scenic trail perfect for cycling or walking.
The trail starts up in Myra Canyon Provincial Park only a 40-minute drive from Kelowna. The entire ride is a 22km round trip, but don’t stress, it’s completely flat and easy to ride.
Along the way, you’ll cross lots of wooden bridges and even pass through some old tunnels. I personally loved the ride and despite not getting the greatest weather, had an amazing time.
If you don’t have your own bike then you’ll need to rent one, and luckily enough this can be done at the start of the trail. Myra Canyon Bike Rental rent bikes from the start of the trail for $39 for a half-day.
If you don’t want to ride you can just drive to the trailhead and walk for a few kilometers. Of course, you must come back the way you came so keep that in mind as you take in the awesome views!
2. Get tipsy on a wine tour
|Location:||Tours pick-up from your hotel and travel to one of the |
regions around Kelowna
|Price:||Tours range in price starting at around $120|
|Rating:||5/5 – This is an absolute must-do in Kelowna!|
It’s no secret that I love wine tours and it’s also well known that Kelowna is one of the best places in Canada for wine. So it’s really not surprising we went on not one, but two wine tours during our visit!
Now if you’re wondering why, well, there’s actually a few wine regions around Kelowna and no tour will take you to all of them – there are simply just too many wineries!
Wanting to experience more, we did one tour through West Kelowna and one through East Kelowna. Of course, for most people, one tour is enough and my advice is that you simply must do at least one!
The wine region around Kelowna is famous for Riesling and Gewürztraminer but there is a much larger variety that includes favorites such as Pinot Noir and amazing Rose.
What I loved most about the wineries around Kelowna is that they’re testing the waters and making some very unconventional wines. To me, wine isn’t all about tradition and more of a forever evolving industry where creativity is endless.
In Kelowna, there are literally dozens of companies that offer different wine tours. There’s really no easy way to choose the right one, but you can see some of the best available wine tours here. Just pick one that suits your budget and wine tasting style!
3. Explore the local cuisine on a food tour
|Rating:||4/5 – If you want a great introduction to the best places to |
eat in Kelowna then I highly recommend this tour!
The Okanagan Valley is all about fresh produce and all of the treats made with it. With that in mind, it’s no surprise a food tour is one of the best things to do in Kelowna. We actually love food tours (no surprise there) and have done them all over the world including a food tour in Vancouver recently.
Our food tour through Kelowna made five stops at different restaurants around the city. At each place, we tried foods from some of the best restaurants in town and the portions were huge. It’s certainly not a tour you’ll leave hungry!
We did our tour with Okanagan Foodie Tours and couldn’t recommend them enough. We had a fantastic time and at only $75 per person for the tour, it’s really good value!
4. Visit a ski field
|Location:||Big White or Silver Star Mountain|
|Price:||Free to visit|
|Rating:||3.5/5 – If your skiing, downhill riding, or just want to |
ride the gondola it is a great thing to do in Kelowna!
We were here in summer and although the skiing and snowboarding had well and truly finished for the season, we still wanted to check out the amazing views. And of course, ride the gondola to the top of Silver Star Mountain.
From the top, you get amazing views of the valley and mountains and there are also a few short hiking trails that wind their way around the hill (perfect for walking off all that food)!
If you’re into downhill mountain biking then Silver Star is also a great place to ride without the larger crowds (and lines) of places like Whistler.
If you’re in Kelowna in winter then be sure to head up for some skiing and snowboarding. There’s plenty of runs for all levels and the village at the resort is filled with awesome places to stay!
Skiing is also one of the best things to do in Revelstoke, another gorgeous town not too far away!
5. Visit Kangaroo Creek Farm
|Location:||A 20-minute drive from Kelowna|
|Price:||$10 for adults, $5 for children|
|Rating:||3/5 – If you haven’t seen a kangaroo before then you’ll |
likely love it!
Okay, so this isn’t something I was overly keen on doing. I mean, I am from Australia and have seen thousands of Kangaroos before. In fact, we try to avoid them when we’re on country roads.
