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Campground Review: Long Lake Provincial Park

Long Lake Campground Review

As a camping family we like to try as many new campgrounds as possible each season. Sometimes, we go for the old favourites or the ones that have group availability- but my favourite thing to do is explore new places to camp. This past Father’s Day weekend we stayed at Long Lake Provincial Park, a first for us. A few years ago, on my way home from North Buck Lake Provincial Recreation Area, I drove through Long Lake Campground to check it out and it seemed lovely, so I was excited to finally try it out!

Here’s what I loved about Long Lake Provincial Park:

  • The Lake!

The lake is clean, for Alberta lake standards. There doesn’t seem to be any farming right along the lake and though not a very wide lake (hence “Long Lake”) it seems quite deep. This is only June though, so who knows what will happen to the water later in the season. My son and I swam 3 days in a row with no issues of swimmer’s itch!

Long Lake Campground Review

  • The Beaches!

Long Lake Provincial Park has 2 sandy beach options, one is the day use area and one is a private beach reserved for campers. Both have a playground and grassy play area. The day use is much larger, but much busier. Even on a super hot June weekend, we were able to find space though it wasn’t “serene” or quiet by any means. However, this is such a great beach for kids. There are no rocks, extensive shallow area, minimal weeds and lots of soft sand. On the Monday (we turned our trip into a long weekend) there was no one on the beach, so midweek would be your best bet for quiet.

Long Lake Campground Review

  • The Snack Shack!

There is a seasonal concession and store right in the day use area that is super convenient. It has a great selection of ice cream and the usual fries, burgers, etc. Great for a treat, if you run out of food while camping, want to take advantage of a day trip easy lunch, etc. We needed to buy some emergency supplies (sunscreen and toothpaste) and the store was fully stocked and priced fairly. There is also a laundromat, perfect for emergencies or longer stays.

Long Lake Campground Review

  • The Farmer’s Market!

On Saturdays from 11-2 there is a bustling Farmer’s Market with locals selling everything from meats, veggies, preserves, pies, knitting, woodworking and more. Bring cash, you’ll find something for sure!

  • The Boat Rentals!

There is a boat house in the day use area that has canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards for rent. All rentals come with paddles and life jackets. This is such an easy way to get out and enjoy the water! We tried SUP for the first time, and it was so much fun! You can rent for 1 hour, 2 hours or the entire day. A $200 deposit is required and you can do it via credit card.

Long Lake Campground Review

  • The Trails!

There is an amazing paved trail that extends the entire length of the campground, day area and group sites. Perfect for biking and strollers AND it goes along the lake, so the view are awesome. There is also a 17 km trail called White Earth Trail that more adventurous bikers or hikers can explore.

Long Lake Campground review

  • The Sites!

This is a catch 22. The sites are quite open (not many trees in between for privacy and shade) BUT most of them have power and many offer lakeside views….. If you want to be close to the day use beach and amenities choose Loop A. If you want to be near the private camper’s beach and towards the quieter back part of the campground choose Loops E or F. If you are tenting there are some cool walk in tenting sites.

Long Lake Campground Review

  • No Cell Service!

For me, this was a plus. I was planning to unplug over the weekend anyways and turn off all of my social media accounts. IF you need to use your phone, drive up to the gas station off the highway and park. Sometimes forced unplugging is what we all need;)

Long Lake Campground Review

  • Things to do!

Besides the boat rentals on site there are some fun activities in the Long Lake area including paintball and golfing. for a list of amenities in the area check out the Go East of Edmonton website here.

Long Lake Campground Review

  • Fresh Water & No Dumping Fee!

It’s always annoying when you pay for camping only to have to pay again to use the sani dump for your trailer, not here though! There is also fresh water to fill your trailer when you arrive- a huge gas saver:) Bring your own drinking water though.

Some things to be aware of when camping at Long Lake Provincial Park:

  • People

This is a busy and popular place. If you are seeking quiet solitude away from others, this might not be your spot. This depends on what you are looking for, I suppose. We did notice that the day use area was quiet and vacated by about 9pm and the campsite areas were actually quite quiet, considering it was full. You will need a reservation if you are planning to camp here, especially on a weekend.

  • Wood

Firewood can be purchased for $8 a bundle on site- it is a small bundle. Up at the gas station by the highway turn off it is sold for $6 a bundle and looked about the same size. There is a family selling wood from their acreage just south of the turnoff on highway 831. We didn’t check it out because we brought our own wood- but typically these places have the best price for the largest amount.

