Exploring Alberta Capital Region and beyond: Day Trips From Edmonton

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“People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of things* they ignore at home”. – Dagobert D. Runes

Be a tourist in your City!

This summer, after enjoying all the treasures of the Capital city,  roundup your friends or family, and have an enchanting time exploring Alberta’s Capital Region. From deep canyons to sand dunes to pristine lakes, there are LOTS to experience within two hours of Edmonton.

5 Day Trips with Toddlers

  1. Visit Fort Saskatchewan to see the Sheep.
  2. Visit Gibbons/Bon Accord (Prairie Gardens & Jurassic Forest).
  3. Beaches around Edmonton
  4. Edmonton Corn Maze
  5. Saumer Time Alpaca Ranch at Onoway.

5 Day Trips with Older Kids

  1. Visit Sylvan Lake
  2. Enjoy tubing at Pembina River
  3. Explore Hardluck Canyon and Whitecourt.
  4. Explore UFO Landing Site at St. Paul
  5. Visit Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village.

A summary of attractions and activities within 2 hours of Edmonton (outside city of Edmonton limits) are listed in this article.

Before you go: 

1. Check Weather Warnings, Road Conditions Beaches water quality,  Blue green algae advisory and fire bans. During provincial/local fire bans, use of OHV vehicles might be restricted. Please verify before travelling.

2. The local trips are extremely cheap. Most country museums’ admissions are by donation or free and nature attractions are always free. You may pack a picnic to enjoy on the way at the local park or call the local tourism phone number and ask for recommendations for local eats made from farm fresh local produce.

Contents

  • Page 1: Day trips North West of Edmonton – between  Yellowhead Highway/Highway 16 and Highway 28 (Highway 28 traverses NE of Edmonton)
  • Page 2: Day trips North East of Edmonton – between Highway 16 and Highway 28
  • Page 3: Day trips South West of Edmonton – between Highway 16 and Highway 2. (Article in Progress )
  • Page 4:Day trips South East of Edmonton – between Highway 16 and Highway 2. (Article NOT DONE )
  • Page 4:References: Links to regional tourism websites and other useful websites.

1. North West of Edmonton – between Highway 16 and 28.

Destination

St. Albert

Directions

Go: Situated just under 15km from Edmonton downtown, St Albert can be reached easily through Highway 2 (St Albert Trail) and public transit.

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Know:  The fifth largest city of  Alberta was settled by Father Albert Lacombe in 1860s. St. Albert is one of the first established Metis settled towns in Alberta and also the province’s oldest non fortified community.
 Official Website; Phone: 780-459-1500

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Soak up the history of St Albert by visiting Father Lacombe Chapel Provincial Historic Site, Musée Héritage Museum, and Little White School. Learn the importance Grain Elevators had in Alberta’s agricultural past at Grain Elevator Park. Experience the Botanical Arts city by visiting St Albert Botanical Park, and  going on an a public art walk tour.  Enjoy nature by hiking Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park and John E. Poole Interpretive Boardwalk. More about attractions in St Albert.

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 Get something unique for yourselves from the many shops and boutiques at Perron District and go home with  Alberta grown goodies from St Albert Farmers Market.

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Enjoy Northern Alberta International Children’s Festival (in May)  that showcases the highest calibre performing, literary and visual arts designed specifically for families and youth, experience the action at The Kinsmen Rainmaker Rodeo and Exhibition (May) and see more than 700 classic cars during Rock ‘n August, celebrate all things winter during Snowflake Festival (end of November).

 

Destination

Morinville

Directions

Go: Town of Morinville is located in Sturgeon County. Distance: Under 40 km from Edmonton downtown. ~ 40 minute drive. Directions

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Know: Town of Morinville was settled by Father Jean-Baptiste Morin in 1890s.  Morinville was a religious centre for French-speaking Catholics who settled in the region.
Website, Phone: 780-939-4361

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Tour historical vignettes and tableaus in the beautiful St. Jean Baptiste Park, and admire the architecture of  St. Jean Baptiste church, a provincial historic site. Visit the Musée Morinville Museum, that was once Notre Dame Convent and learn about the founding families, pioneer life and Morinville history.

