Alberta is open fields of canola, ranches, sweeping mountain ranges, thriving cultural hubs – and you! Well, you and your loved one, of course. And the best news is, you don’t have to break the bank for a romantic weekend getaway.
1. Red Lodge Guest Ranch
Spend some time in the Wild West at Red Lodge Guest Ranch, a historic family-owned working cattle and horse ranch near Bowden. Stay for as low as $60 in a small cabin and enjoy a truly memorable vacation. Get some excitement on the high ropes course or the tandem zip line. Learn the ropes by saddling up and riding the horses, harnessing and driving teams, and even working with the cattle – or just simply relax under the clear prairie sky with your loved one by your side. The Ranch is especially known for a delicious Sunday morning brunch, so plan your weekend accordingly.
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2. Tipi Village and Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park
Enter a stunning facility to take a walk in the past at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park. Through exhibitions and performances, enjoy an authentic Blackfoot cultural experience. Take a guided or self-guided tour of nearby historic sites, sample traditional food in the restaurant, watch a time-honoured dance and evening performances, and learn about this valuable part of Alberta’s culture. For a unique experience, stay in Chief Crawfoot Tipi Village. Camp in a Tipi (with rates starting at $35 per person), laying back and watching the clouds and stars above through the poles at the top!
3. Sundre – Wild Horses, Whitewater rafting and more!
Get the mountain experience without the tourist prices of the more well-known mountain destinations in Sundre. Have you ever ridden a horse across a mountain ridge at sunset? You don’t know what you’re missing – but you don’t have to miss it long with a trip here. There are plenty of trail rides, both guided or self-guided, where you might just see wild horses. Take a trip on the wild side with white water rafting on mountain rivers.
Book a room at the nearby Rustler’s Lodge for a ranch-style night in Alberta’s “Heart of the West Country.” They even have retreats available for those couples who really want to get away from it all, among glorious mountain views and surrounded by forest.
4. Rocky Mountain House & Grandview Stage Resort
Rocky Mountain House is where adventure begins in Alberta! Located along the David Thompson Highway, you’ll be welcomed with warm hospitality. Kayaking, ice climbing, dog sledding, hiking, and much more – there is no end of activities year round. Make memories to share with each other long after you go back home while you’re here. The area is steeped in history of the Cree and Blackfoot, the early settlers and fur traders, and the development of the adventurous town it is today. Test your local history and learn together as you tour the area.
Budget Friendly Place to Stay: A favourite for couples, try Grandview Stage Resort when it comes to finding a place to stay.
Nestled within Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, the town of Elkwater is like nowhere else in Alberta. Elkwater Lake Lodge is the main hotel, also offering condos, and Bar-Zee Bed and Breakfast is a cozy budget friendly alternative just outside the townsite. There are plenty of hiking trails in the area for outdoorsy couples to discover stunning viewpoints by foot, bike, ski, or horseback. From cougars to turkeys, there is lots of wildlife to catch a glimpse of. Nip across the border into Saskatchewan, where the Cypress Hills Winery’s vineyards are a stunning (and delicious) landscape. 12-34 Café & Pub can brew you and your sweetheart a cup of specialty coffee or tea to end the day.
6. Provincial & National Park Camping
There’s nothing like a night under the stars with that special someone by your side. That’s why packing up a tent and heading to a campground is a great way to spend a weekend. There are approximately 500 sites in Alberta’s Provincial Park system alone, across a network of parks built since 1930. Add in National Parks, and you’ll have your pick of places to pitch your tent, from Miquelon Lake Provincial Park to Wood Buffalo National Park. Across such a wide variety of parks, you’ll find a variety of amenities, from backcountry trails and wildlife sightings to guided programs and amphitheatre programs.
6. Peace River
Peace River is perfect for a spur-of-the-moment getaway. Head up north to a cozy hotel or cabin on the riverbank and get away from all the distractions of home. Swing by Java Domain, a hidden gem of the area, for a fresh artisan coffee and sandwich on handmade bread. Step back in time at Historic Dunvegan and the Peace River Museum. Get adventurous by white water rafting the river or skiing in the winter. Hop in the car for scenic drives of the Peace River Valley, where every bend in the road reveals another breathtaking view and photo op, including Sagitawa Lookout. What’s a romantic getaway without coming away with the perfect Instagram pic of your favourite person to share?
Visit the Grand Canyon of Alberta with a trip to the badlands. Drumheller is much more than dinos (though, you won’t want to miss a trip to Royal Tyrell!). Cozy B&Bs, romantic inns, and charming cabins provide accommodation that won’t disappoint. Hike among the Hoodoos, explore the Atlas Coal Mine, or gaze across the Horsethief Canyon for an almost otherworldly view. No matter the attraction, you won’t find a more breathtaking background for your vacation photos. Inns and Spas at Heartwood is the perfect spot to relax with a massage. Have a meal you’ll never forget at Sublime Food & Wine, then top it off with homemade cakes from Cafe Ole.
Vegreville makes for a great weekend getaway not only since it’s so easy to get to and there’s a lot to do in town, but also because there is a lot of easy-to-afford activities in the surrounding area. The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage is just 40 minutes west, and Elk Island National Park is next to that and is Canada’s only entirely-fenced national park. Of course, no visit to Vegreville is complete without a pic in front of the Pysanka, the world’s largest Ukrainian Easter egg! While you’re at it, there are 14 other giant roadside attractions close to the town, so take a drive and see how many you can find! Consider staying at Barn Loft Inn, a quaint B&B just outside town, next to the Vermillion River.
It’s easy to take a romantic getaway in Alberta while keeping to a budget. Once you start looking, you’ll be surprised at how much you can find!