Why choose road trips as a family excursion?
February 26, 2021
Have you ever seen those motorcyclists rolling down the road, carefree? Where are they going? Where have they been? They just seem to embody the essence of what it means to be adventurous.
Now, before you break out your leather jacket and head to the Harley Davidson dealer, take a moment to put things into perspective — the potential adventures of a road trip can be enjoyed by anyone, in any vehicle.
Whether you’re a solo traveler, a family, or a group of friends, whisking away for the weekend — or longer — to visit beautiful landscapes and unfamiliar places can be one of the most satisfying experiences. Road trips allow you to skip the lines, crowds, and bossy tour guides, and forge your own path through the stunning wilderness while visiting quaint areas along the way.
Planning your road trips around highways
As the name implies, every road trip begins with choosing the best route, and when traveling through Edmonton, the highway selections are plentiful. With this in mind, let’s look at activities that are dotted along five of Edmonton’s highways.
- Highway 14
Home of the world’s largest softball, the town of Chauvin is a must for those looking to cross this sighting off their bucket lists.When you’ve finished snapping pictures of “Suzie” — a big girl with a waist that is 6-feet in diameter, then you can continue the sports theme by catching a local hockey game at Repsol Community Centre.
- Highway 16
If you like Easter egg hunting, then Vegreville maybe a little town that you should add to your road trip itinerary. Located in Elks/Kinsmen Park, the uniquely designed Pysanka — Ukrainian Easter Egg — was brought to life in 1974 by Paul Maxum Sembaliuk, who used two-dimensional anodized aluminum tiles to create this wonderful piece of art. Now, while it may not be that difficult to find, and most certainly would not fit in a traditional Easter basket, this egg would definitely make the highway 16 route an alluring one.
- Highway 28
With a name like Town of Smokey Lake, you might expect that the main attraction would be aquatic in nature, however, this town has something more conspicuous to share. Known as the pumpkin capital of Alberta, The Great White North Pumpkin Fair is held every year in October and draws in growers and spectators alike. Perhaps your next road trip will lead you to this event.
- Highway 45
Whether or not your road trip takes place in a classic car, you may want to roll on over to the village of Chipman. The Show and Shine event is held annually and features classic vehicles that range from cars and trucks to tractors and buses.
- Highway 55
Where’s the food? One of the best things a road trip offers is the opportunity to find local fare. Whether you’re looking for a quiet diner or a lively festival, the Athabasca Region serves it up. The month of July sees the Athabasca Regional Airport Fly-In BBQ while August ushers in the Boyle Wildberry Festival and Jamboree.
Road tripping to destination sites like Métis Crossing
Residing in Canada, Métis Crossing is a huge embankment and river that helped cultivate the vast former indigenous settlement. Founded in the late 1800s by Métis settlers who sought refuge, the flourishing land supplied beautiful wildlife and forestry as well as a proportionately sized natural water source.
Over time, Métis Crossing has become an indigenous cultural staple, boasting the first Métis cultural interpretive centre in Alberta, thus remaining true to the heritage of the site and bringing a lesser discussed culture to the attention of visitors. Alongside this centre, Métis Crossing offers a getaway experience focused on integrating the extensive history and the arboricultural grounds, to provide both an enjoyable and educational experience that is unparalleled by any comparative road trip destination.
What can Métis crossing offer you and your fellow road trippers?
When road-tripping to Métis Crossing, you’ll find an extensively packed calendar of events throughout the year that range from festivals to experience days — people even hire out specific regions of the venue for events such as weddings and birthdays. The 512-acre site is home to an expansive roster of amenities that are ideal for couples, families, and simply those choosing to travel to Métis Crossing to immerse themselves in the rich cultural history. With an abundance of unusual plants and stunning wild animals, Métis Crossing is an environmentalist’s paradise.
The archery facilities offer plenty of fun that puts your hand-eye coordination to the test. Next, continue your indulgence in nature by strolling down the historic trails and stopping by one of the designated wildlife viewing stations. For those who prefer aquatic outdoor activities, the North Saskatchewan River is a picturesque site that facilitates fishing for visitors — as it did centuries agofor the Métis people. Additionally, there is the opportunity to hire out a boat or canoe and sail down the river.
Adding a bit of structure to your Métis Crossing road trip
Experience days are often categorised by ‘signature experiences’, ‘traditional workshops’ and ‘daily experiences’. The first being an active participant experience, in which guides provide an immersive and informative insight into indigenous culture through an entirely interactive storytelling of the development of the Métis Crossing and the Métis people.
Traditional workshops allow visitors to invest their time in learning more about the relevance of various artistic mediums within the lives of the Métis people. During the winter season, arts and crafts become even more prominent within the events calendar — there are facilities open to budding artists of all skill levels!
However, if arts and crafts don’t pique your interest during the winter months, the tobogganing, skating, and snowshoeing facilities will allow you to experience the Métis wonderland during the height of winter. For those that are summer travelers, the riding experiences will allow you to experience riding through some of the most stunning landscapes in Canada and to truly connect with the Métis people and how they used to navigate the landscape. No matter what season you visit Métis Crossing, there is always a shift in seasonal activities to ensure that your experience is enriching and memorable.
Similar to the events provided by the signature experience, the daily experience is focused on providing a broad array of activities for visitors that are included in the basic admission fee. Whether families want to visit the fantastic displays of art and cultural pieces or dive into an interpretive experience about Métis culture, there is an option available for just about anyone.
Those that have dubbed themselves the indoor type can visit the historic village, which includes the cultural centre, alongside gift shops and other retail stores — translation: you can stay in the warmth whilst still taking advantage of the immense level of culture and history that runs deep through the veins of Métis Crossing!
Places to stay during your road trip
You may be wondering where exactly you can stay in Métis Crossing with it being a historically preserved area.That’swhere the immense size of the grounds comes into play; there is an array of camping sites that facilitate RVs, campervans, and tents.
Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples’ Day on your next road trip
Since 2006, Métis Crossing has held an annual summer celebration to commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Day, with particular emphasis on the Métis people. When this event arrives each year, there is no shortage of activities, food, culture, entertainment, and a lively community of people that all engross themselves in this beautiful celebration of the people that founded the Crossing.
The event is often started by having visitors sing and dance collectively to traditional Métis music and enjoy the entertainment provided by guest bands and dance entertainers who emulate this style. This is often followed by talent shows, tours, and races, where every visitor can actively participate in what is the biggest calendar event for Métis Crossing.
Alongside the current festivities, many visitors may choose to involve themselves in the intimate and traditional practices of the Métis people by learning how to weave, create beaded jewelry and resistant canoes, and cook bannock over a huge open fire to feed the visitors. For children, there is a live petting zoo with animals that keep them entertained.
Start a tradition of making Métis Crossing an annual road trip destination
When considering your next road trip, consider whether your ideal destination would be a culturally enriched indigenous site that has been preserved to maintain its authenticity. With Métis Crossing priding itself on that very principle, it appeals to a wide range of potential visitors by bringing the story of the Métis people to the forefront.
With the extensive availability of beautiful forestry and the multitude of facilities that provide activities and enjoyment, Métis Crossing can become a staple destination for any groups to enjoy road trips. So, if you ever intend to travel through the beautiful Canadian landscape on a road trip, perhaps you should consider adding Métis Crossing to your itinerary of must-seedestinations.