However, having Canadian in-laws meant a visit to the Kangaroo Creek Farm was certain. For anyone who hasn’t seen a kangaroo before, this is one of the best chances you’ll get outside of Australia.
Entrance to the farm is only $10 for adults and $5 for kids. The farm is home to many kangaroos including small Joey’s (baby kangaroos). It’s a really unique opportunity and the farm is run by lovely people.
6. Enjoy breakfast at the Jammery
The Jammery is a local secret and the best place in Kelowna for breakfast. We found out about it while visiting Bailey’s family (who are Vernon and Kelowna locals.)
The Jammery is an interesting mix of a restaurant and jam tasting (and sales) shop. The jams they sell are famous and the breakfast maybe even more so. All of their jams are made to a very high quality and they even have some sugar free options – which is a great alterative for those with a sweet tooth!
The restaurant is located a little outside of Kelowna on the main highway to Vernon near the airport. It is recommended you book in advance to secure a table, believe me, this place gets busy!
7. Taste some local cider
|Location:||There are many cideries around Kelowna with BC Tree |
Fruits being the closest to the city
|Price:||Tastings are by donation or around $5|
|Rating:||4/5 – A fun short stop, a must for anybody who |
A wine tour, a food tour, and now I’m telling you to go try cider…you may need to unbutton your pants by the end of your visit, but one thing’s for sure, you’re going to enjoy yourself! Anyways, back to the cider!
The Okanagan grows a lot of apples and since cider has made its huge comeback, many of the orchards have switched their focus to making world-class cider.
But the small cideries haven’t limited their cider to apples and you can try a huge range of ciders including cherry, plum, and peach. The best part? They’re all delicious!
There are a few good places around town with my favorite being the BC Tree Fruit Cidery. They have awesome cider and their tasting fee is waived with the purchase of any cider.
Another great place is BX Ciders. They’re actually closer to Vernon and their tasting and sales desk is actually located in the orchard. BX is a little pricy but their tasting donation actually goes to charity and their cherry cider is amazing!
If you’re in need of a designated driver, the check out these brewery tours around Kelowna!
8. Test your skills at Axe Throwing
|Location:||Axe Monkeys, 3190 Sexsmith Rd, Kelowna|
|Price:||$25 per hour per person|
|Rating:||4/5 – Highly recommend if you haven’t done it before! |
We loved it!
Axe throwing was the sport I never thought I’d ever do but absolutely loved! Essentially you throw an axe one of three ways at a wooden target (and hope it sticks). It sounds simple, and it is, but it does take a little getting used too.
While we were in Kelowna I had my first axe-throwing experience at Axe Monkeys. Both Bailey and I walked in a little unsure but left wishing we had more time! Our hour of throwing (which we thought would be enough) went by super-fast and we were laughing the whole time!
An hour of axe throwing costs $25 (they have discounts for servicemen and women, and kids) in Kelowna which compared with other places (like Whistler) was very cheap. An hour is enough if you just want to try it but we could have stayed for two.
Honestly, it’s not something you think you’d like until you try it – so give it a go!
9. Cruise the lake on a pontoon tour
|Price:||$50 to $100 per person|
|Rating:||4/5 – Pontoons are a fun way to enjoy the |
lake, have a drink, and even go for a swim!
Summer in Kelowna is all about the lakes and we spent a lot of time on (and in) them! The largest in the area is Okanagan Lake. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a cruise on the lake on a pontoon boat.
What I love about pontoon boats is they’re made for entertaining and there’s plenty of room to move.
We headed out on the Vernon end of Okanagan Lake on a pontoon and had an amazing time soaking up the sun and swimming at secluded beaches. It was a day well spent and to be honest, actually quite cheap. There is a range of tours available from all-day adventures to 1-hour cruises.
I personally recommend getting your group together and joining a 3-hour cruise. These cost around $600 and can hold up to 10 people. It’s also BYO food and drinks so you’ll save some extra money there!
Check out this huge range of cruise tours in Kelowna!
