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14 BEST Stops on the Drive from Vancouver to Kelowna

14 BEST Stops on the Drive from Vancouver to Kelowna

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When planning a road trip in British Columbia, Vancouver is an excellent starting point. Vancouver has a major international airport on Canada’s west coast and is a vibrant city with lots to do. However, don’t get stuck in the city too long. Get out and explore some of the best places in BC on an epic road trip!

One of my favorite drives in BC is from Vancouver to Kelowna through the Okanagan Valley – one of the warmest (and most beautiful!) regions in the country.

While you can fly from Vancouver to Kelowna, you’ll miss all of the excellent stops along the way! In this guide, I’ll take you through the 14 best places to stop on your Vancouver to Kelowna road trip. 

Don’t have time to read the full article? Some of our favorite highlights on this road trip include soaking at Harrison Hot Springs, exploring Othello Tunnels, and enjoying this private cruise of Okanagan Lake. And once you’ve arrived in Kelowna, don’t miss out on this tantalizingly tasty local food tour!

About the Drive from Vancouver to Kelowna 

The drive from Vancouver to Kelowna is about 450 kilometers (280 miles) and should take just over five hours without stopping. The route starts on the main Trans-Canada Highway #1 before turning off onto Highway #5 and then Highway #97C, which goes right into Kelowna.

The Highway #5 route is considered the “Northern Passage” from Vancouver to the Okanagan region. It’s a well-maintained road that is relatively straight and easy to drive. It is the main road used by trucks in the area. There is another route via Highway #3, but it is narrower with more twists and turns and takes longer, so I prefer the other route.

If you’re planning to do the trip in the colder and snowy months (typically November to March), your car will require winter tires. These tires will give you extra grip for the ice and snow you’ll likely encounter along the route. Winter tires are mandatory on most B.C. highways from October 1 until March 31, so you could be fined if you don’t have them.

If you aren’t used to winter driving, B.C. winters present a variety of weather conditions from snowstorms to icy roads to avalanches and even clear, sunny days. The weather conditions can change within the same day, so always check a road report and forecast before you leave.

It’s also worth booking a hotel partway through the trip to take your time and have a place to stay if weather conditions get dodgy.

If winter driving isn’t for you, plan to take this drive in the summer or fall. No matter when you’re driving, try to drive during daylight hours so you have the best views of the scenery around you, and the best road conditions.

14 BEST Stops on the Drive from Vancouver to Kelowna 

1. Vancouver

Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium from a sea plane
You can see Vancouver from above on a scenic flight!
Bailey walks along the Vancouver Seawall
Walking around Vancouver is so much fun too!

You really couldn’t ask for a better start to this road trip than the City of Glass. That’s one of Vancouver’s many, many nicknames, so why not stick around for a while and get to know this incredible city?

There are so many amazing things to do in Vancouver, from trying out the local easy hikes to exploring Stanley Park – the list is practically endless! Also, many see Vancouver as an expensive destination, but that’s not to say it can’t be enjoyed on a budget, in fact, there are heaps of awesome free things to do in Vancouver!

Speaking of easy hikes, one of our favorites is hiking through Lighthouse Park in Northwest Vancouver. This is incredibly scenic and offers the chance to see some of the largest Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir Trees in Canada! It’s just a 10-minute walk to the lighthouse and should definitely be on your to-do list.

In our opinion, no trip to Vancouver is complete without checking out Granville Island – it’s a small island that you can drive or catch a ferry to from downtown Vancouver Island. In fact, you could easily spend the best part of the day exploring all the things to do on Granville Island, we especially love visiting the huge indoor market here – which is especially popular with local Vancouverites.

For one of the best Granville Island experiences, you can book a guided tour of the market for a true insight into the different stalls! This VIP access Granville Island Market tour is the perfect introduction to the best-hidden secrets to be found here. Lasting 2 hours, there’s lots of time to ask questions and get to know the local scene. With 20+ signature tastings, it’s best to go on an empty stomach!

