Calgary is a great city to live in and to visit. As the weather warms up, though, I get the itch to travel a bit farther afield. Thankfully there are many great places to visit that are a short hop, skip and a jump from Calgary. You will be pleasantly surprised how many very different experiences are available to your family within a days drive. Alberta isn't JUST about visiting the mountains!
All distances are from "Calgary" which is from the center of town per Google maps.
Road Trips from Calgary - North
Big Hill Springs Provincial Park (41.8km)
Big Hill Springs Provincial Park is so close that it is hard to even consider it a road trip. However, it is a very cool spot that your kids will love. Easy hiking, a picnic area and a small creek make it a great place to visit throughout the spring and summer.
Lacombe Area - Ellis Bird Farm (181 km)
The Ellis Bird Farm is near Lacombe, Alberta and is both a working farm as well as a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Mountain Bluebirds, Tree Swallows and other native cavity-nesting birds. They have great programs for kids on most weekends and a lovely tea house. Check out my full write up about Ellis Bird Farm before your visit.
Red Deer Area - Torrington Gopher Museum and Discovery Canyon (147 km to Red Deer)
I'm excited about this post from Brooklyn Berry Designs about visiting Red Deer. The Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington has been on my list for a while. This summer we WILL be visiting because who doesn't like taxidermied gophers?
Cochrane (36 km)
MacKay's is famous for it's homemade ice cream that they've made since 1948. They make TONS of flavors...some that you've heard of and some that may seem a little weird (avacado anyone?).
Canmore (104 km)
Canmore is a great day trip from Calgary. It's just far enough to be "away" but close enough that your kids won't get too antsy. Check out this great post from Home to Heather about her weekend away with her kids in Canmore.
Road Trips from Calgary - South
Medicine Hat - Medalta Museum, Saamis Teepee (295 km)
Head South from Calgary and visit Medicine Hat. Between gorgeous parks, yummy restaurants, the Saamis teepee, the Medalta museum and the butterfuly house, there are tons of things for the entire family to enjoy.
Black Diamond - Marv's Classic Soda Shop (66 km)
Take a trip back in time. Marv's is a great diner with an old fasioned soda counter, ice cream shop and candy store. Your kids will love a visit especially if you give them a bit of money to spend on candy.
Lethbridge - Activities, Places to Eat and Accommodations (212 km)
Lethbridge has tons of great activities for families. This great post from Calgary Playground Review includes family friendly activity ideas, accommodation recommendations and ideas of where to eat.
Nanton (92 km)
Kananaskis (100 km)
Thinking about taking a little longer trip? Head down to the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis. They have beautiful facilities, a great pool, hiking and lots of activities for kids.
Camping Southern Alberta Provincial Parks
Thinking of going camping within a day drive of Calgary? Check out this great post from Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies about the The Best Provincial Park Campgrounds in Southern Alberta. Many of the parks also have day use areas in case you aren't staying over night.
Just Heading Out for Brunch? Check out Travels With Baggage's suggestions in Canmore and Banff (check out Chez Francois...she is totally right that it is amazing!)
See more posts from Merry at MerryAboutTown.com
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: