Kelowna, in the interior of British Columbia, is such a jewel. It’s just over a 3 hour drive from Vancouver and a world away. Nestled between a lake and land of vineyards, Kelowna has a little bit of everything for everyone. Here are the must see’s and the must do’s for the Napa of the North:
Lake Okanagan. You can’t miss it. Just get in it! Rent paddle boards, rent a boat or rent a jet ski. It’s a refreshing way to cool off mid summer! If you’re an early riser, you can count on a calm lake for waterskiing before your morning coffee!
Cruise downtown Kelowna. The main street, Bernard, is great for a stroll. Be sure to pop into Blonde for a little shopping!
Kelowna is a fitness dream. Outdoors, get on a road bike and cycle away, there are lots of beautiful roads for cycling. If you’re up for it, bike the Kettle Valley Rail either partway or all the way to Penticton. Let’s not forget to point out that there’s wineries en route in Naramata! Indoors, we hit up Oranj Fitness and Ryder Spin Barre for a little indoor butt kicking! Gotta work off that happy hour somehow!!
Check out Summer Hill Winery for lunch or brunch on their patio overlooking the lake. Their organic bistro serves up some great food that pairs well with their selection of sparkling wine.
If you want to get out of town a bit, stay at Sparkling Hill Resort. You would be hard pressed to find a more relaxing retreat anywhere. Check out their spa – they have an endless selection of saunas and steams and then relax at their lake view infinity pool. In Kelowna, stay at the Hotel El Dorado. It’s lakeside with a dockside bar and a rooftop patio with stunning views, similar to the one below – sounds perfect to us! We can’t get enough of their Gewürztraminer Slush drinks. Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day! Don’t be shy to visit the bar there at night…it gets going and is great for both people watching and patio sipping.
After you’ve done the lake and done the workout, roll up your sleeves and get into the good stuff. There are wineries galore in the Okanagan Valley; many just a short drive from downtown Kelowna. This probably won’t come as a surprise but we happen to have a few favourite wineries! Ex Nihilo Vineyards in Lake Country is our hands down fave. Maybe it’s the view, maybe it’s their delicious Choas Bistro (food pictured below) or maybe it’s their unparalleled wine. We love it all. Be sure to have lunch there after a tasting! Right in Kelowna we like Tantalus Vineyards. That rose has “dock side” written all over it on a summer day!
Drive from Kelowna towards Penticton and up to the Naramata Bench. It’s about 45 minutes from Kelowna along the lake. The view from the drive is spectacular. Cruise “the Bench” and you’ll come across lots of wineries. Don’t miss one of the first ones you drive by, Poplar Grove Winery and then a little further along you’ll find La Frenz Winery. Be sure to stop at Lake Breeze Winery for a tasting and a lunch that will keep you satisfied for a long time. Blue cheese on your burger anyone?! Yes please!
After the Bench, cruise south and you’ll hit Painted Rock Estate Winery. They have a gorgeous, modern tasting room and a patio for wine sipping as well.
Dining in Kelowna is as good as the wineries around. All the local farming gives the ripest and tastiest ingredients for talented chefs to work their magic with. RauDZ is one of our faves downtown and so is Waterfront Wines Restaurant. Be sure to also check out basil & mint restaurant, we get cozy at one of their fire tables on their patio. It’s hard to want to leave there.
Kelowna is a paradise…warm summers, harvest in October and skiing all winter. There’s so much to do and see in this playground! Enjoy!