This past week my husband, and I were visiting my family in Armstrong, BC. For his birthday we decided to head “into town” and spend some time in Kelowna, BC, about an hour away. Honestly, I think it turned out to be the absolute perfect day and I’m excited to share about our time in Kelowna with you. We also found a secret look out point that not many people know about and I’ll be sharing that location and some pictures with you too!
Where to Go in British Columbia
First we drove south on Highway 97 through the mountains for nearly an hour. From Armstrong, through Vernon to Kelowna we had the spectacular view of Kalamalka Lake (which means the “lake of many colours”) nearly the whole way through the Okanagan Valley.
As we rounded each bend in the road the view continued to take our breath away. The emerald green and light blue lake stretched out before us for miles, surrounded by large mountain peaks on either side. The mountains had a light dusting of snow on them which glistened like a million diamonds in the mid-day sun. In the summer, the lake boasts a vibrant swirl of colours, earning it’s name and making this spot a beautiful place to swim and hike.
Time in Kelowna: Lunch Spot
We went for lunch at a place called “Smack Dab” as recommended by my sister (p.s. check out the video she and I did together on decluttering books). Their menu had a great variety and was moderately priced (not too expensive but ain’t cheap either). I eat gluten free due to an allergy and it can be super tricky to eat out. However, this restaurant was very accommodating. Their menu had several options for me. They offered gluten free meals as well as modifications on their regular menu to make them gluten free. The best part was that they had gluten free pizza! (Happy Dance!) Can you believe it? It was a thin crust and loaded with all kinds of delicious toppings. I got their greek style pizza with kalamata olives, feta cheese, and cherry tomatoes. Instead of tomato sauce they used their home made spinach and artichoke dip. Can we all just agree how Delicious this looks? (pics below). And it tasted amazing too. I will admit that the crust was a bit crumbly, BUT it didn’t taste like cardboard. Anyone who eats gluten free knows that when you get a gf pizza that doesn’t make you think of the box your amazon order came in, you’re winning! (Can I get an amen?!) Also, the server that took care of us was lovely and willing to check with the kitchen about my allergies etc… This is a great place to spend time in Kelowna.
The restaurant is located on the edge of a lake and has floor to ceiling windows with a spectacular view of both the lake and the mountains. They also had a gorgeous (and very large) patio that I’m sure would be super busy in the summer. If I lived here I’m sure it would become a regular hang out spot.
Marcel and I went out for a little walk on the boardwalk afterward that overlooks the lake and we took a few photos. I also managed to find a PINK wall at the back of the restaurant, so obviously I had to take some pics there. 🙂 Apparently when you spend time in Kelowna you are guaranteed gorgeous shots, even if it’s an overcast day!
Gaining a New View Point: Hiking a Mountain (or Driving Up a Mountain….)
We then went and toured around the mountainsides, pulling over whenever we could to take pictures of the landscape. Oh my goodness the mountains are STUNNING. I’ve been absolutely smitten and am truly in love with them! It’s amazing how beautiful it is in the winter; imagine how beautiful it will be in every other season. In the spring with all the new life, and the summer with all the lakes and in the fall with all the colours! Yep. I need to come back! Time in Kelowna is magical!
We first went to Knox mountain. In the summer you can drive up to a look out spot and continue to hike from there if you’d like a higher vantage point. In the winter the road is closed so hiking is the only option. Sadly, I’m still too sick with adrenal fatigue to hike a mountain. So we just drove around the neighbourhood for a while and found some spectacular views. I would love to live on the side of a mountain over looking a lake, wouldn’t you? #dreamlife
The Secret Look Out Point In Kelowna:
Ok even some locals don’t know about this spot, and you guys, it’s AMAZING! Our friends told us about a look out point called Kuiper’s Peak.You can nearly drive to the top with only an additional ten minute hike afterward. Since we had some more time in Kelowna to spend, we went to check it out. It was definitely, 100% worth it! It’s amazing how being on top of a mountain can simultaneously make you feel both small and powerful. I stood at this dizzying height, looking down on the city and each house’s lights began to twinkle in the twilight. It looked so pretty and I found myself reflecting on my life. (As one does when staring into the face of Mother Nature, right?) How often do our problems feel so big and ugly in the moment? I know mine don’t look super beautiful when they’re up close and personal. Isn’t it interesting though how with a bit of time, distance and perspective those problems can sometimes begin to shine a bit of beauty? It’s like the lights come on in the past and I can begin to realize how so many hard times wove together to bring me to where I stand now. Deep, right? 🙂 A little time spent in Kelowna on a mountainside has turned me into a philosopher 😉
Friends are the Best
After touring the mountainsides we went to our friend’s house for dinner. There is nothing like having wonderful friends that you can pick up with where you last left off. We had deep and meaningful conversation and great laughs together. It reminded me that friendships are one of the most valuable things we could ever spend our time and energy on. Interestingly, almost all of the people I have deeply connected and “clicked” with live in different countries from me (or at least, different cities). Partly because over the years we have moved and partly because I’ve travelled a lot in the past and made friends while I visited different countries.
Would you move cities if you didn’t have friends where you were? Would you move to where you do connect with people? Even if it meant having to start a new job? I would love to hear what you think!
A Great End to a Great Time in Kelowna: Kelowna Inn & Suites
After dinner we made our way to the Kelowna Inn & Suites. We wanted something affordable without sacrificing some of the luxuries we prefer. Although this Inn has 4 stars online I would give it a 5 star review. It’s not super fancy but it is very clean, offers free breakfast and has a hot tub and pool. The room was spacious, included a desk and a seating area for 2. It had all of the amenities that come in handy for travelling (hygeine products, a tall mini fridge, coffee maker & ironing board.) It had excellent water pressure in the shower and was immaculately clean (this matters to me a lot). They also honoured my “no feathers” request (I’m allergic) and the bed was an excellent firmness with great pillows. My husband and I were really happy.
We got to the Inn around 9:30pm. After checking in, we went straight for the pool and hot tub which was open until 11pm. They’re located in a separate building from the rest of the inn but on the same parking lot (reminds me of how a resort is set up). So we parked our car just outside the pool building, grabbed our swimmers from our suitcases in the trunk, and off we went! The pool only had two bathrooms but they were a good enough size that you could change in them easily. We enjoyed a nice long soak in the hot tub then we cooled off in the pool. After our swim we enjoyed a great sleep, and the next morning had a nice breakfast. Options included: hard boiled eggs, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, fresh pancakes, fruit, bagels, coffee and tea etc… and I was easily able to compile enough food to have a delicious gluten free breakfast. (yay!)
A Great Place to Stay Near the Kelowna Airport:
If you need a hotel that is both near downtown and the Kelowna Airport for a great price, I recommend the Kelowna Inn and Suites. It’s under 15 minutes away from the airport even with morning traffic. (Note: this is not sponsored, just my opinion).
All in all, it was a fantastic trip and I’m so so glad that we went. I’m hoping to go back in the summer so we can swim in those gorgeous lakes!
Have you ever spent time in Kelowna or another part of BC? Let me know in the comments below where are some great places to go in the summer. If you liked this post, don’t forget to subscribe below so you don’t miss another one!
Thanks for joining me and I hope you have an awesome day!
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