Living in Vancouver, BC our entire lives, we have always been aware of the beauty that lives in our backyard. However, somehow, we usually always opt to get out of the Province. Lately we have been wondering why we haven’t taken the time to explore more of it. So, this summer we promised ourselves we would make an effort to appreciate the beauty our home Province of British Columbia has to offer.
This was what we consider to be our first real trip to the Okanagan. It has been years since we had been. Darcy had been as a kid and Darcy and I did a weekend trip for work some ten years ago, but both trips we barely remember and didn’t give us the opportunity to explore as much as we wanted to. Darcy’s time was spent playing soccer the whole time and when we went together, it was a short trip to review a concert and back.
After having such a good time on this trip, we have made it a goal to also make an effort to visit every beautiful Province in Canada. We cannot wait to see more of what Canada has to offer.
About The Okanagan
The Okanagan (also called the Okanagan Valley and the Okanagan Country) is located within British Columbia and is defined by the basin of Okanagan Lake and the Canadian part of the Okanagan River. The Okanagan is best known for its sunny, dry climate and lakeshore communities that foster a relaxing atmosphere. The main area of the Okanagan is Kelowna, where we spent much of our time in the Okanagan.
The Beautiful Drive
Stunning vistas and landscapes greet you at every corner as you drive from Vancouver to the Okanagan. As you find yourself driving along Okanagan Lake, your jaw is sure to drop as you feel like you’re driving beside a painting; it is that beautiful! The natural landscape of the Okanagan boasts mountains, valleys and desert.
Myra Canyon Trestles
We absolutely love being outdoors and were happy when we found this unique hike. These 18 trestles and two tunnels take you through the most scenic part of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR). They were origionally built at the turn of the last century and had to be rebuilt as close to the same as before when the Okanagan Mountain Fire demolished 12 of the trestle bridges. It is a popular bike trail, being 12km long from end to end; 24 km if you are considering a round trip! We only had a couple hours to spare, but had a great time with the girls in a double stroller and made it past the first few trestles before we had to turn around. It was a relaxing hike, rich in history.
We loved that Kelowna and the surrounding areas were great for family travel as we wanted to bring our girls with us. The only problem we thought we might encounter was trying to work in wine tasting with the kids in tow. We happily found that a handful of the wineries welcomed children and were more than happy to select wineries from those amazing options. We were even more ecstatic when we barely heard a sound from either of the girls – at all the wineries. It was wonderful! Our trick was to only visit one winery each day. We even stopped by St. Hubertus, a Gebert winery (Debbie’s maiden name), to sample some Gebert wine, even though we don’t think there is a close relation.
We never thought that British Columbia would be the place of our first encounter with Kangaroos. The Kangaroo Creek Farm in Kelowna was a ton of fun and we were able to get up close to Kangaroos and even cuddle some young Joey’s. Madison was absolutely fascinated by all the animals she was surrounded with at the farm: Fancy Chickens, Goats, Kangaroos, Birds… It was quite a stimulating place for kids!
We loved our ‘beach time’ as we splashed around in the water and made footprints in the sand. The view from City Park was beautiful and though it was a little windy, it was a nice walk and a great time to relax. The waterfront area was really busy and seemed to be a super popular place to hang out, which was no surprise. There were plenty of facilities for families and a lot of places to sit, relax and watch the world go by.
Darcy is the biggest Canucks fan anyone around here knows. He fell in love with Hockey when he was a young kid and that love of hockey has only blossomed more and more as he ages. As soon as he realized that the Canucks would be hosting their annual Pentiction Young Stars tournament that weekend, tickets were bought. We had great seats sitting second row near centre ice, just a few sections over from the corner. Madison has been to a few hockey games and loves it when she gets up close and can see the players crash against the boards. She happily cheers when the game gets exciting and her happy cheering was even featured at the end of the broadcast as the announcers were signing off.
Steam Train Ride
When we saw there was another option to ride a steam train with the kids, we knew we had to hop aboard the The Kettle Valley Steam Railway as we passed through Summerland. The tour took us on a 90-minute living-history steam locomotive ride along the only preserved section of the original Kettle Valley Railway, that was built through the Kettle and Okanagan Valley between 1910 and 1915. The scenery of the ride was beautiful as we passed by stunning valley landscapes, lush orchards and vineyards. We also loved seeing one of the nicest original trestles left on the old KVR trail.
The Okanagan is a great place for a family trip, a romantic getaway, or a trip with the girls. There are so many things to keep you entertained that we could have spent a few more days there without running out of things to do. We had such a fun trip that it gave us a huge desire to keep exploring British Columbia when we can. Keep checking back as we continue to post more in-depth stories from our Kelowna and Okanagan adventures.
Have you ever visited the Okanagan? Have you ever visited any of the above ‘attractions’?