Ahhh Kelowna – the Hawaii of Canada! In 2019, after travelling quite extensively, we made the calculated decision to make Kelowna our home base. After thoroughly exploring North America on our three-year road trip it is safe to say we knew exactly what we wanted in the place we decided to call home: tons of hiking trails, long hot summers with mild winters, slow good vibes and friendly people. You need to visit Kelowna now!

Looking to get romantic on your next trip to Kelowna? Check out these romantic date ideas in Kelowna!

Kelowna checked all of these boxes off with flying colours! We could go on and on about why we love this city (and often do) so we decided to do just that by listing the top reasons that Kelowna needs to be at the top of your must-visit travel list.

Travelling to British Columbia? Read about 6 secret spots that are our favourite in the province.

1. Kelowna has long hot summers with mild winters

If there is one thing that Kelowna excels at it’s outdoor living. Everywhere you look you will see patios, parks, people on their bikes and at the beach. Kelowna is great for those looking for short milder winters and long hot summers.

Wondering what the best way to spend a summer day in Kelowna is? Packing a cooler and relaxing aboard a private pontoon boat cruise on Okanagan Lake is the way to do it! This cruise will take up to 11 people to spend the afternoon on the lake for $960 CAD ($715.99 USD). Split that cost 11 ways and this becomes super affordable!

All the sunshine in Kelowna makes the spring and fall months feel like an extension of summer. In fact, many locals will start their outdoor living as early as late March when the snow has melted and the sun is in full force. By April, patios are in full swing and it seems every single house has a BBQ going for dinner. The many surrounding lakes help to break the heat you may be experiencing as summer temperatures are known to sit around the mid-30s (in the 90s Fahrenheit).

Tucked amongst the mountains, Kelowna continues to be a playground even through the winter months. Big White in Kelowna is a popular option amongst locals for skiing and snowboarding but there are many in the area including Apex mountain in Hedley and Silverstar mountain in nearby Vernon. A great place to experience all 4 seasons, Kelowna winters drop just below freezing to around -5℃ (around 25℉) allowing for white winters that aren’t too chilly.

Looking to go to Big White? Booking private transportation from Kelowna to Big White will get you there without stress.

2. Shopping local is easy

Kelowna, and most of the people living here, place a great priority on shopping locally. With a dominating farming industry, sourcing produce and meat fresh from local farms are the norms.

From the budding local farmers’ market to the many small markets selling locally produced goods, you have endless farm-to-table options. Even big corporations such as Save On Foods have entire sections of their stores that highlight all locally crafted items.

Click here for info about how to get around Kelowna like a local

Walking down Bernard Ave. or Pandosy St., the two streets that are most dedicated to “downtown shopping”. A majority of these stores are all local boutique-style businesses. The top cafes and restaurants in Kelowna are all smaller family-owned businesses that serve local craft beers and wines.

If you’re wanting to take part in the shop local eat local trend, this 3 hour private downtown foodie tour will take you to some of the best downtown local restaurants that are exclusive to Kelowna. The tour costs $120 CAD ($89.50 USD) and includes all food and drinks at the different independent restaurants.

If you are looking to get on board with this trend there are many farms in the city where you can go directly to buy all your produce, meats, cheeses, honey, and more.

Looking for more of a one-stop shop? The farmers market in Kelowna is large and bustling with great local finds and runs every Saturday and Wednesday morning in the summer months. You can find everything from fresh locally grown vegetables to homemade clothes and dreamcatchers.

3. There are over 100 wineries in the Okanagan

The Okanagan is BC’s little Napa Valley – full of stunning wineries. Summerhill Pyramid Winery is one of our favourites with lake and city views that are sure to take your breath away. Sandhill Wines is right downtown Kelowna making it a super popular destination. With every winery having its own spin on things you can even find some great niche wines, such as the honey wine found at Meadow Vista.

Take this self guided wine tour of the best wineries in Kelowna!

If you don’t have a designated driver, booking an afternoon Kelowna wine tour is a great option. You can choose between either an east Kelowna or West Kelowna wine tour here visiting 4 of the best wineries in the city. All tasting fees and transportation from your hotel is included in the cost. The price varies based on the number of people in your group with 2 people costing $250 CAD ($186.46 USD) each and a group of 6 costing $179 CAD ($133.50 USD) per person.

Wine isn’t your thing? There are TONS of small craft breweries and cideries in the city and surrounding area. If you want it all in one place visiting any number of the local pubs around town will give you local options.

If you’d be more into checking out the craft beer scene, this Kelowna brewery tour will take you to 3 of the best breweries in the city: Tree Brewing, BNA Brewing, and Kettle River Brewing. Flights of beer from each brewery and transportation are included in the $110 CAD ($82.04 USD) per person price tag.

Downtown Kelowna has developed a brewery district with a bunch of craft breweries opening close together. The best way to see this is with a walking self guided Kelowna brewery tour that takes you to the best Kelowna breweries. Our top recommendations are BNA, Red Bird and Bad Tattoo Brewing (all located within a few blocks of each other).

4. Kelowna’s Okanagan Lake is full of activities

We LOVE the water and that is a massive positive for the city – it’s surrounded by huge lakes. Okanagan Lake runs North to South between West Kelowna and Kelowna. Kalamalka Lake and Wood Lake also run vertically but are northeast of the city.

Kelowna’s waterways are beautiful providing gorgeous views both in and out of the water.

The lakes here are BIG and offer warm clear waters that are perfect for boating, kayaking and even scuba diving. Kelowna’s main lake is called the Okanagan Lake and is famous for having the friendly Ogopogo monster living inside, similar to Scotland’s Loch Ness monster.

This lake is lined with beaches every few hundred meters making it so there is plenty of access in the summertime. As a general rule, the farther away from downtown you go, the better your chances are of finding a great spot.

The most popular beaches in Kelowna are Boyce-Gyro Beach, Hot Sand Beach at City Park, Tugboat Beach and Rotary Beach Beach. If you are looking for less busy Kelowna beaches to visit, we recommend driving down Lakeshore Rd/Abbott Rd to find some smaller beach access points.

Venturing into West Kelowna is another great option for finding quieter beaches.

If you want a bit more luxury, another great way to enjoy the lake is by sailing on it. This private sailing cruise is a great way for your group to see the city. The price of this cruise varies on the number of people in your group with 2 people costing $160 CAD ($119.33 USD) each and groups of 6 costing $130 CAD ($96.96 USD) each. My favorite part about this tour is your captain will even let you take the wheel giving you a quick sailing lesson as you go.

If you are looking beyond just Kelowna, there are 50 lakes in the Okanagan area so you have plenty of options and may even find some secluded havens. Heading down some local FSRs (forest service roads) will take you to smaller, less crowded lakes such as Chute Lake, Lambly Lake, Hydraulic Lake, Postill Lake and Beaver Lake.

One of our favourite things to do is to hike in or kayak along the coastline to find our own private beaches. We often pack our dogs into our kayaks and paddle up the lake to find some great secret spots along the water. If you don’t have a kayak, try exploring on foot.

Knox Mountain is a great hiking spot that is located right downtown Kelowna and if you are brave enough to bushwack a bit you can find some great water access spots. A popular one to hike to is Paul’s Tomb – the walk is easy and the views are priceless. Another great hike-in-only beach is Rose Valley Lake on Kelowna’s Westside.

5. You get to enjoy the best restaurants in Kelowna

The amount of high-quality restaurant options in Kelowna is enough to make your head spin. We HIGHLY recommend skipping the big-name chains and opting for one of the many local restaurants in the area.

Wine more your thing? Check out these top Kelowna winery restaurants.

In the downtown core, higher-end restaurants such as Oak & Cru and Micro Bar & Bites combine with eclectic must-visit places such as BNA brewing, Leopold’s Tavern and Curious Cafe.

If you are looking to soak up the sunshine with a great patio and lake views check out King Taps or Cactus Club downtown or head to a winery such as Quails Gate in West Kelowna.

A great way to taste the city is to book this downtown Kelowna walking food tour. You can eat your way through 7 different places in the city. This tour costs $83 CAD ($61.90 USD) and includes all food and drink tastings along the way. Your guide will teach you about the city and the food as you spend 3 hours touring downtown.

If you’re looking for a meal with a ton of nightlife head to Craft Beer Market or Social 242 Lounge (bonus: Tuesday is Ladies Night where ladies get $20 off of a $40 or higher bill INCLUDING drinks!). Kelowna is fairly vegan-friendly with restaurants like Central Kitchen, the Naked Cafe, Frankie We Salute You and KB &Co offering many plant-based options.

6. The perfect mix of fresh fruit & local farms

Kelowna has a delicate balance of city life mixed with gorgeous farms and orchards. Okanagan fruit is definitely something to write home about – the cherries.. the peaches!!! You can expect the streets to be lined with fresh fruit stands in the summertime that are all well worth a visit.

Looking for a great date idea in Kelowna? Pack a picnic and head to a u-Pick.

If you are up for the adventure, there are MANY u-pick farms that you can visit to pick your own fruit straight from the source — it doesn’t get any fresher than this!

If you are up for the adventure, there are MANY u-pick farms that you can visit to pick your own fruit straight from the source — it doesn’t get any fresher than this!

There are even great sanctuaries that allow hands-on experience with some rescued farm animals. The Arion therapeutic farm is a favourite of ours and a great place to get in touch with nature.

7. There are so many things to do in Kelowna

If you are lucky enough to visit the Okanagan in the summertime you will be left with no shortage of amazing things to do around the city. With all the wineries, farms, and patios you will have no shortage of ways to enjoy all the beautiful sunshine that comes in this area.

If you enjoy the outdoors, we recommend exploring the Kettle Valley Railroad. This offers endless stunning views and is great for hiking, biking or even cross-country skiing in the wintertime. There are a couple of different access points, our favourite of which is located here.

If you’re wanting to try biking this trail, the Kettle Valley Railway tour from Myra Canyon to Penticton is a great way to do it. While the whole trail is either flat or downhill, you will be traveling long distances so make sure you’re physically fit. You will be biking all the way to Penticton crossing the trestle bridges and going through tunnels. The tour is great for groups of 4 or more and includes your bike rental and round trip transportation for $225 CAD ($167.81 USD) per person.

