Itchy feet? Travel bug? Pent-up wanderlust?
University District homeowner and travel expert Tamara Elliott has the cure: fun summer getaways that are quick to get to and also easy on your wallet.
Her website Globe Guide is a great source of travel tips and inspiration for planning trips around the world, including right here in our backyard. Hitting the trails in search of wild horses near Sundre, relaxing at a nordic spa in Kananaskis and fossil hunting through the hoodoos in Drumheller are a few of the memorable experiences that are a quick drive from Calgary.
Let’s join Tamara as she shares some of her favourite summer spots that are a hop, skip, jump or — from your armchair — a click away.
“The six-hour road trip to Saskatoon is full of surprises, from perogies and dill pickle vodka to a world-class art gallery (the Remai Modern) and stand-up paddleboarding,” says Tamara. “You can even effortlessly float in Canada’s version of the Dead Sea, at Manitou Springs which is a 90-minute drive east of the city.
“Kids love Nutrien Wonderhub, a new children’s museum chock-full of fun, interactive exhibits that combine play with learning. Parents will want to check out Saskatoon’s great foodie scene, and indulge in some local, fruit-filled spirits. Stay at the pet-friendly ALT Hotel which has luxe modern rooms, an uncommon craft drinks culture and a fabulous location on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River in the heart of downtown.“
Here’s a fun ALT Hotel-style Saskatoon weekend-agenda to follow for even more suggestions with pictures of its opening party just last year. We can’t wait to welcome ALT as U/D’s future local boutique hotel!
Tip: Subscribe to the ALT Hotel newsletter CHIC for even more Canadian travel ideas!
Bug spray, check! Tent pegs, check! Plaid shirt, check!
“It’s time to pitch a tent, roast some s’mores and sleep under the stars,” says Tamara.
“Whether you’re looking for a backcountry adventure or road trippin’ in an RV, there are plenty of parks around Alberta to enjoy this summer,” she says. “Over in Kananaskis, you can’t beat the backdrop of towering peaks in Mount Kidd Campground, while nearby Boulton Creek has quick access to the Kananaskis Lakes and more than 120 sites with amenities like hot showers and power hookups.
“In Banff, take advantage of Parks Canada’s fully equipped campsites (read: just show up!) at Two Jack Lake. Sites include a six-person tent, fire pit with wood, camp stove, propane tank and lantern, so you only need to bring food and sleeping bags. Those who are more into glamping can make the drive up to Elk Island National Park near Edmonton, and sleep in an A-frame, canvas-style oTENTik which combines the comfort of a cabin with the feel of being outdoors.”
TIP: Need gear but don’t want to break the bank? Head over to the University of Calgary’s Outdoor Centre to rent camping and outdoor equipment including canoes, rafts and kayaks.
“This is the year of the Canadian road trip, and a great opportunity to cross things off your national bucket list,” says Tamara.
“Load up the car for a cross-country journey to some of the country’s top sites, like whale watching on Vancouver Island, seeing Niagara Falls, tidal bore rafting in Nova Scotia and kayaking on New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy.
“Google Images is a great way to source places that pique your interest, and from there you can research individual spots by reading travel blogs that cover both Canadian and international destinations.
U/D also loves the globally distributed Canadian travel documentary adventures of Alberta’s Brandy Yanchyk. Seeing Canada is a wonderful resource for enjoying Canada’s iconic nature, unique, and varied culture as well as our vibrant cities virtually, or as a travel planning tool! PLUS, the Canadian travel guide by Calgarian Kim Gray called Toque & Canoe is a remarkable source for Canadian travel inspiration.
When it comes to trip planning, Tamara recommends using a few different online resources to figure out an itinerary.
“Prefer to stick closer to home these days or take your time planning a big trip?” Tamara asks. “Explore Canada from your couch, with online tours like the Parliament 360 video series that highlights the workings of the Senate and House of Commons in the nation’s capital. Virtually sail past icebergs in Newfoundland, view each of the acclaimed exhibits at Winnipeg’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights, or experience heli-skiing in B.C.’s rugged Cariboos.
“And when you’re sharing your Canadian travel pics online, refer to this handy list of hashtags to include so they get discovered. Better yet, keep those treasured memories close by printing your best shots and making a scrapbook; here are some tips to get you started.”
There is so much to see and try close to U/D or a world away online, let’s keep exploring.
Thank you Tamara for sharing insights and photos! Visit her global travel blog here.
If you are feeling wanderlust but an overseas trip of a lifetime seems a dream, bring the world to you. Did you know that many of the world’s most fascinating galleries and museums, for instance, are now offering online tours? Here are some favourite resources. Let’s visit Japan here. Or how about Amsterdam’s Rijkmuseum here. Or say bonjour to Paris and its iconic Louvre!
The University District blog is a resource for Calgarians who want to live, work, play, visit or buy in the northwest. We will provide you with information, stories, news and inspiration about the things that matter so you can live a more inspired, active and connected life in NW Calgary at University District… Life works here.