Kelowna’s four-season playground is the perfect place to slow down, relax, and connect with nature. Plus, the city and its surrounding communities offer an abundance of experiences and activities that will allow you to focus on your health and wellness. Whether you’re looking to splurge or searching for budget-friendly options, local to the area or planning your next trip to the region, the wellness-related choices are plentiful in and around Kelowna.
Connect with Nature
With slightly cooler temperatures and colourful foliage, fall is a magical time to take in all the natural beauty Kelowna has to offer. As the city sits on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Syilx/Okanagan people, connecting with nature and learning about the land through Indigenous history and culture makes perfect sense.
Moccasin Trails’ six-hour Ancestral Path Experience, offered May through October, allows guests to learn about the traditional and medicinal use of native plants from an Indigenous knowledge keeper. You'll explore the natural environment in Westbank First Nation, gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for the land. Following the outdoor portion of the tour, you’ll visit Sncewips Heritage Museum, Kekuli Café, and Indigenous World Winery, all unique Indigenous offerings to add to your experience. The tour is $175 for adults and $105 for children (6-12 years), including transportation, museum admission, and lunch.
For those on a budget, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with nature at no cost. Kelowna offers some of the best urban birding experiences in BC, all of which are easily accessible. Fall also means spawning season for Kokanee salmon. Mission Creek Regional Park is the best spot to catch the fish in late September and early October, as they finish their long journey—seeing the beauty of the Kokanee in their natural habitat is definitely worth the visit. There is also an option to book a park interpreter for a private program. The one-hour program is $40 and can accommodate groups of up to 30 people for in-person or online delivery, meaning you can see the salmon even if you're not able to make it to Kelowna this fall.
Move Your Body
Nothing says wellness like being active and moving your body. Get your blood pumping while you marvel at the spectacular Okanagan Valley views on one of Noble Adventures’ guided hiking tours, which run May through September/October. Spend the day (or several) exploring beginner, intermediate, or advanced hikes that range from 4 to 9 hours in length, depending on the trail. The guided hikes, which range in price from $109 to $149 per person (plus tax), include transportation, a packed lunch featuring local cuisine, as well as drinks and snacks. Noble Adventures can also help you plan the perfect outdoor adventure for your private or corporate group.
There are also plenty of hiking trails and biking trails for people of all abilities that can be explored free of charge—the Okanagan Rail Trail is one not-to-miss with flat trails and stunning fall views. The longest completed section of the trail runs from Lake Country to Vernon, alongside Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake. For those needing bike rentals, Pedego Oyama is conveniently located between the two lakes, just steps from the trail. You can also pick up some fresh local fruit or produce for your journey from neighbouring Gatzke's Farm Market. There are also a number of other bike rental options within the city if you're interested in biking the Kelowna portion of the trail.
Relax and Rejuvenate
Once you’ve connected with nature and pushed your muscles to their limits, why not indulge in a relaxing and rejuvenating spa day? If you’re ready to splurge a little, there are several spas in and around Kelowna to choose from, including Kelowna’s first Himalayan salt cave at Room + Pillar Spa, where you can experience a moment of zen while appreciating the benefits of dry salt therapy. Take in the beautiful setting while at The Cove Lakeside Resort's onsite spa or book a day of pampering at Coast Capri Hotel's onsite spa, Beyond Wrapture. Both hotels also have accommodation offers to help make the most of your visit if you’re travelling to the region.
Want to splurge a little less? Coordinate your own spa day by purchasing local products to use in your hotel room or at home if you’re local. The Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm and Meadow Vista Honey Wines both carry an array of spa-related items like locally-grown loose leaf teas, bath salts, body scrubs, and so much more—you’ll be relaxed in no time! Can’t make it to Kelowna right now? Both companies offer Canada-wide shipping so you can enjoy a piece of Kelowna from home, or gift some of the products to someone who could use a bit of a break.
Fuel Your Body
To make the most of all the activities listed, you’ll need to fuel your body with some of the freshest local cuisines in town. Summerhill Pyramid Bistro prides itself on serving “fresh, local, organic” eats—plus the patio, which can still be enjoyed in the fall, boasts stunning views of Okanagan Lake and the surrounding mountains, especially at sunset. Plant-based options abound on the menu—the vegan calamari, made of fried oyster mushrooms, is a must-try! For more veggie-focused eats, don’t miss Frankie We Salute You!, whose menu changes with the seasons. The sweet corn queso has been a staple menu item and is one of my personal favourites!
There are also numerous local shops and markets where you can pick up items to enjoy on a picnic, in your hotel room, or around the campfire. Head to Okanagan Grocery to pick up some artisan bread and, if you’ll have access to an oven, portable stove, or campfire, be sure to pop in next door to Codfather’s Seafood Market to pick up some wild-caught fish or other sustainably sourced seafood. Need some veggies to round out the meal? A trip to the Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market—which runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) until October—will offer you the chance to meet local producers and farmers firsthand, and to savour the freshest eats you can find (plus, they are just steps from Mission Creek Regional Park in case you want to see the salmon spawning at the same time). A few other spots to check out for products that are grown or made locally include Paynter’s Fruit Market, Lakeview Market, or Sunshine Market.
Your soul, and your belly, will be full when you explore Kelowna with wellness in mind!
Locals, what other spots or activities would you recommend to someone looking to relax and rejuvenate while visiting our region? Let us know in the comments below.