Expect a bit of a drive from the city and a dirt road climb up a forest service road but trust us it is well worth it.

If you are coming in the winter months, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the relatively mild temperatures in the area. Winter makes a short and sweet appearance in Kelowna perfectly dusting the city with some snow to make all your winter wonderland dreams come true. This gives the local mountains some great fresh powder while allowing the city to put on their FREE annual outdoor skating rink.

Looking to explore more of British Columbia? Check out the top things to do in Vancouver!

8. Kelowna has an artsy vibe

From local craft breweries to hipster cafes this city has an artsy vibe that rivals San Francisco. Everyone here has their own unique style and it seems most have found their own ways to combine their passions with their business.

The downtown core is full of life and diverse hotspots sure to light your fire whether you’re a foodie or fashionista. With a buzzing arts and culture district, there is something new to do and see every night of the week.

9. There are SO MANY places to camp!

It is no surprise that we LOVE to camp. If you’re anything like us and love to find private FREE campsites, Kelowna and the surrounding area have plenty to keep you busy. As Kelowna is nestled between mountains, forests and lakes you will find that there are a ton of great spots to camp.

Less than half an hour from the downtown core in practically any direction you will find yourself in the middle of the outback with endless free campsites to enjoy.

10. It’s dog friendly

With three dogs, this should really be at the top of our list as it is one of the first things we look for in a new city. To be honest, we were nervous to move to Kelowna as we previously had found Kelowna incredibly not dog friendly but it turns out we just didn’t know where to go.

On a hot summer day, you can keep your dog cool by hitting the beach. Cedar Creek Park in the southern mission area is one of our favourite spots to bring our dogs.

Minutes from downtown you will find Mushroom Beach (also called Lake Ave Dog Off-leash beach), another great dog-friendly beach spot. There are also lots of great trails around that allow your furry friend to come along.

If you are wanting more of a city vibe you can walk your pup downtown along the water. Bernard Street offers up a plethora of restaurants some of which have patios with water dishes for your pup.

If you are wanting more of a city vibe you can walk your pup downtown along the water. Bernard Street offers up a plethora of restaurants some of which have patios with water dishes for your pup.

Where to stay in Kelowna

Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort – If waking up to stunning lake views sounds great to you, the Delta Hotel is one of the best hotels in Kelowna. Choose to soak in either their indoor or outdoor pool, enjoy the on-site restaurant Oak + Cru, or take a trip to their on-site wine cellar to do the most Kelowna-y thing you can do – enjoy a wine tasting. Located right downtown Kelowna, this hotel is within walking distance to the best beaches, restaurants and shopping in the city.

Hotel Zed – This quirky colorful downtown Kelowna hotel has a young and hip vibe with tons of cool extras to offer. With a pool, hot tub, outdoor firepit and sauna on site, there is tons to do. This is a great place to meet people whether you’re enjoying a cold beer on their rooftop patio taking in views of Okanagan Lake, raving at their mini-disco on site or having fun at their Ping Pong lounge complete with a Wii station. You can get around on their free bikes and rollerscates offered. Best of all, the hotel is pet friendly!

Hotel Eldorado at Eldorado Resort – This stunning boutique-style hotel is located in the southern Mission area of Kelowna. This lakefront resort has a stunning indoor pool and a whole lot of character. With a charming restaurant on site, this resort is close by the top beaches in Kelowna including Rotary Beach.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Kelowna – A great option for families traveling to the Okanagan, Fairfield Inn has a giant waterslide that is great for keeping the family happy. Rooms are spacious and breakfast is included at this hotel. A great location sandwiched between downtown Kelowna and Kelowa’s airport, this hotel is within walking distance to many great restaurants and Orchard Park Mall.

Thanks for stopping by!

All in all, Kelowna is the ultimate destination offering something for everyone. Whether you are looking to set down some roots or planning the ultimate road trip through BC Kelowna has so much to offer!

Ever been to Kelowna? What was your favourite part of the city?

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These last few months have been well spent. You may have read our recent post about why we decided to settle down for a bit. As much as our soles need to explore, our bodies needed to catch up. Myles was able to devote the time he needed to rehab his body while we escaped winter. With our heart’s longing for more, our brains knew how important this time was for us.

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As the days grow warmer we are spending more and more time outside. We are surprising ourselves at how much we missed living 100% of our life outside. It’s not just us, our dogs feel it too. Despite their daily walks and endless love, they are BORED! We are moving into our van in a couple of days and Myles said to me “I can’t believe how much better I feel, I can’t wait to start actually living again.”

Just like that, I knew we made the right decision. Staying still wasn’t lavish but I am so grateful that our admittedly hectic life gives us enough flexibility to move (or stay) how we need to. As hard as it was to give up our life of mobility, I am so thankful that we were in tune with our bodies enough to know what it is we needed.

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As our bodies began to regain their strength we found ourselves turning our talks and dreams into a reality. Lying in bed one night we started with a simple “wouldn’t it be cool to do this extended Euro trip, where we jump from the beaches in Sicily to the islands in Greece?

