Is the Okanagan Family Friendly? Where to stay, eat & play for a perfect family vacay!

Are you searching for a family friendly Okanagan? We love it when you pop in our DMs to ask us! The Okanagan from Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton has something for every age to make for an ideal family vacation getaway! In this article you’ll find family friendly Penticton offers two beach options! While family friendly Kelowna has numerous centres to host all ages.

What I especially love as parents, you can easily enjoy breweries, wineries and so much more while also entertaining or accommodating your kiddos. And if that’s not your thing then there are plenty more options from historic sites to the beach and kid friendly hiking or water parks.

Mission park greenway - kid friendly hiking spots in Kelowna
Kangaroo creek farm in Kelowna, BC - Family friendly Okanagan
Family friendly Kelowna - engergyplex
In this article

    Kid-friendly hotels – What to expect

    When it comes to family friendly Okanagan stays, the valley needs to work on hotel availability and pricing. And with new Airbnb/VRBO limitations recently imposed, it can be even harder to find a great stay at an affordable price. During peak season you can expect to see Vancouver prices in Kelowna. However, more affordable stays can be found in the smaller communities like Vernon, Penticton and Summerland. I will list our top picks for family friendly hotels in each city but if you find a hotel stay isn’t ideal and you’d prefer a kitchen then see VRBO for options or check out these blog posts:

    Family Friendly Kelowna Hotels

    We’ll get into what makes Kelowna so family friendly later on in the article but where you stay will depend on your budget and transportation. If you have a car and don’t mind driving then you might prefer the affordable option near the Orchard Park Mall or Airport. However, if you want to be steps from the beach, cultural district and downtown you’ll find two great options that are kid friendly.

    Delta Grand Resort by Marriott – $300 during off season and $600+ during peak season. Pool, spa, near beach, good restaurant, casino, etc.

    Manteo Resort – $200 – $600+ depending on room selection and time of year. On the beach, good restaurant, next door to the Hotel Eldorado (iconic brunch), in the lower mission near the Pandosy Village. 

    Fairfield by Marriott – $180 – $250 depending on season and events. Waterslide, pool, however, it is further from downtown and the beach. If you’re looking to stay on the highway, head to the airport or just keep the kids busy for free this is a great option.

     

    Family Friendly Vernon Hotels

    Vernon is a great family friendly option because it is less busy than Kelowna and has beaches, orchards, history and great food. It’s beach access is limited compared to Kelowna but is much more laid back and blue collar. It’s downtown is easy to walk with really great shops from tea and cheese to family friendly breweries and is nearby gorgeous Lake Country/Oyama if you want to experience Kalamalka Lake. Family friendly hotels are very limited in these areas.

    Prestige Vernon Lodge – $150 – $200 even in peak season. Not to be confused with Prestige Vernon Hotel, the lodge has a great pool area with a revamped tiki-style dining area overlooking the swimming, perfect for parents and kiddos.

    Castle at Swan Lake – $170 – $300 and located just on Vernon’s northern outskirts, Castle at Swan Lake is just as it sounds, a castle on the side of the road that piques the interest of kiddos as soon as they see it.

    Family friendly Penticton /Summerland & Naramata Hotels & Motels

    I am combining Summerland, Penticton and Naramata – three small communities into one for proximity to each other and because I do feel Summerland needs to be recognized with a fantastic resort. Penticton is a short drive away and is often a secondary choice to Kelowna for visitors who want excellent dining and beaches without the youthful and loud crowds/beaches. Naramata is another option if you want a quiet small town village with wineries, views and water activities. 

    Summerland Resort Hotel – $190 – $300+ with select weekends requiring a 2 night minimum stay. This resort is on the water with beaches, water sport rentals, an excellent restaurant and kitchenettes available.

    Penticton Lakeside Resort – $130 – $300+ One of the best places to stay in Penticton with beach access, a great restaurant over the Okanagan Lake, a pool, coffee shop and rooms with a balcony. They’ve recently added a tower with updated rooms as well.

