Apex Mountain Resort BC Canada

A Family Getaway Guide: Spring Break in the Okanagan

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Apex Mountain Resort | Ben Giesbrecht

BC’s Thompson Okanagan region is a magical summertime mecca for families looking to create golden memories. But why wait? Gather the clan and discover the glory of spring break in the Okanagan.

Check out these spring itineraries for families spending near Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton. There’s so much to do wherever you land in this picturesque region, the most difficult decision you’ll face is where to go and what to do first.

Vernon: Spring Skiing at SilverStar

SilverStar Mountain Resort, northeast of Vernon, never gets tired of scooping up awards. In Ski Canada Magazine’s 2016 Awards, SilverStar was named Best Family Resort, Best Grooming, Best Terrain Park, Best Sun (don’t forget to pack that sun block), and Best News for Tree Skiers. USA Today called it the #5 Cross-Country Ski Resort in North America, and both Okanagan Life Magazine and Today’s Parent highlighted the resort’s appeal for families.

Don’t take their word for it, though; discover this true ski-in, ski-out mid-mountain alpine village for yourself. Before you head up to the resort, make a pit stop at Ratio Coffee & Restaurant, located in the old train station. You can’t go wrong with whatever incredible treat you choose, but just thinking of the donuts makes me salivate.

Dining options at SilverStar include restaurants, cafes, pubs and lounges. Red Antler boasts “Canadiana cuisine,” and has a wide menu that appeals to all ages. For an experience the family will cherish, check out the climbing wall, perfect for beginners to experts. For little ones, there’s a mini Arctic Cat snowmobiles fenced track. You can also work out at the Fitness Centre or take a yoga class. If you need a break from all that physical activity, browse the Silver Star Mountain Museum.

Before you leave Vernon, be sure to visit Planet Bee Honey Farm, which offers fun for the whole family and free admission. Learn about The Amazing Bee Dance, sample 15 different floral varieties of honey, and browse the gift shop. Adults can taste mead, with eight honey wines ranging from dry to an ice wine.

Honey and mead at Planet Bee in Vernon

Sample honey and taste mead at Planet Bee Honey Farm.

Get Cultural in Kelowna

Stay at the Prestige Inn Kelowna or the Delta Hotels By Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort, and leave your car in the parking garage while you stroll the Cultural District. In the heart of it all are the Kelowna Museums, where history comes alive. Check out the Okanagan Heritage Museum, the Okanagan Military Museum, and the Okanagan Wine & Orchard Museum. Afterward, grab a wholesome brunch or lunch at  Salt & Brick or Bohemian Café.

Snacks at The Salted Brick, Kelowna

Snacks at Salt & Brick, Kelowna

At the Rotary Centre for the Arts, celebrate expression through diverse art forms and disciplines. Check out the schedule for performing arts, concerts, art and photography exhibits, classes and workshops.

For dinner, indulge in true farm-to-table cuisine at RauDZ Regional Table. Enjoy delectable dishes while learning about the independent growers, vintners and crafts people who share the RauDZ philosophy.

For mind/body balance, try out Kelowna’s biggest indoor family recreation centre, EnergyPlex, which includes SkyTrax, Kelowna’s only indoor aerial park. While spring break is a bit early to swim in the Okanagan’s lakes, there’s always H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre, a world-class aquatics recreation, health and fitness facility.

And the farmers market season may not be in full swing yet, but for local products, check out the indoor Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market or browse the BC Tree Fruits Market.

Penticton: Pathways, Farms and Parks

Book a room at the Penticton Lakeside Resort or the Best Western Penticton, where the indoor pools and fitness facilities augment your outdoor fun. Enjoy the Best Western’s deluxe continental breakfast – who knew making your own waffles could be so fun – and take a morning stroll a few blocks away along Skaha Lake. Or start your day with a breakfast overlooking Okanagan Lake at Penticton Lakeside Resort’s Hooded Merganser, then stroll along the lake to the Ikeda Japanese Garden or west to the S.S. Sicamous Museum.

Take a scenic drive along Naramata Road after stopping at The Bench Market to pick up a lunch to go, and some Okanagan products to take home. Stop in at the Penticton Visitor Centre to get your bearings and pick up local maps, then explore the wonderful local cycling opportunities. A primarily paved trail that runs 8 km (5 mi) each way, the Okanagan River Channel is a family-friendly ride on the raised bank between Okanagan and Skaha lakes. Another option is to explore Penticton’s best known bike touring option, the KVR Trail. Hiking in this area is exceptional, with paths from beginner to expert. Start at the Munson Mountain lookout, a local favourite that leads you to a spot above the iconic “Penticton” sign to a stunning view of Okanagan Lake, Penticton, and beyond to Skaha Lake.

If you’re able to travel further afield, head south of Penticton to Vaseux Lake Provincial Park and walk the boardwalk to the viewing platforms. En route, be sure to treat yourself and the kids to ice cream at Tickleberry’s in Okanagan Falls. Enjoy an early dinner at Brodo Kitchen, with it’s locally sourced, down-to-earth cuisine.

Make A Spring Skiing Hat Trick

man skiing down mountain trail at Apex Mountain Resort

Apex Mountain Resort | Ben Giesbrecht

If spring skiing and snow adventures are your passion, in addition to SilverStar Mountain Resort, there’s Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna and Apex Mountain Resort near Penticton. Why not score a hat trick this spring and visit all three? One of the great things about the Okanagan in the spring is that the skiing is spectacular in the mountains while golfing is in full swing in the valley.