The season of summer is a beautiful time anywhere, although I'd like to argue that in Alberta, there's something extra special about it. The dry, crisp mountain air of the winter becomes more soft, the prairies begin to come back to life in full colour, and baby animals are being born everywhere you go - there's so much to take in and it truly is magical.
After a long season of hibernating inside with your girlfriend, rewatching all your favourite shows on Netflix, now it's finally time to get back out there and start going on real dates again! There's no more snow and cold to stop you, so what's your excuse now?!
The problem with Alberta is that we have so many awesome things to do, but a lot of those things are also popular tourist destinations, or outlandishly busy so nobody wants to do them anymore. If you're not one for crowds, then this list is just the thing for you. Here are a bunch of lowkey, beautiful places to bring your girlfriend, best friends, boyfriends, and family members this spring, from all across Alberta:
1. Spray Lake Reservoir
Why you should go: When in Kananaskis Country there's so much to do and see, but one spot you need to make sure you hit is the Spray Lake Reservoir! This spot is a lot more calm and quiet than some of the other touristy destinations in the area, so if you're looking for a romantic moment, this is it!
2. Spirit Island
Where: Jasper National Park
Why you should go: If you need an excuse to make your way down the Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park this spring, look no further! Head down the water until you find yourself on the amazing and secluded Spirit Island - it's an iconic view that so many people associate with our stunning Rocky Mountains.
3. Hoodoos Trail
Why you should go: If you're used to typical mountain hikes, perhaps you should switch things up and try out a hoodoo hike! The Hoodoo Trail in Drumheller is quite popular for many Albertans, likely because it's great for people of all fitness levels! Not only will it get you to enjoy the great outdoors, but it also gives you a new appreciation for those beautiful hoodoos.
4. The Beaver Boardwalk
Why you should go: Hinton is a pretty low-key town just a few hours west of Edmonton. Like many small Alberta towns, it's full of friendly people, a few cute local shops, and the Beaver Boardwalk, which is the perfect place to explore come spring!
5. Cameron Lake
Where: Waterton Lakes National Park
Why you should go: Of all the lakes that there are for you to see in Alberta, Cameron Lake has to be one of the prettiest. I mean... look at that view! If you can handle the hike that comes with it, you're in for a seriously awesome, picture perfect view.
6. Big Hill Springs Provincial Park
Why you should go: If you live in Calgary, or the surrounding area, and you need a new park to explore, we highly recommend taking advantage of Big Hill Springs! This park is a lot more lowkey than many others in Alberta, and there's plenty to do and see here, including hiking, biking, and wildlife watching!
7. Medalta Potteries
Where: Medicine Hat
Why you should go: Medalta Potteries is in my hometown of Medicine Hat, and I have many memories of going there as a child to get crafty! Although the Hat isn't as small as a lot of other towns in Alberta, it definitely still has that small town feel to it! Take your girlfriend to Medalta Potteries for a day of exploring and creating that you won't soon forget.
8. The Jasper Planetarium
Where: Jasper National Park
Why you should go: Love the stars? Me too! Sure, you could lay out a blanket in any old field and go stargazing. Orrrr, you could hit up the Jasper Planetarium and see all those twinkly lights up close and personal! Sounds a bit more romantic to me.
9. Hard Luck Canyon
Why you should go: When the brutal winter we've been having finally comes to an end, you'll love nothing more than a chance to get outside and explore! One of the best lowkey places you'll find in Alberta is Whitecourt's Hard Luck Canyon! Be sure to snap plenty of photos - they'll look great on your Instagram.
10. Big Rock Erratic
Why you should go: You may be wondering what could possibly be so special about a big rock, but it just so happens that it's a geological landmark of great spiritual significance to the Blackfoot peoples. The rock was once located in Jasper National Park, but because of a long ago ice age, it relocated to nearby Okotoks.
11. Mistaya Canyon
Where: Banff National Park
Why you should go: A lot of people visiting Banff make the trek over to Johnston Canyon, which is almost always packed with tourists. If you want to keep things a bit quieter and less hectic, check out Mistaya Canyon - it's just as beautiful, but substantially less crazy.
12. World's First UFO Landing Pad
Where: Saint Paul
Why you should go: This one is just straight up cool. Of all the places in the world to put the first UFO Landing Pad, who would've thought it'd end up being in St. Paul, Alberta? It was built back in the 60s, but has since become a popular tourist destination.
13. Discovery Canyon
Where: Red Deer
Why you should go: Depending on how early it warms up this year, spring may or may not be the perfect time for you to hop in the water and go for a float down the river! Discovery Canyon in Red Deer is a great place to get ourside and do just that - we can guarantee you'll have a day full of fun in the sun.
14. Fish Creek Provincial Park
Why you should go: Of all the parks in Calgary, Fish Creek is probably one of my favourites because it makes you forget that you're in the big city at all - you feel totally secluded from all the things stressing you out! It's a great spot to go for a quick hike, ride your bike, or enjoy a sweet picnic lunch with your girlfriend.
15. Forget Me Not Pond
Where: Bragg Creek
Why you should go: Bragg Creek is another one of those Alberta spots that's totally beautiful, but also seriously underrated. If you have the chance to make it out there, you need to ensure you stop at Forget Me Not Pond and snap a few photos - just look at the stunning colour of that water!
16. Canmore Cave Tours
Why you should go: Want to REALLY impress your date? Well, first of all, make sure she's up for something totally out of the box, and isn't afraid of the dark (or tight spaces). Canmore is home to so many mystical caves that are just waiting to be explored, and thanks to Canmore Cave Tours, you can go ahead and explore them in great depth!
17. Medicine Lake
Where: Jasper National Park
Why you should go: Jasper National Park has endless things for you to do no matter what time of year it is, but come spring time, you need to make sure that you pay a visit to Medicine Lake. Whether you go for a hike and take in the view from above, or simply walk a lap around the water, the sights you'll see are unforgettable.
18. Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens
Why you should go: Although the province has no shortage of beautiful gardens, perhaps the most overlooked one is the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens in the city of Lethbridge. These gardens are perhaps most beautiful in the spring, when all the flowers are in full bloom and the sun is shining!
19. Ghost Town of Nemiskam
Why you should go: Are you afraid of ghosts? That's okay, just hold your partner's hand! The ghost town of Nemiskam is one of Alberta's most lowkey and best preserved spots, although it is quite difficult to find. If you're up for an adventure, set out on the Red Coat Trail and try to find it!