    Fairfield Inn & Suites – $150 – $550 depending on time of year and events. One of the reasons I like the Fairfield is because it is the first pick up point for the wine trolley that brings you into Naramata village and wine bench. I stayed on the Naramata Bench and services to locations there weren’t consistent when they first began (they might have worked out the kinks). Kids are allowed to join on the trolley and various wineries!

    Naramata Courtyard Suites – $160 – $210+ and one of my preferred places to stay for its large lawn and rooms with a kitchenette. It is in the heart of the Naramata Village so you can walk to shopping, beaches, playgrounds, restaurants and the historic Naramata Inn.

    The Village Motel – $150 – $200+ with family rooms available and all the same points of interest as Naramata Courtyard Suites but with a charming garden-esque outdoor seating area. This motel is more of a boutique stunner and is next door to a beloved local coffee shop.

    Family Friendly Vernon – Things to do in Vernon with kids!

    Family friendly Vernon - Davison Orchards

    Family friendly Vernon is much more affordable than Kelowna. It is lesser visited because it’s south end kind of hugs the Okanagan Lake so there’s not as much beach area when compared to Kelowna. It is also a smaller community but it still has great history, food and something for everyone to do.

    For family friendly Vernon activities, I like to bring the kids to Davison Orchards, a large farmers’ market that is probably the number one place to take the family, especially when it is pumpkin picking season. If you visit in the spring and summer before the kids are out of school you’ll find the crowds less busy. Head there as soon as they open (9 am or a bit before) to enjoy the playground, a coffee and sweet treat without the crowds. There are farm animals to feed and a fun (yet pricey) shopping experience inside the market.

    Family friendly Vernon - Davison Orchards

    The downtown core of family friendly Vernon is Ratio for incredible donuts (pre-order to avoid disappointment) on Fridays only. I also love La Carraia Gelateria (see video). I am on the train of thought that Gelato is better than ice cream with less fat and more flavour.

    Also downtown is the BEST family friendly Vernon store for kids and care givers called Vernon Teach and Learn. It also has ice cream in the back right side of the store. At Vernon Teach and Learn they have hard to find educational toys, crafting items and a huge selection of individual Lego figures to name a few things.

    Family Friendly Kelowna - Scandia for mini gold, arcade and go karts
    Family friendly Kelowna - kid friendly dining at BNA Brewing

    Family Friendly Kelowna – Things to do in Kelowna with map

    Being the largest centre in the Okanagan Valley, the fun things to in Kelowna are endless. You can also find my “101 things to do in Kelowna” if you are looking for more ideas or see below for uniquely kid and family friendly vacation activities. You can also peruse the Goolgle Map and feel free to download it for your own use during your vacation.

    Visit Kelowna’s beaches & splash parks

    Kelowna has some incredible kid-friendly beaches and waterparks. One of my favourite family friendly Kelowna activities is to grab some gelato or ice cream (see map) and head to Rotary Beach Park or Gyro. On windy days you can watch the kite surfers and it makes for a great way to close out a busy day of sight seeing.

    Splash parks like the Wibit or Quilchena park in the upper mission’s Kettle Valley area is a great way to tucker the kids out or stay cool in the oppressive Okanagan summer sunshine.

    Family friendly activity centres

    From bowling to lazer tag and indoor trampolines, there’s no shortage of things to keep the kids active and busy. If you have a kiddo who needs to expend some serious energy we have a seemingly endless amount of choices.

    My top selections of family friendly Kelowna centres are:

    H20 Swim and Fitness Centre in lower mission – there’s also a playground and excellent pond for birdwatching or a nice walk.

    McCurdy Bowling, Airhouse, Energyplex or Scandia with mini golf, batting cages or go karting – These three are all within the same area heading out towards the airport. It makes for a great option if you want to get the kids to stretch their legs during a road trip (being on Highway 97 N).

    Myra Canyon Adventure Centre has ziplines and kids can scale the trees and an adventure course. 

    Find more in the Google Map.

    kid friendly dining at Rustic Reel brewery - great treats and snacks for the entire family.

