Our Kelowna Trip
We decided to fly to not only to save some travel time, but also because our kids are total nightmares in the car as we learned years ago on a trip to Banff and on routine 4 minute drives to the grocery store. We flew there on Air Miles and rented a car with Budget. It was totally the way to go for our family, and all things considered I would do it again.
We decided to rent through AirBNB instead of a hotel because we are used to having space as a family. Our kids are young, and while they do get along relatively well, they still have their moments and space can make or break some days.
Another reason we chose a house is that my husband (Luc) and I don’t do many dates or kid free trips together. It was his idea to get a house with a backyard for the kids but also a nice view for us to enjoy when they were in bed. Our AirBNB cost a little more than a hotel would have, but for us it was the right decision. It definitely made the vacation more enjoyable for Luc and I. Not to mention, our hosts were awesome and really made us feel at home.
Our vacations are generally very kid focused, and when we are somewhere new we really want to make the most of it in case we never go back. Every day was pretty packed with food and activities, so here is a day by day break down of what we did:
Just down the hill from the winery is Sun City Cherries. We didn’t get any cherries but we did stop for ice cream there. It was a pretty hot day so it was a nice treat. After that I think the busyness and tiredness had caught up to our kids so we said goodbye to our neighbours and went home for some downtime.
We landed early Sunday afternoon.We picked up our rental car at the airport and that was pretty smooth. The car had navigation, which saved us a ton of time, stress and phone data.
We stayed in the neighbourhood of Upper Mission. If you want postcard picture perfect views, this is the place to stay. It was a really quaint area. Removed from downtown but close to Rotary Beach Park and Gyro Park Beach if you’re driving. Close to lots of fruit orchards and a winery if you’re walking or biking.
We decided to stay low key and just get pizza for the night. We went to a small place in Lower Mission called Mr. Mozzarella expecting to dine in (as they advertise) but they only had one small bistro table so we ordered and took it home. They have other locations so maybe you can dine in at those, but it’s definitely not an option for a family at this one. The pizza and garlic fingers were awesome. We ordered chicken strips for our two youngest kids who aren’t huge pizza people, but even they preferred the pizza.
The kids were excited about their “new bedrooms” and happy to go to bed, but they had a difficult time falling asleep in a new place. This is one area in which I think it would have been better for them to have a hotel. Sleeping right next to us would be more comfortable for them, but less enjoyable for Luc and I.
It was Canada Day, but to be honest we didn’t do any Canada Day activities. We started the morning with a walk to explore our new area and a stop at the playground. Our neighbours from home happened to be out in Kelowna for the long weekend as well, so we met up with them at Summerhill Winery for lunch. This was a real highlight of the trip because it was a good mix of family time but also adult time. The food there was really good. Very fresh and all organic. It was also a really kid friendly place, even though it was beautiful with a nice view. We were able to walk around the vineyards, and they had two small putting greens for the kids in the front as well as a see-saw for them to play on. They also offered a great kids menu. We did a quick wine tasting at the outdoor gazebo, purchased some wine (probably extra because of the kids har har) and went on our way.
Once everyone had rested up a bit we decided to go for a drive to check out more of the city. There didn’t seem to be much happening so we just grabbed a quick dinner and went home. Luc and I had a really good bottle of wine from Summerhill with a simple charcuterie board from the grocery store and enjoyed watching the fireworks over Lake Okanagan from the comfort of our backyard.
We woke up to rain so it was a pretty slow morning. Eventually the rain stopped so we decided to go to Kangaroo Creek Farm. We lucked out by getting parking there, but had it been an busier that would have been a serious challenge. Make sure you leave extra time to find parking if you’re going, and don't forget to bring cash as that's all they accept for admission. We all enjoyed it but it’s not a place I think any of us would make a priority of getting back to if we were to return to Kelowna.
Once we had explored it all we decided to take them to one of their favourite restaurants (Earls) for lunch. I was a little hesitant to take them there because the Edmonton Earls have a very not-kid-friendly vibe to them. What a difference from the Kelowna location! We sat on the rooftop patio with a beautiful view of the lake, they had a highchair for my daughter AND they brought out magna-doodles for the kids. They even had a kids menu! Like whhhaaaat?!? My mind was blown. The kids were so happy and it completely turned our day around. We watched the parasailing happening in the lake, and my boys were all in on doing it with me later on in the trip.
It started raining again so we decided to hit up the H2O centre for some evening fun. My kids were in love with this place. It was small enough to be manageable for parents, but big enough to feel exciting and fun for the kids. For any Edmonton locals who have been to Millennium Place in Sherwood Park, it had a similar feel to it but it also has three large watersides for bigger kids. We stayed there for a long time in hopes of wearing the kids out so they would easily fall asleep that night, and that ended up working pretty well.
During the week we had a lot of overcast weather, and a bit of rain. This day was the quintessential summer day in the Okanagan so we took the opportunity to go parasailing in the morning. We went through Ogopogo Parasailing and they were really great -- I would definitely recommend them. For my oldest child and myself it was the highlight of the trip. For my middle child, he loved being out on the boat but I think he could have passed on the parasailing haha. He liked it but felt a little nervous and scared about the experience even though it was very safe. I think we would all do it again, but as soon as it was over my oldest was asking if we could do it again that night! It was the most expensive experience we had while there, but it was worth it.
After that little adventure we went to Sunny’s Diner for brunch. The kids got the RJB World Famous Pancakes, I had chicken & waffles and Luc had a BLTrio sandwich with fries. We all loved his fries, and his sandwich was delicious. The service was great and they had colouring books for the kids which was an unexpected but pleasant surprise. I would definitely eat there again but I would actually go for lunch instead of breakfast next time. Which is weird for me, because I’m a breakfast lover. But McDonalds pancakes are right up my alley, so my taste is seriously lacking.
