Spring is in the air.

For Kelowna’s residents that means a reawakening of activity that sweeps away the winter cobwebs and signals a renewed love affair with the Okanagan outdoors.
Lakeside dock blossoms
Photo by Brian Sprout Photography

Kelowna, in fact, comes from the Okanagan First Nation language and means “grizzly bear”—an animal renowned for its ferocious appetite for spring.

Originally known as L’Anse au Sable (or Sandy Cove), Kelowna has developed into a modern, casually sophisticated lakeside city that can hold its own when it comes to business, recreation, culture and quality of life. Get outdoors and you’ll find the people here are active, down to earth and eager to share.

Here are seven reasons why Kelowna is especially awesome in spring.

1. Street-side breakfast

There’s a simple joy in beginning the day perched outside a street-side cafe with a hot beverage, a pastry and the local newspaper to enjoy. Explore Bernard Avenue and settle in with the refreshing morning breeze as you watch the world go by or take it to go and head down to a lakefront bench.

2. The greens are green and fairways open

Kelowna is home to 18 golf courses and more than 100,000 yards of ball-striking heaven. That makes for a wide-open range of a multi-course excursion to work out the kinks in your swing.

Golf Kelowna

3. Trails to get your wheels turning

With 300 km of on-street lanes and another 40 km of separated multi-use paths, you’d be hard-pressed to find a city in Canada of Kelowna’s size with more to offer cyclists—including cycle-based wine tours. Bike racks and lockers are located throughout the city and if, heaven forbid, your early-season ride leaves you a little fatigued, you can always catch a bus home and bring your bike with you.

4. A little wine after lunch?

Okanagan wineries—over 40 in and around Kelowna—are open and eager to provide a tasting of their crafted delights. Select the wine tour of your choice and then set out, map in hand, to wander from stop to stop, enjoying not only the best in Okanagan reds and whites, but also the transfixing beauty of the Okanagan Valley’s mountains, vineyards, and water. Remember to save room in your bags for your favourite bottle.

5. Meals that marvel

Kelowna is home to the Canadian Culinary Championships, which is fitting as the city is also home to a rich and diverse food scene that offers everything from exquisite dining to fast food frenzy. On almost every corner you’ll find a great spot to settle in to indulge in a signature dish.

Downtown Sails Statue

6. Stroll and let it all soak in

A favourite treat for Kelowna residents is a stroll along the lakefront boardwalk. Take along a mid-day lunch for a picnic at Tugboat Bay and Waterfront Park. Or enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of an evening walk as you relive your day’s adventure and ponder the next. Popular boardwalk stops include the Rhapsody and Spirit of Sail sculptures, Rotary Marsh and Bear, a tribute to Kelowna’s settlement on Okanagan Lake.

7. Getting here is a piece of cake

Contemplating a getaway to Kelowna is as simple as choosing an hour-long flight from Vancouver or Abbotsford or pointing your automobile east on the TransCanada. No less than 20 flights leave the Lower Mainland for Kelowna each day. If you’d rather see beautiful B.C. from your vehicle, Kelowna is just four hours from the Lower Mainland—and it’s four-lanes all the way.



Article previously appeared on: Kelowna is Awesome, March 30, 2015
*edited for accuracy March 15, 2017