Kelowna is a beautiful city in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. With its picturesque scenery, family-friendly attractions, and skiing in the winter months, it is a prime vacation destination in Canada.
There are many things to do and places to visit in and around Kelowna. If you’re up for a day trip, consider visiting one of the nearby small towns or cities, like Peachland or Summerland.
If you’re asking yourself, “Is Kelowna worth visiting?” it definitely is. No matter when you’re planning your visit, there is always something to do. Here are our top 25 recommendations for things to do, see, and explore in and around Kelowna, BC.
Whether you like hiking, skiing, visiting museums, tasting wine, or just relaxing on the beach, Kelowna has something for everyone. Here is our list of the top attractions and places to visit in Kelowna in the winter or summer months.
1. Swim, Sail, or Play in Lake Okanagan
Lake Okanagan is one of the best places to visit in Kelowna in the summer months. The lake is 90 miles long, surrounded by scenic mountains. It is known for its beaches, with many of them including playgrounds, concessions, and opportunities for water activities.
There is no shortage of things to do, including stand-up paddleboarding, sailboating, kayaking, and canoeing.
You can snorkel in the crystal clear waters in the secluded bays, hike Paul’s Tomb trail at Knox Mountain, take a sunset dinner cruise, or choose your own adventure with a scenic boat tour.
2. Stroll Through Downtown Kelowna
Kelowna is BC’s third-largest metropolitan area, with a vibrant downtown scene. As the heart of the city, downtown Kelowna has much to offer, with many shops, restaurants, and activities.
You can walk to locally-owned restaurants, such as Salt & Brick, Raudz Regional Table, and Krafty Kitchen + Bar. Downtown Kelowna is also home to many breweries where you can fill your growler with craft beer.
There’s always something going on and things to do in downtown Kelowna, especially in the summer. At any point during your visit, you may come across a food truck rally, concert, or farmer’s market.
Enjoy the scenery by walking or biking the boardwalk between the Rotary Bird Sanctuary and City Park. This is a great year-round activity, but especially enjoyable in the summer months. Grab yourself some ice cream at MOO-LIX after – you won’t regret it.
3. Go Golfing at Kelowna’s Unique Golf Courses
Kelowna has one of the longest, driest golf seasons in Canada. With over 19 unique golf courses, the city is an ideal golfing destination.
Golfers can enjoy picturesque views of orchards, vineyards, rolling hills, and extensive lakes while hitting their tee.
Courses range from beginner-friendly to advanced so that anyone can play regardless of skill level. You can build your own golf package and enjoy a dining experience like no other.
4. Spend the Day at One of the Many Beaches
As a city right on Okanagan Lake, Kelowna has over 30 beaches to explore. On hot days, the beaches are prime spots for family picnics, water sports, and sunbathing.
Entertainment for all ages also takes place on the beaches, including outdoor movies, concerts, festivals, and performers.
Some of the best beaches you need to visit include:
Boyce Gyro Beach – As Kelowna’s most popular beach, Boyce Gyro is a prime spot for swimming, ziplining, paddleboarding, playing volleyball, and having a picnic. After a day at the beach, visit the apple-shaped concession for a cold drink or ice cream cone.
Hot Sands Beach – This beach is in a central location along the waterfront of City Park. You can see stunning water and mountain views while sunbathing or doing any number of water activities or sports.
Tugboat Bay Beach – Located north along the waterfront trail, this beach is a scenic cove near the Royal Kelowna Hotel and nest to Waterfront Park. Non-motorized boat and board rentals are available for those who want to sail on the water. This beach tends to be quieter than Hot Sands Beach, so come here if you want to relax.
5. Taste Wine at One of the Many Wineries
With over 40 wineries just minutes from the city, Kelowna is a perfect destination for wine lovers. Book a guided wine tour or take a self-guided tour with the Wine Trail Guide.
While visiting here, don’t forget to check out the BC Wine Museum to learn more about wine.
Some of the best wineries you need to visit in Kelowna include:
- Mission Hill Winery in West Kelowna, overlooking vineyards and Okanagan Lake.
- Quail’s Gate, a family-run winery, is situated on acres of fertile soil with uninterrupted views of the lake.
- Off the Grid Organic Winery produces organic, high-quality wines and has a farm with sheep, goats, chickens, and more.
6. Take a Walking Food Tour
Kelowna is a hub for local restaurants and eateries with fresh food you won’t find anywhere else. Through multiple walking food tour companies, you can experience and learn how the city has evolved while tasting your way through local businesses.
Two top food tour companies include A Taste of Kelowna Food Tours and Okanagan Foodie Tours. Both companies offer 3-hour guided historical and cultural walking tours, where you can taste amazing food and drinks and meet the people who made them.
Along the way, you’ll stop at 7 or 8 businesses to taste or drink local specialties. If you love discovering new food, this is one of the best unusual things to do in Kelowna.
