Planning for Post-Pandemic Staycations in Alberta

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Joanne Elves

It might take us a while to build up the confidence to be in a cluster of strangers when we are in enter the post-pandemic era, but that’s OK. We can build a bucket list of adventures in Alberta that take advantage of our wide-open spaces. Stay close to home or dash off to the Rockies, or to Grande Prairie or Medicine Hat. It’s yours to discover. Here are our picks to get you started. And, of course, beer is at the top of my list!

Local? You might be able to tackle some of this list right now!

Further away? Use these ideas for future travel plans when the time is right.

Craft beer Alberta road trips

Calgary's craft boom scene is happening all around the city. It even has a Barley Belt. 

Beer me! – That’s easy to do in Calgary

#1. Walk between breweries in YYC - Craft breweries are popping up all over the city but there is a cluster in the Barley Belt within walking distance of the LRT and easily accessed by bike. At least 10 breweries welcome you and your long-lost friends to the taprooms to taste and take home some brew. There is some mighty fine food there, too.

#2. Walk away from today - Did you grow up in Alberta? It doesn’t matter. Stepping back in time at Heritage Park is always a nice reminder of where the province all started. (They have the best cinnamon buns, too!)

 

Elk Island National Park Alberta Bison

Yep, you just might see a lovely bison sauntering down the road in Elk Island National Park.

Edmonton is actually spelled P.A.R.T.Y. The largest northernmost metropolis in Canada knows how to rock it.

#3. Dance like everyone is watching! With over 50 festivals planned every year, you are bound to bump into a party any day of the year. Top favourites include the Internationally acclaimed Edmonton Fringe Festival in August and the Boardwalk Ice on Whyte ice sculpture competition.

#4 Boogie with the Bison. Maybe you’d like a walk on the wild side? A quick trip out to Elk Island National Park to roam with the bison is in order any time of the year.

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Waterton Wildflowers
Photographer: Chris Istace

Waterton's Wildflower Festival is a must-do in May.

Bike pedals or flower pedals? BOTH! – Waterton Lakes is never in a hurry – except in the spring.

#5 Flower power - Waterton National Park has wide-open spaces to discover but springtime (late May) is when the wildflowers put on a show, but it’s a short show so don’t delay.

How to Find Your Zen in Waterton

#6 Pedal power - Take your bikes and pedal up the Red Rock Parkway to see prairie crocus and glacier lilies along with oh, maybe 1,400 other varieties!. But don’t just look down. That shadow over your shoulder might be cast by a massive sandhill crane on its way to its nesting grounds in Northern Alberta.

Stars or alien adventures Medicine Hat offers two-day trips that are one-of-a-kind.

#7 Go higher - Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is the highest point east of the Canadian Rockies. Hiking, biking and fishing are all at your figure tips. Stay the night at a campground or book one of the back country huts. Let the sun set and watch the stars fill the sky.

Check out this Cypress Hill itinerary to plan your stay.

#8 Beam me up! - Head over to Red Rock Coulee to see where the aliens play marbles. Okay, kidding on the aliens but the enormous sandstone concretions that have eroded out of the sediments look like giant marbles.

Paleontologist for a Day Philip J. Currie Museum
Photographer: Chris Istace

How cool would it be to find a dinosaur fossil on a tour of a real bonebed? 

Digging the discoveries While the rest of us hung out in our pajamas during Ground Hog Year, the paleontologists at Alberta’s best dinosaur museums have been dusting off some awesome discoveries.

#9 Can you say Pachyrhinosaurus? Visit the Philp J. Currie Dinosaur Museum near Grande Prairie and tour the bonebeds to find out more.

What's it like to be a paleontologist for day? Find out here.

#10 Real or just for fun! Explore the world from the mouth of a dinosaur in Drumheller or peer into the mouth of a real one (skeleton of course) at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

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