10. Go speed boating
|Price:||$200 per hour for up to 8-12 people|
|Rating:||4/5 – If you want a little more excitement from your trip |
then speedboating is the way to go!
If you’re more of an adrenalin junky, then cruising the lake on a pontoon might not be your idea of a fun day out. Luckily though, on the same lake where you can relax with a drink in hand, you can also go speed boating, tubing, or wakeboarding!
For me, I personally love wakeboarding and tubing! Cruising behind the boat at high speeds holding on for dear life is a great way to get the blood pumping.
Most tours on the speed boats are run per hour and cost around $200. However, they can hold between 8 to 12 people (depending on the boat) so its not bad value between a group!
Bookings are essential and so be sure to book your speed boat in advance online!
11. Go fruit picking
|Location:||Various farms surrounding Kelowna|
|Price:||Free to pick, you just pay for the berries|
|Rating:||3/5 – If you love fresh berries at a great price you won’t |
If you wanted to know where to get the freshest fruit in the Okanagan, I would have to say it’s at the self-pick farms! Straight from the tree to your mouth (and bucket), you can pick some of your favorite fruit and berries at a discounted rate.
We headed off to a small a farm right on the lake and picked around a million raspberries. We were a little worried it would cost a small fortune but we left with 3 lbs of raspberries for around $7 (not to mention the pound Bailey ate while I was picking!)
There are plenty of farms around town to go picking. Some are simply signposted and others advertise online. For a list of farms to visit check out this blog from Tourism Kelowna on U-pick locations.
12. Visit the Kelowna Farmers and Craft Market
|Rating:||4/5 – It’s a well put together market with so much variety!|
Everyone loves a good market and the Kelowna Farmers and Craft Market is just that! We visited on a Wednesday morning and grazed on delicious foods all morning and even picked up a few souvenirs.
The event itself is open all year round however, in winter the market goes indoors and in summer, well, it’s out in the beautiful Okanagan sunshine!
The market is filled with food, produce, and crafts. You can get a huge range of gifts, snacks, and much more. Its something I really enjoyed and well worth your time!
In summer, the market is held every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 am until 1 pm on the corner of Springfield and Dilworth Street. The summer market starts in April and goes till around November. In Winter the market is only held on Saturdays from 8 am till 1 pm and is held on 1800 Parkinson Way.
Where to Stay in Kelowna
Good value accommodation can be hard to come by in Canada. However, we have been traveling long enough to know where to look and who to trust. Here are some of the best-rated places to stay for all budgets across all booking sites!
Kelowna International Hostel – This is easily your best budget option. This hostel is centrally located and although it not fancy, it’s only $80 for a double room that includes a highly rated continental breakfast. Its also reviewed as a clean hostel with friendly staff.
Samesun Kelowna – The last decent budget hotel around the $100 mark is this place. The reviews are really good and the property is quite modern. The location is perfect if you want to be close to downtown and they include a free breakfast.
Hotel Zed Kelowna – Hotel Zed is perfectly located and comes with the added features of a pool, hot tub, and jacuzzi. The staff are very friendly and the hotel has a very relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
Dilworth Inn – I personally stayed at the Dilworth Inn. This place is a great medium budget option that’s a little out of the city center but very close to the farmers market and other great amenities. They also have an indoor pool, spa, and sauna!
Hillcrest Farm Market – If you don’t mind staying a little out of the city then you may just fall in love with the Hillcrest. Its located 8km from the city center but is beautifully located. It’s around $250 per night but includes an awesome breakfast!
Delta hotels – This is the best high budget hotel in Kelowna. It does come at a hefty price of $420 a night but it’s superbly located. It has both an indoor and outdoor pool as well as an onsite casino! If you can afford it, treat yourself!
I hope this blog has helped you have a wonderful holiday in Kelowna! It is truly a beautiful city and one I hope you enjoy as much as I did!
We love Canada, so, we have written about it a lot! Browse all of our Canada blogs or check out a couple of our favorites below:
- 33 Totally Awesome Things to do in Vancouver
- The BEST Things to do in Banff
- Exciting Things to do in Saskatoon
November 15, 2019