The five best day trip destinations for a Calgary car rental holiday

Calgary sits proudly at the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, a bold metropolis built on oil money and coming into its own as a tourist destination. It has a cowboy culture unparalleled in Canada, and each year hosts the “Greatest Outdoor Show in Earth,” the Calgary Stampede. The outdoors are a big part of life in Calgary, and with so many things to do in and around the sprawling city, a vehicle hire is the perfect way to holiday. Here are our top five picks for places you can go with a Calgary car rental:
 

1 . Banff

Less than an hour and a half of driving west on the Trans Canada Highway from Calgary will bring you to Banff, the famous mountain resort in the centre of the national park by the same name. The charming town is a hive of activity in both summer and winter, and the surrounding nature is a marvel. 
 
The town has several museums, including the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, and the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site. The Banff Upper Hot Springs is the perfect place to warm up in the cooler months, and the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a landmark of the town which offers heritage tours to curious visitors.
 

2 . Calgary Zoo

It’s a short drive down Memorial Drive from downtown to the Calgary Zoo, which is amongst the top rated zoos in North America. The keepers and zoo management have made an effort to simulate natural habitats for the animals, of which there are nearly a thousand. The complex also houses a Botanical Garden and a 6.5 hectare Prehistoric Park which features not only fossils but life-size dinosaur replicas. This is a great option for families visiting Calgary and can easily entertain for a whole day.
 
 

3 . National Parks

A car rental from Calgary makes it easy to get to the many great locations around Banff National Park and the nearby Jasper National Park, too. Our highlights are the amazing baby blue-coloured Peyto Lake, Columbia Icefield, the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, the Miette Hot Springs and the other stunning lakes scattered throughout the region- Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and more.
 
Hiking is popular in both parks, with favourite day trails including Tunnel Mountain, Sulphur Mountain, Opal Hills, Bow Glacier Falls and Johnston Canyon. Fishing is a great way to enjoy the waterways- there are several types of trout as well as Rocky Mountain Whitefish in the lakes and rivers. Be aware that fishing permits are compulsory before any rods go in the water.
 

4 . Canadian Badlands

Not as bad as their name would suggest, the Canadian Badlands are around two hours’ drive from Calgary. The Wild West meets dinosaur bones in this unique landscape which features “hoodoo” rock formations. The skies are a bonus; the sunsets are beautiful and stargazing is optimal in the wide open prairies.
 
The town of Drumheller is a centre of activities in the region, and hosts the annual dinofest. Prehistoric-loving punters, however, should make the longer trip to the Dinosaur Provincial Park where fossilized bones of more than forty species have been recovered and archaeological digs continue.
 

5 . Get back on the horse

The cowboy culture in Calgary is strong, and a horse trek is a great way to see the region whilst embracing the local flavour. There is a nostalgia in exploring on horseback too, as Calgary and the surrounding hills were first discovered with four legs as the primary mode of transport. 
 
The outskirts of the city boast many companies offering guided treks and trail rides, and with a rental car it is easy to get out there and experience one or more. There are even working cattle ranches where you can not only get on horseback but also try your hand at cattle sorting and gymkhana events.
 
 
Airport Rentals can get you moving as soon as you touch down. Search and browse the range of available Calgary car rentals, narrow them down and book the best one, all on one easy-to-use site. There is the option to pick up from the airport or a downtown depot, and the deals and specials combine with everyday low rates to offer some of the best car rental prices to be found on the web. 
 
 
 

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