We can sip wine in Nice and get in a massive food fight in Barcelona (it’s a real thing and we couldn’t be more excited for it!)”. Somehow, this transformed into an overwhelming “holy shit we are moving in less than 2 months.”

I can’t confidently tell you how in less than a month we went from an idea to plane tickets and dog vaccinations. But I can confidently tell you one thing: Always marry someone as crazy as you are. Or don’t and save A LOT of money ;).

I am going to be honest here, Europe has never been at the top of my list of places to explore. I know, the history is amazing. The architecture, the food, the castles, the cobblestone streets… the list is endless. I have travelled to Rome and the Netherlands before and loved both trips.

The vastly different day-to-day life experienced in other parts of the world has always been appealing to me. Asia, Central and South America have always been the areas on my radar. Recently, my wanderlust has skyrocketed and you’d be hard-pressed to find a country I don’t want to visit.

There are 195 countries in the world and I want to explore all of them

The beauty of Europe is the range you can see in a shorter time. On our Canadian road trips, we drive for 6 hours and are still in the same province. In Europe, we could be in 3 different countries. Not ready to give up our time in the mountains and forests quite yet, we will be devoting our next two months to nightly campfires and getting lost in the woods (hopefully not literally FRECKLES). Mid-June we will be ON A PLANE TO… well, who knows.

This is how we see our next few months shaping up. Our plan as of today (keep in mind this changes HOURLY):

  • Throw our pups on a plane
  • Land in EUROPE – we’re thinking London or Amsterdam.
  • Hunt through the streets for a van #vanlife FOREVER
  • Spend the summer driving anywhere and everywhere throughout Europe

*DID YOU KNOW that Sweden has a “Freedom to roam” act. This allows you to camp on ANY land that is not privately owned!! That’s right the stunning mountains, coastlines and archipelagos are all fair game! GO SWEDEN! 🙂

  • Find an apartment in Barcelona for the winter to act as our home base.

*Their winter months average around 16 degrees, we can live with that!

Any advice could not be more welcomed!!!!

**Disclaimer: This isn’t meant to offend anyone. This is just an opinion that I am passionately expressing. (I must be Canadian, eh?)**

Trust me I was a meat eater. My favourite meal used to be a rib dinner with a meaty lasagna. I would eat meat at every single meal for most of my 27 years. When Samara came to me and said she wanted to be a vegetarian I shrugged and said “Ok, have fun with that.”. I continued to eat meat.


It wasn’t until our trip to Southeast Asia that my eyes were opened. We hired a driver to take us through Bali. He would tell us stories about the Balinese way of life as he drove. As we passed through what looked like a traditional street market he cautioned us from eating from the street vendors. He went on to say that the meat might look like beef or chicken or pork, but it could very well be dog, cat or even rat.

That got to me.

Knowing that I’ve been eating from street vendors our entire trip made me think about how much “real meat” I had eaten. It all looked the same but thinking about our dogs back at home made me sick. What is the difference between dog and cow meat? Not much. But thinking about how much personality our dogs have what makes them different from a cow?

You may also like: 6 Heartbreaking Things To AVOID In Bali

We have driven along many farms – many of which have cows. Even driving by we see their personalities. Just as dogs want to show love cows do as well. Some were scratching their backs on posts with their huge tongues hanging out. Others were licking, what we could only imagine as, their mom’s face.

Who are we to decide which animal dies to become our food?food

After spending two years at university I am familiar with thought experiments. Forget the reality in which we live and imagine a completely new one. Us humans have been invaded by another being who has decided that we are now a delicacy. They have no need to eat us (just as we have no need to eat animals, as we are proving) but choose to. There are other ways they can obtain their nutrients but still decide to kill and eat us.

Doesn’t that sound like a horrible place to live?

We would surely try to do something about it. How is this different from what we are doing to cows? Sure this may make me sound crazy, but is it not what is happening? We have been taught through evolution that we need the calories that meat provides us. But that is not true today. We can get our calories and nutrients from other ways but choose not to.

But let’s put philosophy aside for a moment.

I Felt Better

I felt physical effects of the change in my diet – and not in the ways you might think. No longer do I feel bloated. I would feel gassy after nearly every meal I would eat. You don’t realize how milk is in nearly every single meal you eat. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess. Why was I eating (and continued to eat) something my body couldn’t digest?

Samara has also felt the effects of going vegan. She has struggled with PCOS for most of her adult life. This is a disease that affects her ability to get pregnant and ultimately conceive children. Within one week she got her period back. We were pessimistically optimistic.restaurant, food, vegan

It’s one thing to get it back but another to keep it regularly, we thought

But ever since she has cut dairy (and of course meat as well) out of her diet her period has been clockwork.

My body has noticeably changes as well. I have never been overweight, but since I have became a vegan my fat has significantly decreased. Now you may be thinking “That makes sense. You’re eating less calories!”. That would be true but my weight has stayed the same. I have not been working out or exercising more. The only thing that has changed is my diet.

