Is this the summer to consider a “stay-cation”?

The recent skyrocketing price of gasoline, combined with the high cost of just about everything else, is probably causing many people to consider summer holidays closer to home.

For those who live in the Slave Lake area, vacationing close to home is not a hardship. And anyone living further away in Alberta or our neighbouring provinces will find we are not that far or costly … especially if you want to experience some of Canada’s most beautiful natural areas.

Just west of the town of Slave Lake, there is Lesser Slave Lake, providing seven kilometres of sand beaches in the Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park. Did you know Lesser Slave Lake is Alberta’s second largest lake within the boundaries of the province and the largest you can get to by car travel alone? It is also rated one of the province’s top five for best swimming spots and warmest water.

Whatever outdoor activity most appeals to you, we likely have it covered!

Fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, swimming, and water skiing are all popular. Check out the many campgrounds, RV sites, and cabins throughout the region, including those located on the shores of Lesser Slave Lake. Known as “the fishing hub of the north,” year-round Lesser Slave Lake offers world-class freshwater sports fishing.

If a nice walk, hiking, or a multi-day backpacking trip is your thing, we have many choices. The Trans-Canada Trail, a cross-Canada system of greenways, waterways, and roadways that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans passes through the Town of Slave Lake and then Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park following a 22 km trail around the eastern shoreline of the lake.

Hikers and cyclists have incredible views of the lake and surrounding boreal forest, and you can also visit the “Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory and Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation.” Dubbed “North America’s Bird Nursery” nearly half of the continent’s bird species nest and raise their young in this area and billions of birds pass through during the spring and fall migrations.

Make sure you notice the different trees in the boreal forest — spruce, fir, pine, and tamarack are the main species, with trembling aspen, balsam poplar, and birch located throughout.

Situated in the provincial park is the Gilwood Golf and Country Club, an 18-hole public course and driving range suitable for both experienced and beginner golfers.

When the weather does not cooperate, the town and surrounding area of Slave Lake have many different indoor activities suitable for all ages.

The Northern Lakes Aquatics Centre situated in the Northern Lakes College building in Slave Lake features a zero-depth pool and a 25-metre pool along with a water slide and hot tub. The Multi-Rec Centre has something for everyone with different drop-in activities, a running track, and a children’s indoor playground. The Sawridge Plaza, located on main street, has another indoor playground where children can run, climb, and play.

For those looking for a little “retail therapy,” the downtown core of Slave Lake has many locally operated businesses and boutique stores full of unique items. South of Highway 2 is Cornerstone Developments, home to many familiar stores.

Situated in the hamlet of Kinuso, about 48 km west from Slave Lake is the Kinosayo Museum. Here you’ll find the fully restored one-room “Swan River School,” a 1928 Twin City Tractor, and an exhibit of over 90 animals, birds, and fish.

And for the adults in the crowd, there is the local “Dog Island Brewing” craft beer experience that produces 18 different taps and opens mid-afternoon into the evening.

In case we missed something, we asked a few long-time residents and Vanderwell employees what they think is fun to do in the town and area of Slave Lake.

 “I basically like spending my time at the lake. Do a bit of boating and fishing. And of course, it’s nice to get out to the golf course when a guy can.” (Vic Courteille, Chip Truck Driver)

“My family and I like to spend as much time as we can at our campsite at Big Fish Bay. We like to spend our days on the weekend at their beach or playgrounds and finish things off with a BBQ and campfire. Since it’s so close to town, we can even stay there during the work week.”  (Lindsey Reid, Office Manager)

“To spend as much time camping at Big Fish Bay and fishing with my grandkids and family. It’s all about enjoying the summer while it’s here.” (Jim Thiessen, Shop Manager)

Wherever you end up vacationing this summer, have a safe wonderful time with family and friends!

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