Presented by Expedia Canada
I think it’s safe to say that the cold weather is finally behind us, which means that all eyes are on amazing summer packed with adventure, memories, discoveries and lots and lots of Instagram photos!
To help make sure you make the most of the next few months, I’ve teamed up with Expedia Canada to curate five amazing road trips all from Calgary! All of the trips can easily be done in a day, saving a little bit money, but also giving you the chance to see Alberta like you maybe you’ve never seen it before!
The land before time
If they have even a minute free, most Calgarians head to the rocky mountains because, well they’re awesome. But if you’re looking for a different way to experience Alberta’s natural wonders, then pack up your car and head east and check out the the badlands. So much more than just the Royal Tyrrell Museum, which is amazing by the way, the badlands are just as stunning as the mountain peaks that Alberta is known for. The quaintness of Drumheller and how it’s fully embraced its dinosaur “heritage” makes driving around this town extra fun. Around every corner you’ll find colourful dinosaurs waiting to greet you you! Just outside of Drumheller, you’ll find the practically ghost town of Wayne, Alberta. I say practically because while there are a few people who still live there, it’s a shell of the busy mining town it used to be. One part remains is the Last Chance Saloon, which harkens back to the saloons we’ve seen in countless western movies. This bar is must-visit and make sure you talk to the staff about the building’s amazing history, including the bullet holes that can still be found in the walls. Hey, it’s called Last Chance saloon for a reason. After that, check out Dinosaur Provincial Park, where you can easily spot giant dinosaur bones still in the ground!
A rocky adventure!
If you do head to the mountains, there’s obviously lots to do, but if you’re looking for a little adventure, I definitely recommend you checking out Mount Norquay, which is arguably more exciting in the summer than it is during it’s incredibly busy winter season. The mountain’s new Via Ferrata attraction is quite simply the biggest thrill you’ll get in mountains this summer! I did it last summer and I think I still have goosebumps. And note, I’m not saying it’s scary, because it’s not. Via Ferrata is like a ropes course, only on the side of a mountain. It’s thrilling because you feel safe the whole time, but you also feel like some sort of extreme sport daredevil. I love it. Afterwards, stay on top of the mountain and reward yourself with a delicious meal at Cliffhouse Bistro, which I think offers up one of the best views in all of Alberta!
A Trekkie-friend trek!
Vulcan is one of those places where the whole town feels like an attraction. Even though its name is the same as Spock’s home planet is just a coincidence, they’ve completely embraced it, making for a fantastic day trip full of fun sci-fi finds and some modern day curiosities. I’m pretty sure the town has the world’s only tourism office that doubles as a Trek station, then there’s the fantastic Trekcetera Museum, packed with real set pieces and costumes from a bunch of the Star Trek franchise. If you can plan your trip to align with either Spock Days or Vul-Con, you’ll be able to full enjoy the town’s “trek experience.” While you’re there, make sure you check out the The Sugar Shack Candy Shop and The New Club Café!
Family Fun in Cochrane
I’m certain that someday Cochrane will be a part of Calgary, but for now, it’s a perfectly quaint town that sits in between Calgary and the Rocky Mountains. If you take the highway to the mountains, you’ll easily miss it, but take the old highway and spend the day exploring this area’s unique charm. No stop to Cochrane is complete without a stop into MacKay’s Ice Cream, which has rightfully earned its delicious reputation. But don’t just stop there, the town’s historic downtown is filled with fantastic local shops, perfect for shopping and browsing before you go back for your second ice cream. Just outside of town, the Big Hill Springs Provincial Park offers up a really easy family hike, and then there’s the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, which is one of my favourite things to do, which is why I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve gone. This is your chance to get up close and personal with these amazing animals.
Explore the Cowboy Trail
Alberta’s history is rooted deep in the legend of the cowboys, and Calgary is perfectly situated to spend the day exploring the land that these cowboys still roam. Fill your tank up and head out on the The Cowboy Trail to explore stops like the Homeplace Ranch Trail Ride, Black Diamond Bakery, Chuckwagon Café, Diamond, Willow Artisan Retreat, Millarville Market and my personal favourite, Marv’s Classic Soda Shop. The small town of Turner Valley is now also home to the Eau Claire Distillery, Alberta’s first independent craft distillery.