Since moving from small-town Alberta to the big city of Calgary over two years ago, it seems as though it's become a regular thing for my friends and I to plan day trips or weekend excursions out to Banff. It's just over an hour away from the city, it's one of the most beautiful places in the province, it's not too expensive, and there's lots to do there - going to Banff just makes sense.

I'll be the first to admit though, it's super easy to fall into a habitual routine of just heading to Banff for the day and exploring there, and never taking the time to explore your other options. What about the rest of the province?! Alberta has so many other cool and unique places not too far from Calgary that are just waiting to be explored - you don't need to stick to the same road trip plan every time you're craving adventure. In fact, you'll feel a lot better if you switch it up every once in awhile!

Did you know that Alberta is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Both of which are under three hours away from Calgary, just waiting for you to visit them. There are also plenty of spots for you to hunt for dinosaurs bones, snap some photos of the beautiful prairies and badlands, and ride trains through the sunset.

You may be busy with school, work, or adulting right now, but sometimes, but the best way for you to destress is to take a break and get away from it all. Whether you just have time for a quick day trip somewhere nearby, or you have time to go all out and plan a weekend getaway to explore Alberta, we suggest you do it! Make some romantic fall plans with your significant other, plan a spontaneous adventure with your closest friends, or hit the road solo to one of these amazing road trip destinations:

Waterton Lakes National Park

Time from Calgary: 2 hours and 50 minutes

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Since we're not going to Banff, you may as well take the chance to explore one of Alberta's other beautiful National Parks. Waterton offers a unique view of both the prairies and the Rocky Mountains, providing stunning scenery for you in all directions. If you're looking to stay overnight, we definitely recommend the Prince of Wales Hotel, which offers some of the best Afternoon Tea you'll have in your life. There's so much to see and do in Waterton Lakes National Park, you'll want to be sure to bring along your camera to capture the beauty of your adventure.

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Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology

Time from Calgary: 1 hour and 35 minutes

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Want to go back in time and roam with the dinosaurs? At the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, you can! Home to one of the largest dinosaur skeleton collections you'll find anywhere in the world, the museum certainly is a sight to see. While here, you can spend your time searching for fossils, casting your own fossils, or explore the beautiful Badlands surrounding the museum. Exploring the museum's many galleries can take up to three hours, so be sure to plan your time accordingly if you want to see everything.

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Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site

Time from Calgary: 1 hour and 45 minutes

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As one of the largest, oldest, and best-maintained buffalo jumps in the world, this spot has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, meaning it's been put in the same category as world wonders like the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge. While here, you can check out both indoor and outdoor exhibits that tell the story of the buffalo and hunters that used to roam the land for years before. Hours vary by season, so be sure to check ahead of your trip.

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Frank Slide Interpretive Centre

Time from Calgary: 2 hours and 15 minutes

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If you know the tragedy behind Frank Slide, you can probably imagine just how eerie it is to drive through, much less get out and explore. Back in 1903, Canada's deadliest rock slide occurred at Frank Slide, wiping out almost the entire town and its population. Much of the town remains buried under the rubble today, but an Interpretive Centre has since been constructed to tell the story of Frank Slide and give patrons an opportunity to explore the town all year round.

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Dinosaur Provincial Park

Time from Calgary: 2 hours and 15 minutes

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If you want to see the other side of beauty that Alberta has to offer, you definitely need to pay a visit to Dinosaur Provincial Park. This spot is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, so if you've got the time to pay a visit and cross it off your bucket list, you definitely should! While here, you can explore the many hiking trails, enjoy a picnic lunch, hunt for dinosaur fossils, and take an abundance of picturesque, Instagram worthy photos.

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Aspen Crossing

Time from Calgary: 1 hour

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Located just an hour drive away from Calgary, Aspen Crossing is a great spot to get away from the city for the day with your friends, or a date if you're looking for something totally unique and romantic. Hop on the train and enjoy 3+ hours of adventure through the stunning Alberta scenery. Enjoy a dinner while you ride, as well as some dinner entertainment, depending on which day you visit on! This trip through the prairies will give you a new appreciation for the province - you may just fall in love with it all over again.

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Innisfail

Time from Calgary: 1 hour and 30 minutes

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With a population just short of 8,000, there's no denying that Innisfail has that quaint, small-town feel that draws so many people in from the big city. There are plenty of farms nearby where you can pick your own fruit and vegetables, and of course Discovery Wildlife Park, where you can get up close and personal with some of the most majestic animals you've ever seen. While in town, also be sure to stop into the Innisfail District & Historical Village to learn a bit more about the history of this wonderful spot.

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Sylvan Lake

Time from Calgary: 1 hour and 45 minutes

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Although Sylvan Lake is undeniably most enjoyable in the summer, it's still a fun place to visit no matter what time of year it is. You may not be able to soak up the sun or splash around in the water if you plan a visit this fall or winter, but you still can take in the amazing views, take a walk around the town and meet the friendly locals, or just curl up in a cozy cafe with a good book to get away from it all for a while.

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Lacombe

Time from Calgary: 1 hour and 45 minutes

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If there ever was a small town with plenty to offer, it would have to be Lacombe. Home to a record holding Corn Maze, Gull Lake, Ellis Bird Farm, and J.J. Collett Natural Area, there's no shortage of spots to get outside and get a hike in or snap some photos of the beautiful Alberta scenery. With a population of just over 13,000, Lacombe has a cozy small town feel without making you feel like you're in a hick-ville.

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Red Deer

Time from Calgary: 1 hour and 30 minutes

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If you don't want to make the 3-hour drive up to Edmonton, but you do want to see what other big cities in Alberta have to offer, we recommend making a trip over to Red Deer! The population is considerably smaller than that of Calgary or Edmonton, but there's still plenty to do and see here. During your visit, pop into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame & Museum, the Red Deer Museum, and the Kerry Wood Nature Centre and Gaetz Lake Sanctuary.

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Vulcan

Time from Calgary: 1 hour and 20 minutes

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If you're a self-proclaimed nerd or a big Star Trek fan, I can guarantee you that you'll enjoy a trip to Vulcan. This small town has taken on the title of the Star Trek capital of Canada, and it's definitely dedicated itself to proving that. The Vulcan Trek Station is home to some seriously interesting artifacts and was actually designed to look like a massive landing spacecraft - pretty cool, right?!

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Bragg Creek

Time from Calgary: 40 minutes

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If you're on a time crunch, Bragg Creek may just be the perfect spot for you to go! It's only 40 minutes away from Calgary, and holds plenty of fun, outdoor opportunities for you to check out including horseback riding, snowshoeing, and hiking, among others!

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As you can see, there are some pretty awesome places just outside of Calgary for you to check out, and this list doesn't even cover all of them! Next time you're feeling ready for an adventure, pack up your car and some snacks, put on a playlist of your favourite songs, and hit the road to make some unforgettable memories!