Beautiful Bertram Beach in Kelowna. Photo: erwlas via Flickr
If you've never been to the Okanagan Valley, or Kelowna specifically, you don't know that this is a summer loving city.
The primary reason for this, is our close proximity to a myriad of water bodies dotting the landscape not to mention our straddling of one grand spread of crystalline beauty.
Let's dive in.
5. There's a lot of them.
Here are 14 notable lakes within 100 kilometers of Kelowna.
Most can be fished for some really big food and trophies, some even from the shore; most of the lakes can be boated upon, some can be lived upon (and people do).
The Okanagan is rife with beautiful open water and can get to many of them on a series of new highways being built all over the valley. Home owners on Kirschner Mountain always have the opportunity to get away from it all without going anywhere.
Whether you want to throttle the waves power boating, water skiing, wake boarding, jet skiing, whatever, or just want to relax and float along under blue skies, the Okanagan lakes are incredible and there's a massive variety of them.
With so many lakes close by, residents of the Valley have beaches available all over the place. From sprawling stretches of sand and parkland, to niche hideaways nestled against brushlands. You can comfortably sun tan with your kids playing on a nearby massive playground structures; or you and a couple of friends can disappear into your own private sanctum against the open waves. Bring the boat, or maybe some inflatables to float upon.
4. Civilization is as far away as you want it.
From north to south, you can travel the various bodies of water and settle in at any site you like.
Whether it's the forested backsides of the foothills or downtown at Kelowna City Park, you have exactly what you want available at nearly all times. Sun shine, hot weather and a warm lake to float upon.
British Columbia knows where summer time lives, and if it's a popular beach, you can be sure that there are convenience stores, restaraunts, pubs and bars and probably docks nearby. We love our summers here.
If you want to hike to your destination, you can believe there are even more options. If you're not afraid of parking the car or truck and carrying the load a few metres, the rewards become even better.
You can disappear into the back woods and find those pristine points of nature that few, if anybody frequents, and you can camp there. Stay a week and potentially never see anyone.
Note: Wildlife is a thing in BC, so be prepared.
3. They're Clean.
We take our beach fronts seriously. Whether it's Strathcona beach across from the Kelowna General Hospital, or a hideaway nestled between bushes, Okanagan folks take care to maintain their home.
We clean up our cans and bottles, bag our wrappers and plastic cutleries, and lug our garbage out to a nearby can. What's more is there's almost always a nearby can.
Like any garden, beach goers have a few weeds, but we do our best to maintain an environment that we can always return to and enjoy unabated.
After all, nobody likes sitting in someone elses garbage, so we all try to do our part.
2. Staycations are a thing.
Let's look at this logically. You've traveled to the destinations in the world that you wanted to visit. You're settling down. You have a career, maybe kids and spouse, you have responsibilities, things to do, down time is coming up, where do you go for a vacation?
Well where is everyone else going?
They're going to your home town, because it's an incredible vacation spot.
Take the week off work, go hit the beach. Buy a boat, take it on the water. Take the kids, take the dog (if you have a dog).
Don't like boating? Don't like noise? Drive for twenty minutes and take any side road towards the lake. Park and walk, you're now at a campsite by the lake.
Want some low key civilization with your vacation? No problem, you can hit one of the official campsites, or RV parks that dot the landscape. Go fishing, and in some cases you can do it from the doorway to your camper or tent.
In the Okanagan Valley, you can very much get away from it all, and enjoy a proper vacation, without having to really go anywhere.
1. Kelowna is close to all of them.
Once summer hits, it is a bubbling mess of people and events in all directions, every day. Vacationers from out of town and in town, all heading around town and to other towns.
The Kelowna days are a miasma of people, water craft, big trucks, trailers and a myriad of destinations.
Within an hour you can be at any of a hundred beaches, near or far from civilization. Within two hours, Kelowna becomes a distant memory and it's mother nature for as far as you can see.
In truth, if you're not particular, you can reach a refreshing city beach in Winfield, downtown or on the west side of the lake, within twenty minutes in moderate traffic, from anywhere in Kelowna.
Kelowna is a wonderful place fortunate enough to be within one of Canada's exceptional vacation spots, and it just happens to be a nice place to live.