7 Things to See and Do in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is associated with miles of endless fields, an incredible collection of lakes in the North and just happens to be the sunniest province in the country. It is here where you can experience vibrant cities, uncrowded parks, abundant wildlife, incredible outdoor adventures and a plethora of museums and galleries. From stunning hiking trails that wind their way through forests and around lakes to the largest RCMP heritage centre in Canada to miles of clear rivers and lakes to canoe, it is easy to spend weeks exploring this province. The list could go on and on but for now here are 7 things to see and do in the province of Saskatchewan.

7. Visit Prince Albert National Park

It was the home of First Nations people for thousands of years and is a stunning landscape of spruce bogs, large lakes and aspen uplands. Whether you are a serious adventurer looking for an overnight experience or a daytripper, this park offers something for everyone. One of the classic Canadian adventures you can have here is the Bagwa Paddling Route, an overnight canoe or kayak loop that covers multiple backcountry lakes with portages between.

This experience covers the parks diverse terrain without requiring an extensively long time commitment. For daytrippers, there are plenty of short hikes and day trails that are accessible from the road. Keep your eyes peeled for plenty of wildlife including bison, white pelicans, moose, world, bears, caribou, eagles, elk and more.

6. See the Sandcastles at Beechy

They were first discovered in the early 1990’s, these towering sandcastles that look as though a million or so kids were involved in the biggest sandcastle building competition in the world. They sit on the banks of Lake Diefenbaker, easily accessible from the town of Beechy.

Feel free to climb around these magnificent structures where Prairie Falcons nest and Bull Snakes can be found. Along with these unique formations, visitors will find a sunken hill- where one side of a grassy hill just seems to slide away, as well as Magnesium Sulphate Lake.

Via canadiannaturephotographer.com

5. Fort Walsh National Historic Site

In 1875 this site was established, intended to stop the illegal whiskey trade and became one of the most important posts in the West. Visitors to this site can step back in time and discover what life was like on a working fort in the time of rotgut whiskey runners. Here you will meet costumed characters who tell true stories of the days when rifle shots and canons were fired at the fort.

Hike the 400m trail through the Cypress Hill forest along Battle Creek, visit the trading post and test your bartering skills, pack a picnic to enjoy or visit the visitor’s centre for a fantastic panoramic view of the Cypress Hills from the patio area. Kids will love becoming an official Parks Canada Xplorer and there are plenty of fun activities and cool souvenirs for them at this historic site.

4. Visit the RCMP Heritage Centre

A truly Canadian experience awaits visitors to the RCMP Heritage Centre, the largest of its kind in Canada. The centre is breathtakingly beautiful, designed with stone, glass and concrete and houses state of the art exhibits, multimedia technologies, and engaging programs. The centre tells the story of the RCMP to the world, through numerous tours and engaging activities. Equipment, weapons, photographs and more are on site for visitors to discover.

Visitors won’t want to miss Sgt Major’s Parade where the drill staff put cadets through their paces. The parade includes a roll call and inspection of the troops, accompanied by the cadet band. If you visit in the summer expect to be treated to the outdoor theatre on horseback, driving tours and more.

Via YouTube

3. Canoe the Clearwater River

The legendary Clearwater River has it all- unspoiled wilderness, inviting campsites, excellent fishing, thrilling white-water and awe-inspiring scenery. Paddling the Clearwater means following the footsteps of incredible historic northern explorers and voyagers. If you want to paddle the entire river it takes about two weeks, although most canoeists tend to focus on one section- in particular the 105km section from the Clearwater’s confluence with the Virgin River to Contact Rapids, which takes about a week.

Expect one stunning scene after another with waterfalls, rapids, cliff-lined canyons and rock gardens. The campsite that overlooks Smoothrock Falls may just be the best wilderness camping you have ever done, or at least that is what you think until you arrive at Skull Canyon. Whether you are a professional paddler setting out on your own, or you join a guided canoe trip, this is one thing to put on your Saskatchewan bucket list.

Via Canadian Heritage Rivers System

2. Head to Regina

It is the capital city and deserves a visit, seeing as its home to a 100-year old symphony, some lively sports fans, fascinating museums, events and more. If you happen to visit here during the CFL season, it is essential to get to a Roughriders game where you can join thousands of fans eat, drink and cheer their favorite team on, just be sure to bundle up! Journey through the history of the province at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, where geology and natural history take precedence.

If art is more your thing head to the Mackenzie Art Gallery where free admission offers you access to outstanding local and international artists. Free public tours for people of all ages make this an awesome experience. Or spend the day wandering the downtown streets in search of unique shops, awesome restaurants, spas and more.

1. Go Underground in the Tunnels of Moose Jaw

This year-round attraction entertains guests from all over the world with its unique productions of Canadian history. Visitors will head under the streets of downtown Moose Jaw for two guided theatrical tours. The Chicago Connection Tour lets you relive the days of Al Capone, as a bootlegger in 1929. Start out at Miss Fanny’s club, wind your way up and down seven sets of stairs and through tunnels, with surprises along the way.

The Passage to Fortune Tour lets visitors experience first hand the hardships of early Chinese immigrants as you follow their path through Burrows and Sons Laundry into the kitchen of Mr. Wong’s café. This is an excellent, informative and realistic look at a small piece of history.

Via YouTube

10 Reasons To Road Trip Across Western Canada This Summer

Few things are more essential in the summer than rolled down windows, wind blown hair, long hot days, and the radio blasting in a car filled with friends. All the key ingredients for a summer roadtrip. Western Canada is a land of plenty; from jagged mountain tops and glacier fed waters, to gastronomic hubs and music festivals, time spent here eating, partying, hiking, and sightseeing will be a highlight.  So gather up your best buds, load up the car and hit the road for places that will ensure you have the time of your lives!

10. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Calgary

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump: a historical site south of Calgary that offers you a glimpse into the lives of the indigenous people who helped shape Alberta’s heritage. This World Heritage Site gives you the chance to experience aboriginal culture at what is one of the best preserved buffalo jumps in the world; camp in a tipi, learn how to make drums and moccasins and explore the rich history and heritage on display at the interpretive museum.  Walk in their footsteps through the wind-blown prairie landscape and along the perilous cliff edges; here you can begin to understand an important part of Canada’s history.

Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock.com
Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock.com

9. Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Moose Jaw is a city that will throw you for a loop in the most wonderful of ways. People who visit always leave surprised,  in awe of this small, unassuming, prairie town. Those who grew up near here will know Moose Jaw is famous for its tunnels and an underground maze rich in history with interactive adventure. Yet Moose Jaw has much more to offer its guests. The Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort is a world famous resort built over geothermal springs; come with your family, friends, yourself or significant other and enjoy a weekend filled with pampering and relaxation. Or, spend time wandering around the many shops and cafés on Moose Jaw’s historic Main Street!  Moose Jaw is much more than a drive-through town; come explore, wander and enjoy this humble and intriguing town in central Saskatchewan.

Moose Jaw

8. Drumheller, Alberta

When you are in Western Canada, you don’t have to go to the movies to walk among the dinosaurs; the Dinosaur National Park in Drumheller is home to some of the world’s oldest, most important, dinosaur excavations. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its fossil discoveries, it’s hard not to be taken back 75 million years ago to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. And if you tire of the museum and the dinosaurs, the Red Deer River cuts right through the city of Drumheller and the badlands, lending to some amazing scenery and outdoor exploration possibilities. After that, be sure to follow the well-marked trail to discover the rich coal-mining history found here; climb the last wooden tipple in Canada, cross the suspension bridge in Rosedale and see the odd-yet-fascinating hoodoos that are said to watch over the people and protect the land.

Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com
Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com

7. Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta & Northwest Territories

Places like Banff and Jasper are national landmarks, and for good reason; the beauty and sheer magnitude of the Rocky Mountains are bound to knock your breath away. But, straddling the border with the Northwest Territories, Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park in Canada, the second largest in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Incredibly, this park is the world’s largest dark-sky preserve, meaning there will never be a better spot to stargaze and witness the amazing Northern lights. This park isn’t completely isolated from civilization either; Fort Smith is a heritage town that plays host to many tourists who come for music festivals, history and world-class rapids. Wood Buffalo National Park is a wilderness and heritage experience found nowhere else in the world- come for the week and stay for the summer.

Wood Buffalo National Park

6. Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta & Saskatchewan

Straddling the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan, this unique and adventure-filled park truly is home to the land of the living skies. Spend the night camping under the stars, hike or bike the over 50km of trails, or just kick back and relax at the beach on Elkwater Lake. Ideal for birdwatchers and animal enthusiasts, this park has more than 220 species of birds and a plethora of other flora and fauna that call this vast ecosystem home. And since this park is the highest spot in the country next to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, it is sure to offer stunning views and unparalleled photo opportunities. Whatever’s on your summer must-do list –adventure, relaxation, introspection- this park, high in the prairies, has it all.

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

5. Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

Named one of the top 10 islands to visit in 2014 by Travel & Leisure, Vancouver Island is a Canadian icon. But Salt Spring Island, the best known of British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, is itself a paradise, and deserves not to be missed. People here have opted to slow down and really enjoy all of life’s pleasures. A mild climate means that the rich nature and outdoor activities can be enjoyed year round; hiking and golfing are popular here. This community is also invested in the culinary and arts scene; local produce, world-class accommodations and a variety of music and artisan craft stores have people invested in this easygoing island life.   

Salt Spring Island, BC

4. Penticton, British Columbia

Wine and festivals, outdoor adventure, arts and entertainment, romance, Penticton has it all. It is a place for couples, families, thrill-seekers and even food-enthusiasts. It sits in the Okanagan Valley, south of British Columbia on the shores of beautiful Skaha Lake. Due to its location, surrounded by lakes and highlands, Penticton has always been a draw for adventurists; with boating, rock climbing, and wind-surfing as some of the popular summer activities. But this city is also known for its arts scene, and with a focus on increasing its urban appeal with high class restaurants and events, more and more tourists will be flocking to the many symphonies, concerts, galleries and museums that make Penticton a city for everyone.

steve estvanik / Shutterstock.com
steve estvanik / Shutterstock.com

3. Edmonton, Alberta

Edmonton is often overshadowed by its neighbor to the south, Calgary. But it is emerging and becoming an international destination in its own right; in fact, National Geographic just listed it as one of 10 destinations to visit this summer. A gastronomic food scene, concentrating on local, farm-to-table cuisine, has Edmontonian foodies raving. Restaurants like the Three Boars Eatery and Meat offer locally inspired menus and craft beers, and places like DaDeO and Langano Skies take it’s guests on a culinary adventure from New Orleans to Ethiopia and everywhere in between. Also, Edmonton is world renowned for it’s many festivals and events held during the summer months; events like Folk Fest and K-Days bring in international tourists. Edmonton is buzzing right now, and you cannot help but be swept up in all of the excitement.

Edmonton

2. Kananaskis Country, Alberta

A horseback ride at sunrise followed by a canoe ride down the river and a campfire in the valley is a quintessentially perfect day in Kananaskis Country. This is cowboy country; where wild horses roam free and the stars shine bright.  A vast country spanning over 4000 square kilometers, this wonderland is only 45 minutes west of Calgary. Home to some of the country’s most prestigious golf courses, towering mountains, winding canyons and sprawling lakes, Kananaskis Country is a mecca for outdoor lovers and the perfect escape from city life. And if you can tear yourself away from the countryside, Canmore has plenty of local restaurants and craft shops; a perfect end to a satisfying day out on the trails.

Kananaskis Country, Alberta

1. Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

Waterton Lakes National Park is the unspoilt, dramatic park located in the southwest corner of Alberta that is all at once a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an International Peace Park, a Biosphere Reserve and a place that is magically free of crowds.  As the smallest of the Canadian Rocky Mountain parks, this is a place where the prairies reach up to touch the mountains and the animals and humans roam together as one. If golfing is your thing, be sure to take a swing at the Waterton Lakes Golf Course; if you would rather, grab a kayak and swim in the crystal clear (but cold!) Cameron Lake. This is a place where the landscape is inspiring, the people are welcoming, and the adventure is plentiful – just be prepared to have this National Park steal your heart and keep you coming back year after year.

Waterton National Lakes Park, Alberta