Pod of orca swim near a whale watching boat on a tour from Vancouver
A pod of Orcas was spotted near Vancouver!

Of course, you can’t visit Vancouver without whale watching. From out on the open water, you’ll have the opportunity to spot various types of whales, including Humpback whales and, our favorite, Orcas. Whale season typically runs between April and October, and besides whales, you’ll also have the opportunity to spot other wildlife, including seabirds, seals, and otters.

You can expect to pay about $236 CAD for this half-day whale watching tour that includes tea and coffee, and expert naturalists join you to teach you all about the whales and places you’ll see. It’s tons of fun, no matter how old you are – there’s nothing more magical than seeing a whale in the wild! Whale-watching tours in Vancouver are one of the most popular things to do, so I recommend booking this tour in advance so you don’t miss out.

Just a 20-minute drive from Vancouver city center, you’re not far from the towering Capilano Suspension Bridge which is 137 meters long (450 feet) and hangs 70 meters (230 feet) above the Capilano River.

Visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge is yet another popular activity in Vancouver – you can make a stop here on your way out of town or spend a couple of hours exploring the area. It boasts Vancvouber’s beauty! There are also various hiking trails here too, along with a treetop walk and a glass floor lookout! Admission costs $66 CAD per adult and can be booked online here.

2. Golden Ears Provincial Park

The view of a river with a mountain backdrop in Golden Ears Provincial Park, BC
Golden Ears Provincial Park is a gorgeous place to explore just outside of Vancouver!

Leaving the City of Glass behind us, one of the largest parks in British Columbia is less than an hour from downtown Vancouver and is a slight detour off the main highway. Golden Ears Provincial Park is an excellent spot for hiking, with various trails to suit all levels. Keep an eye out for wildlife here, including deer and beavers!

Try the Lower Gold Creek Falls Trail for a nice walk through the forest with mountain views and two different spots to see the stunning waterfall here. The park is really popular in the summer, especially on weekends and holidays, so make sure to arrive early as the parking lots will temporarily close when they reach capacity, typically from 11 am to 4 pm.

Alouette Lake is a beautiful place to relax and has a large beach with a swimming area and a place to rent canoes and kayaks on the weekend. The views from the lake with the mountains surrounding it are stunning, so bring your lunch and have a picnic on the giant lawn in front of the beach.

Related Read: We absolutely loved trying out these top wildlife tours in Banff National Park. If you’re planning to visit, consider giving one a go!

3. Maan Farms Market and Estate Winery

Sunflowers at Maan Farms Market and Estate Winery 
The sunflowers are gorgeous!

Maan Farms started in the 1970s as a berry farm and has grown into a destination full of activities for the whole family. Of course, they are well-known for their amazing strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries – plan to come anytime from June to August to have a taste!

This area is known for its absolutely gorgeous flowers and Maan Farms hosts a Sunflower Festival every August where the fields are full of bright, yellow flowers. There are perfect photo-ops in the sunflower fields, or try the Secret Sunflower Picnic, where you can have lunch right in the middle of the blooming sunflower field!

Maan Farms also offers berry picking, a petting zoo, goat yoga, a wooden play structure for the kids, and a great restaurant with Mama Maan’s Kitchen (try the samosas!). End your experience with a drink from the winery. Every wine is produced in-house and has two pounds of berries per bottle.

Admission for Maan Farms does vary depending on the season, however, you can generally expect to pay $16 CAD per person for entry, with season attractions also at an extra cost.

4. Harrison Hot Springs 

Daniel at the beach in Harrison Hot Springs in Canada
Harrison Hot springs Resort pool and rooms in Canada
Photo credit: Harrison Hot Springs Resort

To get to Harrison Hot Springs (named after its famous hot springs!), you’ll take a detour off the main highway, turning onto Highway #9 for about 20 minutes. There are loads of fun things to do here in Harrison Hot Springs, with lots of restaurants and cafés, as well as some cute shops to pick up everything from souvenirs to local art.

