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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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Do Your Kids Miss School for Vacations?

Do you let your kids miss school to go on vacation?

This week we are leaving for a vacation (YAY!) but for the first time I wondered about pulling the kids out of school to be on holidays.

***Full disclosure I am still getting on that airplane no matter what the consensus is because this Mom needs a vacation. Although travelling with kids sometimes feels like more work…

We have pulled them out of school the past few years without a thought but this year my oldest is in Grade 4 and it feels different. His teacher was amazing when we told him our son would be missing a week and a bit of school which I was grateful for. He said there’s no point giving him work to do while we are away. When we get back he will see what he missed and what he needs help catching up on but not to worry about it while on holidays.

No homework was getting done on this trip either.

I am a firm believer that kids don’t need to be in a classroom to learn. By making sure our kids get the travel bug early I hope that they will never stop exploring and questioning how our world works. I am just wondering if we should keep that exploring to two months in Summer?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below or on Social Media.

 

In Camping, Explore, Lifestyle, Uncategorized on
February 14, 2018

Get Ready: Alberta Parks Opens Camping Reservations on Tuesday!

How to book a campsite in Alberta

Are you looking to snag one of the best camping spots that Alberta Parks has to offer this summer? Well…..you are going to want to get organized this weekend because regular camping will open for reservations, within the 90 day window, starting Tuesday February 20th!

How to book camping in Alberta.

What You Need to Know:

  • Alberta Parks only lets you book single sites 90 days in advance of the time you will begin your camping trip. SO, this means that if you plan to camp on the May Long Weekend, you can reserve a site starting on Tuesday February 20th.
  • You can book a site for up to 16 days in a row.
  • You need to have an account with Alberta Parks reservation system: reserve.albertaparks.ca
  • Make your account now so that you are not wasting time on opening morning.
  • Think about your needs. Do you want to be close to the beach or playground? Do you require power? How long is your RV? Is a shower house a must? Do you want a park that has interpretive programming? All of this information can be answered by exploring the various campsites here. 
  • Once you’ve determined your family’s camping needs and parks that meet them make a list of the campsite numbers that you would like. You can even see pictures of many of the sites, giving you a better idea of privacy and size. Always have a back up in mind, in case that site is already taken.
  • Do some math. Due to the 90 day booking window if you want to book a site for later in the summer, say over Canada Day, you will have to count back 90 days and then note that date in a calendar to log back in and reserve a site. This is especially important if you really want a waterfront site, plan to camp over a long weekend, must have a power site, are looking for a campground close to Calgary or Edmonton or are planning to stay for an extended amount of time.
  • It sounds like a lot of work, but really, it’s just planning ahead. Once it’s done, it’s done and you can now start to plan the rest of your summer!
  • If you really hate the idea of over planning for summer or just have no idea what your summer availability is like (it is only February…) you can always wing it. BUT, personally, I would never recommend attempting to get a first come first served campsite on any weekend in the summer. During the week, at most campgrounds you will probably be ok. It’s just a risk with kids that I wouldn’t want to take!
  • Don’t throw in the towel if you miss the boat and your preferred campsite or campground is full. Keep checking back! Often as the departure date gets closer people cancel their reservation and if you’re lucky you can snag it once it becomes available.

How to book a campsite in Alberta

Other Camping Options:

Where do you plan to camp this summer?

Booking a campsite in Alberta

Every Day Girl

In Camping, Contests, Edmonton, Style, Uncategorized on
January 19, 2018

Edmonton Renovation Show Giveaway!

We don’t know about you but we are SO excited for camping season to start!

We camp on average 45 nights during the summer so our trailer has been very well used. That is why we are excited to see that the Edmonton Renovation Show has a new Camping Chic section at the show! Our little trailer could use a bit of a facelift so you know we will be checking out how to personalize our home-away-from-home. They will also be giving space saving tips to get the most out of your RV.

Check out this trailer reno! Serious camping goals right there!

The 2018 Edmonton Renovation Show has Bryan Baeumler HGTV Host & Owner, Baeumler Quality onstage Friday January 26th @ 6:00pm & Saturday January 27th @1:00pm  which we are excited for as well. The TELUS future home will also be there, the Edmonton Zoo will be onstage talking about all of their projects they are working on, and many many more things to see over the three days!

