August 24, 2011 § 5 Comments

stay·ca·tion  noun \ˈstā-ˈkā-shən\ : a vacation spent at home or nearby

Saving money is the song of a staycation. And our anthem since we first filled out the adoption application and gladly gave our first “layaway” payment towards babyzook. Because we already booked a friendcation — an Alaskan cruise for mid-September — we didn’t want to put a dent in our adoption savings by going on a costly summer vacation, but we still wanted to get away this summer for a bit of a sun and some R & R.  So we packed up our suitcases and jumped in the car…

If we hadn’t have been scrimping & saving we may have never taken the time to discover all the great places to visit within Alberta; all within a 4 -5 hour driving radius from our very own driveway!

First stop: Drumheller

Pit stop at Drumheller Visitor Centre to pick up some brochures and bottled water

We skipped the Royal Tyrrell (dinosaur) Museum…we’ll save that one for when we have kids…

Hoodoos: rock formations created from wind & water. Quite amazing to see!

Horse Thief Canyon, Drumheller AB

After a few hours of checking out the Badlands, we were ready to move on. So we headed headed south and found a place to bunk for the night in Calgary. If you’re going to be doing a vacation on the fly like this, some invaluable (but free) iphone apps are:

  • TripAdvisor – for reviews on hotels, things to do, photos and restaurants
  • Expedia – great because it will only show available hotels using your “current location” (good for last minute bookings)
  • Timmy Time – first & foremost you need to know where you can find the closest reliable Canadian cup o joe!
  • Pano – Make scenery look even more scenic with this panoramic app

Olympic Park ski jump in Calgary. North America's fastest zipline at speeds up to 140 km/h and a 100 metre drop!

yippee ki yay!

After a zippy stop-over in Calgary we hit the highway again. Headed south…

There were no vacancies in Waterton Lakes National Park, so we booked one of the last available beds at a Super8 in Pincher Creek (Not so "super")

Early morning hike at Red Canyon, Waterton Lakes National Park

Once we hit Waterton, we were in for a welcome surprise with it's stunning views. This photo was taken using the "Pano" app

Clear but CHILLY water @ the rocky beach right in town, Waterton

Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (Interpretive Centre just outside Fort Macleaod) Very interesting tour.

The Waterton Lakes area was so beautiful that we are already planning on returning next summer, but we will book a hotel or campsite way in advance as apparently there are a lot of other people hoo find it beautiful as well.
We stopped in for some soup & bannock as well as a tour at the Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump before heading home.
What a fulfilling little trip…and all for around a few hundred bucks!

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