Trip and Wellness

13 Top Tourist Attractions in Kelowna & the Okanagan

13 Top Tourist Attractions in Kelowna & the Okanagan

The Okanagan Valley, situated in southern British Columbia, has long been a favored vacation spot for numerous Canadian families, owing to its breathtaking scenery. Lakes and encircling mountains provide an ideal backdrop for outdoor activities, which are the primary draw of the area. From boating and swimming to sandy beaches, hiking, biking, downhill skiing, and excellent dining options, there’s no shortage of things to enjoy in this region of the BC interior.

Renowned for its relatively mild climate, the Okanagan Valley stands as one of the warmest places in Canada during winter, with dry, hot, and sunny summers that foster a flourishing orchard industry. During the harvest season, roadside stands offer fresh produce from the fruit trees that dot the valley floor and its terraced slopes.

Nestled along the eastern shore of Okanagan Lake, Kelowna boasts stunning lakeside scenery. Over time, the city has evolved into a sought-after resort destination, boasting beaches and more than 2,000 hours of sunshine annually. In winter, the region beckons skiers to experience some of Canada’s premier resorts.

Many visitors choose Kelowna as their base from which to explore nearby towns like Peachland, Summerland, and Penticton, as well as the neighboring resorts of Silver Star and Big White. For inspiration on how to make the most of your time, consult our guide to the top tourist attractions in Kelowna and the Okanagan.

1. Okanagan Lake

Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake

The primary lake in a series of ancient fjord lakes, Okanagan Lake, also known as Lake Okanagan, spans the shores of most major Okanagan communities, encompassing Vernon to the north, Kelowna centrally, and Penticton to the south.

This lake serves as the primary recreational hub for both locals and visitors, providing opportunities for sailing, house boating, power boating, parasailing, swimming, and relaxing on sandy beaches, along with numerous scenic drives along its shores.

With a length exceeding 135 kilometers and depths plunging to 232 meters at its lowest point, exploring the lake offers a perfect way to fully immerse in its stunning surroundings. Tour boats traverse its crystal-clear waters, offering various cruise options such as afternoon excursions and dinner/sunset trips accompanied by musical entertainment.

2. SS Sicamous Okanagan Heritage Museum

SS Sicamous Okanagan Heritage Museum
SS Sicamous Okanagan Heritage Museum

Positioned on the waterfront of Penticton, the SS Sicamous has been meticulously restored to its original splendor from 1914 and serves as an interactive museum where visitors can explore its interiors. A visit to this attraction offers a journey back in time to the opulent era of steamboat travel.

Key features inside the ship include the elegant mahogany Grand Staircase, the intricate engine room with its vibrant network of piping and imposing boilers, and the lavishly decorated Gentleman’s Saloon adorned with plush red carpeting.

Don’t miss the opportunity to view the scale model of the Kettle Valley Railroad, situated below deck in the engine room. Additionally, within the park, visitors can explore other historic vessels such as the 1914 SS Naramata Tugboat and the 1907 steamship, the SS Okanagan sternwheeler.

3. City Park

City Park
City Park

Kelowna’s City Park spans 32 leafy acres along the waterfront, offering an ideal setting for enjoyable family outings during the summer. With expansive sandy beaches, swim platforms offshore, playgrounds, and a water park, there’s plenty to keep children entertained.

Those who prefer walking or jogging can take advantage of the wide paved trail that meanders along the waterfront, providing stunning vistas of the lake. Adjacent to the water, spacious green areas are perfect for picnics or spontaneous games like tag or Frisbee.

4. Big White Ski Resort

Big White Ski Resort
Big White Ski Resort

Located only 60 kilometers east of Kelowna in the Monashee Mountains, Big White (2,319 meters) stands as one of Canada’s most breathtaking ski resorts. Renowned for its abundant snowfall, the mountain receives an average of approximately 7.5 meters of snow each winter.