The Edmonton Renovation Show runs:

Friday, January 26th, 2018              12PM –   9PM
Saturday, January 27th, 2018          10AM –   9PM
Sunday, January 28th, 2018            10AM –   6PM

Buy your tickets online here to save $3 OR enter to win passes below in our GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to the Renovation Show we have TWO four packs of tickets to giveaway! Tickets can be picked up at the show box office and the draw will be Wednesday, January 24th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get Planning! Parks Canada Reservations in Alberta Start Next Week!

I know, I know, planning for camping right after Christmas and the massive cold snap that most of us Albertans just experienced seems crazy. But, it’s true, National Parks in Alberta (Parks Canada) start taking reservations next week! This makes my heart warm and has me dreaming of better days of long sunlight, glorious heat and once again swimming in our beautiful lakes. This really does seem like a dream at this point!

Here’s what you need to know if you want to snag a sweet campsite at a Parks Canada Campground this summer:

  • You can make your reservations for the entire summer at a Parks Canada campsite once the reservation launch begins.
  • Study the maps of the campgrounds ahead of time so that you know exactly what you want (plus a back up or two) for the morning of the launch. If you are looking for a fully serviced site or waterfront site this will be important.
  • Again, if you want a prime site you will likely want to be online about 15 minutes before the 8am MST launch time.
  • This year, you WILL need a Parks Canada Pass to stay in any National Park. Check out the Discovery Pass options here.
  • You can make all online reservations here. If you prefer, you can make your reservations by phone by calling 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783). This service is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. local park time.

Parks Canada Reservation Launch Dates for Alberta:

  • Jasper National Park- January 9 @8am MST

This includes Pocahontas, Wabasso, Wapiti, Whistlers (including oTENTiks) & Palisades. Jasper is a personal favourite of mine (since I was a little girl) and we love staying at Whistlers. They have added a great feature called Whistlers Trail with different natural play areas for the kids to explore.

Wapiti is great for smaller trailers and tenting as the sites are a bit smaller but you are very close to the Athabasca River which is a great trade off. You will often see Elk roaming the campsite to get to the water for a drink.

Jasper camping

  • Banff National Park- January 10 @8am MST

This includes Lake Louise, Tunnel Mountain, Johnston Canyon, Two Jack and oTENTiks. We mainly stayed away from Banff last year with the overwhelming popularity that complimentary park access brought. I think it might be time to go back and explore!

If you are staying in Banff we recommend Tunnel Mountain. They have large sites and great shows put on by Park Staff. Note that if you are looking to have a campfire book a spot that is in Tunnel Mountain Village I as the Trailer Courts don’t have fire pits. They have restricted generator use this year to 9-10:30am and 5-7pm which will make your stay here even better.

C & S Hiking in Banff

  • Elk Island National Park- January 11 @8am MST

This is for the only overnight campground in the park, Astotin Lake. It includes equipped camping and the oTENTiks. One of our founders stayed in an oTENTik last year with her family and loved the experience! A great short trip for Edmonton folks.

  • Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site- January 11 @8am MST

This includes the Rocky Mountain House Campground and Heritage Camping which one of our founders took in last year with her children. Read all about that experience here!

  • Waterton Lakes National Park- January 11 @8am MST

This is for the Townsite Campground. This is the perfect location if you want a less rustic experience. Waterton is within walking distance (a great place for lunch and ice cream treats is Wieners of Waterton!) and a beautiful waterfall with a walking trail to the top that is easy for little legs is also close by. They also have a great playground with beautiful mountain views close by and you are walking distance to the lake as well.

What about Camping in Alberta Provincial Park Campgrounds?

Don’t you worry, this is coming! Alberta Parks handles their campsite reservations a little differently than Parks Canada, but you don’t have to worry about it until the beginning of February. We’ll have a post with all the information you need to know about reserving an Alberta Parks Campsite soon. In the meantime, have a look at our campground reviews for some inspiration!

Where will you be camping this summer?

