When snow starts falling and winter winds start howling, it can be tempting to hole your family up indoors and take a shot at hibernating until the spring thaw comes.

But as alluring as a crackling fire, cozy blankets and a warm drink in your hands might be, you’d be missing out on the perfect chance to get your family into the great outdoors and reveal all the fresh wonders that winter brings to Canada’s wilderness.

It’s precisely these kinds of opportunities that make Kelowna, BC, such a great travel destination for families of all interests. This mild-weathered city is the perfect entry point to winter in Canada and is easily accessed via the Kelowna International Airport, which offers direct flights across the country. Here are six must-try ways for your family to take in the breathtaking winter season in Kelowna.

1. Skiing at Big White Ski Resort

photoBig White Ski Resort, courtesy Tourism Kelowna

Any roundup of Kelowna’s outdoor activities—no matter the season—would be incomplete without a day trip to Big White Ski Resort. Just an hour’s drive away from Kelowna, it might be heralded as one of the highest peaks in the Okanagan; but this family resort is just as renowned for its all-ages activities. Whether you’re riding lifts straight to the summit, tubing at Big White Tube Park, taking a scenic sleigh ride or gliding across Canada’s highest skating rink, you’re sure to have a blast in the Okanagan's champagne powder.

2. Winter Hike at Dilworth Mountain

photoMatt Ferguson, courtesy Tourism Kelowna

If you’re feeling something more leisurely than the ski hill, embark on a snow-filled hike through Dilworth Mountain. The relatively easy terrain has paths as quick as a single kilometer and as long as three, meaning even your little ones will find a route that they enjoy. Just don’t spend too long with your eyes trained on the path beneath your feet; Dilworth has some of the most dazzling views of Kelowna. Don't miss the chance to look up and see those city lights for yourself.

3. Skating in Stuart Park

photoMatt Ferguson, courtesy Tourism Kelowna

Stuart Park may be known for its lush greenery, open event spaces and charming walking paths during the summer, but the winter season transforms the area into Kelowna’s best outdoor skating rink. The rink is adjacent to beautiful Okanagan Lake in downtown Kelowna and is free to anyone and everyone in search of ice time. Whether you’re an old pro reliving your glory days or a parent lacing up your kids’ first pairs of skates, this winter delight is well-worth gliding across. Hot tip: warm up afterwards with a walk through the nearby Kelowna Art Gallery.

4. Winter Wine Touring in the Okanagan

photoMegan Reading, courtesy Tourism Kelowna

If you happen to get some time away from the kids, why not learn first-hand why Kelowna is renowned for its wine? There’s no better way to get the lay of this grape-filled land than by taking a wine tour. Consider booking yours through Uncorked Okanagan Wine Tours, Wicked Wine Tours or Sip Happens Wine Tours, all of which have tours throughout the winter months. Some wineries even offer juice tastings to keep the little ones entertained while you sip.

5. Snowshoeing in Myra Canyon

photoMegan Reading, courtesy Tourism Kelowna

There’s nothing like snowshoeing when it comes to taking in the wonders of winter, and you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere better than Kelowna to try out the activity for yourself. Between Telemark Nordic Club (which also rents out gear), Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club and the guides at Big White Ski Resort, there are plenty of experts to help you find the right route for your family. And there are virtually limitless options for all levels of experience, so first-timers and masters alike can set their own pace on the trail.

6. Hot Drinks from Bliss Bakery and a Stroll

photoMatt Ferguson, courtesy Tourism Kelowna

Kelowna has plenty to do, even if your ideal winter adventure is more on the snug side of things. Stop at Bliss Bakery on Bernard Avenue for a pastry and a steamy cup of hot chocolate—the perfect drink to warm hands big and small as your family strolls downtown to admire the boutique shops and snowy scenery and chat with a few of the locals. And when the day is done, consider dropping off the kids and heading to Summerhill Pyramid Winery for a glass of organic Okanagan wine.

Anyone who enjoys the great outdoors is familiar with Kelowna as one of Canada’s best places for summer activities, but you’d be missing something special if you passed by during the winter months. They say there isn’t much that can improve upon the gorgeous Okanagan view encircling the city, but a fresh sheet of snow might just do the trick.


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