The Smart Traveler’s Guide To Kelowna

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For such a small city, Kelowna has a big reputation as one of Canada’s top vacation destinations, and it’s easy to see why. With sunny weather, championship golf courses, stunning vistas, excellent dining options and award-winning wineries, there’s something here for everyone.

Flying Into Kelowna, British Columbia

It goes without saying that the ultimate way to arrive in Kelowna is via private jet. The two closest big cities are Vancouver and Calgary, serving international and national tourists alike.

Kelowna International Airport (YLW) sits only 7 miles from Kelowna proper, making it very convenient for most travelers. With a runway length of 8900 feet, Kelowna’s airport is suitable for every type of plane you can Charter with  Genesis, from small props and jets to large airliners. 

Flying direct from Vancouver to Kelowna takes about 50 minutes in the air. Of course if you’re flying commercial, you need to consider that a 50-minute flight could easily eat up half (or more) of your day, between checking in early, dropping off your luggage and finally passing through security and customs (for international travelers). 

When you fly private with Genesis Aviation, your total travel time barely exceeds your time in the sky. Skip the security and check-in lines and board your plane straight away. And when you land? Simply grab your bag and debark directly. All of the hassles of public airports and air transportation just melt away.

If you’re coming from the east, and chartering a private flight from Calgary to Kelowna, your flight will only take about 59 minutes and includes some epic views as you pass over the mountains. And on a private plane, every seat is a window seat!

How To Get Around Kelowna

This small city packs a punch. There’s a lot to see and do within the city’s core, but you’ll likely want to get out and explore the Okanagan valley during your trip. Within a short drive from the downtown core, you’ll find a great selection of stunning vistas, award-winning wineries and championship golf courses. 

There are plenty of guided tours to help you get outdoors and take in Kelowna’s must see wineries. But if you prefer to have the flexibility of your own vehicle, you can easily rent a car at the airport once you arrive. And If you want to add a touch of luxury to your transport, a Range Rover or Porsche from Okanagan Rentals may be right up your alley. Okanagan Rentals also offers concierge car service if you prefer to be chauffeured to your favorite wineries in style. 

Shiny Audii sedan is parked on the tarmac right beside a Genesis Aviation charter plane.

If you’re flying with us, we can help arrange transportation for you on the ground before you take off.

When To Go To Kelowna

Kelowna is known for having one of Canada’s most temperate climates. While it can still be very hot during the summer months and fairly chilly in winter, the highs and lows are milder than the rest of the country.

Still, many of Kelowna’s visitors choose to explore during the warmer months, as people come to enjoy the lakes, go golfing and take in the wineries. Though it’s definitely worth visiting in Winter as well. Despite being an optimal spring and summer destination, Kelowna is also home to the Big White Ski resort, a popular skiing destination in BC.

Visit Kelowna for the gorgeous lake and mountain vistas

Best Things To Do In Kelowna, BC

Events and Festivals

You may want to time your trip around some of Kelowna’s great festivals. 

Spring sees the Spring Okanagan Wine Festival, Great Okanagan Beer Festival and BC Cider week. Not a lot of explanation necessary, as the names say it all.

Summer is another great time to visit, with the Golf BC Championship PGA Tour taking place in June (a destination on its own). Or sit down for the Diner en Blanc Okanagan. Once a year, At the last minute, the secret dining location is revealed. Hundreds of people, dressed all in white all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space.

If fall is more your speed, stop by for the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival or the Hopscotch Festival (wine, beer and spirits) and test your mettle at the Okanagan marathon.

Finally, in winter we have the Big White Winter Rally, a jam-packed weekend of motorsports, where top teams from across North America compete in the last round of the Canadian Rally and Cascadia International Rally Championships.

Wine and Food

WIth over 40 wineries within a 20-minute drive, you’re smack dab in the middle of world-renowned Okanagan wine country. Grab a map and navigate from one winery to the next.

Or better yet, sign up for a guided tour and let someone else do the driving. If you love getting the inside scoop and behind-the-scenes perspectives on the wineries you’re visiting, or perhaps meeting the winery owner / winemaker, then a guided tour may be right for you.

For a special treat, stop by Quail’s Gate Okanagan Winery to visit their beautiful vineyard and stay for lunch at the Old Vines Restaurant. The award-winning culinary team serves an incredible Featured Lunch, a 3-course wine-paired sommelier led lunch with a panoramic view of the vineyard below. You may even get to try some of the reserve wines not available in the tasting room! Stretch your legs after your delicious meals and stroll through the vineyard towards the water for incomparable views.

Guided Food Tours

Considering that the Okanagan Valley is well known for its fresh produce and all of the treats made with it, it’s no surprise that foodies flock here. Kelowna’s food tours are some of the best ways to pass an afternoon. The Okanagan Food Tour company offers several walking tours, including the Spirit of Downtown with tasty dishes at 5 selected restaurant seatings and a knowledgeable, friendly tour guide.

Golf

Averaging over 2,000 hours of sun every year, Kelowna offers one of the longest, driest golf seasons in Canada with more than 19 exceptional courses. Vineyards, orchards, semi-desert terrain, rolling hills, and expansive lakes make Kelowna a must-play destination that should be on every golfer’s list. 

Ranging from easy-going to ego-shattering, Kelowna offers golfing for every skill level. 

Kelowna BC has some of Canada's best golf courses

You can rent golf clubs, but better yet bring your own! When you fly with Genesis aviation there’s no 1-bag / 1 carry-on limit. Test yourself on some of Canada’s best courses with the clubs you already know.