Every Day Girl

 

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In Camping, Explore, Lifestyle, Northern Alberta on
August 29, 2017

Exploring Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

Marten River Campground

About 3 hours north of Edmonton lies a piece of paradise that I refer to as “Alberta’s Ocean”! In fact, Lesser Slave Lake is the largest auto accessible lake in Alberta. I was lucky enough to spend the majority of my childhood summers at this lake and even more lucky to have the opportunity to take my son there this past weekend!

Marten River Campground

Here are a few reasons that you NEED to check out Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park either this year before the snow flies, to add to your list of destinations for next year or to enjoy some winter activities.

The VIEWS

Marten River Campground

The number one reason that Lesser Slave Lake is a must see is the absolutely amazing views. The sunsets, the water, the great Boreal Forest that surrounds you- it is breathtaking. Rather than explain it, I’ll share some of my quick iPhone snaps below. Though stunning, the pictures don’t even do it complete justice.

Marten River

Marten River Campground

Marten River Campground

Things to DO

Though Lesser Slave Lake is in quite a northernly location, you certainly won’t find a shortage of things to do. The town of Slave Lake is minutes from the Provincial Park and offers all services, plus hotels if camping isn’t your thing.

  • Inside Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park you will enjoy lounging on the sandy and massive Devonshire Beach. There miles of shallow water and sand, perfect for kids and water activities!

Devonshire Beach

  • Try your luck on the golf course. My husband played a round at the Gilwood Golf & Country Club and loved it! He said it was challenging but fun. Next time I’m planning to go too!
  • Go for a hike on the Lily Lake Trail and Marten Mountain Viewpoint. This 3 km trail will expose you to the beautiful boreal forest backcountry and take you to a perfect little lake for a picnic or fishing trip. (Please note that when we were in the park last weekend (August 26/17) this trail was closed due to high berry crops and bear activity.)

Slave Lake Provincial Park

  • Learn about Birds at the Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation. I could write an entire post on this place. First of all the building is stunning and one of a kind! It’s an environmentally friendly space that uses solar panels, composting toilets, water collection, geothermal heating and non toxic resins and paints. Inside you will find interactive activities for kids and adults, displays and sometimes special programming. There is always a knowledgeable Parks staff member at the centre to help answer any of your park related questions. This is a great way to spend a few hours on a rainy day. Check out the gift shop too, they have a great selection of local literature as well as handmade items made by local residents.

Slave Lake

Slave Lake

Slave Lake

  • Go fishing! Lesser Slave Lake is known for its Walleye, Northern Pike and Perch fish. Many people fish while standing in the water, kayaking, or boating. Please note that if you require a boat launch that you can drive your boat into you will need to launch at the river by the town, just south of the park. There is a hand launch at the main campground, Marten River, so aluminum boats and canoes that are easier to launch are recommended.

Fishing

Marten River

  • Learn from the pros! Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park has a wonderful selection of interpretive programs with staff that know their stuff. While we were there we learned all about bats, decomposition of logs in the forest and wolves. Saturday evenings there’s an entertaining show at the Marten River Campground Amphitheater that is not to be missed! My 4 year old son learned a ton of things about nature, wildlife and conservation in a child friendly environment that really held his interest.

Marten River Campground

Marten River Provincial Park

Marten River Campground

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

Go CAMPING

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

There are a few options for camping while you are visiting Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park. There’s short stay (think overnight camping) at Devonshire Beach, Group Camping at Lily Creek and Marten River, Comfort Camping for a group of 10 in the beautiful Nest cabin and traditional camping at Marten River Campground. We stayed at Marten River and it was just as I remembered in my childhood! The campground is situated on a bank that overlooks the lake with a sandy natural beach below. Sites are well treed and offer many double options if you are camping with friends. There are 4 loops, with loop A and B offering power. The campground is equipped with fresh water taps, sani station, shower house ($) with flush toilets and new pit toilets. Kids will enjoy the playground area that is nestled between loops B & C. Another thing we love about this campground is all the trails. There’s something for everyone from short walks through the grounds to longer biking/hiking trails that take you to the group campsites and beyond. At the onsite office you can purchase ice, wood, pick up an Activity Pack or borrow a game or book. There are over 100 sites at Marten River, some with tent pads. Please ensure you reserve your site ahead of time as this place fills up most weekends. Also, when on the reservation system, take note of the size of the site as not all sites are long enough for large RV units and there are no pull though options.

