Celebrate Thanksgiving in Alberta this year by doing something different. This coming weekend you’ll find an assorted variety of fall fun around all our province’s cities and towns, some of which don’t cost a thing. If you’re looking to get out for fresh air and see the fall colours, there are many places perfect for hikes, drives, and bike rides. For fall-themed activities or a unique afternoon, you can head to markets, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and fun farms. You could also prepare for the next ‘holiday,’ with the haunted and spooky attractions.
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1. IgNIGHT in Fort McMurray
Take a stroll through Fort Mac this Thanksgiving for a wonderful display of public art installations. igNIGHT: art illuminated, is a 10-day annual exhibit that pops up in Lions Park as of October 1st. This year’s theme: Fruits and Vegetables.
2. Explore Lakeland Provincial Park and Recreation Area
Both the Lakeland Provincial Park and Recreational Area are a short drive from Athabasca or St. Paul and offer sweeping forest views that you can explore further via different hiking and biking trails. This is a good time of year to watch for wildlife like deer and various species of birds.
3. Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park
Fall is a wonderful time for birding in the Lesser Slave Lake Area. Migratory birds fly over Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park on their way south. Though the Fall bird banding season by Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory staff has ended, you can still explore the trails and enjoy fall colours all the while catching a glimpse of late fliers and winter birds.
4. Bonnyville Farmers’ Market
The year-round Farmer’s Market in Bonnyville is open this Saturday with tons of local goodies. Shop fresh-baked bread, preserves, bath and body, foods, and more. The market is located at their Agriplex.
5. Hikes around the Peace River
The Dyke Trail in Peace River can take you all through town and past city limits while following the river. And just outside of town, you can get more river views via the popular Trestle Trail (northeast of the city, opposite side of the river).
6. Walk a Small Town Mural Tour
Enjoying public art is easy with a few mural walks to take around the province. Some small city and town art walks include the: Medicine Hat Downtown Mural Tour, Legal Mural Tour, Lacombe Mural Walk, or High River’s Historic Murals.
7. EC Bar Ranch Adventures – High Prairie
You can challenge your family and friends to the EC Bar Ranch’s corn maze on Saturday or Sunday this weekend from 1-8pm. Also included in your admission are wagon and pony rides, and a bale maze.
8. Blachford Field of Nightmares – Grande Prairie
Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie has something special and spooky planned this fall for Halloween. The Blachford Field of Nightmares runs 8:30 p.m. to midnight Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with admission at $20 per person.
9. Birding at Saskatoon Island Provincial Park
When you visit Saskatoon Island Provincial Park in the fall, you’re greeted by some incredibly beautiful and unique sites. The two lakes to border the park are lined with a few different types of trees, creating a lush and colourful forest backdrop. The onsite Saskatoon Lake Bird Sanctuary will be the best place for birding.
10. Pumpkin Festival – Grande Prairie
The Grande Prairie Corn Maze hosts their annual Pumpkin Festival on October 9th and 10th where you can pick for pumpkins, take photos, and trek through the maze. Campers get access to the maze for free!
11. Rycroft Thanksgiving Market – Rycroft
On October 9, the Rycroft Farmers’ Market hosts one of its special holiday markets for Thanksgiving. The fall-themed goodies create a perfect way to shop and support local going into the holiday season.
12. Walk the Wild Sculpture Trail – Yellowhead County
The larger Sundance Provincial Park in central Alberta is separated into two areas. The long narrow area offers a great hike with some of Alberta’s smaller hoodoos, an abundance of fall colours, and possibly some wildlife.
13. Explore Sulphur Gates – Grande Cache
These stunning views will be exceptional in mid-October. Sulphur Gates is a river crossing with huge cliff faces that you get to stan atop and walk across. There is a picnic site, a short hike around the viewpoint, and a longer hike which leads to waterfalls.
14. Tell Time at Sangudo Sundial – Lac St. Anne County
Visit one of the biggest sundials in the world this Thanksgiving weekend. Sangudo Sundial is a fully functioning and accurate sundial depicting Local Solar Time in Sangudo.
