Nope, it’s not in Drumheller folks. Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO world heritage site, just over two hours southwest of Calgary. With interpretive tours, camping amidst the hoodoos and amenities like showers, it’s one of our top places to camp with kids in Alberta.
You’ll know when you get there, the landscape on the road changes. You’ll go from seeing those flat prairies to seeing an ancient landscape in front of you.
Traditional camping and comfort camping. The traditional campsites are in landscapes like right under the hoodoos, or just off or near the creek. The creek throughout the campground that’s perfect for wading. Easily walked across in most areas, watch for those areas that are a bit deeper, so watch out for those deeper parts. If you’re not up for traditional camping, or don’t want to bring along the supplies required, give comfort camping a try. They’re tents with beds, refrigerators and everything that you need to feel at home in Dinosaur Provincial Park – without hauling it all along with you.
You’re in the midst of the badlands. The Dinosaur Provincial Park campground is on 20km of the Badlands that can be accessed by the public. Depending on where you’re camping (south campsites are closer to being on the badlands, you’re just a creek, or a set of stairs away from exploring the Alberta Badlands.
Dinosaur Provincial Park has the largest population of Cottonwood Trees in North America. The campsites near site S45, where we stayed, had a constant flow of ‘fuzzy snow’ as the kids called it from these trees. They provided wonderful shade and were large enough for a large hammock to be used in between. Plus, they’re perfect for climbing.
The showers are helpful for those situations when you’ve jumped into the creek to save your child even though they laughed and were on the way to swim out. Other amenities in the campground include the canteen with yummy breakfast, deep fried pickles and ice cream. At the canteen, you can find the things you may have forgotten at home, like matches or dish soap.
Things to do
We spent the weekend at the campground, spent time at the visitor centre, took a bus tour of the Natural Preserve and hiked through the campground, exploring Coulee trail and the 3km dinosaur loop. We searched for cacti, we played in the water, and immediately found wildlife. With so much to do inside the campground, and around to explore, it’s an easy weekend filled with fun.
There are a ton of tours and programming options available too, make sure to book those before you go – as they can book quickly!
You’re going to be able to exhaust the kids every night so they will sleep in the next morning. Well, that’s what we did. The kids slept past eight both mornings we were there, and woke up ready to run out of the tent, find their new friends, have breakfast and explore some more. We climbed small hills, we climbed big sandstone sides of tiny mountains, we climbed stairs and we climbed more. It’s a kid’s dream.
When to go
Go early in the season to avoid the mosquitos, and the heat, or later in September for some wonderful fall camping, or that last trip before the kids head back to school. We have camped twice, both in the first week of June, and found it to be perfect timing for the park.
More Adventure at Dinosaur Provincial Park