The warm weather has finally arrived and you know what that means, road trip season! Even though there are tons of fun, affordable things to do in downtown Edmonton, sometimes it's nice to get away from the city for a little while. Here are 10 exciting road trips that are all 3 hours away or less!
1. Go Canoeing on the North Saskatchewan River
Credit: Canadian Wilderness School
Located just 40 minutes away from downtown, you can spend the afternoon calmly floating down the river while catching some rays. It's the perfect way to take in all that nature has to offer and just relax. If you don't own a canoe, you can rent a paddle boat, or stop by the Edmonton Paddling Centre Society on the ponds in Rundle Park to rent a kayak as well.
So Edmonton isn't exactly a beach town, but at just 1 hour and 45 minutes away, Sylvan Lake is your next best bet! Plant your toes in the 1.6 km long sand and grass beach, bring some sunscreen (and maybe some beer), and unwind in the sun.
This spot is the furthest destination on this list, but it's definitely worth the trek! Jasper is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies and part of UNESCO's Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. All of the 11 000+ square kilometers are absolutely breathtaking!
4. University of Alberta Botanic Garden
Re-opening for the season on May 1, this spot is perfect for snapping tons of Insta-worthy pictures. The garden contains more than 25,000 trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and wetland plants, so be sure to check it out for a fun, nature-filled road trip less than an hour away from downtown.
If you've never seen the Northern Lights before then you have to visit Elk Island National Park-- one of the best spots for stargazing in all of Alberta. You might even catch a bison or two roaming around too!
Credit: Discovery Wildlife Park
The perfect spot for a family friendly getaway! According to their website, what sets this zoo apart is that they provide "permanent homes for unfortunate wildlife– orphans that cannot be released back into the wild, exotic pets that have been kept illegally as well as unwanted pets." They even offer sites where you can camp overnight with the animals!
7. UFO Landing Pad in St. Paul
This place definitely quirky, but if aliens are your thing then you have to check out this small town located just over 2 hours away from Edmonton. It's home to the world's first UFO landing pad that was built in 1967, and it also has an exhibit that supposedly displays actual photographs of UFOs.
If you're not into canoeing or kayaking, then why not go tubing down the Pembina River! It's the perfect way to spend a scorching hot summer day, floating in the water with some good company and a couple cold ones.
9. Alberta Beach & Lac St Anne
This is another fun place to plant your toes in the sand that's not too far from Edmonton. Just 60 km west of downtown, they even have campsites that are less than a block from the beach, stores, restaurants and pubs.
Credit: St Albert Farmers' Market
During the warmer days, who doesn't love a good farmers' market? With 270 vendors and nearly 20 000 visitors every Saturday, St. Albert Farmers’ Market is the largest outdoor farmers' market in Western Canada! With tons of fresh, local produce, handmade products, and even some live music, you won't want to miss it!