1. Gull Lake – Sandy beaches, boat launches, day use areas!
Lacombe County is home to Alberta’s first provincial park. Aspen Beach Provincial Park was founded in 1932. Today, discover the sandy beaches that first made Gull Lake a popular vacation spot. Aspen Beach Day Use Area has everything you need with a concession, boat launch, change rooms, play area, fire pits and a scenic boardwalk. Sandy Point, Gull Lake’s newest public beach is often less crowded and has change rooms, picnic tables, and a play area. The Lake is a popular boating and year-round fishing destination. Campgrounds, boat Launches, public beaches and day-use areas are located around the lake. Stop by the Summer Village for a pancake breakfast on May 21st, August 7th, and September 3rd.
Directions:Head west from Lacombe on AB-12 for 10 Minutes (14 km) and turn right at RR283/284 for Aspen Beach, or right at RR11 for Sandy Point.
2.Discover Ellis Bird Farm –Birds, Ponds and Butterflies, oh my!Visit Ellis Bird Farm's Website
Ellis Bird Farm has a great nature centre and hundreds of bird houses to see. Come out for an activity and build a birdhouse too! This is a great location to visit with both large and small groups. The Ellis Café is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a delicious lunch or afternoon tea. Food in the Ellis Café is made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Open: May 22 to Sept 4 Tuesdays- Sundays 11:00am – 5:00pm and Holiday Mondays 11:00am- 5:00pm. Special Events: Bioblitz: Father’s Day June 18/ Canada Day: Bluebird Festival July 1/ Ellis Bird Farm 35th Anniversary Celebrations July 21-22/ Bug Jamboree August 12/ Open Farm Days August 19-20.
Directions: Head 8km East of Lacombe on Hwy 12; turn right (south) on Prentiss Road for another 8km.
3. Kraay Family Farm – Find your way in the Maze!Visit Kraay Family Farm's Website
The farm’s corn maze is 15 acres in size and features a new design every year. It takes about an hour and a half to run the full corn maze – but if you have little ones, or need an ice cream break, there are a couple of exits at the beginning of each phase. Visit the petting zoo to meet goats, pigs, ducks, bunnies, chickens, sheep and a donkey. Root for your favourite little curly-tail during the farm’s piggy races – twice a day in the summer. Aim and fire the corn blaster or the pumpkin cannon in the fall. All that playing is going to give you a good appetite, so luckily the farm sells ice cream, kettle popcorn, hot dogs and deep-fried pickles, mini-donuts, cotton candy and fresh roasted nuts. Or you can bring a picnic, cook out over a fire pit or rent a BBQ. Open: July 21 – October 21 For Summer and Fall Hours and current admission prices visit www.kraayfamilyfarm.com
Directions: From Hwy 2, Head west on Hwy 12 for 1.5km (1 mile), then 0.8km (1/2 mile) south on Range Road 27-3.
4. Blacksmith Shop, Murals and Museums – Discover the HeritageVisit the Walking Tour Website
Home to communities established by pioneers, homesteaders and farmers, the history of the Lacombe Region is intricately tied to its rural roots and agricultural heritage. In 1902, Lacombe was the first town established in the area and within the next twenty years the communities of Blackfalds, Alix, Clive, Mirror, Gull Lake, Bentley and Eckville were to follow. Today, you can visit 7 museums in the region including the Alix Wagon Wheel Museum, Bentley Museum, Mirror Museum, Wadey House (Blackfalds), the Michener House Museum, Flatiron Museum, and the Lacombe Blacksmith Shop – the oldest blacksmith shop in Alberta!
See the famous murals in Lacombe. Pick up a self-guided historic downtown walking tour book ($10) at the museum.
The murals are a great place for family pictures or a fun selfie! The Museums also host programs & special events throughout the summer. Participate in ‘Art in the Garden’ on Saturdays from 10:00am to noon at the Michener House in Lacombe (free).
5. Flying Cross Ranch – Friendly animals and beginner riding lessons!Visit Flying Cross Ranch's Website
Experience life on the Ranch! Meet the friendly animals that call Flying Cross Ranch home. Offering Pony Time, Youth and Adult riding lessons, Clinics and Workshops. Flying Cross Ranch also puts on some really fun events throughout the year. Sundays @ the Ranch, Talk Derby To Me dinner theatre (June 17), and Open Farm Days (Aug. 19-20) are just some of the fun events this year. For more information visit www.flyingcrossranch.com
Directions: From Lacombe go north on Hwy 2A, turn right (east) on Milton road, take your first left on RR 26-3 go north for 1km.
