Just west of Grande Prairie lie the small towns of Wembley, Beaverlodge, and Hythe – each offering their own variety of activities and restaurants to make an excellent weekend trip away from the city. If you want to make family memories that will last a lifetime, load up the kids – or make it a romantic weekend for two – and get ready for two days of food, fun, and fantastic times together.
Length: 2 days
Know Before You Go
You’ll need a vehicle to visit these towns, so if you don’t have one of your own, head to the Grande Prairie Airport where you can rent a car from National Car Rental. For maximum memory-making potential, we also highly recommend staying in the County of Grande Prairie‘s Pipestone Creek Campground, so if you do, camping gear is a must-have. Be sure to bring comfortable shoes and sun protection – and don’t forget to clear some space on your phone for those perfect family pictures!
At a glance: A walk through natural history, local food and drink, and enjoying the great outdoors all packed into one day.
After you’ve picked up a tasty breakfast & morning coffee in Grande Prairie, head west on Highway 43 and you’ll arrive in Wembley in just a few minutes. For those of you with young kids, there’s hardly anything more exciting for them than coming face to face with a dinosaur – so you’ll definitely want to stop at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, an international palaeontology destination with plenty of bones and illustrations to get imaginations going. You can even book a Pipestone Creek Bonebed tour that will take you through a fossil bed where you might even find one for yourself!
Take a break at the museum and get a dino-sized lunch at Café on 43, the fully-licensed onsite restaurant. Depending on the time of day, from here you have a few options. If there are no kids with you, or they’re old enough to take part, head out “fore” a round of golf at nearby Pipestone Golf Club, taking in the sunny skies of the foothills to finish off the afternoon. If you’re more of a nature lover, go north to Saskatoon Island Provincial Park, a 297-acre bird sanctuary with plenty of walking trails and berry picking. If you like water sports, it’s an excellent place to canoe, too!
If you’re still staying in Grande Prairie, this is a good opportunity to head back and find dinner at one of the local eateries. But if you’re camping down at Pipestone Creek, we suggest setting up your gear and cooking some burgers and hot dogs over a crackling campfire while the sun goes down. Do some stargazing, enjoy the rich pine forest, and get a great night’s sleep!
At a glance: Race cars, orchards, and history, all wrapped up in small-town charm.
If you’re heading out from Grande Prairie again, you’ll be glad to know the drive is still fairly short – no long road trips necessary. Wherever you spent the night, pack up as necessary and make your way back to Highway 43 heading west towards the towns of Beaverlodge and Hythe. Stop for breakfast or lunch at Soups for a kid-friendly, nutritious meal that locals rave about.
In the summer, many weekends hold drag races for the North Peace Bracket Racing Association in Beaverlodge. A little bit further on in Hythe, The Hythe Motor Speedway also puts on car races throughout the summer. Check the schedules online, and make your way there for some pedal-to-the-metal action until a winner is crowned.
If racing isn’t your scene, no worries – the Broken Tine Orchard, southwest of Beaverlodge, is a fourth-generation cottage winery that’s well-known in the area. Using haskap berries and honey from their own hives, they make wines that are absolutely worth the trip. After this (or instead of it), immerse yourself in some local history by heading back toward town and stopping in at the McNaught Homestead Preservation Society, which maintains the former home of seminal Alberta artist Euphemia McNaught. Get inspired there with the same landscapes that inspired her a hundred years ago, and finish off with a walk around the lake’s boardwalk.
After that, it’s up to you! You can head back home, or down to the Pipestone Creek Campground for another night, after enjoying a filling meal at one of Grande Prairie’s numerous restaurants. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with grilling up something of your own over the fire again – because those are the memories that last long after the trip is over.
Whichever you choose from the options above, we know you’ll have a great experience seeing what the region west of Grande Prairie has to offer for the whole family along the way!