If you’d like to slow down the pace of this road trip, a great place to spend a night is at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort. This way, you can try out the best hot springs BC has to offer for free as a hotel guest and join other well-known past guests like Clark Gable, John Wayne, Michael Bublé, and Liam Neeson.

There are five different hot mineral springs pools, including indoor and outdoor pools. The water here has among the highest concentrations of dissolved mineral solids of any mineral spring!

If you don’t want to stay at the resort, there is a public hot springs pool in town you can visit for a couple of hours. Or head down to Harrison Lake to enjoy the beach, which has areas for swimming, playgrounds, and lots of other water activities.

You can finish your stop here with a seriously tasty and filling meal of authentic German food at The Black Forest Restaurant. Book a table on the large balcony overlooking the lake and try one of their famous Schnitzel dishes!

Related Read: For my fellow hot spring lovers, a visit to Radium Hot Springs is a must.

5. Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park

Bridal Veil Falls in Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park
The beautiful Bridal Veil Falls!

Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park is the perfect place to pull off the highway and go for a hike to a spectacular waterfall. From the parking lot, it’s a short hike of only 15 minutes on a relatively easy path to reach the Bridal Veil Falls waterfall – which is truly incredible.

Along the path, you’ll pass broadleaf maple and cedar trees and then see the waterfall through the trees at the end of the path. There’s a viewpoint here overlooking the falls, and you’ll see why they got their name!

The water cascades down 60 meters (197 feet) over the wide, smooth rock ledge, creating a veil effect with the white water. It’s the sixth-largest waterfall in Canada and a must-see on your Vancouver to Kelowna road trip.

While you’re here, plan to stay a bit to enjoy the park. There’s a great area here for a picnic, so bring lunch!

Note: The falls are only open during the summer months, so feel free to skip this one if you’re traveling in winter!

6. Hope 

District of Hope sign in Hope, BC
Welcome to Hope, BC!

Hope, BC is a small town on the route with some neat things to do or is a good place to spend a night on the drive. As you drive around town, you’ll notice all the wooden sculptures throughout, thanks to an International Chainsaw Carving Competition that takes place here every year. It’s why Hope is called the Chainsaw Capital of the World! 

Kawkawa Lake is a nice spot with a beach, a picnic area, a dock, and a large parking lot. It’s a popular spot for waterskiing and stand-up paddleboarding and is easy to get to off the highway. It’s also warm enough to comfortably swim in during the summer (unlike some other glacier lakes), so take advantage of a stop here on a warm day!

Another way to cool off is with a drink at Mountainview Brewing Co. It’s the first craft beer brewery in town! Grab a pint along with the yummy snacks and sandwiches they serve and enjoy the view. All the beer is brewed right in Hope with fresh mountain water! Try “The Dark Side of Town” with a classic dark German lager or “Main Squeeze” a sour ale brewed with organic peaches and plums. 

If you want to spend a night here, Hope has some really great accommodation options to choose from. Set up on Thacker Mountain, the High Hopes Bed and Breakfast has private balconies with every guest room so you can enjoy the view of the mountains, the town itself, and the nearby Coquihalla and Fraser Rivers. Plus, the homemade breakfast is superb!

7. Othello Tunnels 

The Othello Tunnels in British Columbia
How cool are the tunnels!?

On the road from Vancouver to Kelowna, a stop at the Othello Tunnels is a must! They are located east of Hope in Coquihalla Provincial Park.

These abandoned train tunnels and bridges were built by blasting through solid granite in 1914. The Canadian Pacific Railway needed a route to connect the Kootenay Region with the coast of B.C. and built the railway over three mountain ranges. It’s considered one of the world’s greatest engineering feats for the time.

It’s free to explore the tunnels and is a fun adventure for the whole family. The tunnels start only 10 minutes from the parking lot, and it takes about 20 minutes to walk through all five of them. It does get quite dark in some parts, so bring a flashlight (or your phone) as you wander through.

The scenery around the tunnels on the trail is beautiful too with the Coquihalla River, so make sure to have your camera on hand. This area has even appeared in several movies – look for the cliff above Tunnel #2 where the cliff jump scene was filmed for Rambo: First Blood.

