Lifestyle West Blog

Planes, Trains & Sidecars: 5 Unusual Ways to Tour the Okanagan from Kelowna Pet Friendly Hotels

March 17, 2015

As you’re flying in to Kelowna, you might just get a taste for how expansive, diverse and breathtaking the Okanagan landscape is—its abundant lakes, craggy canyons, lush orchards and even an extinct volcano. But how can you experience these non-roadside attractions once you land and then arrive at your Kelowna hotels? Well, almost any way you like.

Whether it’s along abandoned rail tracks, a slick sidecar or a trusty seaplane, the array of guided tours allow you to experience every inch and view of this spectacular corner of the country, and enjoy Kelowna’s story along the way.


1. By Floatplane/Seaplane

Helicopter view of Mission Creek

Photo by Tourism Kelowna

It’s hard to capture the rare enormity and beauty of the Okanagan Lake or Kalamalka Lake from anywhere but the air. With a guided tour by Airhart Aviation’s seaplant/floatplane, you can soar above these massive, colourful waters and hunt for the legendary Ogopogo as well as take in a bird’s eye view of vineyards and orchards.

There’s another Kelowna panorama tour that takes you above Gallagher’s Canyon, Mt. Boucherie (that extinct volcano), and the city of Kelowna. In addition to the narration of a local, these air tours are really affordable.


2. By Rail (and Bicycle)

Bike riding on the Myra Canyon trestles

Photo by Tourism Kelowna

The Kettle Valley Railway, used 100 years ago to ship ore and lumber across the valley, is now an abandoned rail trail for cycling tourists and locals alike. The 24-kilometre Myra Canyon stretch of the line features jaw-dropping views of Okanagan Lake and the canyon.

Two local cycling tour companies—Kettle Valley Railway Cycling Tours and Monashee Adventure Tours—offer historical information along your journey as they take you through 14-18 trestle bridges and two tunnels. At some stretches, you’ll be 3,000 feet above Kelowna!


3. By Sidecar

Photo by Tourism Kelowna

You probably never imagined yourself taking in the Okanagan countryside from a two-seater motorcycle sidecar, but you might want to consider it. Custom Sidecar Tours lets you enjoy the ride, the lake breeze and stunning vistas such as from the top of Knox Mountain. Stop in at a winery or two, or even visit a cheese farm for today’s chevry or order a cup of gelato. Plus, they’ll pick you up from your Kelowna pet friendly hotels.


4. By Helicopter

There’s no better way to make a grand, Bond-esque entrance as well as reach unreachable places than by helicopter. Unbeatable lake, city and back-country views and an exhilarating experience for the whole family. Choose from a handful of helicopter tour providers.


5. By Car, Van, Minibus or Limo  

After all that, it sort of sounds boring, but there are several advantages to be had for choosing a four-wheeled form of transportation. It’s budget-friendly, it’s air-conditioned, it suits groups and it’s perfect for those who don’t love heights or breaking into a sweat on their holidays. Plus, Kelowna tour guides know their stuff, and they’re happy to pick you up from your Kelowna hotels.


When you’re looking for one-of-a-kind ways to experience the Okanagan as well as one-of-a-kind Kelowna pet friendly hotels, visit BEST WESTERN PLUS Kelowna Hotel & Suites, offering a mineral pool, grassy courtyard, hot buffet breakfast, hot tubs and more.

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