7. Enjoy the Views at Waterfront Park
In the city centre next to the Grand Hotel, Kelowna’s Waterfront Park has landscaped gardens, city views, and public art. You can walk along the boardwalk that goes along the water’s edge all the way to City Park.
Waterfront Park is a great location to go for a walk and enjoy the scenery of the lake. Continue walking down the trail, and you’ll enter the Rotary Marshes wildlife park, where you might just see a beaver, heron, or eagle.
Those who like playing sports are in luck, with a basketball court and beach volleyball courts in this park.
8. Go Skiing at the Big White Ski Resort
Located just one hour from the Kelowna International Airport, the Big White Ski Resort is Canada’s largest ski-in/ski-out resort village.
This resort provides spectacular scenery of the Monashee Mountains. It has a state-of-the-art lift system, groomed and powder runs, and ideal snowboard and ski conditions, with over 750cm of snow every year.
Aside from skiing, guests can walk through the village, shop, and dine and many restaurants and pubs. Everything is within walking distance, so you don’t need to worry about how to get around.
Big White is the third largest resort in BC, after Sun Peaks and Whistler-Blackcomb, so be sure to visit if you’re looking for a fun time.
9. Walk, Hike, or Drive to the Top of Knox Mountain Park
Located just north of downtown, Knox Mountain Park is Kelowna’s largest park spanning 385 hectares. There are many trails to walk, hike, or drive up. While there is a steep incline, the city and valley views at the top are worth it.
There are 10 different trails throughout the park. Arguably, the Apex Trail is the best one for those who want to take in the views at the highest point of the mountain. Enjoy the scenery from one of the three main lookout points.
Knox Mountain is a protected wilderness area, so that you may see wild animals like bears and deer on your hike.
10. Discover Mission Creek Regional Park
Mission Creek Regional Park is home to 7 km of bridges, pathways, and seasonal Kokanee Salmon spawning. This park has easy-to-moderate hiking trails, making it one of the best attractions for families or those who don’t want to go on a long hike.
In all 4 seasons, you can picnic, play, and explore Mission Creek Regional Park. There is a picnic shelter, a children’s fishing channel, access to the Mission Creek Greenway, and the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan, where kids can learn about wildlife and the environment.
11. Have an Adventure at Myra Canyon Park
Located just 24km from downtown Kelowna, Myra Canyon Park is one of the best destinations for nature lovers and adventurers. You can hike or bike the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, which has 2 tunnels and 18 trestle bridges to cross.
Take part in the Myra Canyon Adventure Park, an outdoor aerial course and zip line park nestled in the wilderness.
This family-friendly adventure is perfect for those aged 3 and above. They offer a 20-obstacle Kinder Course, a few aerial courses, and a maximum challenge course if you’re up for it.
12. Go Back in Time at the Okanagan Heritage Museum
As Kelowna’s flagship museum, the Okanagan Heritage Museum is the place to learn about the Okanagan Valley, how it was formed, and how it supports diverse wildlife.
Learn about how traders and settlers arrived and gain insights into the Okanagan/Syilx people and their close connection to the land.
In spring 2019, the museum wrapped up a multi-year process that saw the overhaul of the entire permanent gallery.
13. Visit Kelowna City Park
The Kelowna City Park is right next to the downtown marina. It is a great place to go for a walk to enjoy the scenery or for activities like swimming, skateboarding, and sunbathing.
This park has multiple trails, a beach area, sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, a soccer field, and a playground.
In the summer months, there is often live music, local vendors, and buskers.
There is something for everyone in Kelowna City Park, so be sure to stop by on your trip to Kelowna.
14. Chill at the Kasugai Japanese Gardens
Take a step away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Kelowna and visit Kasugai Garden Park, one of the best free things to do in Kelowna.
Completed in 1897, this garden was made to demonstrate the friendship between Kelowna and its sister city in Kasugai, Japan.
Walk around the park, and you’ll see traditional elements in Japanese gardens, like a koi pond, pine trees, waterfalls, and stone lanterns.
Remember that the park is only open in the spring and summer months, so don’t miss it if you’re visiting Kelowna in the summer.
15. Visit the Picturesque Okanagan Lavender and Herb Farm
Located in the hills of South Kelowna with picturesque lake and valley views, the Okanagan Lavender and Herb Farm has over 60 varieties of lavender that are grown, harvested, dried, and distilled to use in the hand-crafted products in the farm boutique.
It is a family farm that not only grows lavender but is home to several varieties of herbs and flowers. You can take a guided tour to learn about working on a herb farm and take home your own bath blend after the tour.
In the boutique, you’ll find bath, skin, and body care products with lavender and other botanicals. The farm also offers various workshops throughout the year for those interested in natural, botanical products.
Visiting this farm is one of the best cheap things to do in Kelowna and can make for a romantic date.
