If you love discovering new spaces and places, an Alberta small-town tour might be in order. We love sharing the lesser-known destinations in our beautiful province. Not only are they filled with character and charm, but they offer such a genuine experience as they aren’t overrun with tourists and tourist attractions. If you want to live like a local, get to know a new place, and uncover as many of Alberta’s hidden gems as possible, we’re here to help. Today, we want to turn your heads to a small Albertan town called Westlock. Located in central Alberta and founded in 1913, Westlock is known for agriculture and offers one of the most Albertan experiences you can get. So, what is there to do in Westlock? Let us tell you.
Westlock Golf Club
Westlock Golf Club is a stunning, 18-hole championship golf course that you definitely need to experience for yourself. The lovely Wabash Creek winds throughout the course, and you better believe it comes into play on half of the 18 holes. Originally a 7-hole course when it opened in 1935, this place has come a long way. Whether you’re looking to play a game, practice on the 125-yard wide and 300-yard long two-tiered grass driving range, or enjoy a drink at the lounge, you’ll love it here. In true Alberta fashion, there’s also an RV Park so you can turn your golf day into a golf vacay.
Long Island Lake
If you love life by the water, this is the place for you. One of the best beaches near Edmonton, Long Island Lake Beach, is an ideal destination for a day in the sun. You can fish, enjoy a variety of water sports, or just kick back and relax with a picnic, a good book, or both. If you want to make a trip of it, you can post up at the campground. You’ll find 36 campsites, a boat launch, the beach, a playground, volleyball, horseshoes, and more. Alberta isn’t known for its lake life, but it really should be. This place might just become your new home away from home.
Tawatinaw Valley Ski Area
Weslock isn’t just a hidden gem in the summer. It's got a whole lot to offer in the winter, too. Just an hour from Edmonton, the hill has a ton of family activities, various ski programs, downhill skiing, cross-country trails, snow tubing, and the legendary Billy Goat Diner for you to grab a bite. If you’re someone who loves to ski, you might as well tour all of the hills in Alberta. Don’t forget to make a stop in Westlock.
Westlock Pioneer Museum
Now, let’s take a journey back in time to the Westlock Pioneer Museum. This captivating and unique collection showcases pioneer life at its finest. You’ll find lamps, guns, sound machines, Hay Dolls, Kewpies, Barbies, and more—a fun and educational experience for folks of all ages. You should definitely pay this place a visit. There are often events to check out if you want more incentive to go, such as pancake breakfasts and holiday events.
Canadian Tractor Museum
Now, let’s not forget we’re in Alberta here. If you want to dive head-first into Albertan culture, you might as well check out a massive collection of tractors and hey, why not listen to some country music on the drive there? You can feast your eyes on tractors from throughout the decades and listen to fascinating commentary on the museum’s artifacts by Collections Manager, Rod McFarlane.
Pembina River Provincial Park
While this isn’t right in Westlock, it’s less than an hour and a half drive away and worth every minute. You will find riverside places to hang out that will make you feel like you’re relaxing on the beach. The scenic area has a ton of hiking trails, the stunning Pembina River gorge, rugged cliffs, picnic areas, and more. If you love this place, which you absolutely will, you can choose from over 130 campsites to pitch your tent or park your RV. We’re not exaggerating when we say this place is an enchanting oasis, the perfect destination for your next adventure.
We all know that the weather in this province can be unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to have a couple of indoor activities in your back pocket. Westlock Bowl is a super fun bowling alley where locals love to play a little 5-pin and enjoy a drink or two. If you want to beat the heat, or the cold, or the rain, this is a good bet.
Leaning Tree Trail Rides
While we’re sticking with the Albertan theme, you should probably hop on a horse. Hidden away in the trees, you’ll find Leaning Tree Trail Rides. The owners are so passionate about horses and trail riding, you’ll have one of the best rides of your life in such a beautiful area. From interacting with these majestic animals to hopping in the saddle, you won’t forget this experience anytime soon.
Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2023 Hot Summer Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.