Calgary is a beautiful city, no doubt. If you’re staying a while though, you should make the time to explore beyond the city limits as there are some incredibly beautiful places nearby that are well worth a drive to see. There are a few strange ones too, but interesting none-the-less. Here are five Calgary day trips that’ll showcase the best of what’s nearby:
Vulcan (1hr 18 min drive from Calgary) is known as the Star Trek town, and although it was not in fact named after Spock or his people, it has embraced sci-fi culture with gusto. The visitors’ centre is designed to look like a spaceship, and as you enter you’re greeted by funky landscaping and fibre optic lighting, and in town you’ll find Canada’s only dedicated Star Trek facility, the Trekcetera Museum. Be sure to grab a great selfie besides the Vulcan Starship Enterprise sculpture or the fantastic mural depicting all the various Star Trek doctors on the side of Wright’s Pharmacy.
Banff (90 minute drive from Calgary) is gorgeous in the summer, and there’s plenty of hiking, fishing, white-water rafting, swimming, and hot-springs exploring that you can do there when the weather is good. The downtown is sweet, with lots of boutiques, galleries, pubs, and restaurants both casual and high-end. Banff is a fun town to visit, and the drive out there is stunning.
PaSu Farm (45 min drive from Calgary) is a pretty spot owned by a South African couple that has a gallery of African art and a great restaurant that serves up a superb Sunday lunch buffet that centres around roasted lamb, chicken, and beef, but comes with delectable sides and desserts. This is a unique and very delicious destination. Can’t go on a Sunday? They serve food every day but Monday, check their website for details.
Canmore (1 hour drive from Calgary) offers excellent skiing in the winter, and great mountain biking trails in the summer, as well as a host of other exciting recreational activities. There are also fabulous places to eat (lovers of micro-brew will enjoy The Grizzley Paw Brewing Company which serves up great pub grub and has stunning views out over the mountains, and there are plenty of fine dining places to choose from too), and a farmer’s market where you can sample locally produced treats.
Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington (1 hour 9 minutes drive from Calgary) is a strange but magical place that is a taxidermy fan’s dream (or perhaps an animal lover’s nightmare). Inside are dioramas featuring stuffed gophers in a range of situations, from pulling a sled to playing hockey, acting as mounties and cavemen, and acting out other bizarre scenarios. There’s not much else in Torrington, but this quirky place alone is worth the drive if you’re into that sort of thing.
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Picture courtesy of Travel Alberta’s Flickr stream.