We went home for our daily midday break and decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather by going to Scandia for a round of mini golf. We had planned on doing the go karts, but our kids were getting a little bratty and entitled so they lost that privilege. We did however hit up the arcade, and it started off strong with our oldest randomly hitting the jackpot on one of the games and getting hundreds of tickets. They all had a ton of fun and their older brother spoiled them all with swag from the toy counter after his huge win. The kids really loved it there and would definitely want to return if we ever went back to Kelowna.
We finished the day off by having ice cream at MOO-LIX and it was soooo delicious. They make all their ice cream in house. I had the hazelnut in a waffle cone and it was one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had. This day was probably the best day of the entire vacation.
It was another rainy morning, so we started off slow once again. Luc had found this restaurant called montREAL so we checked that out for lunch. It was really good, homemade food. We ordered the clubhouse and a burger for the kids and I to share. They all chose to have waffle cut fries as the side. Luc got the smoked meat sandwich because those are a passion of his. You can’t go to a Quebec inspired restaurant and not order poutine, so of course we had that too. All of the food was great and it was a fast casual place that is kid friendly but also would be a great place to grab a hang over lunch if you’re going on an adult trip.
The rain was pretty significant , so we just headed home for a quiet afternoon and decided to go bowling before dinner. My daughter fell asleep on the way there, so we decided that Luc and the boys would bowl while I just stayed in the car with her so she could sleep. I think her and I both needed a bit of a break, because my kids were not awesome during this trip haha. So I can’t attest to how the bowling was, but they went to a place called Freddy’s which I believe used to be adult only but has recently changed over to being family friendly.
This day was actually my middle son’s 7th birthday! He has always loved being outside, and he really likes all things transportation related. So we decided we would go out to hike the Myra Canyon Trestles because it's the old Kettle Valley Railway that has been converted into hiking trails. It was a super popular biking spot because the paths are very smooth and flat. If your family likes biking it would be a fun place to do that. You can rent bikes at the start of the trail if you don't want to bring your own. The terrain also makes it extremely stroller friendly and kid friendly. We loved it while we were doing it but soon it started pouring and we had to turn back. My son elected for McDonald’s for birthday lunch so of course that’s where we went. The rain didn’t let up so we ended up seeing Secret Life of Pets 2 and grabbing Mr. Mozzarella again for dinner followed by a small chocolate birthday cake from Save On. Ahhh the simplicity of being a 7 year old.
This was our last day and we thought it was going to be poor weather all day long. Thankfully that didn’t happen! We decided to hit up the Earls rooftop patio again because the kids really loved being up there and you’re not going to get a view like that in YEG! Then we went to City Park and just chilled for a bit while the kids played at the playground and in the park.
The day turned out to be so beautiful that we decided to go home and grab our swimsuits and come back to City Park. But not before another quick stop for ice cream… Because if you’re going on a week long vacation it seems completely necessary to get an entire summers worth of ice cream. However, I am SO GLAD we stopped because this time we tried Parlour Ice Cream and hot damn was it delicious! There were so many appealing flavours but I chose salted caramel because I’m basic AF and I have no regrets. The waffle cone was what dreams are made of, and all the other flavours I got to try were equally as amazing (the perks of birthing three children). Between us in addition to salted caramel we had cotton candy, mango, blueberry and strawberry cheesecake. All of them were awesome and I will be dreaming about their ice cream for the rest of summer.
We made our return to the beach and the kids played in the water nonstop. We were right beside The Wibit but decided to skip it. The boys both wanted to go on it, but our daughter is too young and both of them are not very good swimmers so it just felt like more stress than it was worth for $28/person and three of them needing to go. Especially when we had spoiled them rotten with activities all week and they didn’t seem to notice. However if you’ve got a family with older kids or strong swimmers, it would be a fun activity and I’m sure it would take a lot of energy out of any kid. Plus if you’ve got a family with some older kids and some younger kids, it’s a great place to go because there is a spray park and a playground right there so younger kids don’t feel like they are missing out. I believe there are lifeguards on The Wibit, but sitting there watching it for an hour or more, I could not spot one person on it that I thought resembled a lifeguard. This also factored into our decision to pass on it.
When we finished at the beach we took a walk around downtown and ended up at Antica Pizza. Yup, we are a big pizza family. I love pizza. I especially love neopolitan pizza. Honestly I thought this place was just ok. The menu is really simple and that’s great, but it could have used more variety. The pop comes in those vintage bottles, which is cute but also really impractical because I like spicy and sometimes I’m just really into refills of delightful fountain pop. The kids ate and seemed to enjoy theirs as well, but they had to share one big pizza instead of getting a few smaller less floppy slices. Personally I think I would opt for Famoso in the future, but the location of this place was really good so I could see going back there for that reason too.
We had an early flight in the morning so we just walked a few more blocks then headed home for the night to get everything packed up and ready for the AM.
Overall the trip was awesome. Highlights were the Ogopogo Parasailing and the day at Scandia Arcade. Food highlights were probably most notably the experience and service at Earls and Sunny’s Diner, and the food at montREAL and of course the ice cream from MOO-Lix & Parlour. AirBNB was 100% the way to go for our family.
Would we go back to Kelowna? Maybe, but not likely. If we were to do another BC trip we might hit up the island, Vancouver or somewhere else. Are we glad we went? Absolutely! I would totally recommend it to any family regardless of what ages the kids are. Flying worked out perfectly for us, but it’s really not that far a drive from Edmonton either!
The boys and I are heading out to Nova Scotia in a couple of weeks for our annual visit to see my family. If you’d like a blog post on that, let me know below! If anyone has read this far, wow!!! You da real MVP haha.