This year, the end of summer seems to hit a bit harder than before. For the past few months, families have been cooped up indoors. It feels like we've only recently started to emerge back into society to bask in the outdoors. Why would we want to start prepping for winter hibernation already?

Luckily, we have a gorgeous season in between summer and winter that allows us to catch a break. Autumn is the perfect season for enjoying outdoor activities with the fam. Not only is it sunny yet cool out, but nature is at its peak beauty during the fall. 

Calgary is a great place to explore and try new fall-friendly things with loved ones. A sense of adventure is definitely something we’re all in need of right now. Reconnecting with nature can do wonders for your mental and physical health. It’s time to make going outside a priority in order to live your best life. All you need is a cozy sweater, some snacks, a warm beverage, family, and you’re all set!

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are 11 inexpensive outdoor activities that you can enjoy in Calgary with your family this fall.

1. Explore Hidden Gems On A Spark Science Road Trip

Price: $40.00

Address: Various locations on the road

Why You Need To Go: This socially distanced choose-your-own-adventure is perfect for families who want to enjoy a private experience together. Hop in your car and select your trip of choice, where you'll follow a curated map that'll lead the way. Discover more about Alberta with scientific facts while uncovering hidden locations. While you're exploring nature, you might as well get your energy from it too. Pack some healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, and granola bars (Nature Valley has some yummy flavours!).


2. Rediscover Your Path While Hiking

Price: Free

Address: Various locations

Why You Need To Go: There's nothing like having your family reconnect with nature to get everyone back on track. Though most of us often forget it as we age, the benefits of being outside are so rewarding. If you're looking for something easy for the kiddos, check out Bowmont Park, boasting playgrounds, picnic tables, and different hiking trails. 


3. Have A Pumpkin-Picking Palooza At Cobb's

Price: $19.75 online or $23 at the door (free for children under 3)

Address: Cobb's Adventure Park, 1500 84th St. N.E., Calgary, AB T2A 7X4

Why You Need To Go: Pick the greatest pumpkin this year! Take a stroll through Cobb's during Pumpkin Palooza with family and friends. This is the perfect opportunity to take beautiful fall photos and get in the fall spirit. Open Saturdays and Sundays in October and Thanksgiving Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


4. Support Locals At Inglewood Night Market

Price: $5.00 admission fee

Address: 9th Avenue SE in the Calgary Parking Lots located at 11th and 12th Street

Why You Need To Go: To find handmade crafts, vintage clothing, antiques or artisan eats for the whole family. Open from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Friday in September, this modern market sells all kinds of special goods. You can purchase tickets ahead of time on their website, with a portion being donated to The Music Mile Revival Fund. (Dogs are welcome too!)


5. Experience Arts & Culture During Alberta Culture Days

Price: Free

Address: Various locations

Why You Need To Go: Until September 30, you can explore local activities both indoors and outdoors across the province. This event helps increase awareness, participation, and engagement of Canadians in the arts and cultural life. From a unique art exhibit to an exciting scavenger hunt, there's fun for the whole family.


6. Have A Cozy Carburn Park Picnic

Price: Free

Address: 67 Riverview Dr. SE, Calgary, AB T2C 4H8

Why You Need To Go: Carburn Park is a large park along the Bow River. I mean, who doesn't love a fall picnic near the water? It features man-made ponds fit for canoeing and fishing, walking trails, and picnic benches. To be clear, dogs are allowed and swimming is not. Be sure to fill your picnic baskets with wholesome snacks that'll help you revel in nature as you admire wildlife, waterfowl, and wildflowers.


7. Interact With Cute Animals At Butterfield Acres Farm

Price: Children $13.49, adults $15.49 (18+), seniors $14.49 (over 65)

Address: 254077 Rocky Ridge Road, Calgary, AB T3R 1A6

Why You Need To Go: It's not autumn without a trip to the local farm. With great opportunities to teach your children about farm animals plus tons of cool activities, Butterfield Acres Farm is a great petting zoo to take your family to. You can look forward to pony rides, tractor-pulled wagon rides, and farmyard activity stations. You can even attend the new Harvest Pumpkin Fest and feed the animals. 


8. Experience Nature In The City At McHugh Bluff Park

Price: Free

Address: Along Crescent Rd. N.W., from 10 St. N.W. to Centre St. N

Why You Need To Go: McHugh Bluff Park spans across two northwest communities. With different pathways and trails, this hot spot is popular amongst commuters, dog walkers, and joggers, considering it's so close to the city's centre. It offers a unique chance for your loved ones to view the city's skyline (and stunning fall foliage) while immersing yourselves in nature. You get the best of both worlds, can't beat that! The park hours range from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., tons of time to get your daily dose of nature in.


9. Get Lost In Bowden SunMaze

Price: $6.00 for ages 7-18, $10.00 for adults (must be purchased online prior to visit)

Address: 34532 Range Road 14, Bowden, Red Deer County, AB T0M 0K0

Why You Need To Go: Nothing says happiness like a field of 100,000 smiling sunflowers! With a wide range of vegetables, a great selection of flowers, as well as a play area for children, this place has something for everyone in the fam. The sunflower maze is open until late September. 


10. Take Flight With The Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival

Price: $20.00 parking fee

Address: High River, AB

Why You Need To Go: It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... a hot air balloon! This highly anticipated annual event takes place every fall, and it's happening again this year from September 23 to 27. Featuring hot air balloon competitions and the balloon Night Glow (yes, glow-in-the-dark balloons), this is family fun you won't want to miss. Not only is this a beautiful sight to witness, but it also gives the community a chance to connect.


11. Get Spooky At Field of Screams

Price: $26 per person

Address: 1500 84th Street N.E., Calgary, AB T2A 7X4

Why You Need To Go: Friday and Saturday evenings in October from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Cobb's Adventure Park hosts Field of Screams. It's a (scarily fun!) Halloween-inspired outdoor event suitable for all ages, featuring six haunted houses, activities, food, rides, and more.


No matter what's going on in life, nature will always be there to help you recharge. Nature Valley is making things even more accessible with on-the-go snacks that are a delicious source of energy derived from nature.

Don’t forget to check each organization’s complete health and safety information before attending certain events and activities. Have fun outdoors while staying safe and energized for your adventures. 

Discover more about the benefits of being outdoors with Nature Valley. Visit their website and be sure to check out their Instagram and Facebook.

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