15. Fall colours at Hard Luck Canyon – Whitecourt
See the canyon resulting from Hard Luck Creek, which began forming 11,000 years ago. The tall sandstone cliffs tower over the creek, which also has a small waterfall. There is a short and easy hiking trail that take you to a bridge overlooking the falls, and a staircase leading to the canyon floor.
16. Smoky Lake Kinette Corn Maze
Thanksgiving weekend will be the final Saturday and Sunday for the Smoky Lake Kinette Corn Maze. You can find the maze across the street from the George McDougal Hospital- but will you be able to find your way out of the maze?
17. Head out on a Scenic Fall Drive
Northern Alberta highways wind through boreal forest and vast river valleys, and the southern highways offer views of foothills, waterfalls, or prairie and grasslands. In western Alberta, the drives take you through the Rockies, and in Eastern Alberta, you can take in the rich and diverse badlands. No matter which direction you choose for a drive, there are stunning views!
18. Prairie Gardens Adventure Farm – Gibson
At the Prairie Gardens Adventure Farm, you and your family can pick your own pumpkins, visit with the animals, go apple-picking, take a train ride, or go on a Ghost Walk.
19. Birchwood Meadows Flower Farm – Sturgeon County
Celebrate Thanksgiving at Birchwood Meadows with their Fall on the Farm outing! On October 9th you can stroll the flower gardens and fall displays, take photos, build some DIY décor, and shop the market.
20. Glow-in-the-Dark Kayak in Edmonton
Book yourself a night-time paddle down the North Saskatchewan in a glow-in-the-dark kayak! Your boats launch from Sir Wilfred Laurier Park and you’ll get to float to the music of your choice- each kayak has its own speaker!
21. Thanksgiving weekend in Edmonton
There are plenty of activities in the capital city this Thanksgiving weekend – Get spooked with some serious scares at Deadmonton, venture into the dark corners of Fort Edmonton and the River Valley, catch a show at the city’s theatres, and enjoy a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner at one of the city’s restaurants.
22. Gateway to the Stars at Elk Island – Fort Saskatchewan
Edmonton’s closest National Park, Elk Island, hosts an annual stargazing event for enthusiasts and passive gazers alike on October 8th and 9th. The Gateway to the Stars requires advance registration and gives you access to sitting around the fire with an expert interpreter.
23. Ghost Tours – Stony Plain
Join for a spooky story about Multicultural Centre, metaphysical experiences & ghost hunting or an evening of family fun competing in a ghostly scavenger hunt on the grounds of the Centre for some spooky prizes.
24. Dog Days – Spruce Grove
25. The Haunted Hike – Vegreville
Do you have what it takes to walk one of Alberta’s scariest Halloween experiences? The Haunted Hike is open Saturday and Sunday if you dare enter the haunted warehouse.
26. Hiking at Whitney Lakes Provincial Park
Located in central-east Alberta, Whitney Lakes has over 30km of trails to hike, watch for birds and wildlife, and take in gorgeous Lakeland scenery. The trails wind around large and small lakes and through the forests.
27. K3 Family Farm Corn Maze – Toefield
After making your way through the fields of corn K3 Corn Maze, you can take photos in the pumpkin patch and sunflower garden, visit with farm animals, sign up for the Wild West Shootout, ride the zipline, or play in the hay and sand. The Tofield Farm is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
28. See Some Owls – Toefield
The annual fall migration of owls occurs from September until early November, with October being the peak in their abundance. Join Beaverhill Bird Observatory staff for owl banding or hike on your own in search of species like Northern Saw-whet Owls, Long-eared Owls and Boreal Owls.
29. Kraay Family Farm Corn Maze – Lacombe
The Kraay Family Farms offer several family-friendly attractions like a Sunflower Maze, Corn Maze, and petting zoo. Your day pass includes access to all attractions. There are now 40 different activities and fun things to discover on your arrival.
30. Fall Colour Carriage Ride & Thanksgiving Dinner at Heritage Ranch – Red Deer
31. Follow the Fish Lake Trail – Clearwater County
Fish Lake Provincial Recreation Area and the Fish Lake Trail are actually on Shunda Lake, but can be easily accessed from the David Thompson Highway. This serene area offers a looped hike around the lake.
