Alberta is very much a province of contrasts. With the wild open fields of the prairies, visitors and residents will find endless opportunities to watch incredible sunrises and sunsets and discover the history of farming in the area, not to mention the activities that can go along with this beautiful landscape. The imposing Rocky Mountains provide incredible natural vistas of valleys, peaks, rivers, lakes and glaciers, along with innumerable adventure activities. The Badlands provides an interesting landscape and history of the dinosaurs that once roamed this area. The lakes and forested areas of Alberta give travellers the chance to relax on gorgeous beaches, partake in water activities and fishing, and provide lovely hiking opportunities. Along with the First Nations culture, beautiful and unique places to stay and see, and some phenomenal food, you can’t go wrong with the time spent in this stunning province.
Whether you are looking for relaxing activities or adrenaline-pumping adventures, here is a list of 50+ ideas for an Alberta staycation.
**Some places mentioned in this article may not be open due to COVID-19. We have listed about 5 places for each activity. In order to reduce travel during COVID-19, check for similar attractions nearer to you. Make sure you are aware of the latest health and travel advisories. **
1. View Some Natural Wonders
Alberta is a province of landscape contrasts, from the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the canyons of the prairies. There is ancient history that resides in the province as wind, rain, and rivers have carved out natural formations, or left interesting natural relics behind. There are many more than just this short list and if you are going out to discover these, be prepared to find others along the way.
- Sulphur Gates – Take the short hiking trail to see the Sulphur Gates, an impressive cliff at the confluence of Smoky and Sulphur rivers. Dramatic rock formations adorn this site and define the two rivers in stark contrast. Sulphur Gates Recreation Area – Grande Cache.
- Drumheller Hoodoos – Hoodoos take millions of years to form and stand 5 to 7 metres tall. Each hoodoo is a sandstone pillar resting on a thick base of shale that is capped by a large stone. These unique natural formations can be found all over the Badlands, but the protected site is the best place to view them. Coulee Way, Drumheller
- Red Rock Coulee – This is a protected area that is home to some unique, large red spherical sandstone structures that have eroded out of softer bedrock. They measure up to 2.5 metres across and are believed to be among largest in the world.
- Big Rock Erratic – The 16,500-tonne boulder that is visible here was transported far from its mountainous place of origin by a rockslide then by a glacial sheet of ice between 10,000 to 30,000 years ago. This prominent geological landmark is a historical site of great spiritual significance to the Blackfoot peoples. AB-7, Foothills County
- Red Rock Canyon – Located in Waterton National Park, this is another unique area with the layers of red and green colored minerals that offer a brilliant contrast to each other and the lush surroundings. You can climb down and wade through the creek or brave the cold waters and swim in the shallow pools along the canyon. AB-5, Waterton Park
- Horseshoe Canyon – Located in the Badlands, this canyon is an incredible site. The striped canyon walls reveal the layers of time down to a time when dinosaurs roamed the area. There are plenty of pull outs and lookouts, but you can also hike down into the canyon. Township Rd 284, Kneehill County
2. Go Canyoning
Along with rivers and mountains come the spectacular canyons that have been carved by time and the natural elements. For adventurers who want to travel into the deeps of these remarkable canyons, there are plenty of hikes and guided canyoning to satisfy that spirit. For others who want a more sedate way of experiencing a canyon, there are drive options and incredible viewpoints.
- Clearwater Country Canyoning –Western Canyoning Adventure company will take you on guided exploring of deep canyons and narrow gorges across many sites spread across Abraham Lake area on the Thompson Highway.
- Ogre Canyon – All over Yellowhead County, there are plenty of locations that are phenomenal for climbing and canyoning. Ogre Canyon, 7 km from Brule, is one of the more well-known places and is a good place to go for those with intermediate hiking/climbing skills. Go for a guided adventure with Rocky Mountain Canyoning.
- Stewart Canyon – This canyon is home to the Cascade River, which flows from Cascade Mountain into Lake Minnewanka. A wide trail leads over the bridge that spans Stewart Canyon and provides outstanding views toward Lake Minnewanka and up into Stewart Canyon. From the parking area to the river gorge and back this great little hike is about 6.5 kilometers. Banff National Park
- Maligne Canyon – The deepest canyon in Jasper National Park, with a depth of more than 50 metres at certain points offers an incredible canyoning experience. Hikers of all abilities can explore this incredible natural landmark by crossing six bridges built across various points of the canyon. Jasper National Park.
- Mistaya Canyon – A popular canyon due to its distinctive curvy canyon walls and because it is easy to access, being just off the Icefields Parkway. The views to mountains upstream is breathtaking, with a short, easy hike leading to some excellent viewpoints.
- Hard Luck Canyon – This canyon features 20 metre sandstone cliffs lining a small stream running into the McLeod River. Enjoy the sight of Hard Luck 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. 20 minutes SW of Whitecourt.
3.See a Glacier
Having mountains in a good part of the province allows visitors to experience mountainous scenes and activities that are not available in other areas of the country, such as getting up close to a glacier. Of course, not all glaciers are completely accessible, some may require a tour to get up onto them, or some extreme hiking. Others are visible from hiking trails or from the appropriately named Icefields Parkway.
- Angel Glacier – This is an extensive glacier which flows down the north face of Mount Edith Cavell. It has the appearance of an angel with out-swept wings, hence the name. It can be accessed by a short walk. Cavell Road, Improvement District No. 12
- Columbia Icefields/Athabasca Glacier – This is the most famous and most visited of the glaciers in the area. You can either hike or go on a bus tour to walk on the glacier, which is one of the six (toes) of the large Columbia Icefields. AB-93, Jasper
- Victoria Glacier – This glacier is situated at the “end” of Lake Louise. You can view it easily right from the lakeshore or access it by hiking up to the Six Plains Teahouse and continuing on the unmarked trail from there. Please don’t walk on the glacier itself. 111 Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise
- Peyto Glacier – Located on the Continental Divide, the glacier (and the lake) can be seen at Bow Summit, which is the highest point on Icefields Parkway. The Glacier now is only a short “toe” of the Wapta Icefield. There is a short walk to the lookout point, or a steep walk down to the lake. AB-93, Improvement District No. 9
- Saskatchewan Glacier – This is the other major glacier coming off the Columbia Icefields and has the largest outflow. It can only be accessed by a decently difficult hike. Please follow the directions carefully and carry proper gear.
4. See Some Dinosaurs
The first dinosaur remains in Canada were found in Alberta in 1884, by a young geologist. His name was Joseph Burr Tyrrell. He found the skull of a meat-eating dinosaur a few kilometres from Drumheller. Now the major dinosaur museum in the area bears his name and is one of the premier museums in the world, with thousands of fossils. This isn’t the only one in the province though, and you can discover this ancient world in several areas of the province.
- Royal Tyrrell Museum – With more complete and real specimens on display than any other dinosaur museum in the province, this is the #1 destination for those looking for a dinosaur experience. 1500 N Dinosaur Trail, Drumheller
- Fossil World Discovery Center – This museum features more than 1,000 fossils, along with interactive exhibits and animatronic dinosaurs. 1381 N Dinosaur Trail 10 2018, Drumheller
- Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum – A recent addition to the dinosaur museums in the province, this site was constructed next to the renowned paleontological site Pipestone Creek, the world’s densest dinosaur bone bed and has state of the art exhibits. 9301 112 Ave, Wembley
- Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur Heritage Museum – This is a key historic site for dinosaur history because in 1997, ten fossilized dinosaur eggs, believed to have come from a Hadrosaur, were found at Devil’s Coulee site. 300A county road, Warner
- Jurassic Forest – Situated in a boreal forest setting, this fun site features more than 40 animatronic dinosaurs in their natural habitat. 23210 Township Road 564 #2, Gibbons
5. Cross a Ferry
Take kids along and travel on a cable ferry for free. Learn the science behind cable ferries and cross a river in one of Alberta’s six remaining river ferries.
- Shaftesbury Ferry – Highway 740 over the Peace River.
- Bleriot Ferry – Highway 838 over the Red Deer River
- Klondyke Ferry – Smallest Ferry. Highway 661 over the Athabasca River
- La Crete Ferry – Largest Ferry. Highway 697 over the Peace River
- Finnegan Ferry – Highway 862 over the Red Deer River
- Crowfoot Ferry – Range Road 201, 5 km south of the junction of Highways 1 and 56
6. Take a Tour of a Mine
From the early part of the 1900’s, coal mining played an important part of the province’s industry. Until the Leduc oil discovery in 1947, Alberta’s coal industry remained the primary source of energy in the province. Mining was a dangerous industry in the early days and the history of how they managed the work is interesting. It is now possible to tour several of the original mines to see how the coal was extracted and how the miners lived.
- Bellevue Underground Mine Tours – This site showcases the life of coal miners in Western Canada. This mine produced over 13 million tons of coal in its 60-year lifespan before closing in the 1960s. 2531 213 St, Bellevue
- Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site – This National Historic Site is the most complete history of coal mining in Canada with 70 acres and two dozen buildings that show visitors how Alberta’s energy industry was born. 110 Century Dr W, East Coulee
- Nordegg Heritage Museum – This is one of Canada’s largest industrial heritage sites and has stood abandoned since the mid 1950’s. Guided tours of the Brazeau Collieries Mine Site are available for a fee, while browsing through the museum and picture gallery is by donation. 1002 Stuart St, Clearwater County
7. View a Glacier Lake
Glacial lakes typically form at the foot of a glacier or sometimes form from natural depressions that catch escaping meltwater. The lovely colors of the glacial waters create stunning vistas for visitors. The colours are due to rock flour carried in the glacial melt that trickles down to the lakes. The sun reflects off these particles, refracting blue and green wavelengths of light. Luckily, Alberta has numerous beautiful glacier lakes through the Rocky Mountains.
- Moraine Lake – One of the most popular glacier lakes in Banff National Park, this lake is in the gorgeous Valley of the 10 Peaks. 622 Moraine Lake Rd, Banff National Park
- Lake Louise – The most famous of the glacier lakes in the province, you can enjoy rowing on the lake or walking towards the foot of the glacier that is visible at the far end of this stunning lake. 111 Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise
- Peyto Lake – From the Icefields Parkway you can follow a forested trail to a lookout of this unique glacier-fed waterway known for its bright turquoise water. Hwy 93 North, Improvement District No. 9
- Maligne Lake – Featuring the much-photographed Spirit Island, this lake is well known for the surrounding beauty of mountains and glaciers as well as being the largest natural lake in the Rockies. Township Rd 433A, Jasper
- Lake Minnewanka – Just 5 kms from Banff, this lake is the second-longest in the Rockies, and its scenery will make you want to stay all day. Take a cruise to enjoy the waters. Lake Minnewanka Scenic Dr, Improvement District No. 9 (Banff National Park)
8. Visit a Garden
Alberta is a province of sometimes harsh, cold winters and beautiful warm summers, so it is also a province of contrasts when it comes to gardens to visit. There are both indoor and outdoor spaces that allow guests to enjoy the joy of plants year-round. Each one is unique, with different plants and attractions and beauty. Some are free, while others have an entry fee.
- Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden – This Japanese style garden covers 4 acres and was established in 1967 to celebrate the friendship between Japan and Canada. Corner of 9th Ave S &, Mayor Magrath Dr S, Lethbridge
- George Pegg Botanic Garden – Not just a lovely botanic garden, this is a historic site as George Pegg was the first person to document a large number of plant species. 56015 Range Rd 43, Glenevis
- U of A Botanic Garden – Belonging to the University of Alberta, this site has 240 acres devoted to themed gardens and indoor showhouses with an incredible variety of trees, plants and flowers. 51227 AB-60, Spruce Grove
- Olds College Botanic Garden and Treatment Wetlands – Wander along 1.3 kms of lush pathways of these exquisite gardens that follows flowering trees and shrubs, fabulous displays of annuals, hardy peonies, lilies and roses, herb garden and AAS Selection Display Gardens, and wetland ponds. Olds College, 4500 50 St, Olds
9. View Some of the World’s Largest Things
Alberta is absolutely chock full of what is considered to be the largest of things in the world. In fact, there are at least 25 places that claim to have the largest of something or other. Some of these have been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, others have not but are still impressive. Unique and creative in nature, each one will provide some great selfies.
- BIG Red Chairs and Totem Pole – Mackenzie Crossroad’s Museum and Visitor’s Centre in High Level is home to the infamous BIG Red Chairs (10ft Tall, 6ft Wide, 9ft Long) and Totem Pole (30ft Tall). 10803 – 96 Street, High Level
- Biggest Pysanka (Easter Egg) – This Ukrainian-style Easter egg is intricately built and the second largest of this type of egg in the world at 31 feet long and 3.5 stories tall. The amazing thing is that it turns with the wind! 4500 Pysanka Avenue, Vegreville
- Biggest Fishing Lure – This lure measures in at 40 ft 5.25” and the spoon itself is 27.5 ft long and 9.5 ft wide. Just waiting for the biggest fish! Len Thompson Dr, Lacombe
- World’s Largest Beaver – This fantastic beaver weighs 1,500 lbs and is 18′ long, 10′ wide and 10′ high. That’s not including the log! 506 5 Ave, Beaverlodge
- World’s Largest Perogy – Yet another tribute to the Ukrainian cultural history of the province, you can check out this unique perogy on a fork, which is 27 feet tall and 12 feet wide, weighing in at an amazing 6,000 pounds. 3 St E, Glendon
- Largest Western Boot – At what once was a Western Boot Factory store, you can find this icon of western life. The big boot is an incredible 40 feet tall. 10007 167 St NW, Edmonton
10. Enjoy a Waterfall
The tons of water rushing over rocks and cliffs, tumbling to the pools, lakes or rivers below, make for incredible moments that turn into unforgettable memories. There are innumerable waterfalls in the province that can be seen along hikes and highways. Some are easily found, others are more hidden, all are worth the effort.
- Johnston Canyon – One of the favourite destinations in Banff National Park, this is not just one beautiful waterfall, but a series of falls that cut down through the deep canyon. There is an easy hike and you can choose to go to the lower falls, upper falls, or all the way to the paintpots at the top. Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9
- Athabasca Falls – Close to the town of Jasper, you will find these impressive falls tumbling down, not the highest in the province, but one of the most powerful due to the amount of water flowing in the river. AB-93A, Jasper
- Sunwapta Falls – These gorgeous falls are another “set” that you can choose to view from the top or have a short hike. The upper falls are visible from the lookout point, the lower falls require a 3-km hike. 54 km south of Jasper, off Highway 93, watch for the signs for the parking lot.
- Cameron Falls – This picturesque waterfall occasionally turns pink after a heavy rain. There is a great place to stop to take pictures as it is right next to the road. Improvement District No. 4, Waterton National Park
- Kakwa Falls – If you really want to get away from things, consider Kakwa Falls. Located 160 km southwest of Grand Prarie and deep within the Kakwa Wildland Provincial Park, you’ll find Alberta’s tallest waterfall at 30 m high. Kakwa Wildland Provincial Park
11. Experience a Thrill
Summer months in Alberta open up opportunities for a wide variety of exciting adventure activities for those who wish to put a little zing in their lives. From soft adventures such as walking out onto a glass-bottomed viewing platform, to the world’s largest indoor rollercoaster, to gearing up on a racetrack, to jumping out of planes or flying down a hillside, there is something to satisfy even the most fearless among us.
- Downhill Karting by Skyline Luge – This gravity-fueled activity is located at the famous Winsport facility where the Winter Olympic Luge track is also located. Accessed via chairlift you will drop over 328 feet from the Start Zone and kart down the 5,905 feet of twisting track to the End Zone. Winsport Canada Olympic Park, 88 Canada Olympic Road SW, Calgary
- Skydive Eden North – One of the best places to skydive in the province, you can choose to take lessons to dive on your own or do a one time jump as a tandem with a qualified instructor. Check out the beauty of the province from above! 2023 Township Rd 540, Onoway
- Amazing Speed – Offering the only chance in western Canada to experience some speed in some of the world’s most powerful supercars, you can have the opportunity to fly around on Edmonton’s purpose-built track, accompanied by a professional race car driver. 244047A, Township Rd 464, Wetaskiwin
- Mindbender – The tallest indoor rollercoaster is located in West Edmonton Mall. It is the world’s largest indoor triple-loop roller coaster and riders will reach a maximum speed of 97 km/h and experience upwards of 5.6 Gs. Galaxyland, 2784, 8882 170 St NW, Edmonton
- Calaway Park – Calaway Park Calgary is Western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park. The park spans 160 acres (operating on 100 acres) and has a collection of over 32 rides including children’s rides, thrill rides and family rides. 245033 Range Rd 33, Calgary.
12. Camp in a Provincial Park
The province is home to more than 450 provincial parks and protected areas where you can find spend your summer downtime. Many of these have camping facilities or offer backcountry camping on long trails. Make sure you check out restrictions and availability at the campground of your choice, as some may require reservations, while others are first come first serve. Enjoy the wilderness experience by spending the nights gazing at the stars, cooking over a campfire, or simply enjoying the quiet of the outdoors.
- Peter Lougheed Provincial Park – In Kananaskis Country, on the foothills of the mountains, this park offers an incredible number of hiking trails along with both front country and backcountry camping. AB-40, Kananaskis
- Dinosaur Provincial Park – A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is situated in the Red Deer River valley, which is noted for its striking badland topography, and abundance of dinosaur fossils. Patricia
- Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park – You can spend time exploring the pictographs and hoodoos, join a guided walk, relax on the beach, swim and discover why people have loved and respected this site for thousands of years. This is a camping experience like no other. NW 36 TW1 range 13, Milk River
- Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park – A bird watchers paradise and the breeding grounds for several species of birds, at least 224 of the approximate 330 Alberta bird species have been observed here. Night skies here rank # 3-4 on the Bortle Scale. Not to mention the old-growth forest and sandy beach. Lac la Biche
- Sheep River Provincial Park – Named for the bighorn sheep that are frequently seen here, this is a good park for any outdoor activity, along with wildlife viewing. There are two large campgrounds available. Sheep River Road, Millarville
- 20 Places to Go Comfort Camping & Glamping in Alberta
- 25 Places to Go Camping In & Around Edmonton
- 25 Places to Go Camping in and Around Calgary
13. Take a Scenic Drive
Alberta has the beautiful prairies, the gorgeous foothills, and the stunning Rocky Mountain range, so a road trip here is an obvious choice of activity for the summer. Planning on a scenic drive route will allow you to take the time to truly enjoy every aspect of the journey – from stopping to take amazing photos, to making new memories in the fun places you encounter along the way. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife or unusual buildings and sites. You never know what you might see.
- 15 Scenic Road Trips / Drives in Alberta
- Icefields Parkway – Probably the most well-known of any of the scenic drives in the province, this highway stretches 232 kilometers between Lake Louise and Jasper, through some of the most spectacular scenery that you could imagine – mountains, glaciers, rivers, lakes and wildlife.
- Waterton National Park – In the southern part of the province you arrive to the marvelous Waterton NP, which offers up five phenomenal scenic drives through the area. Watch for wildlife, this is a good area to see some.
- Canadian Badlands – This 80-kilometer stretch takes you through the Badlands, with its incredible rock formations and unique scenery. Don’t forget all the cool places you can stop to see things along the route, like the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
- Crowsnest Highway – A historic route that would eventually take you into B.C., this is a winding drive through the mountains is best not attempted when the weather is bad. The road follows a mid-19th-century gold rush trail and has some interesting, not to mention beautiful, places to stop along the way.
- Cowboy Trail – This is a 584-kilometer stretch of highway that takes you through the best of the western world – ranches, historic sites, western themed activities, and wonderful foothills of the Rockies.
- Victoria Trail – Take a scenic drive through the Victoria Trail that leads you to the Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site (10 km south of Smoky Lake on secondary highway #855, and 6 km east on the historic Victoria Trail) situated on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River to hear the story of a once-bustling community, along the Victoria Trail.
14. Visit a Historic Place
There are innumerable heritage and historic sites within the province, dating from the time of the dinosaurs, to the Indigenous peoples sites, to the forts and the European settlers that came to make their lives in this western world. Around every corner is something special, along every road is a historical site of some sort. Explore the history and enjoy!
- Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump – The remains of marked trails and an aboriginal camp are here, along with a tumulus where vast quantities of buffalo skeletons can still be found, which are all evidence of a custom practised by aboriginal peoples for nearly 6,000 years. Secondary Highway #785, Fort MacLeod
- Stephansson House – The house was home to one of the greatest poets of the western world, and the home is a snapshot in time of his family’s life on the prairies after they arrived in 1889. A tour will give you a chance to learn all about their way of life. Check out the nearby Markerville while you are in the area. Spruce View.
