There is nothing like looking out of your car window and seeing the sweeping mountain landscapes that we know as the Canadian Rockies. This is just one of the things that makes Alberta one of the most beautiful provinces in Canada.
Not only is Alberta known for it's incredible natural sites, but there are so many attractions that you won't want to miss.
We're here to help you plan your trip so you can make the most of your vacation. We have the top 5 tourist destinations in Alberta laid out for you so you can plan the best trip possible!
Alberta has a rich landscape with different patterns of vegetation. The mountains and prairies have different landform features.
It is a province of tremendous contrast. Although 61% of Alberta is covered by boreal forests, they give way to awe-inspiring lakes and spectacular rivers.
It is a mosaic of environmental ecosystems with 6 distinct features. These include:
The vegetation in Alberta consists of Blu Gama and other grass varieties. The common trees in this region include white spruce, lodgepole pine, tamarack, black spruce, and more.
Alberta experiences longer hours of sunshine than all the other provinces of Canada. Some forests in Alberta are home to the big game.
The common animals in this region include elks, black deer, moose, wapiti, bighorn goats, mountain goats, and others. Most lakes and rivers have pike, trout, and whitefish.
Alberta has a population of 4.5 million people. It is the 4th most populated province in Canada. While 81% of the people in Alberta live in urban areas, 19% of the population live in rural areas.
The original inhabitants were Paleo-Indians in Alberta over 10,000 years ago. In 1750, European settlers made their way to Alberta Circa.
The French and British were among these settlers, and they began to engage in various trade activities. The American Fur soon became the most coveted commodity.
Soon after, these activities would transform Alberta into a trade renowned centre. More people from other parts of the world would migrate to Alberta.
In 1883, the Canadian National Railway arrived in Alberta. This opened up the region for more trade. Soon after, business was booming. Within a decade, the non-native population of Alberta grew exponentially.
Alberta gained its provincial status on 1st September 1905. It was named after Princess Louise Alberta, who lived in the region from 1848 to 1939. Edmonton became its capital city.
In 1914, William Stewart Herron discovered oil in Alberta. He then went on to lay the ground for the first oil well.
Crude oil was a much sought-after commodity in Canada and the world at large, which led to the rapid growth of Alberta.
Alberta gained international recognition. It won the privilege of hosting the Olympics in 1988, and it also hosted the 2005 Grandprix!
Today, the Province of Alberta continues to thrive. It has grown to become one of the leading tourist attractions in Canada.
Getting Around Alberta
Alberta has several modes of transport that make it easy to navigate. Most of its scenic attractions are accessible by road.
Alberta has a great road network, and this makes it quite accessible to those who love to drive.
The province of Alberta is situated on the Western side of Canada. It sits above the US state of Montana. To the West is British Columbia, and to the East is Saskatchewan.
If you’d like to visit Lake Louise and Banff National Park, taking the Banff Airporter would be a convenient option. It transports people from the airport several times a day.
Travelling to Banff from the airport costs $80. The good news is that there are a host of rental car services in Alberta. You can use a rental car to explore different parts of Alberta.
Those who don’t like driving can take advantage of the taxi services in Alberta. These services are available at the airport and other parts of Alberta.
The train is available when you want to cover long distances. For instance, you could use it to get to other cities in Canada, such as Calgary, if you want to make the most of your trip.
1. Banff National Park
Banff National Park is an iconic attraction with diverse wildlife in the Canadian Rockies. The park is 2,564 square miles, and 96% of it is wilderness.
The park is home to bears, elk, deer, bald eagles, and even cougars.
The park has an incredible forest cover and alpine terrain. Every year, throngs of tourists visit Banff National Park and engage in various exciting activities such as:
Boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, scuba dining, and swimming
Skiing, ice skating, dog sledding, and snowshoeing
Cycling, mountain biking, and hiking
Ice climbing and mountain climbing
Tours and programs, horseback riding, geocaching, wildlife viewing, dog walking, bird watching, and camping
If you love a mix of the wilderness and town life, you can explore the town of Banff, which is situated in the park. Rivers, meadows, peaks, valleys, and glaciers are some of the notable tourist attractions in Banff National Park.
The facilities in this park include resorts, information centres, upper hot springs, variety, and lots of accommodation options. When looking to have a delicious meal after a long day in the park, you can visit the Sky Bistro, Banff Gondola, and Northern Lights Alpine Kitchen.
Banff National Park Camping
There are many safe places to pitch a tent in Banff and enjoy the gift of nature. If you want to get away from the urban life and have some alone time, Parks Canada Campsite is ideal.
