Our Stay In Kelowna Was A Great Base To Explore The Okanagan Valley
We started our road trip in BC (British Columbia) with a stay in Kelowna. It was a great base as we explored the Okanagan Valley. Our wonderful lakefront condo offered us views all day and night.
It was easy to head out for day trips up and down the valley for awesome views and delicious wine tasting. And everywhere we went, we found colourful and artistic street art.
A Luxurious Stay In Kelowna
We continued to build our Marriott Bonvoy points as we travelled. In the Okanagan Valley we had a few choices to stay around Kelowna. But we ultimately found the luxury we wanted at the Delta Hotels By Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort.
We booked a King room but got an amazing upgrade to one of the condo suites on the property. This was not a normal Titanium level upgrade. But we were lucky to visit before the season opened up. This gave us lots of room to spread out and a kitchen for some meals. There was a view out over Lake Okanagan and the perfect outdoor spot to work.
The Grand Okanagan Resort was right on the waterfront. When we went up to outdoor patio, we got a great look out over the lagoon at the resort. In the other direction we saw the outdoor pools. And behind that was the marina and the bridge over Lake Okanagan.
The resort fee gave us access to some water toys. There was a large plastic Ogopogo (or Oggy) peddle boat. Ogopogo was the water monster that was said to live in Lake Okanagan. We saw many versions of Ogopogo around Kelowna on our visit.
We took a regular paddle boat out in the lagoon and enjoyed the sunshine one day.
When we stayed in Kelowna, the Grand Okanagan Resort was a great luxury base.
Bike Around Kelowna
Bikes were available as part of the hotel’s Resort Fee. Bike paths ran all over Kelowna. So we made sure to take advantage of the bikes and wandered a little further on our stay in Kelowna. We started our ride along the Lake Okanagan waterfront and marinas.
We stopped at the Visitors Centre and got some suggestions on things to do in town. And for day trips in the local area.
A short ride into the small town centre provided us with some new options for dining in town on a stay in Kelowna.
Street Art In Kelowna
When we checked out things to do in Kelowna, we found a brochure that showed all the outdoor street art around the city. As we wandered around the city, we found so many of the great outdoor art statue pieces and murals. The pieces were such eclectic and interesting displays.
When David got up early one morning, he went in search of the perfect reflections. And boy did he find them. The Rhapsody statue was the perfect centre piece!
Many of the statues were lit at night. Several times we thought about going out to see the bear statue at night. But our long days wine tasting in the Okanagan Valley, generally left us without the energy to head back out to explore. One night David surprised me when he slipped out and came back with some fun bear pictures.
When you stay in Kelowna, make sure to wander the town. We found great outdoor street art displays.
We Found Beer In Kelowna
The Great Okanagan Beer Festival was an annual event held. Tents were set up on the strip of land on the other side of our hotel. We saw it when we paddled by the hotel. And when we rode in that direction.
We expected to find great wine when we explored the Okanagan Valley. But we were surprised to find such a beer culture in town. There was even a BC Ale Trail with an app to help you find the great spots for beer.
One night we enjoyed sampling beer flights at the Tree Brewing pub next to our hotel. There were an interesting variety of beers on tap to sample. David made sure to get a few of the dark beers he liked. And even let me add in some fruity samples.
A stay in Kelowna gave us a surprise when we discovered the local beer.
We Ventured Into Lake Country
The area north of Kelowna to Vernon is called Lake Country. Many people head into Lake Country for wine tasting in the Okanagan Valley. We certainly spent a day as we explored the wineries of Lake Country. But we also loved the amazing views.
As we travelled around the Okanagan Valley, we tried to avoid Highway 97 as much as possible and chose the smaller roads. When we went north, we followed the lake road on the east side of Wood Lake. Below us we got a great view.
The road crossed between the Wood and Kalamalka Lakes. At the junction we found the small settlement of Oyama. We stopped for fresh fruit at Gatzke’s Farm Market. But were still a few weeks early. So we spent some time talking to the owner Murray of Pedago Electric Bike Oyama rentals.
Murray rented the same Pedago Boomerang eBike that I rode at home. He suggested great rides along the old rail trails around both Lake Wood and Lake Kalamalka. We really meant to go back and do the bike ride. But we ran out of time.
From there we went up along the west side of Lake Kalamalka. Kalamalka is native for “lake of many colours”. We stopped at the Coldstream Viewpoint and looked up and down the lake.
We had a great base on Lake Okanagan. But it was lovely to head into Lake Country to see the smaller lakes.
Street Art In Vernon
When we headed north into Lake Country, we stopped in Vernon. The local Vernon map showed a number of buildings in the downtown area with street art on them. As we wound our way around the streets of Vernon, every corner had yet another mural discovery for us.
We really had not expected to find more street art when we visited Vernon. But Vernon was a delightful spot to spend a few hours as a day trip when you stay in Kelowna.
Explore Lake Country For The Views
After we enjoyed the art in Vernon, we headed out towards Lake Okanagan. New subdivisions climbed up the hills. And great waterfront houses were all along the lake. We stopped at the Outboard Waterfront Pub for lunch with a view out over the lake. Boat moorings offered water approaches.
The road along the lake gave us a scenic drive. At points the road was down at water level. And at other points we were high above the lake and got panoramic views out.
The road finally dead ended and we had to backtrack up over the hills. Even though my offline map app showed roads, it became clear that many of the smaller ones were fire roads not open for general passage. We passed the massive Predator Ridge Golf course the first time we travelled in Lake Country.
It was a great day as we drove along the small roads in Lake Country for the views. It was definitely something we recommendeded for a stay in Kelowna.
Experience The Sparkle In Lake Country
We saw so many great views on our first day trip around Lake Country. But we missed one that was on our list. On our second day trip to Lake Country, our path was a little more direct and we headed off to find Sparkling Hills. It was easy to find once we realized it was located high above the Predator Ridge Golf Course.
The road wound its way through the resort to the high point on Mount Royce that overlooked Lake Okanagan. A day trip was worth it for the views alone.
The Sparking Hills Resort was owned by the Austrian crystal creator, Gernot Langes-Swarovski. The resort was known for the Swarovski crystal displays that were scattered around the property and the resort. The resort sign was our first find, sparkling in the sun. Sign posts where studded with Swarovski crystal.
A massive chandelier hung over the foyer. The design of this centre piece was meant to match the mountains surrounding this area. It looked different from every angle. As we wandered around the resort, we found many other pieces that sparkled.
We enjoyed our lunch with a view out over the Okanagan Valley. People in robes wandered everywhere. The resort was known as a wellness retreat. And we made sure to take a brochure when we left.
We were so glad we headed high over Lake Country to Sparkling Hills on a stay in Kelowna. A real treat on a visit to the Okanagan Valley.
Wine Tasting In The Okanagan Valley
On our first day trip around Lake Country, we ran out of time to do wine tastings. There were just so many great views that distracted us. But we made sure to plan other trips out into the wine country regions of the Okanagan Valley.
We started with the Summerhill Pyramid Winery. The art piece of the wine glass being filled was an iconic Kelowna sight with Lake Okanagan off in the distance. We tasted our way through the tasting menu and more.
From there we headed up to Lake Country. We had several wineries on our list to try. Stops at both the 50th Parallel Estate Winery and Gray Monk Estate Winery furthered our introduction to the wines from the Okanagan Valley.
But we were not done wine tasting in the Kelowna area. On our drive south to Osoyoos, we stopped at a few more wineries. The Volcanic Hills Estate Winery provided a great variety of wines to sample. And the beautiful grounds at Quails’ Gate Winery drew us in. The available sweet wines were exactly to David’s taste. Especially when served in a chocolate cup!
Our final stop for lunch was at the Dirty Laundry Vineyard. This was one of those tourist spots that we did not want to miss. This former brothel offered some funky design, good food and a great wine selection too.
Wine tasting in the Okanagan Valley was definitely something we wanted to do on a stay in Kelowna.
Explore The Okanagan Valley With A Stay in Kelowna
We were so happy we planned a stay in Kelowna to use as our base as we explored the Okanagan Valley. The Grand Okanagan Resort was a wonderful base. We wandered around the city of Kelowna. And then did day trips out into Lake Country.
We headed south to see the desert lands of Osoyoos next. We were excited to see yet another region in the eastern region on our road trip around BC.
Did you stay in Kelowna when you visited the Okanagan Valley? Did you get to explore the area?
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