Best picks for summer sporting adventures
The summer season is a busy time for most sport enthusiasts. But students on a tight budget, or who will be working away their summer fun, may find themselves at a loss for ideas.
Check out the following collection of affordable alternatives for sporty “staycations” around Alberta.
BEST PLACES TO GO
Lesser Slave Lake is known for its remarkable stretches of white sandy beaches and hiking trails. The lake is located in a provincial park that features both thick, evergreen forest and rolling sand dunes. For the wildlife enthusiast, bird watching, and fishing for Walleye and
Northern Pike are notorious in this area. It is a prime camping location as there are over 110 campgrounds priced for all budgets.
Naturally-formed ice carvings and magnificent ice caves, make the Canadian Rockies one of the coolest places to be when the temperatures rise. From Banff National Park to the northern Jasper National Park, this area is a gold mine of activities. Whether it’s a day trip to the icefalls, or a weekend stay at one of the many resorts, the rugged beauty and splendor of this area await to be explored.
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is a melting pot of diverse landscapes that blend in one location. There are over 50 kms of marked trails that lead all levels of hikers and walkers through heavy woods, grasslands and wetlands. For weekend campers, Fire Rock
Campground is on the shore of Elkwater Lake. It’s clean, private, and costs only $15 per night.
Brazeau Country is surely the place to be for outdoor adventures, and versatile activities on all athletic levels. Its rivers offer the perfect swimming holes, sport fishing, canoeing, and hiking. Brazeau Country is also known for its abundant ATV trails, and golf courses. For as low as $23, Willey West campground is the place to go for a real wilderness getaway. The campground is situated beside wild Crown Land and offers a picturesque view of the Rockies.
Found east of Lethbridge, Beauvais Lake Provincial Park, offers the most spectacular landscapes in Southern Alberta. Known for its abundance of rainbow trout, Beauvais Lake is perfect for the water sport enthusiast. This lake is always busy with windsurfers, power boats, canoes, kayaks, and sail boats. The campground is exceptionally clean, and includes free guided hikes for all levels. Cost: $18 – $24 per night.
July 13 to July 15
Huntfest is the largest outdoor lifestyle festival in Canada, and offers a variety of activities, speakers, and showcases the cutting-edge gear and accessories for avid hunters, and outdoor enthusiasts. This year’s Huntfest will be held at the River Cree Resort and Casino in Edmonton, and is sponsored by Wild TV. Cost is $12 per person. For more details, check huntfest.ca.
2012 Alberta Summer Games:
July 26 to July 29
The 2012 Alberta Summer Games combines 15 different sports from lacrosse to inline-hockey, in an all-out skills competition held in Lethbridge, Alberta. The games will need 3,000 volunteers and expects over 6,000 spectators. Cost is free for volunteers and students.
Banff National Park Dragon Boat Festival: Aug 11 to Aug 12
For the perfect day trip, check out this unique battle where teams of 22 paddlers race 40 foot long traditional dragon boats. Set on Lake Minnewanka, near Banff, be sure to pack a picnic, and enjoy a day of mountain air and outdoor festivities.
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
Price: $5 per adult
Seven days a week:
9 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily
Red Deer, Alberta
A great “rainy day” activity that exhibits an interactive tribute to Alberta’s sporting history. The museum includes a multi-sport Virtual Visual System, “Treadwall” climbing wall, 200m wheelchair race, and Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame Gallery. The newly added Ice and Snow Gallery is also awe-inspiring for the Canadian athlete.
Trail ride at Country Acre Stables
Price: $30 per hour
Available: June 18 to Aug 31 Bentley, Alberta
Spend a lazy summer afternoon on a prairie trail. Anyone can partake in this activity because Country Acre Stables gets you fitted for the trails by teaching how to saddle, groom, and ride a horse. For the more experienced rider, just book a delightful trial ride. The stables are located near Gull Lake, in central Alberta.
Voyageur Canoe Trip
Price: $39 per adult
Available: May 4 to Oct 8
Enjoy a one-hour trip in a Voyageur Canoe through the winding western end of the Bow River. Trips include a “Voyageur” guide who will engross you with stories of the past as you paddle through the beauty of the Rockies.
Drive a Stock Car
Price: $120 per adult
Available: Mar 1 to Sept. 30 Wetaskiwin, Alberta
Rev up your summer by driving an official racecar. This activity includes one hour of instruction, followed by an adrenaline pumping drive on the track while following a pace car for 10 laps. This awesome experience also comes with an 8×10″ photo and two event tickets to the Edmonton International Raceway. Book online at edmontonraceway.com.
EDITOR’S top PICK
A peaceful getaway
Kananaskis Country is a short drive west of Calgary and is situated on the slopes of the Canadian Rockies. The HI-Kananaskis Wilderness Hostel on Ribbon Creek is a tranquil getaway that is on the doorstep of over 60 biking and hiking trails. The abundant mountain activities are balanced by this hostel’s serene evening atmosphere.
From delicious home-cooked breakfasts, to late-night campfires, and the handmade chocolate on your pillow, this place allows you to get away from the city and back to nature. Call 1.866.762.4122 for reservations, rates are $25 – $70 per night.