Having grown up in the Okanangan, part of BC’s sunny central interior, I can honestly say that it is one of my very favourite places in the world. The gorgeous mountains, picturesque lakes, sandy beaches, and sunny summer days make for a wonderful place to visit. Here’s some of what the Okanagan has to offer, particularly for families with children…
10 Things to Do with Kids in Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada
1. Visit Davison Orchards – Without a doubt, our very favourite family-friendly destination in the Okanagan is Davison Orchards. It's been a favourite of mine since I was a girl, and with each year, it gets better and better. On top of being able to pick your own produce (or buy it pre-picked in the market), the orchard includes a small kid's playground with horse-shaped tire swings, a large grassy knoll perfect for picnicking, hourly tractor tours, a cafÃ© serving delicious homemade food, and a petting zoo that includes chickens, goats, bunnies, sheep, and a donkey. Even more enticing than all of that though, is the Crazy Cow Kid's Corral, a huge play enclosure that includes a ride-on tractor track, rubber duck races, giant slides, a tree house, corn bins to play in, a mini golf course, and a huge sandbox, complete with vintage truck and tractor. When you visit, be prepared to stay for the better part of the day “ the kids will love it that much.
2. Visit Rawhide Ridge Ranch – For a truly unique and uncommercialized experience, Rawhide Ridge Ranch is the place to go. It’s run by passionate ranchers who give truly engaging tours and let you in on the farm fun along the way. Come prepared to see all sorts of wild animals – buffalo, turkeys, and zebras included!
3. Float down the Penticton River Channel – Perhaps better suited to families with slightly older children, floating down the Penticton River Chanel is an absolute blast. Load up on sunscreen, pack your safety gear and inflatables, and enjoy a leisurely ride down the river. Tube rentals and bus service is available for those who want it.
4. Visit the Enchanted Forest – Situated in a gorgeous old growth forest in the Monashee mountains between Revelstoke and Sicamous, the forest is a world of fantasy brought to life. As visitors make their way through the picturesque forest, they can see, touch and step into the homes of fairytale heroes, villains folktale characters. The forest is also home to BC's tallest and grandest treehouse and a giant stump house, both of which will delight visitors.
5. Visit Kangaroo Creek Farm – If you’ve ever wanted to spend a day amogst kangaroos, this is the place for you! Located in Winfield, this by donation farm allows visitors to roam freely with the kangaroos, touching them and interacting with them along the way. Guests can also take turns holding joeys and visiting with the farm’s many other animals.
6. Spend a day in Polson Park – Home to a floral clock, beautiful gardens, duck ponds, a lawn bowling club, a space and science centre, plus a skate park, water park, and children's playground, Polson Park is not to be missed! Located in the heart of Vernon, it has something for everyone and is the perfect place to update that old family photo.
7. Visit Kelowna H20 – If the weather’s not cooperating or if you just need a break for the sun, Kelowna H20 is a great place to visit. The facility is in a beautiful part of the city and includes giant waterslides, a surf simulator, a spray park, a river ride, and a wave pool, so pack your bags and be prepared to stay a full morning or afternoon.
8. Visit a provincial park – The Okanagan is home to some of the most gorgeous provincial parks in the province. Two of our favourites are Ellison and Kalamalka Lake, both located in Vernon, but almost all of the parks in the area will be home to wonderful biking, hiking, swimming, and camping adventures.
9. Spend a day at Atlantis Waterslides – With kiddie slides, a popular river riot ride, large hot tub, and slides of all sizes, there's fun for all ages at Atlantis Waterslides. Pack a picnic, set yourself up under the shade of an umbrella, and enjoy the day.
10. Go to the beach! – Relax and play at one of the 30 beaches in Okanagan.
Perhaps what the Okanagan is best known for… it’s beaches! And rightfully so. With gorgeous sandy beaches scattered all throughout the area, it would be a shame to visit and not spend at least one day building sand castles and basking in the sun.