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

Spending time in Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park is truly a special treat. If you are a city dweller you will feel as though you have really checked out and connected with nature, I promise. I can’t wait to get back again soon to continue making more memories with my family.

Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park

For more details about Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park please click here or send me a message at hello@albertamamas.com.

Every Day Girl

*I am an Alberta Parks Ambassador. As such, my role is to expose families to Alberta Parks locations and encourage interaction with the amazing nature opportunities or province has to offer. All opinions are my own.

In Camping, Central Alberta, Explore, Lifestyle on
August 16, 2017

Red Lodge Provincial Park: Review

Camping at Red Lodge Provincial Park

We just came home from a little trip to Red Lodge Provincial Park and I am so happy I found this place! Here’s why:

Camping at Red Lodge Provincial Park

The Little Red Deer River!

Camping at Red Lodge Provincial Park

I wasn’t sure how camping somewhere without a lake would be. I can’t even remember the last time we’ve stayed somewhere that didn’t have one. BUT having a river all the way along the campground was awesome! There’s tons of access points so getting down to the river is easy. There are also lots of “beach areas” with both sand and rocks. We enjoyed the mostly shallow warm water, which was perfect for kids. One of the absolute highlights was floating down the river in tubes. If you go, start by the bridge near loop A and settle in for a couple hours of relaxing in the sun until you flow towards loop D. Look for the yellow sign that tells you when to get out! We were told that the river was low (in August) and indeed it was. At certain points we had to get out and walk, yet a few other spots were deep enough that I couldn’t touch the bottom (so kids and non swimmers should always wear life jackets). We were told that at other times this summer the river has been much higher and faster, so always use caution and chat with Alberta Parks Staff if in doubt.

Camping at Red Lodge Provincial Park

Location!

Located just west of Bowden off of the QE2 highway, Red Lodge Provincial Park is a totally reasonable travel distance from Calgary or Edmonton and it’s super close for Red Deer folks. I wasn’t very familiar with the area when we visited but it was quickly obvious how many things there are to do in the area. We spent a few hours at the Discovery Wildlife Park (a mere 20 minutes away), there’s a corn & sunflower maze, various u-pick farms as well as the Red Lodge Ranch that offers trail rides and other attractions. If you aren’t the type who likes to sit around the campsite, you won’t be bored around here!

Camping at Red Lodge Provincial Park

Trip to Discovery Wildlife Park!

The Sites!

Camping at Red Lodge Provincial Park

Many of the campsites at this campground have well treed sites that are quite private. The best spots in my opinion are in Loop B where we stayed, especially site number 15 & 18 along the river. They are really private, huge and no one is behind you. The downside to Loop A & B is that you are relatively close to the highway so it can be a little noisy. The trip from this side of the campground to the shower building and playground is a bit of a trek. Loop D is much larger, but probably quieter as it’s further from the highway. Loop D also offers more look out spots and benches to enjoy the river. If you require a power site, all spots in Loop C offer 15/30 Amp power. Loop C is also the closest to the playground, but the sites are less well treed. There are also 3 group sites that are quite large.

Camping at Red Lodge Provincial Park

Amenities!

Camping at Red Lodge Provincial Park

Red Lodge Provincial Park feels like a calm oasis, but I didn’t feel super isolated either. You will find basically everything you need here including some power sites, pit toilets, flush toilets (in the shower house), coin operated showers, playground, horseshoe pits, beach areas, say use areas and more. There are no sites with water or sewer hookups, but you will find water taps throughout the park as well as a sani dump ($5) and fresh water for filling your RV. The office is staffed daily during the summer with friendly Alberta Parks staff where they sell fire wood, treats and a few staples like pancake mix and oil. Don’t miss Saturday morning craft time at the Craft Cabin run by the Volunteer Campground Host!

