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Top 10 Summer Destinations in Alberta for Families

Top 10 Summer Destinations in Alberta for Families

Alberta is one of our favourite summer destinations for families in the country. Why? The natural wonders are worth visiting in the warmer season because they’re easier to explore than in the freezing winter!

Don’t know which places to visit in this big Canadian province? Check our favourite summer spots below and add them to your travel list!

Hike the mountains of Banff National Park

Hike the mountains of Banff National Park's Homepage
Photo by David Wirzba


Address: 43 Prestwick Place Southeast, Calgary, AB

Contact details

Operating hours: Open year-round

Banff is one of the best summer places to hike in Alberta because there are beginner and expert trails. Even kids as young as 5 can begin their hiking adventure here.

Some of the best views in Alberta are found here. Add to that the warm but comfortable summer climate makes hiking in Banff not too difficult for children.

If you plan a long hike, don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the wildlife. Just don’t use the flash for safety.

Pro Tip:

  • It’s best to land at Calgary International Airport if you’re going to Banff. It’s a 30-minute drive, compared to almost 4 hours from Edmonton International Airport.
  • Take a shuttle bus to take you directly to Banff if you don’t want to drive.

Go back in time at the Dinosaur Provincial Park

Go back in time at the Dinosaur Provincial Park's Homepage
Photo by Ric Matkowski


Address: Newell County No. 4, AB T0J 2K0, Canada

Contact details: 

  • Camping reservation: 1-877-537-2757
  • Dinosaur visitor centre: 403-378-4342

Operating hours: Open year-round, admissions have seasonal hours

Located in the Canadian badlands is the Dinosaur Provincial Park. Even grown adults like us had an incredible time here because the scenery looked like a movie set or a different planet… except it’s actually real and on Earth!

One of our personal favourites here is camping. You’ll need to book a reservation, but it’s open year-round. Also, there’s not much greenery, and you’ll mostly see rocks.

Kids can pretend to be fossil hunters because there’s a Jr. Palaeos activity for kids and adults! It will teach you how to handle and identify fossils, a fun activity for future paleontologists!

Pro tips: 

  • Book a campsite at least 3 or 4 months in advance to ensure a spot. 
  • Choose a site that has a power service. It’s just a couple of dollars pricier, but it’s really worth it if you plan on staying for a few days.
  • Try camping with your family before October. Flush toilets and showers are only available until then, and they shut off the campground water early in the month.
  • Hunting and taking any plant, fossil or rock is prohibited because this is a historical site. We need to preserve the area, after all.

See Alberta’s wildlife at Elk Island National Park

See Alberta’s wildlife at Elk Island National Park's Homepage

Photo by Jonathan Brown


Address: Improvement District No. 13, AB, Canada 

Contact details:

Operating hours: Open year-round

If you haven’t seen bison and elk in real life, Elk Island National Park is the place to go! It’s a hidden gem and not as crowded as other tourist areas in Alberta.

This place is best for a family picnic, cycling, or camping. Beavers build their dam here, which you may see if you’re lucky.

This is where you can also see the northern lights, also called the aurora borealis. It’s close to the urban area but without skyscrapers, so the views are stunning!

Pro tip:

  • Try to visit at dusk or when it’s not too hot. You most likely won’t see elk when the sun’s out because they’re probably trying to look for shade.

Tea time at Lake Agnes


Address: Lake Agnes, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0, Canada

Contact details: 403-763-7242; [email protected]

Operating hours*:

  • June 4 – Canadian Thanksgiving: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • *depending on weather conditions

If you love tea, Lake Agnes Tea House is the ideal place in Alberta. Going there is a pretty steep hike, around 2 to 3 hours, depending on your pace.

Some of our favourite teas are Margaret’s Hope and Kyoto Cherry Rose Organic. But there are many other loose tea options, from green to rooibos.

You can try their cold drinks or hot chocolate if you’re not a tea drinker. Some just order a refreshing lemonade.

We recommend ordering a sandwich and their soup of the day. You’re going to need energy for the hike back down!

Pro tip:

  • Take a shuttle bus to Lake Louise because parking can be a nightmare. 
  • Bring cash because they don’t take card payments. 
  • Try to get there early, if you can. Around noon, the line gets pretty long.

Welcome to Jurassic Forest


Address: 23210 Township Road 564 #2, Gibbons, AB T0A 1N0, Canada

Contact details: 780-470-2446; [email protected]

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Admission rates:

  • Adult – $17
  • Children (ages 3 – 12) – $11
  • Youth (ages 13 – 17) – $13
  • Senior (60+) – $13
  • Family of 4 (2 adults + 2 children) – $51
  • Family of 5 (2 adults + 3 children) – $62

Jurassic Forest is a fun learning experience in Alberta for dinosaur lovers. There are animated dinosaurs hiding in the bushes for a more lifelike experience!