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GetMorinville Farmers Market operates every Friday from 12:00 PM – 05:00 PM.

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Enjoy a performance at Morinville Community Cultural Centre, join for  St. Jean Baptiste Festival in June that celebrates Morinville’s history and community, or  Oktoberfest – German Heritage Celebration (October) and celebrate winter during snowman festival ( February).

 

Destination

Legal

Directions

Go: Town of Legal is located in Sturgeon County. Distance: Under 53 km from Edmonton downtown. ~ 45 minutes drive.Directions

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Know: Named after Monsignor Emile-Joseph Legal, a missionary and Edmonton’s first Roman Catholic Archbishop, Legal a fracophone settlement founded in late 1890s. The town is officially bilingual.
Website, Phone: 780-961-3773

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Go on a mural tour and see the  35 murals depicting the french heritage of Legal – hence called French Mural Capital of the World per capita. (call the ACFA Centralta at 780-961-3665 for more information about mural tours)  or linger at Lily Lake, see native Alberta birds or explore the lake through canoeing. For a weekend getaway near to home, stay at Lily Lake Village Resort, located on the site of the Old Red Barn and former Alberta wildlife park.

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Get: Legal Farmers Market operates every Thursdays, June – September.

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Join for Legal’s annual festival Fête au Village held in July.



Destination

Onoway

Directions

Go: Located at the junction of Highways 37 and 43. Distance: Under 70 km from Edmonton downtown. ~ 60 minute drive. Directions

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Know: Known as the “Hub of the Highways”, Onoway means lush meadow in native language. Onoway became a village in 1923 and grew reflecting the fortunes of neighbouring cities and towns. Onoway became a town in 2005.
Website, Phone: 780-967-1015

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 Delight in your toddler’s glee as they pet alpacas at Saumer Time Alpaca Ranch  and  tour Onoway Museum that exhibits, interprets and restores historical artifacts and antiquities. Skydive with Eden North Parachute Schools over  Lake Eden area.
Parkland County areas North of Highway 16.
See here for a nature day trip that includes  Devil’s Lake, Salters’ Lake, Imrie Park, and Chickakoo Lake Recreational Area.

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Get one of a kind, handmade alpaca products from Alberta-raised Alpacas from Saumer Time Alpaca Ranch and visit Onoway Farmers Market (held on Fridays).

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Join for the country fair called Heritage Fair held in first friday in June.

 

Destination

Alberta Beach

Directions

Go: Located in Lac Ste. Anne County, along Highway 43. Distance: ~  75 km. Drive: ~ 60 minutes. Directions

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Know:  Located on the shores of  Lac Ste Anne, Alberta Beach was developed by  Canadian Northern Railway as a railway community . Eventually it developed into a summer destination for Edmontonians with special summer train services during July and  August. The lake is also the site of the annual Lac St. Anne Pilgrimage, important to Catholics and First Nations.
Website; Phone: (780) 924-3181

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Experience sandy shorelines, fresh water, great swimming and have a lazy day the beach. Go jet skiing in summer and or snowmobiling in winter. Play golf at Alberta Beach Golf Resort.
Visit George Pegg Botanic Garden situated on the North side of the  Lac Ste. Anne Lake (in Glenevis) and explore  this  plant collector’s garden of wildflowers, trees, and perennials.  ~30 km from the beach.

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Get garden ornaments and Alberta grown plants for your garden from Granola Garden Centre  (best visited on the way back to Edmonton from the botanic garden) and visit the farmers market on Sundays.

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Enjoy sun filled days at the beach during August long weekend during Polynesian Days and snowy days during family day long weekend at Snow-Mo Days.