The Change

I thought it would be hard to give up the food that I had become accustomed to eating for my entire life. I had tried to do this when I was younger but it was a nightmare so I was bracing for the worst. It has actually been easy. We have driven all across North America and have only had trouble finding food in a few places.

We eat better than we did when we ate meat.

For every single meat dish there is a meat alternative. Love chicken wings? I can make you a dish that you would think is actual wings from a chicken. More of a meaty spaghetti and meatball person? Done. Like any true Canadian I can’t give up bacon – and I don’t. And on top of all that, the food tastes better! I haven’t counted my calories since starting this diet but I don’t feel hungry ever.

Check out what we have in our kitchen!

For all of you that come up with reasons not to become vegan – your excuses are running out.

Have you become vegan? What are your experiences – we’d love to hear from you!

One of the many great things about a road trip is that it is easy to bring your furry friends along. Sure you can bring dogs on a flight too but this is typically expensive and very stressful on your dog. During a road trip they get to spend their time doing their favorite thing – hanging out with you. Just as traveling with kids or any other dependents, there are some added things you should consider.

1. Take Extra Care While Packing

Seeing you pack is an immediate stressor for a dogs. Anyone who has ever moved while having a dog knows the guilt you feel seeing your pup so stressed about the boxes.

When making your road trip packing list and getting your suitcase out and packing, you will notice your dog sticking closer to you than normal. If they’re anything like ours they may even fall asleep inside your bag. Yup, we found our 70 lbs Labrador curled up in one of our bags. It is important to reassure them by giving them lots of treats and lots of extra love.

2. Keeping Consistencies

When packing for your road trip make sure to pack your pup’s toys from home. While road trips are intended to be fun, they can add a lot of stress to your furry friend. Bringing along a lot of home securities will give your pup comfort. Using their food dish from home, bringing some of their favourite toys and packing their bed along will mean the world to them. They don’t know where you are going or what is happening so bringing these familiar items is sure to give them comfort.

You may also like: How To Find The Best Free Campground

3. Before You Go, Get Your Pup Comfortable In A Car

If your pup doesn’t usually accompany you in the car, taking them on an extended drive right away may not be a good idea. Getting your pup comfortable with car rides will increase their happiness and make it so you can both enjoy your trip. This can start with just allowing your dog to sit in the car or feeding him in the car.

Lots of dogs associate car rides with vet trips so showing them it isn’t scary is important.

Start taking your pup on lots of little trips in the car with you before you go so they can get comfortable. We love giving our pups soft bones to chew on while we drive so they can keep busy and happy.

4. Don't Forget The Dog Food

Not only is the familiarity of having their own food brand important, but switching brands of food can be really hard on their stomachs. Packing extra before you go will ensure your dog has a good time on the trip too.

5. Do Some Research Before Leaving

We recommend you always keep your dog up to date on their vaccinations. This can be even more important when travelling. Before you go do your research about possible irritants for dogs. Even if you aren’t going that far different regions can have unknown irritants.

We got to California and after almost all of us got bitten with ticks we learned that Northern California is riddled with them. Luckily none of us have seemed to fall victim to any diseases ticks can transmit.

A simple trip to the vet for a flea and tick treatment gives our pups added protection.

6. Sensitive Paws

On that same note it is important to be aware that your pups paws are sensitive little things. There are lots of things that can harm your pet out there such as hot pavement, salt in the winter time, glass and sharp rocks. Especially in new environments where you are less aware of what is around it is crucial to be aware of your surroundings.

Scan the area before you let your pups run wild to check for any potential hazards. We recommend bringing tweezers and keeping them accessible while routinely checking their feet for cactus, thorns and sap.

You may also like: 6 Heartbreaking Things To AVOID In Bali

7. A Place To Call Home

Dogs are naturally den animals and typically love dark secluded areas (for about five minutes until they are ready to be pet again). When living in such small quarters it is easy to trip over each other.

Without meaning to the dogs often get in our way. With that we find it important to give them places that they know they can go without us bothering them. Even if it means popping the top and putting Freckles (the brown coloured dog) on the second bed while we cook (which he loves). Bella loves to curl up in the front seats and stick her head out every once in a while. Roxy needs to be on top of you, because she is, after all, a lap dog.

8. Water, Water, Water!

When starting a road trip you always pack yourself tons of food and drinks (if you don’t, start. No road trip is complete without road food.).

At home, your dog is used to getting a drink of water whenever they feel like it. Being in a car this may not be the case.

If your rig doesn’t allow for you to constantly have a dish out for them it is important to remember to offer them water often.

Especially on hotter days, make sure your pup is well hydrated.

Read some tips for combating the heat on the go.

9. They Need Breaks Too!

It is important for you to let your best friend take a break from sitting in the car. Especially if your dog is bigger and can’t move through the car with ease. They get stiff too. Allowing them to run through a park or stop to throw a ball (Roxy loves her glow-in-the-dark ball) and tucker them out will mean the world to them. One of the best parts about road trips for dogs is smelling all the new scents in new areas. Being outside and hearing different noises with new scents and different scenery will do a lot for your pup’s mental stimulation, tiring them out quicker.