8. Needle Peak Hike

View from the top of the Needle Peak Hike  in British Columbia
Needle Peak has one epic view!

For experienced hikers, Needle Peak is a more difficult trail with a huge reward. At the end of this 4.3-kilometer (2.7 miles) hike (one way), you’re treated to spectacular views in all directions of the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges. If you’re not up to scaling the peak, you can hike part of the way and still enjoy some great views.

The trail opens up after about an hour to give a good view of Needle Peak ahead and then the area between Needle and Flatiron Peaks. You can stop once you reach that area known as the “saddle” as the hike only gets more difficult from here!

If you are planning to climb all the way to the top of Needle Peak, be prepared for a difficult climb on the exposed rock. Don’t attempt on a rainy or wet day as the rocks will be slippery. If you’re not a confident hiker and climber, leave this part to the pros.

9. Falls Lake Trail

Falls Lake on the Falls Lake Trail 
Stop for a rest and a bite to eat in paradise!

The Falls Lake Trail is a good, mile-long (1.6 km) return hike to stretch your legs on the drive from Vancouver to Kelowna. The lake itself is surrounded by mountain peaks on all sides – so worth getting out of the car for!

It’s about a 30-minute hike from the parking lot to Falls Lake. This trail is relatively wide and well taken care of, as it follows a creek to the shore of the lake. The forest scenery is also lovely, and then the trees open up, and the lake appears in front. You’ll see Nak Peak on the left and Zoa Peak on the right!

The lake is a good spot for a swim on a hot day, a nice place to have lunch or a snack, or just relax and enjoy the view. Just make sure to bring some bug spray with you for the trail if you’re traveling in spring/summer, as the flies can be a bit pesky.

10. Merritt

Breakfast sandwiches from Kekuli Café Coffee & Bannock- Merritt
Breakfast sandwiches from Kekuli Café Coffee & Bannock- Merritt

Merritt is a small community off the highway that is a great place to stop for food or fuel on the drive. It’s known as the “Country Music Capital of Canada” and you can easily see why while wandering through the town.

There are murals of country music legends throughout the town, including many that are tributes to artists who have performed here, including Keith Urban, Leeann Rimes, Johnny Reid, and Aaron Pritchett.

If you’re in a hurry, there are a variety of fast-food restaurants here to choose from. If you have a bit more time, visit Kekuli Café. They serve yummy Indigenous food in a coffee shop environment. The fresh, handmade Bannock (including Bannock sandwiches) are raved about by locals and tourists alike!

To break up the trip, Merritt has some good hotel options. The Comfort Inn and Suites is the best place to stay with an indoor pool and hot tub, a fitness center, and free breakfast daily. If you stay here, the nearby Nicola Lake is another great area to explore to extend your road trip.

11. Peachland

Peachland, BC from above
Welcome to the Okanagan!

This will be a slight detour off the road from Vancouver to Kelowna, but it’s worth it if you’re planning to spend a night in nearby Merritt. Grab a hotel here in Peachland if you want to stay in the area a bit longer.

Peachland is set along 11 km (6.8 miles) of lakefront in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. It’s within driving distance of 200 estate wineries and microbreweries, and is close to great skiing at either Big White or Apex Mountain in the winter.

A fun activity, while you’re here, is to see the local area on an ATV! Okanagan ATV Tours offers tours in every season on a wide variety of trails so you can enjoy the scenery and have fun. A two-hour tour is $157 CAD and includes all the equipment you need as well as a safety orientation.

The tour has lots of stops for photos, and your guide will also give you some of the history and stories of the Okanagan Valley along the way.

Another great high-adrenaline activity here is zip lining! ZipZone Adventure Park in Peachland has the highest freestyle zip lines in Canada that cross over the Deep Creek Gorge. It’s easily one of the best things to do in the Okanagan Valley!

There are six different zip lines including the “Speed Freak” which is the longest and fastest zipline in the Okanagan at 550 meters (1,800 feet)! You can also do the “Step into Space” where you literally step right off the edge and drop 76 meters (250 feet) below and even a zipline where you ride upside-down!

12. Okanagan Lake

Relaxing at the beach at Lake Okanagan Resort
Relaxing at the beach at Lake Okanagan Resort!

Okanagan Lake stretches over 135 kilometers (84 miles) with Kelowna at about the halfway point of this massive lake. Okanagan Lake has an impressive 30 different beaches you can visit before finishing the drive to Kelowna. Also, keep an eye out for Ogopogo – the lake monster who supposedly lives here (eep!).

One of the most popular beaches is Boyce-Gyro Beach. It has snack shacks, a rope swing, an inflatable playground on the water, and volleyball courts.

For a quieter beach, I enjoy going to Pebble Beach. It’s calmer here and has a beautiful view of the lake – bring your sandals, though. True to its name, it is rocky here! Marina Park is another good spot for families – it has a fenced-in playground, a beach area, and a covered picnic shelter.

Tired of the road? Well, why not swap it for the lake on this 2-hour private cruise on the Okanagan Lake? And let’s be honest, after the drive here, you’ve definitely earned it! The captain, Brad, is so friendly, easygoing, and happy to chat about the lake, the area, and pretty much whatever you’re interested in.

If you’re interested, you can even learn to sail the boat yourself! But either way, this is sure to be a super relaxing experience and a welcome break from sitting behind the wheel. Tickets cost $175 CAD per person and can be booked online here with 24-hour free cancellation.

Staying a night or two in the Okanagan Lake area is a great way to visit multiple beaches and relax. I recommend checking out The Cove Lakeside Resort. The location can’t be beat as it’s close to West Kelowna, but also the beautiful lake. Every room is a condo-style suite with a kitchen, so this is a good place to base yourself for a few nights while in the area.

13. West Kelowna

at a winery in kelowna with a view and huge wine bottle
Enjoying the views and wine at Pyramid Winery Kelowna!

You’re here … almost! You’ll enter Kelowna on the west side, where there are some absolutely amazing wineries you can’t pass by. I’m a wine lover and this is one of the best places in the world to have a glass of wine. The views are incredible, and the wines are equally so.

We’ve written a lot about the best wine tours in Kelowna, there really are so many wineries to visit and even more wines to taste! What we love about wine tours is that they usually include transport, which ensures you have a safe ride from place to place. So you can be completely free to enjoy the wine!

This 4-hour West Kelowna wine tour is one of the best options out there and comes highly reviewed. Tastings, snacks, and tours of four wineries are included, so you definitely make the most of your time on this tour without feeling rushed. With over 150 5-star reviews, you don’t have to take just my word for it!

Between visiting the wineries, you’ll also enjoy live on-board commentary from your friendly local experts, with a lighthearted atmosphere from start to finish. So if this sounds like you, don’t forget to check your dates in advance! Tickets cost $179 CAD per person and can be booked online here.

My favorite winery in the area is Ciao Bella Winery. It has Italian-style wines that are dry, crisp, and refreshing… the rosé here is incredible! They also have delicious snacks, including charcuterie boards (Spuntini platters) you can have in the picnic area overlooking the vineyards.

The owners here are so nice and the last time I was here, I stayed all afternoon talking to them and enjoying the wines.

For an upscale experience, Mission Hill Winery is my pick. It’s a gorgeous location, looking out onto vineyards and Okanagan Lake. The entire property inside and out is stunning, including the cellar and tasting room. They are the only winery in the country that has won “Winery of the Year” five times! The Merlot here is a personal favorite, but the Reisling is great on a hot summer day.

14. Downtown Kelowna

woman walking the boardwalk in Kelowna, BC
Me, walking the waterfront in downtown Kelowna.

And there we have it, folks, our final destination for this road trip… but the fun’s not over yet!

What many visitors don’t realize or take advantage of is the active lifestyle that surrounds Kelowna, BC. The locals love the area and get out and about all year round. During the winter in Kelowna, they hit the slopes, and in the summer, it is all about the mountains and lakes.

