Canada Day Long Weekend Fun In Calgary & Area

by - Friday, July 01, 2016

It's the first long weekend of summer! How will you celebrate Canada Day? We have 10+ ideas for outdoor fun in and around Calgary.


  1. Visit a Mountain Park! Admission to the National Parks is free on Canada Day! Suggested day trips...
    • Banff: Paddle at Johnson Lake, ride the Mount Norquay Chair Lift and have lunch at the Cliffhouse Bistro, then go for a Lantern Tour of Cave & Basin. For more ideas, please see 10 Banff Day Trips to Do This Summer.
    • Lake Louise: Join other brave souls for the Polar Bear Dip (11:30 am at Lake Louise), then hike to the Lake Agnes Teahouse or Plain of Six Glaciers. Treat yourself to a coffee and pastry at Laggan's before heading home.
    • Yoho: Hike to Wapta Falls, then check out the Natural Bridge and Takakkaw Falls.
      Wapta Falls, Yoho National Park
  2. Try a new-to-you trail like West Wind Pass. Get above treeline in 2.1 km for beautiful views of Spray Lakes! (Note: This is a good alternative to Grassi Lakes given the current bear warning.)
    West Wind Pass, Kananaskis
  3. Looking for a longer hike to tucker the kids out? Chester Lake just re-opened for the season! This 9.2 km return hike with 300 m elevation gain takes you to a shimmering lake set beneath dramatic peaks (Mount Chester and the Fortress). Carry on to the Elephant Rocks if time allows. Rawson Lake is also good to go; the Sarrail Falls bridge was recently rebuilt.
    Chester Lake in spring - it should have less snow now! :)
  4. Go paddling! Glenmore Reservoir is a great in-town choice. Out of town, try Johnson Lake (small and calm, perfect for beginners), Barrier Lake (pretty, but can get quite windy), or Upper or Lower Kananaskis Lake. Rentals are available at Barrier Lake and Lower Kananaskis Lake. See this post for details.
    Glenmore Reservoir, Calgary
  5. Picnic in the park. If you have a large group or are preparing an elaborate meal, a picnic area is best. If you're low maintenance, pack a picnic blanket and make your own picnic spot wherever you like (what we usually do to avoid crowds). 
    • Calgary picnic areas include: Bowness Park, Edworthy Park, North Glenmore Park, South Glenmore Park, Prairie Winds Park, Pearce Estate Park, Shouldice Park, Sandy Beach (but not recommended at this time due to construction in the area), Stanley Park, and Fish Creek Park (Bebo Grove). Call 311 to book a site (fees apply). To see bike routes to these parks, please see 10 Fun Family Bike Rides in Calgary.
    • More picnic spots in Calgary: We love bringing a picnic blanket to Confederation Park and sitting under the big trees. The duck pond and playground are fun for the kids too. St. Patrick's Island Park is also fantastic - there is a covered picnic area with tables and chairs, another picnic area near the playground, and several benches around the island. Kids will love the unique playground and lagoon as well as the George C. King pedestrian bridge. To see bike routes to/from St Patrick's Island Park, please see 10 Fun Family Bike Rides in Calgary.
    • Some out of town picnic areas we like include:
  6. Chase Waterfalls! The most popular family-friendly waterfalls near Calgary are Troll Falls, Grotto Canyon, and Johnston Canyon and for good reason. They are easily accessible and not too far of a drive. Further west, Yoho National Park has several amazing waterfalls including Takakkaw Falls (view from Day Use Area)and Wapta Falls (4.6 km return, 30 m elevation gain). If you'd like to get off the beaten path, try Sheep River Falls near Turner Valley, or Crescent Falls (view from Day Use Area) and Siffleur Falls (8 km return) near Nordegg. If you will be camping at Elbow Lake, I highly recommend visiting Edworthy Falls, a small but beautiful waterfall.
    Crescent Falls, Nordegg Area
  7. Go Fishing. It's the perfect activity to go with lakeside camping and a great way to start or end the day. Read more here on how to get your kids hooked on fishing
    Big POG and her Brook Trout
  8. Check out a pop-up playground in Calgary. These mobile adventure playgrounds will get your kids moving and using their creativity!

  9. Sign up for a Family Program at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. From Pond Exploration to tracking, there is something to pique any child's interest!
    Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park
  10. Attend a FREE Park n Play or Stay n Play Summer Camp (various communities around town; hosted by City of Calgary). We have enjoyed these camps the last few years; the staff are enthusiastic and keep the kids moving and having fun.

For Canada Day festivities in Calgary and southern Alberta, please see To Do Canada. There are too many festivals and fireworks displays to list!! 

Do you prefer to staycation or get outta Dodge on long weekends? 

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