What will your summer vacation look like this year? Imagine family fun, sightseeing, gorgeous scenery, and a place to relax, all without having to cross any borders!
Lethbridge, only a 2-hour drive from Calgary, boasts a diverse range of dining, shopping, and accommodation options, and also offers a gateway to prairies, badlands, and mountains. Whether your vacation plans look like sleeping in and trying new restaurants or climbing mountains and discovering dinosaurs, Lethbridge can deliver a memorable family trip. It has a wide range of accommodations for all budgets and is the perfect place to unpack and enjoy the surrounding area. Plan your summer vacation with the help of Tourism Lethbridge.
The City of Lethbridge is divided by an incredible river valley and coulees, the eye-catching geological formations formed by the retreating glaciers. Overhead is the iconic Lethbridge Viaduct. There are many places to walk, bike, and simply enjoy nature without going far. You can even explore a little agritourism and partake of the farm-to-table culinary delights.
You’ll find a rich cultural scene in Lethbridge, with attractions like the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and its national reputation in contemporary art. The gallery features contemporary art by top local, regional, national, and international artists. With their exhibition schedule, you’ll find something new to see every time you visit.
Museums hold our history in their hands, and visiting them can be interesting and illuminating. Galt Museum tells the stories of southwestern Alberta in an interactive way that can engage all ages. Investigate the Discovery Hall and experience events and programs. Imagine yourself in the 1910 Galt Hospital or visit the Native Prairie Plants & Nurses’ Gardens. Make a day of it and explore the river valley pathways, too.
Everyone needs inner peace, and sometimes we just need a little help to get there. The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden is a lovely location, combining a cultural experience with the beauty of nature. This tranquil garden offers a relaxed setting where you can step away from the pressures of city life and be in harmony with nature. You’ll find family programming throughout the week and you can Picnic in the Garden with a special package.
Fort Whoop-Up will introduce your family to the wild west and the frontier trading post. As the story goes, in 1869, American fur traders loaded up a wagon full of whiskey and other trade items. Heading north, they stopped where Fort Whoop-Up now is, built a stockade and ran a lucrative trading business. (The party ended in 1874 when the Mounties showed up.) Today, the fort still trades traditional items with the Blackfoot tribes in the area, and you can see what life in a trading post might have been like.
With five amazing day trips within easy driving distance of Lethbridge (four are UNESCO World Heritage Sites), you can also leave the city and plan fascinating day trips and adventures.
Waterton Lakes National Park lies in the southwest corner of Alberta, 133 km from Lethbridge and sharing a border with Glacier National Park in Montana. With scenic drives, boating, and world-class trails (the Crypt Lake trail is National Geographic rated), you’ll find lots to do. Take a boat tour of Upper Waterton Lake or rent canoes on Cameron Lake. Pack a picnic and take a scenic drive along Red Rock Parkway. Along the way, enjoy wildlife spotting and 200 species of birds.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is 71 km from Lethbridge and preserves and interprets over 6,000 years of Plains Buffalo culture. The Interpretive Centre, with its award-winning architecture, tells the story of the Plains First Nations and how the area was in use prior to European contact for nearly 6,000 years. Head outside for self-guided tours or local Blackfoot guided tours.
Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai’pi Provincial Park is the newest UNESCO site and offers visitors otherworldly hoodoo rock formations, the lazy Milk River, and incredible pictographs and petroglyphs. This space is sacred for the Blackfoot people and a visit will open your eyes to its cultural significance. Hike a marked hoodoo trail and spend a hot afternoon floating down the gentle river. Watch for pronghorns and rattlesnakes! You’ll be amazed this unique park is only 128 km from Lethbridge.
Dinosaur Provincial Park is world-renowned for its abundant fossils, riverside cottonwood groves, and stunning badlands. It’s one of the richest dinosaur fossil locales in the world. Visit incredible finds in the exhibition space or head outside for more fossils. Forty-nine different dinosaur species have been found in this park. Plan to make a whole day of it, as it’s 195 km from Lethbridge.
The Crowsnest Pass isn’t a UNESCO site (yet) but its stunning scenery, rich history, and outdoor opportunities make it an incredible place to visit. Founded on coal mining, the Crowsnest Pass in southwestern Alberta, 145 km from Lethbridge, is where the prairies meet the mountains. Go hiking at Turtle Mountain or the Continental Divide, visit the Frank Slide, and learn some history at the Leitch Collieries or the Bellevue Coal Mine Tours.
This is the summer to head a little off the beaten tourist path and discover the stunning attractions in our own province. Plan your trip with the help of Tourism Lethbridge.
And you might even be able to drive there before a fight erupts in the back seat.