For the size of Kelowna, the network of bike-friendly trails is the most extensive anywhere in Canada, and they are beautiful to explore! If you aren’t traveling with your own bikes, then you can rent these e-bikes from Lakeside-Eco Sport. They will let you pick from many different GPS itineraries that you can follow from the app. The price starts at $41 CAD for 2 hours, and you can also rent them for 4 or 8 hours.

If you don’t want to self-explore, check out this guided bike tour on Historical Kettle Valley Railway! It stretches from the Myra Canyon to Penticton and the beautiful route passes Okanagan Lake and Chute Lake – so you can bet that you’re in for a scenic treat.

You’ll see wildlife and wildflowers, cross bridges, go through tunnels, and learn about the history of the railway. You’ll end the 24 km (15 mi) cycle with a winery tour of 3-4 boutique wineries! I really think the value of this 9-hour tour matches the $289 CAD price tag, and you can book this experience online here.

beer and food with a view at Kelowna Brwing Company
Beer with a view? Yes, please! Photo Credit: Kelowna Brewing Company

One of the next best things to do in downtown Kelowna is a food tour! It’s all about fresh produce here, and all of these tasty treats are made with it. We actually love food tours and have done them all over the world, including a food tour in Vancouver recently.

In Kelowna, we did this incredible 3-hour food tour and couldn’t recommend them enough. You get to enjoy 7 to 8 different stops at local businesses around town while learning some history from the area. If you pick any tour while you’re here in Kelowna, this one might just be the best for your stomach!

With an overwhelming majority of 5-star reviews, tickets for this experience cost just $99 CAD, which we think is great value for this type of tour! It is a popular tour, though, so make sure to check your dates in advance and book your spots online here.

If you need something to wash down all of that amazing food with, head over to Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery. While technically in Vernon, it’s worth a stop! This place is a retail shop offering locally-made spirits as well as a tasting room and bar. You can sample high-quality spirits for $5 a tasting.

Or, join one of their unique farm to flask tasting to learn all about the process from start to finish. This is the best thing to do in Kelowna for spirit enthusiasts, and you’ll get to try a variety of types such as vodka, gin, whiskey, and a locally sourced fruit liqueur. You can book this experience for $25 CAD and it includes your tastings!

Alternatively, visit some of the best craft breweries in Kelowna such as the Kelowna Brewing Company. More of a coffee person? Then you’re in luck because there are some incredible cafes and coffee shops in Kelowna!

One of the best free things to do in Kelowna is simply walking the waterfront. We love going for a stroll along the water’s edge, visiting the marina, waterpark, and playground, stopping by Hot Sands Beach, and of course, taking photos of the iconic Ogopogo statue! For a little longer walk, definitely walk the Waterfront Boardwalk to Tugboat Beach – it’s beautiful at sunset!

Related Read: Want to continue further to Banff? Check out our guide to driving from Kelowna to Banff for another epic road trip itinerary!

Where to Stay in Kelowna, BC

burger meal at the pool at the Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna
Lunch at the pool at the Coast Capri Hotel? Don’t mind if I do! Photo Credit: Coast Capri Hotel Kelowna

The truth is that there are so many hotels in Kelowna that it can be hard to know which one to choose for your stay. Well, luckily for you, Dan and I have stayed in a lot of different hotels in Kelowna and have been able to narrow it down to our absolute favorites!

Coast Capri Hotel Kelowna – Our Top Choice

We’ve stayed at our fair share of hotels in Kelowna, but last time we stayed at the Coast Capri Hotel and loved it! Our pool-view room was perfect with a huge balcony, two large queen beds, and even a desk area so that we could get some work done (when we weren’t busy down by the pool, of course!)

One of the best things about the Coast Capri Hotel is that it’s affordable without sacrificing any of the comforts you’ll need for a relaxing and enjoyable stay – suitable for almost all travelers and budgets. The location is central, and the amenities are top-notch.

A one-night stay here starts at $294 CAD per night, and you can book this hotel on Booking.com. Be sure to book as far in advance as possible because these guys are often fully booked!

