10 Best Day Trips From Calgary, Canada - Updated 2022

day trips from calgary

Nicknamed “Cowtown” due to the famous rodeo and festivals of the farming exhibitions, Calgary is a cosmopolitan city in Alberta Province full of several beautiful architectural skyscrapers. The city owes its rapid growth to the teeming oil industry, manufacturing, technology, and tourism sector. In 1988, Calgary gained its fame as the first Canadian city to host a Winter Olympic Games. As the cultural capital of Canada, the city features arts and cultural venues and museums with other tourist attractions like the Calgary Zoo, the Telus Spark and the Chinatown District among many more. If you’re looking for an adventure, scroll down for our list of the best day trips from Calgary, Canada.

1. Bowden

Alberta mainstreet Bowen 041
Source: Photo by user Glenlarson~common... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Describing itself as a bedroom community, Bowden is a town located in Central Alberta, Canada, along Queen Elizabeth II Highway and only one hour out of Calgary. The major attractions in this small town include a challenging nine-hole golf course that’s popular with locals and visitors; the Pioneer Museum full of the town’s history since the 20th century; the Community Centre which is a perfect amenity for family and community activities. Other than the above listed, this town features stunning parks and playgrounds offering amazing spots for recreation activities to both the locals and visitors.

2. Lacombe

Alberta mainstreet Lacombe 043
Source: Photo by user [Unknown] used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

This agricultural town is set within the sprawling parkland of Central Alberta in between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the Alberta prairie on the East. On your one-day tour, first, explore the sandy beaches of Lake Gull which is a perfect vacation spot suitable for picnics and family tours. Then head to the Ellis Bird Farm, a popular nature haven with several birds, and be sure to learn a new dimension of bird raring and maybe have an opportunity to build a birdhouse or perhaps just have a relaxing moment inside the Ellis Café for a delicious meal or a cup of tea. The petting zoo, Kraay Family Farm, should be next on your list for a memorable petting time with the numerous animals in the house. Complete your tour with some history lessons in either of the seven museums within Lacombe, including the Alix Wagon Wheel Museum, Bentley Museum, Mirror Museum, Wadey House (Blackfalds), the Michener House Museum, Flatiron Museum, and the Lacombe Blacksmith Shop – the oldest blacksmith shop in Alberta.

3. Drumheller

Hoodoos in Drumheller, Alberta Canada
Source: Photo by user Ssalomons used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Popularly referred to as dinosaur valley, Drumheller town is situated 68 miles (110km) northeast of Calgary and it is a town of many firsts. This blessed destination has a lot to offer in terms of fun activities and history lessons. Get lost in this badland of Canada in a day’s tour exploring the Royal Tyrrell Museum and discover why Drumheller is called the dinosaur valley, with no place in the world with such dinosaur discoveries. Finished with dinosaur business at the museum, head to the Atlas Coalmine, a national historic site where a guided tour will reconnect you with the past through an underground conveyor tunnel. Sum up your tour exploring the Horseshoe Canyon with which offers beautiful views of the badlands from the top of the canyon.

4. Cochrane

Calgary Cochrane Mackays Ice Cream
Source: Photo by user Calgary Reviews used under CC BY 2.0

Located just 18km (11 miles) west of Calgary, within Alberta Province of Canada, Cochrane is a town of many attractions from mountains, prairies, foothills, and a historic street. Welcome on an exploration tour of this town that is home to MacKays, a very famous ice cream shop in the expansive region of Alberta. But that is not all on offer as the Cochrane Coffee Traders beckons with in-house specialty roasted coffee and some more. Explore the Horse Creek Candy around the corner for tantalizing candies and a variety of Canadian gifts. Rockyview Hotel and Texas Gate Saloon are a must-visit for a plate of delicious Western food served in a tranquil environment. To sum up your tour, pop into the Half Hitch Brewery for a taste of local beer or perhaps you would prefer a visit to Cochrane’s famous distillery, the Krang Spirits for a tour or just to have a taste of their best spirits. Finally, you cannot afford to miss the amazing mountain views of Albert.