    Where to eat with kids in Kelowna

    One of the biggest challenges when I travel with my kids is finding kid friendly dining! In Kelowna most of the dining is geared toward those who enjoy wine so if you’re not careful you could walk into a fine dining restaurant on Bernard Ave and find seating too close together and nothing for your toddler to eat. In the Google Map I made there are so many options including breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and a unique 24 hour snack store providing rare and delicious treats (candy, ice cream, etc.)

    I try not to recommend chains very often but when it comes to kids they do provide excellent options for family friendly dining. This is why I suggest Earl’s especially with its view point. Cactus Club is an option downtown but I find it becomes more like a party atmosphere in the summer with loud music and isn’t ideal for young kids.
    Otherwise my favourite places to take my own kids in Kelowna is…

    Empire Crepe – Crepes, soup, desserts including decadent cakes are on offer. Old silent films are screened on the wall as old French music plays over the speakers. My son loves Empire Crepes for their lemon and sugar crepe and is often moved to dance!

    Rustic Reel – Located across the road from Empire Crepe in the North End, this brewery is the most family friendly option and you can bring your well behaved pup!

    Diner Deluxe – Located across from Gyro Beach, this is the best breakfast or lunch spot I have come across for kids. The high chairs are comfortable and the bathrooms have step stools for the smaller kids. The menu will appeal to everyone and frankly I like going here on my own too.

    BNA Brew & Bowl – BNA offers a great compromise for families. Bowling and arcade games are on the upper floor but be sure to reserve your lane in advance. The food is always good and families really love the tap room for the best smash burgers and chicken fingers in the city! Check out the taproom from 11 am on and the dining room with bowling from 5 pm on.

    For the sweeter side you must visit Sandrine’s French Pastry & Chocolate as well as Karat Chocolate. Both stops will have them happily munching on gorgeous pastries. 

    Family Friendly Kelowna – Must-do Sight Seeing

    Rent a boat, book a private sailing excursion or enjoy Kelowna Cruises at an affordable price. Parasailing is also available in tandem or triple if you have older kiddos looking for adventure.

    Kelowna has some great sporting events from the Kelowna Rockets hockey to the Kelowna Falcon’s baseball team. The kids enjoyed it all! Be sure to check out the list of events at Prospera Place as they often feature kid friendly shows like Cirque du Soleil, Paw Patrol or Bluey!

    Kelowna’s Kangaroo Farm is also a hit with people of all ages and even intrigued Christina Ricci while she was in town shooting a movie. 

    Don’t be afraid to take your kids to a winery or brewery. Many are super kid friendly!
    Kid friendly wineries in Kelowna include Sperling Winery for their playground and winery maze on a historic site.
    Summerhill Winery is also amazing for all ages with views and the mini pyramid used to store wine.

    Distilleries like Luckhurst Farm and Forbidden Spirits have great outdoor space for kids to explore while the parents partake in a cocktail or spirit tasting as well.

    Finally, the Kelowna Farmer’s Market is bigger and more kid friendly than ever with its new location in the Landmark District. Plenty of shopping, food and entertainment to wow the littles!

    Family Friendly Penticton / Summerland / Naramata – Things to do in Penticton with map

    Summerland, Penticton, Naramata Map

    Summerland – Things to do

    Summerland is a great kid friendly option for the epic train experiences on the historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway! I’ve experienced the Grand Sommelier event which is not kid friendly but as an alternative I brought my son in the same summer to their Great Train Robbery event with a BBQ. My son loved it and got a sheriff badge he still keeps to this day with pride. They also offer a regular train schedule for tours if you can’t make the events. There’s also a Christmas train to really get the kids in the holiday spirit!

    If you stay at the Summerland Resort you’ll have beach access and water craft rentals. The resort also runs along a great waterfront walking trail that leads to a public park with a kids’ playground and the Summerland Trout Hatchery and Visitors Centre.

    We do love visiting the Beanery Cafe for a quick caffeination break for mom and dad along with a kid friendly atmosphere and delicious eats. Enjoy ice cream at Summerland Sweets with a bit of shopping or check out Maple Roch to learn how Maple Syrup is made with a tasting and fun sugary sweets to bring home or on the road.