The most visited campsites in Banff are the Tunnel Campground, Two Jack Campground, Mosquito Creek Campground, Waterfowl Lakes Campgrounds, and Lake Louise Campground.
Most campsites in the park are well-equipped. There are more glamorous options for sleeping if roughing it isn't your thing. The campground has oTENTiks which is a cross between an A-frame cabin and a canvas tent mounted on a raised wooden floor.
If you love trekking, the Wilcox Pass, Parker Ridge, and Plain of Six Glacier are some of the trails worth looking at.
You can also opt for campgrounds that are near Banff town. These will allow you to access restaurants and gift shops conveniently.
Banff National Park is the perfect place for backcountry camping enthusiasts as well if you're the type who likes to be immersed in nature. The national park offers a variety of camping spots to visitors which cater to all types of campers.
2. Moraine Lake
With the most stunning turquoise coloured waters, it's no wonder Moraine Lake is one of the top tourist destinations in Alberta. Do sightseeing, canoeing, and hiking sound thrilling to you? Then you would have a time of your life in Moraine Lake. This massive water body lies 14 km outside the beautiful village of Lake Louise in Alberta.
Moraine Lake is located between the Valley of the Ten Peaks. The view of the valley from the shores of the lake is stunning.
You can start exploring Moraine Lake from the intriguing 300m Rockpile trail. At the end of this trail, the breathtaking view of the lake welcomes you.
If you are seeking more hiking adventures, follow the sign “To Consolation Lake”. The trail is about 3 km long with an elevation of 90 metres.
Moraine Lake may not be as large as St. Louise Lake, but it is certainly more panoramic. Its turquoise water will make you marvel at the beauty of nature. Photography enthusiasts will enjoy snapping the perfect shot of the lake, but the lake can get very busy. It's recommended to head there first thing in the morning before the crowds show up if you want a photo clear of tourists.
Moraine Lake Lodge
Moraine Lake Lodge is located in the Banff National Park. It is about 15 minutes away from Lake Louise. People staying in this lodge enjoy exquisite Canadian delicacies.
The lodge is surrounded by towering trees, which give it a mystical feel. From the lodge, you have an inspiring view of Lake Louise and the Rockies. You can take a lot of great pictures during your stay in the lodge.
Moraine Lake Lodge has a café(downstairs) where you can enjoy a host of Canadian culinary. And a shop(upstairs) where you can buy snacks and drinks. However, the restaurant only serves breakfast and dinner.
The lodge is welcoming and comfortable. It provides a warm and safe haven for resting after a fun-filled day. This is a great option for those wishing to stay in a more luxurious accommodation.
3. Lake Louise
Lake Louise is the spectacle of Alberta. It is a glacier-fed lake with stunning turquoise waters. This massive lake is about 42,000 acres.
Besides its scenic view, you can engage in a lot of activities while at the lake. During the summer, the weather is beautiful for anyone who likes to trek, hike, and paddleboard.
The Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail allows you to experience the beauty of the lake from the shoreline. It is a 4 kilometres long unique hiking trail. The other trails in this area include the Big Bee Hive Hike, Plain of 6 Glaciers Trail, and more.
Lake Louise Weather
Are you wondering what is the right time of year to visit Lake Louise? You can visit this lake during the summer or winter. It all depends on your preference.
At the beginning of the year, Lake Louise is snowy and cold. The temperatures average at 5 degrees Celsius. If you are lucky enough, you will enjoy a few sunny days during the winter. But the frozen lake is a magnificent site! It's also a less tourist heavy time, so you'll be able to enjoy the lake without all the hustle and bustle. It's the perfect destination for all the winter activities you know and love.
The summers in Lake Louise are warm and perfect for sightseeing, swimming, and hiking. At night, it becomes cool. July is the warmest summer month at Lake Louise.
During this month, you can experience highs of about 22 degrees Celsius.
Fairmount Lake Louise
If you are looking for a place to stay during your visit to Lake Louise, the Fairmount Chateau Hotel will impress you. It is a world-famous hotel that lives up to its expectations.
Fairmount Lake Louise has two guest wings and a grand entrance with cylindrical doors. The hotel is endowed with luxurious serviced rooms. Its comfort guarantee’s you a good night's sleep during your stay at Lake Louise.
The Fairmount Lake Louise lobby is marked by high ceilings, wooden panels, and a grand chandelier. This creates an atmosphere of world-class luxury. It also has an elegant guest-only living room above the lobby.
