From cowboy hats to camping, to living the lake life, we were very fortunate to have the opportunity to experience the diversity of what Calgary has to offer, set against the picture-perfect backdrop of the Alberta countryside. Whether you’re interested in seeing a one-of-a-kind event, taking a trip down memory lane or living the lake life, there’s something here for everyone and my only hope is that you fall in love with the Canadian Badlands as much as I did.

Strathmore Stampede strathmore-stampede-grandstand

If you want to experience quintessential Calgary, then a trip to the Strathmore Stampede should be on your list. The Strathmore Stampede has been around since 1966 and runs annually on August long weekend and is home to the CPRA Pro Rodeo, World Professional Chuck wagon races and their signature Running with the Bulls event – an adaptation of the infamous Pamplona event in Spain. Watching this one-of-a-kind event was the highlight of the Stampede for me. Combine that, with the amusement rides from the midway, getting some of my Christmas shopping done (in the middle of summer!) at the tradeshow, mini-doughnuts (of course!) and the rodeo made this pretty much the best day ever!

Camping at Spruce Bay Summer Resort  

spruce-bay-summer-resort-dock

Our next adventure took us on a “tent” down memory lane. I haven’t been camping since I was a kid, and Spruce Bay Summer Resort located on Pine Lake in Alberta, made it seem like not has much changed since then, in the best way possible. From sitting by the campfire to swimming in the lake, this resort is where to go to relive your childhood summers and make new memories with your family. My only regrets (I had two) were not taking advantage of the paddle boats available for rent, and not sipping my coffee, legs dangling from the dock, enjoying the stillness of the lake while the sun came up – is there a better way to start your day or appreciate life? I don’t think so, but I did get to live the lake life with my next adventure so don’t feel too bad for me.

Lake Newell 

lake-newell-sail-boat

A true hidden gem, nestled in the Canadian Badlands, Lake Newell is the perfect getaway to enjoy summer lake life without having to travel too far. Located two hours south of Calgary, the clear warm waters are perfect for sailing, swimming, snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, motorized water sports and more. Lake Newell has a substantial amount of wind allowing for some amazing sailing which I had the opportunity to experience firsthand. With the wind whipping my face, and water skimming my toes, I was reminded of summers past at our cottage in Nova Scotia. I have to say I wasn’t expecting to find myself homesick at a lake in southern Alberta, but I guess that’s why it’s considered one of southern Alberta’s best kept secrets!

Our trip through the Canadian Badlands allowed us the opportunity to experience the best that Alberta has to offer (in my opinion) from the Strathmore Stampeded (Yee-haw!), to camping at Spruce Bay Summer Resort and living the lake life at Lake Newell, my sister and I made summer memories that will last a lifetime – the best adventures always do!

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