Beach, fam, fun in Lac La Biche
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Alberta's northeast abounds with wide-open spaces, pristine lakes, boreal forests and captivating heritage experiences. Explore NEAB this summer!
Lac La Biche, AB - Getting a family of four in a pedal boat all pedalling at the same time and going the same way with smiles on their faces is not always easy, but Valerie and Sheldon Hunter have done it here on the lake in Lac La Biche. It may seem like a small achievement but with children along for the ride, as any parent knows, even the little successes are worth celebrating.
Planning a family vacation can too often become a big production when you’re trying to accommodate a variety of ages, individual interests and temperaments. But with a welcoming community, cozy hotels, nearby cultural attractions and an unbeatable beachfront, Lac La Biche makes it easy for the whole family.
The Hunters roll in to the Ramada Lac La Biche on a summer day with no set agenda. The freedom of having no set itinerary means there is time to take it slow, relax and just enjoy being where you are. For Nekoda and Jazlynn, the hotel pool is top priority and the Ramada has a special feature that all kids love - a waterslide.
The blue corkscrew plummets down to the pool at a speed that, according to visiting hockey teams, is the fastest in the region. Fountains spray into the pool at various angles, and a little splash fight starts the day off right.
As the hub for the region, Lac La Biche area is also home to a number of cultural attractions including the Lac La Biche Mission, Portage College’s Museum of Aboriginal Peoples’ Art and Artifacts (MOAPAA) and the Lac La Biche Museum. The family opts for the latter, partially on a whim and partially by design (the museum just happens to share a parking lot with the central beachfront at McArthur Park).
Being from the nearby St. Paul area, the Hunters enjoy exploring the region’s natural and cultural heritage through the museum’s permanent exhibits of local trapping history, wildlife and regional cultures (including Indigenous, Russian, Lebanese, French and more). They come away with a bit better knowledge of the province and region they call home.
From there, it’s on to the main attraction at McArthur Park. At the heart of town, with a sandy, shallow beachfront, the lake here is accessible to all ages. The Lac La Kayak rental kiosk on site provides all the watersport rentals you could need to enjoy the water, as well as bikes to hit the bike paths that stretch along the waterfront as far as the Mission, to the northwest, and (via a few brief street detours) out towards Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park in the opposite direction.
In between biking, beach time and boating, the kids cool off at the spray park. Sandcastles, bouncing beach balls and swimming fill up the rest of the afternoon.
Having built up an appetite, the family grabs dinner at The Teal Meal Mobile by Top Shelf Grill, a food truck that serves an array of hearty fare from classic poutine to tacos, to protein-heavy burgers to restore those lost calories from a full day of beach fun.
It’s always possible to plan a bigger excursion in the area, with all the lakes and wildlands surrounding town. There’s enough activities around Lac La Biche to fill days and weeks of vacation, depending on your interests (check out a few of our suggestions below, under Editor’s Picks, for some other examples). But when balancing family interests, sometimes the simplest option with the freedom just to do as you please is the best one-size-fits-all solution for a family trip, and that is the essence of a Lac La “Beach” holiday.
WHEN YOU GO
- Lac La Biche is a 2.5h drive from Edmonton.
- Be sure to make a visit to Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park, Alberta's only island provincial park.
- For more family-friendly activities, places to eat and stay, visit the Lac La Biche County website.
Explore #NEAB and stay in a trapper's tent, learn about Indigenous culture, ride bikes and discover the natural beauty of northern Alberta with one of these adventures: