With the summer season just around the corner, it’s time once again to reflect upon the annual family vacation. But if you’re among the many individuals whose budgets have been adversely impacted by the economy’s recent downturn, then you may be looking to stay a little closer to home this year.
Look no further than nearby Wabamun, Alberta, the little Village on the Lake that bills itself as the capital region’s four season’s playground.
Located less than an hour’s drive from Edmonton, the Village of Wabamun could be an ideal day-trip destination for city residents, though many will want to stay for at least a few days.
“There are lots of things to do in Wabamun,” says Vicki Specht, owner-operator of Wabamun Shoreside Inn and Suites, “We’ve got a little something here for everyone, whether young or old.”
Specht says that visitors to Wabamun will find that the Shoreside is among several different accommodations available in the village, and that it boasts modern amenities such as WiFi and a continental breakfast, as well as desirable lake views from every room.
And not only can vacationing families staying at the Shoreside bring their pets along for the trip, but the Shoreside also provides some unique extras to help guests get around town.
“Bicycles are offered complimentary at the hotel during the summer months, and snowshoes are available for complimentary use in the winter,” Specht says.
In addition, the Shoreside also offers shuttle service to all four area golf courses. “If people want to enjoy a few drinks while hitting the links, it’s no problem. The hotel will bring them there and back, and no one has to worry about drinking and driving,” says Specht.
For adventures on the lake itself, Specht recommends visitors check out Wabamun Watersports Rentals, which is within walking distance of the Shoreside Inn and Suites.
According to Alfred Samson, owner of Wabamun Watersports Rentals, his rental shop has become, since its 2014 expansion, “the one-stop shop for Sea-doo, pontoon boat, kayak, paddle board, paddle boat and Flyboard rentals at Wabamun Lake.”
“Flyboarding is the coolest thing ever,” Specht enthuses. Adds Samson, “It’s the closest thing to flight that a person can get; it feels weightless, and it’s absolutely exhilarating.”
Some might worry that Flyboarding is too extreme or dangerous for them, but Samson is certain that, for most people, it’s accessible, fun and safe.
“Flyboard rental is a VIP, one-on-one experience, and we train our guests to be safe and to enjoy themselves,” he says. “Our certified instructors guide them through the experience to ensure that they have the maximum amount of fun.”
Aside from the various activities available on the lake, families will also enjoy the waterfront park, the splash park and the play areas in the village for kids.
“We’re an ideal family-fun spot; Wabamun’s just a great place to relax and enjoy our scenic beauty,” says Specht, adding, “My guests often tell me that our town is so cute.”
Specht attributes her guests’ observations to the effort her community puts forth to showcase its beauty. “Wabamun is full of flowers in the summer, as we’re part of Communities in Bloom, so there are barrels and potted flowers all over town,” she says, adding that they also have “numerous walking trails, plus a historical walk done by the Wabamun Museum, which cites the original building locations.”
The area is also a great destination for local bird-watching.
“Birding has really become a thing here,” Specht says, adding, “Some birds are here year-round, like pelicans, which can still be seen on the lake in December.”
If you’re looking for unique gifts to commemorate your Wabamun vacation, Specht recommends a couple of shops in town that are worth checking out: Gossamer Treasures Gallery & Gifts, which features pieces that have been created by local artists, and the 52 Street Market which offers plenty of restored furniture, arts, antiques and locally-made handicrafts.
So this summer, or anytime, why not spend your vacation in Wabamun? “We’re a great place to visit for outdoor adventures and, even if it rains, there are plenty of interesting things to keep you occupied right here in our village,” says Specht.