32. Picnic beside Abraham Lake
There are several rest stops located along the David Thompson Highway portion parallel to Lake Abraham. The sites welcome picnics with tables, firepits, washrooms, and great lakeside views.
33. Star Sessions – Jasper
34. Fall Fun at The Jungle Farm – Red Deer County
Take your pick of the pumpkins at The Jungle Farm this Thanksgiving! Their pumpkin patch makes the perfect fall activity and excellent photo opportunities for the whole family.
35. Larch Hikes in Banff
36. Live Art at the Banff Gondola
Watch some of southern Alberta’s premier artists create live and onsite at the base of the Banff Gondola. Artists are on location Saturday and Sunday painting, sketching, carving, and with art for sale.
37. Bike the Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff
You can follow the Trans Canada Highway by bike all the way from Canmore to Banff via the Legacy Trail. It is considered one of the most beautiful bike rides in Alberta and this might be one of your last weekends in 2021 to tackle the trail!
38. Thanksgiving Weekend in Calgary
39. Barney’s Adventure Park Thanksgiving Weekend – Drumheller
There are a ton of fun things for kids of all ages to enjoy this weekend at Barney’s Adventure Park. Play a giant game of chess, checkers, or Jenga, then wind your way through a corn maze, or partake in a barnyard game.
40. Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site Tours – East Coulee
You can book guided tours this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) for one of Alberta’s National Historic Sites: the Atlas Coal Mine in East Coulee, just southeast of Drumheller. You can opt for the Processing Plant Tour or an Underground Experience.
41. Molnar’s 6th Annual Pumpkin Festival – Taber
42. Fall Fun at Brooks Corn Maze – Brooks
The Brooks Corn Maze is open this weekend for raspberry and pumpkin picking, and they offer other fun activities like a human hamster wheel, an archery range, mini-golf, and a petting zoo.
43. Guided Tours at Dinosaur Provincial Park
Explore one of Alberta’s most unique Provincial Parks this weekend and take advantage of their different events. At Dinosaur Provincial Park in eastern Alberta, you can embark on a guided Bonebed Hike, on a Bus Tour, or you can create your own fossils with Cast from the Past.
44. Lethbridge Corn Maze
The complex labyrinth of this year’s Lethbridge Corn Maze will be a fun challenge for the whole family this Thanksgiving. After the maze, enjoy a hayride, the cow train, or food fresh off the barbecue in their picnic area.
45. Look for meteors from Popson Park – Lethbridge
Orionid Meteor Shower peaks in October. The Oldman River Valley where the Oldman River Observatory run by the Lethbridge Astronomical Society (closed on Thanksgiving weekend) is located is ideal for a night of stargazing. The surrounding Popson Park has benches for a quiet night of viewing.
46. Go Wind Chasing – Southwest Alberta
Alberta is home to an incredible number of wind farms, and the ones in this area are certainly set in a stunning setting. Take a road trip to watch these turbines catch the constant westerly winds and occasional supercharged winds of the Chinooks that blast over Cowley Ridge as they exit Crowsnest Pass.
47. Waterfalls in Waterton
You can easily and quickly access two different waterfalls from a trailhead on the edge of Waterton’s townsite. The Upper and Lower Bertha Falls hikes are well worth the walk with their stunning fall scenery of the falls and the lakes.
48. Stargazing at Cypress Hills Provincial Park
This is one of Alberta’s darkest areas, providing some of the best star-gazing in the province. Take a look back from one of Cypress Hills’ day-use areas to look on at endless starry skies.
49. Writing on Stone Provincial Park Events
Over the long weekend, you can visit Writing on Stone Provincial Park in southern Alberta and partake in a few different cultural events aimed to educate and entertain. This includes guided hikes and a Rock Art Tour through the Park.
50. Fall Colour Hikes
Alberta is sweeping prairies, rising mountain peaks, rocky terrain, and boreal forests. It’s breathtaking at any time of year, but autumn is when Alberta really comes alive with vibrant colours, crisp mountain air, and stunning sunsets across fields of wheat. Satisfy your wanderlust this weekend and explore a nearby park or any one of these classic hikes.
51. Go Camping
Alberta Parks are open for Fall camping and there are many first come first serve campgrounds that are open during the Thanksgiving weekend. Plan a trip!