It’s a great place for families with kids because the trails are stroller-friendly. The gift shops don’t have many varieties, though, but they have decent prices.

Pro tip:

  • Bring an insect-repellent spray.
  • Bring water because it can get tiring for kids in the end.

Brave the waters at Jasper National Park


Address: Jasper, AB T0E 1E0, Canada

Contact details: 780-852-6176; [email protected]

Operating hours: Open year-round

A summer destination that’s not too touristy is Jasper National Park. It’s not too crowded because it’s quieter and not as famous as Banff (Which one is better Banff or Jasper?).

One of our favourite things to do here is whitewater rafting. We’ve even seen young kids rafting with their parents!

Pro tip:

  • The Athabasca Canyon Run is ideal for families with kids 5 years old and above.
  • Take a shuttle bus to Jasper National Park because the drive is over 3 hours from Edmonton or Calgary.

Spend a family day at West Edmonton Mall


Address: 8882 170 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5T 4J2, Canada

Contact details: 

  • Guest services: 780-444-5321
  • Parks and attractions: 780-444-5321

Operating hours: 

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday, Sunday: 11:00 AM-9:00 PM

Why do we suggest going to a mall during a summer vacation? It’s because the West Edmonton Mall is not your ordinary mall.

There are plenty of activities for families here. There’s an indoor waterpark with a wave pool and surfing simulator, mini golf, an ice skating rink, and a multilevel race track.

It’s also air-conditioned, which is pretty ideal if it gets too hot in the summer. The local shops are good for shopping for Canadian-made goods if you’re a tourist.

Pro tip: 

  • The admission tickets here are expensive, so look out for discounts and bundle offers for the activity areas.

Dig Deep at Atlas Coal Mine


Address: 110 Century Dr W, East Coulee, AB T0J 1B0, Canada

Contact details: 403-822-2220; [email protected]

Operating hours: Monday-Sunday: 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

Admission rates: 

  • Adults (18 – 64) – $14
  • Youth (6 – 17) – $14
  • Children (0 – 5) – $0.00
  • Senior (65+) – $11.00

If you want to add a learning experience for kids in the summer, go to the Atlas Coal Mine. It brings an eye-opening experience about the dangers of coal mining. 

There are three tours here, but our team’s favourite is the Mine Portal Hike. It’s a 1.5-hour experience where you’ll learn about the day-to-day life of the miners.

To join the tours, you need to book at least two weeks in advance. It can get booked fast, so plan your schedule ahead of time!

Pro tip:

  • Bring comfy shoes, clothes, sunscreen, and a hat because it gets hot here.

Hike around the crystal blue Lake Louise

Hike around the crystal blue Lake Louise's Homepage
Photo by Sean Walker


Address: Improvement District No. 9, AB, Canada

Contact details: 403-762-8421; 877-762-8421

Operating hours: Open year-round

The place to go for a relaxing and peaceful vacation is Lake Louise. It’s open year-round, and you can walk the lakeshore anytime in the summer.

Try to visit around July to August because the climate is sunny (but not too hot). The snow is sometimes still thawing in early June, and the trail can be slippery during that time.

Pro tip:

  • It’s a popular tourist spot, and parking is usually full. It’s more convenient to take a shuttle bus to Lake Louise.

Food binge at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market


Address: 10310 83 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 5C3, Canada

Contact details: 780-439-1844; [email protected]

Operating hours: Saturdays (year-round): 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Every Saturday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market is the go-to place for foodies. In fact, many locals eat their breakfasts here.

Some of our favourites are the roasted garlic hummus from The Happy Camel and the waffle pucks from Cookie Crumbs. If you’re curious, you can still buy them because most vendors are here weekly.

Pro Tip:

  • Get there early because the market gets crowded and parking is mostly full.

Essential things to bring to an Albertan summer vacation

Alberta’s summer months are from June to August. But you can still feel it in early September.

Summertime in the province is warm, with temperatures reaching 35°C. On some days, you can expect 20°C, so bring a light jacket of you’re not used to the cold.

When going on a summer vacation in Alberta, make sure to take essential things for the weather. Here’s a list of what you need to pack with you:

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Light and comfortable clothing
  • Insect repellant spray, especially if you’re going to the mountains and lakes
  • Refillable water bottle because some attractions don’t have drinking water

If you’re vacationing in the parks or mountains, here are some additional things to bring:

  • Comfortable walking/hiking shoes
  • Jackets and long sleeves
  • Gloves
  • Tuque (winter cap)
  • Cushioned socks 
  • Bear repellant spray
  • Small first aid kit

FAQ about Family Summer Vacations in Alberta

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