Break out the camp stoves and hibachis, the snow is starting to melt and the camping season is in sight.
Albertans are tough. We endure long and cold winters only to enjoy the heck out of our summers and Red Deer, Alberta is one of the best locations in the province to do it. Red Deer offers plenty of natural escapes for camping, some within the comfort of city limits and others deep in the backcountry bush.
So If you’re keen on camping, Red Deer, Alberta is the place to do it. And to spend a truly memorable time camped out under the stars in the Canadian prairies, check out some of these great camp sites:
Camping in Red Deer, Alberta
Located on the banks of the Red Deer River, Trenville Park offers a family oriented camping experience just 45 minutes north-east of Elnora or just an hour outside of Red Deer. There are over 60 different campsites to choose from some of which are secluded tree sites.
Pets are welcome at Trenville Park, so bring Fido along. There’s coin operated showers and flush toilets as well. If you like to paddle, canoes are also welcome at the camp grounds, and if you like to fish there’s opportunity for that as well (with a licence of course).
Trenville Park also has horse pits to help keep you, your friends, and family entertained and it’s also wheelchair accessible. Sites can be booked in advanced.
Get a taste of Alberta’s badlands at Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park. Located about 103 KM southeast of Red Deer, this provincial park also sits on the banks of the Red Deer River and offers some of the most vivid badlands topography.
Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park gets its name from a large plateau in the middle of the protected area that rises 200m above the Red Deer River and is still home to virgin prairie grasses.
The park is home to an ancient buffalo jump where the Cree peoples used to drive large herds of Bison off cliffs to provide for their tribes. The park is also home to one of the most important Albertosaurus bone beds. Get out and explore!
Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park has two maintained campgrounds, Tolman East and Tolman West – both are remarkable and worthwhile. There are both canoe and kayak launches for your summertime pleasure. Make sure to bring your binoculars as this area is great for birdwatching. Keep your eyes peeled for Golden Eagles, Mountain Bluebirds, and Great Blue Herons and of course, there’s also fishing (with license) as well.
If the great outdoors is a little too intimidating for you – there’s another option. Red Deer Lions Campground offers the beauty of a park with the convenience of a city. Located in the heart of Red Deer, Lions Campground straddles the Red Deer River which provides the perfect backdrop for any type of camper.
Open from the beginning of May until the end of Septemeber, Red Deer Lions Campground is the perfect location, keeping one foot in the city and one foot in nature. Explore the expansive system of trails and experience the outdoors at your own pace, taking in the beauty of the natural landscape.
If pitching a tent doesn’t sound all that appealing, there are other options for camping in the Red Deer Area. Summerland Leisure Park, which is located a stone’s throw away Gull Lake, is about 20 mins north of Red Deer. The leisure park offers space for those looking to do a little RVing. The leisure park offers RV stalls that are 60 ft. long and 45 ft. wide and each spot has a fire pit and picnic table.
Summerland Leisure Park brings comfort camping in Red Deer to a whole new level. The park offers both shower and laundry facilities as well as a children’s playground to help keep the little ones happy. The site also offers free WIFI for it’s guests so you can stay connected even when ‘roughing it’.
Launch your boat or spend the afternoon at the beach, Summerland Leisure Park is just 2 KM from Aspen Beach. They also have a clubhouse, patio and a licensed concessions stand to help keep the fun going the entire time. Spend some time with the family at their 18 hole mini golf course. One of the largest in Central Alberta, Summerland Leisure Park’s mini golf course will be a challenge for both the kids and adults. The course is a par 41 spanning almost 600 ft. in total yardage. For those that want to practice their long game, there’s also a driving range on site that reaches 375 yards and includes 20 stalls with matted and natural grass. You’ll want to practice your swing if you’re headed out to one of the many other golf course in the area.
Things To Do While Camping in Red Deer
Spending time sitting around the campfire with your family is a great chance to catch up and make some memories, but you need something to do during the day. Aside for great camping site, Red Deer has plenty of opportunities to get outside and do something. Whether it’s hiking, bike trails, or just spending some time by the lake, Red Deer is able to accommodate all sorts of skill levels and speeds.