Perched at an elevation of 1,511 meters, the family-friendly Big White Ski Resort offers a variety of ski runs, winter activities, lodging options, and dining establishments. The resort has earned the moniker “Big White Out” due to the fog and clouds that occasionally envelop the mountain, posing occasional challenges.

Big White is just one of three ski resorts conveniently accessible from Kelowna. Silver Star Mountain Resort lies a short drive north near Vernon, while Apex Mountain Resort is situated to the south near Penticton. Families can easily plan a memorable ski vacation by visiting all three resorts, using Kelowna as their central hub.

5. Knox Mountain Park

Knox Mountain Park
Knox Mountain Park

For the most stunning view of Kelowna, make your way to the summit of Knox Mountain Park. The vista from the elevated pergola, standing 300 meters above Lake Okanagan, is truly breathtaking. The park features fifteen trails suitable for walking, hiking, or biking, traversing diverse flora that includes scrub brush and majestic Douglas Fir trees.

If you would rather enjoy the scenery with minimal effort, simply drive along Knox Mountain Drive to reach the summit. However, please be aware that the road is closed to vehicles on Sundays until noon.

6. Summerland

Summerland, BC

Summerland, situated on terraces overlooking Okanagan Lake, is a picturesque community nestled amidst orchards of fruit trees. Orchards have been the town’s primary industry since the 1890s, offering visitors the chance to sample fresh produce from roadside vendors during the summer months or visit Summerland Sweets for tasting sessions.

For a breathtaking view of Okanagan Lake, make your way to Giant’s Head Park atop Giant’s Head Mountain. A road winds through the park, offering lookout points along the route, or you can opt for a hike to reach the summit.

Additionally, Summerland is home to the Kettle Valley Railroad Steam Train, where visitors can embark on a nostalgic journey aboard a restored locomotive dating back to 1912, enjoying a 90-minute ride through scenic landscapes.

7. Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park
Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park, spanning 18 acres in Kelowna, may appear small from the street, but upon entering, you will discover vast grounds and ample space to explore. The park is easily recognizable by the impressive water feature featuring entwined white dolphins known as Rhapsody, situated across from the Convention Center.

Within the park, you will find delightful gardens, mature trees, and various pieces of public art. For children, a sandy beach and a concession stand offer quick bites.

A boardwalk runs along the waterfront, connecting to City Park. Taking a stroll along this boardwalk and detouring to explore the shops downtown is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.

8. Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park
Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

Skaha Bluffs Park, one of the most sought-after provincial parks in the area, is a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Rock climbers, in particular, flock to the park for its extensive array of over 1,000 routes scaling the sheer cliff faces.

Beyond rock climbing, the park offers a diverse range of hiking and mountain biking trails meandering through its scenic terrain. Wildlife enthusiasts will also appreciate Skaha Bluffs for its opportunities to spot various animals. With luck, visitors may catch a glimpse of the resident bighorn sheep peacefully grazing on the hillside.

9. Silver Star Mountain Resort

Silver Star Mountain Resort
Silver Star Mountain Resort

Located near Vernon, Silver Star Mountain Resort stands out as one of British Columbia’s top family-friendly destinations. With a vertical drop of 760 meters and convenient ski-in, and ski-out access to various accommodations, visiting here is hassle-free. There’s no need to commute from your lodging to the slopes or fuss over gearing up; simply park your car and walk directly to the lifts with your ski equipment. Should you need a break, you can enjoy a meal on-site or retreat to your room or condo for a homemade lunch.

Despite its family-oriented reputation and abundance of easy green runs, Silver Star offers exhilarating steep options that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping. The resort village, exclusively for pedestrians, features charming Victorian-style architecture reminiscent of a postcard scene. Here, you will find a variety of restaurants, a grocery store, and numerous retail outlets catering to all your needs.

During the summer months, a gondola provides access to 22 kilometers of hiking trails, while a high-speed chairlift grants access to the bike park. Additionally, a recently introduced summer tubing ride near the gondola’s peak offers another exciting activity for visitors to enjoy.