Visit A City In Bloom

Much the same way visitors flock to Japan for the cherry blossoms, Kelowna has its own floral equivalent. Miles and miles of glorious, fragrant blossoms light the area each spring in a brilliant display of soft colors. Visitors and residents alike come from all over to catch a glimpse of this natural treasure.

Visit Kelowna BC in spring for the cherry blossoms

The season kicks off with cherry, apricot and peach blossoms (early April through early May), followed a little later by pears and plums (late April to mid-May), capping off with apple blossoms throughout the month of May.

If you’re too late to catch the trees in full bloom, reap their rewards with the sweetest, juiciest fruit you’ve ever tasted, starting with peaches, plums and cherries in July. You’ll be ruined for supermarket fruit forever.

Wine-themed Spa Treatments

Vinotherapy massage, anyone? There’s wine at the heart of everything you do in Kelowna, even your spa treatments. Beyond Wrapture Day Spa takes all the byproducts from local wineries and turns them into skin-softening lotions and scrubs. The antioxidants found in the grapes are supposed to promote enzyme activity in skin cells and reduce the damage caused by free radicals. 

The Spirit Ridge Vineyard resort nurtures your spirit while offering up bodily pleasures. Located on the traditional lands of the Syilx people, this resort offers spa treatments, pools, and easy access to Sonora Dunes Golf Course and is only steps away from the Nk’Mip (pronounced in-ka-meep) Cultural Centre.

Explore The Outdoors

Okanagan Lake offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun – such as fishing, boating or swimming and the nearby hiking is world-class.

Get A Bird’s Eye View of the Landscape

If you fancy a bit of adrenaline along with some incredible vistas, make your way to Oyama Adventure Park located just 20 minutes north of Kelowna. Here you’ll find all sorts of aerial attractions including ziplining! Whizz through the treetops along their huge zipline course with over 2 kilometers of line. 

If you think Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley are beautiful on land, imagine what it looks like from the sky! While you’re there, you can book a helicopter flight with us for a dazzling aerial tour of Kelowna, the lake and the surrounding wineries!

Ride the Kettle Valley Trail at Myra Canyon

Riding the Kettle Valley Trail around the Myra Canyon is one of the most popular activities in Kelowna. This route was once a local railway. Now, all of the tracks have been removed and what’s left is a very scenic trail that’s popular amongst hikers and cyclists.

The trail starts up in Myra Canyon Provincial Park, only a 40-minute drive from Kelowna. The entire ride is a 22km round trip, but don’t stress, it’s completely flat and easy to ride.

Along the way, you’ll cross lots of wooden bridges and even pass through some old tunnels. I personally loved the ride and despite not getting the greatest weather, had an amazing time.

Hydroflying and Parasailing

Channel your inner Iron Man and test out hydroflying on lake Okanagan. Hydroflying uses the power of water to send riders flying through the air, soaring heights and even diving through the water effortlessly. For beginners and pros alike, strap on your helmet and life vest and Hydrofly Kelowna will take you for a safe yet exhilarating ride. 

Or try parasailing to get a unique perspective of the water, flying hundreds of feet over Lake Okanagan and take in the gorgeous mountain and shoreline vistas.

Prefer urban life? Downtown Kelowna really comes to life in the spring and summer months with great restaurants, cool bars, museums, art galleries, unique shops and much more. Everyone, young or old, will find something they love here.

Where To Eat in Kelowna

For breakfast, you can’t beat The Jammery. A local favourite, the Jammery is an interesting mix of restaurant and jam tasting shop. Their jams are famous, and the breakfast even more so (rightfully!). The restaurant is located just outside of Kelowna, near the airport. Reservations are recommended.

For lunch, be sure to try Salt & Brick. Located just steps away from Kelowna’s famous landmark “the sails” in the heart of downtown, Salt & Brick has been featured on Food Network’s Big Food Bucket List. Their fresh sheet menu is filled with well thought out share & small plates that are changed out daily, combined with thoughtfully curated local wines. 

If you like to see your food being prepared, you can peek into the open kitchen from your seat in the cozy bar. Be sure to try the lobster Mac & Cheese.

Cap off the day with a Parisian treat at Bouchons Bistro. Kelowna’s only French restaurant is an elegant bistro within walking distance of the Delta Grand Hotel and numerous upscale art galleries. With locally sourced products and ingredients, Bouchons provides traditional French food in a casually elegant environment. And the best part of all is that it has a weekly prix fixe menu!

Where To Stay

There’s no shortage of incredible places to lay your head in Kelowna. From luxury glamping retreats to black box container homes–you can even rent out a picturesque red barn!

If you like your beach time to extend into evening hours, check out the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort. The resort has a spa and pools to keep you busy before and after exploring, and is only a short stroll from Kelowna city park.

When in Kelowna, stay at the Delta by Marriot on the marina.

Whether you choose a nostalgic, 70’s retro hotel like Hotel Zed or indulge in pure comfort at the Cove Lakeside Resort you’re sure to enjoy your stay.

Fly With Genesis Aviation. Because Getting There Is Half The Fun

When you charter a Genesis flight, you get to enjoy the trip almost as much as the destination.

Flying to Kelowna, British Collumbia by private jet from Toronto to Vancouver is the best way to make traveling efficient, easy, and fun–just as it was meant to be. 

Jump the airport crowd lineups and say goodbye to wasted hours (and hello to incredible customization and luxury) when you fly with Genesis. 

Ready to book your trip to Kelowna?
To book a trip or if you have any questions, contact us at 1 866 501 0522 or inquiry@genesisaviation.ca. You can also get a quote online

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