  • Sites

Most of the campsites at Long Lake Provincial Park are a bit out in the open. There’s no shortage of trees around the park, but not as many in between the sites as I prefer. That being said, many of the sites would be good for camping with groups of friends side by side. Again, it just depends on how much privacy you want, how much you like your neighbours and how yappy your dog(s) are! If you are tenting or have a smaller trailer and want privacy (but no power) check out Loop B which is no where near the lake but almost like it’s own separate campground away from the hustle and bustle.

Long Lake Campground Review

  • Cell Service

Again, this could be a pro or a con. If you are expecting to use your phone or get some work done it could be difficult. There didn’t seem to be any service in the park at all. A short drive back to the highway and you are back at it though.

Long Lake Campground Review

Long Lake Provincial Park can be found about 140 kms northeast of Edmonton and is about 20 kms south of the town of Boyle, Alberta. Given its proximity to the city, I think this makes a great day trip too! Want more Alberta summer travel inspiration? Check out our posts on Day Trips from Edmonton, Glamping Options in Alberta & Our Favourite Campgrounds in Alberta!

Tell us! Where are you camping this summer?

Every Day Girl

Kimberly Ouellette

Kim Ouellette is a wife and mom to 5 year old who lives in Edmonton Alberta. She is passionate about travel and creating experiences with her family and friends both locally and internationally. You can find her on Instagram at @kimouelletteyeg.

 

5 Ways to Save This Summer

After what has seemed like a never-ending winter, summer has finally arrived! After being stuck inside all winter, Albertans definitely know how to take advantage of our short summer months. Along with longer days come festivals, food trucks, day trips and weekends exploring our beautiful province. The downside? All of these things can be financially draining for a family.

We love doing as many activities as we can in the summer months, but we want to do it on a budget! We’ve teamed up with Servus Credit Union to put together some of our favourite ways to save money this summer while still enjoying everything our province has to offer.

Frugality at food festivals

From food truck events to Taste of Edmonton or The Edmonton Heritage Festival, your food bill can add up quick. Save money by pre-purchasing tickets in advance at early bird pricing. Our family also likes to take a look at the menus ahead of time so we can plan what we would like to try once we arrive. This helps eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed once you get there. Also, always pack a water bottle so you don’t have to buy one when we get there. This saves more tickets for dessert!

Day trips on a dime

Albertans have so many fun little spots in the province to take the family for the day to enjoy our beautiful landscape and it’s all for free! Pack a lunch and head out early to get a great picnic spot. Some of our favourite day trip spots (depending on where you live) are: Elk Island National Park, Kananaskis Upper & Lower Lake, Wabamun, Blackfalds (they have a great new outdoor pool area!), Discovery Canyon in Red Deer and Sylvan Lake.

Save money in the mountains

Planning a trip to the mountains? Great choice! Bring your bikes and enjoy the trails throughout Jasper and Banff as a free activity. Or, as soon as you get to town, stop by the Visitor Centre and talk to park staff about easy hikes for your children’s age and ability. They also have a ton of maps and resources for you to pick up, with many of them offering coupons for local restaurants. If you are at a National Historic Site such as Cave and Basin in Banff, ask the Canada Parks employee at the front desk for an activity book for the kids. Once the kids complete it they can return it to the front desk for a souvenir prize.

A family bicycling in Jasper

Staycation savings

We have so much going on in our city, you don’t even need to travel to enjoy summer! We love the events like the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival because of all the shows put on right in the streets. Park and ride the LRT or CTrain (which every kid loves riding!), and for a modest amount you can enjoy world-class performers from around the globe right in the heart of the city. Having snacks packed will keep younger children entertained while watching the shows, allowing everyone to enjoy the festival longer. If possible, try to get to larger festivals during the week to avoid larger crowds and lineups. The kids will enjoy it better if they can see the whole show unobstructed. If crowds aren’t your thing you can enjoy a staycation by simply finding a new spray park you haven’t been to yet! Stop off at your local grocery store (we love the Italian Centre) to pick up lunch from the deli and spend the day keeping cool in the water.

Wander your local farmers’ market

Farmers’ markets have started to pop up everywhere! Many of them have started bringing out activities for families to entice them to come out. From petting zoos and bouncy castles to bike tune-ups and live entertainment, you can easily spend the afternoon wandering the market. Look up your favorite market online or on Facebook to see any special events and activities they have coming up.

Want to test out some of our tips? We’ve listed some of our favourite events to attend below!

