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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > Thompson Okanagan > Kelowna

Kelowna is located 68 km (42 miles) north of Penticton and 46 km (29 miles) south of Vernon on Hwy 97 in the Okanagan Valley.

Okanagan Valley's Largest City
Situated at approximately the halfway point on Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is the Okanagan Valley's largest city with a population of over 100,000 people. With a vibrant downtown and a location on the shores of beautiful Okanagan Lake, Kelowna offers a relaxed lifestyle with all of the various amenities and services that a large city can provide.

City Park
The main part of the city runs along a very historic park along the shores of Okanagan Lake. The scene of many attractions and events throughout the history of Kelowna, City Park still serves the residents and travelers faithfully. You can view City Park as you drive through the city starting at the floating bridge located on the west side of Kelowna on Hwy 97.

'Hot Sands Beach'
At the park you will find a fabulous white sandy beach locally known as 'Hot Sands Beach.' The swimming, sun tanning and people watching during the summer are outstanding.

Lots of Beaches
Kelowna has other parks on Okanagan Lake close to the downtown core. Waterfront Park is located just walking distance north of Kelowna City Park. A little farther north from Waterfront Park are Sutherland Park and Knox Mountain Park. Then, on the south side of the Okanagan Lake floating bridge, there are Strathcona Beach, Kinsmen Park and Beach, Boyce Gyro Park and Beach and Rotary Park Beach.

Knox Mountain
If you enjoy hiking, Knox Mountain has a great hike to an excellent panoramic viewpoint of Okanagan Lake and the west side. Take Ellis Street and travel north, all the way to the end of the road. Here you will find access to one trail up Knox Mountain. Once you're at the top, watch for the hawks soaring as they catch the thermal winds of the mountainside.

Kelowna has the best selection of shopping stores in the Okanagan Valley. Most of the stores and services are located on Harvey St. (Hwy 97) as you drive through Kelowna. Here you will find various shopping malls, hotels and fast food outlets including a few Starbucks.

Big Box Stores
For big box stores, Kelowna is home to Costco, Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart. If you're looking for entertainment, there is the Capri Hotel - a long-time fixture on the Kelowna scene.

Grand Okanagan Resort
Kelowna has lots of other things for you to see and do when you're visiting. The large landmark located just north of City Park on the shores of Lake Okanagan is the Grand Okanagan Resort. Here you will find a fabulous hotel, marina services and, if you enjoy gaming, a Lake City

Historical Attractions
For historical attractions check out Benvoulin Church and Guisachan House - two pioneer settlements founded in the late 1800's that were the start of present-day Kelowna.

Trans Canada Trail-Kettle Valley Railway
Kelowna is also home to the Myra Canyon Trestles that were part of the historic Kettle Valley Railway. These trestles were lost during British Columbia's wildfire season of 2003. Now part of the Trans-Canada Trail, the Myra Canyon Trestles are slowly being restored and this part of the trail is to be reopened in the summer of 2007.

Local Advice
If you are going to visit City Park in the summertime, arrive early to ensure yourself a parking spot. It does get quite busy. Also, if you're driving through Kelowna on Hwy 97, make sure you avoid all rush-hour times.

The traffic can get quite heavy at the floating bridge, especially in the summer. Also Hwy 97 through the city has quite a few lights on it and the traffic tends to snarl. A nice alternative in going to Vernon is to drive on the west side of Okanagan Lake through Fintry.

Knox Mountain Hill Climb
For motor sport fans, one event that you will really enjoy is the annual Knox Mountain Hill Climb. This car race happens every year during the long weekend in May.



Map of Kelowna
click map for larger image


Kelowna Sail
"The Sails" along City Park


William R. Bennett Bridge
William R. Bennett Bridge

Knox Mountain
Trail up Knox Mountain


Lake City Casino
Lake City Casino


View north to Okanagan Centre
Knox Mtn. View

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