Have a couple of hours to blow? Why not fuel up, toss a couple of road snacks in your car and press play for a day of new and exciting experiences all under 3 hours away – after all, Alberta is full of ’em! From the mountains to the badlands here are 15 and the best and most unique day trips you can take from Calgary.


Sylvan Lake has all the makings for a perfect day trip if you’re legitimately looking for a day in a lake town. This popular summer spot is only an hour and a half outside of Calgary. Here you can take a dip or relax in the sun on the beach, grab a bite to eat, browse quaint little shops, hit their iconic ice cream shop, and still be home before dinner!

Where: 5012 48 Avenue Sylvan Lake, Alberta
Distance from Calgary: 159.5 km


Located about an hour from Calgary, this unique spot is small but has some interesting things to see and do – especially if you’ve only got a few hours. From their world-famous gopher hole museum – which has nearly 50 scenes set up featuring stuffed gophers doing very human things – to the 12-foot gopher statue, gopher fire hydrants, golf course and lakeside park this uniquely Albertan hamlet makes for a fun day trip with friends or family.

Where: 208 1 St SW, Torrington
Distance from Calgary: 119 km

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Play paleontologist for a day during one of our favourite Calgary day trips! Drumheller is best known for its Royal Tyrrell Museum, where you can come face-to-skull with dinosaurs found after over 200 million years and even take a guided hike through the badlands to search for fossils – but that’s not all! The town itself has really run with the whole dino theme, which is really cool. In fact, they have the largest dinosaur in the world! Here, among the cacti and sedimentary rock, it’ll be easy to forget that you’re in Alberta – and to us, that’s a day trip well done.

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 135.2 km


What’s up adventure seekers. Hidden in the Alberta Badlands day-trippers will find the unoccupied town of Wayne, Alberta. Delve deep into old mines, check out the Last Chance Saloon – a snapshot of the old west; wander the old hotel and explore the untouched artifacts and buildings left behind by a once-thriving community.

Where: 555 Jewel Street. Rosedale Station, AB
Distance from Calgary: 147.3 km


Ride horseback through Canada’s Rockies, white water raft through rushing mounting rivers, take a wagon ride and get your heart pumping on their ropes course. Rafter Six Ranch will fill your entire day with unique activities and beautiful views.

Where: Rafter Six Ranch, Exshaw, AB
Distance from Calgary: 78.8 km


This might look like just your regular Alberta lake, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Hidden under the surface is actually an entire ghost town that you can actually scuba dive through (if you’re experienced and qualified to do so.) Not ready to put your head below the water? They also have a cruise – which is made that much better by what’s hidden under the boat.

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 100 km


Running along the Red Deer River, Ya Ha Tinda Ranch is the only federally operated horse ranch in the country. There are around a dozen trails leading from the ranch, but our favourites lead to Hidden Falls and the Scalp Creek Waterslides. Trail riding AND natural waterslides?? It doesn’t get much better than that.

Where: Clearwater County
Distance from Calgary:  182 km


Love dogs and have a day to spare? We know you do. Have an interactive cuddly afternoon with the biggest and most beautiful breed of pup at the Yamnuska Sanctuary. Get up close and personal with a pack of wolves, listen, learn and tour the sanctuary with an expert guide.

Where: 263156 Range Road 53 Cochrane, Alberta
Distance from Calgary: 50.0 km


Like Sylvan, the quaint Town of Nanton has a ton to offer. There’s a really good chance you’ve seen already seen photos of the Paradise Hill sunflower field, and with good reason, but there’s also an incredible, historic, candy shop, a flight museum, a train museum and a miniature museum – a stunning lake, restaurants and gardens.

Where:1907 21 Avenue P.O. Box 609, Nanton, Alberta
Distance from Calgary: 92.1 km


Kananaskis has something for everyone, and we mean everyone. Need a day away to unwind? Spend a day at the Nordic Spa, picnicking and sightseeing, or hiking. The fresh air will go straight to your head, the sun will warm your skin, and the mems will be one for the books. If you’re more of an adrenaline junky, they also have an incredible heli-tour, an anxiety-inducing cave tour, and a ton of places to go rock climbing. If you’re looking to eat your way through the day, check out one of their many restaurants.

Where: 1 Centennial Dr, Kananaskis
Distance from Calgary: 75.1 km


This unique-to-Alberta experience might give you a case of the spookies, but it’s absolutely worth the trip. Overlooking Canada’s deadliest rockslide, this interpretive centre makes for an incredibly eye-opening excursion. Learn why, when, and how half of a town and its residents got trapped under hundreds of thousands of rocks, in one of the country’s worst accidents.

When: AB-3, Crowsnest Pass, AB
Distance from Calgary: 217 km


Thanks to the incredible preservation efforts of this 6,000-year-old site, visitors can now see the incredible landscape, wander the exhibits and learn about the cultural significance of Alberta’s Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump to the Plains People. You won’t believe our eyes!

Where: 18 km NW of Fort Macleod on Highway 785, Fort Macleod, Alberta
Distance from Calgary: 184 km


A town dedicated to Star Trek, Vulcan, Alberta not only has a museum of memorabilia from the show, but it also has an incredibly detailed Starship display among other little blink-and-you-might-miss-it oddities. Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s definitely worth checking out this quirky town just to see it with your own peepers. Live long and prosper! 

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 128 km


Lethbridge’s Iconic Japanese Garden is one of the most beautiful places in not just Alberta, but all of North America. This summer, grab the hand of someone special and wander through fields of flowers, trees, and beautifully cut grass of Nikka Yuko.

Where: Corner of 9th Ave S &, Mayor Magrath Dr. S, Lethbridge
Distance from Calgary: 215 km


Lastly, a favourite among tourists and locals alike. Action-packed with restaurants, views, shops and hiking trails, activities, wildlife and more, Banff and Canmore are the most obvious day trips destinations, but no less exciting or beautiful to visit.

Where: Directions here
Distance from Calgary: 148 km

There you have it, friends. Our picks for the most unique day trips you can take from Calgary. Where will you be heading first?!