Yrene lives in the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, and is the founder of BackcountryCanadaTravel.com. She was born in Switzerland, lived and worked on different continents and has travelled the world. Yes, that's me, an Entrepreneur, wilderness nut and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places. I write about things I love. Mostely.
Kelowna Itinerary – Six Days in Kelowna, British Columbia
Kelowna, the third-largest metropole in British Columbia is centrally located and a great home base for exploring the beautiful Okanagan Valley. The name Kelowna is adopted from the indigenous people and means “grizzly bear”.
The hot Okanagan climate makes Kelowna ideal for outdoor fun, whether on the lake or in the surrounding hills. Pack your hiking boots and climb some hills, bring your bike along or rent one and explore the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, rent a jet ski and hit the waves, or choose any other exciting option offered in the area. And of course, Kelowna is the place for Okanagan wine tours and wine tasting.
When you arrive in town, visit the Downtown Kelowna Visitor Centre at 238 Queensway to stock up on maps and brochures about the region. You also find an information booth at the Kelowna International Airport.
Highlights of Kelowna, BC
- Great climate, mountains and lakes
- Kelowna Downtown with a funky selection of shops and cafes
- Beaches and water parks
- Knox Mountain
- Myra Canyon Trestles
- Winery tours with wine tasting
- Line dancing and electric bull riding at the OK Corral on Thursday nights
- Cool pubs and restaurants
- Beaver Lake Road, Winfield – a drive into Okanagan’s prestige wilderness
Morning: Start your day at the Pulp Fiction Coffee House at 1598 Pandosy Street for the best coffee in town. This groovy place brags to have the fastest internet connection of all the coffee shops in town. In addition, they have a couple of desktop computers for you to use if you didn’t bring your own. While you’re there, pop into Robbie Rare Books and Britannica Antiques to snoop around. For a leisurely stroll head over to the City Park along Lakeshore Road. Enjoy the sandy beach on Okanagan Lake and if you’re travelling with kids, stop at the water park for some wet fun.
Afternoon: After a bite to eat in one of the downtown eateries change into your hiking boots and head up to Ellis Street north to reach the park entrance for Knox Mountain. Follow the trail to the top of the mountain where you will be rewarded with a gorgeous view of the lake. Enjoy the solitude up there and the feel of being away from the urban sprawl. You may want to stick around to take in the sunset before leaving the mountain.
Evening: Back in the city, head over to Doc Willoughby’s Pub at 353 Bernard Avenue for an amazing value on tonight’s grub and enjoy one of their killer drink specials.
Morning: Grab a coffee and croissant at the Bean Scene Coffee Works downtown Kelowna before heading to the Kasugai Japanese Garden. The peaceful getaway lies inside a walled enclosure next to the City Hall. The gardens were created to demonstrate the friendship between Kelowna and its sister city in Kasugai, Japan. Closed November 1 – March 1. Have a light lunch at the vegetarian-friendly Bohemian Cafe at 524 Bernard Ave.
Afternoon: For epic family fun head out to Peachland in the afternoon, a 15-minute drive from Kelowna. Turn off Highway 97 onto Princeton Avenue and follow the road for approximately 8 km to Canada’s highest freestyle zipline adventure. Check out their website for hours of operation. As an alternative, book at Okanagan ATV Tours, also in Peachland for a real outdoor experience. Whatever you do, stroll along the beautiful waterfront in Peachland afterwards and stop in at the Bliss Coffee Shop on Beach Avenue.
Evening: Following an afternoon of zip lining you’re probably up for a good healthy meal at Raudz on 1560 Water Street, back in Kelowna. The century-old heritage building gives the restaurant a special ambiance.
Morning: This morning you travel through the Okanagan Wine country heading to Mission Hill Winery. Cross Kelowna’s floating bridge (Highway 97) and turn left at Boucherie Road. Follow Boucherie Road for 5 km and turn right onto Mission Hill Road. Follow Mission Hill Road to the very top of the hill.
If you are lucky enough to come at the right time of year you may get to enjoy a concert in addition to a wine tour and wine tasting. You will love a tour of the beautiful grounds with stops for tasting wine and eating grapes right off the vine. (Winetasting is only for non-drivers of course!) Check on BCs driving laws. Have lunch at the outdoor Terrace Restaurant, overlooking rows of Pinot Noir & Chardonnay set against the Okanagan Lake.
Afternoon: After a leisurely drive back to Kelowna along the wine trail, head out to 2808 Highway 97 North to Scandia Golf and Games. This is a place for fun-seekers of all ages offering outdoor mini-golf, go-kart races and lots of other family fun. Open daily year-round.
Evening: Back in the city, stop at one of the downtown restaurants and choose between local foods, Thai, Indian or whatever else you’re craving for.
Morning: Third Space Coffee is the venue for today’s start, a place to reflect and plan your day. Head down to the waterfront after your morning coffee and rent a powerful jet ski at MachBoats for an exciting time on the lake. You don’t need to be an experienced captain for this adventure, but the thrill of driving your own Jetski will be a rewarding experience. Jet skis are fast, noisy and heaps of fun.
Afternoon: Big White Ski Resort is known as a winter playground but it is also a hot spot during summer. Take Highway 33 and travel 56 km south-east to the Big White Mountain resort; it’s a 45 minutes drive. Plan on hiking in the alpine or rent a bike and use the network of world-class mountain bike trails.
Evening: Back in Kelowna, head down to the O’Flannigan’s Pub, the downtown Kelowna Irish Pub with live music and bands, open Mic and dance parties. Show off your talents at a night of karaoke fun and try our Canadian Pub Cuisine.
