Kelowna is the most popular tourist destination in British Columbia’s Okanagan region. Located on the shores of Lake Okanagan, the city offers a number of amenities to keep visitors entertained. Activities range from boating, houseboat cruises, world class golfing and of course plenty of shopping. While these activities will keep you entertained, they can also get fairly expensive.
The following are 10 free activities and events you can enjoy while staying in Kelowna that will give your pocketbook a rest.
Knox Mountain/Paul’s Tomb
Knox Mountain Park is located at the North end of the downtown area and offers hiking trails, picnic areas and two of the best lookouts over the city of Kelowna. Paul’s Tomb Trail is accessed via Poplar Point Drive and offers an easy hiking trail which ends at a secluded beach. Maps of this and other trails are available from the City of Kelowna tourism office.
Offering a variety of free performances throughout the summer, Parks Alive is a community program that provides music and entertainment that the whole family can enjoy. Participate in weekly concerts, music festivals, arts & crafts shows and youth activities all at the scenic lakefront park downtown.
Fat Cat Children’s Festival
Now in its 18th year, the Fat Cat Children’s Festival is a community event hosted completely by volunteers. Bring your children to enjoy two days of stage and street performances, games, hands-on activities and even a parade. Each year the festival promotes a different theme with unique activities, costumes and entertainment, attracting more than 15,000 patrons!
Life & Arts Festival
This family orientated festival showcases local talent and the growing cultural district of Kelowna, British Columbia. Enjoy stage and street performances in music, live theatre as well as culinary and performing arts. With three stage venues as well as an artisan market and “IlluminArts Lantern Celebration”, this festival offers a little something for everyone.
Kasugai Japanese Garden
Located within a walled enclosure behind City Hall, Kelowna’s Kasugai Japanese Garden is almost completely hidden from the streets. Built to represent the sister-city relationship with Kasugai, this botanical sanctuary offers a relaxing retreat from the busy downtown core of Kelowna during the summer months. The garden itself features a walking path around the perimeter, footbridge, koi fish pond, waterfall and many scenic sitting areas.
Mission Creek Path
Mission Creek Park offers 12 km of moderate to difficult trails, including Mission Creek Path which is a popular trail for walking, cycling and jogging. The path begins at the intersection of Dilworth and Springfield and continues all the way to Lakeshore Road. Dogs are allowed in this park. Enjoy an active stay in Kelowna.
Located on the shores of Lake Okanagan, Kelowna offers some of the best beaches in the Okanagan. Young adults will enjoy the busy atmosphere of Gyro Beach, while families with small children may prefer the quieter Rotary Park Beach. If you are looking for lots of amenities, City Park features one of the largest sand beaches in town as well as a playground, picnic area, basketball and tennis court, children’s water park and a skateboarding park. Waterfront Park offers a semi-secluded beach and bird sanctuary for visitors that are looking for a quiet place to relax and enjoy the sunshine and nature.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery Tour
Kelowna has no shortage of high quality wineries to visit and Summerhill Pyramid Winery is known both for its delicious organically grown Okanagan wine and signature on-site pyramid. Unlike many of the other wineries in the area, Summerhill offers free guided tours several times a day followed by a complimentary tasting.
Father Pandosy Mission
This heritage site is where the missionary Father Charles Pandosy ministered for the Okanagan’s original settlers. Founded in 1860, this site marks an important period in Okanagan history. Today you can explore the four acre property, which contains several of the original buildings that have been restored and filled with antiques unique to the area.
Bear Creek Park
Located in West Kelowna, Bear Creek Provincial Park offers more than 5 km of well marked hiking trails, including Bear Creek Canyon Trail. This popular trail makes a loop of the canyon and includes a footbridge over the creek, a sturdy staircase on the side of the mountain and several viewpoints offering spectacular Okanagan vistas – don’t forget to bring your camera and binoculars. The park is also home to a 400m sandy beach, playground and summer concession.