Everyone knows from labelling and colouring maps in elementary school geography class that Edmonton is the capital of Alberta. They've probably heard of the West Edmonton Mall (largest mall in North America). They've also probably heard of Calgary for the Calgary Stampede, and just for its general size and popularity.
But there is more to Alberta than just these two large cities - much more, in fact. This province is littered with tons of hidden gems that not many people know about. Whether you're a local Albertan who wants to get out and explore your own province, or whether you're an Ontarian or Nova Scotian who is planning a vacation out to good old 'berta, here are some of the small towns that you should totally check out:
Where: 1.5 hours W of Calgary.
This little town is popular with tourists who want a taste of mountain town living. The main strip is shopping paradise and the hotels and lodges are so cozy. It also is the closest town to Lake Louise, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the province.
Where: 1.5 hours NE of Calgary
This little town of 8,000 people has one of the most unique landscapes in the world, known as "hoodoos". It also has one of the largest collection of dinosaur fossils in the Royal Tyrell Museum. This place has definite desert vibes!
Where: 1 hour N of Calgary
This tiny town only has a population of about 1,250, but it has a unique experience that no other place in Alberta can offer - a sunflower maze! The Bowden SunMaze is an absolutely gorgeous field of bright sunflowers that make for excellent photos!
Where: 4 hours SW of Edmonton
Known for its stunning natural beauty and popular photography locations, Jasper is definitely a stop to make on your vacation to the Rockies. It has small mountain town vibes written all over it, and you are guaranteed to feel completely relaxed on your stay here.
Where: 1.5 hours N of Calgary
The town of Sylvan Lake has a population of 15,000 and is the perfect summer escape. Rent out a cute little cottage, relax on the beach, and get out for a swim in the water for a vacation that will help you escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday life.
Where: 1 hour W of Calgary
Situated in the gateway to the mountains, the cozy town of Canmore is essentially a mini-Banff, but with way fewer tourists. Canmore has a cute little downtown that is perfect for meandering around, as well as lots of amazing restaurants. They even have a craft brewery that you definitely have to try while you're there, called Grizzly Paw.
Where: 45 minutes S of Calgary
High River is the place to go if you want a true taste of Alberta. It has a population of 14,000 and is just one of those cute little towns that are fun to go around and explore. They have rolling fields that give the best backdrop for gorgeous Alberta sunsets too!
Where: 2.5 hours NE of Edmonton
Ever wish you could see the world's largest perogy? Well, if you take the drive up to Glendon, AB you'll be in luck! This tiny town only has a population of about 500 people, but c'mon, largest perogy...worth it!