Morning: Enjoy an espresso and the awesome atmosphere at the Third Space Coffee Shop at 1708 Dolphin Ave. Take it easy this morning and stop in at the Kelowna Art Gallery. Spend the rest of the morning along the waterfront and enjoy the grand views of Okanagan Lake. Pick up a sandwich for lunch and find yourself a bench along the lake.
Afternoon: Spend the afternoon on an inspiring trip to Myra Canyon, located only 24 km from downtown Kelowna (40 min drive to Myra Station). You can hike it or better still rent a bike at the Myra Station parking lot and cycle across the many trestle bridges and through the tunnels, enjoying spectacular scenery on the way.
Evening: It’s never too late to rediscover an old favourite like the Old Spaghetti Factory on 1755 Capri Street. Apart from the spaghetti selection, you have many other dishes to choose from and prices are reasonable. After the Italian Culinary experience head out to the OK Corral on 1978 Kirschner Ave for a great night of dancing and western fun. This is the place with the best and biggest country dance floor in the whole Okanagan. Join in for a Line Dance Lesson, Two-Step lesson or ride a Mechanical Bull to get it off your bucket list. Don’t expect to be back at the hotel until long after midnight.
Backcountry drive to Beaver Lake and Dee Lake
From Kelowna, you don’t have to go far to experience the Okanagan wilderness. After a few days of city fun, sandy beaches, wineries and top-notch restaurants, you may be ready to venture to a place where local outdoor enthusiasts go for their camping and fishing trips. Please expect to drive a rough gravel road with deep potholes when heading out on this trip.
From highway 97 N in the community of Winfield turn east onto Beaver Lake Road. Continue down the gravel road for 16 kilometres until you get to Beaver Lake Mountain Resort, a hidden gem in the wilderness.
If you are travelling off-season there may be one of their rustic cabins available for rent or you can camp in a forested area. People come from all over BC and the rest of the world to fish at Beaver Lake Resort. Stop in at the superb Coffee Shop and enjoy the amazing view of the lake.
The resort also has fantastic mountain biking, hiking, canoe circuit as well as a playground and boat, kayak and canoe rentals.
Beaver Lake Recreation Site
Before you get to the Beaver Lake Mountain Resort look out for a narrow, steep gravel road to the left that takes you across a bridge to the Beaver Lake Recreation campsite on the shore of Beaver Lake. No large vehicles are recommended on this road.
Beaver Lake Recreation Site is a small, remote summer destination used mainly by locals for boating, fishing, birding, and canoeing. It is a first come first serve campground. The campsites are private, small with picnic tables and fire pits and some pit toilets nearby. Beaver Lake is one of many lakes in the area, and all can be reached on a network of gravel forest service roads. The gravel road to Beaver Lake continues to other lakes like Lost Lake, Island Lake, Doreen Lake and Loon Lake.
To get to Dee Lake you follow the road past Beaver Lake Mountain Resort for approximately another 9 km. Dee Lake is the most northern lake in the chain of four lakes.
Dee Lake Wilderness Resort has cottages and heritage log cabins for rent as well as private treed campsites and all the basic amenities. Boats/canoe rental, store tackle, licenses all are available at the resort. This gem of a place is recommended either as a day trip or overnight visit. During the summer season, reservations are necessary.
Rainy Day Option
Morning: Don’t miss out on a shopping spree at the Orchard Park Shopping Centre, the largest Shopping Centre between Calgary and Vancouver. Here you find exclusive shops, a large food court and Starbucks for your coffee break.
Afternoon: If you’re travelling with kids, spend the afternoon at the Energyplex, Kelowna’s largest fun place for all ages at 948 McCurdy Road. As an alternative, try the Beyond the Crux Climbing Gym at 5-685 Finns Road for an indoor climbing experience.
Evening: Head over to the Lake City Casino to watch a live show and try your luck at the slot machines or at a game of Poker. Order your favourite cocktail and check out their menu options.
Provincial Parks near Kelowna
- Bear Creek Provincial Park – a natural wonderland on the west side of Okanagan Lake, camping available
- Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park – above the lakeshore with a rugged wilderness with rustic campsites, accessible only on foot, horseback or bicycle.
- Okanagan Lake Provincial Park, Summerland BC beautiful sandy beaches make this park perfect for water activities.
- Fintry Provincial Park – 2 km of waterfront surrounded by mountains, deep canyons, waterfalls and deep pools, camping available
- Myra-Bellvue Provincial Park – Day use area with historic railway trail for hiking and biking over trestles and tunnels.
- Eneas Lake Provincial Park – Wilderness pure! Can only be reached by 4WD forestry gravel road and by foot from Munto Lake Forest Service Road, Peachland
- Darke Lake Provincial Park – Off-the-beaten-track 16 km of gravel road, the closest community is Summerland
- Pennask Lake Provincial Park – Accessible by 4WD vehicle only. This road is not suited for most recreational vehicles.
Before heading out to any Provincial Park, please check out the BC Parks website for conditions and details.
Other things to add to your Kelowna Itinerary
- Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery Tour
- Kettle Valley Steam Railway, Summerland – Okanagan’s Heritage Railway
- Top things to do in the North Okanagan Valley this summer
- 7 Spectacular North Okanagan Hikes
- Maps for the Backroads to never get lost
- Guided Tours in Kelowna and Okanagan
Have you been to any of the places from my suggested Kelowna Itinerary? Please leave a comment below and add the places I missed. Join my Facebook Group for travel-related questions Backcountry Canada Travel Facebook Group.