- Victoria Settlement – Originally named Fort Victoria, this was established by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1864 as a trading post with the local Cree First Nations. Today, it is a very interesting historical museum. Pakan
- Bar U Ranch National Historic Site – This ranch was established in 1882 as the Northwest Cattle Company, it is one of the longest standing ranches in Alberta. You can still participate or watch all the ranching activities on site, including horseback riding. Township Rd 17B and, Township Rd 17A, Longview
- Frank Slide Interpretive Centre – On the morning of April 29, 1903, Canada’s most tragic rock slide occurred. Named after this tragic event, the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, was built in remembrance. Learn more about the tragedy, look on at the viewpoints around the centre, hike through the scene of the slide, and more. 1.5 km off Highway #3, Crowsnest Pass
15. Eat Some Dessert
There is nothing wrong with having cake. Or cookies. Or pastries. Or pie. Or any other incredibly delicious sweet concoction that can be made up in one of the fabulous bakeries or sweet shops that are found throughout the province. Our advice – skip the main meal and go straight for dessert.
- Duchess Bake Shop – This delicious stop has made it onto so many “best” lists that it is hard to ignore. They are even willing to share their recipes on their website! 10718 124 St, Edmonton
- Pie Cloud – Just follow the smell of pies and you will find yourself at this location. Not only do they have yummy sweet pies, they also carry savoury pies, so you can get a full meal with one stop. 3411 20 St SW, Calgary
- The Italian Center – There are three of these centers in Edmonton and one in Calgary, so you are never far away from getting your fix of incredible Italian desserts. You won’t find better cannoli anywhere, not to mention some of their specialty desserts, like the cappuccino ricotta cheesecake!
- Bear’s Paw Bakery – Make sure you are hungry when you head here, because you may not be able to choose just one sweet treat to try. Try the spectacular Granny Smith apple pie or the heavenly carrot cake, and don’t forget to try their famous raspberry white chocolate scones. 4 Pyramid Lake Rd, Jasper
16. Go Horseback Riding/See Wild Horses
A big part of western culture in the country is related to ranching, which in turn means that there is plenty of horseback riding going on. In fact, this is a fantastic way to get out to explore the mountains or rolling foothills that requires a lot less effort than walking. Guests don’t have to necessarily have any experience to enjoy this activity. There’s no better way to experience the province, so saddle up and get ready to ride! If you visit Sundre, you can even see wild horses roaming freely by the countryside.
- Sunset Guiding and Outfitters – You will ride through terrain surrounding the Panther River in Alberta’s west country discovering wild horses grazing the foothills of Candian Rockies. Make a weekend out of it by opting for a cozy cabin stay. Sundre.
- Elk Ridge Trail Rides – From the refreshing Waterton river to the sensational panoramic views from the Elk Ridge summit, you can experience a unique and isolated vista that most visitors miss when traveling to this hidden gem of the world. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, Elk Ridge will have the right horse for you. SE 1/4 27-2-29 W4, Waterton Park
- Jasper Park Stables – The knowledgeable guides and experienced horses here will take you on a journey through nature on horseback. They can accommodate all levels of riding experience from novice to advanced rider and will make your ride one to remember. 1 Old Lodge Rd, Jasper
- Moose Mountain Horseback Adventures – This company offers up way more than just the average day trail ride. Multi-day horseback riding adventures are available with professional riders who will take care of you every step of the way. AB-762, Foothills County
- Leaning Tree Trail Rides – A lovely place to take a trail ride on the prairies with a family-owned business. The owners are true animal lovers and treat each one of their horses, and clients, with infinite care. 64516 Range Rd 270, Box 164, Jarvie (north of Westlock)
- Boundary Ranch – This Ranch is an exceptional location to discover the adventure and serenity of the Rockies. Take the time to embark on horseback to explore scenic backcountry trails with captivating nature and mountain views. Guided rides are suitable for guests six years and older with all riding levels and experience. AB-40, Kananaskis
17. Go Ziplining
There is nothing quite like the feeling of zipping along over some beautiful landscape, feeling the wind rush by you and see the area like you can’t experience from the ground. Professionals help you along the way, so there is no need for experience, all you need is a good sense of adventure and no fear of heights.
- Jasper Hinton Zip Line – Unlike most other Ziplines, where participants are attached to a cable and ride the downward slope in a sitting position, this Zipline is engineered to give you a very unique experience – one that has you literally flying like a superhero. Hinton.
- Skyflyer Zipline – Soar across the waves on the world’s largest indoor zipline. This 470 foot zipline crosses over the wave pool, giving you an unparalleled view of World Waterpark as you reach speeds of up to 40 km/h. 8882 170 St NW, Edmonton
- Olympic Park Zipline – Soar on North America’s fastest zipline that starts from the same ski jump made famous by Eddie the Eagle at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. One tour consists of three different ziplines. 88 Canada Olympic Rd SW, Calgary (closed for 2020)
18. Stay the Night in a Unique Place
While travelling it is sometimes fun to take advantage of the unique places available to spend the night. Why not snuggle down into a traditional tipi, converted rail car, or haunted hotel? The small towns of Alberta are home to some unique hotels and places to lay your head.
- Azuridge Estate Hotel – Despite being designed to mimic a Canadian Pacific Railway station, this property is a former estate originally built as a private residence. It’s complete with modern accommodations, gourmet dining, a spa and, real deal butlers who will prepare guests a hydrotherapy bath with the help of the estate’s scent library.
- Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park – You can also stay overnight here at the site’s Tipi Village. In addition to being able to sleep in a First Nations village, you can also book some of the centre’s unique programming to have a deeper and more meaningful experience.
- Bar Diamond Guest Ranch For a real escape into the badlands, stay at this beautiful property nestled along the Red Deer River. The main lodge was built in 1903 and, dating back even further, the land is also a spiritual site for the Blackfoot people, with over 600 tipi rings, two medicine wheels and a vision quest site on the property. Range Rd 41, Buffalo. Ranch Vacations in Alberta
- Aspen Crossing – This charming property rents out a series of “caboose cabins” — old train cars that are decked out with comfy furniture, bathrooms and kitchenettes. They’re placed in the wooded camping area so that guests can take advantage of fire pits and the beauty of the surrounding prairies. AB-24, Mossleigh
- Rosedeer Hotel – With its famed Last Chance Saloon, the Rosedeeris a very unique place to stay as it is a vintage 1900s hotel with an eclectic array of rooms – in a building that some say is haunted. 555 Jewell St, Rosedale
19. See Wildlife and Birdlife
Alberta is a fantastic place to view wildlife and birdlife. There are very few places in the world have as great a diversity of wildlife as Alberta boasts 587 species of wildlife and 437 bird species. You can see wildlife such as deer, coyotes, moose, wolves, foxes and more on the prairies, and animals such as black or grizzly bears in the mountainous areas. Please do not approach wildlife, stay in your vehicle and put garbage in proper containers. While you can see wildlife throughout the province, you may want to check out some of the best places.
- Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation – Canada’s most northerly bird observatory, this is the only educational and research facility in the world strategically located to study boreal birds on their breeding grounds. The BCBC offers 6,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibits, interpretive programming, and a gift shop. Hwy 88 Connector, Slave Lake
- Elk Island National Park – Elk Island is home to the densest population of hoofed mammals in Canada. A variety of species including coyote, bison, moose, mule deer, lynx, beaver, elk, and white-tailed deer live here. Over 250 bird species can be found in the park including red-necked grebes, American white pelicans, double-crested cormorants, great blue herons, red-tailed hawks, American bitterns and trumpeter swans. 54401 Range Rd 203, Fort Saskatchewan
- Alberta Birds of Prey Centre – This Foundation is Alberta’s first privately licensed raptor rescue and conservation organization and is Canada’s largest birds of prey facility. Situated on a 70-acre wetland area site the center features hawks, falcons, eagles and owls. They guarantee you will have an unforgettable wild experience. 2124 16 Ave, Coaldale
- Ellis Bird Farm – Ellis Bird farm is a non profit organization devoted to the conservation of Mountain Bluebirds, Tree Swallows and other native cavity-nesting birds. Lacombe
- Gaetz Lakes Bird Sanctuary – Gaetz Lakes Bird Sanctuary is Alberta’s very first bird sanctuary. With almost 300 acres of protected land, this is a place as free from human interference as possible. There are trails and bird blinds within the sanctuary, however no dogs, bikes, or even joggers are permitted in an effort to protect the plant and wildlife living within the sanctuary. 45 Street at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre, Red Deer
20. Stay in a “Wildnerness” Resort
The wilderness zones of the province offer visitors a unique opportunity to connect with the true nature of the area. Both the mountains and the plains provide chances to get off the beaten track and away from civilization to properly enjoy the fresh air, activities, and wildlife that these gorgeous places offer.
- Skoki Ski Lodge National Historic Site – Hike 15 km to this backcountry lodge and explore nearby valleys and alpine meadows to pay homage to the birthplace of ski tourism. Banff National Park.
- Aurum Lodge – Bighorn Country is a destination on its own and this lodge provides a secluded base for guests to explore area attractions and enjoy outdoor activities. 374021, AB-11, Cline River, Nordegg
- Mount Engadine Lodge – This lodge sits in the shadow of its namesake peak, at the head of the expansive and pristine Spray Valley Provincial Park. Nestled high up in an alpine valley the Lodge contrasts luxurious creature comforts with a dynamic landscape where outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy year-round activities at their doorstep. 1 Mount Shark Rd, Canmore
- Pyramid Lake Resort – A destination like no other in Jasper National Park, you’ll get first row seats to nature’s magnificence. Rent a kayak, canoe, paddle boat or mountain bike or explore the mountain landscape as you watch for wildlife from the lake or on nearby hiking trails. 6 Km North On, Pyramid Lake Rd, Jasper
21. Drink Some Wine
You wouldn’t necessarily think of a prairie province as having a multitude of vineyards or an abundance of wines to try, but Alberta is home to innovative producers who are dabbling in fruit and other grape-less varieties. The rich soils of the province yield luscious fruit and berries, so fruit growers began branching out to start a new fruit wine cottage industry. Fifteen years after the conception of these innovative wines, the producers are seeing an incredible amount of success.
- Grey Owl Meadery – 452036 AB-22, Alder Flats
- Field Stone Fruit Wines – Highway 817 and Namaka Rd (251073A Township Road 232), Strathmore
- Chinook Arch Meadery – 386079 16 St W, Okotoks
- Spirit Hills – 2380 Drive West, Millarville
- Barr Estate Winery – 51526 Range Rd 231, Sherwood Park
22. Ride a Train
Train tracks cross their way across the prairie soils and into the mountain regions. Train travel was a historic part of the province as trains brought supplies, goods and leisure travel to the region. Now travellers can enjoy either short touristic train rides, some offering some unique events, or a true train journey heading between the capital city and the mountain town of Jasper.