Camping at Red Lodge Provincial Park

Camping at Red Lodge Provincial Park

As we get closer to the end of summer I am grateful for our trip to Red Lodge Provincial Park as it was an experience that allowed us to try out a few things on our summer bucket list including river floating, a visit to the Discovery Wildlife Park and, as always, some quality family time! For more information about this park, or to reserve a site online, click here.

Camping at Red Lodge Provincial Park

Camping at Red Lodge Provincial Park

*I am an Alberta Parks Ambassador. My role is to explore Alberta Parks locations and encourage families to get out an explore nature! All opinions are my own. Please let me know if you have any questions about Alberta Parks or camping. I’m at hello@albertamamas.com.

In Calgary, Camping, Central Alberta on
August 8, 2017

Five Reasons to Check Out Calaway Park Before Summer is Done

Whether you are looking for something to add to your summer road trip plans, need to get out of the house because the kids are bored again, or you just want to do something fun as a family before school starts, you should consider adding Calaway Park to your summer plans!

Why Calaway Park is on our summer bucket list:

  1. The Rides – We have been going to Calaway Park with the kids every year since they were little and the thing we love about the park is that there is something for every age. The smaller rides are intermingled with the bigger ones making it easy to keep the little ones entertained while the older kids wait in the longer line ups.
  2. The Food – They have really stepped up their game with the food! Butter Chicken, Teriyaki Steak Sandwiches, the cheesiest Grilled Cheese and Poutine (Including regular, Butter Chicken and Pulled Pork!) They still have all the classics of course including burgers, fries, mini donuts and our families favourite – Ice Cream. The Dockside Diner is a great place to stop and have lunch when you go. It is a quiet area by a pond looking out on the park making it a perfect spot to take a break from the crowds and have lunch. We love that you are able to bring in your own food as well if you choose. They have picnic spots all over the park and lots of benches you can sit on to have a snack.
  3. The Size – We love Calaway because you can easily get to every ride without feeling rushed. The park is small enough to see everything but large enough and has enough rides to spend a full day. We hit up the park as soon as it opens to get all the bigger rides with typically longer line ups done first. If it looks like it will be a hot day do the water ride first. We went on it three times in a row with no line ups!
  4. Convenience – If you live in the Calgary area it is easy to pop over for the day but it is so easy to add Calaway Park into your summer road trip plans. Being on the highway between Calgary and Banff makes it an easy stop on your way to the mountains. If you are hoping to stay in the campsite by the park call ahead. They were booked up already and couldn’t take a last minute reservation even during the week. Kananaskis has great camping close by though making it an easy day trip while staying there or you can do what we did and park the trailer in a Walmart parking lot. It isn’t fancy but I was able to pick up all those last minute things I forgot while packing the trailer for our trip.
  5. The Cost – A family of four is $119.95 + GST making it a reasonable cost for a family outing especially because you can spend the whole day there. If you come after 2pm you can get a discounted rate of $23.95 per person making it cheaper. Calaway Park closes at 7pm (Fall hours start on September 9th when they close at 6pm and are only open on weekends after that) giving you lots of time to explore the park still. There are always coupons for two for one admissions so do a quick search online before you go. Tourism Calgary is one we use often for coupons.
In Camping, Explore, Parenting on
August 2, 2017

150 Things to Do While Camping!

Our friends at Camping Passport, have put together a list to keep you inspired while camping this summer! In the spirit of Canada’s 150th Birthday, there’s a total of 150 things to do, so dive in and enjoy the last month of summer while it’s still here!

