Looking for a day trip that combines relaxation with exploration and excitement? You’ll find it all in the small towns of central Alberta. These charming communities offer a break from the hustle of city life, while still providing plenty of things to see and do – no matter what your interests are.
Whether you’re a history buff that can recall all the region’s stories, an outdoor enthusiast looking for some great views, or just feeling up for a change of scenery, these towns have something to offer everyone. So, grab the kids, pack up the car, and hit the road – it’s time to visit some of the best towns in central Alberta!
Located just 30 minutes west of Grande Prairie, Beaverlodge is a nice place to visit on a day trip, with a selection of cultural and outdoor attractions.
From the top of this “mountain” – formerly a Canadian Forces station and a US radar base! – you can see some of the most scenic views in this part of the province while enjoying a picnic lunch. Fun fact: This hill was once an island in an inland sea!
If you love local art, this gallery offers a year-round selection of works from around the region. There are two areas, the Main and Mini Galleries, so we recommend reaching out to confirm what’s happening before stopping in. You can even take home original local art pieces from the gift shop.
No visit to Beaverlodge is complete without a photo beside locally-named “Justin Beaver”, the 1500-lb statue that greets drivers along the side of Highway 43. There are plenty of legends surrounding it – maybe the kids can come up with their own as you pass by!
Just over an hour east of Grande Prairie, Valleyview is the “Portal to the Peace” as you enter the region from Edmonton, offering outdoor fun and one-of-a-kind finds.
Sturgeon Lake is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and swimming, with Young’s Point and Williamson Provincial Park campgrounds along the shore if you want to make a stay out of it. Within Valleyview itself, there’s a day-use park with a well-stocked trout pond, barbecue pits, and playgrounds.
The local library has information about the history of the area, especially relating to the Treaty 8 lands on which Valleyview is located. It’s a good starting point to learn more about the rich cultures that have been here for millennia.
Don’t leave town without visiting The Olde Country Inn or Tall Timber Coffee! The inn is well known for its authentic German food and décor, while Tall Timber offers some of the most delicious sandwiches, wraps, and coffee you’ll find anywhere.
Halfway between the city of Grande Prairie and Beaverlodge is Wembley, a welcoming and family-friendly little town.
Showcasing the rich fossil history of the region (and featuring some one-of-a-kind specimens), this world-class museum is full of must-see interactive exhibits for dino lovers of all ages. In the summer, you can even take a tour of the nearby Pipestone bone beds, where many of the fossils are discovered.
Near the museum, you’ll find the Pipestone Creek Campground where you can set up camp for the day or visit the walking trails.
Though a series of fires have destroyed many of the original buildings in town, Wembley’s Heritage Park has a collection of structures that have been moved there for cultural preservation. The historical society also maintains St. Andrew’s Church by Lake Saskatoon, which is among the oldest standing churches in the entire province.
Located a short 20-minute drive north of Grande Prairie, Sexsmith is a perfect place to experience some of the history of the Peace Region – and pick up some of the best produce you can find.
One of the town’s main attractions is the Sexsmith & District Museum, which features exhibits on early homesteading, farming, and the rise of the oil and gas industry. There’s also an arena that hosts the Sexsmith Vipers’ hockey games.
Between June and September, be sure to drop into the Sexsmith Farmers’ Market for some locally produced food! It runs every Tuesday between 4-7 PM at the curling rink. You can also dabble in agritourism and check out Farm 2 Table on 51’s fresh produce and flower U-pick.
About halfway between Edmonton and Grande Prairie, Fox Creek is surrounded by pristine boreal wilderness, including forests, lakes, and provincial parks.
This lake is a great spot for fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking. You can rent a canoe or kayak for the day and glide across the still water in the warm summer sun – a perfect memory to make with the family.
The Fox Creek Bike Park offers space to practice speed and skills on dedicated trails, complementing the kilometres of walking trails around town. The town is also a destination for geocachers, becoming part of a worldwide “treasure hunt” to track down items in the area!
These towns are well worth a visit. Each one offers a chance to slow down and appreciate the joy of a nice, relaxing drive across our beautiful piece of Alberta.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor to the area, there’s always something new to discover here. So, when you find something… tag us on social with #GPTourism and let us know!