- Alberta Prairie Railway – Offering exciting one-day adventures on a vintage passenger train from the 1920s. Different themed excursions are available throughout the year. 4611 47 Ave, Stettler
- Aspen Crossing – Experience train travel through some of southern Alberta’s diverse and historic landscapes. You’ll discover there is always something new to see and do at this rural country gem located just 39 miles southeast of Calgary! AB-24, Mossleigh
- Via Rail Edmonton to Jasper – Start on the prairies in the capital of the province and end in the mountain town of Jasper. 12360 121st Street NW, Edmonton
- High Level Bridge Streetcar – Ride historic street cars on a 100 year old bridge. The Edmonton Radial Railway Society has largest fleet of heritage streetcars in Western Canada and operates historic streetcars at Fort Edmonton Park and across the High Level Bridge in Edmonton. 10910 100 Ave NW, Edmonton
23. Go Tubing
A summer activity that requires no skill and hardly any effort (other than getting there), tubing is a great way to relax in the beautiful landscapes of the province while floating your way down a river, or have a bit of excitement while enjoying some man-made tubing areas. Note: you may need to take your own tubes for some of these destinations.
- Discovery Canyon – This is a man-made float area that uses natural river-fed bubbling pools of water. Tube rentals available and admission is free. 800 River Bend Drive, Red Deer County
- Pembina River – A great way to enjoy this river is with the services available – tube and lifejacket rentals along with a shuttle back to your vehicle. 53217 Range Rd 74 A, Entwistle
- Whitecourt River Slides – Featuring two man-made creeks with a series of pools and drops for tubing and play, with a shallow basin and beach at the end of the creeks. Whitecourt.
- McLeod River Tubing – You do need to supply your own tube for this adventure! Woodlands County
24. Pick Some Berries
One of the great things to enjoy in the summertime is fresh fruit, berries and vegetables that you can pick yourself. Each province in Canada has its specialities and Alberta is well known for the excellent berries that can be found here. From the common strawberries and raspberries, to saskatoons and blueberries, there are plenty of choices to enjoy. Get out in a field and get a bit dirty as you take in the summer sun and pick your own berries.
- Huckleberry Festival – Ride a chairlift and climb to the top of Castle Mountain to pick huckleberries. The festival is held every August (cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19). Castle Mountain Resort, Pincher Creek
- The Saskatoon Farm – Saskatoons, sour cherries and black currants available to pick yourself. Strawberries are available from their farm store. 80181 338 Ave E #20, Foothills County
- Pleasant View U-Pick Berries – Picking by appointment only, you can find haskaps, raspberries, saskatoons and rhubarb. Rocky View County.
- The Jungle Farm – Pick your own strawberries, raspberries and saskatoons. 28120, Township Rd 362, Red Deer County
- Sweet Life Saskatoons – Pick some saskatoons, cherries, raspberries or haskaps. 281114 Symons Valley Rd NW, Madden
- Prairie Gardens – Strawberries to pick yourself by appointment, along with lots of other produce in their store. 56311 Lily Lake Rd, Bon Accord
25. See Some Outdoor Artwork
There is interesting artwork all over the cities and towns of the province, so it is hard to list every one, but rest assured you are bound to come across them as you are making your way around the area. Outdoor artwork is no less important than those sculptures or paintings that you may see in an official gallery. In fact, in some cases, the artwork you find around on street corners or in parks have much more significance than you might expect.
- Stony Plain Murals – Take a mural tour through the “Town With the Painted Past”. You can go on a self guided tour of the many murals found in the province or take a horse and wagon tour (not offered in 2020).
- Wonderland – The iconic Wonderland by Barcelona artist Jaume Plensa is a 12-metre-tall sculpture of a young girl’s head made from white bent wire, and is one of the city’s top selfie destinations. 110 6 Ave SE, Calgary
- Town of Legal – 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.
- Man of Vision – This statue of a cowboy on horseback overlooks the Cochrane Ranch Historic Site. It was commissioned in honour of the working cowboy of the early ranching days in the area. 158 Chinook Dr, Cochrane
- Lacombe Mural Walk – Go on a mural hunt through historic downtown Lacombe. Discover how life was like in the town through various murals.
26. Visit a National Park
There are five national parks in the province, ranging from the far north to the far south and stretching through the impressive Rocky Mountain range. The very first national park was created in Alberta – the gorgeous Banff National Park, established in 1887. As well, Alberta is home to the largest national park – Wood Buffalo – covering an area of 44,807 square kilometers. Another fun fact, four of the five national parks are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites!
- Banff National Park – Home to Banff town and Lake Louise, not to mention all the wonderful hikes, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, wildlife and adventures.
- Elk Island National Park – An amazing two-part park where you can hike, enjoy lake time and see both Woodland and Plains Bison herds.
- Jasper National Park – Home to Jasper town and tons of outdoor activities and adventures, along with stunning scenery and wildlife.
- Waterton Lakes National Park – Where the prairies meet the mountains, spectacular scenery and outdoor fun awaits you at this southern park.
- Wood Buffalo National Park – Bordering the northern part of the province, this enormous wilderness area is home to the largest beaver dam in the world, along with, you guessed it, Wood Buffalo herds.
27. Enjoy First Nations History and Culture
The First Nations peoples of Alberta shaped the area with their incredible history and interesting culture. Now, they play a huge part in the province as they work towards preserving their culture and presenting their history to travellers and locals alike. Learn about the different cultures and the long history that is available at the different sites.
- Bodo Archaeological Site & Centre – One of the largest, well-preserved archaeological areas in Western Canada, this site is a large and rich complex of archaeological resources that date back as early as 5000 years ago and includes evidence for the continued use over the last 500 years of a “bison pound” where hundreds of bison were corralled and killed at one time. 1 St. E, Railway Ave, Bodo (closed for 2020)
- Metis Crossing – The first major Métis cultural interpretive centre in Alberta, this 512-acre site is designed to engage and excite visitors, and is comprised of river lot titles from the original Métis settlers to this region in the late 1800’s. 17339 Victoria Trail, Smoky Lake
- Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park – The site of the signing of Treaty No.7, this park is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the Siksika Nation’s language, culture and traditions. There is a stunning eco-friendly museum with interactive exhibits. Traditional indigenous foods can be tasted at the on-site restaurant, and the gift shop features locally made products.
- Fort Chipewyan Bicentennial Museum – This museum is an exact replica of the 1870’s Hudson’s Bay store and is full of historical artifacts from the fur trade, photographs, and other unique items. Located in the oldest European settlement in Alberta it is an off the beaten track town. 108 MacKenzie Ave, Wood Buffalo
28. Spend Some Time on a Beach
Many travellers may be puzzled by the thought of spending time on a beach on the prairies, or even in the mountains, but Alberta has 600 lakes to enjoy, so it makes sense that there are some gorgeous beaches as well. From finite sand to slightly rocky, with warm waters or cold, the lakes in the province can have crystal clear waters and lovely landscapes. Beaches will have a variety of services available, some with campgrounds, shops and rentals for water sports, others will only have basic services. Take your sandcastle building supplies and enjoy.
- Lake Annette Beach – Located just 15 minutes outside the town of Jasper, this lovely lake has a sandy beach and calm waters, along with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Lake Annette Road, Jasper National Park
- Devonshire Beach, Lesser Slave Lake – One of the more remote beaches in the province, which means there are less people around, this is a very large lake with a 1.5-kilometer-long gorgeous sand beach. Range Rd 55, Widewater
- Long Lake – This beach is a day use area as well as a campground, so if you want to spend a night or two it’s perfect. With soft sand and swimmable water, the lake is a perfect weekend getaway. Range Rd 191A, Ellscott
- Goldeye Lake – This is a surprising destination near Nordegg, as it’s the only one in the area where you’ll find sandy beaches. Another great thing is that there’s a conveniently located campground, right on the beach. Goldeye Rd, Clearwater County
- Floatingstone Lake – This is a gorgeous lake that features sand you could sink into, along with volleyball courts, a boat launch and a nearby campground. St. Paul County No. 19
- Sylvan Lake – One of the most popular summer destinations in Alberta, the town offers plethora of summer fun.
- Alberta Beach – Set on the shores of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta Beach is a popular tourist destination. The village is aptly named as the beach is a huge draw to the area for kids and adults alike.
29. Go Whitewater Rafting
Get a rush of adrenaline as you ride the rapids through some of the most incredible scenery in Canada. Be prepared to get wet as you battle your way down the river channels with experienced guides and top-quality equipment. There are many places to enjoy the excitement of the rapids and a variety of levels to suit every adventurer.
- Kananaskis River Rafting Adventure – This day trip from Banff or Canmore will get you into a raft and cruising down for 1.5 – 2 hours on the turquoise waters of the Kananaskis River, one of Alberta’s most pristine waterways.
- Mukwah Rafting Tours – Get soaked white water rafting on the Red Deer River as you paddle through rapids with names like Hidden Ledge, Gooseberry, S Bends, The Nationals, Rock Garden, and Sauna Hole. Sundre.
- Hunter Valley Adventures – Fun, white water rafting on the upper Red Deer River! Water Valley
- Rocky Mountain Raft Tours – No white waters here, this company offers a sedate guided float tour down the Bow River for people of all ages. 1 Golf Course Rd, Banff
- Maligne Adventures Jasper – Offers up trips on the Fraser River, the Sunwapta River and an Athabasca Falls Canyon Run. Lot 604, Connaught Dr, Jasper (Whitewater rafting in Jasper)
- White Wolf Rafting – Offering trips on the Kananaskis River, Horseshoe Canyon, and a float tour on the Bow River. 829 10 St #109, Canmore
30. Climb a Cliff
The Rockies allow for numerous climbing routes and experiences for both those who are just starting to adventure onto the cliffs and those who have been climbing for a long time. While the province is best known for alpine climbing and ice climbing, there are still some excellent routes available to explore in the summer for sport climbers. The limestone and quartzite in the river canyons in the Canmore area probably have Canada’s greatest concentrations of sport routes.
