Luxe life in Cold Lake feels like Margaritaville
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Alberta's northeast abounds with wide-open spaces, pristine lakes, boreal forests and captivating heritage experiences. Explore NEAB this summer!
Cold Lake, AB - Bright blue skies and deep blue water for miles, birds soaring above, a refreshing breeze softening the day’s heat, Natalie and Dallas McCue recline on the bow of the Edgewater Experiences yacht as it floats on Cold Lake, Alberta. They’ve had a full day of kayaking, fine dining, hanging out on the beach and a dinner cruise, but this rare moment is all about the two of them.
“It means everything to make time for each other,” says Natalie. With the couple's busy lifestyle, she adds, it’s important to prioritize moments like these. “We’re so close to home and yet we feel like we’re on vacation.”
With the triple threat of sun, sand and surf, the day has seemed almost like a getaway on the Mexican Riviera instead of an Alberta vacation. There is a distinctly posh side to Cold Lake that checks all the boxes of an exotic luxury holiday.
The cruise is the highlight of a weekend escape that began at Baywood Cabins just over 24 hours ago. Substitute boreal forest for jungle, and a classic Canadian-style log cabin for tropical hut, and you have the Baywood Cabins experience. This is basecamp for the couple’s adventure.
A large wooden deck opens onto a private view of the forest, while the interior is all sumptuous hand-carved wood. A fireplace and spiral staircase up to loft beds completes the warm, cozy atmosphere. Natalie and Dallas toast to the adventure ahead with a glass of wine.
The next day finds them ready to hit the beach at Cold Lake. Despite being a public beach, Kinosoo Beach has a resort feel to it. There are volleyball and basketball courts, a zipline, grassy picnic areas and soft sand for spreading out in the sun.
And when it’s time to get moving, Wicked Watersport Rentals offers all the adventure options you could want on the water, with kayaks, paddleboards and flyboarding ready from the beach.
In between beach activities, there is no better way to taste like you’re in the southern hemisphere than a visit to Mamacita’s. Fresh margaritas, tacos, salads and all the fresh Latin fixings - lime, cilantro, house-made salsa - will have your tastebuds dancing, while the bursting colours of the room and cheery syncopated Latin music create a fiesta for the senses. Natalie and Dallas can’t resist the house signature tres leche cake for dessert.
Hitting the water on some kayaks, the couple work off the rich lunch and have a few laughs splashing one another, kicking up the sand and generally enjoying the beach vibe.
For a beach apres, they pay a visit to Cold Lake Brewing and Distilling, where the new tap room opened in 2020 offers a commanding view of the lake from the rooftop patio.
Of course, the best way to top a couples’ beach day is with a cruise and dinner on the water. With Edgewater Experiences, host Russ Robertson can customize the experience to their guests’ preferences: a family beach day on a secluded bay, a fishing excursion or a romantic evening, the outing is yours to craft. After having a glass or two of prosecco, an Indian-style dinner and trying their hands at helming the boat, the McCues recline on the bow with a lake view all their own.
“It was surreal! Given the opportunity to be out on the lake like that, watch the sun come down, there’s nothing better,” says Dallas.
As the sun lowers in the sky, the couple find a secluded beach to touch down on land again. Rich gold and copper tones paint the horizon as the fading heat lingers warm on their skin and the cool water laps their feet, as if to say, relax, take your time, stay awhile.
WHEN YOU GO
- The drive from Edmonton to Cold Lake takes approximately 3h.
- Book a custom cruise with Edgewater Experiences, and experience Cold Lake your way.
- Every tried flyboarding? Picture yourself soaring above the lake. You can book a flight with Wicked Watersport Rentals.