If you only come to Calgary to see the stampede, you are missing out on a lot of other attractions the area near Calgary has to offer. Whether you choose to explore the area to the east of Calgary, or to the west, you will see some amazing, unforgettable scenery.

Every year, millions of people come to visit Calgary, Alberta to see its attractions, such as the famous Calgary Stampede that takes place in July. If you only visit Calgary to see the Stampede, you are missing out on the many other pleasures and surprises this area has to offer. The ideal way to visit Calgary is to use it as a base for exploring the rest of southern Alberta. This area is a nature-lover’s dream. You will be sure to find something here that will appeal to every member of your family.

If you have any young paleontologists in the family, they will really enjoy a trip to the town of Drumheller, located 90 miles northeast of Calgary. Drumheller is home of the famous Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology. At the museum, you can easily spend several fascinating hours gazing in awe at the life-sized replicas of ancient dinosaur skeletons including duckbills and of course, Tyrannosaurus Rex. Later, you can explore the surrounding Alberta badlands with your family. Who knows, you may be lucky enough to uncover some dinosaur fossils as you walk through these hills! History buffs interested in a more recent period will enjoy touring the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site located near Drumheller.

If you want to explore the area west of Calgary by car, you will see the flat plains gradually give way to forested foot-hills and then the tall, ice-covered peaks of the Rocky Mountains. This area offers many opportunities for visitors to engage in hiking, fishing, camping, golfing, snow-boarding and skiing.

The gateway to the west is a large area covering 4,000 square kilometers known as Kananaskis Country. This is a great place for nature lovers who enjoy the out-of-doors lifestyle. Whether you come in summer or winter, you can find plenty to do, including hiking, camping, ballooning, white-water rafting and skiing. It is an area of spectacular natural beauty that needs to be seen to be appreciated.

Even further west is the town of Banff, located within the world-famous Banff National Park. You can drive from Calgary to Banff, a distance of approximately 90 miles, in less than two hours. The change from big-city to mountain paradise is astounding.  Once there, you can take part in many seasonal outdoor activities, such as horseback riding and hiking in summer, and skiing and snow-boarding in winter. If you prefer, you can simply sit in a restaurant or café and enjoy the stunning mountain scenery all around you. You might even see some wildlife up close, such as elk, moose, and black bears. The Bow River that starts in the glaciers of the Rocky Mountains and flows through Banff and Calgary is known as one of the top trout-fishing rivers in the world.

Getting to Calgary is quite easy. Calgary has a large, international airport, and it is easily accessible by plane from any major city in Canada or the United States. If you are coming by car, it is serviced by excellent highways that connect it with other major centers. Once there, you will find accommodations and dining to suit every budget. Be sure to spend a few days exploring the area surrounding Calgary; it will be a trip you will never forget.