Close to the mountains and foothills, and the gateway to the prairies, Calgary is a prime starting point for campers. Whether you’re looking to escape into the Rockies for a few nights or need a quiet lakefront family getaway close to home, there are a variety of options within driving distance of this beautiful city.

 

Nature’s Hideaway Family Campground

The Highwood River winds around this beautiful private campground flanked by 100-year-old trees. Located approximately 45 kilometres southeast of Calgary, it offers fully serviced RV sites, tent sites with power and water or un-serviced sites. Float, swim or explore the area surrounding this family-friendly place. Fees range from $38-48 per night depending on site type.

photoSylvia Dekker

Sandy McNabb Campground

Located in Sheep River Provincial Park, Sandy McNabb has plenty of sites, and thanks to the many large trees, each one is quite private. The area surrounding the campground is the real draw though, as the park is full of great hikes, beautiful views and a variety of activity options from wildlife viewing to horseback riding to mountain biking. The $39/ night sites, with power, are reservable for a fee of $12.

Note: a Kananaskis Conservation Pass is required to park in the provincial park and public land sites. The proceeds go towards conservation efforts in the area. You can purchase the pass here.

 

Paddy’s Flat

If you’re lucky, you can snag one of the unserviced sites that backs the beautiful Elbow River. If not, there are plenty of other $31 per night sites to choose from and lots to enjoy, whether it’s the nearby interpretive trails or the hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding you can do throughout the Elbow River Provincial Recreation Area.

 

Riverbend Campground

Stay close to home but feel like you are a world away at this pretty, kid-focused campground that has everything you need. There are full service and no service sites located in a variety of habitats; a store packed with the essentials you know you’ll forget or run out of; plus plenty of playgrounds and opportunities for biking or nature walks. Sites are $30 to $50 depending on the services available.

 

Aspen Crossing

This unique, train-themed RV campground, located on 300 acres 45 minutes southeast of Calgary, not only offers fully serviced sites and a beautiful setting not too far away from home, but dining options, caboose cabins, gardens and train excursions.

photoMichael Carlascio

Big Elbow Backcountry Campground

If front-country camping is not your thing and you’re looking to get a bit more out into the backcountry, this campground is an 8.3-kilometer hike from the Little Elbow Campground. A $12 fee will get you a riverside site with a fire pit and firewood.

 

Mt Romulus Backcountry Campground

Hike 11.9 kilometers to reach this campground complete with tent pads, firewood and two communal fire pits. The views along the trail are spectacular, and once rested up you can explore a variety of beautiful destinations from this campground. Bag Mt. Romulus, soak in the views beside the nearby river or continue along the Big Elbow Loop trail.

  

Tombstone Backcountry Campground

Accessible from Elbow Pass Day Use Area in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, this campground has 11 sites for $12 after a 7.3-kilometer hike. These sites are complete with everything a backcountry camper could want and then some, equipped with firewood, hitching rails for horses and secure food storage.

photoTangle McClaron

Willow Rock Campground

This first-come, first-serve campground in Bow Valley Provincial Park has both serviced and un-serviced sites to choose from from $31 per night, a playground and a variety of activity options including hiking and biking.

  

Beaver Flats Campground

Complete with plenty of trees, there are both un-serviced RV sites and walk-in tent sites at this campground on the side of the Elbow River. Do some paddling on the fast-flowing river or hit the trails nearby on horseback, bike or foot!