Introducing guest blogger Nicole from The Passport Kids
Nestled in the beautiful province of British Columbia, Canada you will find a favourite spot that most Canadians seek out for vacations. It’s called the Okanagan Valley and Kelowna is its unofficial capital.
The Okanagan Valley is in the interior of British Columbia and surrounded by mountains, lakes, valleys, rivers, forest, vineyards and fruit orchards. Although it may feel at sometimes you are outside the city because of the natural wilderness, there are always great options for dining, coffee shops, festivals and entertainment. There is never a shortage of things to do in the area as a family with adventure, fun and exploration in our backyard.
After travelling the world for 1 year with our kids and trying to determine where we would call home in Canada, one of our first picks was Kelowna!
With every city we travelled to on our journey, we asked ourselves if we could live there. There were a few cities we may have chosen but Kelowna for us seemed to check all the boxes. Lake life to swim, beach and fish; mountain life to ski, snowboard, camp and hike; all while having all the modern amenities at your doorstep. Every day we feel like we are on vacation in this amazing city. Always something new to do as a family.
Being that it is a hot spot for tourist, we frequently have family and friends come to visit and when they come these are the things we love to do with them.
This post is part of our Explore My City series – come and visit cities around the world through the eyes of local parents
1. Hike Knox Mountain
A classic hike we take everyone on when they come to visit. There is a short relatively easy 3km hike called Paul’s Tomb that guides you along the Okanagan lake. This hike perches you at the top of the famous landmark mountain to get the bird’s eye view of Kelowna and area.
If you’re lucky you’ll be able to spot some deer and maybe even a bald eagle along the hike too! Halfway in the hiking loop, you will come to a great little beach where you can take a quick swim and enjoy a picnic as a family. One of the quintessential things to do in Kelowna, and really should be on your list.
2. Myra Canyon Adventure Park
Myra Canyon Adventure Park is an outdoor dream for kids and families. Zipline, climbing, ropes and slacklines will energize your kids and let them burn all that energy at the same time. So many things for kids to do and a great way to spend a day in this outdoor adventure park.
3. Kangaroo Creek Park
One of our favourite spots to take the kids. This animal sanctuary is a slice of Australia life in Canada, with kangaroos and other animals in an open concept type farm where kids, parents and animals all roam. Kids can feed the kangaroos and even get to hold a joey.
4. Walks & Parks at Mission Creek
Mission Creek runs through almost the extent of the city and is a great way to see the city. Biking along the path is our family’s favourite thing to do and stopping off at the big park and Turtle Island is a must.
5. Wineries & Vineyards
Yes, most wineries are kid-friendly and offer a family atmosphere. After all, most vineyards are family business. The Okanagan is home to some great Canadian wines and so many vineyards in the region.
Summerhill winery in Kelowna is our kids favourite, it might be the homemade kid’s pizza in the restaurant, while mom and dad like the wine 🙂 Many of the wineries have restaurants that are farm-to-table type menus which are a treat for the whole family.
6. H20 Waterpark
An indoor waterpark with waterslides, pool, splash park, FlowRider and tons of fun for the entire family. This is always great on a rainy day, winter day or if you need to beat the heat in the summer.
7. Chip & Putt Golfing
There are approximately 19 golf courses in the area, so depending on the age of the kids you can head out to some of the amazing golf course scattered in the region. Or for younger kids or family members who just like to have some fun try 19 Greens just across the bridge and be able to golf alongside the Okanagan lake. This one is perfect for kids!
8. Ski or Snowboard at Big White
Within an hour of Kelowna, you will be able to get to a world-class ski resort called Big White. From December to April you can hit the slopes, go tubing, skating, snowshoeing, dogsledding or enjoy apres ski in the chalet.
We head out to Big White every weekend in the winter for fun in the snow. Sometimes there will not be any snow in Kelowna, but climb up to the mountain and it will be a winter wonderland. Easy shuttle services from the airport will get you there too, so there are no excuses for not having a day or two at Big White with the family.
9. Fruit Picking
Kelowna and area are known for their fruit orchards. So anytime starting from mid-June to October you will be able to go pick some fruit at specialty U-pick farms. Apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, strawberries and so much more. A unique experience for kids and families to share together.
Scandia is a top spot for kids when they get to choose the day. Indoor and outdoor mini golf, go karts, arcade game and batting cages. Kids can just be kids here and have some fun! Collect their tickets and in the end, and get some prizes to take home too. Having both indoor and outdoor activities can make this a place to go any time of the year too!
Where is Kelowna?
The Okanagan Valley is made up a few small cities scattered along Highway 97 included Kelowna (the biggest), Vernon, Penticton, West Kelowna, Peachland, Osoyoos and a few other communities. Each of these cities and towns are situated along a variety of lakes which always provide a lake view from anywhere.
So if you happen to be passing through western Canada, Kelowna may be along your driving path and don’t even realize it until you have stumbled upon this gem when you get here.
Although we are trying to keep this place to ourselves, the secret is slowly being shared. Kelowna is 4 hours east of Vancouver and 6-7 hours west of Banff and Calgary; which is the perfect Western Canadian drive with so much scenery along the way.
About the Blogger
Nicole Fiorante is a Canadian family adventure travel blogger at The Passport Kids. She recently returned from travelling full time around the world for 1 year with her 2 kids and husband in tow. She chronicles her stories to help other parents take the leap of faith and travel to those new places with their kids. She calls Kelowna, British Columbia now home and has been exploring her own backyard since her return.
With thanks to Nicole for her contribution to our guest series.
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