This article was written in partnership with Servus Credit Union. The thoughts and opinions expressed are our own. #partner

 

Breastfeeding is hard- don’t be hard on yourself (+ Philips Avent Giveaway)

About two months into new motherhood I posted the following to my Facebook;

“Nothing gives you empathy for the modern dairy cow like hooking yourself up to the double breast pump”.

Breastfeeding and pumping CONSUMED my life for Nova’s first six months on this planet. Before I go on – I am going to talk quite a bit about nursing and pumping, but I acknowledge that this is not the road for every mom and baby, and at the end of the day I have written this before – but FED IS BEST. However, I do wear my breastfeeding and pumping hours as a badge of honour. It was hard, painful sometimes, challenging, but also rewarding, connective, and an experience like none other.

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9 Things I’m Looking Forward to This Summer in Alberta

I’ll be working full time so I’ll be squeezing every last drop out of my Alberta summer weekends. Here’s what I’m most excited to experience this summer in Alberta.

The Road Trip

Is there anything better than packing up your wheels, stopping for snacks and hitting the open road? Yes, yes there is. It’s called re-living your childhood. One of my earliest memories is playing cards in my grandparents motor home, road trekking through Alberta, to the States into Mexico. Hanging out, while you watch the landscape race by. Snacking, gaming, talking – the journey more important than the destination. The in-laws bought a small motor home and they’re letting us borrow it – squeee!

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In Camping, Edmonton, Northern Alberta on
May 25, 2018

Tenting at Garner Lake Provincial Park

By Allison Hopkins

Our first camping trip of 2016 was a two night weekend tenting at Garner Lake Provincial Park. We had gorgeous weather {ironically this mid June camping trip was our best weather weekend of our entire camping season!}. The rest of the summer was hit and miss weather with lots of rainy camping trips for us. Every year we pick a campground north of Edmonton that is new to us. that year, Garner Lake Provincial Park was our choice.

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I Suck at Playing…and it’s OK

By Mara Needham of Peace River, AB

I like to think I’m doing pretty ok in the mom department: I pack my kids (relatively) healthy lunches every day, we are on time for school, we read stories at bedtime and for the most part my kids are happy, well adjusted kids. But I have a confession. There is one area where I am severely failing as a mom: I suck at playing. While I’ll play board games, card games and do puzzles with my kids, when it comes to imaginative play- you know the kind where you’re down on the floor building Legos, having a tea party, playing hot wheels and trains or coming up with new Paw Patrol episodes to act out in the basement- I am awful.

I used to beat myself up and stress over my lack of playing ability. I thought in order to be a great mom, I had to be great at everything. But guess what? I don’t have to be. In fact, I’d bet every mom has an area (perhaps even more than one) that they feel they are failing at- even the moms who look like they stepped out of the pages of Vogue or have Pinterest inspired birthday parties or who get on the floor and play with their kids every day. Yet we somehow all feel like failures and that we don’t measure up to other moms.

You know who doesn’t suck at playing? My husband.

He will get down on the floor and come up with elaborate scenarios and situations for Ryder and the pups, build crazy award winning hot wheels tracks and sit and have so many cups of “tea” he has a British accent. He is a fabulous player. And I have never felt the need to compete with him over it.

Instead I am grateful my kids have a dad with imagination and wants to play. But if another mom came along and started playing with my kids, I know I’d feel this twinge of inadequacy in my stomach and that I better get down on the floor cause what if she thinks I’m a bad mom? When did we as moms start putting so much pressure on ourselves to compete against each other and to be the “best”? When we did we start feeling judged if we aren’t “perfect”?

The sad thing is, I can almost guarantee our kids don’t care about any of it. They don’t care what kind of birthday cake they have. They don’t care if you live in yoga pants and ponytails. They don’t care if the pancakes at Easter brunch are boring normal looking pancakes. They don’t care if you have zero imagination. They just want your time and your love. And in return they love you unconditionally, no matter what.

I can also pretty much guarantee that the person you’re competing with is your own voice in your head. I would never talk about another mom the way I judge myself. I don’t look down at the frazzled mom at school drop-off, cause chances are, it’ll be me tomorrow. I don’t go to a birthday and turn down birthday cake because it’s cupcakes with Betty Crocker icing. Let’s stop striving for “perfection”. Let’s stop worrying and putting pressure on ourselves. Let’s all just be who we are, faults and all.

