It was another early start today to pack up the tent and leave Revelstoke for Kelowna. We’re basically only heading to Kelowna thanks to the man in Billabong. I was buying some shorts in there the other day and as usual we got chatting about where we was heading and the guy on the till suggested Kelowna. He described it as Canada’s version of California, full of beaches, sun and fun. That was enough reasoning for me, considering how cold I’d been in Banff this last few days!
Unfortunately his promise of sun didn’t quite deliver, as we arrived the whole city appeared to be covered in fog. It was still 27˚ so at even if we weren’t going to be swimming in the lake, at least there shouldn’t be anymore cold nights in the tent. We later found out this ‘fog’ was actually a blanket of smoke, the locals said it was a result of the forrest fires in America and it wasn’t usually like this. Typical, the 2 days we’re here they have smokey skies!
The campsite was quite strange and not like any campsite I’d been to before. It had the usual RV and tent pitches that you’d expect but this probably only accounted for 50% of the park. The rest had what seemed like permanent trailers parked up and I can only think these people actually live there all year through. Nick thought maybe they were just there for the summer but judging by the amount of stuff they all had I’m not so sure. They had all made gardens in front of their trailers that were full of plants, some had made seating areas with tables and sofas outside whilst others just had general clutter everywhere. It looked like an outdoor version of Hoarders!
We didn’t do a great deal today, by the time we’d set up the tent, found a supermarket for dinner and cooked, a few hours had passed. Mince with salad and melted cheese was the choice of today, we ended up having to cook and eat in the tent though as wasps soon swarmed around us outside. One of the 34 beaches in Kelowna is literally 50m from the campsite so we made our way their afterwards. The Okanagan Lake that it shores was only 2km wide but we couldn’t even see the other side due to the haze. The beaches seemed well maintained and had lots of activities, especially for kids. There was a zip line over the water which looked fun but I guess we’re too old for that!
In the evening we went to explore Downtown Kelowna. It’s quite a small area but there’s a nice walk along the lake shoreline, passing by the marina and a few nice parks so we grabbed a smoothie and strolled for a while. The surrounding blocks are lined with shops and restaurants but it’s far from the buzz of California! It had a nice relaxed feeling though, the people seemed very laid back and were seen either skateboarding along the promenade or singing whilst playing the public pianos. As well as it’s beaches, water sports and hiking, Kelowna is known for it’s world class vineries and golf courses. This seemed to attract a mixed audience of what looked like students on summer break as well as older generations.
After wandering around downtown we were both pretty hungry so ended up buying a whole roasted chicken (can’t get more primal than that!) before heading back to camp. We were forced into an early night after finding Season 5, Episode 6 of Game of Thrones was corrupt, bad times! After nodding off we, and probably the whole campsite, was woken up by these annoying guys that arrived at 10:45 and spend well over an hour giggling whilst trying to set up their tent in the dark. For some reason they pitched up about a foot away from ours, lucky us!
So it’s a long way off of being California! But I can kind of see what the guy in Billabong meant. It has a similar vibe, just on a much smaller scale. I would definitely recommend it for a weekend break to enjoy the beaches and weather, it’s also a good spot for a stop over on the route from Banff to Vancouver that many people do.