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14 Day Trips From Edmonton That You Didn’t Know Existed + themed itineraries

14 Day Trips From Edmonton That You Didn’t Know Existed + themed itineraries

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You don’t need to use up your vacation days to find some of the best fun-filled spots in Alberta.

There are a ton of hidden gems and unique places to visit near Edmonton that are less than two hours from the city, which make for some budget-friendly travel ideas.

Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly outing, a couple’s getaway (maybe with your dog, too) or something fun to do with your besties for the day, escape the city and check out some of these ideas for day trips from Edmonton.

If you’re bored of the ‘Alberta’s Largest’ roadside attractions road trips, this list provides a new set of ideas for you to check out.

Take a peak and then visit my list of 40 of Alberta’s hidden gems and most unique things to do.

From waterfalls to breweries to historic towns to rural gems and outdoor adventures, take a mini road trip and choose your own adventure with these unique getaways from Edmonton.

If you can’t go very far from the city this summer, any of these trips would make for the perfect cheap vacation from Edmonton!

I’ve tested all of these day trips and certify that they’re unique, adventurous and showcase some of the best of Alberta!

And scroll to the end to catch the full YouTube video!

This post contains some affiliate links, I may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase. I only share information about places, products and services I know, love and trust.

14 Best Day Trips From Edmonton

1. Waterfalls, Breweries and Distilleries

Head west on Highway 43 for some different scenery other than the usual Highway 16.

Stop in Alberta Beach for some coffee, lunch or antique shopping, or a picnic by the water.

Continue on Highway 43 to Whitecourt and follow the signs for Hard Luck Canyon. It’s an easy 5-minute hike and then some stairs which take you down into the canyon bed and waterfall.

It’s a gorgeous spot to play in the water on a hot summer day.

Then, head south on Highway 32 for one of the nicest drives around Edmonton. This road is almost a copycat of the scenic David Thompson Highway (but with no cars).

Stop in at the Apex Predator Brewery just north of Edson.

It’s tucked away in the woodlands, but makes for a delightful patio experience (and you can bring your dog to this one).

For more bevvies, head over to Rocky Mountain Big Horn Distillery (only 15 minutes away) for some craft cocktails.

Make a weekend out of it and stay in a tiny house cabin in the middle of the woods nearby. This cabin is located in your own private, forested oasis. It’s close to some amazing trails, is dog-friendly and the perfect spot for a secluded, quiet weekend.

If you’re headed to Jasper, stopping at the waterfalls or the Apex brewery is a great way to break up the drive.

2. Babas, Bison and Big Burgers (or Caesars)!

This road trip from Edmonton takes you east of the city.

Take the Yellowhead Highway to the quaint town of Mundare, Alberta.

Along their adorably scenic main street you’ll find Baba’s Bistro. Stop in for authentic Ukrainian food – try homemade Borsch and a plate of perogies, sausage and cabbage rolls (it’s all made super fresh).

If you’re not that hungry, not to worry. Have a slice of pie or gigantic cinnamon bun and a cup of coffee.

Local art adorns each wall and antique furniture finishes off the charm of this bistro.

Down the street, you’ve got to stop by the world’s biggest sausage!

Then make your way to the town of Lamont and go hunting for treasures at the Elk Island Thrift Store.

Just south of Lamont is the north entrance to Elk Island National Park. Go for a scenic cruise and see if you can spot some bison!

The bison roam wild throughout the park, and sometimes they’ll come right up to your car!

If you need to work off some lunch, there are a variety of hiking and walking trails throughout the park.

When you’re ready for a big meal to finish the day, it’s time to head to the Unwind Bar & Grill in Andrew, Alberta – home of the revved up drinks!

Order the Caesars that comes with a burger, poutine, mac ‘n cheese bites and fried pickles ON TOP of the burger!

I order the one that comes with a bit of everything – dry ribs, cactus cut potatoes, jalapeno poppers, fried pickles, onion rings and who knows what else was on there!

The staff and locals are super friendly, and if you find yourself wanting to do this day trip on a Sunday, make Andrew your first stop. They serve a breakfast buffet and bottomless mimosas for $15!

3. Botanical Garden Tour

How about a road trip to stroll through gorgeous flower gardens?