10. Kasugai Gardens

Kasugai Gardens
Kasugai Gardens

While exploring downtown Kelowna and seeking a reprieve from the busy atmosphere, do not miss the opportunity to unwind at Kasugai Gardens. Nestled in the heart of the city, this verdant sanctuary offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle.

Adorned with stunning flowers, elegant trees, charming lanterns, and serene ponds inhabited by leisurely koi fish, the garden provides an ideal setting for reflection and relaxation. Situated behind City Hall on the eastern side, this free attraction is easily accessible to visitors. Keep in mind that the park closes for the winter season, typically from late October or early November.

11. Kangaroo Creek Farm

Kangaroo Creek Farm
Kangaroo Creek Farm

A delightful family outing near Kelowna in the Okanagan region is a visit to Kangaroo Creek Farm. True to its name, the farm is home to an adorable array of kangaroos, wallabies, and sugar gliders that are sure to capture your heart.

The animals at the farm are fond of children and eagerly welcome pets and treats. Alongside the hopping critters, visitors can also encounter capybaras, potbellied pigs, goats, llamas, parrots, and emus. Adding to the charm are the peacocks flaunting their vibrant colors while roaming freely.

Kangaroo Creek Farm operates exclusively during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Please note that the last admission is at 2:45 pm.

12. Mission Creek Regional Park

Mission Creek Regional Park
Mission Creek Regional Park

Mission Creek is a fantastic family destination in Kelowna, offering an ideal opportunity to engage in some physical activity. The park features play structures, a gentle stream, and ample green areas for picnics or outdoor games.

Well-defined and flat walking trails wind through the trees and alongside the meandering stream, making them suitable for biking or strolling with a stroller. Mission Creek Regional Park is a segment of the Mission Creek Greenway, a 16.5-kilometer trail tracing the creek’s path into the nearby mountains. Depending on the season, visitors may even have the chance to witness fish spawning in the creek.

13. Vaseux Lake Provincial Park

Vaseux Lake Provincial Park
Vaseux Lake Provincial Park

Located just south of Penticton, Vaseux Lake stretches for four kilometers and is encompassed by a small campground and provincial park. This lake serves as a bird sanctuary, attracting nesting Canada geese and offering a stopover for rare Trumpeter Swans during their migration. The park features strategically positioned viewing platforms that enhance opportunities for observing the resident wildlife.

Vaseux Lake itself boasts a diverse aquatic population, including bass, carp, and rainbow trout, making it a favored spot for fishing enthusiasts. Additionally, the park is home to various other wildlife species such as beavers, deer, muskrats, rabbits, and more. Bighorn sheep and mountain goats are frequently spotted amidst the rocky terrain.

The campground offers 12 first-come, first-served sites, some of which are conveniently situated near the lake. Comfort stations consist of pit toilets, and potable water is accessible from a central tap.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Kelowna: Best Areas & Hotels


Q: How can I get around Kelowna and the Okanagan?
A: Kelowna and the Okanagan are easily accessible by car, with well-maintained highways and scenic drives. Public transportation options include buses and shuttles, while taxis and ride-sharing services are also available.

Q: What is the best time to visit Kelowna?
A: The summer months (June to August) offer warm weather and ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Spring and fall are ideal for wine tasting and exploring the region’s natural beauty, while winter attracts snow enthusiasts to the ski resorts.

Q: Are there any family-friendly activities in the area?
A: Yes, Kelowna and the Okanagan offer plenty of family-friendly activities, including beach outings, hiking trails, amusement parks, and interactive museums.

Q: Can I visit these attractions year-round?
A: Many attractions in Kelowna and the Okanagan are open year-round, although some outdoor activities may be seasonal. It’s best to check individual websites or contact attractions directly for the most up-to-date information.

Q: Are there any hidden gems in Kelowna and the Okanagan?
A: Absolutely! From charming boutique wineries and scenic viewpoints to quaint cafes and artisanal markets, countless hidden gems are waiting to be discovered in Kelowna and the Okanagan.