Step out and explore the nature and history of Waskasoo Park. There’s over 85 KM of hiking trails to try which follow either the Red Deer River or the Piper and Waskasoo Creeks – there’s plenty to get up to. The Kerry Wood Nature Centre offers a wonderfully engaging nature educational program. They offer wonderful special events to help get the kids engaged in the natural world as well as guided natural history tours.
There’s also the Gaetz Lake Sanctuary to check out at Waskasoo Park. The area, which has been protected by the federal government since 1924 as a migratory bird sanctuary, offers over 300 acres of protected lands to explore and take in. Plants, animals, birds, and other wildlife are protected but there’s over 5 KM of trails to explore with bird blinds and viewing decks to introduce to the natural habitat.
Before the railways connected Alberta’s two major cities, Calgary and Edmonton, the Red Deer River crossing was the gateway between the north and south of Alberta. Built in 1884, Fort Normandeau offered travellers a place to not only rest their heads, grab a hot meal, and some supplies but also the safest crossing. Today, the historical fort stands as a monument to Albertan history and gives us a chance to peek into past. Fort Normandeau offers both indoor and outdoor exhibits and throughout the summer, history is brought to life with authentic, entertaining and informative live programs. Take in a little piece of Red Deer’s history and visit Waskasoo Park.
Red Lodge Provincial Park not only offers spectacular camping in the Red Deer area but it also offers a ton of daytime activities to get up to. Pack a picnic lunch and follow the hiking trail along the river. There are several park benches to take a rest and enjoy your lunch. Mountain bikers will also be pleased to learn that there are also a number of trails in the area to enjoy.
Cast a line and try your luck with the fish. There’s also fishing at Red Lodge Provincial Park, with a license of course. Anglers will expect to find brown trout, brook trout and whitefish.
The Red Lodge Provincial Park also offers a rather unique experience with their Discovery Pack program.These nature themed backpacks include everything a family might need for a day or night adventure in the wild. The program offers 3 different backpacks to choose from. The Insect Safari bags lends itself to the little explorers. The park is crawling with interesting and new insects, can you find them?
There’s also the birdwatching backpack which offers explorers a chance to see some of the wildlife this provincial park has to offer. And the Astronomer’s pack offers campers all the tools they’ll need to explore the night’s sky. Packs can be rented from the park office for a nominal fee that goes to keep Alberta’s Parks beautiful.
Sometimes planning your own hike can be a little intimidating. Where do you go, what should we expect to see, what if we get lost? There’s a lot of “what ifs” you have to worry about when stepping into nature – that’s where Pursuit Adventures comes into play. They do all that for you.
Pursuit Adventures is an outdoor tripping company that offers both planned excursion in the summer and adventures in the winter. Explore Central Alberta with their small group or family adventures. Learn the human and natural history of the David Thompson Corridor on some of the their guided hikes or learn more about the Red Deer region on one of their sightseeing tours.
Explore the West Country and it’s canyons, waterfalls and breathtaking landscape on one of Pursuit Adventures day hiking trips. The trails are a moderate skill level including day trips to Coral Creek, Survey Hill, and Coliseum Mountain. There’s no previous hiking experience required, so even the most shy will have a great time on one these trips. Lunch is also included so there’s no need to worry about what to eat.
Pursuit Adventures is a great way to get outside and see the natural beauty Central Alberta has to offer without all the hassle of planning, researching and packing.
Camping Supplies in Red Deer
Now that you’ve made all the arrangements for a camp site, you’ve called your friends and family, and you’ve found the great activities to help fill your time – it’s time kit up and make sure you have all the camping gear you’ll need to make the most out of this summer’s excursions! From tents to fishing poles to hiking shoes and all those great little camping gadgets, Red Deer has the retailers to accommodate any request.
Whether you’re looking to go deep in the backcountry or just want to get away for the weekend and do some car camping in Red Deer Vallhalla Pure Outfitters is the area’s go-to camping shop.
Both the seasoned camper and the novice rookie can find the gear they’re looking for here. Everything from the tents you need to stay warm and safe from the elements to all the fancy gadgets that make life at the campsite or on the trail all that much easier.
Go Camping in Red Deer
If you’re looking do some camping this summer Red Deer, Alberta is the place to do it. The luxury of RVing can be accommodated, the rugged outdoors are there for you to explore, even a mixture of the two can be found in Red Deer. Summer was made for camping and as Albertans, we are made for summer.
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