Taking a vacation this summer doesn’t have to mean hopping on a flight to Europe or somewhere tropical. Maybe you don’t have the luxury of taking an entire week off work or the funds to travel the world. No need to fear Calgary, because we have the solution for you. Experience culture-rich history mixed with insanely gorgeous landscapes in just over an hour outside the city. This is your chance to visit Canada’s most underestimated travel destination: The Canadian Badlands.
Whether you’re outdoorsy and you’re looking for a change of scenery or you’re a dinosaur nerd and you want to explore the hoodoos, the Canadian Badlands will not disappoint. With historic landscapes that you won’t find anywhere else across our continent to dramatic river valley views, the Canadian Badlands offers 90,000 square kilometres of adventure across Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Waterton, Brooks and more
The local culture and unique landscapes will pull you away from the hustle and bustle of city living and land you right in the home of the largest dinosaur bone bed ever found in North America.
Whether you want to visit the Canadian Badlands multiple times this summer or just spend the night, we are here to help maximize your adventures. We think you should plan your next escape just one hour and 20-minutes from Calgary. Here’s what we did during our two-day trip and recommend how you should do it too.
We started with a leisurely horseback ride throughout the valley, guided by the pros at Willow Creek Adventure. Seeing the Canadian Badlands from a cowboy’s perspective
while getting in the perfect dose of adrenaline on a 2-hour journey through the valley. Then, we took a quick 10-minute drive down to Red Deer River Adventures and grabbed an electric bike – these things are seriously badass! Not only did we see Drumheller from a new perspective, but with little to no effort on these motorized bicycles. Since these babies will do all the work, we didn’t think about being tired for even a second and simply enjoyed our journey under the sun.
From there, we took a stroll down the gorgeous river pathways and ate lunch in the charming Old Town Centre – Chopped Leaf hit the spot.
With the Canadian Badlands at our disposal, we stopped in at the water park, chilled by the river, rode horses and grabbed a cheeky drink at one of the historic saloons. We booked an overnight stay, which we highly recommend, because then you don’t miss seeing the sunset from the top of the Hoodoos – something to check off your summer bucket list. We went to the breathtaking Horsethief viewpoint while adoring the horizon over the Canadian Badlands. Is an overnight trip to the Canadian Badlands truly complete without camping? Doubtful. If you don’t have the gear, no need to worry
We stayed at 11 Bridges Campground & Cabins in the cutest cabin for two. This campground has feel-good-cozy vibes with a well-maintained look. Providing everything you need from linens and cute decor to spacious accommodation quarters within the cabins suited for you and your date. What more do you really need for an amazing overnight camping experience? Perhaps your very own firepit and picnic table too.
After a good night’s rest, we added to our itinerary by heading to the epitome of southern charm in Alberta: Rosebud.
This adorable town is famous for its seasonal theatre performances, quaint buildings and picturesque landscape. Hello, photo ops galore! One of the most pop
ular things to do here is to visit the Rosebud Theatre. We watched the production of The Kite, accompanied by an over-the-top delicious buffet lunch – the service here is exceptional.
Pro tip: come hungry! The Kite is a comical play about an old bitter man and his relationship with his family and loving grandson. It’s quite funny, to be honest, and runs all summer 2019.
From there, we made our way over to Sweetsmith Candy Co. for our sweet-tooth cravings to see how they cook up their delicious, locally-made toffee, which comes in 10+ fan-favourite flavours. This cute pitstop is located just outside of Strathmore – the perfect break on our quick route home.
If you are looking for an affordable getaway, rich in culture and history, with a wide array of activities and date night ideas, the Canadian Badlands is your destination. Experience a taste of Alberta’s beauty and historical past right next door.
Kelsey is the Editorial & Events Manager for Date Night. Monday-Friday she works as an independent Marketing & Communications Contractor, providing writing, editing and digital marketing services for small businesses here in YYC. When she’s not busy writing about our city, you can usually find her trying the newest fitness studio, exploring the Rockies or chasing the sun – whether here in AB or halfway across the world.