- Tunnel Mountain – Right in Banff, this is an easy access climb. Banff National Park
- Mt Norquay Via Ferrata – The Via Ferrata is an assisted climbing experience along four breathtaking routes on the cliffs above Mt Norquay. Led by a highly experienced ACMG-certified guide, you wear a harness that is always attached to the mountain’s steel cable pathway, securing you to the rock at all times. #2 Mt Norquay Rd, Banff
- Sofa Creek – Sofa Creek is a rarely visited area due to the longer approach. If you make the trip back you will be rewarded with one of the best routes in the area, Sullivan Falls. Waterton National Park
- Hilti Hitch – By far best 5.10 sport pitch in Jasper, if not the entire Canadian Rockies, a true classic that is long, sustained, and memorable. Perfect incut jugs, sidepulls, and a spectacular position overlooking Cavell Lake make this a must do climb. The route is sustained and gently overhanging, with a good choice of rests. Jasper National Park
- The Fold – This is a spectacular climb up a rib of Mount Kidd with spectacular views vand the climb is right next to Kidd Falls. The climbing is on mostly good to excellent rock with good pro on the crux sections, but still very adventurous and skill at building belays with limited options is an asset. Kananaskis
31. Have an Afternoon Tea
A British tradition that has been welcomed all over the world, afternoon tea or high tea is a treat no matter where you choose to have it. From a traditional afternoon tea with fantastic views in historic properties, to a more modern take on this activity, if you are a lover of tea and great food, you won’t be disappointed in your choice of location.
- Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – This is the most stunning place to enjoy an afternoon tea service as the dining room looks out onto the iconic turquoise Lake Louise. 111 Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise
- The Jasmine Room – Along with a gift shop, there is a lovely little tearoom here that serves both Cream Teas and High Teas, along with other yummy goodies. 1112 6 Ave S, Lethbridge
- Lake Agnes Tea House – This tea house takes a bit of effort to get to, as it is a hike, or a horse ride up the side of a mountain next to the Chateau Lake Louise. The journey is worth it though, as you get to sip your tea (100 varieties available) and have a snack at a tea house that has been in place since 1905. Check their “Getting Here” page for directions.
- Fairmont Banff Springs – Taking care of the English traditional afternoon tea in a historic environment. 405 Spray Ave, Banff
- Reinette Café & Patisserie – While their offering for their tea sets is not totally traditional, you can choose from three different price points and some great options. 301 Woodvale Rd W, Edmonton
32. View Some Unique Things
Along with some of the world’s largest things to see, Alberta is also home to some incredibly unique sites. From the world’s first UFO landing pad, to the Starship Enterprise, to an incredible teepee, to a church that only holds six people, there is something interesting around every corner in the province. It seems that no matter where you go, there is something cool and different to see.
- UFO Landing Pad – The first and only UFO landing pad in Canada, this site has been around since 1967 and has some unique displays and information. 4844-5012 53 St, St. Paul
- Saamis Tepee – Originally constructed for the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics, this is a tribute to Canada’s native heritage. Now in Medicine Hat, the tepee is ringed with 10 large circular storyboards depicting aspects of native culture and history. 32 Eagle Birth Rd SW, Medicine Hat
- Little Church – Originally built in 1968, this famous tiny church serves as a place of worship and meditation for a limit of six people. Murray Hill Rd, Drumheller
- Starship Enterprise – Made to look like the Original series Enterprise. The area has taken advantage of the name of the town. Vulcan
- Giant Chess Set – This is an outdoor giant Chess Board, with useable wooden chess pieces and was partly created to promote chess as a recreational activity for all ages. Time to play! 414 1 St SE, Medicine Hat
33. Visit a Unique Museum
Many people look specifically for museums as they travel, others would prefer to skip the traditional type of museums and instead spend time in search of unique or off the beaten track places to visit. In reality, you can have both together as the province is home to some wacky museums full of unique items.
- Neon Sign Museum – The outdoor Neon Sign Museum was created as a collection of 20 vintage neon signs that have historic significance to the city of Edmonton. 10405 104 St NW, Edmonton
- Torrington Gopher Hole Museum – This fun, quirky museum contains approximately 40 dioramas set in neatly constructed wooden boxes, each representing a gopher hole. Inside the holes are taxidermized gophers, dressed in costumes and depicting everyday situations. 208 1 St S, Torrington
- Reynolds – Alberta Museum – This is one of the world’s best historical collections of transportation and industrial machinery. The collection of transportation, aviation, agricultural, and industrial machinery ranges from the 1890s to the 1970s traces the history of Alberta. 6426 40 Avenue, Wetaskiwin
- Remington Carriage Museum – This is one of the largest collections of carriages, buggies, and wagons in the world. 623 Main St, Cardston
- Museum of Fear and Wonder – This museum’s collection consists of objects with emotional qualities that make the audience feel emotionally uncomfortable just by looking at them. This includes clay and wax heads with creepy eyes that stare into your soul as you pass by them, anatomical models, life-size dolls, old hand-made dollhouses, ouija boards and several others. Bergen.
34. Take a Hike
Both the prairies and the mountains offer up endless opportunities for hiking and trekking. Whether it is a half day, day or multi-day walk, every hike provides impressive scenery. Some trails are difficult, and others are easy, but for each one keep in mind that most hikes will take you into the wilderness, so you need to be prepared. Carry water and food with you, along with appropriate clothing, and camping gear (if required). Most importantly, don’t forget that there are wild animals around – in the mountains and certain other areas carrying bear spray and a whistle is a must.
- Skyline Trail – A 44-kilometer trail that is considered one of the best in the Rockies, you will be heading above the treeline, from where you can get incredible views of the surrounding mountain peaks, valleys and lakes. Make sure you register at the Parks Canada office in Jasper before departing.
- Lake Agnes and Plain of Six Glaciers – Sometimes referred to as the Teahouses Trail, this is a fun day hike that takes you from the famous Chateau Lake Louise, up to the Agnes Lake Tea House, across the side of the mountain to a second tea house, with an opportunity to go up to see the Victoria Glacier and then down to walk back along the side of the lake. Or you can do it the other way around, either way stunning views from every point makes this a perfect day. 111 Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise
- The Vega Sand Hills – The Vega Sand Hills is a unique and dune formation with miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
- Athabasca Landing Trail – Part of Trans Canada Trail, the Athabasca Landing Trail is a historic trail used by klondikers heading to the Yukon and fur traders who wanted to access the Hudson’s Bay Company outlet in Athabasca.
- Ironhorse trail – The Ironhorse Trail is an epic 300km trail system that winds through north-east Alberta. Smoky Lake has the perfect entry point into the trail for people doing a day trip from Edmonton.
- 25 Places to go Hiking During Fall in Alberta
- 25 Day Trip Waterfall Hikes from Calgary
- 25 of the Best Hikes in and around Edmonton
- 25 Urban Walking Trails in Calgary
35. Eat Some Good Food
There is no denying that eating is a big part of our lives. While travelling, or even just exploring around your own city or province, it can be fun to treat yourself to something different, whether it be a different atmosphere or a completely different cuisine. There are so many great restaurants in the province that it is impossible to list everyone, but these each have something unique about them to enjoy.
- Eden – The award-winning cuisine here is incredible, not to mention the 17,000-bottle wine list and the fact that it is located in Banff with gorgeous views. Try the ten course Grand Degustation menu for a unforgettable dining experience. 300 Mountain Ave, Banff
- Wieners of Waterton – Even something as simple as a hot dog can become incredible when put together with fresh buns and prime grilled meats. In addition to the delicious dogs, this restaurant keeps patrons coming back with other delights like its glorious gelato and potato chips. 301 Wind Flower Ave, Waterton Park
- River Café – In a gorgeous location on Prince’s Island, this upscale restaurant offers up divine cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients. A great place for a date. 25 Prince’s Island, Calgary
- Chuckwagon Café – In a bright red barn in the middle of town, this restaurant makes the owner’s herd of cattle the focal point of their menu. The burgers are some of the best in Alberta, along with the flat iron steak topped with poached eggs and hollandaise, and the locally made pies. Make sure you check their opening hours before going. 105 Sunset Blvd NW, Turner Valley
- Longview Steakhouse – Alberta is renowned for its beef, so finding a steakhouse on this list is not a surprise, but this one is unique in its flavours and dishes. You will enjoy the locale as much as the food. 562076 Highway 22 West, Longview
36. Go Underground
The world below ground is a place that can bring out a sense of adventure in most of us. Deep into the dark caves we find ourselves in an unknown world of stalactites and stalagmites and, sometimes, bats! The mysterious formations that greet cavers in the dark filled spaces create an atmosphere of intrigue and suspense. The excitement turns to appreciation as you really soak in the sense of the underground world.
- Canmore Cave Tours – Explore Rat’s Nest Cave, one of the longest caves in Canada, on a guided tour with professionals. 129 Bow Meadows Crescent Unit 202, Canmore
- Cave and Basin National Historic Site –This cave and basin is the entire reason why Banff National Park was created, and now visitors can spend time learning about the hot springs cave and the birth of the National Parks. 311 Cave Ave, Banff
- Or go on an underground mine tour as listed above.
37. Fish for a Big One
There are 600 lakes and 245 rivers in the province, with a wide majority of them having one type of fish or another. There are many places where it is possible to fish from the shore, so a boat is not required. It is important to know that there are two different fishing licenses that you may require for Alberta – one for the province and one for the national parks. As well, please check the catch limits for each area before heading out.
- The Kakwa River – Massive trout, Rocky Mountain whitefish, arctic grayling and a variety of other fish species make the river a hotspot for reeling in your limit each day. Fly fishing is one of the best ways to fish here, so don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. Use the connected Google Maps to get directions.
- Pigeon Lake – This is a great lake to fish from a boat, with an easy boat launch and campground available if you want to spend more than a day on the lake. Reports of catching more walleye and pike than you can count are common here.
- Calling Lake – This is a popular spot for excellent fishing for perch, northern pike and walleye. Northern pike are known to reach 7 kg (15 lb), and big walleye are plentiful in the lake’s deeper waters.
- Cold Lake – One of the larger lakes, this is also one of the province’s most diverse when it comes to fishing, with 22 species of sportfish including walleye, northern pike, perch, lake trout and whitefish. The big waters allow these fish to reach enormous sizes, with walleye growing up to 6 kg (14 lb) and pike reaching 14 kg (30 lb). The provincial record lake trout was even caught here weighing in at 23.6 kg (52 lb).
- The Kananaskis Lakes – These lakes offer some of the most exciting trout fishing. Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes both hold bull trout, cutthroat and rainbows, with Lower Kananaskis lake usually holding the larger fish. Alberta’s provincial record bull trout was even taken from Lower Kananaskis Lake, weighing in at a whopping 8.14 kg (17 lb, 15 oz).
38. Drink Some Beer
“There is nothing which has yet been contributed by man, by which so much happiness is produced as a good tavern or inn.” Samuel Johnson wrote in 1776. Let’s substitute in the word “beer” for “tavern” or “inn” and a good portion of the population will agree. Beer brewing is an art form of its own, each brewery striving to make their own unique quality drinks for the discerning drinker.