5. Innisfail

Innisfail mainstreet
Source: Photo by user Qyd used under CC BY 2.5

Nestled within the Calgary-Edmonton corridor in the heart of Alberta Province, Innisfail is a bustling hub of thrilling recreation you should have on your list of tour destinations. Innisfail region is home to the Discovery Wildlife Park, a beautiful zoo that’s popular with a very unique wildlife experience that attracts loads of visitors all year round. Included on the list of top attractions is the Innisfail Golf Club, a 27-hole golf course ranked as the best in the province. Innisfail has the best to offer everyone with its many walking trails and trekking paths making for a relaxing day tourism opportunity explored by locals and visitors alike. Other recreation amenities in town include outdoor skating rinks, tennis courts, playgrounds, a ski hill, a spray park, and a curling rink.

6. Canmore (from USD 112.0)

Canmore is a town found 50 miles (81 km) west of Calgary, Canada. Gaining its fame for being part of the 1988 Winter Olympics, this former mining town is a loved destination for many visitors who throng here yearly for memorable tours. The ski trails within Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park is a perfect first stop for any visitor. Whether you are looking for opportunities in hiking, skiing, sled dog tours, cave exploration or rock climbing, be sure to find it in Canmore, plus many more fun activities

Canmore Caving Explorer Tour

Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes

120 reviews

7. Red Deer

Red Deer - Aerial - downtown bridges
Source: Photo by user Waynercook used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Red Deer city is located in Alberta Province between Calgary and Edmonton. This city offers a great food scene and numerous outdoor fun activities. If you like the feeling of a superhero, then be ready for crazy acts like the muddy obstacle races and great water sports. Considered Canada’s cultural capital, Red Deer is home to numerous arts and cultural groups featuring Central Alberta Theatre, Ignition Theatre, the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra, and other arts organizations. The Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery have exhibits showcasing the region’s history with educational programs. Waskasoo Park in Red Deer is a perfect location for biking, rollerblading, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and walking.

8. Sundre

West of Sundre, Alberta.
Source: Photo by user Jan Mosimann used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Sundre town is located within the foothills of the Rockies, just 75 minutes’ drive out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Here, you will find the clearly demarcated Cowboy Trail, perfect for walking tours, trekking or hiking. Start your tour on a full stomach, so I would advise a visit to the Kodiak BBQ & Deli Restaurant for that succulent barbecue that will fill you with the much-needed energy. Satisfied, you can head to the Sundre Museum and Pioneer Village, to marvel at the hundreds of animals assembled from around the world. Lovers of live plays, music or other classes of arts are welcome at the Sundre Performing Arts Centre also in town. Wild horses, Alberta’s iconic creatures, roam the foothills, thus explore the back roads and you might get lucky to spot a herd of grazing wild horses, which is a view worth taking a photo.

9. Makerville

Markerville Lutheran Church
Source: Photo by user Sylgja used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Completing this long list is Makerville, a historic hamlet within the central Alberta Province of Canada. Being at the tail end of the list should not deceive you as to what Makerville has to offer in terms of attractions and touring activities. History is a subject for anyone, so get out on a guided tour to explore the great culture and history of this Icelandic hamlet. The Markerville Creamery Museum is a perfect place to start from before moving on to discover more historic sites like the Fensala Hall built in 1903, Tindastoll Cemetery also established in 1903 and the historic Markerville Lutheran Church. As you end your tour, you will no doubt agree with me that this hamlet is a true hidden gem of Alberta.

10. Banff (from USD 146.0)

This resort town in Alberta Province is located within the expansive Banff National Park. Its strategic location alone suggests a lot in terms of fantastic touring activities. The sprawling parkland surrounding the town is home to beautiful wildlife like elks and grizzly bears. Adding to this allure is its proximity to Lake Louise, a unique dining scene and the thriving art industry. This awe-inspiring destination has enough to offer everyone from access to wilderness, adventurous activities, and picturesque mountain views that ensures you are fully immersed in nature.

Lake Louise and the Icefields Parkway - Full-Day Tour

Duration: 8 to 9 hours

128 reviews

An unforgettable experience

After your first visit to Calgary, Canada, you will surely want to come again on another vacation as just a single visit may not be enough to explore and marvel at everything that this picturesque destination has to offer. With tons of recreational activities and marvelous attractions, you will no doubt derive an unforgettable experience from your vacation.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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