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The Grande Plan: Road Trip to the Peace

 

Buckle up for a road-trip to the Mighty Peace. Offering a range of outdoor activities – from camping and river kayaking, to day hiking and horse trekking – the riverside region just north-east of Grande Prairie has plenty to keep the active ones in your group happy. For those looking to merely relax with a book or a cup of coffee in hand, you’ll find an abundance of “Peace” and quiet tucked away in the area’s campgrounds, cabins, and day areas. This plan is completely customizable to a variety of tastes and interests, but one thing remains the same: you won’t regret spending either a day or a long weekend exploring the beautiful Peace River region.

Dunvegan Bridge - road trip

Length: 1-3 Days

Know Before You Go:

As this itinerary does require driving out of the city, you will need to have access to a vehicle. National Car Rental conveniently offers rental vehicles at their airport location if you are without your own. Also note that if you are planning to do the 2 or 3 day option, its best to book your accommodations in advance. Peace River Cabins offer cozy, full-service lodging as well as unique teepee and wall-tent style camping options. For a different riverside option, check out Dunvegan Campground, available for camping reservations throughout the summer. Both will ensure maximum time in the outdoors to stargaze, laugh with loved ones around a campfire, and watch for those elusive northern Alberta fireflies.

For this style of trip, you will want to check the weather ahead of time but pack for all of the elements. Carrying a good supply of bug spray and sunscreen is also advised, as well as comfortable, versatile clothing and shoes. We also recommend packing a few meal options in a cooler (and snacks for the road-trip of course!), as sit-down restaurants may not always be in close proximity.

Itinerary:
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At a glance: Slowly make your way north towards Historic Dunvegan for a pleasant afternoon spent along the river – or on horseback!

On your way north out of the city, consider picking up a to-go lunch inspired by “Grandma’s kitchen” at Sexsmith café, Cowbellas. With lunch secured, continue on Highway 2 until you reach Historic Dunvegan, marked by the iconic Dunvegan Bridge that crosses the Peace River ­– you can’t miss it! Stop for a cool photo opp and a picnic lunch along the river’s shore.

From here, choose to spend the rest of the afternoon in the park and picking strawberries at the park’s Market Gardens, or carry on to Horse Trekking Adventures where you can experience the Peace Country via horseback – be sure to book this tour in advance.

Finally, after a long day’s drive and a healthy dose of fresh air, there’s no better place to rest your head than your pillow. Whether you’re tent camping, snuggling up in a cozy cabin, or heading back to the city where your trip is complete, you’re sure to sleep soundly.
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A picture containing food, drawing Description automatically generatedAt a glance: Hit the water, take a trip into town, or sail across the river on a tugboat ferry – the options are yours.

Rise and shine! Another adventure-filled day awaits. First, make your way to Peace River Cabins by turning off of Highway 2 just before Grimshaw if you aren’t there already. The cabin business offers more than just accommodation – you might consider testing out your paddling skills by booking a guided or self-guided kayak tour of the Peace River.

If solid ground sounds more appealing, opt for visiting another local fruit and vegetable farm nearby: Bridgeview Gardens. Snack on your “u-pick” strawberries while you continue your drive along the Shaftesbury Trail into the town of Peace River itself. Once there, we recommend you check out the 12 Foot Davis statue – a famous fur trader who struck it rich during the Cariboo Gold Rush – and take in the tranquil waterfront view before having dinner in one of the town’s many restaurants.

Lastly, a trip to the Peace isn’t complete without a ride across the river itself, courtesy of the area’s tugboat ferry service! The Shaftesbury Ferry consistently transports both vehicles and foot passengers across the river from spring through fall, and is free to ride. Once on the other side, simply walk the short distance up into Tangent Park, another local campground that provides an ideal place to spend an afternoon thanks to its playgrounds, baseball diamond, and abundant grassy areas.

If your trip ends here, make the drive back to the city. If you are ready for day 3, enjoy another “peace”ful night’s rest at your preferred accommodation.
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A picture containing food Description automatically generatedAt a glance: Make your way back to the city, but not before getting a taste of the local honey, a wholesome lunch stop, and a walk through history.

Spend your morning packing your belongings to start the 1-2 hour drive back to Grande Prairie, but fear not – your road-trip activities don’t end just yet. We’ve included a few optional stops along the way to break up the drive! First up: a local honey farm and quick snack stop at family-owned Paradis Valley Honey in Watino. The 7th-generation apiary recently opened a warm, welcoming café featuring treats, coffee and other beverages, plus a viewing window into the honey extraction facility.

From here, continue on Highway 49 until you turn off onto Highway 733 near Wanham. You’ll soon arrive in Bezanson, another one of our region’s very tiny towns – but don’t judge simply by its size. You might be surprised to find a savoury, homemade lunch menu waiting for you at local favourite Lefty’s Café. Once you’re stuffed to the brim, you can either sit back and hit the road home, or walk it off at prehistoric Kleksun Hill, just 15 minutes up the highway. Considered Alberta’s northernmost badlands, the area dates back to the age of the dinosaurs, and features diverse prairie vegetation as well as heritage buildings the kids will find worth exploring!

And just like that, your road-trip to the Peace is now complete. We hope you check out our other Grande Plans and continue to get to know the best our region has to offer!

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