Where to go for a weekend away from Cowtown? Obviously the Okanagan and Lake Louise are worthy destinations, but we’re willing to bet that most Calgarians already hit both of them on the regular (wine tours in the summer and ski trips in the winter, right?). Instead, we’re sending you off the beaten path to some drivable destinations that deserve a little more credit.
Drumheller, Alberta (Driving distance: 135 km)
Of course there’s the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the hoodoos, but Drumheller is also a top pick purely because of its beautiful landscape. Camping & hiking in the Badlands will treat visitors to Horseshoe Canyon, a mini Grand Canyon, where you can view the sedimentary layers of the land. There’s also the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dinosaur Provincial Park, where vast amounts of dinosaur bones have been discovered. Take a tour and revel in the long history of the beautiful province.
Jasper, Alberta (Driving distance: 413 km)
Heading to Alberta’s other National Park may seem like an extra far drive, but keep in mind that the Columbia Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) from Banff to Jasper is agreed upon by many to be Canada’s most beautiful drive. Take your time on the drive, and expect to stop for several photo ops. Once in Jasper, you can hike, bike, wander, ski, snowmobile – whatever you want! A fun aspect of skiing Marmot Basin is the ski-out parking lots. Join in on the fun with the locals by tailgating for lunch.
Kalispell, Montana (Driving distance: 423 km)
Despite the declining value of the Canadian dollar, we had to include at least one roadtrip south of the border. Calgarians are lucky to be so close to the beautiful rolling hills of Montana, so why not take advantage? Whether it’s ski-out accommodations at nearby Whitefish Mountain Resort or the rustic village culture in downtown Kalispell, you’re in for a treat.
Edmonton, Alberta (Driving distance: 299 km)
We know the rivalry is intense between Calgarians and Edmontonians, but hear us out. Sometimes it’s just fun to go to another city for a weekend. What other excuse do you have to get a hotel room and wrap up in a fluffy bathrobe? Nicknamed “Canada’s Festival City,” you know there’s always going to be something going on for entertainment. It’s also got a river valley that’s 22 times bigger than New York’s Central Park. Bike and kayak in the summer, or snowshoe and cross-country ski in the winter for a real treat. Lastly, when Edmonton opens their new hockey arena, Rogers Place, in fall 2016, it’s going to be a must-see (and in the process, you can see new NHL all-star Connor McDavid play).