I can’t believe we haven’t played tourists in our own town before! With an itch to travel and restrictions in place, having a Kelowna staycation was just what we needed.
We started our day out in the sunshine with a hike organized by CRIS Adaptive Adventures. They had given us a list of local trails to choose from and we decided to explore Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park. We hadn’t heard of it before but Google showed it was a mere twelve minute drive from our house and had stunning lake views, so it really was a no brainer.
We met our guides (Jill and Kristy) in the parking lot and they got Cara (my wife, a t6 paraplegic) settled and strapped into what they call a trail rider. It’s an adaptive piece of equipment that helps them guide her through the trails. I’d obviously never gone hiking with Cara before so I was pretty excited for our adventure up and down the mountain. We spent two hours weaving up and down the trails and we were absolutely blown away by the scenery and the views. We were even lucky enough to spot a bunch of climbers scaling Campbell Mountain. With over 400 hectares of land to explore and being so close to our home, we will definitely be back!
After going home and freshening up it was time to head downtown and check into our hotel for the night, The Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort, otherwise known as "The Delta Grand" by locals. The hotel is a short walk to the Kelowna Visitor Centre and the main downtown core, making it a perfect location. Checking in was smooth and contactless, and we were heading up to our room in no time. It was beautiful! They had a welcome bottle of wine and some yummy doughnuts waiting for us which really was a nice touch. The room was spacious and most importantly, clean. We lounged around for a while and then headed out to see what was nearby.
Kelowna Beer Institute was right around the corner and since we had an hour to kill before our dinner reservation we popped in for a drink. They have a great patio and lots of different beers to choose from. It was nice to see that they also had cider and wine options for those who aren’t big beer drinkers like me.
It was time for dinner so we paid our bill and made our way back to the hotel restaurant, Oak + Cru. The staff were friendly and professional and really made us feel welcome. Their patio has great views of the lake and it was very spacious and clean. They had plenty of heaters and fireplaces going to make sure everyone was comfortable, and also offered blankets which we appreciated because we both get cold easily. We shared the calamari and tomato soup to start which we really enjoyed. The main dishes were the stars of the show though, I got the fire roasted pork chop and Cara went for the sablefish with lobster risotto. Even though we were stuffed we just had to end with a sweet bite, the skillet smores. We had a great experience overall and would love to come back soon.
We headed back to our room and enjoyed a little of the wine they had left for us earlier, and then thought we should go down and relax in the hot tub. Included in their welcome package was a QR code, which you scan with your phone to bring up all the hotels information and services. Everything was straight forward and easy to navigate and it didn’t take long to reserve our time slot for the pools. We spent an hour or so floating around and then as you can imagine we were quite sleepy after that, so it was time to turn in for the night.
The bed was very comfortable and we both slept in until ten! Thankfully they accommodated a late checkout for us since we were running a little behind. We packed up and headed down to Oak + Cru for a breakfast Caesar, a perfect way to start our day. We checked out and made our way to our first stop of the day, the Okanagan Heritage Museum. I can’t believe we’d never been there before! It was filled with so many different artifacts and information, I was blown away. I’m a huge hockey fan so I loved the old memorabilia, and we both really loved their Pride exhibit. There was a fun trivia game at the end and if you play you get entered into a draw they hold at the end of each month. A great way to get people involved and using their brains, and we definitely learned a few things.
Next, we made our way over to the Kasugai Gardens, a little hidden gem right downtown! It was built in 1987 to show the friendship between Kelowna and its sister city in Kasugai, Japan. The pond is full of Koi fish and we even got to see them being fed which was cool to see. The beautiful scenery and the calming sounds of the water make for such a relaxing space. If you need somewhere quiet to unwind we recommend taking a stroll through the gardens.
Our last stop for the weekend was lunch at The Train Station Pub. They have a nice big patio and lots of heaters which was perfect because it wasn’t the warmest day. We also noticed a new cozy area off to the side, complete with turf and propane fire pits! They really took the time to make sure everything was COVID safe as well, with one way traffic and plexiglass dividers at each table. I ordered the crispy chicken sandwich and Cara had the BLT. It really hit the spot and we left feeling very satisfied.
As our staycation came to an end, we couldn’t help but smile and think about all the fun we’d managed to get up to in such a short period of time. We encourage everyone to support local and take a Kelowna staycation, especially if you’re in need of a refresh and recharge. We are so lucky to have all of these great experiences right at our fingertips, and we are so grateful that we call Kelowna home.
About the author:
Born and raised in the Okanagan, Andrea lives with her wife Cara and their two cats. They can usually be found on the patio at one of the many wineries or restaurants that Kelowna has to offer. You can follow their adventures on Instagram @wheelationshipgoals.