Hitting the road: 10 scenic places in Alberta

Albertans are lucky. Great historical landmarks and gorgeous landscapes are never more than a short drive away. Touring the province is a perfect excuse for a single day getaway, long weekend trip or an extended vacation. With spectacular parks, wineries and dinosaur bones, Alberta offers some of the best sight-seeing in the world for the price of a tank of gas.

Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure

The Athabasca Glacier in Lake Louise is a for-sure awesome time. Tours up the Icefields Parkway are 80 minutes of journeying up the glacier with your guide in the massive Ice Explorer vehicle, and a stop for walking on the glaciers. When you’re done, there are gorgeous roads that you can drive yourself and explore around the area between Jasper and Lake Louise.

Den of Antiquity

PO Box 1192, Redwater, AB T0A 2W0

Just like Canadian Pickers, you can hit up the Den of Antiquity and shop antiques in hope of a rare find. You’re also welcome to appreciate the 1910 single-room Amelia schoolhouse where the Den is situated, though the drive up the Victorian Trail is easily one of the best parts of this trip with awe-inspiring history and natural vistas.

Stony Plain Farmers' Market

4905 51 Avenue, Stony Plain, AB T7Z 1Y1

There’s nothing better than the farmer’s market on a Sunday morning. Stony Plain has more than 70 vendors on the upper and lower levels of the Community Center. You can get fresh veggies and flowers, but you’ll keep coming back for the cheesecakes, pet accessories, books, leatherwork and jewellery.

Jurassic Forest

If you loved Jurassic Park, then there’s an entire forest of dinosaurs waiting for you north of Gibbons. It’s a great place to take the kids or young-at-heart dino-lovers. They’ve got dinosaur replicas sprawled throughout the forest, searching for food as you dodge their feet and teeth. The kids can even dig up bones and take a ride on the mighty Triceratops!

Devonian Botanic Garden

Hwy 60, Devon, AB T7V 1C5

This huge botanical garden is part of the University of Alberta and features a Kurimoto Japanese Garden, extremely beautiful to stroll in as it unfolds before you. For botanists, this is a must-see place with a diverse and native plant collection. And, for the average visitor, they have numerous events like their Pyjama Party and Opera al Fresco that must be booked early.

Barr Estate Winery

Sherwood Park, AB T8B 1K9

If you’re open to trying unconventional wines made without grapes, you’ll want to check out Rick and Amy’s winery, located in the middle of their farm, amongst the sheep. You can take a tour of the estate for a small fee and learn how their raspberry and rhubarb wines have made a name for themselves.

Alberta Pioneer Railway Association

24215 34 Street NW, Edmonton, AB T5Y 6B4

A truly historic place, the Alberta Railway Museum is a non-profit completely run by volunteers whose aim is to preserve these vintage trains. They have more than 75 rail cars and locomotives from the Canadian National and Northern Alberta Railways. The museum itself is a tiny replica train terminal with a station and shops, where you can catch your train to the past.

Canadian Badlands Ltd

181 Railway Ave E, Drumheller, AB T0J 0Y0

The Badlands on its own is pretty fantastic for prehistoric geography and dinosaurs. But, there’s also the Royal Tyrrell Museum with dino skeletons on display or precision golf on the challenging course at the Dinosaur Trail Golf & Country Club. With so much history here, you might just be the next paleontologist to discover a prized fossil!

Edmonton Corn Maze

With a new maze each year, you can’t opt out because you’ve “been there, done that.” The time to beat is 30 minutes if you’re a whiz at directions; if not, you’re free to wander about more than 5 k.m. of maze. And, it includes the full farm experience, with barnyard animals, old-timey snacks and a spud gun to shoot old potatoes from a cannon.

Elk Island National Park

Elk Island is the perfect place to get back in touch with nature with roaming bison and elk. You can camp out under the stars or go canoeing on Astotin Lake. Canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards are available for rental on-site (on weekends and holidays). For day trippers in the winter, snowshoeing is a transcendental experience with elk wandering around as you explore the grounds.

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