Some of Canada’s best resort-style golf courses lie in and around Kelowna. These courses, combined with a mild climate and relatively well-priced greens fees, make the Okanagan one of the country’s finest golfing destinations. All the courses listed below offer club rentals, power carts (generally around $40), and on-course dining facilities. You also find the rates listed below are discounted in spring and fall.
The Harvest Golf Club (2725 K.L.O. Rd., 250/862-3103 or 800/257-8577, greens fee $115), sitting on terraced land southeast of downtown, offers golfers views back across the city and lake. Adjacent to Harvest is Orchard Greens (2777 K.L.O. Rd., 250/763-2447, $22), a fun little nine-hole layout that winds its way through a working apple orchard.
Continue east from the Harvest Golf Club and you’ll eventually reach Gallagher’s Canyon Golf & Country Club (4320 Gallagher’s Drive West, 250/861-4240, greens fee $135), one of Canada’s finest golf courses. Not particularly long, this immaculately manicured course snakes through a canyon and opens up to fairways lined with mature pine trees. It is a par-72 course that plays to 6,800 yards.
North of town and opposite the airport is Okanagan Golf Club (3200 Via Centrale, 250/765-5955), a residential and resort complex featuring 36 of the valley’s finest holes. Designed by Jack Nicklaus’s company is The Bear while The Quail features multitiered fairways and large elevations. Greens fees at both are $115, with a discounted twilight rate of $75 for each course.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Big White Ski Resort (250/765-3101 or 800/663-2772, www.bigwhite.com), 57 kilometers (35 miles) east of Kelowna on Highway 33, is one of the Okanagan’s three major winter resorts and British Columbia’s second largest. Its network of modern lifts, including a gondola and four high-speed quads, opens up over 850 hectares (2,100 acres) of terrain. Lift tickets are adult $72, senior $62, child $38. Adjacent to the main lift-served area is Happy Valley Adventure Centre, a tube park with its own lift.
On-mountain facilities in the 9,000-bed base village include rental shops, a ski and snowboard school, accommodations, restaurants and cafés, and a large mall.
Beaver Lake Mountain Resort
High in the hills northeast of Kelowna, Beaver Lake Mountain Resort (250/762-2225, www.beaverlakeresort.com, May–Oct.) is very different from the beachy resort complexes down on the valley floor. Set in a forest, on the edge of a lake famed for rainbow trout fishing, the resort comprises a restaurant, a horseback riding operation (with afternoon pony rides for kids), spa services, and a fishing shop.
Boat rentals are well priced at $75 per 24 hours, including gas. Canoes, kayaks, and belly boats are $40 for three hours. Cabins range from tiny “camping cabins” that share bathrooms ($50 s or d) to peeled-log chalets with full kitchens ($160). Cabin number 9 is typical — it’s rustic, but enjoys an absolute lakefront setting, a private floating dock, big deck, full kitchen, log fireplace, one bedroom, and a loft — and costs about the same as a room at the Best Western downtown.
Make cabin reservations well in advance — locals know a bargain when they see one and book their favorite up to a year in advance. Camping is $25 (no hookups). To get there, head north to Winfield, then 16 kilometers (10 miles) east on Beaver Lake Road.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition