Summer is all about getting out and exploring. Whether you're hitting up a new patio that just opened up or you're checking out a music festival, summer is filled with endless opportunities to get out and about. This also means that your wallet gets a bit of a workout... but hey, it doesn't have to!
We live in the glorious province of Alberta — a province filled with natural beauty and man-made wonders. There are plenty of awesome hidden gems that you can visit this summer that are completely FREE. It's the perfect way to escape the deep hole of Netflix binging and get some fresh air. Grab your best buds and pick one of these awesome places for your next summer destination!
Content disclaimer: We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit a potentially hazardous location, you check for the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. The locations listed below may or may not have changed their regulations in regards to what you can or cannot do on site since the article was last updated. Always consult with local authorities. If you do plan to visit a location, know the risks beforehand and respect the environment.
Horseshoe Lake // Jasper
This bright blue swimming spot is the perfect place to chill out for the day. Whether you love making a splash or if you'd rather avoid the chilly water and spend the day relaxing in the sun, this place is perfect for everyone!
Writing On Stone Provincial Park
This super cool park has some seriously interesting landscapes. It also includes petroglyphs which date back as far as 7000 B.C. It has major desert vibes, and is the perfect place for a little photoshoot.
"Wonderland" Head Sculpture // Calgary
This iconic art installation in downtown Calgary is absolutely stunning. It just begs for a photo to be taken of it! You can even walk inside of it for a truly unique perspective.
Castle Falls Campground // Hillcrest Mines
This campground has something for everyone. With cliffs, rolling rocks, and an (ice cold) river, it's the perfect camping spot to spend a super hot weekend. You can also hike the nearby Castle Mountain if you're up for an adventure. Day use is free here, but if you opt to stay overnight there is a fee.
containR Park // Calgary
This unique park in Calgary consists of a bunch of shipping containers that have been transformed into works of art. Need 3,000 Instagrams? This is the place to go —there's so much variety!
Quarry Lake // Canmore
What could be better than spending the day lakeside and mountainside? This best-of-both-worlds destination is absolutely stunning. Plus, there's a rope swing, and everyone knows that rope swings are the BOMB.
World's Largest Pyrogy // Glendon
I know what you're thinking — these natural wonders are great and all, but I just wanna visit some ginormous sculptures of food! Well, worry not my friends, because the world's largest perogy can be found in Alberta!
Elk Island National Park
Banff and Jasper always get all of the attention, but have you ever heard of Elk Island National Park? If not, then you're missing out. This gorgeous park has the most stunning lakes, and canoeing on them at sunset will give you one of the most scenic views in the world.
Disclaimer: Some of these locations exist within National Parks, for which there is an entrance fee if you don't already have a park pass.