Experience Kelowna, British Columbia, the jewel of Lake Okanagan and renowned the Okanagan Valley. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the majestic Rocky Mountains are the fruit-laden orchards of Kelowna and the valley, sanctuaries blessed with pristine lakes, pine forests, abundant gardens, vineyards, sandy beaches and superb amenities.
The Okanagan Valley is situated at the northernmost tip of the Sonoran Desert and lies within the rain shadows of the Coastal Mountains. As a result, Kelowna is in a microclimate, charting more than 2,000 hours of sunshine per year and only about 12 inches of rain annually.
Glaciers carved the valley thousands of years ago, leaving stunning and unique rock formations like Layer Cake Mountain, reportedly the only formation of its kind on earth, and a number of now-extinct volcanoes. The rocky, mineral-rich soils of the Okanagan Valley are perfect for grape-growing, making a visit to one — or all — of the area's more than 20 wineries a must-do event.
As the largest city on Lake Okanagan, Kelowna is a recreational paradise with miles of parkland and beaches, ideal for swimming, boating, water-skiing, windsurfing and fishing. Even Kelowna's main street ends at the lake! Kelowna is also one of Canada's prized golf destinations, offering a whopping 101,382 yards of golf heaven. You'll find close to 20 golf courses to choose from in the area, ranging in difficulty from easygoing to ego-shattering.
Okanagan Lake, 110 km (68 miles) of placid beauty, stretches north and south from Kelowna. Isolated beaches and boating fun beckon on the big lake, but there are more than 200 other freshwater lakes nearby. From jet skis to houseboats, canoes to kayaks, there’s water recreation of every kind to enjoy. Spend an exciting afternoon parasailing or wind surfing, and then top off your day with a picnic by the lake. A favorite destination for anglers, the area will test your talents with a rod, and the scenery will leave you breathless. The lake also has shore and boat dives catering to all experience levels. Explore rock formations, small caves, overhangs, shelves and drop-offs.
Kelowna is also known as a family vacation stronghold. The long, sunny days of summer brighten all sorts of children's activities, like playing on the beach, exploring rides at Scandia, petting goats at Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan and eating ice cream in one of the city's parks. Even Kelowna’s award-winning wineries welcome kids. While parent (and grandparents) savor the region’s Pinots, children can get into the action with their very own juice tastings at vineyards like Summerhill Pyramid Winery and Mission Hill Family Estate.
That’s not all — don’t miss afternoon tea and delicious jams at Kelowna’s unique jammery. Bring the family to the fabulous H2O indoor Water Adventure Park to frolic in the wave pool or ride down one of the three waterslides. You can also "hang ten" on Canada's first Flow Rider ocean wave simulator.
Rent bicycles, scooters or ATVs, and tour the city and its playgrounds, water parks and beaches. For horseback enthusiasts, be sure to take to the trails and experience Kelowna from another perspective. If you love all things artisan, you won't want to miss one of the guided tours through Kelowna and the surrounding area to more than 44 studios, farms, museums, markets and wineries.
History buffs will enjoy Kelowna's rich, diverse past. In 1860, a mission was established for priests to minister the area’s Indian population and growing number of settlers. Now a Provincial Heritage Site, this four-acre property and many of its original buildings are open to the public. Also not to be missed are the Guisachan Heritage Park, Myra Canyon Trestles, Benvoulin Heritage Church and the Laurel Building.
As more acclaimed chefs discover the merits of the city — refined local wines, dedicated farmers as neighbors and fresh, sun-ripened ingredients exploding with flavor — Kelowna’s culinary scene is burgeoning. Dining options include winery restaurants with vineyard views, lakeside dining rooms with a casually elegant feel and downtown bistros serving up high-end culinary artistry.
After dinner, head to Kelowna's casinos to try your hand at the slot machines or table games. If you want to hold onto your money, then Kelowna has no shortage of nightlife options sure to make you feel like a local. Quiet hideouts, pubs, lounges, dance bars and clubs are just a few of your choices.
So welcome to Kelowna — you won't want to miss it!