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10 Jaw-Droppingly Beautiful Places In Alberta To Add To Your Bucket List That Aren't Banff

There’s SO much more to Alberta than just oil and the prairies!

You've heard of Banff, but there are countless amazing places in Alberta. Whether you want to watch waves break on a sandy beach, hunt out the northern lights, walk on the edge of an ancient glacier, or climb a hoodoo or two, pack your bags because Alberta's the place you want to be.

Classic Alberta scene. Hay bales and mountains. Near Longview.
Imaginegolf / Getty Images

Check out these 10 stunning vistas, from north to south and mountain to prairie:

1. Columbia Icefield & Athabasca Glacier

Tourist buses crossing the Athabasca Glacier on the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Tim Graham / Getty Images

This is North America’s most-visited glacier for a reason. It's also the largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies. Get a ride up the glacier on a tour bus, and walk on the ice!

2. Cold Lake Provincial Park

Rocky Beach Sunset in Cold Lake Alberta Canada
Stephanehachey / Getty Images

This provincial park is named after a lake, and the lake is (shockingly) very cold. Come enjoy the sandy beach and a private campsite nestled in the forest. If you have ice in your veins, go for a swim! With more than 200 bird species, Cold Lake is also the perfect place for bird-watchers to visit.

3. Grande Prairie Canola Fields

An old barn in a field of canola, on the edge of a rural road, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Albena Peshterska / Getty Images/500px Prime

“The rolling hills completely covered with yellow flowers are breathtaking.” —My mom. She recommends late July to see the fields in their gorgeous full bloom!

4. Waterton Lakes National Park

View from Bear's Hump over the hamlet Waterton Park, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canadian Rockies, Canada.
Arterra / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Just look at that view from the Bear’s Hump! Home to legendary hiking and the charming hamlet of Waterton, this national park in Southern Alberta is sure to impress. Grab a coffee and a vegetarian treat at the highly recommended Windflower Ave. Corner Coffee!

5. Jasper National Park

Sunwapta Falls, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Daniel Viñé Garcia / Getty Images

Enjoy a luxury mountain stay at Jasper Park Lodge, or find plenty of campgrounds with similarly stellar views. This spectacular national park is a jewel of the Rockies, but it doesn’t have quite the swarms of tourists commonly found in Banff. 

6. Maligne Lake

A cruise boat as it sails past Spirit Island in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Yuin Lu Hoo / Getty Images

Located in Jasper National Park is Maligne Lake. This lake is actually the largest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies, so rent a canoe, and take a paddle across this wonder. Or if you tend to rock the boat, book a lake cruise instead!

7. Edmonton River Valley

Autumn city skyline, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Corey Hochachka / Getty Images/Design Pics RF

This is another great option for a classic Canadian canoe cruise. Edmonton’s river valley is North America’s largest urban park. It's actually 22 times the size of Central Park in New York! Paddle down the North Saskatchewan River, or use the 160 kilometres of trails and several pedestrian bridges to traverse through the park.

8. Wood Buffalo National Park

The aurora borealis streaking overhead at Grosbeak Lake, Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta, Canada
Nick Fitzhardinge / Getty Images

Wood Buffalo straddles the Alberta-Northwest Territories border, and (fun fact!) it's larger than the entire country of Switzerland. It's actually Canada's largest national park, spanning 44,741 square kilometres. This national park is home to the largest dark-sky preserve in the world, so be sure to visit Aurora Watch, and check if the northern lights will be out!

9. Kananaskis Country

Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes, as seen from Mount Roberta. Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Marko Stavric Photography / Getty Images

This area includes mountains, lakes, forests, foothills, and multiple incredible provincial parks. Less than an hour's drive from Calgary, you’ll be hiking the peaks and valleys in no time. 

10. Dinosaur Provincial Park

Hoodoos at sunset, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada.
John Elk Iii / Getty Images

Hunt for dinosaur bones and climb hoodoos in one of Canada’s most unique landscapes (just watch out for rattlesnakes and black widows). The Royal Tyrrell Museum is a must-see for any dinosaur enthusiast! 

Now you have 10 good reasons to visit Alberta. Have a special place you think belongs on this list? Drop it for us in the comments!

This summer, BuzzFeed Canada is taking you on a virtual trip from coast to coast. Check out how BuzzFeed is highlighting different provinces and territories while bringing you more Canada content!

An Alberta coast to coast banner
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