16 Things to Do on a Staycation

Our summer vacations will be different this year, but different doesn’t automatically mean worse. Although festivals are cancelled, and typical summer activities such as pools are closed, there are still countless fun things to do during your vacation in Alberta.

Here are 16 ideas to get you started with planning your staycation:

1. Visit local attractions

Some local attractions in Edmonton are now open, including Royal Alberta Museum, Art Gallery of Alberta, University of Alberta Botanic Garden, and Valley Zoo.

There are some restrictions in place, so we recommend planning your visit well in advance.


2. Try geocaching

Geocaching is basically treasure hunting. There are over 4,000 geocaches in Edmonton, ranging from easy to difficult to find. All you need is to download an app, and you can start navigating your way to a geocache.


3. Explore the river valley

Did you know that the trails along the North Saskatchewan river are 160 kilometres long? There are 400 officially named parks and 875 additional green spaces along the way, so it’s easy to spend a day exploring the river valley.


4. Enjoy a picnic

A picnic is one of the summer traditions that you can still enjoy. Pack your favourite picnic foods, a blanket, sunblock, frisbee and other activities, and head over to one of the green spaces such as Rundle Park or Legislature Grounds.


5. Check out playgrounds around the city

Your kids might enjoy visiting a new playground. Have you been to these playgrounds yet?

  • Kinsmen park has multiple play areas including two big slides plus picnic spots and trails
  • Jackie Parker park is massive with several play areas for kids of all ages. There is also a small lake, campfire spots, and pathways
  • William Hawrelak park playground includes little buildings like a general store on top of the usual playgroup equipment
  • Florence Hallock school playground equipment includes a zip line, a climbing structure, and a handful of covered picnic tables
  • Castle Downs playground is one of the largest playgrounds in Edmonton. It features two ship themed climbers, rock climbers, a sand area, and swings
  • Crestwood playground includes a square climber and  a chair zip line that is also suitable for younger children
  • Argyll Community’s nature themed playground features multiple climbing structures, a sand pit, a playhouse, a bike course with small hills suitable for children, plus picnic tables


6. Go for a bike ride

A bike ride can be an excellent way to spend the day outdoors and unwind. You can plan your trip in advance with the help of bicycle maps.


7. Spend a day picking berries

Have you tried berry picking? It’s another fun way to spend time outdoors and show your children how food grows. You can find local farms on this website. Check with the farm if you need to bring your own baskets. Dress appropriately as it can get hot and muddy. You might also want to bring sunscreen and water.


8. Organize a game tournament

For a day at home, you can try to organize a game tournament. Collect all the favourite games around the house, whether it’s lawn, board, or video games, and see who in the family fares the best.


9. Arrange a craft day

Pinterest and other sources have tons of craft ideas for different ages and difficulties. You can create many crafts with items already in your house: try rainbow bubble snakes, bath bombs, or hatching dinosaur eggs.  Dollarama also has a great selection of craft supplies.


10. Set up a home spa

For a more relaxed day, you could set up a spa in your home. Gather up some face masks and mani-pedi supplies. Play calming music and light up candles to set a soothing atmosphere. 


11. Have a water fight

On a hot day, a water fight can be so much fun for the whole family. Collect all the hoses, buckets, and water guns you can find. 


12. Visit Elk Island National Park

If you enjoy outdoors, Elk Island National Park is worth the 35 minute drive. The national park offers picnic spots including fire pits, geocaching and hiking, a playground, and a beach at Astotin Lake. You can also try to spot bison.


13. Go camping

Camping can be a great way to slow down. There are many wonderful campgrounds in Alberta. Some even include fully equipped campsites for those that don’t have all the camping supplies.

If a tent doesn’t appeal to you, there are “oTENTiks” available for rent in Banff, Jasper, and Elk Island. oTENTik is a mix of a tent and an A-frame cabin that comes with beds and other furniture.

If you do have a tent, but aren’t up for the hassle of a camping trip, you could set up the tent in your backyard. 


14. Spend a day at a lake

There are a few lakes close enough to Edmonton for a day trip, including Ma-Me-O beach on Pigeon lake and Aspen beach on Gull lake.


15. Enjoy a meal at a local restaurant

Edmonton has many wonderful locally-owned restaurants and bakeries. Why not enjoy a meal or a coffee and desserts at one of them (or use their delivery service)?


16. Make a trip in Alberta

Between mountains, lakes, prairies, and desert badlands, Alberta has a lot of stunning nature to see. While we can’t explore the world, you could make a trip closer to home and visit Calgary, Drumheller, Sylvan Lake, or the Rocky Mountains.