Alberta is full of opportunities for a road trip. If you haven’t experienced many road trips, now is the time to start planning one! Here are some of our top places to visit if you want to make some memories this summer and brush up on your long distance driving skills at the same time.
Banff has always been the gem of Alberta’s National Parks and is world renowned for its mountainous views, hiking, and summer or winter sports. It gets the most visitors for any Alberta tourist destination and has all sorts of wildlife like grizzly bears, black bears, mountain goats, wolves, caribou, and elk! If you live in or around Calgary, it’s only a few hours’ drive to take in all the views and activities in Banff. Want to know where to stay? Check out these Banff accommodations!
- Lake Louise
Lake Louise is known for its legendary ski resort with skiing for all ages. But in the summer, Lake Louise has a stunning turquoise lake where you can rent a kayak or canoe, or take a stroll along the shoreline. Its village is also full of shops, restaurants, and campgrounds.
Columbia Icefield & Glacier Walkway
If you would like to make a stop that empties your gas tank and your lungs, visit the 230 km stretch of icefields, waterfalls, and glaciers that is the Columbia Icefield between Lake Louise and Jasper. You can see the icefields up close and personal with Glacier Adventure tours. Remember to breathe as the views could leave you breathless.
Or visit the Glacier Walkway that lets you look down through glass floor panels standing almost a thousand feet above ground.
Writing on Stone
If this sounds like a legendary scene from Indiana Jones, it’s close. Just outside Milk River Alberta, Writing on Stone Provincial Park has the biggest collection of First Nation petroglyphs and pictographs in North America. They say it’s over 5,000 years old; you can’t miss it!
Highwood Pass - Kananaskis Country, Alberta
You can do this pass as a scenic drive, hike, scramble, or even a picnic. Whatever you choose, you’ll be surprised to know that Highwood Pass is Canada’s highest mountain highway. The hike itself only takes three to four hours to complete comfortably, but expect the highway drive to take a full day. Keep in mind that the pass is closed each year from December to June 15 to protect wildlife.
Royal Tyrrell Museum
The Calgary Stampede is world famous as the “Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth” for a reason. Expect free ‘Stampede breakfasts’ all over the city, rodeos, cowboy hats, deep fried everything, circus rides, and fun for every day that it runs from July 5-14, 2019. Similar to Carnival in Brazil, the whole city jumps into the festivities that you cannot miss whether you live in Alberta or not!
Official site: http://www.calgarystampede.com/
The Gopher Hole Museum
As odd as it sounds, the people of Torrington, Alberta have become famous for building dioramas of gophers since 1996 for thousands of tourists to see every year. The Huffington Post actually wrote about the Gopher Hole Museum in 2017 shocked at how much these furry friends live up to matching our daily lives. You get to see these gophers checking the mail, kissing in the moonlight, and stepping up to the plate in hopes of a home run.
Even if you can’t make a quick stop over while you visit the Rocky Mountains, you can at least see more of the gopher museum photos here.
HOW TO PLAN YOUR ROAD TRIP
A. Plan Your Route
You can use a route planner like https://roadtrippers.com/canada/ to lay out your route and to see all sorts of places, detours, and uncover hidden spots along the way.
B. Pack Up
Make sure you have all the essentials packed up before you hit the road, Jack. Once you’re on the open highway, it’s hard to go back and grab some toilet paper or a flashlight that you’ve forgotten. It’s also more expensive to buy essentials along the way, especially if you’re paying with another currency.
MentalFloss.com showed that:
- 60% of Americans forget windshield wiper fluid
- 40% forget jumper cables
- 39% forget a flashlight
- 31% forget a cell phone charger
Make sure you pack these too for your Emergency Kit:
- Booster cables
- Phone charger
- Hand/foot warmers
- Folding shovel
- Fire extinguisher
- Multi-tool (pliers, knife etc.)
- Candles for light & heat
- Waterproof matches
- First aid kit
- Self-powered flashlight
- Work gloves
- Paper towel / rags
- Warm clothing
- A jug of water
- Protein bars
- A warm blanket
- A local map
- Duct tape
Or pick up some of these Kits and Accessories from Canadian Tire.
C. Finding Accommodations
If you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on accommodations, here are a few other choices:
If you’re asking, “is there enough space for me to sleep in my car?”, it depends on your vehicle. A station wagon or an RV will do the trick, but usually cars don’t have showers, so unless there’s a body of water or a waterfall, we recommend baby wipes in between stops. As for a bed, just make sure your seats can fold down and bring an air mattress.
- Beneath the Stars
Pack some toiletries and toilet paper and you’re set for some open-air camping, especially during the summer months.
This online bed and breakfast platform is where you can find homeowners renting out their creature comforts like internet access and running water for a lot less than a hotel. Plus, you can meet new people. Just make sure you’re choosing hosts who have good ratings and that you have a co-traveler.
“Carrot On Board!”
Whether you’re just visiting Banff or making the trek to the Gopher Hole Museum, earn some cash on your road trip. Collect rewards by downloading the Carrot app; it can help lower your insurance and sharpen your driving abilities too!
Whatever your road trip looks like this summer, we hope it’s safe and unforgettable.
HOW DO I GET CARROT?
Carrot is as easy to use as 123:
- Enroll with InsureMy (plus get a 10% discount)
- Connect your vehicle to the Drive With Carrot App
a. (Download it on iTunes or Google )
- Buckle up and start getting cash rewards for driving smart!
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