Most people are dog lovers (apparently not everyone, although I am yet to understand these people) but it is important to keep your dog under control and always pick up after them. Besides keeping the parks and green spaces clean, it is the only way cities will keep allowing our friends in all the places we love to go. Go to your local pet supply store for cheap doggie bags that are biodegradable.

You may also like: Our Sustainable Travel Section

10. Safety First

Get your dog tattooed or micro-chipped (preferably the latter) and then on their collar, write what you have done.

Our pups all have up-to-date tags on their collars, and they wear their collars 100% of the time. We make sure to include their name, and our phone number and instead of address (because we no longer have one) we wrote “tattoo in L ear from BC” or simply “microchipped”.

This ensures that if the worst-case were to occur, the chances of being reunited are high.

Our smallest one has her ear that always stands straight up tattooed, which has the added benefit of making her look bad-ass. It might cost a little extra money, but it is definitely worth it in the long run.

We’ve run into a lot of, what we think are, stray dogs on our travels and if they had any way to contact their owner it would make it way easier to reunite them with their owner.

Going on a road trip? Leave us a comment about what worked for you.

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More and more people are turning to life in a tiny house. Regardless of if yours has wheels or not, living in that small square footage takes some adjustment, especially with dogs. The realms of this lifestyle are forever expanding as more and more people are testing the limits.

Us, we are testing the limits by cramming five bodies into one van.

It is true that vanlife would be worlds easier without our three rascals. More space, less stuff, and the ability to go anywhere we choose without second thoughts. Our dogs do limit us, a lot, but they also add an unbelievable amount of happiness to our life.

We decided to let you in on the things we’ve learned about how to make life in a van more livable with your pup.

Crossing the border

When crossing the US Canada border with your dogs the only vaccination they care about is against Rabies. All you have to do is go to your vet and get the paperwork. They will give you a piece of paper with the dogs information along with a rabies tag and a sticker off the bottle they used.

If this is the first time your dog is getting its rabies vaccine it will last for one year. After that it will be every three years you have to redo it. It is a simple shot. Your dog will become docile the night of their shots but recover quickly. Use this time to shower them with treats and extra love.

Do you need a passport to go to canada?

Yes! You do.

Every time we cross we hand our passports along with the dogs paperwork. This significantly reduces the border wait times. We cross the border a lot and it is never an issue for us. The guards rarely check the piece of paper and have never made a big deal about the dogs.

Check out the ways we keep our dogs cool!

Leaving your pups

This is the only, and by far the biggest, negative of living in a van with dogs. As your van/bus/car becomes your home there is no safe place to leave your pup while you are gone.

dogs, volkswagen

This presents a problem at simple things like the grocery store as well as more crippling things like National Parks and must sees like Antelope Canyon. I’m going to be real, this is the hardest part of having dogs in a van.

Our recommendation: when getting your dogs their Rabies vaccine, get them vaccinated against a couple other common illnesses such as kennel cough so you can opt for some doggy daycare. Ask your vet about which vaccines kennels require to board them. That extra hundred dollars will be well spent ensuring you are not sitting beside the Grand Canyon without a way to go see it.

Night time

It may sound silly but giving our dogs a bedtime is CRUCIAL. This is mainly true when we have new people with us, or are having a fire and staying up well into the night. When our dogs get tired, they get grumpy.

We don’t have a time but it is easy to see when the pups are starting to bark or get grumpy. Putting them in the van gives them the safe place they need in order to go to sleep. They feel more comfortable and are able to make their own bed and relax. We load our bed and floor with blankets and pillows so they have the comfiest sleep possible.

Let them out, a lot

This is by far the best part of having a dog. On driving days or days where you find yourself in a cement heaven let your pups out, a lot.

dogs, lagoon, lake

For us this has been great and has helped us to see parts of the world we would otherwise have not seen. We have had some of our greatest experiences in areas where we never would have expected to go. We stopped to give the dogs a break and rounded a corner to be surprised by a crystal clear lagoon or met some amazing new people.

This is by far the best part of vanlife with dogs. They inspire you to get outside more.

Think safety

I can’t tell you how important this one is. Our dogs are our best friends, we want to keep them safe. We spend almost all of our time in completely foreign areas in which our dogs don’t know. Our dogs are pretty used to it, but the longer we stay in a place the more confident they get and farther they stray. Even if we stay in a place for only a few minutes we make sure to bring out the dog beds for them to get comfortable.

We definitely free range parent more so than most dog owners. We let our dogs roam to their heart’s content as they have mastered the rules of not going on the road and not going out of sight (they know just how dependent they are on us). That isn’t to say something still can’t go wrong.

Not too long ago, we had a horrible day when our one pup Freckles chased a bunny and ended up getting stuck or lost. We lost him for about 9 hours. The whole time we spent scouring our desert landscape thinking only the worst. We notified animal shelters and anyone we thought could help us.

It was an absolute nightmare. That reaffirmed that despite how good your dogs are, accidents happen and it is so unbelievably crucial to work hard to avoid them.

We have our dogs have a microchip and tattoo with their all of our information on their dog tag. We make sure that their collars are always on (except our lab who gets skin reactions – she’s micro-chipped though) and their info is up to date.


Our bed is not that big. When you couple that with three dogs that like to cuddle, you are left with no room to move. Roxy is a spooner. She lays length-wise like we do. Freckles likes to find a space near our legs while Bella usually sits on our head. Right before we go to sleep we like to spend some family time. We usually watch a movie or TV show with the dogs on the bed.

But when it comes time to actually sleep we rearrange the dogs. Our front passenger seat swivels and faces backwards. This has quickly become Freckle’s favourite spot. We put a blanket on the floor, with two pillows under it, for Roxy. Bella is small enough that she can fit on the bed with us. She doesn’t usually sleep on the floor since she thinks she needs four times the room she actually needs. Even though we have a lot of bodies we make it work.

When it gets really cold we bring the dogs on the bed for safety. We’ve slept in some frigid temperatures where the dogs needed to stay warm. When this happens Freckles and Bella end up under the covers near our feet while Roxy assumes her spoon position. It keeps us all warm and safe.

Road tripping with dogs has added endless rewards to our life and with these tips it can in yours too. Let us know how you find traveling with your dogs in the comment section below.

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Ahh summer, a time of year full of BBQs and beaches. Longer days spent outside soaking up some much needed vitamin D. That hot weather is amazing, especially after a cold winter.

summer, beach, dogs Summer is unfortunately also the time of sun burns and heat stroke. This is especially true if you are traveling in a van with three dogs and no air conditioning. Your pup feels that heat too, maybe even more so than you.

These pups add nearly endless rewards in our life. They encourage us to see and stop more and they are our most loyal companions. But, they are also horrible hinderers.

While they are incredibly worth it, summer time is hard with dogs. When it is hot you will see all five us curled up under a tree trying to get some shade.

Here’s a list of our tried and tested ways to keep the dogs safe and cool. Well, cooler.

  1. Seek out air conditioning

If you are like us and your camper/home does not have air conditioning finding some air


conditioning is a great option. While you won’t be able to stay long, even just a short trip to air conditioning so the pups can reset works wonders.

This isn’t an easy task as most stores have no pet policies. Check for pet friendly signs, or more often just check that there is not a “no dogs” sign.

While it is typically based location to location, some of our favourite air conditioned pet friendly stores are:

  • Canadian Tire
  • Any pet store
  • Walmart (only some and in our experience only the ones in America)
  • Barnes & Noble → read for hours and keep your dog cool, yes please!
  • Home Depot
  • Lowes
  • Michaels
  • Macy’s
  • Anthropologie
  • Old Navy

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  1. Grooming

Uhh that constant battle! Imagine a small area and 3 shedding beasts (well 2).

Needless to say we brush constantly. If you have a dog that sheds I am about to give you the best advice you will EVER get.

Invest in a Furminator

Seriously, I bought ours about 5 years ago and I still can’t sing enough praises about it. Not only does it keep our house way cleaner, it keep our pups worlds cooler.

This brush may look mean but trust me – it will change your life. It helps get the dog’s undercoat as well which makes them way cooler. In the summer when it gets hot we have to brush our dogs way more, up to about 2-3 times a week.

Luckily it doesn’t take too long and our dogs act like they’re at the spa enjoying every second.

  1. Shopping

One of the hardest parts about living in the van with dogs is that there is no where to put them when we want to go do stuff. From shopping to sightseeing these little buggers can definitely be restricting.

Our van is our home and with that we know everything about it, including how hot it can get when it is all closed up. We also know how to combat this with windows open and parking under shade.

dog, beach, sand, sun We (well Myles) is a risk taker and basically just brings the dogs in everywhere and waits to see if someone complains. It seems to work for us as we have only ever been stopped once. The only thing is that you obviously can’t do this with places that have or serve food, except weirdly Walmart.

It is only safe to leave your pups in the car when it’s cool outside. Oftentimes this will mean in the late evenings. No matter how cool it is, we open almost every window in the house. There are blankets for them to crawl under if they’re too cold.

When we just run in for a quick item we make sure the house is set up properly including a full bowl of water. It is essential to park under a tree in nearly every parking lot regardless of the temperature. .

We are those weird dog parents that think our dogs would rather have a chance at seeing a squirrel than stare at a brick wall.

We have heard so many horrible horror stories of people leaving their poor dog in a car in the heat. This really shouldn’t be a thought anymore.

  1. Haircuts

While this only applies to one of our dogs and getting her shaved is a summer essential. Oddly our smallest dog, a Chihuahua cross, has the least tolerance to heat. In the summer we face a constant battle to keep her cool.

Getting her shaved makes the world of a difference. Cutting the area around her mouth and stomach is the most important. Being a Chihuahua, Yorkie, Maltese cross her hair doesn’t actually get that long or thick but she still can’t handle the extra bulk.

Pro Tip: If your dog has a nice coat that you don’t want to cut, try just cutting their stomach. You won’t be able to tell and they will be able to put their bare stomach against a cool ground.