Stop by the St. Albert Botanic Park, and wander through the adorable cottage gardens for some of the most picture perfect photography spots near Edmonton.

Then, continue west along Highway 43 for another 45 minutes until you reach the George Pegg Botanic Gardens, a spectacular peaceful spot in rural Alberta.

There are a couple historic farmhouses, flower gardens, interpretive signage and a tranquil boardwalk through the trees.

George Pegg Botanic Gardens

Round out your floral day trip from Edmonton with a visit to the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, just north of Devon.

And if you time it right, you can visit on an evening where you can reserve a picnic in the garden during evening twilight hours.

Be sure to book in advance because this is popular!

University of Alberta Botanic Gardens – image courtesy Travel Alberta

4. Wine Spa & Unique Goodies in Red Deer

This one is perfect for a girls getaway or even a fun way to celebrate a low-key bachelorette party.

Make reservations at the Solorzano Spa, Café and Wine Bar. This day spa is located within a cozy historic home built in 1906 and has kept all of its vintage charm.

Upon entering, you’re swept away to a Victorian past, among the original brick and woodwork and collection of vintage decor and antiques.

I recommend booking a vino therapy treatment! Try something like the vino pedicure.

Enjoy 90 minutes of heaven while your feet soak in a tub of merlot and includes a special cabernet scrub and a Grenache spray.

After your treatments, enjoy light snack and a glass of wine in the tea room or on the garden patio.

Then head to Sweet Capone’s for a sweet treat – the best Italian cannoli!

Not only are these pastries to die for (there’s usually dozens of flavours to choose from), the inside of the cafe is eclectic and adorable.

If you want to get outdoors in between the spa and Sweet Capone’s (or afterwards), Red Deer has an abundance of parks and trails to explore.

Visit the Bower Ponds and enjoy the scenic trails, have a picnic with your goodies from the bakery or even rent a paddle boat and get out on the water.

Make this a weekend trip from Edmonton by booking this gorgeous newly renovated home in the heart of the city, close to trails and parks.

Image credit VRBO

5. Trains, T-Rexes and Treats (best for kid-friendly)

This unique day trip north of Edmonton includes trains, dinosaurs and an adventure farm.

On this adventure, you’ll find some of the best kid-friendly places to visit near Edmonton.

Start your day with a stop at the Alberta Railway Museum where you can witness one of the only few remaining steam locomotives in Canada that still operates.

Continue your road trip by heading north to the Jurassic Forest.

Here, you can explore 40 acres of trails that pass by life size animatronic dinosaurs in the bushes.

Plan to spend 1.5 to 2.5 hours here! You can also bring a packed lunch and enjoy a picnic onsite.

There’s also dinosaur themed mini golf, a playground and a sandbox where kids can dig for dino bones and fossils.

If you have time, the Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farm where they have a u-pick, petting zoo animals and fun outdoor farm games for the little kids.

This place is extra special in the fall though, with all the pumpkins and harvest colours and decor.

Or you can head into Fort Saskatchewan and go straight to Miller’s Ice Cream.

It’s located inside an old train station and at the start of a beautiful municipal park where you can stroll around and enjoy the sunshine.

Read Next: Why Agritourism Should Be Part of Your Next Weekend Getaway in Alberta

6. Central Alberta Craft Breweries

For the bigger kids, one of my favorite day trips from Edmonton with a dog is to visit some rural Alberta breweries and their patios!

Of course, you can still visit without your furry friend, but these ones are dog friendly.

Head south to Rimbey (about 1.5 hours) to visit Hawk Tail Brewery. The views from the patio are picturesque as you overlook the farmer fields across the highway.

Travel tip – the last couple weeks of July is when the canola fields pop their gorgeous golden colour.

Then head to Sylvan Lake to visit Snake Lake Brewery. It’s not located on the lakeshore, but the patio is big and the beers are crushable!

From here, you can head into Red Deer and start to make your way back north. We loved Sawback Brewing and Troubled Monk.

Make one more stop in Lacombe at Blindman Brewing which always has a ton of unique beers on tap, and they’ve got a great big patio area complete with couches.

Make this into a weekend trip from Edmonton and spend some time at Gull Lake.

It’s got a massive beach and is perfect for swimming or catching some rays.

You can book this cozy guest house for the perfect weekend getaway from Edmonton.

