The month of March is an exciting time of transition in the Okanagan Valley—there’s still plenty of snow in the high country, but around town purple crocuses and white snowdrop blossoms are poking up everywhere. This means there’s a wide range of activities to keep families busy over spring break.
Our family loves heading up to Big White for spring skiing almost as much as we look forward to lacing up our hiking boots and hitting the trails on Knox Mountain. Thanks to Kelowna’s mild climate and proximity to the mountains, we plan to do both—and more. Here are a few ideas for family fun over March break.
Try Nordic skiing
If you’re looking for an affordable way to get exercise on snowy forest trails, head up to Telemark Nordic Club in West Kelowna. There’s still plenty of snow this high up the Glenrosa Road, where over 50 kilometres of trails await. We always have a lot of fun on the Chalet Loop, a groomed beginner circuit that starts and ends behind the warming lodge. There are also on-site rentals that make it easy for newbies to get geared up.
Hike Knox Mountain Park
Photo by: Nic Collar Film
The trails that zigzag up this extinct volcano just five minutes from downtown are usually snow-free by early March. Park in the lot at the end of Ellis Street, start hoofing it up the Apex Trail, and see how high you can get—determined families will be rewarded with great views over downtown Kelowna and Okanagan Lake. Along the way, keep an eye out for marmots sunning themselves on rocks and deer grazing on the new spring shoots.
Visit a museum
Stop by the Okanagan Heritage Museum downtown for a refresher on the valley’s geological and human history. Kids will also love the new exhibit, Bats: Out of the Darkness, that runs March 16 through May 30 and aims to enlighten everyone in the family about these misunderstood mammals. In West Kelowna, the Sncəwips Heritage Museum has moved into a bright new space in the Okanagan Lake Shopping Centre and features exhibits that raise cultural awareness and understanding about the local syilx nation.
Play in the snow at Big White
Photo by: Big White Ski Resort
We love spring skiing on soft snow under sunny skies with warm temperatures, and this year promises to be epic—Big White Ski Resort has one of its best snow bases in recent seasons. With 72 percent of the mountain’s terrain designated beginner or intermediate, there are endless groomers and rollicking tree runs for families to ski together. We also love ending the day at the Happy Valley Adventure Park for ice-skating, tubing, or just warming up by the outdoor fire with a hot chocolate.
Tee up for mini golf
While it’s true that many golf courses in Kelowna are open by mid-March, walking (or even golf cart riding) 18 holes isn’t realistic for many families. That’s why there’s mini golf! The 18-hole mini golf course at Scandia Golf & Games features classic ball obstacles including a windmill and castle. The amusement centre also has a go-kart track and batting cages. If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can head inside to putt the Indoor Jungle Golf course or play some of the many video games in the arcade.
Cycle the Mission Creek Greenway
Photo by: Seekers Media & Nancy Shields
Look for pileated woodpeckers drilling into trees or mallard ducks floating along the water as you pedal the flat gravel pathway that parallels Mission Creek between Lakeshore Road and Mission Creek Regional Park. At the park, stop into The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan to learn about the park’s plants and animals, or to sign out a Discovery Backpack filled with activities that help you discover the surrounding environment. The park also has a playground, plus walking trails that lead to a duck-filled pond and a fishing hole where kids can learn to cast a line.