Guests get a good view of the lobby and the chandelier while having dinner or breakfast in the living room. However, you can also opt to dine in the famous Lakeview lounge. In this lounge, you can order signature drinks and snacks as you enjoy some great views of the lake.
Other facilities in Fairmount Lake Louise include various types of shops for clothing or jewelry, so if you have the urge to buy something special to remember your trip, you can!
Lake Louise Ski Resort
Lake Louise Ski resort is a skiers paradise. During the winter, it is picture-perfect. The resort stretches over 4,200 acres.
All skiers can ski in this resort regardless of whether they are beginners, experts, or at the intermediate level. Its terrain is versatile gentle slopes, glades, long cruising ski runs, chutes, and much more.
Lake Louise Ski has spectacular scenery. It gives photography enthusiasts a chance to capture great views of glaciers, lakes, mountains, and forests.
4. Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is in the eastern part of the Rocky Mountains. It is 11,228 square kilometres, which makes it the largest park in the Canadian Rockies.
When visiting Jasper National Park during the summer, you can enjoy kayaking or whitewater rafting on Maligne Lake. During the winter, you can ski at the Marmot Basin or go snowshoeing around the Athabasca Glacier.
Other interesting things to do in Jasper include gliding up over 7000 ft with the Jasper Skytram. This aerial tramway will open up what may seem like another world out there. From the Whistler Mountain peak, you will have a superb view of the entire Jasper National Park.
If you're a foodie looking for something interesting to try, order the elk steak in one of the local restaurants!
Athabasca Glacier is a unique attraction in Jasper National Park. It is 6 square kilometres. The glacier is one of the six main toes of the famous Columbia Icefield. These giant busses with monster truck sized wheels drive take you to the glacier, where you dismount and enjoy a stroll across the glacier.
There are streams of water trickling down the Athabasca Glacier. The water is refreshing, cold, and crisp. You can use your hands to scoop out a small amount to taste. You should only drink little amounts of this water because it may have inorganic pollutants.
Athabasca Glacier tour delivers a riveting experience that you won't want to miss. How many people can really say they've walked on a glacier before?
Jasper National Park Camping
Camping in Alberta is a highly sought-after activity. Whether you prefer camping in a secluded place in the wilderness or a family-friendly location near town, Jasper has something for everyone.
Both Frontcountry and Backcountry campers can have a good time in Jasper. The campgrounds in Jasper include the Honeymoon Lake Campground, Jonas Creek Campground, Whistlers Campground, and many more.
If roughing it in a tent isn't really your thing but you still want to be immersed in nature, you can also rent an oTENTik which is a cross between an A-frame and a canvas tent set on wooden panels, or you can stay at the Palisades. The Palisades Centre offers experiential education opportunities with a special focus on elementary through high school grades. These accommodations are comfortable houses and cabins.
5. Sunshine Village
Sunshine Village is located on the Continental Divide of the Canadian Rockies within Banff National Park in Alberta and Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park in British Columbia. The village is famous for its rich snow cover. It ranks among the resorts with the most snow in Canada.
On top of that, Sunshine Village has one of the longest skiing seasons. The season starts in November and extends to May. Thanks to the average snow in this village, which stands at a staggering 9 metres.
Here are some of the hotels where you can stay while on vacation in Sunshine Village;
Peaks Hotel and Suites in Banff
Moose Hotel and Suites in Banff
Banff Rocky Mountain Resorts
Sunshine Mountain Lodge
The peaks of Sunshine Village offer skiers magnificent views. Some its off-piste runs border British Columbia. You can ski both territories in one run.
The restaurants and eateries in the Sunshine Village area include Alpine Grill, Sunshine Burger Company, Chimney Corner, Java Lift Bar, and more.
Sunshine Village Weather
Sunshine Village has short and warm summers. The springs are cold, long, and chilly. But winters are long and perfect for skiing. The average weather in the winter ranges between -2 to -16 degrees Celsius - so bundle up!
Pack Your Bags and Head to Alberta Today!
Besides its welcoming scenery, Alberta is home to some of the friendliest people on the planet. Also, it boasts of several vibrant cities and exciting nightlife. Most importantly, there are many outdoor activities in Alberta.
Have you been thinking of taking a vacation in Alberta? Now is the right time to do it. Consider visiting these 5 tourist destinations in Alberta, and you will have the adventure of a lifetime.
But before you embark on your trip, get a free quote for travel insurance from Insurdinary today.