6. Taste Local Food and Drink – From Farm to Table
Farm fresh products can be purchased at local Farmers’ Markets from May to October on Fridays in Lacombe: 9am – 1pm and Saturdays in Bentley: 1:30-4pm. Pick your own fruit at U picks like Billy Co Junction Gardens or buy ingredients directly from the farm at Brown Eggs and Lamb, Pik-N-Pak, Market on Twelve, and Rangeland Meats. For homemade lunches and delicious treats visit local bakeries and cafés in Alix, Bentley, Blackfalds, and Lacombe. For unique culinary creations and simple farm to table fare try Cilantro & Chive, the Ellis Café and Morrison House Cafe. Learn more about local food and farms during Alberta Open Farm Days: August 19–20.
At Blindman Brewing in Lacombe taste and purchase craft beers made with malt from Alix then head next door to find quality spirits made on site in small batches at the Old Prairie Sentinel Distillery. Blindman Brewing Hours: Tuesday to Friday 3-8pm; Saturday 12-9pm. Old Prairie Sentinel Distillery Hours: Tuesday to Friday 4-8pm; Saturday 1-9pm. Directions: From Lacombe go east on Hwy 12, turn left on Wolf Creek Drive, turn right on 53 Ave and continue east for 0.5km
7. Get Outdoors! – Trails, Golf and Geocaching
Walk or Bike the Trans Canada Trail from Lacombe to Blackfalds, start at the Federal Research Station in Lacombe and end at the Abbey Centre in Blackfalds! Stop for a picnic by the Gazebo at Lacombe Lake and take in the lush scenery. For a list of all the great trails in the region check out the Parks & Trails section in the visitor guide.
Located by Gull Lake, Summerland Leisure Park is a great place to practice your swing with an 18-hole Mini Golf Course and a Driving Range! Golf courses abound in this area and serious golfers will want to research all the great courses including; Gull Lake Golf Course, Lacombe Golf and Country Club, and the Nursery Golf and Country Club.
For more info see: www.summerlandleisurepark.com / www.gull-lake-golf.ca / www.golflacombe.com / www.nurserygolf.com
Have you tried Geocaching? Geocaching is a fun outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache hidden at that location. Once you find the geocache, you sign the logbook and switch an item with a treasure you pick from the geocache. This turns the game into the treasure hunt! Then you log all your findings online, whether you found the geocache or not. There are many geocaches just waiting to be found right here in the Lacombe Region. Log onto geocaching.com and let the fun begin!
#8 Small Town Country Charm – Uniquely Western
Bentley is a classic western town conveniently close to Gull Lake – connected by a 4km paved walking/biking trail to the lake. Bentley’s Main Street is lined with quaint shops, restaurants, and the famous Monkey Top Saloon. On the east side of the region, experience the prairie charm of small towns like Alix, Clive and Mirror. Rodeos and Western events in the region include; Eckville Bullarena: May 13, Eckville Rodeo & Parade: June 10-11, Tees Rodeo: August 5-6, Bentley Fair and Rodeo: August 10-13, and Alix Days and Rodeo: August 12-13.
The festivities include events like; pancake breakfasts, parades, show and shines, sheep riding, bench show, face painting, family entertainment, and all the fun rodeo events like – racing, roping, riding, wild cow milking, a rodeo cabaret, and beer gardens.
9. Music in the Park – Free Concerts and Community Market
Music in the Park is a series of free outdoor concerts that takes place in conjunction with the Lacombe Community Market every Wednesday during the summer at the Lacombe Memorial Centre. Hosted by the Lacombe Performing Arts Association, Music in the Park features a variety of performers each week from 6:30-8:00pm. Food trucks and market vendors line the street next to the park from 4:30-8:30pm.
#10 Summer Festivals & Events – Celebrate Canada 150!
Join the festivities around the region this summer; see parades, live performances and fireworks! See the events listing in this publication or visit www.lacombetourism.com for a full calendar of events:
June 16–18, 2017: Blackfalds Days
June 16–18, 2017: Clive Fun Fest
July 1, 2017: Canada Day Celebrations & Grand Opening of the Wadey Centre in Blackfalds
July 27-30, 2017: Lacombe Days