- Cabin Brewing Company – The brewery of the year for 2020. We think that says it all. 505 36 Ave SE, Calgary
- Canmore Brewing Company – Second place winner of brewery of the year. Check out their tasting room for their usuals, along with small batch, seasonal and pilot brews. 1460 Railway Ave, Canmore
- Spectrum Ale Works – This brewery is already making a huge name for itself. They have a great selection of unique flavours. 3500 9 Ave N, Lethbridge
- Campio Brewing Company – Tied with Canmore for second place, this company has created the ‘Albeerta’ story. With a beer program that ranges from the working man’s thirst-quenching brews to a sour program that pushes the palate there is a beer for everyone. 10257 105 St NW, Edmonton
- Red Hart Brewing – Well known for their fantastic Amber Ale – Irish Red, this brewery works from their founders’ hearts, their motto being “Drink Good Beer, Do Good Things.” 488 McCoy Dr #112, Red Deer County
39. See Some Beautiful Architecture
What makes a building beautiful? For most, there are many aspects that they look at when they are considering beauty in a building. It could be the style, the history or even the setting. New buildings and old both have interesting and appealing designs that viewers can consider.
- Alberta Legislature Building – Part of the beauty of the “building” is the surrounding gardens and water features. Constructed between 1907 and 1913, this is a fine specimen of Beaux Arts architecture designed by Allan Merrick Jeffers and Richard Blakey. 10800 97 Ave NW, Edmonton
- Lougheed House – Built in 1891 and originally known Beaulieu, (French meaning “beautiful place), this structure has since become an iconic heritage building in Calgary. It was designed by James C. Bowes to incorporate High Victorian aesthetics and is influenced by Queen Anne Revival style. 707 13 Ave SW, Calgary
- Parks Administration Building – This is a good example of domestic Tudor Gothic Revival. This style was perceived as harmonious with a mountain setting evoking permanence, tradition and authority and deemed appropriate for the building’s role. This is an example of a structure built to reflect its picturesque setting. 101 Mountain Ave, Banff
- Calgary Central Library – The newest building on this list, it was completed in 2018 and was designed by American-Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta and Canadian firm DIALOG. Their design features an oval-like form and an interior with a large central atrium with a skylight. 800 3 St SE, Calgary
40. Get a Great View
If you can get up high you will be rewarded with some phenomenal views of the varied and unique landscape of Alberta. The province’s two largest cities provide opportunities to get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding areas, letting visitors see the lovely city architecture and landscape, not to mention the views that can be had beyond the city limits.
- Calgary Tower – A spectacular 360-degree view of Calgary, the Rocky Mountains, foothills, and prairies. 101 9 Ave SW, Calgary
- Chateau La Ronde – Famous for its incredible City and River Valley views, this restaurant is located on the 24th floor of Chateau Lacombe Hotel and revolves once every 88 minutes. 10111 Bellamy Hill Rd NW, Edmonton
- Highwood Pass – Highwood Passin Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is the highest paved pass in Canada and is located at the tree line, offering splendid views of the multi-coloured mountains. Hike the Highwood Meadows Trail that starts near the summit – this is a wheel-chair accessible trail – boardwalk through a fragile alpine meadow.
- North Peak of Turtle Mountain – Turtle Mountain, known to Indigenous peoples as “the mountain that moves,” caused Canada’s deadliest rockslide. If you’re feeling brave, you can make the 6.2km return trip to the North Peak. After braving the shifting rocks and exposure, you will be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of Frank Slide and the neighbouring peaks! Crowsnest Pass.
- Columbia Icefield Skywalk – Take the chance to step out on a cliff-edge walkway where giant glaciers perch above you and the spectacular Sunwapta Valley spreads out below. This experience features waterfalls, wildlife, fossils and more on an exciting 1-kilometre walkway with informative panels that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918-foot drop. Icefields Pkwy, Jasper
- Dunvegan Provincial Park/Historic Dunvegan – Head north along Highway 2, along the Deh-Cho Trail, to Dunvegan Provincial Park.History buffs will love the park and all the opportunities within. Top it off by traversing Alberta’s longest suspension bridge or take in the view of the bridge amidst Northern Alberta landscape.
41. Stay in a Historic Building
The prairie areas of the province, along with the always attractive Rocky Mountains and National Parks offer up an incredible number of historic hotels that you can stay in while you are travelling. Don’t be fooled by the chain names of four of the listed hotels, these were original Canadian Pacific Hotels that were specifically built along the railway route for travellers. These days they are some of the most historic, and most spectacular, of the available hotels in Alberta.
- Fairmont Palliser – Built in 1914, this is Calgary’s oldest and most luxurious hotel. 133 9 Ave SW, Calgary
- Fairmont Banff Springs – One of the earliest CP hotels, the original hotel was opened in 1888 and rebuilt in 1928 after a fire, but maintains its magnificence today. 405 Spray Ave, Banff
- Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – The oldest existing portion of this hotel dates from 1913. On the shoreline of the famous turquoise Lake Louise, you won’t get a better view anywhere. 111 Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise
- Prince of Wales Hotel – Opened in 1927, this beautiful historic hotel is located with a National Park with phenomenal views. Waterton National Park, AB-5
- Fairmont Hotel Macdonald – Opened in 1915, this luxurious hotel was built by the Grand Trunk Railway. It overlooks the beautiful North Saskatchewan River in the center of the city. 10065 100 St NW, Edmonton
42. Ride a Gondola
The Rocky Mountains stretch through the province, creating incredible scenery that can be enhanced by getting to the peaks to check out the stunning vistas. For those who are not up to hiking all the way to the tops of mountains but still want to be able to experience the views, a ride on a gondola at the main towns of Banff and Jasper are a must. As well, two of the famous ski resorts offer summer sightseeing on their chair lifts. At the tops of these peaks you can eat, hike, or simply soak in the views.
- Banff Gondola – 100 Mountain Ave, Banff
- Jasper Skytram – Jasper SkyTram, Whistlers Road, Jasper
- Mount Norquay Sightseeing Chairlift – #2 Mt Norquay Rd, Banff
- Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola – 1 Whitehorn Rd, Lake Louise
- Sunshine Meadows – Standish quad chairlift (Sunshine Village Ski Lift) – 1 Sunshine Access Road, Banff
43. Soak in Some Hot Springs
While winter may be a perfect time to dip into some hot natural waters, summer is no less of a good time to spend some time soaking your worries, or perhaps your aches from adventures in the mountains, away. There are two special places to enjoy the healing mineral waters – the famous Upper Hot Springs in Banff with its phenomenal views, and the hottest springs in the Canadian Rockies at Miette in Jasper National Park.
- Banff Upper Hot Springs – 1 Mountain Ave, Banff
- Miette Hot Springs – Miette Rd Jasper, Miette Hotsprings
44. View the Night Skies
There are an incredible five designated dark sky reserves in the province. Dark Sky Preserves are designated areas located all over the world where artificial lighting is reduced to a minimum and the reduction of light pollution is promoted and encouraged. Although you have to stay up a bit later in the summer to be able to view due to the late sunset, you will still be able to get fantastic views of the night sky at any of these locations. By the fall you may even be able to glimpse some Northern Lights. Spend the night in a tent, RV, yurt or cabin, or take a short drive out of town to get a crisp, clear view of the universe.
- Jasper National Park – The second largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world.
- Beaver Hills – This Dark Sky Preserve encompasses Miquelon Lake Provincial Park, Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area and Elk Island National Park.
- Cypress Hills – This Preserve was the first in North America and encompasses Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan.
- Lakeland Provincial Park – The newest of Alberta’s Dark Sky Preserves.
- Wood Buffalo National Park – Currently the world’s largest Dark Sky Preserve!
45. Go on a Self-Guided Walking Tour
Sometimes the best way to see someplace new is to take a walk. Whether it be through the neighbourhoods of a city or through the historic mountain towns in Banff or Jasper National Parks, a self-guided walking tour is a great choice to get out and see the sites at your own pace. Walking tours usually take you past interesting or historic sites and with a brochure or a downloadable explanation from the Visitor’s Center’s, you can fully enjoy each site that you pass.
- Calgary – Go on a downtown walking tour in the city including through the downtown area and by interesting sculptures. Each one starts at a different location.
- Star Trek Walking Tour in Vulcan – From the Starship Enterprise to murals depicting Star Trek life, this is a cool place to take a self-guided tour. Stop in at the tourist center to get the info to start walking. 115 Centre St E, Vulcan
- Edmonton – In the capital city of the province there are four available self-guided walking tours that will take you through the interesting history of the city. Each starts in a different area.
- Banff – There are five tours to take you along the historic roadways, past interesting buildings and natural areas. You can download to a tablet for easy access.
- Jasper – The history of the town is long, and the walking tour will take you past some of the most important places in this beautiful mountain village. You will start from the train station. 607 Connaught Dr, Jasper
46. Visit a Zoo/Sanctuary
For the younger members of your family or travelling group, or for those who are looking to spend some time observing animals up close, a visit to a local zoo will be a good activity. Since 2006 all provincial zoos must meet Alberta Environment and Parks standards for animal care and customer experience. These standards ensure a safe, educational experience for visitors and make operators more accountable for the animals in their care.
- Calgary Zoo – One of the biggest attractions in the city, this is the biggest zoo in the province and is home to nearly 1,000 creatures across 119 species. 210 St. George’s Drive NE, Calgary
- Edmonton Valley Zoo – Situated in the lovely River Valley, this zoo is home to more than 350 animals and focused on conservation. 13315 Buena Vista Road &, 87 Ave NW, Edmonton
- Discovery Wildlife Park – This 90-acre park is home to over 30 orphaned or abandoned wildlife species. Please note this is not a typical zoo and animals may be used to more human contact than completely wild animals. 5400 42 Ave, Innisfail
- Farm Animal Rescue and Rehoming Movement (FARRM) – There is a place full of love for all animals near Wetaskiwin. This animal sanctuary houses farm animals that have been surrendered or abused by their owners. An environment of healing and rehoming through adoption, a visit to FARRM is one that will surely touch your heart. Wetaskiwin
- Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary – Here you can gain a better understanding about wild wolves and their importance in the natural environment by interacting with the wolfdogs at the sanctuary. Enjoy photo opportunities and educational talks. 263156 Range Rd 53, Cochrane
- Alice Sanctuary – When you visit The Alice Sanctuary, you’ll know right away that this is a special place. Our sanctuary is home to rescued cows, pigs, goats, turkeys and other farm animals – and each has a special story.