  1. Wet your pet

An obvious choice but man, so useful. In summertime we typically have a spray bottle that we use to soak our pups,

especially their stomachs. They actually don’t mind getting wet for the most part but even when they do, they feel noticeably better afterwards.

We try to do all our walks and hikes in the morning time so they stay cool with much success. Sticking near rivers and lakes we try to throw our dogs in even if they don’t want to. This brings their core temperature down and helps them to cool off quicker.

Do you have any summer tricks for keeping cool that we missed? Let us know in the comment section below.



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We don’t just travel the world, we do it with three little rascals in tow. From our sassy Chihuahua, our docile dachshund to our goofy Labrador they provide us with endless adventures.

While life is all fun and games for the most part, these dogs do make traveling quite a bit harder.

Traveling with dogs requires more planning, more sacrifices and endlessly more adventures.

dogs It takes about three second after you have your own dog to realize that these four legged creatures are far more than pets, they become your kids (but the amazing kind that never cry or throw tantrums). We have three, and if we had any more square footage would rescue more and more.

At one point we kept finding stray dogs on the road feeding them and helping them find their way home. Needless to say, we are dog lovers and because of this we geared our life to be able to travel with our best friends in tow.

Check out some of our tips on traveling and hiking with your furry friends. We take our pups just about everywhere we go with us. Typically they add to our adventures but there are lots of extra things that we need to be aware of when traveling with them.

Read about how these little pups add so much to our trips as well as a few tips we’ve learned on our travels.

You have heard me write probably more than you need about how amazing this life is. It’s true, I am in love with it. The freedom to travel, the unbelievable places we visit and the memorable people we meet along the way. I try to keep it real and never gleam over the fact that oftentimes, especially in cities or on rainy days, it’s claustrophobic as hell and cleaning is a constant battle. But I never really talk about one of the biggest battles in this life. The truth is, this one leaves me vulnerable and I am sure you’re not here to read about the down times. Regardless, here it is.

Vanlife is lonely.

I know, I am constantly beside Myles, how can it be lonely. I am always writing about how we meet and talk to new people every single day, that doesn’t sound lonely. Well, it is. It is weird to me that my life feels so very on display that I never have privacy and yet still feel lonely.

Myles said to me one day “you know you’re great and all but I wish I had another opinion.” How true those words are, it actually shocked me. I may have been thinking it, but hearing him say it aloud reaffirmed just how lonely this life gets sometimes.

There are some things I just don’t want to talk to Myles about, you know those things you need a girlfriend for. Well in this life, I can’t just show up at my best friends door. If I have a question, Myles opinion is the only one I get. Sure, it is a great opinion and one I value more than any other, but sometimes you just crave a friend.

While we still have our friends, texting them isn’t as good as the real deal and sometimes it gets to us. We have learned that one of the best ways to combat this is to get a WiFi plan and message our friends whenever we start to feel lonely (sorry Courtney for the constant chatter).

We tend to feel less claustrophobic in this life and generally just worlds happier in the forest, but the downside of this is that we lose our reception and therefore our lifeline to our friends. Doing things independently, such as taking our dogs on a hike, even for a short time typically fixes this as we come back breathless from explaining all the cool things we found.

A side effect from this loneliness that has both good and bad repercussions is that we have learned about each other on such a deep level. This has brought us closer than we ever could have imagined but also caused some strife. I know what Myles is thinking by a mere face twitch now.

From someone like me who seems to never shut up to someone like Myles who is a man of few words, it is interesting to me that at times he feels the affects more than I do. I believe it is because I am constantly either chatting his ear off, telling long elaborate stories to the dogs or writing so much that my fingers feel they may fall off. Sure I may drive him nuts or look crazy when sitting on the grass talking to Roxy but for me it works.

Every life has pros and cons but for me the freedom I feel and the ever changing backdrop is a pro that far outweighs any con I am yet to find.

When we started this trip we had an idea of what it was going to be like. As much as we tried to do this without expectation and without any planning, nature set in and we couldn’t help but dream about our freedom. But, as always, reality is different. When we started this life, we were much like children at recess, running in circles basking in our new found freedom. We are now more like children after school – still running around hyped on sugar, but we know we have a little more time than the 15 minutes now.

In two months of Vanlife we have only paid to sleep once (I am writing this from an air-conditioned room in Saint Catharines, Ontario). We have slept everywhere from the mountains outside Lillooet to a department store’s parking lot in Wisconsin.


Six months ago Myles and I were sitting in our basement suite both injured and both extremely unhappy. Our injuries, although very different from one another, left us feeling in very similar ways. We were too young to feel like this, we felt bed ridden. Blinded with self pity we hardly ventured outside, we barely did anything. With no plans for a future, we certainly didn’t think anything positive.

In the past two months, we have traveled across five provinces and driven through eight states. Seen everything from frogs and vultures to bear cubs and elk, climbed up mountains, swam in lakes and got lost in the forests (more times than we care to admit). We’ve been euphoric, humbled, even scared. We have stopped in the most incredible cities, and some we wish we didn’t (a wrong turn just before getting into Colorado combined with a car that wouldn’t run turned a lot of heads and left us more than a little nervous). We’ve broken Gurt, and then fixed her more times than we can count.