You’ll know when you’re about to enter Dinosaur Provincial Park because of the random dinosaurs that start to appear in the landscape. After you start seeing dinosaurs in the horizon, the landscape will completely change and you’ll enter the badlands, from the prairies you’ve experienced over the past four hours worth of driving from Edmonton.
It’s one of those campgrounds you’ve got to experience at least a handful of times during those summer adventures from Edmonton, a landscape where you’re camping in the hoodoos, with plenty to do and see while you’re spending the weekend in the badlands.
Where to Camp
You’ve got plenty of options when it comes to staying at Dinosaur Provincial Park. You can camp among the humungous trees, in a tent, or stay literally, at the bottom of hoodoos. Not into camping? Consider doing it in style (and comfort) in the canvas tents located along the river, that come with no-setup-required.
What to Do
You don’t have to go far to experience the badlands, there are hoodoo paths straight from the campground, and hikes a short drive away from the campground. You could also explore the UNESCO world heritage site, by car, driving around the loop of the campground exploring the different interpretive displays through the park.
Guided bus tours, hikes, dinosaur digs, and other programming are available to book through the park. These are an inexpensive way to add something unique to your camping trip. You can even explore without leaving the park, at the interpretive centre with a museum and activities to entertain the kids, perfect for rainy days at the campground. Feeling adventurous? You can even wade in the muddy creek!
On site, close to the dinosaur themed playground, is John Ware’s cabin. On our last visit there, we listened to the interpretive recording at least thirty-times, the kids enamoured with the story and the fact that the cabin had been there for-ever-and-ever.
Just thirty minutes away, you’ll find Kinbrook Island Provincial Park with camping, beaches and a town for you to grab a hot meal (or anything you’ve forgotten while camping). It’s one of the best beaches in Alberta – and well worth the trip!
One of my favourite parts of camping at Dinosaur Provincial Park is exploring the hoodoos, especially at sunset – but at the end of a long day of exploring, you’re full of dust and dirt. Showers and a small shop with ice cream, and even laundry, are three of the reasons that we love camping at Dinosaur Provincial Park.
The amenities come in handy because there are hot, hot days at Dinosaur Provincial Park. The interpretive center can be a nice escape from those hot days.
What You Should Know
Go early in the season to avoid the onslaught of mosquitos and heat waves that happen through the later part of July and August. Our favourite time to visit Dinosaur Provincial park is through the month of June, before the mosquitos and before the heat wave. It makes it easier to explore the badlands this way – and believe me, there’s plenty to explore.
We suggest going for a long weekend, at least three nights. Let’s face it – when you’re driving five hours from Edmonton, you’re going to want to plan to spend as much as time as possible before you have to hop back in the car and come home.