There was a time when camping was just camping. You’d grab your older brother’s smelly hiking boots, stuff a tent into a backpack, and be off to find a clearing in the woods.
Things may not be that simple these days but that’s a good thing. It means there’s a type of camping for everyone, which can be found in all corners of Alberta. You just need to know how to get started.
Here are some things to think about when planning your Alberta camping adventure.
The big question
First, ask yourself what kind of camping you’d like to do. If you are a newbie, you might want to start with comfort or equipped camping.
Comfort camping is built for those who love the outdoors with a dash of luxury. Yes, you’re roughing it but you feel better in a tent or a yurt that has already been erected when you arrive, complete with wooden floors, bed frames and mattresses, electric lights and heating.
Equipped camping also makes things a little easier on rookies while keeping you closer to nature. You can rent sites that are ready to go with pitched tents, barbecues and dishes all waiting for you.
Hit the Road or Hike In
If you’re looking for a more do-it-yourself experience, but don’t have the right gear, there are more options. Rent an equipped RV to make for a memorable road-trip camping experience. All over Alberta, you can find RV rental companies offering everything from luxurious, large homes on wheels to modestly sized trailers or tent-trailers.
If you’re looking for a more rustic experience, try a guided backpacking trip. Or consider booking a bed at a hike-in backcountry lodge, which eliminates the need to carry your own shelter and promises some tried-and-true breathtaking hiking and dining experiences.
Where to Go
Once you’ve decided what kind of camping to pursue, your next big question is where to go. There are dozens of private and public campgrounds all over Alberta catering to all kinds of camping experiences, so do a little research using the links at the bottom of the page. Don’t forget about the off-the-beaten track locations – Alberta has plenty of hidden gems. Remember: Many campgrounds these days require reservations before you set off. Check the resources at the bottom of the page to find sites and how you can book online or call ahead.
What to Do
Beyond the simple joys of sleeping outdoors and cooking over an open fire, you’ll find plenty of nearby activities to enhance your camping experience. Many campgrounds attract beachgoers looking for some summer sun, others are hotspots for boating, fishing, canoeing or kayaking. You can often rent the gear you need. Look for opportunities for guided hiking, horseback riding or palaeontology tours.
And don’t be afraid to venture beyond your campground. Many are well situated for day trips into nearby towns where you can meet the locals and sample the local cuisine.