 

Destination

Westlock

Directions

Go: Town of Westlock is situated at the junction of junction of Highway 44 and Highway 18. Distance: ~ 90 km. Drive: ~ 70 minutes. Directions

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Know:  The Town of Westlock was founded in 1910s when the E.D. & B.C. Railway mapped a new townsite in the area. The town is named after  William Westgate and William Lockhart who owned property in the village that was incorporated in 1916.
Official Website; Phone: 780-349-4444

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Visit  the Canadian Tractor Museum featuring the world’s largest working weather vane complete with a vintage tractor balancing on the top of a 60 foot pole and see over 100+ fully-restored antique tractors. Explore Westlock Pioneer museum and see unique collections of Aladdin lamps, doll Collections, phonographs and gramophones, Trueblood family gun collection, and a 1920 Buick McLaughlin convertible. Be adventurous and try skydiving at the Westlock Municipal Airport with Edmonton Skydive.
Explore nature at Spruce Island Lake Natural area (30 minutes North from Westlock town) and and enjoy  Old Spruce Island Lake Trail through cross country skiing or hiking.

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Get art works,  flower bouquets, figurines and other gifts from the Flower Shoppe.

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Participate in Westlock Fair (August), or take in a live performance at Westlock Cultural Arts Theatre.

 

Destination

Thorhild & Halfmoon Lake

Directions

Go: Thorhild is located at junction of Highway 18 and Highway 827.  Distance: ~ 85 km, NE of Edmonton. Drive: ~ 70 minutes. To reach Halfmoon Lake, travel  14 km west of the Hamlet of Thorhild on Highway 18 then 10 km south on Range Road 232 Directions

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Know:  Formerly village of Thorhild, the village was dissolved in 2009 and became a hamlet within Thorhild county.
 Official Website; Phone: 780-398-3741

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See the giant sunflower statue located at Sunflower Memorial Park.  Visit Thorhild museum to learn about early pioneers of Thorhild, local history and heritage. Enjoy nature,  rustic trails at Halfmoon Lake Natural Area, beach with children’s play ground, swimming area, boating, fishing at Halfmoon Lake Park ( Ph: 780-961-3308).

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Stop by Nook in the Woods (59204 Range Rd 223), a unique country store with gourmet foods, teas, spices and  Erdmann’s Gardens & Greenhouses to get fresh produce for your dinner.

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Experience Thorhild Annual Stampede and demolition derby on July 1.

 

Destination

Barrhead

Directions

Go: Located along Paddle river, at the junction of Highway 33 (Grizzly Trail) and Highway 18, Distance: ~ 125 km Drive: ~ 90 minutes. Directions

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Know:  Barrhead is situated on the historic Express Trail to  Yukon  during Klondike Gold Rush and also near the fur trade route that linked Fort Assiniboine and Edmonton. The town was named after a Scotland town, birthplace of James McGuire, an early settler of the area. It is the centre of one of Alberta’s richest agricultural and forestry areas.
 Website; Phone: 780-674-3301

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Visit  Barrhead museum, explore third largest display of African artifacts in Canada and see exhibits depicting the pioneering lifestyle of the settlers in Barrhead. Play golf at Paddle River Golf & Country Club  or hike  the  10-kilometre Blue Heron Walking Trail through some of Barrhead’s most scenic landmarks from the Paddle Golf club along Paddle river to Barrhead Golf Club. OR travel 18 km to reach Thunder Lake Provincial Park and enjoy  water-skiing, swimming, hiking, fishing, winter activities,  and camping.

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Stroll by the strawberry tunnels and through the cherry orchard, and shop for wine, alpaca products or other local treasurers at Shady Lane Estate  and pick fresh berries from Dez Family U-Pick (780- 305-7079).

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Enjoy  Beef Show,  Demolition Derby and more during Blue Heron Fair and Rodeo in August and take in the action during Wildrose Rodeo Finals in September.

 

Destination

Fort Assiniboine

Directions

Go: Located in Woodlands County along the north shore of the Athabasca River at the junction of Highway 33 and Highway 661. Distance: ~ 160 km, NE. Drive: ~ Under 2 hours. Directions
Travelling north on Highway 33 (to Swan Hills) will get you to the geographical centre of Alberta.