  1. Hiking
  2. Biking
  3. Horse back riding
  4. Rent a paddle boat
  5. Canoeing/Kayaking
  6. Rainbow Scavenger Hunt – Find an item that matches each colour of the rainbow!
  7. Alphabet Scavenger Hunt – Find an item that starts with each letter of the alphabet
  8. Build a tipi
  9. Try all the flavours at the ice cream shop
  10. Fishing
  11. Go exploring with a fishing net
  12. Do a treasure hunt by hiding small items around the campsite for the kids to find
  13. Water balloon fight
  14. Water balloon baseball! Don’t have a bat? Use a pool noodle!
  15. Go to the pool
  16. Go to the beach
  17. Catch frogs
  18. Build a sand castle
  19. Write your names in the sand along with the date and take a picture!
  20. Paint some pet rocks
  21. Build an Inukshuk
  22. Blow bubbles
  23. Make a tin can telephone
  24. Memory game. When sitting around the fire take turns adding to the list of what you would pack for camping. “When I go camping I’m going to bring marshmallows.” Then the next person “When I go camping I’m going to bring marshmallows and chocolate” and so on!
  25. Chop wood
  26. Haul wood
  27. Collect kindling
  28. Leaf rubbings
  29. Scope out the historical sites
  30. Bingo
  31. Tic Tac toe with sticks and stones
  32. If you haven’t done so yet, download your Camping Passport App! Available on the App Store and Google Play
  33. Build a wind chime with sticks, leaves and stones. Or maybe you can find shells at the beach to use!
  34. Go berry picking
  35. Find some cool shapes in the clouds
  36. Wood whittling
  37. Identify the birds you hear
  38. Identify the plants you see
  39. Star gazing
  40. Make a wish on a shooting star
  41. See an outdoor movie
  42. See an outdoor concert
  43. Play horseshoes
  44. Build a slingshot with elastic bands and sticks
  45. Use those same elastic bands to make a natural paintbrush by attaching different types of foliage to a stick!
  46. Mini golf
  47. Play frisbee
  48. See if there’s a frisbee golf course nearby
  49. Everybody show off your hoola hooping moves (this is particularly hilarious if the adults get involved!)
  50. String up the hoola hoops in trees and use them as targets to launch pool noodles through
  51. Climb a tree
  52. Make a ring toss game out of glow sticks
  53. Nature art
  54. Decorate your very own walking stick with ribbon, yarn, paint, beads, etc.!
  55. See how many different animal tracks you can find and see if you can figure out who they belong to
  56. Build a stick tower, how high can you make it?!
  57. Build a stick raft, does it float?!
  58. Nature weaving. Lots of beautiful examples here on Pinterest
  59. Squirt gun race using solo cups. Poke a hole in the bottom of the cup, hang it on a string so that it lays horizontally, now you can squirt water into them to make them slide along the string!
  60. Play rhythm cups with more solo cups
  61. Make a fairy garden
  62. Make a wire wrapping craft with rocks
  63. Obstacle course. String some rope between trees and see if you can manoeuvre through without touching them
  64. Play the parachute game but with a beach towel and a beach ball! Better yet use a water balloon and see how many times you can toss it before it breaks!
  65. Nature names – Use leaves, sticks, etc. to spell out your names!
  66. Scope out the other sites at the campground. Is there one you’d like to try next time? If so be sure to make a note in your Camping Passport App!
  67. Enter your current trip in your Camping Passpost App!
  68. Meet your neighbours
  69. Do yoga! What better place than the great outdoors?!
  70. Bring a big piece of fabric the kids can colour. We found this one at IKEA. When it’s all filled in frame a piece of it as a souvenir!
  71. Tell ghost/campfire stories
  72. Try a new recipe. One of our favourites is ham, swiss cheese and apple pie filling in a sandwich maker over the fire. Yummmm!
  73. Take a nap!
  74. Read a good book. One of the most recent books I read which I LOVED was“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.
  75. Enjoy a nice peaceful morning coffee outdoors. Don’t rush, there’s no hurry to get anywhere!
  76. Sing songs around the campfire, bonus if somebody has a guitar!
  77. Go on a photography walk, how creative can you get?! Remember to change your perspective, get down low to try to imagine how the ants and spiders see things, get up high for a bird’s eye view!
  78. Skip rocks
  79. Watermelon eating contest. Great way to meet the neighbours, ask if they want to join you!
  80. Fill a basin of water and go bobbing for apples.
  81. String apples up in a tree and see who can take the first bite, do this blindfolded for added difficulty!
  82. Make campfire banana splits! Leaving the peel on, cut the banana length wise, stuff it full of chocolate chips, marshmallows, peanut butter, any other topping you can think of… wrap in tin foil and place over the fire to melt! When it’s ready eat with a spoon!
  83. Make campfire cones! Same as above but this time use waffle or sugar cones. The stuffing possibilities are endless!
  84. Pick wildflowers
  85. Make a flower crown
  86. Play cards
  87. Play boardgames
  88. Have extra packing room? Bring some lawn games like Giant Jenga or Yardzee
  89. Visit the visitor centre
  90. Play balloon tennis using blown up balloons and fly swatters
  91. Put on a puppet show
  92. Make a grateful journal
  93. Fly a kite
  94. Roll down a hill
  95. Play in a river
  96. Collect river rocks
  97. Play charades
  98. Find a farmer’s market
  99. Bean bag toss
  100. Play hide and seek
  101. Collect bugs
  102. Go for ice cream again!
  103. Make a lemonade stand
  104. Go on a picnic
  105. Do a random act of kindness such as haul wood for somebody!
  106. Make your own little spa, soak your toes in warm water while enjoying your favourite drink!
  107. Visit a waterfall
  108. Dance in the rain
  109. Jump in puddles
  110. Feed the ducks
  111. Play beach volleyball
  112. Learn a card trick
  113. Learn a magic trick
  114. Make a nature bird feeder! Tie string around a pinecone, roll in suet or lard, cover in birdseed and hang in a tree for the birds to enjoy!
  115. Put on a talent show (you’ve been working on that hoola hooping right?!)
  116. String together pop can tabs to make a bracelet
  117. Collect bottle caps and make a wind chime out of them
  118. Set up a pyramid of cans and try knocking them over with a ball or use a pool noodle like a javelin to knock them over.
  119. Set up lawn bowling with empty cans
  120. Play catch
  121. Tubing
  122. Waterskiing
  123. Float down a river in a tube
  124. Invent a new drink
  125. Try paddle boarding
  126. Try yoga paddle boarding!
  127. Find a Parks Canada Red Chair and take a picture with it!
  128. Move out of the camper one night and sleep under the stars!
  129. See some fireworks
  130. Go white water rafting
  131. Wake up super early and watch the sun rise
  132. Stay up late and watch the sun set
  133. Go to a petting zoo
  134. Make a list of 150 things you love about Canada!
  135. Build a campfire
  136. Practice lighting a fire without using matches or a lighter
  137. Wherever you are, take a moment to check in. Take a deep breath, be grateful, enjoy the moment!
  138. Roast marshamallows
  139. Make S’mores
  140. Make Bannock in a Bag! Before leaving home, put 3 cups of flour, 2 tbsp. baking soda and half of a tsp. of salt into a large Ziploc bag. Seal and shake. When you’re ready on site add half of a cup of lard or softened butter and 1.5 cups of water and then while still in the bag have the kids squish it all together. Now you can either bake for 15-20 minutes in foil packs (sprayed with non-stick spray or oil) over the fire or wrap around a hot dog and bake it that way!
  141. After dark give the kids some sparklers to play with
  142. Visit a look out point
  143. Take the kids to the park
  144. Go on a leisurely walk and see where you end up. You’re camping, no need to be anywhere at any specific time!
  145. Even if you have a camper do the dishes outside! We always do and it makes this boring task way more fun!
  146. Get out the colouring books, this can be relaxing and some good down time for kids and even “kids at heart” as well!
  147. Put the kids to bed!
  148. Have a drink by the fire, maybe sneak another snack that you didn’t want the kids to have!
  149. Sleep!! Maybe even sleep in a little, but not too much so that you can…
  150. Wake up and do it all over again!!

