It’s officially spring – and that means it’s time to plan your family vacation.
But last year, yours was a hassle. You had to board a plane for two lengthy flights. You didn’t get to experience the endorphins you get from playing in the beauty of mother nature. But most of all, you felt crowded everywhere you went.
This time, you want to try something that works for the whole family. Everyone’s favourite (and beautiful) Okanagan gem: Kelowna.
Photo by: Sean Donovan
For starters, it’s easy to get there. All you have to do is hop in the car with your kids for a quick four-hour road trip straight out of Vancouver – or, you can opt for a 45-minute flight. You don’t even have to spend lots of time planning since Kelowna is so close, making it easy for any family to visit on a whim.
Given the city’s reputation as an idyllic vacation destination, Daily Hive decided to team up with Tourism Kelowna to search for the best family activities you can easily enjoy this summer.
Go on an adventure
You’ve arrived and you’re ready to experience your first adventure. Luckily, you find one that’s pretty much designed for families: the Myra Canyon Adventure Park. We were pumped to hit the park with the kids, and that was especially easy given that it doesn’t require a reservation and is located right above Kelowna and below the famous Myra Canyon trestles. It’s open from 10 am until sunset so you won’t feel rushed when you get there. Plus, it’s made for kids three and up, so everyone’s a happy camper. Simple, but fun.
Visit an animal farm
Daily Hive was surprised to learn that there’s an animal farm in Kelowna – and we’re not the only ones. Each visitor, young and old, is glowing with excitement as they get ready to pet…wait for it…kangaroos.
This is the perfect spot for any family because all ages are easily entertained. Open daily from 10 am to 2 pm, the Kangaroo Creek Farm features other animals too – like wallabies, sugar gliders, peacocks, pigs, and more. Get this – there aren’t any fences and tours are self-guided so you’re able to enjoy everything this fun place has to offer.
Taste amazing food
When you’re on vacation with the family, it’s important that you have plenty of dining options. Daily Hive was overwhelmed by the long list of eateries that Kelowna has available, and that’s because you can dine on any type of food from a Mexican breakfast to a family-friendly lunch.
No shuteye because the kids woke you up? No problem. You can visit several different coffee shops to sip on your favourite hot beverage.
Here’s a list of just a few of the options you can enjoy:
- Smack DAB: Located in the Manteo resort. The crazy fries at this eatery are a must. Located at 3762 Lakeshore Road.
- Marmalade Cat Café: This is a super fun coffee shop that offers grab-and-go breakfasts, pastries, and sit down breakfasts. Located at 2903 Pandosy Street.
- Bean Scene Coffee House: This is a new and quirky coffee shop. You can get grab-and-go breakfast sandwiches/pastries. Located at 2942 Pandosy Street.
- Hectors Casa: A delicious Mexican sit-down breakfast. Located at 2911 Pandosy Street
- Lakeside Dining - Hotel Eldorado: Known around Kelowna for its great food, this restaurant has a kids menu with plenty of options – and the views are stunning. Located at 500 Cook Road.
- Bohemian Café: This one’s definitely a must if you’re looking to have a filling breakfast with your family. Located at 524 Bernard Avenue, the Bohemian Café is known for a number of things – most notably its farm to table breakfast.
Explore the outdoors
Sometimes you just need to connect with nature, and that’s easy to do in Kelowna. But what’s especially convenient is that the kids need to stretch their legs and you don’t mind because you’ve been dying to hit the hills.
If you visit Knox Mountain you’ll be blown away by its accessibility and the short drive it takes to get there. When you get here you can begin a self-guided walk – on your way to the beautiful first and second lookouts that are positively perfect for taking photos of the kids, city, lake, and valley.
Watch the bright orange sunset play in the colourful sky and start planning your adventures for the next day. If the kids are begging to come back, it’s worth testing out the trails by hiking to Paul’s Tomb. It takes just 90-minutes, so both you and the little ones can get lots of exercise and still feel energetic when you reach the end.
Photo by: Matt Ferguson
Making time to walk along the Waterfront Boardwalk is worthwhile when you visit Kelowna as you’ll get to see epic views of the Okanagan Lake. But first, you and the kids need to make a decision as to where you visit: perhaps grab some delicious coffee drinks from Bean Scene Coffee, cones from Moolix, or pizza from Antico Pizza Napoletana – all located on Bernard Avenue. From there, you can take a 15-minute walk to the bird sanctuary at Rotary Marsh Park to watch for Blue Herons, beavers, Osprey, ducks and more along the sanctuary’s pathways. You and the kids need to see this place as it serves as a fun form of entertainment that gets you outdoors. Check it out at the downtown end of Ellis Street.
Stay somewhere that’s family first
When you visit Kelowna, you’ll want to stay somewhere central – but at a place where you know, the kids will be entertained. The Manteo Resort Waterfront Hotel & Villas make for perfect examples since they have a playground, putting green, hot tub, a recreational centre with games, along with indoor and outdoor pools with a waterslide. It’s a family wonderland.
The guest rooms and suites offer epic lake and mountain views – plus, you can book a space with two or three bedrooms if your friends want to come along. The onsite restaurant Smack DAB offers a family-friendly atmosphere, delicious locally-sourced ingredients, and the largest lakeside patio in Kelowna.
Article originally published on Daily Hive Vancouver, edited for accuracy