As Alberta’s two major cities, the trip from Calgary to Edmonton, or of course, Edmonton to Calgary, is a popular one. For some, it’s a chance to visit a new city. For others, it might be for work, to see friends, or to visit family. In fact, the travel between the two cities is so popular that there’s been talk of building a hyperloop. How cool would that be?
Whether you’re simply going from A to B or looking to turn it into a day-long road trip, we’ve got you covered with things to see along the way, how to get from city to city, and more.
Calgary to Edmonton Road Trip Tips
The drive from Calgary to Edmonton is almost exactly 300 kilometres and takes around three hours without stopping. It’s a fairly straight-forward, flat drive along Highway 2. For those simply driving from point A to point B, it’s literally one highway the entire way. As always though, there are many things you can do along the way if you’d like to turn this into a full-day road trip, which we’ll go into below.
Note: Like most Candian highways, winter can present a variety of hazards including icy and snowy conditions. Summer is a much better time for road trips although the highway can be busy.
How To Get from Calgary to Edmonton
Calgary to Edmonton by Car
If you’re coming directly from downtown Calgary and heading to downtown Edmonton, the drive is almost exactly 300 kilometres in length. It’s a simple drive with a few small towns and/or cities along the way for you to visit and explore. If you’re coming from the Calgary International Airport, you’ll be slightly closer.
There are many places to rent a car at the Calgary International Airport as well as within the city itself. Most major rental car brands are similar so we recommend doing a search on booking engines such as Priceline.com.
In addition to the normal rental car companies, there’s also a website called Turo, which is like Airbnb for car rentals. This may allow for some unique car rental opportunities or possibly cheaper rates. We prefer the convenience of the major car rental companies, but Turo can be a unique method for renting a vehicle as well.
Calgary to Edmonton by RV
If you’re looking to have more of a “home on wheels”, consider renting an RV or campervan. RV rentals are a very popular thing to do in Canada thanks to our great size and amount of camping opportunities.
Here are some options below:
- CanaDream: This is a big RV rental company. They have everything from the little guys to the big guys.
- RVezy: This is the Airbnb of RV’s. You rent someone else’s RV.
- Wheel Estate: This is also the Airbnb of RV’s. Many options for renting someone else’s RV.
- Karma Campervans: This is an option for campervans. Typically, it’s a regular size van with two front seats and the back area has been converted into a mini living area with a bed and a kitchen.
Calgary to Edmonton by Bus
If you’d rather sit back and relax and let someone else do the driving for you, the bus is another option for getting from Calgary to Edmonton. In fact, finding a bus from Calgary to Edmonton or Edmonton to Calgary is one of the easiest bus routes in the province.
There are three bus companies that make the journey, including the Red Arrow, Cold Shot, and the Rider Express. The most expensive option is the Red Arrow, which costs around $72 whereas the other two cost approximately $43. The best way to check your options is by using Busbud.
Calgary to Edmonton by Private Transfer
If you’re looking for a more convenient way to sit back and relax while en route to Edmonton or Calgary, a private transfer may be the way to go.
Some private transfer options are below:
Quest Limo: With prices starting at $500, Quest Limos provides reliable and safe transportation with fully trained chauffeurs who are familiar with roads and routes between Calgary and Edmonton.
Signature Limo: Another option for travelling in luxury, style & comfort from Calgary to Edmonton, including Lincoln MKT’s, Cadillac Escalade SUVs & Shuttle buses. They also have special prices for corporate travellers and frequent travellers as well.
If you’re looking for this type of service, this is in no way an exhaustive list. There are many options.
Calgary to Edmonton by Rideshare
Quickly gaining in popularity, Poparide.com offers the chance to rideshare your way around Canada, including from Calgary to Edmonton. Prices can vary but seem to be around $30 for a one-way trip.
Things to Do from Edmonton to Calgary
The reason why we love having our own car for road trips is due to all the beautiful places you can visit along the way. If you do have that flexibility, there are a number of places along the way for you to visit, including:
Red Deer is practically the mid-way point between Edmonton and Calgary. Although it is now Alberta’s 4th biggest city, it was Alberta’s 3rd city to surpass 100,000 people. As you might expect from a city this size, there are quite a few things to do depending on your interest and how much time you have. Some popular options include:
- Canyon Ski Resort: This is the largest non-mountain ski resort in Alberta, offering an opportunity to go skiing or snowboarding, hit up the snow tube park, do some tricks at the terrain park, or grab a bite to eat at the rustic lodge. The best time to visit would be January to March.
- Waskasoo Park: If you’re looking for some inner-city nature, Waskasoo Park is home to the Kerry Wood Nature Centre, the Allen Bungalow, the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary, and the Historic Fort Normandeau, which is another popular attraction in the city.
- River Bend Golf and Recreation Area: This area has both 420 acres of forest parkland as well as a par 72 championship golf course. It’s also part of Waskaoo Park.
- Gaetz Lakes Bird Sanctuary: Alberta’s first bird sanctuary is home to almost 300 acres of protected land with trails and bird blinds.
- Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery: If you’d rather get indoors and learn about Red Deer, this is a great place to do so.
- Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum: For those interested in sports, this place provides an interactive experience to discovering Alberta sports celebrities.
If you’re looking for some lakeside fun, Sylvan Lake is one of the most popular lakes in the province. It’s only 25 kilometres (16 miles) west of the City of Red Deer and receives more than 1.5 million visitors each year. This is because the lake is popular for sunbathing, swimming, water-skiing, and more.
Stephansson House Provincial Historic Site
If you’re looking for a unique slice of Alberta history, consider visiting the Stephansson House Provincial Historic Site, which was home to the Stephan Stephansson, otherwise known as the “the poet of the Rocky Mountains.” His home is a snapshot-in-time of the year 1927, complete with original furnishings, serene landscape, the smell of baking, and, of course, the poetry of Stephan himself.
This small town, located not too far outside of Edmonton, is home to some unique museums, including the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, Alberta Central Railway Museum, and Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. It’s also home to the Edmonton International Raceway, which is Western Canada’s only NASCAR sanctioned Race Track. Not only can you watch a car race but you can also sign up to do your own 10-lap Stock Car Test Drive Experience.
Things to Do in Edmonton
Once you’ve made it to Edmonton, there are many things to do and sights to see, such as exploring North America’s largest mall or going for a bike ride in Canada’s largest urban park.
For a complete guide on what to do as well as where to stay, check out our feature guide: Things to Do in Edmonton!
Things to Do in Calgary
If you’re coming in the other direction to explore Calgary, there are also lots of awesome things to do and see, such as floating down the beautiful Bow River or learning about Canada’s musical icons at the National Music Centre.
For a complete guide on what to do as well as where to stay, check out our feature guide: Things to Do in Calgary!
Want to EXPLORE more of CANADA? Check out these articles below:
- Things To Do in Banff
- Things To Do in Canmore
- Calgary to Banff
- Edmonton to Jasper
- Things To Do in Alberta