Image credit VRBO

Not into beer? Follow this wine & wellness road trip from Edmonton (itinerary here)

7. Historic Lacombe and Rural Attractions

Lacombe is less than 1.5 hours from Edmonton, and has one of the most picturesque historic downtowns in the province.

Most notably is the flatiron building which is the oldest in Alberta and now home to the visitor centre.

Go boutique shopping, take a walking tour of all the murals and be sure to end your day with dinner at Cilantro and Chive.

P.S. don’t miss the Sweet Capone’s Bakery for their famous cannoli or another sweet treat.

If you want to spend a whole day in the area, spend some time at the rural attractions nearby.

Ellis Bird Farm deserves a visit, where you can stroll through the trails, butterfly gardens and ponds, admire the large collection of bird houses and enjoy a coffee or snack at the tea house.

Ellis Bird Farm – image courtesy Travel Alberta

For a little more adventure-paced, head to Kraay Family Farm for a corn maze, mini golf, farm animals, tractor train rides, a mini zipline and over 30 more activities for the kids.

Tip – take a look at these other ideas in this local guidebook titled Best Day Trips from Edmonton.

8. Hiking and History East of Edmonton

For a couple places that aren’t too far from Edmonton but feel like a world away, head east for about 45 minutes.

Start at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, an outdoor living museum that tells the important history of the Ukrainian settlers to this area from the late 1800s to the 1930s.

All the buildings in this establishment are real houses, businesses and churches that were donated and moved to the museum to be restored for visitors to enjoy.

Fuel up with some Ukrainian food at the restaurant and then work it off with a hike at Elk Island National Park, only a few minutes away.

If you visit at dusk you’ll have a better chance to see bison and other wildlife! And if it’s going to be a clear night, stay for the star gazing.

Read More About 8 Scenic Hikes Near Edmonton

9. The Village at Pigeon Lake

Only an hour south of Edmonton is a cute tourist destination known as the Village at Pigeon Lake.

All the buildings remind you of cape cod style architecture and the community has a cute little park in the middle of the shops.

There’s a great antique store, a couple of boutique shops, great ice cream and a couple restaurants.

The lake is 5 minutes away if you want to check out the beach, have a picnic by the water and then go play mini golf at Blackstone.

You could even stay overnight at the Village Creek Country Inn, which made the list for the top romantic getaways in Alberta.

10. The Dreamcatcher Association

Spend a morning or afternoon outside at the ranch feeding horses, donkeys, goats and chickens.

This organization’s main mandate is providing nature-assisted therapy, but they’ve recently added public programming called Time on the Land for those that just need to get out of the house and spend some time with the animals.

The ranch is located near Ardrossan, about 30 minutes east of Edmonton.

If you want to continue your day outside, a little further east is the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Outdoor Recreation Area with lots of hiking trails.

11. Wine Tastings and Historic Camrose

Barr Estate Winery with my goodies!

Make your way east for some wine tasting, historic main streets and sweets.

Your first stop is at Barr Estate Winery, just off of Highway 14, only 20 minutes from the city.

This rustic-chic farm is a picturesque setting for a fruit winery. Stop in for a tour and tasting, where you’ll sample both whites and reds made from rhubarb and raspberries.

Continue east of Edmonton toward New Sarepta, home to Alberta’s newest mead winery – Old Station Honey and Mead.

Tastings are conducted in an old renovated fire hall – you’ll love the story of how this winery came about.

Once you’re ready for some more country scenery, make your way to the historic community of Camrose.

Downtown Camrose has one of the best main streets in all of Alberta.

Enjoy some boutique shopping or stop in at one of the many bakeries for some sugary sustenance. The Sweeterie is my favorite.

If you prefer to stroll through some parks, Mirror Lake is stunning in the summer time, where you can watch Trumpeter Swans glide through the water.

If it’s hot out, the local ice cream shack at Mirror Lake is the best way to beat the heat.

And if you’re able to stay in town for dinner, Hart House offers a fine dining experience among a casual gastropub vibe, inside a heritage home!

Try the locally sourced menu items like buffalo or walleye – but the wine selection and charcuterie boards are always a hit.

12. Country Delights and Flower Farms

On this day trip you’ll discover donuts, antique shopping, a flower farm and maybe more wine or a brewery!

