9 Day Trips From Calgary That Aren’t Banff
Forget about the mountains and visit a small town instead.
When you've lived in Calgary long enough, odds are good that you've visited Banff quite frequently. It's just a short drive away and let's be real, who can resist an up-close view of those mountains?!
While a trip to the Rockies is always fun, there's also no reason not to explore the rest of the province. There's a lot more to see here than just mountains and prairie! Next time you're feeling adventurous, drop a link to this article in your group chat and start planning a day trip, or weekend getaway to one of Alberta's coolest spots:
Time from Calgary: 1 hour and 15 minutes
If you haven't yet heard of the Bowden SunMaze, you're seriously missing out. This is easily one of the coolest and prettiest spots in Alberta, and it's just a short drive away from Calgary. Be sure to bring along your camera to snap an awesome shot for your Insta!
Time from Calgary: 1 hour and 45 minutes
We may not be known for our beaches, but that doesn't mean we don't know how to have fun in the sun. Sylvan Lake is probably the closest thing you'll find to a beach here in Alberta, and it can be a pretty fun spot to hang out! Bring your friends along for a day of tanning, boating, or floating!
Time from Calgary: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Seeing as it's the Dinosaur Capital of the World, I'd say Drumheller is definitely a spot worth visiting. If you're in the mood for a longer trip you can camp out, or if you just want a day trip you can visit the Dinosaur museum and do some hunting for bones and other interesting artifacts!
Time from Calgary: 40 minutes
Seeing as Alberta is known for being a prairie province, you may as well take advantage of it. Head out to Saskatoon Farms and pick your own fresh fruit and vegetables to enjoy. They've also got a petting zoo where you can get up close and personal with your favourite animals.
Time from Calgary: 3 hours
Medicine Hat may not have a lot going on, but as someone who lived there for 17 years, I can tell you first hand that there's plenty of hidden gems to check out here. Visit the Tipi, check out the cute coffee shops downtown, or simply spend a day basking in the sunshine at Echo Dale; it is the sunniest city in Canada, after all.
Time from Calgary: 3 hours and 30 minutes
If you don't mind driving to get a semi-beach experience, Alberta Beach is where it's at! It's a gorgeous spot with plenty of outdoor and water activities to check out. Try paddleboarding, windsurfing, or kayaking, or simply spend the day working on your tan.
Time from Calgary: 2 hours and 45 minutes
If you still want to enjoy the mountains but want to avoid the crowds of Banff, Waterton Lakes National Park is a great option. It's a lot more lowkey, but still has a lot of the same absolutely stunning views. Take a hike, explore the park, or have an impromptu photoshoot with friends.
Time from Calgary: 3 hours
If you're looking to hop from one big city to another, we recommend paying a visit to the city of Edmonton! From shopping at West Ed and going for a dip in World Waterpark to touring the Legislature Building and hanging out at the Muttart there's so much to do.
Time from Calgary: 3 hours and 40 minutes
If you want to see some of the history Alberta has to offer, Writing on Stone is always a great place to visit. The park itself is gorgeous, but there's also an abundance of ancient drawings and carvings for you to admire!