Summer is here, and that means ice cream, sundresses, and of course, road trips. Road trips rock. Car food, the open Alberta roads sprawling before you, and discovering new and exciting places. Even if you don't go far, there are plenty of places to explore close to Calgary, and you'll even be back home in time for dinner! Nothing beats spending quality time with friends.
Don't know where to set your GPS to next? We've laid out seven of the best one hour road trips from Calgary that you need to cross of your summer bucket list. From hidden caves to relaxing hot springs, find your next adventure here.
1. Canmore Cave Tours
If you're a real adventurer and love trying new things, then you definitely need to check out the cave tours in Canmore. Climb down into the depths of Rat's Nest Cave, a wild and undeveloped cave underneath Grotto Mountain! They offer a variety of different types of tours, and you can check them all out here. Although if you're claustrophobic, this may not be the activity for you...
2. Bragg Creek
This adorable little hamlet offers something for everyone. You can browse the unique shops, grab a bite to eat at one of their lovely restaurants, or grab an ice cream cone to cool off. It also has awesome biking, hiking, camping, fishing, and horseback riding, all with gorgeous views of the mountains.
3. Alberta Badlands
If you're looking to find a totally unique landscape with a super cool history, this is the place to go. Hop from hoodoo to hoodoo and roam around the same land that dinosaurs once did. Visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum and see their collection of more than 130,000 fossils. Drumheller has major desert vibes, and is also perfect for getting some totally aesthetic photos if you're looking for a photoshoot.
4. Banff Hot Springs
Need an escape from reality? The Banff Upper Hot Springs offers a place to sit back, soak, and unwind. With stunning views of the surrounding mountains, you will forget about the stresses of city life. Once you're relaxed af, you can head on down into Banff and wander the main strip, window shopping and munching on beaver tails.
5. Lake Minnewanka
This picturesque lake is the perfect summer getaway. Take a boat tour out on the water, tan lakeside, or take a dip (if you're brave enough) in the refreshing crystal clear water. There's lots of wildlife around the area too, so don't be surprised if you see some bears or bighorn sheep. This is the perfect mountain/lake combo for locals, since all of the tourists go to Lake Louise or Moraine Lake.
6. Big Rock Erratic
Drive out to Okotoks to see this natural wonder. It's a huge glacial boulder that lies in an otherwise completely flat landscape which makes it super rare and unique. Try your hand at climbing/bouldering to the top of the rock and enjoy the gorgeous views. If there was ever a place to yell "I'm the king of the castle, you're the dirty rascal", it would probably be here.
7. Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is definitely one of the most underrated provincial parks Alberta has to offer. Banff and Jasper always get all the attention, but the upside to that is the lack of tourists. Wander around the park exploring all of the best waterfalls, lakes, and mountain views. Bring along some sandwiches and make it a picnic! This place is guaranteed to make you fall in love with our country.