47. Play Golf
It’s going to be hard to keep your eyes on your golf ball as you play on some of the most scenic courses in western Canada. Challenging courses, designed to fit into the sometimes challenging landscapes of the province, give players the opportunity to test their skills over a variety of terrains. Gorgeous vistas greet players as they head out to tee off, so be prepared to spend time not only playing but taking in the scenery.
- Jasper Park Lodge – Designed by Stanley Thompson and built in 1925, it took 50 teams of horses and 200 men working together for a year in order to clear the land of boulders and debris to prepare it for what would become one of Canada’s premier golf courses.1 Old Lodge Rd, Jasper
- Wolf Creek Resort – Built on a sand belt, this 36-hole hangout includes the Wolf Creek’s Old Course and the Links Course, which were both mapped out by designer Rod Whitman. This is considered one of the world’s best courses by young touring professionals. Site 10, Ponoka
- Dinosaur Trail Golf & Country Club – Course-design critics won’t be dazzled, but the back side of this course is spread across Alberta’s badlands landscape which is incredible. If you are wondering why the fairway at No. 11 is so skinny, it’s because of a dinosaur fossil buried in the hillside. 6455 N Dinosaur Trail, Drumheller
- Banff Springs – Amateurs and professionals alike are constantly amazed by the challenging course here. From hole design to optical illusions created by the surrounding mountains, this is a delightful way to spend some time on the links. Golf Course Rd, Banff
- Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club – This course doesn’t have the same history as Banff Springs or Jasper Park Lodge, but Gary Browning’s design is the best of what’s been built in Alberta, and you certainly won’t feel short-changed on the scenery. 4100 Stewart Creek Dr, Canmore
48. Go Mountain Biking
The highways and biways of the province offer up incredible opportunities to mountain bike along roadsides, especially through the mountains. Some bikers will enjoy the more technical routes and more difficult excursions that are available in the National Parks and surrounding areas.
- Topp Notch – The first purpose-built mountain bike trail in a Canadian national park this site has fantastic benchcutting, delicious berms, technical rock gardens, awesome bridges, and fantastic flow all combine to create an extremely varied mountain bike experience in a gorgeous locale. Use the attached map to get directions.
- Bragg Creek – It’s hard to list just one biking trail for this gorgeous area, as there are so many good ones ranging from easy to difficult. Look for the bike symbol that indicates which trails are great for mountain biking.
- Mountain Biking Trail 7 / 7H (Teahouse) – This is an advanced level ride that will take you through some absolutely spectacular scenery in Jasper National Park, including the Maligne Canyon area and up Signal Mountain.
- Tunnel Mountain Tech Trails – This small trail system boasts the best singletrack in Banff National Park, with the ingeniously designed Topp Notch Trail, the aggressive Star Wars trail, and the mild-but-flowing Return of the Jedi.
- Pass Powderkeg Ski Hill – Crowsnest Pass is a delight for those who want to enjoy the thrill of mountain biking! The Crowsnest Pass boasts extensive mountain bike trails throughout the community, including at the Pass Powderkeg Ski Hill. You can contact United Riders of Crowsnest Pass for all those hidden gems in the area. If you want guided experience, check out Sweet Riders.
49. Visit a Ghost Town/Ruins
There is something spooky about the thought of visiting a town where no one lives anymore, especially as some of them still have many buildings and artifacts left behind. However, not all ghost towns are completely empty as most travellers would assume. Some do still have a few residents living there. We like the following description of a ghost town – “a town for which the reason for being no longer exists”. Now, some of these towns have a new reason to exist – tourism.
- Leitch Collieries – Leitch Collieries was one of the most impressive early coal mines in the Crowsnest Pass. It was the only fully Canadian-owned and operated coal mine and features ruins of a coal processing plant and more. Interpretive panels, listening posts, and walking paths through the ruins create a window back in time to the early 1900s.
- Bankhead – From 1904 to 1922, Bankhead supplied coal for the locomotives of the Canadian Pacific Railway. At one point this town boasted a population of 1,500, including 300 underground coal mine workers. Now you can wander your way through the abandoned town and find out more about life in Bankhead from the interpretive signs.
- Rowley – Once on the brink of abandonment, the town now features a population of eight. There are three or four streets that have several abandoned buildings. Range Road 204 and Township Road 324
- Dorothy – The tiny town of Dorothy never grew beyond 100 residents but was a hub for the miners who lived in the Drumheller Valley in the early 20th century. It was home to three grain elevators, three stores, two churches, a butcher shop, pool room, telephone office, restaurant and a machine agency. A school served the community until 1960 and later a dance hall was built on as an addition.
- Nordegg – A small camp was established here in 1911 and by 1942 the Nordegg mine was one of the top-producing coal mines in Alberta. The Nordegg mine was closed in 1955, despite not being exhausted of its coal supply. In 1993, Nordegg was declared a Provincial Historic Resource, and a National Historic Site of Canada in 2002. The original townsite remains open to the public.
50. Get Good Food to Go
We have made this a different category because sometimes you don’t have time to sit down in a restaurant to have a ten-course meal. Saying that, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy some fantastic food as take out to eat at home, on the road, or at your hotel or campsite. It would be impossible to list all the great food trucks and take out places in the province, but the short list will give you a good idea of what’s available.
- Peter’s Drive In – This has been a staple “fast food” joint in Calgary since 1962 but with way better hamburgers and shakes than you will get anywhere else. While we are listing only the original Calgary location, there are now others in Edmonton and Red Deer. 219 16 Ave NE, Calgary
- Flavours of Montreal – This place has incredible food. The portions are big and there are some unique and very yummy options for both poutine and burgers. They smoke their own meat, so their flavours are all their own. Don’t forget to pick up a dessert, you won’t regret it. 213 Main St NW #4, Airdrie
- Roy’s Place – This has been a highway stop for hungry passersby for more than 20 years, so you know everything will be good. Note: Their enormous cinnamon buns are the size of a dinner plate and have been featured on You Gotta Eat Here! You can get one to take out, with a container of cream cheese frosting to apply yourself. 5008 1 St W, Claresholm
- PD3 – A seasonal food “bus” in downtown Canmore, this converted English double decker bus provides unique Asian fusion eats and a beer street menu. 806 8 St, Canmore
- Cluck ‘n’ Cleaver – Some of the best fried chicken you will ever have can be found at this sister run take out place in Calgary. There are two locations for your food enjoyment. 1511 14 St SW, Calgary OR Inside Co-op 100, 917 85 St SW, Calgary
51. Visit the Forts
At one time Forts were a necessary function in the west. They were built for the fur trade or by the Mounties as posts for the law. The Forts were used as a place of refuge and trade centers around which communities were built. Today, these are some of the most interesting historical places in the province. They all have fun, hands-on activities that connect you with the past and bring it to life.
- Fort Calgary – 750 9 Ave SE, Calgary
- Fort Whoop-Up – 200 Indian Battle Rd S, Lethbridge
- Fort McLeod – 219 25 St, Fort MacLeod
- Fort Normandeau – 28054 B Range Road 382, Red Deer
- Fort Assiniboine Museum – 25 AB-661, Fort Assiniboine
- Fort George & Buckingham House – 6015 Twp Rd 565, County of St. Paul
52. Go Scuba Diving
There is much to be said about the gorgeous lakes in Alberta and the water sports that they offer up to visitors and residents. While there are plenty of sports to keep you above water, many people don’t think of the fact that these lakes can be enjoyed underwater as well! Some of the clear, mountain lakes offer up some amazing opportunities to either practice your scuba diving, get certified (high altitude), or simply enjoy some time exploring the lake bottoms or join for Alberta lake cleanups. Some of these lakes even have their own wrecks and unique sites to explore. (Alberta Underwater Council)
- Waterton Lakes –A favourite amongst local divers, Waterton offers two main dive sites with numerous dive possibilities. This lake even has a wreck! An old paddle wheeler, the “Gertrude”, built in the early 1900’s, lies on the bottom of Emerald Bay at a depth of 20 metres.
- Lake Minnewanka – This lake is 1450 m above sea level, 18 km long with a maximum depth of 100 m. All dives here are cold water, altitude dives. Visibility fluctuates depending on the time of year and the number of divers at the site. The submerged townsite is the best preserved, rare example of a submerged historic village in Canada. It contains unique specimens of early 19th century technology that are in the same location as they were when they were submerged.
- Lake Annette – A glacier-fed lake that has a few artifacts on the bottom but also a great place to see some fish! With not bad summer temperatures and lovely surrounding scenery, this is a good place for a diver looking to get some more experience.
- Lake Patricia – This lakeis the site of a bizarre top-secret military experiment during WWII. ‘Operation Habbakuk’ was charged with building a prototype aircraft carrier out of ice and sawdust. Long story short, it was never used and now the remains are a popular dive site.
- Twin Lake – For those who are in the central Alberta area and want to take a dive, this is a pretty cool location. There are a lot of odd and interesting items to be seen on the bottom here, making it worthwhile to spend some time in the waters.
53. Visit a Living History Museum
The history of the settlers and ancestors in Alberta is not forgotten, and in fact comes to life in many of the outdoor museums and pioneer villages that are dotted throughout the province. While some have costumed guides or workers that help transport you back in time, others are completely self-guided, so that you can enjoy every aspect on your own.
- Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village – Over the years this museum has grown to include 27 heritage buildings and more than 30,000 artifacts. The open concept and self-guided museum means you are free to wander through six acres of beautiful gardens and buildings. 1037 Bev McLachlin Dr, Pincher Creek
- Hanna Pioneer Museum & Village – A walk through the Hanna Pioneer Village and Museum is like stepping into the past. The historical buildings are filled with realistic antique displays and turn of the century artifacts. 502 Fox Lake Trail, Hanna
- Lac Cardinal Regional Pioneer Village – This outdoor museum is representative of life in the 1920s to 1940s. It includes an authentic farm site with antique equipment, furnished houses, hall, bakery, Municipal Office, church, school, blacksmith shop, general store and a fire hall. A replica train station serves as the main office and gift shop. Grimshaw
- Coyote Flats Pioneer Village – An assembly of buildings used by the people who shaped the history of the province. Through the collection of buildings, artifacts and stories, the history of the region’s early settlers lives on. Walk the streets, experience the history and witness the activities that kept our ancestors busy throughout their days. AB-843, Picture Butte
- Heritage Park – A living history museum that connects people with the settlement of Western Canada. The Historical Village depicts life as it was from the 1860s through the 1930s. Costumed interpreters help tell the story of the Canadian West, while guests can enjoy a variety of activities including steam train rides, a paddlewheeler boat and an antique midway. 1900 Heritage Dr SW, Calgary
- Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village – This open-air museum uses costumed interpreters to recreate pioneer settlements and in particular it shows the lives of Ukrainian Canadian settlers from the years 1899 to 1930. 195041 Highway 16 East, Lamont County
54. Go on a Cruise
You wouldn’t necessarily think of a prairie and mountain province having cruises, but there are several lakes and rivers in Alberta where you can enjoy a slow ride on the water. Travel the beautiful river valley in Edmonton, hop on a paddlewheeler in Calgary, or jump on a lake cruise in Waterton, Jasper or Banff National Parks. Sit back, have a drink, and soak up the views.
