Tips for seeing Kelowna and the Okanagan

1) Rent a car.

There are lakes, resorts and towns; wineries, national parks and historic sites abound. There’s literally something worthwhile to visit every 20 minutes, so you’ll want to stay mobile and cover some ground. The highway 97 north from Kelowna is double lane to Vernon and then single lane (with passing lanes) to the Trans-Canada and Revelstoke. I found it beautiful driving in the sunshine. Though I’m sure it would be more challenging in the winter and poor weather.

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One lane bridge over the Columbia River
Waterfall outside just outside the town of Revelstoke, BC
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Rock monument at Centennial Park in Revelstoke

2) Stay flexible.

Don’t over-plan or over schedule yourself. There is something around every corner that you’ll want to stop and see. For example. We had no idea that we wanted to go to a Kangaroo Farm. But when one of the tourism kiosk volunteers told us about it, and it was only 10 minutes away we decided heck ya! And now we’re going to recommend it to everyone we meet. Kids and youth admission is just $5, adults $10, or if you arrive before 10AM, everyone is just $5. (Cash only and at the gate. No advance tickets)

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Kangaroo Farm. 10 minutes north of the airport. See my friend the albino wallaby.

3) BC… Bring Cash

Roadside stands, u-pick fruit, and places like the kangaroo farm were cash only. And things in BC tend to be a little bit more expensive than on the prairies. For example, gas. In Winnipeg it was 96.9 cents per litre. In Kelowna 1.14 and in Revelstoke 121.9 on the same day.

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4) Save room for fruit and wine in your baggage allowance.

You don’t have to worry about packaging, or even making a stop on your way to the airport, YLW has it all conveniently inside the departure lounge. Once you’re past security, you can pick up a couple bottles of regional wine. They’ll even pack it in a carry-on approved box. (Bottle packs for 2 or 4)

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New Farm to Flight program. Packed fresh fruit for sale in the boarding lounge. A “suitcase” of peaches was $12.95
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Wine store at Kelowna Airport, past security and in the boarding lounge.

Pipe Mountain Coaster: Revelstoke BC

If you’ve been considering a trip to British Columbia this summer, or you have teens in your household, chances are you’ve already heard about the newest social media sensation… The Revelstoke Mountain Pipe Coaster.

It’s a summer must-see in the mountain resort town.

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Revelstoke Mountain Resort

In a nutshell, you buy a ticket, ride the gondola up the mountainside for about 5 minutes then board your own solo mini-car for the ride down. You can control your own speed with a handheld lever brake. There are twists and turns on this 2-3 minute (1.4 km) ride down the mountain.

There is a on-car mount available for your Go-Pro. This YouTube video shows the experience. A must-see! The views, and setting sun on the landscape are stunning.

Cost for the ride is $19 or two trips down the mountain for $29. The response has been overwhelming. While the ride anticipated about 300 people a weekend, in fact they are seeing up to 1000 riders per day right now.

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Travel tip: Go early in the day, OR send a scout up to the ticket office to purchase tickets and then return with your riders hours later at your scheduled time. Wait times in the afternoon can be up to 3 hours. Ticket sales cut off by 5 pm and the ride closes for the day at 8pm.

While you’re up at the resort, do enjoy the sunshine and incredible views from the Rockford (restaurant) patio. It is all-ages and family friendly.

Read more at their site. And receive live updates on the line-ups and wait times. Revelstoke Mountain Resort

See the run from the coaster itself. Video courtesy of my son & his GOPro.

 

 

Teens and travel: Posting from Revelstoke BC

I love to travel with my kids and take every chance I get.  You see, I feel like there’s a pending expiration date. I really feel like our time together is limited. Right now my son is 14, but I know it won’t be long before he’s 18 and an adult and travels exclusively with his friends, or (gasp) a girlfriend. So, I’m honestly making a conscious effort to spend time with him now.

This takes me out of my comfort zone. A lot. It’s a constant challenge to plan and search out things that would appeal to him and his teen sense of adventure. I know it’s a time in their lives where they push boundaries, but I can tell you, that as a parent, I feel like I’m the one constantly outside my comfort zone.

Like today. Where truthfully, I’d rather be sitting on a patio sipping a cocktail and reading, I found myself looking at bike rentals, white water rafting brochures and considering ziplines. Yikes.

I’m not telling you that I’m going to do all these things. And I have no interest in being the coolest mom on the planet. BUT, I do want to show my son how to travel and explore.

Here are 3 ways in which I achieve my goals without having to do it all.

  1. Enlist help. Do you have a cool uncle, a friend or somebody in your life who regularly does the activity you’re considering?  Have your teen hang with them for the day. This makes you the awesome mom who can hook them up. This gives your teen a taste of independence and another adult role model.
  2. Let your teen take the lead. Let them find, research and pay for the activity. When it’s their own money, they tend to consider their choices more carefully. It shows them that you can’t do EVERYTHING you see in a brochure.
  3. Look for hotels with added value or partnerships. Does your hotel offer a stay and play package? Ask at the front desk or concierge. The more you ask, the more you learn. You’d be surprised how many tour companies actually pick up at the hotel and offer door to door experiences. There’s so much more than “kids’ club” available. For example, we were staying at the Westin Kierland in Arizona and while a round of golf was well over $200, they offered golf lessons for kids and teens at $25. Or when we stayed in Revelstoke BC, the cabins didn’t have a pool. but they offered FREE passes to the city’s Aquatic Centre.
    The best advice I can give, is to admit to your teen that you don’t know everything and that you haven’t been everywhere. When you learn and travel and explore together you do more than just vacation, you make memories and you make them stronger and more capable in doing so.