What’s your favourite camping activity?

Leanne is the creator of Camping Passport, a new app that lets you plan, review and evaluate your camping trips all from your phone! You can download it directly here from the App Store or Google Play.

In Camping, Explore on
July 27, 2017

Rochon Sands Provincial Park: Review

Camping at Buffalo Lake

In true spirit of our Alberta adventures this summer, we have been trying a lot of places that are new to us. Despite living in Alberta my entire life, there’s still a ton of places that are new to me and yet pretty close to home! This time we headed south east from Edmonton to Rochon Sands Provincial Park on the shores of Buffalo Lake Alberta. This is actually one of 3 Alberta Parks Campgrounds along this large lake, the other two being The Narrows and Buffalo Lake Provincial Recreation Area.

Camping at Buffalo Lake

The Location:

With its central location, this park is quite easy to get to whether you are coming from Edmonton, Calgary or Red Deer. It’s about 2 hours from north Edmonton for us, so an easy drive down highway 21. Rochon Sands Provincial Park is located on the south east side of Buffalo Lake right next to the quaint summer village of Rochon Sands. When you drive to the park you almost feel like you are driving in the wrong direction, but just keep going through the village and the adorable summer cabins, the park is at the end of the road.

Camping at Buffalo Lake

The Campsites:

When I visit a new campground I am always worried that the sites will be wide open with no tree coverage. No worries at Rochon Sands though as many of the sites are well treed and a decent size. There are single, double and walk in tent sites throughout the park. Some of the sites have a beautiful lake view, but they are out in the open, so keep that in mind if you prefer privacy. I was impressed by the group sites! There’s lots of them and they are like a mini campsite within the larger campground. I would recommend making a reservation, as there’s only about 70 regular sites, making it much smaller than some of the larger Provincial Parks we frequent.

Camping at Buffalo Lake

Camping at Buffalo Lake

Amenities:

Rochon Sands Provincial Park has a day use area by the beach. Lots of families were enjoying the picnic spaces and seemed to stay for most of the day. There is also one large playground by the beach that’s great for kids of all ages. The beach doesn’t have a ton of sand, but more than enough to be enjoyed by the kids. Try to swim closer to the lookout point as that is where we found the most sandy bottom. There is also a boat launch and lots of parking. If you are swimming, make sure you shower off using the shower by the change rooms and rub your skin briskly. This is Alberta, and swimmer’s itch can be found here just as it can in many other lakes across the province.

Camping at Buffalo Lake

Camping at Buffalo Lake

Camping at Buffalo Lake

Things to do:

There is NO shortage of things to do at Rochon Sands Provincial Park! The campground has a “Don’t Get Stumped” hunt where you try to find all 8 rainbow painted tree stumps throughout the park (there are pictures for clues, so anyone can play). Our group of 3 kids and 6 adults had a blast trekking through the park and managed to find them all. Once you’ve found them there’s a little treat for the kids at the main office.

Camping at Buffalo Lake

You can also find a Frisbee/Disc Golf course that looked like a lot of fun. The Summer Village of Rochon Sands, who operates the campground, seems like a very active community that tries to include campers like their own. There was a 50/50 being run to raise funds for a phenomenal Canada Day fireworks show and I have been told there are outdoor movies run by the village as well.

Camping at Buffalo Lake

While hiking through the area there’s 2 spots you do not want to miss. The interpretive viewpoint which gives you a higher up perspective of the area as well as the point that juts out of the water, which is a spectacular place to watch the sunset and the many birds.

Camping at Buffalo Lake

Take a quick trip into the village to the Snak Shak for an ice cream or an easy meal. We loved both and the kids can play in the adjacent park while you are waiting!

Camping at Buffalo Lake

Camping at Buffalo Lake

Things to Know:

  • Rochon Sands Provicial Park does not have sites with power, water or sewer- so come prepared!
  • There are non potable water taps and a sani dump for your use.
  • Also, no showers or flush toilets here- so keep this in mind. The pit toilets were clean and easy to find.
  • You can purchase wood at the main office if needed.

Camping at Buffalo Lake

Would we come back to Rochon Sands Provincial Park- absolutely! We have kind of fallen in love with the area and the community and can’t wait to go back and explore some more of the various summer villages as well as The Narrows and Buffalo Lake Provincial Recreation area soon. To book your site you must call the office (no online reservation) at 403-742-4338.

Camping at Buffalo Lake

Have any questions about this or any other Alberta Provincial Park? Shoot me a message at hello@albertamamas.com, I would love to help!

Every Day Girl

Camping at Buffalo Lake

*I am an Alberta Parks Ambassador and as such I help to promote the use of Alberta Parks throughout our province. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.