Why to Visit Kelowna in the Summer

Head to the beach, hit the hiking trails, visit an orchard and attend one of these 9 events this summer in Kelowna.
 

Tugboat Beach, photo by Michael Whatley/Getty

Sunny skies, lush orchards, U-pick farms, vineyards and restaurant patios paint Kelowna’s summer canvas. But its outdoor recreation scene cinches its appeal—take to the water, trails and beaches for maximum enjoyment.

Kelowna is located on the sparkling eastern shore of Okanagan Lake. With the water reaching 23°C by July, it’s the city’s aquatic playground. Activities include stand-up paddleboarding, pedal boating and canoeing, and many rental operators are located right on the beach. There are more than 30 beaches along Okanagan Lake’s shores for sunbathing, swimming, Frisbee or beach volleyball, including Tugboat Bay Beach, in downtown.

Festivals and events to attend: 

1. Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon, June 23

The Kelowna Wine Country Marathon takes runners on a scenic tour through the Okanagan Valley. The marathon ends in Waterfront Park in downtown Kelowna where music, wine, beer, cider and snacks will be in store for participants. This event is limited to 2,400 registrations to minimize this event’s impact on the natural environment.

2. Le Diner en Blanc, July 4

Dress in white and bring food and wine to enjoy with other guests at Le Diner en Blanc. The event started in Parin in 1988 and since then the elegant event has become a worldwide affair. This year is its 7th year in the Okanagan. The location is kept secret until the last minute for this pop-up event, but it will be in a well-known point of interest in Kelowna.

3. Downtown Kelowna Block Party, July 13

Every year, more than 18,000 people visit the Kelowna Block Party to partake in the local culture, art, food, shopping and entertainment. Bernard Avenue is closed to traffic with more than 150 vendors lining both sides. This event only happens once a year and it’s a must attend if you’re in Kelowna.

4. The Midsummer 8K, July 14

For three decades, this race has been a favourite of local runners. Its relatively flat route follows Okanagan Lake. There’s a Strong Kids Race, too, for kids under 12.

5. Rock the Lake Music Festival, August 9 to 11

At this year’s Rock the Lake, you’ll see performances from The Romantics, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, Trooper and Honeymoon Suite. If the weather gets too hot for you at this outdoor concert, grab some food from the vendors and relax in the shade or convene inside Prospera Place arena where you can access all of the facilities.

6. Mile High Wine & Music, August 10

If you’re a lover of wine and a nature enthusiast, this event is perfect for you. Join other guests at Silver Star Mountain Resort, B.C.’s third largest ski resort, for an outdoor concert and wine tasting. The setting is casual, so wear something comfortable.

7. Okanagan Feast of Fields, August 11

This food festival is at Caldwell Heritage Farm where participants meander through the farm’s fields, collection of vintage farm equipment and past the free-range chickens. There are 40 different food and beverage vendors to sample gourmet creations from B.C. artisans, farmers and chefs.

8. Kelowna Dragon Boat Festival, August 24

This all-day event is jam-packed with a variety of races, including the quintessential dragon boat race, a blindfold race that pays homage to the sight-impaired team and a breast cancer ceremony and race. Non-race events include a rib fest.

9. Earth to Table Vegan Market, September 15

Vegan food, cosmetic and personal care products all come together for this outdoor market that encourages a dialogue surrounding a plant-based lifestyle.