Loads to do when you visit the Okanagan so we’ve compiled some of our favourite Family Friendly Activities in Kelowna!
Exploring a new province or state can be a great adventure for the whole family! We have traveled up and down the four western provinces extensively as there is always so much to do, see and learn.
Staycations or visiting places within your own country can be just as much fun as traveling outside of the country. I grew up in British Columbia and spent time visiting the Okanagan before moving to Alberta. Going back is never dull and there is always something to do!
With a little imagination you will have an excellent adventure and we aim to give you some ideas when visiting Kelowna to get you started!
The Okanagan is a region in British Columbia known for it’s lakes, water sports, orchards, abundance of summer fruit and many wineries.
From mountains to lakes to miles of trails and farm to table eateries, the Okanagan is as rich in scenery as it is in it’s culture.
Learn about the Ogopogo
The legend of the Ogopogo begins with the First Nations people speaking of “N’ha-a-itk”, a fierce lake monster that resided at Squally Point, 20 kilometres south of the city of Kelowna. In 1924, a little song was composed about the lake monster and it was given the name, “Ogopogo”.
Fast forward and there have been sightings of this lake monster reported. Ogopogo is described as green with a snakelike body about 25 meters long. Some say its head looks like a horse, while others say that it’s reptilian or goat-like. Many even claim to have photographed Ogopogo. The pictures have always been inconclusive. Learn more about the Ogopogo here: Ogopogo: Canada’s Loch Ness Monster or Does Ogopogo Exist.
Here’s a few of the adventures we love to go on when we visit Kelowna, with part II coming soon!
The Kettle Valley Railway Trail is an abandoned railway bed located in Myra Canyon, originally built by hand at the turn of the last century. In 2004 12 wooden trestles and 2 steel trestles had to be rebuilt following a large fire known as the Okanagan park wildfire. Remnants of this fire are still visible in the canyon as you wind your way through the majestic trails in awe of the beauty before you.
The Trans Canada Trail from Kelowna to Penticton follows the old Kettle Valley Railway and the trail itself is 45 km one way. The trail winds through the mountains featuring breath taking views and boasts 2 tunnels, 2 steel bridges and 16 wood trestles for the first 8 km of the ride.
We brought our own bikes on this trip and traveled at least 6km before turning back due to tired little legs. For those not traveling with bikes you can hike as far as you are able to, rent a bike or get a guided tour to learn more about the area. For more information, visit the Myra Canyon Restoration Society website.
One of our favourite places to get lost at for an afternoon is the Lavender and Herb Farm. The farm itself will have different blooms at different times throughout the summer. We visited in August and while there was still an abundance of lavender and herbs, it was limited.
You may come across grapes, roses, lemon balm, savory, basil, spearmint, sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme as well as several varieties of lavender on your travels. A small play area for little kids may yield you some clues if you are participating in the scavenger hunt.
Carmelis Goat Cheese Farm
Carmelis Goat Cheese Farm is a skip and hop down the road from several quality estate wineries a short drive out of downtown Kelowna. A family owned boutique dairy farm, they produce premium goat cheese and gelato available for purchase on site. Book a tour for a larger group in advance or take a drive out and carefully weave your way down the path to the barns to view the goats and boutique cheese shop. A varied selection of goat cheese ranging as soft ripened, hard aged and simply fresh. A delicious assortment of gelato is available and well worth the drive.
As many times as we’ve been to the Okanagan we’ve never visited the Kangaroo Creek Farm. Excitement was mounting the morning we got going to explore the farm and meet up close for the first time, a real kangaroo.
This hobby farm is jumping with more than just kangaroos. There are emu, peacocks, fancy chickens, goats, parrots, a baby albino wallaby, wallaroos, wallabies, baby kangaroos and potbellied pigs. In addition you can see a capybara, the world’s largest rodent. Fees are small and help keep the farm operational.
They allow you to wander the grounds and touch the kangaroos however kids are to be kept under parent surveillance at all times as rules are enforced for the safety of the animals. We completely supported the rules to ensure kids are taught to respect animals at a young age and are kept safe.
Staff are very knowledgeable about kangaroos and wallabies and are on hand to answer any questions you have regarding various species, habitat, breeding, diet, housing and general physiology. Getting back to nature with animals is a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. And then go find a fabulous place for lunch!
Get your Frybread on at the Kekuli Cafe
We heard the story about Sharon Bond-Hogg and her First Nations Bannock Cafe long before we came to Kelowna. One of two Kekuli Cafes in British Columbia, they offer fresh food, home made items made using in house made bannock, wifi, and music inspired by their family and a super inviting atmosphere. The foodie in me couldn’t wait to try this place out. Oh by the way it’s also featured on You Gotta Eat Here Canada!!
Kekuli Cafe offers breakfast, lunch, desserts, gourmet bannock treats, coffee, teas and alcoholic beverages if you choose to partake. The gourmet bannock are liken to beaver tails and topped with deliciousness such as saskatoon berry, skor bar, apples and cinnamon, lemon and more. Of course we had to a have a couple to share as a pre-lunch appy.
Lunch for the big guy is typical – a burger, only this time a bannock burger. For me I had a bannock taco. The kids were happy with their gourmet bannock appys and sharing some of our lunch. They tried the saskatoon berry ice tea. My mom made saskatoon berry wine, jam, pies and more when I was a wee child. This berry holds a special memory for me.
A unique experience, one you must do when in Kelowna.
While the kids might not be as interested in the wine museum, which admittedly is mostly a wine store with wine artifacts at different points of interest inside, they will get a lot out of the formally named BC Orchard Museum. This side of the old historic Laurel Packinghouse has hands on exhibits for the kids and live bee hives! Here they can learn first hand about the history of growing and handling the tree fruits for which the Okanagan is known for.
While here you can view exhibitions featuring packing, processing, home preserving, picking, orchards and more. This museum tells the story of the Okanagan Valley’s transformation from wide open cattle range to beautifully manicured, symmetrical orchards. The interactive stations for the kids are both entertaining and informative and enjoyed our time there with the kids. Plus they kept offering the kids free cherries!
Any of the Beaches
One can not visit the Okanagan in all it’s glory without visiting one of the beaches. There are several to choose from and water sports at every turn.
We highly recommend spending some time at a beach in Kelowna.
We head West every 1-2 years and always make the most of our time in the Okanagan.
More Family Adventures
If you are looking for more ideas on what to do in Western Canada, here’s a few ideas: