10 Great Day Trips From Edmonton on One Tank of Gas
Whether you’re a born-and-bred Edmontonian or a visitor looking to make the most of your vacation, these day trips outside the city are worth adding to your itinerary.
The Best Day Trips From Edmonton
Over the past few years, Edmonton has been reimagined, reinvigorated and reborn. New downtown accommodations create a central meeting place for culture and sports fans alike, and the historic Old Strathcona and White Avenue district is as alive and energized. After taking in the city’s new downtown Ice District, culinary scene and expansive urban parkland, visitors can also hit the road to experience the province’s extraordinary culture and wildlife. Here are 10 day trips from Edmonton worth adding to your bucket list.
This 512-acre spot is home to Alberta’s first major Métis cultural interpretative centre. Visitors to Métis Crossing are invited to immerse themselves in the province’s rich Métis history, with the opportunity to try their hand at traditional beading, take part in textile workshops, and visit the same land the original Métis settlers once walked. You’ll also want to check out the centre’s art and historical exhibits before you leave.
Check out one group’s efforts to revive the traditional Métis Red River cart.
Talking Rock Tours & Elk Island National Park
Although it’s only a 45-minute drive from Edmonton, Elk Island National Park delivers a completely immersive wildlife experience. Home to 250 bird species, more than 600 roaming bison (best spotted at dawn or dusk), and several hiking trails (ranging from an easy 2.7-km to a more strenuous 16km), this national park is a must-see when visiting Edmonton. Take a Talking Rocks Tour to learn about the significant connection between the area and the Indigenous people who lived there, including knowledge of the wildlife and plant species that have long been their source of medicine and food.
How many of these beautiful Canadian birds have you spotted in your travels?
Located in the scenic Alberta foothills southwest of Edmonton, Painted Warriors is a skills-building ranch specializing in immersive Indigenous experiences. One of the most popular activities here is archery, taught from an Indigenous perspective. Also on offer are storytelling, glamping, horseback riding and wildlife viewing—enough activities to keep you busy for a day or overnight.
Check out more great places to go glamping in Canada.
Explore Lacombe Country
Lacombe is home to excellent prairie birdwatching, the nearby Gull Lake, and extensive trail networks (including a section of the Trans-Canada Trail). Not to be outdone, Lacombe’s urban adventures are also well worth exploring. Discover the historic downtown while getting a taste of Alberta’s beer scene at Blindman Brewing, followed by lunch or dinner at one of central Alberta’s favourites, Cilantro and Chive Restaurant.
Discover more unforgettable road trips through western Canada.
Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm
Just 45 minutes outside of Edmonton sits a 35-acre working farm that is a perfect spot for family activities or even a romantic date. Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm is the ultimate U-pick with tons of fruits and vegetables, including baby potatoes, beans, zucchini, strawberries and more throughout the summer. The farm is open May to October, and in late summer and early fall, you can enjoy corn mazes, a corn festival, and pumpkin harvesting.
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Transport yourself to a community that traces its origins to French settlers in 1895. Beaumont is located 35 minutes south of Edmonton, and its late-19th century history is still present in its downtown architecture. Take a stroll along French colonial red brick walkways, taste local French cuisine at Chartier and finish your trip with a sampling of Alberta craft beer at Sea Change Brewing Co.
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Explore the North Saskatchewan River
The North Saskatchewan River’s headwaters start in the Alberta Rockies and eventually end in Hudson Bay, but along the way is the Edmonton River Valley, which is home to some of the largest urban parklands in the world. It’s a sanctuary in the middle of a bustling city and its endless stretches of tree-lined shores are best seen from the water itself. Take a canoe or kayak tour with Edmonton Canoe from the town of Devon right into Edmonton while you listen to the guide’s stories about flora and fauna, and the triumphs of explorers who used these very waters to chart what we now know as Alberta.
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Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Recreation Area
With more than 170 kilometres of hiking and biking trails, Cooking Lake is another great option to explore Alberta’s rugged wilderness. Forests of poplar, spruce and birch nestle waterfowl-filled wetlands making for ample scenic recreation opportunities, such as hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Check out the best hikes in Canada.
Jurassic Forest in the town of Gibbons
While Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park and nearby Drumheller are known for fossils and a world-class museum, Jurassic Forest offers the chance to walk among the giants at several spots on a 40-acre prehistoric preserve. Find more than a dozen animated dinosaurs stalking the forest, including Alberta’s own Albertosaurus! With a dinosaur dig, dino-themed playgrounds, and a mini-golf course, this unique experience will bring you face-to-face with the creatures that once ruled these lands.
Here are the best places to see dinosaur fossils in every province.
The Beaver Hills Biodiversity Trail
The Beaver Hills Biodiversity Trail is part of the Strathcona Wilderness Centre and received UNESCO biosphere designation in 2016. Extensive forests and native wetlands support striking diversity in vegetation, waterfowl, mammals and birds that are best seen in the early morning or evening. With eight trails to enjoy, don’t forget to bring your camera or have a smartphone ready to capture stunning images on your adventures.
After you’ve tackled these day trips from Edmonton, check out the best road trips in Canada.