You may be staying close to home this year but the doesn’t mean a dull summer. There are so many fun things to do and see in and around Central Alberta, you may be planning staycations for years to come!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Red Deer has an amazing array of locally owned shops and services. Shop local to show you care and help support businesses who keep Red Deer vibrant. Pick up a few treats and supplies to enhance your local activities.
2. Take a break from your local shopping trip with a stroll through Red Deer City Hall Park, with its profusion of flowers and grass areas. Whether you’re taking a break from an afternoon of shopping and supporting downtown merchants or just enjoy flowers, this is a great spot to relax and rejuvenate.
3. Take some time to support local restaurants that have been hit hard by COVID-19. If you haven’t been there already, ABC Restaurant (403-358-4280) is famous for its breakfasts, but Charles and Nicole offer an extensive menu for every meal of the day.
4. Award-winning craft breweries are found throughout Central Alberta, taking advantage of the world-class malt barley produced in the area. Everyone has their favourite, but a few to try include Snake Lake Brewery in Sylvan Lake, Red Hart and Troubled Monk in Red Deer, Blindman Brewing in Lacombe and Hawk Tail Brewery in Rimbey. There are enough breweries to keep your taste buds engaged through the summer!
5. Central Alberta has a number of world-class golf courses that will please even the most ardent golfer. Innisfail Golf and Country Club is among the most beautiful courses in Central Alberta. If you’re looking for a challenge, Nursery Golf and Country Club boasts the longest hole in Canada.
6. If you have an RV just waiting for a place to go, stock the fridge and head out to Sundre for a weekend of golf and fun. Take some time out of your day to visit the Sundre & District Museum to see how early pioneers lived and learn about different the cultures and communities that created modern-day Sundre. Be sure to bring your lunch and enjoy a picnic in the park.
7. Head out to Rimbey on a Saturday to visit the Rimbey Farmers Market to support local farmers and artisans and stock your pantry at the same time. Check their Facebook page for updates before you head out (@paskapoopart).
8. On your way back from Rimbey, take a short detour to Bentley. The quaint town has a great market and some unique shops. Visit The Boho Apothecary where they combine art and beauty in a sustainable way.
9. If you’re up for more of a drive, visit the Bergen Farmers Market, every Saturday until Sept. 12 and filled with fresh greens, baking and fine crafts.
10. For a tranquil day in a natural setting, Bower Ponds in the heart of Red Deer offers a place to walk, fish and picnic. Geese, deer and muskrats all make the ponds and surrounding areas their home. The Pollinator Park is an educational experience for visitors and food and shelter for many native pollinators.
11. Kraay Family Farm offers more than 40 attractions and amenities, including miniature golf and gemstone mining. Spend the day or buy a season’s pass for a whole summer of fun.
12. Put up a tent in your back yard and spend the night enjoying the outdoors mere steps from the amenities of home. Use the broiler in your oven to make a batch of s’mores and tuck into your sleeping bags for a relaxing evening of ghost stories and star watching.
13. Looking for a mountain vista? Rocky Mountain House is only an hour from Red Deer and has amazing trails and views for the outdoor enthusiasts. Make a weekend of it and stay at the Prairie Creek Inn, a luxury getaway perfect for those looking to add a little romance to their staycation.
14. A little further afield, but still in Alberta staycation territory is Johnston Canyon on the Bow Valley Parkway just outside Banff. The hike through Johnston Canyon takes two to three hours, there and back, and is considered an easy trail. Make a mini vacation of it staying in one of the charming cabins at Johnston Canyon Lodge and Bungalows. They accept reservations until Oct. 12.
15. Sylvan Lake’s beautiful 15-kilometre-long namesake lake is the perfect spot to soak up some sun, swim the day away, and maybe get in a game of beach volleyball. There’s also a thriving boating community ranging from small fishing boats to pontoons and sailboats.
16. Central Alberta is home to a number of bird species, perfect for the experienced or budding bird watcher. Hawk and snowy owls, chickadees, woodpeckers and nuthatches all call Central Alberta home. About 60 minutes from Red Deer, Buffalo Lake is a great place to spot blue herons, ducks and piping plovers.
17. The annual Ponoka Stampede may have been cancelled for this year, but there are still plenty of things to do in and around Ponoka. Take a morning and visit a few of the specialty shops in the area including .
18. Plan a movie night with your bubble people. Make it special with takeout from your favourite local restaurant.
19. Take in a session of yoga in the park at Kin Canyon. Roll out your mat every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, weather permitting, and let the team from Breathing Room Yoga Studio lead in a free session of socially distanced yoga.
20. Help someone else. Take some time to volunteer with one of the many local non-profits or put together a bag of food to drop at the local food bank.