What To Do In Kelowna In 36 Hours

So you’re visiting Kelowna for 36 hours, which feels like a short amount of time, but really it could be a Friday afternoon to Sunday noon trip. My friend from university, Shelby, came to visit us for the first time since we moved and she wanted to see the best of what Kelowna has to offer. We pulled out all the stops. Wine tastings, golf, hiking, brunch, and the beach. Yes, you’ll see we went down to Summerland which technically isn’t Kelowna, but we like a lot of wineries in that area, and wanted to be able to visit some other friends who were vacationing down that way at the same time. Here’s everything we were able to fit in through the weekend. Enjoy!

Friday Afternoon – Wineries and Golf

I was expecting my friend to show up a little closer to noon, so that we could possibly have lunch before heading out for wine tastings. And also have time to get in a round of golf afterward. She was wrapping up her work trip “nearby” just north of Vernon, but there was so much traffic so it took her a bit longer than expected to get into Kelowna. Though, it really really didn’t matter what time we started because you can only really hit up so many wineries before they all start to taste the same… if you know what I mean.

We headed out to Summerland because we like a lot of wineries out there, and since it was the long weekend we thought we would try and avoid the crowds locally in Kelowna. We drove down and started our tasting up at Thornhaven. The last time we went, we loved everything they had to offer. This time we found everything to be much sweeter than we remembered. It was good, but today it was not to our taste. We had a great time in the tasting room though, as we lucked out between crowds and had the whole place to ourselves.

Tasting room at Thornhaven

In addition to Thornhaven winery, we also went to Lunessence, Silkscarf, and Sumac Ridge before we headed back. Lunessence has great red wines and beautiful views of the vineyard and the lake. One of our friends really likes Silkscarf so we went back, but again we really didn’t care for it so I think we’ll stop trying. Shelby really likes wines from Sumac Ridge so we brought her there to wrap up the winery tastings. Sumac Ridge had a great range of wine to try, and we really like the Stellars Jay bubbly from there. After trying not to buy too many wines, we had a decent haul for ourselves to bring home.

Summerland is a quick jaunt away from Kelowna, so it didn’t take very long to get back. We put on our golf gear before we went wine tasting, so we were able to drive straight to the golf course. We decided to take Shelby to 2 Eagles in West Kelowna. She said she hadn’t played in a while, and we thought the front 9 offers beautiful views, isn’t terribly challenging, super walkable and gives you a good opportunity to socialize.

Golf gang
Beautiful views over the course
My favourite teebox with views of Mission Hills and the lake
Justin got a birdie
9 holes just before the sunset

Since we were playing a twilight round and it was getting late, we decided to just eat at the course. The weather was super nice and we sat out on the patio.

Saturday – Hikes, Brunch, Charcuterie and Dinner

Sunday started off with a hike at Knox Mountain. If you’ve never hiked anywhere in Kelowna, Knox is a great place for it to be your first. We parked in the lower lot, and took the trail up to the top. We hiked Apex to Camelot to Ogopogo to Paul’s Tomb.

Knox Mountain
Top of Apex
Gorgeous views facing north of the lake
Hiking selfie

It took us a little over 90 minutes to do the hike, and then headed out for brunch at Central.

Pina colada made with shaved ice
Insanely good brunch
Brunch face

The food is pretty consistent at Central. We ended up crashing their luau party, so they had an even more fun selection of food. But we all ended up deciding to order off the regular menu. Brunch was really filling, so we decided that the beach was in order to relax and enjoy the afternoon.

Hanging at Gyro Beach

There are tons of beaches in Kelowna, but Gyro is a nice place to go if it’s your first time. There’s plenty of parking, and the beach is quite large with a mix of sand, and grassy areas at the back. There are nice restrooms and change rooms nearby, as well as a simple food kiosk. There’s also a ton of shops and restaurants nearby, so it’s really quite a good setup.

Since we had been out all day, we headed home for our own little happy hour and dinner. Our friends turned us onto truffle salami, so we put some of that out with home made hummus and garden grown cherry heirloom tomatoes. We love snacking at our house, so we think we put together a pretty mean charcuterie. We will soon have to get ourselves a graze board since those seem to be all the rage, but I like keeping all the snacks separate so they don’t get soggy and mixed up.

Home made hummus, home grown cherry tomatoes and assorted snacks

Justin made lightly grilled albacore tuna, Shishito peppers, yams, yellow zucchini and grilled romaine for dinner.

Grilled albacore tuna

After dinner, we ended up hanging outside on the patio some more with a couple bottles of wine. It was the perfect temperature, not too hot and not too cold. There was a slight breeze and didn’t seem like there were too many mosquitos out. We fired up the outdoor fireplace, and turned on the string lights. It was a perfect way to cap off Shelby’s visit.

Sunday – Chilling and Mountain Biking

Shelby wanted to hit the road early since she was heading back to Vancouver, so she left in the morning. Justin and I ended up going mountain biking to wrap up our weekend.

Chasing my mountain goat up a trail
Justin’s getting super strong at climbing
Beautiful views of Mt Boucherie (left) and the lake
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