Kelowna Attractions for a Summer Visit

Kelowna Attractions for a Summer Visit

Kelowna is famous for it’s hot summers. In fact the city has been nicknamed ‘Kelownafornia’ as it has earned a reputation for becoming ‘Canada’s California’. I have experienced many summer days with temperatures rising above 40 degrees Celsius. So many people I meet abroad ask me if Canada is always cold and being from Kelowna, that answer is always ‘no’.

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Fire Season in Kelowna BC
In summer, the Okanagan Valley often gets called ‘SmOkanagan’ due to the smoke from surrounding forest fires. Fires are usually at their worst in August.

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Please keep in mind that every summer parts of Kelowna’s forests go up in flames. The forest fires can be pretty bad and often cause a very smokey atmosphere particularly during August so keep that in mind while planning if you have asthma or other respiratory issues. Luckily there are plenty of ways to cool off.

Beaches

Paddle boarding in Kelowna
Arturo and I paddle boarding at Rotary Beach Park. Photo by a staff member at the beach.

There are so many incredible beaches to choose from in Kelowna. Gyro beach is probably the most popular. It has a huge playground for kids with two zip lines. One zip line stays on the shore while the other starts on shore but ends in Okanagan Lake. Another popular beach is the nearby Rotary Beach Park which is considerably less busy than Gyro. If you really want to beat the crowds, continue on Lakeshore Road until you reach Bertram Creek Park. There are also plenty of gorgeous beaches to choose from in West Kelowna. For people wanting to experience beaches a little outside of Kelowna, there are some nice beaches in Penticton and others at Kalamalka Lake near Vernon. Kalamalka Lake is my personal favorite as the water is often a bright turquoise-green color.

Ice Cream

My two favorite ice cream shops in Kelowna are very close to each other and are located downtown. One has been around for ages and is called Moolix and the other is newer and called Parlour Ice Cream. Both places have a couple of vegan options and at Parlour you can even order a pint of ice cream in a mason jar. If you bring the mason jar back another day I’m pretty sure you get a discount on refills too! Keep in mind that line ups during the heat of summer are always so long the trail outside the shop doors of both shops.

If you end up road tripping to nearby Penticton then definitely don’t miss out on Tickleberry’s either. They’re probably one of the most popular and largest ice cream shops in the Okanagan Valley.

Camping

What to do in Kelowna | Canoeing
Ready to canoe on McCulloch Lake. 

There are so many gorgeous campgrounds to choose from when visiting Kelowna. I personally love Bear Creek Campground because of its proximity to so many great hikes. However, there are tons of campgrounds to choose from. I’ve heard really good things about Postill Lake from my dad, although I personally haven’t been. Christina Lake is also wildly popular for Kelowna locals to escape to for a weekend of camping. I’ve been there and absolutely loved it but keep in mind this one is about 3 hours away from Kelowna. For more Kelowna camping information and campgrounds to choose from you can check out this list of the ten best campgrounds near Kelowna on TripAdvisor. Also keep in mind that if you’re camping in the hotter parts of the summer there may be a campfire ban put in place to help protect British Columbia’s forests.

Wineries

Meadow Vista Honey Wines
I love Meadow Vista Honey Wines so much that my parents brought this and a few other bottles for me all the way to Mexico last year!

One of my absolute favorite things to do in Kelowna is go winery hopping. There are hundreds of wineries in and around Kelowna to choose from and to be honest they’re all amazing. My favorite winery is Meadow Vista Honey Wines. I’m a little biased because I used to work there but it’s a smaller winery that actually makes wine from honey. It’s originally known as mead but Meadow Vista prides itself on having light meads that taste similar to wine.

Most mead traditionally is a bit heavier and tastes more similar to beer. Meadow Vista has a wide variety of meads mixed with various fruits to try plus you can buy honey and beeswax candles too! Their wines have also won tons of awards for their outstanding taste and uniqueness. They also have an incredible Bee Tour where visitors can see flowers, the garden where the food for the bistro is grown, and even the hives (at a safe distance of course).

My other favorite winery in Kelowna is the Vibrant Vine which is right on the way to Meadow Vista in South East Kelowna as well. The Vibrant Vine is unique because when you first walk in, you are told to grab a pair of 3D glasses sitting atop a wine barrel and pop them on. All the art on the bottles and throughout the entire shop is psychedelic and pops out at you! Plus, during your wine tasting you can also ask to taste their desert wine, which they serve in a chocolate shot glass that you get to eat. Their wines are so delicious and have won many awards as well.

What to do in Kelowna
Smelling the flowers at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery.

There are many other wineries in Kelowna that I absolutely love visiting. I’ll throw a little list of some of my other favorites here. Alternatively you can also check out the Kelowna Farm to Table Guide as there are many wineries in there that use only fresh Okanagan ingredients.

Golf

I’m not a huge golfer myself but if you are then Kelowna is the place for you. There are tons of beautiful golf courses to visit. My personal favorite is Gallagher’s Canyon. Again, I’m a little biased since I used to work there as a groundskeeper, but it’s easily one of the most beautiful places in Kelowna. The course is nestled deep into South East Kelowna, away from the busyness of downtown. It’s a gorgeous, green, quiet area with stunning views of Layer Cake Mountain and Scenic Canyon.

Other popular golf courses worth checking out are listed below.

Summer Events and Festivals

Summer in Kelowna
Enjoying the summer sunsets. Photo by my husband, Arturo.

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There is always something to do during the summer in Kelowna. One thing I absolutely love about Kelowna summers is being able to visit the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday and Saturday morning. Plus there’s so many festivals and celebrations in the summer.

I grew up going to the Fat Cat Children’s Festival every year and loved it. There’s also National Indigenous People’s Day which is a celebration of Indigenous culture and heritage put on by the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society. Summer visitors to Kelowna can also enjoy Canada Day celebrations on July 1st. There’s also a music festival called Centre of Gravity which is very popular and happens annually. Other fun events include the Across the Lake Swim, the Kelowna Dragon Boat Festival, Okanagan Feast of Fields and Pride Week. For more summer events happening in Kelowna check out this city calendar.

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Kelowna Attractions for a Summer Visit

Kelowna Attractions for a Summer Visit Kelowna Attractions for a Summer Visit



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