Kelowna has long been known as British Columbia’s Mecca for wineries, beaches and boating. With it’s Mediterranean climate and fruit picking, you almost feel like you’re visiting Wine Country in California. As Albertans, we’re extremely lucky to have this gorgeous destination within driving/flying distance.
Visiting Kelowna for a long weekend makes you feel like you’re really on vacation; and you’ll come home with a tan to match!
With Kelowna being a summertime favourite of ours, we figured it was about time to put together a Kelowna itinerary fit for adventure lovers! We’ve partnered with AMA Travel and Best Western to give you the ultimate long weekend (3 night/4 day) itinerary for Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley.
The Weather in Kelowna
If you’re visiting Kelowna in the summer months, just know that it gets extremely hot and humid with temperatures reaching up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 degree Fahrenheit). Make sure you plan your outdoor activities accordingly. If you plan to be on the water, try to do so earlier in the morning if possible before it gets too hot!
The Ultimate Kelowna Itinerary
Arrival at the Best Western Plus Kelowna Hotel & Suites
Driving distance from Calgary to Kelowna: 7 hours, 605 kms
Flying time from Calgary to Kelowna: 1hr 10 minutes
Flying time from Edmonton to Kelowna: 1hr 20 minutes
For this particular trip we brought our cat with us so we needed somewhere pet-friendly (specifically, cat-friendly, which is much harder to come by). Not too many hotels allow cats, so we were thrilled to find that the Best Western Plus Kelowna Hotel & Suites was all too happy to accommodate.
After checking into the hotel, get settled in. Perhaps take a dip in the outdoor hot tubs and indoor swimming pool before dinner. It’s not something you’d expect but the Best Western Kelowna actually features mountain views!
Dinner – Central Kitchen & Bar
On the first night, we recommend heading to Central Kitchen and Bar. It’s a trendy spot located in downtown Kelowna that is connected to an indoor volleyball court, of all places.
Central has an eclectic mix of foods on their menu, but they are really known for their burgers. They also did some pressed sushi (aburi style), and some delicious Korean spice cauliflower wings.
If you’re looking for a cocktail, Central is the place to go on a Friday night. Their menu features some great happy hour deals and their margaritas are fantastic. We highly recommend the coconut habanero marg (not as spicy as it sounds). They also do a set menu where you choose an appetizer, main course, dessert and an alcoholic beverage for just $50 – which seemed like a no brainer!
Play a round of Mini Golf at Scandia
Scandia Golf & Games is totally where you might wind up on a first date and it definitely holds some nostalgia for us after many visits over the years. Situated about 5 minutes away from Best Western Kelowna (by car), this is the perfect spot to hang out with your date, your family or a group of friends.
It’s a one-stop shop for mini golf, go-karting, batting cages and an old school arcade. There are actually two mini golf courses here (one indoor and one outdoor), which are flood-lit and open late (until midnight on weekends), so it’s the perfect place to go after dinner. BC is the land of mini golf so a trip to Scandia just makes sense.
If you’re visiting during the summer months, and plan to play mini golf, I highly recommend bringing some bug spray with you!
AM – Sunrise Hike – Knox Mountain
We’re early risers when we travel, and like to try and find somewhere interesting to watch the sunrise when possible. In Kelowna, the best place to do this is the top of Knox Mountain via the Apex Trail.
This is a short, well-trafficked trail to the top of a summit that sits right on the edge of downtown and Okanangan Lake. If you can make it all the way to the upper lookout, you’ll have incredible views of the lake, city and the entire Valley. It’s also an amazing place to watch the sun light up the peaks that surround the city on all sides.
If you attempt Knox Mountain at sunrise as we did, you’ll find you’re never short of company. There’s plenty of wildlife wandering the mountain and we encountered several deer grazing along the way. There are also occasionally bears and signage regarding snakes in the area.
There was also no shortage of human activity; hikers and runners looking to start their day with a burst of exercise. From speaking with the locals, this seems to be a daily ritual for many of them as they try to beat their personal records. A workout with a view; our kind of exercise!
The hike is generally not too strenuous, with a fairly gentle gradient for the most part. There are a few switchbacks and thanks to our fast pace, we were pretty sweaty by the top. 100% worth it for the amazing views.
Trail statistics (Round trip): Length – 4.2km, Elevation gain – 260 m, Approximate time – 1.5 hours
Breakfast – Bohemian Cafe (The Boh)
After a sunrise hike, you’ll be absolutely famished and there is no better breakfast spot than the Bohemian Cafe in downtown Kelowna. It’s a quiet spot if you get there early enough and the laid-back vibe is perfect if you’re heading there in your hiking clothes.
The menu features crowd pleasers like French Toast (the best we’ve ever had) and interesting twists on classics, like the Banh Mi Eggs Benny.
I also have to recommend the coffee here. It’s locally roasted and absolutely delicious, even if you’re ordering a plain black drip coffee. Bohemian Cafe simply must be a part of your Kelowna itinerary!
Kelowna City Park
Since The Boh is located so close to the water, you definitely need to check out the waterfront and marina area. This stroll will take you past Kelowna City Park and Hot Sands Beach and on a hot summer day, you might just want to go for a swim!
Other options: suntan on the beach, build a sandcastle, rent a paddleboard or read a novel.
Lunch – O-Zeki Sushi
O-Zeki is without doubt one of our favourite places to eat in Kelowna. We’re obsessed with sushi and Japanese food and O-Zeki always hits the spot. We never visit without stopping in here, they’ve got traditional Japanese tatami rooms and authentic Japanese menu items. Make sure you try the scallop hand cones and the yakisoba. Super delicious!
PM – Okanagan ATV Tours
What’s not to love about ripping around mountain trails on a high speed ATV? These tours are staged in nearby Peachland, where you’ll hop on a 400hp quad, have a quick instructional lesson (if you need one) and then it’s off into the mountains.
If you’re visiting in late spring or early summer, you’ll be able to blast through muddy puddles and maybe even find some snow to rip through. The trails gradually wind higher and higher, culminating in epic views of Lake Okanagan. You’ll stop here for a quick coffee and a snack, giving you time to take in the views before ripping back down to the start again.
I highly recommend giving this a try if you’ve never done it before! It was a blast and the views were unbelievable. Okanagan ATV Tours offers both 2 and 4 hour tours, however, if you’re a beginner just be aware that you may get tired thumbs if you’re out there longer than 2 hours. Ours were constantly on the throttle and throbbing a bit afterwards. You’ll definitely want to add an ATV tour to your Kelowna itinerary!
Dinner – Oak + Cru
Oak + Cru is a hotel bar and restaurant at the Delta in Kelowna. It has an amazing waterfront patio that’s perfect for evening drinks, and the food and cocktails are fantastic. Definitely go for the truffle fries! In the winter, Oak + Cru brings in igloo type shelters for guests to dine in, turning the patio into a magical winter wonderland so be sure to check that out if the timing lines up for you.
If you’re in the downtown area and fancy a walk along the waterfront, Oak and Cru is just steps away.
AM – Breakfast in Hotel – Best Western Plus Kelowna Hotel & Suites
Don’t you just love it when breakfast is included with your hotel stay? At the Best Western Kelowna, there is a daily breakfast buffet to start your day off on the right foot. We were extremely impressed with their selection of hot items (sausage, eggs, pancakes, french toast) and cold items (cereal bar, yogurt, fresh fruit, pastries). It was definitely a step above your typical continental breakfast.
Visit Kangaroo Creek Farm
A Kelowna itinerary isn’t complete without a visit to see some wildlife! Kangaroo Creek Farm is an animal sanctuary with dozens of interesting and unique animals that you won’t find elsewhere in Canada. There are emus, capybaras, porcupines, turkeys, kangaroos, wallabies, snakes, reptiles, parrots, goats, pigs, rabbits and more!
It’s even pet-friendly (as long as your pet is contained), so we brought our cat in a backpack and let him meet some of the wildlife as well. It was a hot day so he was frankly more interested in napping.
The friendly staff walk around the enclosures with buckets of food so you can feed the animals, pet them, and learn a little about them and how they came to be at this sanctuary at the same time.
Kangaroo Creek Farm is very kid and family-friendly and can get very busy during peak times. For a more relaxing experience (and to witness the animals at their most active), we recommend going around 10am when they open.
Go Fruit Picking
Fruit picking in Kelowna is a must, as long as there is fruit in season when you visit. There are “U Pick” Farms located all over and if you need help finding one, just hit up the Kelowna Visitor Centre located right downtown. They’ll provide you with a map of what’s in season and direct you to farms that still have lots of U-Pick availability.
For a rough idea of what will be available when you visit, see below:
Nov-June – no fruit picking available
July – Peaches, Apricots, Cherries
August – Apples, Plums, Pears, Peaches, Apricots, Cherries
Sept – Apples, Plums, Pears
Oct – Apples
PM – Boating/Swimming on Lake Okanagan
Kelowna is known for its Mediterranean vibe, and what is more mediterranean than renting a boat and heading out on the water for the afternoon. Rentals in Kelowna are easy. Just head down to the Kelowna Marina and see what’s available or book online. You can pick up a one day boating licence from them (better to go with someone that’s driven one before) and be on your way.
Generally, when you rent a boat you’ll be given a choice of water toys (inflatables, wakeboards, water skis), so if you have a group of friends or family you can tow them around the water for some adrenaline filled adventures!
Lake Okanagan is huge, so there’s plenty of space to explore and it’s easy to lose track of time. Bring some snacks, water and some sunscreen and you’ll have an absolutely awesome afternoon!
Dinner – Mission Hill Winery
No Kelowna itinerary is complete without a visit to one of its wineries. The options are endless but one of our favourites and an absolute classic is the Mission Hill Winery.
It’s beautiful, elegant and iconic and they have a wine for everyone. Sign up for a tasting tour or book dinner at their stunning Terrace Restaurant with epic views and a tasting menu to die for.
A few other of our favourite wineries worth mentioning: Quail’s Gate Winery, Summerhill Winery. Not interested in wine? Definitely check out Wards Cider – they had some of the most delicious ciders we’ve had!
Where to stay in Kelowna
This time, thanks to AMA Travel, we stayed at the Best Western Plus Kelowna Hotel & Suites. We picked this hotel because it had great amenities (breakfast included, hot tub and indoor swimming pool), mountain views and most importantly for us, it’s pet friendly (cats as well!).
It’s rare that a hotel allows cats, so it saved us a huge amount of money on finding a cat sitter, and it allowed us to bring him along for the adventure as well!
The location is also very convenient, as the Best Western is located on the 97N, the major artery that runs through the middle of Kelowna. From the hotel, it’s very easy to access any of the destinations we’ve included above. We can absolutely recommend staying here and it’s the perfect location for this Kelowna itinerary.
AMA members save 5% or more when booking a stay at the Best Western!
AMA members save 5% or more on room rates at Best Western hotels in Canada and worldwide. Visit AMATravel.ca/BestWestern to start planning your next trip!
Kelowna Packing List – What to Bring
If you’re using this 4 day Kelowna itinerary as a guideline, please make sure to pack the following:
-Hat for sun protection
-Good shoes for walking/hiking
-Long sleeve shirt and pants for cooler evenings
-Resort chic clothing for winery visits (please double check dress code)
We hope you found this Kelowna itinerary useful for planning your next vacation! Thanks to AMA Travel for kindly arranging this trip for us so that we can show off everything this fantastic city has to offer.