    For fun activities for the entire family, head to Ve Oh Lay Acres to explore with the kids while maybe taking part in their honey wine tastings. Food is served at Ve Oh Lay Acres but is seasonal from July 1st onward in 2024. 

    Family Friendly Penticton – Things to do with the kids

    Family friendly Penticton is perhaps the most kid-positive destination in the Okanagan because of the proximity of the hotels to the beachfront and kid friendly activities. If you select the Penticton Lakeside Resort or any of the motels on the waterfront you’ll be within easy walking distance of Loco Landing Adventure Park, the SS Sicamous sternwheeler, Lickity Splitz or Cherry on Top Shake Shop or the Ikeda Japanese Garden

    I love to take the kids to farmers’ markets to get a sample of the culture and local fare. The family friendly Penticton Farmers’ Market is on Saturdays in front of the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

    What is extra special about family friendly Penticton is also unique in that it has TWO lake fronts to choose from – Okanagan Lake to the North of the city or Skaha Lake to the South. With two sandy beaches and lots of lake activities/rentals it definitely equals more fun in the sun! Two lakes also makes for a very unique wine terroir with wineries on both the Naramata bench and the upper bench. Head to the upper bench for cheese tastings and wine or pizza on the patio of Upper Bench Winery & Creamery. 

    Family friendly Penticton Restaurants

    Penticton’s restaurant scene is fairly family friendly and everything is near downtown.
    If you’re looking for coffee and treats then head to the very popular Wayne & Freyda but expect a line. Alternatively, the Bench Market is a great sit down or to go spot with a patio and a wider range of breakfast or lunch dishes. One 14 cafe is in the heart of downtown, kind of in the middle of the city should you find yourself there.

    Loki’s Garage provides hearty dishes for breakfast and lunch.

    Still Food Cappuccino & Bistro is really a catch all. You can go there for breakfast, lunch, cocktails but it is very family friendly.

    For lunch and dinner, I wouldn’t hesitate to take my kids to Elma, a Turkish inspired restaurant that offers “pide” a Turkish flatbread made in house and is reminiscent of a pizza. Tratto is an authentic Neoplitan style pizzeria with delicious pepperoni pizza! Neighbourhood Brewing offers an easy menu with killer tacos and great beer over two stories and a great patio. Sushi Kojo is great as a sushi bar or quality ramen bowls. Salty’s is a crowd pleaser with classics like burgers, fish n’ chips, etc. Hooded Merganser is the Penticton Lakeside Resort’s on site dining and again has a crowd pleasing menu with a patio over the Okanagan Lake. Theo’s is a gorgeous Greek restaurant with a vibe to match. Alternatively, Zia’s Stonehouse is great for Italian with a kids menu. 

    Family Friendly Naramata – Beaches, Restaurants & Wineries

    Naramata is a much more laid back community and if I really just wanted to relax beachside with my kids, I’d choose Naramata Village. If you can, try to book a week (minimum stay) at the Sandy Beach Lodge as it has everything you need in one spot including a waterfront property with beach, grass and water rentals.

    Otherwise, I’d suggest the affordable and centrally located Courtyard Suites. From there you can walk to the Naramata General store for ice cream, stock up on supplies, food and beverages. The Naramata Central Beach has a playground where you can hang out after you get your coffee from Just Baked

    Plenty of wineries are also kid-friendly with space for them to roam a bit as you enjoy a wine tasting. I highly suggest Joie Farm Winery which has a lawn, chairs and fruit trees along with an outdoor tasting room so you can keep an eye on the littles. Origin and D’Angelo winery both have larger lawns as well. A laid back winery higher up in elevation but with an outdoor space is Daydreamer, a spot I love to frequent when I am in town and don’t hesitate to bring my kids to. Abandoned Rail Brewing is a fun spot for the family with picnic tables, umbrellas and serves peach sodas or apple slushies.

    Family friendly Okanagan Valley is host to so many experiences for the kids but also cater to adults. Wineries, breweries and restaurants have really stepped up with offering kid-friendly menus or atmospheres where parents no longer need to feel self-conscious about their littles. Tell me where you like to bring your kids during a family friendly Penticton, Vernon or Kelowna vacation!

     

    Family friendly Okanagan

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