Mara Needham is a stay at home mom to 6 year old boy and 3.5 year old girl. Wife of 8 years. She lives in Peace River and has an unhealthy love of food and country music.  Find Mara on 

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Alberta Mamas – One Year Later

Alberta Mamas is ONE! One year ago we had this crazy idea to work with parents around the province to create a resource for families, a place to find hidden gems in Alberta, and a place where people could share their thoughts in a safe place.  But it has become so much more because of all of you.

Alberta Mamas is a community.

We have learned so much from all of YOU! Every contributor post and conversation on social media has shown us that not only do we have way more places to discover in our beautiful province, but also thatAlberta is full of amazing, smart, and funny parents. You have made us giggle with your comments about your kids’ antics, made us feel like we aren’t the only ones dealing with difficult topics, and have offered sage advice when we have needed it.

“At first I loved seeing our passions come together. Passions for community, business and social media. And it’s grown so much more then that. We are all still passionate but it’s been beautiful to know my friends (and community around us) even better. It’s amazing to see the vision we created for community coming together. In a collaborative and inclusive way.” – Jen

We have also learned a lot from each other throughout the past year. It has not been all sunshine and rainbows. The six of us all have strong opinions and personalities which are bound to clash at some point. We can disagree, fight, and push each others buttons like siblings. But in the end we have got each others back 100% no matter what. We hold each other accountable and push each other to be better. We are each others biggest cheerleaders.

“The first thing I thought of when we started this was – yes I get to write stuff! Secondly though, it occurred to me that I would get to WORK with 5 totally different, totally strong inspiring ladies. Like, I have a legit reason to learn, bend the ears of and hang with 5 women I admire on the daily. And then on top of that, we get to read amazing pieces by moms (and sometimes dads) all over Alberta and share them in our “little” community. Makes a gal feel very blessed!” – Chris

When we first started this one of our goals was to give a voice to parents whether they had a blog or not. We have gotten to work with some amazing people and we love hearing their thoughts and opinions.

“I love that we’re creating a community where writers across the province can share their ideas, opinions and writing- whether they have their own established blog or not.” – Kim

We want to thank you all for commenting, liking, writing for us, sharing posts, offering your opinions and more throughout the past twelve months. Each action means so much to us.

We are excited to officially celebrate our first year (details announced soon) because to quote Kim – “Our parties are pretty fun too!”

 

Who are Alberta Mamas?

 

Bike Swap Alberta

At some point in the next month, the snow will melt and at some point, it will reach above 10 degrees and we’ll be able to send our kids back into the neighbourhood onto their bikes. The trouble is is that your child has grown, and now their knees are hitting the handlebars and now they need a new bike. Not to worry, Alberta Bike Swap is here to save your bank account, and not just for your kids because you need a bike too!

Alberta Bike Swap is a registered non-profit and gives people a safe place to sell, donate or buy a bike, and bike swaps are happening across Alberta in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer. 

 

“Bikes sold at the swap are safer than a garage sale purchase because our squad of volunteer bike techs perform a basic safety and mechanical check of each bike.” – Alberta Bike Sales

 

What do you need to know before you head to a bike swap? Well, that depends on if you’re buying or selling, but here are some factoids.

Selling a Bike:

  • If you want to sell your kids bike, it won’t be accepted to sell if it’s from a box store (Canadian Tire, Walmart etc.). They do this for quality assurance.
  • Have a bike that no longer fits your child and you’d like to donate that bike? They can do that too, please make sure the bike is in good condition and it’s is decent working order.
  • It costs $2 to get into a swap and that money goes to a local charity.
  • You don’t have to be there to sell you bike which for me is a win-win. If you’re just there to sell your bike, you just drop it off. Boom. Easy. There is a 15$ fee to put your bike in the sale, which ensures that only good bikes are going to be at the swap. No one is paying 15$ for someone to sell their 50$ bike. If you’re an AMA member, the cost to “rack” your bike is $10.

Buying a Bike

  • Swaps. Get. BUSY. Get there as early as you can (see locations for dates/times below). You may be waiting outside so dress accordingly. The bike racks are set up at 6am in Edmonton and Calgary, and yes, you’re welcome to line up at 6am.
  • There is a $2 admission, but kids 12 and under are free.
  • They only accept cash or debit cards. No credit cards.