- Maligne Lake Cruise – Enjoy a panoramic tour across the crystal waters of Maligne Lake, fed by the glaciers of Jasper National Park. The boat glides past jagged mountain peaks as it cruises to Spirit Island, a world-famous destination only accessible by boat. Maligne Lake Rd, Improvement District No. 12
- Lake Minnewanka Cruise – Explore Banff’s largest lake with a cruise that allows you to soak up the views and watch for wildlife. Heated boats mean comfortable travel at any time. Lake Minnewanka Scenic Dr, Improvement District No. 9
- Edmonton Riverboat – Enjoy a weekend brunch, dinner, or just a beautiful sunset cruise in the heart of Edmonton when you travel on the Edmonton Queen up the North Saskatchewan River. 9734 98 Ave NW, Edmonton
- Waterton Cruise – Step aboard the historic M.V. International, the oldest passenger ship still operating in Canada, and take in breathtaking scenery on a 2-hour scenic cruise. Knowledgeable tour guides give fascinating information to make seeing Waterton truly a unique experience. 101 Waterton Ave, Waterton Park
- S.S. Moyie Paddlewheeler – Travel on a smaller version of the original sternwheeler which was so famous on Kootenay Lake. The original is now a museum in Kaslo, but here you can ride a smaller version to get the feel of the old-time boat. 84 Heritage Park, Calgary
55. Visit a Sunflower Field
Make the most of your summer days with your family and friends in the lap of nature with these astonishing sunflower fields and mazes. Alberta is flooded with awe-inspiring scenic beauties and these blossoms of sunflowers will enhance your summer with bright yellow memories.
- Birchwood Meadows – Birchwood Meadows has 35 varieties of flowers and other blooms for visits and pick-ups. Individuals, groups, and photographers, everyone is welcomed in the farm to experience the scenic beauty. Range Road 245, Sturgeon County
- Green Thumb Kids – This is a seasonal farm stand and sunflower field especially famous for various locally grown flowers and veggies and also for other herbs, eggs, and more. AB-630, Strathcona County
- Bowden SunMaze at Eagle Creek Farms – This is the best place to visit if you want to get lost in the charms of the glorious sunflower fields. The Maze is at its full blossom with about 100,000 Sunflowers spread around 3 acres of the field by mid-August. Range Road 14, Red Deer County
- Paradise Hill Farm – Paradise Hill Farm offers an iconic Sunflower field to visit and experience the photogenic environment. Township Road 162, Nanton
56. Visit an Art Gallery
Art is something that can take many forms – a painting, a sculpture, a photograph, a weaving. Some methods are traditional, some are purely modern. The best thing about art galleries is that they open us up to new ideas of art itself and bring us joy in the beauty of the creativity of the artists.
- Art Gallery of Alberta – The building itself is a work of art, and once you step inside you won’t be disappointed by the permanent and rotating exhibits that this gallery offers. 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton
- Elevation Gallery – Housed in a gorgeous mountain-modern loft space, this gallery boasts a brilliant collection of fine art by emerging and mid-career artists. Every nuance of the space and the artwork supports our mission of remaining regional, relevant, and modern. 729 8 St, Canmore
- Jasper Art Gallery – Since 2001, this gallery has presented innovative exhibitions by diverse local and regional artists in formative and established stages of their careers. Their collections include some of the finest examples of landscape and abstract art works the region has to offer. 500 Robson St, Jasper
- Art Gallery of Grande Prarie – One of the largest free admission galleries in Western Canada. The gallery’s permanent collection currently stands at approximately 750 works of art, almost exclusively created in Alberta in the mid to late 20th Century. #103, 9839 103 Avenue, Grande Prairie
- Medalta Museum – Medalta is not your typical museum. It is an innovative industrial museum, a contemporary ceramic arts facility, an art gallery, and a community hub in Medicine Hat.
57. Go ATVing
Heading out on a quad or side by side ATV is an adventure all on its own. Driving the variety of terrains that are available in the province can provide a lot of fun to those who are willing to create their own adventures. If you don’t have your own ATV, rentals are available in all the major cities in Alberta, as well as many of the smaller places, or contact the local ATV clubs for more information.
- Crowsnest Pass – With a multitude of trails managed by the Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad, this area is an optimal choice. The Quad Squad welcomes riders to explore more than 1,300 kilometres of Rocky Mountain terrain but reminds of the importance of respecting the local ecosystem.
- Peace River Wilderness Trail – A historical wilderness trail on Arctic-bound trunk of the Trans Canada Trail which runs from Sawdy—approximately 25 kilometres north of Athabasca—to Smith, Alberta. There are several access points available.
- Wapiti River Valley – The dunes here are perfect for riding. This zoneis located in a delicate ecosystem, so caution is needed. However, there is seemingly endless terrain that you can spend all day getting to know. It is only a 10-minute drive from the nearest community, so riders can head into town for lunch and then go right back out.
- Iron Horse Trail – Located in Alberta’s Lakeland region this is a great choice for a leisurely ride with friends and family. This popular 300-kilometre trail is multi-use and you can find several campgrounds along the way. You can also stop in one of the friendly communities dotting this trail to pick up any necessary supplies or grab a meal.
- Whitecourt – In addition to being a snowmobiling hot spot, Whitecourt has also made a name for itself in the world of quadding. The Whitecourt ATV Club maintains the local trails and hosts meet and greets, parades and other fun community events to get everyone involved.
58. See some Engineering Marvels
When we talk about man-made marvels, or engineered marvels, such as bridges, viaducts, or aqueducts, we may associate words such as “the tallest”, “the biggest”, “the longest”, “the oldest”, “the highest” and so on. They are made to solve a problem and to make life easier for all of us, while still making us stop and stare in awe. Alberta has some unique engineering marvels that have helped shape the province.
- Peace Bridge – Crossing the Bow River in Calgary, this pedestrian bridge was designed to accommodate nearly 6,000 commuters who walk or bike to the downtown core. A glass roof allows for light but helps protect the bridge from Calgary’s 100-year flood cycle. This is no doubt one of the greatest modern engineering feats in Alberta.
- Lethbridge Viaduct – Still in use today, this was built in 1909. The 1,624-metre railway bridge was designed and built by the Canadian Pacific Railway to efficiently cross the Oldman River, and to this day is the largest viaduct of its kind in the world. The bridge took 12,200 tons of steel and 17,090 cubic yards of concrete to build. is no doubt one of the greatest engineering feats not only in Alberta but in the whole of Canada. Scenic Dr S & 3 Ave S, Lethbridge
- Brooks Aqueduct – The Brooks Aqueduct was a marvel of engineering for its time. Completed in 1914 by the CPR as part of its vast prairie irrigation network, it is now a national and provincial historic site. What once carried life-saving water to farmers’ crops now stands in tribute to the ingenuity of an earlier era. 142 Range Road, Newell County No. 4
- Horseshoe Dam – Located along the Bow River, this massive concrete structure was the very first sizable hydroelectric facility in Alberta. The only way to view it is to hike in a distance along the river’s north bank. Built over a very large rock outcropping where the original falls were, this is an interesting feat of engineering. There is a little used trail, starting at the Seebe Dam, off highway 1A, leading to it.
- Bassano Dam – This historic dam is worth a visit. When it opened in 1914, it was the greatest irrigation works on the continent, irrigating around 440,000 acres of dry prairie and a significant part of prairie settlement and agriculture. There are now some interpretive displays on site to enjoy. Township Rd 205B, Bassano
59. Drink Some Coffee
If you are looking for a good place to grab a cup of joe and hang out with your friends or family, or chill out on your own with a nice java, then you need to check out some of the best coffee places in the country, all located within the province. No matter how you like to enjoy your coffee, you will be able to tell the level of passion that these roasters and shops have for their products. Sit back, relax, and sip away.
- Red Engine Coffee Roasters – What started out as a micro-roasting business has now evolved into a unique coffee bar called Sonder. It’s a quaint place where you’ll find “bright energy blooming from inside with ultimate care and hospitality.” Try your coffee with one of their handmade liege waffles. 1119 3 Ave S, Lethbridge
- Transcend Coffee –This is one of the best coffee shops in Canada, serving coffee that’s sustainably-sourced and freshly-roasted on-site. They roast coffee in such a way that allows you to really indulge in every single flavour present in each bean. 9570 76 Ave NW Suite 100, Edmonton
- Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters – This business says that their entire mission is a “single-minded pursuit of a better cup of coffee.” What more could you ask for? 2207 4 St SW, Calgary
- Farrow – For true coffee lovers, this stop is equal parts sandwich shop and top-notch cafe. Farrow works directly with third-wave coffee roasters worldwide and their pour-over menu is constantly changing. That’s due to the fact that the roasters they work with source seasonally, roast and ship each week to ensure ultimate freshness. 8422 109 St NW, Edmonton
- Monogram Coffee – You will undoubtedly be able to taste the richness that comes with over 20 years of experience in sourcing, roasting and serving the very best coffee in the game. With three locations in Calgary, you’ll always be close to your fix. 4814 16 St SW, Calgary
60. Welcome Fall with a Trip to the Corn Maze
Where else can be getting lost be fun than at a life-size maze! Put down the iPads & tablets and get down to the maze for a reality game time made of growing creative designs that changes every year. Alberta is also home to the maze that holds Guinness record for the largest Q code. Large area mazes have bridges interspersed among the trails, that will help the ‘lost’ to re-plan their ‘way-out’ strategy.
- GP Corn Maze – Country Roads RV Park, 63061A TWP RD 722 Grande Prairie
- Edmonton Corn Maze – 26171 Garden Valley Road, Spruce Grove
- Lacombe Corn Maze – Kraay Family Farm, Range Rd 273, Bentley
- Calgary Farmyard – 284022 Township Road 224 Rockyview
- Brooks Corn Maze – South of Brooks on Industrial Drive just off of Highway 873.
- Lethbridge Cornmaze – Range Rd 224, Lethbridge