Is anyone else feeling a little shook by the insane snowstorm that just hit us? I know I am, especially considering it's still technically summer. I know the weather here in Alberta can be pretty unpredictable and crazy at times, but I was hoping for at least two or three more weeks of enjoying the sunshine before the snow hit.
If anything, I would say that this late-summer snowfall is the perfect reminder that we need to take advantage of fall before the seriously bitter winter weather hits us. You can still have a ton of fall fun and get cute Instagram photos while trying to stay warm under six layers of clothing - we promise.
Now that we're back to school (sorry), we're going to be collectively stressing over midterms, papers, projects, and all other trials and tribulations of student life. If you ask me, sometimes a road trip is the perfect cure for stress (or a temporary distraction, at least).
With your insanely busy schedule, it may be hard to plan a road trip too far away. Luckily for you though, Edmonton has some really great options that are just a short drive away. Get there in less than two hours, spend the day seeing all the sights, getting to know the locals, perusing some shops, and grabbing a bite to eat! After a fun-filled day, you'll be ready to go back to the realities of adulthood.
No matter what piques your interest, there's plenty of unique and interesting road trip destinations just outside of the city. Be sure to get in on the fall spirit at the Edmonton Corn Maze, browse the St. Albert Farmer's Market one last time, or roam free with the bison in Elk Island National Park. Whatever you don't hit this year, you can be sure to explore next year, but there's no time like the present to hit the road:
Distance: 1 hour and 40 minutes
While Sylvan Lake is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the summer, there is no reason for you to fall asleep. We recommend a bite to eat at the delicious Lokal Kitchen, or warming up with a coffee from the Spinnaker's before you set out to check out the city.
Be sure to check out the Lakeside Go-Karts and Mini Golf if the weather permits, take a stroll by the beach, or play some paintball! There's plenty to do in this gorgeous city that makes it worth the road trip. As a bonus, if the cold is just too unbearable, you'll always be able to curl up in a shop near the lake with your favorite book (talk about the perfect Autumn day!).
Edmonton Corn Maze
Distance: 40 minutes
Fall is here, and that means it's time for your Instagram feed to be filled with photos of people frolicking through pumpkin patches and corn mazes. To be honest, I'm not mad about it. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, and a trip to the Edmonton Corn Maze may be just what you need to get into the spirit of things.
According to the website, Corn Maze experts can complete the path in 30 minutes, but those who are more directionally challenged could take up to an hour. Regardless of how long it takes you, we're willing to bet you'll have a ton of fun.
U of A Botanic Garden
Distance: 40 minutes
If you don't have time to drive super far, the University of Alberta's Botanic Garden is probably the most ideal day trip for you to make. It's just a short 40-minute drive outside of the city, and they often host events throughout the year.
Bring along a blanket and a picnic lunch, or simply make the drive out to take a stroll through the garden and snap a few photos. It's beautiful all the time, but the garden definitely has a unique sort of appeal in the fall when everything is changing colors.
St. Albert Farmer's Market
Distance: 30 minutes
Why not make your grocery shopping more exciting with a trip to the St. Albert Farmer's Market? It's a great spot to pick up your fresh fruit and veggies, sweet treats, and handmade goods - because there's no better feeling than supporting local.
The market runs until mid-October, so make sure you pop in before it closes down for another year! Not only can you pick up some tasty food here, it's also the perfect spot to make friends with the uber friendly locals who are selling their goods and shopping around. You know what they say - you can never have too many friends!
Happy Acres U-Pick
Distance: 45 minutes
Let's keep it real - is there really anything better than fresh picked fruits and veggies? The season to do your picking is coming to a close, so you'll want to make sour to map out your trip to Happy Acres ASAP!
Apart from providing you with delicious food, Happy Acres is also here to put you in that fall spirit. Grab yourself to a Pumpkin Spice Latte before you hit the road, and you'll have the most perfect autumn afternoon.
Elk Island National Park
Distance: 40 minutes
Unfortunately Jasper and Banff are both far drives away from Edmonton, but fortunately, the beautiful Elk Island National Park is just a short drive outside the city. While in the park, you'll be able to witness the beautiful Bison and other wildlife roam free, take a hike, or paddle across Astotin Lake, if the weather permits.
Another benefit of Elk Island is that it's substantially less busy than other national parks, but it's still equally as beautiful and enjoyable.
Distance: 40 minutes
Many of us grew up watching Jurrasic Park, fantasizing what it would be like to live among the dinosaurs who once roamed the earth. Odds are good we'll never be able to experience it, but if you make a quick drive out to Jurassic Forest you may get a pretty good idea.
Spend your day getting up close and personal with larger than life prehistoric sculptures, and be sure to stop and pose for a few photos that will have your Instagram followers double tapping and hitting you up to see where you've been exploring.
Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary
Distance: 40 minutes
If you enjoy the outdoors, you know that there are very few things on this planet that compare to breathing in the crisp, cool fall air while you step through the crunchy fallen leaves. Everything is so much more beautiful this time of year, and we highly recommend you take the time to enjoy it!
The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is just a short drive away from Edmonton and is easily one of the most picturesque spots you'll find that close to the city. Take your dog out for a stroll, pack a picnic lunch, and be sure to wear your warmest blanket scarf to beat the cold!
Distance: 3 hours
If you don't know what a hoodoo is, don't worry, I had to google it. Basically, it's a super cool rock formation that's a tall column created by gradual erosion and weathering over millions of years. And almost exactly 3 hours south of Edmonton is a buncha of them and other gorgeous rock formations.
Distance: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Ready for one last lake trip before the snow sticks around for good?! Winter is coming early this year - there's no doubt about it after this week's snowstorm. With that in mind, there's no time like the present to plan a trip out to Pigeon Lake when the forecast calls for one last bout of good weather.
Bring along the whole crew for an impromptu fall photo shoot, play some beach volleyball, or take a stroll along one of the many paths while you take in the amazing views.
Discovery Wildlife Park
Distance: 2 hours
If you didn't quite make it to Discovery Wildlife Park this summer, don't fret! You still have a few weeks to make the trip before all the animals say goodbye for the winter. Discovery provides people with plenty of amazing opportunities to get up close and personal with their favorite animals.
Snap a photo with a bear, pet a giant tortoise, or sit side by side with a lion - the choice is yours! Be sure to plan your trip ASAP though, as the park will be closing in the 2nd week of October, and if you love animals as much as I do, this is an opportunity you DON'T want to miss out on.
As you can see, Edmonton has a ton of interesting spots just WAITING for you and your crew to take them by storm. If you want to keep your IG feed seriously fire, and your soul seriously happy, then road trips are the perfect remedy. With all the beauty out there, it may be hard for you and your friends to agree on just one of them - so why not hit them all?! Trust us - life is short, take the road trip.