Locations & Dates

Calgary 

When: May 5, 2018

Consign: 0800-1400
Buy: 1430-1600
Donate: 0800-1600

Where: City Centre Parkade, 340 10 Ave SW

Edmonton
When: May 12

Consign: 0800-1400
Buy: 1430-1600
Donate: 0800-1600

Where: Kinsmen Sports Centre Fieldhouse, 9100 Walterdale Hill

Lethbridge

When: April 28, 2018

Consign: 0900-1400
Buy: 1430-1600
Donate: 0900-1600

Where: Exhibition Park North Pavillion 3401 Parkside Dr. S

Medicine Hat

When: April 27, 2018

Consign: 1500-1900
Buy: 1915-2030
Donate: 1500-2000

Where: Exhibition and Stampede Wildrose Room Higdon Hall, 2055 21 Ave SE

Red Deer

When: May 11, 2018
Consign: 1600-1900
Buy: 1915-2030
Donate: 1600-2030

Where: Salon B Westerner Park 4847A 19 St

 

For more information please check the Alberta Bike Swap website or their Facebook page

Glamping in Alberta

glamping

Don’t get me wrong, camping is great, BUT it can be a large expense to accumulate all of the required supplies. Sleeping on the ground is also not for everyone, myself included! Sometimes it’s nice to just pack your essentials and go, especially when travelling with kids. Thankfully Alberta has many alternate ways that you can spend a night in the great outdoors. Read on to learn all about ‘glamping’ options in Alberta!

oTENTiks

A Parks Canada exclusive, these accommodations are like a cross between an A-frame cabin and canvas tent on a raised wood floor platform. Units are for up to 6 people, with a maximum of 4 adults. There are no bathrooms or running water inside oTENTiks. A table, beds/sleeping pads, lights and small heater are available in most units. You can enjoy TENTiks in Jasper (Whistlers), Banff (Two Jack Lake & Tunnel Mountain Village 2) & Elk Island (Astotin Lake).

glamping

Photo Credit: Teagan Photography

Yurts

Alberta Parks offers a unique experience with yurts! These are insulated, round, tent-like structures mounted on a wooden deck with a vented skylight. Conveniences include lights, an electric heater, electrical outlets for charging your devices, all cooking pots/pans, plates/utensils, a small fridge with freezer, gas BBQ and sleeping areas for 4-8 people. Yurts are available at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park and Pigeon Lake Provincial Park.

glamping in alberta

Photo Credit: Alberta Parks

Equipped Campsites

A new partnership between Parks Canada and MEC, you can now arrive at an equipped campsite that is all set up and ready for you! This includes a tent, sleeping pads, stove with propane, lantern, camping chairs and more. Please note that some campgrounds may offer slightly different items. You can enjoy equipped campsites in Waterton National Park, Banff National Park and Elk Island National Park.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

RV Rentals

This isn’t necessarily the cheapest option BUT it could end up saving you thousands of dollars! If you are thinking about buying an RV, test one out first! This is also a great option for people who have no storage options for a trailer or don’t have enough time to camp frequently or maintain their own RV. Go RVing has a great directory of RV dealers across Alberta that rent trailers, tent trailers and motorhomes. Some even offer roadside assistance and trailer delivery. Also check out WheelEstate, a new online peer-to-peer marketplace for RV’s. It’s like Airbnb or VRBO for vacation trailers!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Cabins

For those who prefer a more solid structure, there are lots of cabin rentals across Alberta. My mom and I stay in a cabin every summer as a girl’s getaway and here’s some of our favourites that include bathrooms and kitchens:

Comfort Camping

Photo Credit: Alberta Parks

Tipis and Canvas Tents

I’ve never stayed in a tipi, but I feel like it would be really fun with kids, allow for some cultural experiences and provide more space than a tent. These are the ones on my list to check out: Sundance Lodge (Kananaskis), Old Entrance B’nB (Hinton) & Blackfoot Crossing (south east of Calgary).

Make sure you check out the Comfort Camping Canvas Wall Tents through Alberta Parks located at Dinosaur Provincial Park, Writing on Stone Provincial Park and Wyndham-Carseland Provicial Park. They all include queen beds, futons, a private deck and gas BBQs.

Alberta Parks

Photo Credit: Alberta Parks

As you search for ‘glamping’ options in Alberta don’t be discouraged if you are having issues finding availability on your chosen dates. Many of these book up quickly, but there are always cancellations so keep your eye on them. Also, you will find more vacancy if you are able to travel midweek or in June or September.

What’s your favourite glamping experience? I would love to hear! Connect with us on social media on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram! Need more inspiration? Click here for our post on Our Favourite Campgrounds in Alberta.

Every Day Girl

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