Luxury – $$$

Hillcrest Farm Market B&B – If you don’t mind staying a little out of the city, then you may just fall in love with the family-run Hillcrest. It’s located 8 km (5 mi) from the city center, meaning you’re close enough to town while still enjoying the peace and quiet of the countryside.

Most of the rooms at Hillcrest Farm have private balconies, a fireplace, and mountain views. There is also a cherry farm on the property which has a unique story behind it. It’s around $250 CAD per night but includes an awesome breakfast downstairs at the café! You can check our available rooms online here.

Delta Hotels – This is hands-down the best high-budget hotel in Kelowna, so whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, or simply fancy spoiling yourself a little, this might just be the option for you! It has a gorgeous indoor and outdoor pool, and even an on-site casino too. Of course, the staff here are top-notch too, ready to assist you from the moment you arrive.

A one-night stay at Delta Hotels starts from around $479 CAD per night, and for the best possible rate, we highly recommend reserving your room with free cancellation! This way, even if you decide to change your mind later, you can do so without worry.

Mid-range – $$

Days Inn by Wyndham Kelowna – This hotel is located a few minutes from town and although it’s not overly fancy, it was just renovated and the property provides toiletries and a complimentary continental breakfast each morning.

Outside, there’s a nice pool to enjoy in the summer, as well as a fitness studio if you fancy working up a sweat! We also love that the staff here are super friendly, which helps make the stay feel that much more accommodating. Rooms here start from $157 CAD per night and can be booked online here.

Budget – $

Samesun Kelowna – This is easily your best budget option and one of the few options for backpackers. The reviews are really good, and the property is quite modern, plus, there is a large common kitchen and indoor and outdoor lounge spaces. The location is also perfect if you want to be close to downtown, and they include a free breakfast that includes fruit and pancake mix!

A dorm bed in a mixed room starts from $39 CAD, whereas a private room with a shared bathroom starts from around $140 CAD. You can easily book a room on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.com.

Check out all the best places to stay in Kelowna here!

Tips Before You Go

Mountain Highway in British Columbia
Road trips are the best!
  • The drive from Vancouver to Kelowna is about 450 km (280 miles) and can be done in around five hours without stopping. However, this is a beautiful part of the country, so it’s worth making this into a one- or two-day journey (or more) to enjoy spots along the way.
  • In the winter, be prepared for changing weather conditions and that you may have to stay the night along the way. If you can, book a hotel partway through in Harrison Hot Springs, Hope, or Merritt. It’s typically easier to book a hotel on short notice in the winter, but always better to plan ahead if you can.
  • In the winter (from October 1 to March 31), winter tires are mandatory on most B.C. highways and are essential for extra grip on snowy roads.
  • Leave early in the morning! Whether from Vancouver or other spots along the way, this will give you lots of driving time in daylight and also get you the best spots at places like Golden Ears Provincial Park, Bridal Falls, the Othello tunnels, and the various beaches on Lake Okanagan in the area before any crowds arrive.
  • Bring your camera! This is a scenic part of Canada surrounded by mountains, forests, waterfalls, lakes, and beaches, and you’re going to want to capture all the unique and memorable places you visit.

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Selfie of Dan and bailey from Destinationless Travel
Thanks for reading!

I hope that after reading this guide you feel prepared, and (most importantly) excited to explore this beautiful region of Canada! Regardless of what season you decide to do your road trip from Vancouver to Kelowna, you’re sure to have plenty to see and do.

The best part about this road trip is you really do get a lot of variety with it. From hikes to hot springs to wineries! It has it all. So enjoy yourself, and take your time as you make your way from Vancouver to Kelowna, and allow yourself to take it all in.

Be sure to check out other road trip ideas from Vancouver or some of our posts below before you go!

5 BEST Wine Tours in Penticton (Naramata Bench)

How to Get from Vancouver to Whistler + 20 EPIC Road Trip Stops

5 Absolute BEST Winter Tours in Jasper, Alberta that You Can’t Miss