The Top 9 Must Sees When Visiting Kelowna

Silhouettes of young group of people jumping in ocean at sunset

Kelowna is a popular international tourist destination for many and it’s not hard to see why. With a central location in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, there are countless attractions to explore while in town. Kelowna has something for everyone in your family- from the outdoor enthusiast to the art fan. Read on to discover the top 9 must sees when visiting Kelowna below to guarantee you don’t miss out on the fun:

 

1. Okanagan Lake

The Okanagan Lake is perhaps the most recognized landmark in Kelowna. Stretching 135 km through Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, Summerland and Lake Country, the Okanagan Lake is a hotspot for outdoor fun and entertainment. In Kelowna alone, there are nearly a dozen water sport rental companies for you to choose from to try out fun activities like jet skiing, kayaking, wakeboarding, sea-dooing, canoeing and tubing. The Okanagan Lake also has over 30 beaches scattered throughout the Okanagan Valley, with eight beautiful beaches located on Kelowna’s shore line for you to visit and soak up the sun at!

 

2. Myra Canyon Park

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This expansive canyon situated on the edge of Myra-Bellevue provincial park has every outdoor activity you could ever want to entertain the entire family. There is horseback riding, hiking, bird watching and cycling available plus access to the Kettle Valley Railway Trail, Kelowna Boulder Fields and Myra Canyon trestles. With all the activities offered at this family-owned and operated business, you can easily spend a day at Myra Canyon Park exploring the beautiful Kelowna region.

 

3. Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm

A family-owned business since the sixties, the Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm has been growing lavender, rose, lemon balm, basil, spearmint, sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme crop for nearly fifty years. These plants are harvested and turned into essential oils, dried herbs, skin care products, soaps, tea and aromatherapy. They are sold exclusively in their gift shop.
The farm has two amazing tours for you to choose from, from their daily guided visit, to the PURE Wander daily that includes a scavenger hunt for children. To discover more about the lavender growing process, the farm offers small group workshops and classes, as well as private group outings for special occasions.

 

4. Kasugai Japanese Garden

This serene japanese garden features all the traditional elements of a japanese garden from stone lanterns and pine trees to a waterfall and pond. Built in 1987, the Kasugai Japanese Garden represents the friendship between Kelowna and its sister city, Kasugai, in Japan. It’s a quiet escape from the bustle of the city and a great place to go for a walk or jog in between sightseeing.

 

5. Big White Ski Resort

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Named Canada’s Best Family Resort by Ski Canada Magazine, this award-winning ski resort is widely considered to have one of the best ski terrains in North America. It includes a 12-foot half pipe, snow-cross classes, plus a beautifully set up progression system that allows skiers and snowboarders to progress along at their own pace throughout the trails. If you’re looking for something to do besides skiing and snowboarding, Big White also offers dog sled tours, horse drawn sleigh rides, skating, tubing, snowmobiling, snowshoe tours plus a 60 foot ice tower to climb! In the summer, Big White opens its beautiful grounds for hiking and sightseeing so there’s constantly something to do in Big White!

 

6. Wine Tours

With over 30 wineries located in the Kelowna area, there is no shortage of wine tours for you to choose from when you visit the Okanagan Valley! While you’re more than welcome to visit your favourite wineries on your own, Kelowna offers plenty of highly-rated wine tours that give you the chance to explore numerous wineries all in one day. Sip on wine, enjoy lunch in a vineyard and explore the beauty that is the Okanagan Valley with any one of the recommended wine tours that offer quality service and an overall fantastic experience.

 

7. Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market

The Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market has been a Kelowna weekly tradition for over 21 years. Located on the corner of Dilworth and Springfield every Saturday and Wednesday, this farmers’ market is one of the largest in BC. Its 165 vendors sell some of the best locally produced fruit, vegetables, dairy, meats and baked goods in the province. The Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market is also a great place to find souvenirs, with many vendors also selling jewelry, woodwork, soaps and handcrafted pottery. Besides their fantastic local products, the Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market often hosts special events throughout the day, including children’s games and entertainment, a cherry pit spitting contest, a bean bag toss competition and live music. Between visiting all the vendors and taking part in all the fun activities, the Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market is a relaxing way to spend a morning in Kelowna.

 

8. Golf Courses

Playing golf. Golf club and ball. Preparing to shot
With over 2,000 hours of sun every year, the Kelowna golf region is considered one of the best places to golf in Canada. The golf courses are spread out over acres of lush Okanagan landscape, with beautiful views of the Okanagan lake, mountains and vineyards surrounding the area. No matter if you’re a beginner or a pro, one of the twenty prestigious golf clubs in the area is sure to be right for you. From local favorite, the Kelowna Golf & Country Club, to the more challenging The Rise Golf Course, you can explore all of Kelowna’s golf clubs in detail here.

 

9. Kelowna Art Gallery

A must-see for the art advocate, the Kelowna Art Gallery puts a strong focus on featuring Canadian art in its four gallery spaces. Whether historical or contemporary, the gallery always has a wonderful exhibition exploring Canadian culture on display. The Kelowna Art Gallery also offers art classes and workshops throughout the year but for the tourist only in town for a short time,
Family Sundays is a great way to take in all the art gallery has to offer. If you have yet to visit, check out the Kelowna Gallery’s events schedule to discover upcoming artist lectures, talks and panel discussions.

Okanagan Wineries You Must Visit

View of Mission Hill Vineyard

Being part of the majority isn’t always a bad thing – and it’s actually a bonus if you’re visiting the Okanagan for the same reason as so many others: wine touring.

Background Knowledge about Okanagan Wine

The geographical definition of where the grapes for certain wines are grown is called appellation, and the characteristics bestowed upon the wine from its place of origin and grape genetics is known as its terroir. The Okanagan appellation is noteworthy in the world of wine production as an ideal climate for grape growth.

Also, the onset of climate change has pushed the Okanagan wine region up the ranks in terms of demand, as more southern geographical wine regions are becoming warmer, their crop is affected. California and French wine industries are feeling the heat, however these changes are causing an increase in popularity for Canadian wine around the world.

The Okanagan Valley is becoming popular because the region is the second largest producer of wine in the country, and the northwestern climate is resilient, allowing for efficient grape production.

Be sure to visit the following wineries to obtain the best wine tour experience the Okanagan Valley has to offer. We came up with three very popular Okanagan Wineries that are worth your visit when staying in Kelowna, be sure to add these to your list of wine tour destinations!

Mission Hill

Photo of Mission Hill Winery in evening

Established in 1966 by a local business group for approximately $500,000, Mission Hill Winery boasts a number of distinct wine flavors and runs one of the most pristine operations in the Okanagan Valley appellation. That’s not all! On top of being a very efficient producer of amazing wines (their Chardonnay is superb), Mission Hill is one of the best tourist attractions in Western Kelowna.

Mission Hill was the first Okanagan winery to receive international recognition by winning the 1994 Best Chardonnay at the International Wine and Spirit Competition. In 1996, an architectural firm was commissioned to rebuild the winery and peripheral buildings – the jaw-dropping new version of the Mission Hill Winery was completed in 2002 at a cost of $35-million.

Thew new Mission Hill look is that of a French abbey, styled to modernity. The winery’s Terrace Restaurant is an award winning location for high end Okanagan dining, with a view. Complete with a bell tower, full fledged cellar and a restaurant with an impeccable view, Mission Hill will make for an unforgettable wine tour experience. Visit Mission Hill Winery’s website for directions and additional information.

Blasted Church

Photo of character planting dynamite

Blasted Church wines are a local favorite in BC. In 1929, a group of Okanagan Falls workers travelled to an abandoned mining camp 20 kilometres away to dismantle and bring back an old church. They succeeded by planting dynamite to loosen the nails, and miraculously succeeded without damaging anything but the steeple. The church is now 120 years old and is situated in Okanagan Falls.

The VQA wines by Blasted Church are favored by experienced wine drinkers throughout British Columbia for their full flavor, and those acquiring a taste for wine are often drawn in by Blasted Church’s clever labelling practices. The winery takes frequent visitors, and on their website they say to leave your “traditional wine stuffiness at the farmgate” and call themselves the most creative, inspired and fun destination for wine lovers.

We couldn’t agree more. The fine and robust selection of wines at Blasted Church contains 18 different types of wine, at least on their website. They also have a great sense of humor. Visit the Blasted Church website for directions and more information on their congregation.

50th Parallel Estate

Front of 50th parallel winery at night

Perhaps one of the most modern wineries in the Okanagan, 50th Parallel Estate is a 61-acre Pinot wine estate with a 10,000 sq ft winery that looks akin to something straight out of a Bond film. The winery is built on a south-facing slope, with rare red granite soil yielding a rich base for the grape crop.

50th Parallel is named after the “parallel design” structure. Site lines, structure and material are meant to be in parallel with each other, creating a linear theme throughout the entire winery. Another prominent feature that makes this site worth visiting are its series of wine caves. They store all of 50th Parallel’s wine collection, and are ideal for wine touring. The first cave has a 40-person harvest-style dining and event space, and is perfect for meetings and presentations.

As the winery continues to grow, the estate’s owners are constantly adding on to it. Last year they opened up a gravity-fed Pinot Noir facility, where the grape juices are gently processed using gravity rather than mechanical pumping.

Every room in the 50th Parallel is created with the guest experience in mind. From the tasting rooms, to the wine shop. It’s worth it to go and experience 50th Parallel Pinot noir in the place it originated from. Visit the 50th Parallel website for more information and directions.

Your Experience

The best way to take a wine tour in the Okanagan is to do it your way, at least that’s how we see it. The three wineries we listed above are big players in the Okanagan wine industry, but they are not the whole picture. Be sure to check out some of the areas other wineries.

We found some links to online resources that are helpful to the wine connoisseurs wishing to embark on tours of the Okanagan appellation.

Okanagan Wine.ca

A website with a great map featuring the all wineries in the region, with street view for some of the wineries and detailed directions.

Tourism Kelowna

Go-to website to view when visiting Kelowna. It has entire section on Kelowna Wine Trails, a list of all 200+ wineries in the area and links to booking guided tours.

Hotel Packages for a perfect Summer in Kelowna

Kelowna is blessed with the Okanagan Spring and the fruit trees harvest. Golf courses are now open as well as the surrounding wineries. If you are planning a getaway in Kelowna, you should consider visiting some time in this extraordinaire landscape.

Here are a few resources for you to get an idea of the memorable experiences that await for you at Kelowna:

Finding a hotel that includes all of these in a special package can help you keep things simple and focus on what you actually came to do. Call our front desk for information at 1.800.665.2518 or book your stay now at ramada.com.

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