Start this one early! Head southwest to the hamlet of Calmar, and go straight to the Calmar Bakery.

They sell out early so you don’t want to miss out. Just read the reviews – many of them say they’re the best in Canada!

If you like antique shopping, you’ll love strolling through treasures to be found across the street at the aptly named, Yesterday’s Treasures.

Not far from here, you can visit Bio-Way Gardens, which has a mini-farmer’s market and a tea house on site!

Continue onwards to Sunnybrook to visit a flower farm – Farm Fresh Florals, where you can u-pick your own flower bouquet!

Don’t miss shopping at the Silo Farm Store (onsite at the flower farm), which has locally made goods and vintage and antique home decor.

If you’re feeling thirsty or peckish on your way back to Edmonton, make a stop in the Village of Pigeon Lake at Familia Brewing, just opened in 2022.

13. A Vintage Adventure

Image credit Travel Alberta/Curtis Comeau

This trip takes you south through a small town to the Reynolds Alberta Museum, which boasts an impressive collection of agricultural, industrial, mechanical and aviation artifacts and technologies of the past.

Make your way south to Highway 2A to the town of Millet. Stop in at the Old Bank Café, located in – you guessed it – an old bank building!

This cafe, bakery and bistro has kept the vintage charm of its early years and now serves the perfect cup of coffee, breakfast plates and light lunches.

If you’re a fan of fancy breakfasts, try the brioche French toast stuffed with cheesecake filling!

Then only 15 minutes down Highway 2A, you’ll arrive at the Reynolds Alberta Museum.

If you’ve never been here before, or if it’s been years since your last visit, you’ll be so impressed by the every growing collection of restored vintage cars and farm equipment that was used all over Alberta.

The aviation portion of the museum has plenty of activities for kids, and you can even take part in a behind the scenes ‘white glove’ warehouse tour.

There are often events happening all summer long, so check the website for more info!

14. Country Cafes and Confections: Rural Foodie Tour

Start off at Cherry Lane Café (also a bed & breakfast). This quaint country setting is aptly named and looks like you’re entering a scene from the Notebook.

Dine in the vintage-inspired café, where you can choose from gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

I had to try the Albertan – layered brisket, bacon, cheddar, mozzarella and caramelized onions – I’m still dreaming about this 2 weeks later

And make sure you save room for the decadent salted caramel, 4-layer chocolate cake.

Our next stop was Stettler – known as the heart of Alberta. I’m a sucker for small town mainstreets, and Stettler fits the bill.

Our main mission though was to pay a visit to Bloke’s Bakery, a Stettler staple.

Here we found classic donuts – you won’t find crumbled potato chips or unicorn parts on top of these to mask the bland dough.

Just the opposite – soft, fresh, gooey and just sweet enough – one might say the perfect donut. If you can’t bring yourself to buy half a dozen, the cream johns are their signature treat. 

We continued south on Highway 56, passing through Big Valley, a charming village with an aesthetic grain elevator and little blue church on the hilltop.

A great place for photography, picnic and a road trip pit stop.

The Jimmy Jock Boardwalk is perfectly quirky and offers fudge, pie and ice cream if you haven’t had enough sugar yet. 

Finally, after descending into the Alberta badlands landscape, we arrive at DNA Gardens which has everything you could want in a country getaway – a farm store, café, trail walks, greenhouses, the friendliest and most hospitable staff and a winery!

We’re not ones to shy from a beverage or two, so we were delighted to partake in a wine tasting.

Alberta has a budding wine industry, and the fruit wine grown here, from the onsite Delidais Estate Winery is an exceptional showcase of our province’s bountiful produce.

We sampled 8 wines, ranging from cherry, rhubarb, black currant and Saskatoon berries.

Unexpectedly, this fruit wine was dry and crisp, on par with something you’d find along the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley. We left with too many bottles to mention.

This is a full day trip or you could make a weekend out of it! Stay overnight at Cherry Lane B&B, or the Phoenix House B&B, a lovely heritage home in Stettler. 

Here’s a YouTube video of us exploring the best day trips from Edmonton!

I hope you enjoy your time discovering more of Alberta – don’t forget to pack your road trip essentials for a smooth ride.

If you liked these ideas, be sure to subscribe to be notified for new posts. Stay tuned – I’ll be updating this list with more ideas as I travel around Alberta!

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