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Know:  Hudson’s Bay Company  founded a trading post in 1823 at the location of the current Fort Assiniboine Museum called ‘Athabaska River House’ as part of reorganizing  trade routes that linked Saskatchewan and Assiniboine rivers. Fort Assiniboine is a National historic site of Canada.
 Official Website; Phone: 780-778-8400

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See the world’s largest Wagon Wheel and Pick Axe that celebrates the fact that Fort Assiniboine is the second oldest fort in Alberta and enrich your knowledge of area history by visiting Fort Assiniboine Museum constructed in the Hudson’s Bay trading post style.  Meander through Holmes Crossing Sandhills Ecological Reserve that contains some of the best transverse dunes in Canada.  Enjoy bird and wildlife watching, fishing, hiking and horseback riding, canoeing and more at Fort Assiniboine Sandhills Wildland Park. Take the Klondyke Ferry ride over Athabasca river, one of the seven cabled ferries remaining in Alberta, on your way back home. Timeu OHV Area,  north of Fort Assiniboine Sandhills Wildland Park, is a great visit for an ATV enthusiast.

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Have fun at the Antique Car Rally show and Shine at Fort Assiniboine Community Centre in May and enjoy the annual festival Fort Assiniboine Hamlet Hoedown & Wild Rose Rodeo in August.

 

Destination

Boyle

Directions

Go: Located in Athabasca County on Highway 63. Distance: ~ 150km. Drive: ~ 110 minutes Directions

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Know:  Village of Boyle is named after Alberta Minister of Education Justice John R. Boyle  and was founded in 1916.
Website; Phone: 780-689-3643

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Boyle is the gateway to many nature recreation opportunities in Athabasca County. Follow the flights of birds at Flat Lake and enjoy sandy beaches, water activities and fishing at Hope Lake.  Long Lake Provincial Park protecting the heavily wooded valley provides year round activities from downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling to canoeing, swimming, hiking, windsurfing, boating and more! White Earth Valley Nature Area south of the provincial park offer wildlife  viewing and ideal terrain for hiking.

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Get plants and trees from Mr. V’s Field & Forest Inc and see the show gardens that range from rose gardens to shade gardens.

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Take in the action at Boyle Rodeo in July and Wild Berry Festival in August.

 

Destination

Athabasca

Directions

Go: Located on Highway 2. Distance: ~ 150km. Drive: ~1 hour and 45 minutes. Directions

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Know:  Town of Athabasca, was once called Athabasca Landing during late 1800, was a major  transportation hub for Hudson’s Bay, and a meeting place for a First Nations, Métis, and European traders. The Athabasca Landing Trail constructed by the Hudson’s Bay Company linked Fort Edmonton to Athabasca. This was  Alberta’s first Dominion Highway and Canada’s first toll road.
Website; Phone: 780-675-2273

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Go on a self guided walking tour (get guide from Athabasca Heritage Society located at Athabasca CNR Train Station) exploring the many significant buildings and sites in the area including Grand Union Hotel and Athabasca United Church. Be in sync with nature as you hike Muskeg Creek Trail enjoying wildflowers and wildlife. Baptiste Lake situated west of the Town provides summer water recreational activities, snowmobiling and skiing in winter.

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Get: Athabasca Farmers’ Market operates on Saturdays in Summer.

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Enjoy  music, local artisans, other family oriented activities and celebrate Canada Day during Magnificent River Rats Festival.

Cross Lake Provincial Park is another day trip or weekend getaway destination (within 2 hours of Edmonton).

Destination

Entwistle & Evansburg

Directions

Go: Located north of Yellowhead highway & highway 22 (Cowboy trail). Distance: ~105 km Drive: ~75 minutes. Directions

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Know:  Communities Entwistle and  Evansburg was founded during the construction of Grand Trunk Pacific Railway bridge across the Pembina River. Entwistle is also called the Diamond Capital of Canada.
Website. Phone: 780-727-2393

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Experience Pembina River through tubing , enjoy swimming, fishing, canoeing,  hiking, wildlife viewing at Pembina River Provincial Park and visit Tipple Park Museum to learn about the history of the area.

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Get: Evansburg Farmer’s Market operates on Saturdays.

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Join in the fun during Pembina Valley Daze in August and enjoy Entwistle Rodeo in June.

 

Destination

Wildwood & Chip Lake

Directions

Go: Situated north of Yellowhead highway. Distance: ~140 & Drive: ~2 hours. Directions

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Know:  Wildwood is a community in Yellowhead county located  south of Chip Lake.
 Website; Phone: 780-898-1446/780-325-3882

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Chip lake is great for fishing and birdwatching Bird species include Whooping Cranes and Osprey and is home to more than 127 recorded bird species. Visit Chip Lake Park managed by the Ravine Community Association to access the boat launch and day use area.

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Groove to the music during Chip Lake Music Festival held in late May/ early June and  join for an action packed weekend during  Wildwood Bronc Bustin”.

 

Destination

Whitecourt

Directions

Go: Town of Whitecourt is located in Woodlands county. Distance: 180 km. Drive: ~2 hours. Directions

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Know:  The Snowmobile Capital of Alberta,  where even the rivers meet (confluence of the Athabasca, McCleod and Sakwatamau (Eagle) River and Beaver Creek) grew around the Hudson Bay trading post that was built in late 1897.
Website; Phone: 780-778-3433

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On the way to Whitecourt, stop at Mayethrope and visit Fallen Four Memorial Park.




In summer – Visit Heritage Park and go on a tour of heritage buildings like old Blue Ridge Church, Baxter Cabin and a trappers shack. The Forest Interpretive Gallery located on the grounds explores how Whitecourt develped through forestry related activities. Go Tubing at  McLeod River, and visit E.S. Huestis Demonstration Forest to learn how recreation, wildlife habitat and resource harvesting are sustained over an extended period of time. Tour Alberta’s one and only newsprint mill, Alberta Newsprint Company’s newsprint mill and learn about paper making. Tour Millar Western’s pulp mill and sawmill to know about lumber, pulp processing. The Whitecourt & District Chamber of Commerce offers free guided tours of Whitecourt Power, ANC, and the Millar Western Sawmill during the summer.
HardLuck Canyon located approximately 20 minutes SW of Whitecourt  features 20 metre sandstone cliffs lining a small stream running into the McLeod River and enjoy the sight of HardLuck Falls tumbling down the cliffs during high run-off season. Go down the stairs running down to the bottom of the canyon, hike the trails and enjoy a picnic in the woods. Enjoy year round fishing in the clear waters of McLeod lakes at Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park.  The park is also great for birding, wildlife viewing, hiking (including fall colour tours), boating, canoeing and more!
Comeback once again in winter to enjoy  snowscapes, ice fishing, skiing and of course, snowmobiling!

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 See Canadian Forces Snowbirds flying past during Hometown Heroes Airshow (once in two years), sendoff summer during Party In The Park over labour day long weekend, and witness the excitement during Jet Boat Races.

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  • 3 Comments

    1. Micheline Émond

      I am having a lot of diffilculty to find travel agent to have day or 4 days trips arounds Edmonton,it is possible to receive brochures for my trips?
      Micheline Emond

      March 14, 2016 at 1:59 PM
      1. todocanada (Listing owner)

        Please contact Edmonton Tourism (780.401.7696) or Travel Alberta ([email protected]). For DIY trip of four days to Jasper National Park from Edmonton you can see this article – http://www.todocanada.ca/Road-trip-from-Edmonton/. You can also visit Banff http://www.todocanada.ca/attractions-banff-national-park/ ) if you have more days to spare.

        March 14, 2016 at 4:07 PM
    2. Brenda

      You have quite a few broken links on this page.

      May 19, 2017 at 5:30 PM

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