It’s no secret that the economy hasn’t been robust lately, but that hasn’t dampened Edmontonians enthusiasm for travel. If you are short on funds, short on time, or just looking for a change of pace for you and your kids during this summer, here are five epic day trips that will have you back in your own bed by evening.

Classic Canadian Tours: Want to go on a safari? Classic Canadian Tours can make it happen. The Grizzly Bear West Coast Tour and the Polar Bear Safari have you boarding Classic’s private aircraft and being whisked away to seldom-seen regions of Canada. Comfortable catamarans (grizzly bear tour) or tundra buggies (polar bear safari) have you observing wildlife in its natural habitat while you remain warm, dry and safe. Both tours include meals. These amazing adventures start early and get you back in the city by 8 or 9 pm.


5 Epic Edmonton Road Trips - Getting up close and personal with wildlife thanks to Classic Canadian Tours Credit Classic Canadian Tours

Getting up close and personal with wildlife thanks to Classic Canadian Tours. Credit Classic Canadian Tours


Elk Island National Park: When is the last time you saw bison? Elk? A myriad of songbirds? When it’s time to reconnect with nature, Elk Island National Park is just a hop, skip and a jump out of the city. You must stay away from the fences for your own safety, but there are plenty of bison and other animals to see as you drive though this protected area. In addition to wildlife, there are historical attractions and activities to explore. If a day trip isn’t enough to take it all in, spend a night at the Astoin Lake Campground. Start a new hobby by bringing a telescope to watch the stars at night. You don’t need an expensive one to be starry-eyed by the experience.


5 Epic Edmonton Road Trips - Black-billed Magpie Sitting on a Plain Bison Bull in Elk Island National Park Credit Wikimedia Commons

Black-billed Magpie Sitting on a Plain Bison Bull in Elk Island National Park Credit Wikimedia Commons

Cross Iron Mills: It’s almost a three hour drive but for the shopping aficionado, the trip from Edmonton to Calgary’s Cross Iron Mills is worth every drop of gas. The massive shopping complex is home to big brands like PUMA®, DKNY, Bass Pro Shops®, Ben Moss, Coach and Bentley, but even more importantly, it has a ton of outlet and factory stores such as: Adidas® Outlet Store, Nike Factory Store and even a Lucky Brand outlet so you can get your perfect-fitting jeans. There are over 200 specialty and outlet stores, along with places to dine and special promotions and events. This is the ideal trip for a ladies day out, a fun way to make back-to-school clothes shopping an adventure or a great bonding experience for groups of guys that want to up their style or hobby game.


5 Epic Edmonton Road Trips - One of the art features inside Cross Iron Mills Credit Cross Iron Mills

One of the art features inside Cross Iron Mills. Credit Cross Iron Mills

General Store Hoppin’ & Shoppin’: Get out of the big city and away from big box retail chains to discover the quaint boutique shops in greater Edmonton. Calmar’s Lil’ Piece of Heaven serves up all the rustic home décor you need while Stony Plain’s The Country Pumpkin retails handmade art and décor from Canadian vendors. Carvel has its famous General Store where you can get romantic linen dresses, handmade soaps, artwork, birdhouses, books, tasty kitchen treats (pickles, jam, glass bottled soda) and so much more. The small towns and villages outside of Edmonton also have home-cooking cafes, tea shops and small museums to make your day trip extra special.

The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary: A very unique feature of the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is the long and winding boardwalk that provides limited wheelchair access (advance notice is required for wheelchairs as a gate must be unlocked – see their website for details). The Sanctuary is just off the Devon highway and once on the trails, you’ll experience the peace and quiet that is only gently broken by the gentle call of loons and great blue herons. You may see eagles, grouse, pheasants and owls. Others have observed shews, bats, and moose. Wildflowers abound. If you need a nature walk but like the convenience of trails and boardwalks, this is the place for you.

This summer you don’t need to jet off to a resort in Mexico or hop on a plane to New York to relax, to shop or see new sights. These are just a few of the epic Edmonton day trips you can take; get out there and explore!