May Long is right around the corner, and that means that it’s time to start planning the perfect way to enjoy your weekend. Whether you’re all about soaking up the sun, going on a hike, or simply discovering the treasures to be found in new places, Alberta probably has the perfect provincial park for you.
Although both Banff and Jasper are popular options, Alberta offers plenty of other (less—cliché) weekend getaways with beautiful views. Fuel up your car, grab your best friends (and snacks, of course), blast some music, and hit the road; roadtrip season has officially begun!
Dinosaur Provincial Park
This one brings out the kid in all of us. Located in Southern Alberta, Dinosaur Provincial Park is the perfect place to go with your family, or your friends who love a little adventure. And hey, who hasn’t dreamed of digging up a dinosaur bone at least once in their life?
Made up of over 50 provincial parks, Kananaskis Country is the best place to go if you want to cram multiple hikes into one weekend. Only an hour away from Calgary, K-Country covers 4,257 square kilometres of the Rocky Mountains. With views like that, you’re sure to get some insta-worthy snaps.
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park
Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Stradling the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan, Cypress Hills is Canada’s only interprovincial park. Two provinces in one weekend means double the fun. If you’re one to laze around on the beach and scope out the wildlife, this is the perfect park for you!
Lakeland Provincial Park
Gentleman, this one’s for you. Perfect for a weekend getaway with the boys, Lakeland is full of the best fishing, boating, and swimming spots. Also great for watching wildlife, Lakeland is ideal if you’re looking to fully submerge yourself into the authentic provincial park experience.
Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park
This is probably the closest you’ll come to the white sand beaches of Cuba in Alberta. Lesser Slave Lake is the perfect place for anyone who can’t handle roughin’ it in the wild. Hiking, cycling, paddling, and swimming are the activities of choice in this park.
Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park
Another great option for families, Writing-On-Stone is also a National Historical Site. The continents largest collection of rock art also makes for some super cool Insta posts. If you’re a bit of a history nerd, you can book a guided tour to make the most of your experience.
Fish Creek Provincial Park
If you’re from Calgary, and looking for a stay-cation this May Long, check out Fish Creek. You can enjoy your favorite parts of far away provincial parks, like hiking, bird watching, and swimming, all within city limits.
Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park
Closed for the winter, Dry Island doesn’t open until mid-May, so now is the perfect time to check it out. Full of history, this park is perfect for anyone who’s curious about the history of the Cree or the buffalo, or anyone who just wants to see some cool sights.
Strathcona Science Provincial Park
Once a popular science centre in northern Alberta, this park now contains many abandoned buildings (could be cool if you’re not scared of ghosts?). Apart from eerie vibes, Strathcona Science Provincial Park still offers activities such as cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and hiking.
William A. Switzer Provincial Park
If you find yourself stuck in small-town Hinton, this summer, make sure to check out William A. Switzer Provincial Park. Full of beautiful sights, but not as busy or crazy as Jasper, this park is the perfect little get away for northern Albertans.
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
If conquering all of Kananaskis is too much for you, at least check out Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. The park is about 90 km outside of Calgary, but the views are incredible, so the trip is definitely worth it, no matter how far.
Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park
Any extreme athletes and Olympic junkies will definitely want to check this one out. Originally built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, Canmore Nordic Centre is also part of Kananaskis, and offers trails for cross-country skiiers, mountain bikers, and hikers.