16. Hike or Camp at Bear Creek Provincial Park
Bear Creek Provincial Park is located on the west side of Okanagan Lake in the Central Okanagan Basin. Visit for lakeside camping, hiking trails, and sandy beaches.
Many people like to camp here in the summer months, so booking a reservation well in advance is strongly recommended.
You can also do a moderate hike of 3.5km, with 3 well-marked loops, ranging from a 15-minute loop trail to the 2.5km Canyon Rim Trail. During the winter months, look out for ice climbing if that’s your thing.
17. See a Show at the Rotary Centre for the Arts
Located in Kelowna’s Cultural District, the Rotary Centre for the Arts is a place for all ages to go and get connected, inspired, and learn about the arts. It is home to resident artist studios, galleries, a dance studio, a pottery studio, a box office, and the Mary Irwin Theatre.
Take a few hours to visit and experience performers and artists in action. Check out RCA Presents, a live event series where you can see stand-up comedy shows, live music, dance presentations, and theatre shows.
View the upcoming performances here.
18. Browse Art at the Kelowna Art Gallery
Located near the Rotary Centre for the Arts, the Kelowna Art Gallery is home to changing contemporary and historical Canadian art exhibitions.
They have four gallery spaces, an outdoor courtyard area for all to enjoy, and a permanent collection of more than 800 works of art.
In the fall and winter, they offer workshops and art classes for adults. During the spring and summer breaks, they have art camps for children and students.
There are also numerous events throughout the year where you can sit in on lectures, artist talks, and more.
19. Enjoy the Views at Peachland
A 30-minute drive south of Kelowna, Peachland is a charming community worth visiting if you’re up for a day trip.
Peachland is in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, midway between Penticton and Kelowna. It is a hub for wine, with many wineries and microbreweries within easy access, and other agro-tourism activities.
You can easily go skiing at the Big White Ski Resort and visit the Apex Mountain Resort, as they’re both within a short distance of Peachland.
Dine at one of the many lakefront restaurants, zipline above Deep Creek gorge, or take an Okanagan ATV Tour.
Related: Find out the cheapest places to live in British Columbia.
20. Visit Black Mountain
East of the city centre, Black Mountain is a small neighbourhood home to the Black Mountain Golf Club and spectacular views of the valley and lake. There is easy access to wineries, hiking trails, snowmobiling trails, and an outdoor adventure trail.
Black Mountain is a prime destination for those who want to experience the Okanagan lifestyle with suburban comforts but are still within a 20-minute drive to the city.
Black Mountain Regional Park is also nearby, with easy to difficult hiking trails through endangered grasslands.
21. Ski at the Silver Star Mountain Resort
Silver Star Mountain Resort is a true ski-in, ski-out village with affordable, family-friendly activities.
It is a short trip away from Kelowna but a truly unforgettable experience. There are over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain over 4 mountain faces, perfect for anyone, from beginners to experienced.
Aside from skiing, other winter activities include snowboarding, ice skating, winter tubing, snowshoeing, and fat biking.
The colourful mid-mountain village has numerous shops, restaurants, and cafes to explore.
22. Hike, Walk, or Bike the Kettle Valley Rail Trail
Cyclers and hikers alike will love the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, a converted railway to trail that weaves through the stunning mountain and valley scenery. You’ll ride alongside picturesque lakes, through mountain tunnels, and over the Myra Canyon Trestles.
According to Great Canadian Trails, it takes about 5 days to cycle the entire trail. If you manage to bike the entirety of the trail, give yourself a pat on the back – that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.
23. Explore the Raymer Bay Regional Park
Raymer Bay Regional Park is a hidden gem in West Kelowna. It is popular in the summer, where you can swim, relax on the beach, have a picnic, or play in the playground.
Raymer Bay Park is the perfect place to spend a day with family or relax on your own. It boasts breathtaking views of the city and Okanagan Lake, making it a great stop on your trip to Kelowna.
24. Visit the Town of Summerland
A short drive away from Kelowna, Summerland has short and mild winters followed by a spring that features the most hours of sunlight of any place in Canada.
There are so many things to do in Summerland, including popular attractions like the ActionFest, Festival of Lights, exclusive wineries, and sporting events.
Though it is a four-season town, it has long, hot summers with many things to do and explore in the warmer months. You can taste local produce, take a walk along the water or on one of the many trails, and so much more.
25. Camp at Vaseux Lake Provincial Park
Home to an abundant wildlife population, Vaseux Lake Provincial Park provides fishing opportunities, as well as ice-fishing, ice-boating, and skating opportunities in the winter.
Vaseux Lake Provincial Park is a popular campground with beautiful lakeside sites. It is just minutes away from popular tourist spots and amenities, like wine country and Covert Farms.
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife at this park. You might see California big horn sheep, mountain goats, and various bird species.
What are the other must-see places to visit in Kelowna?