Couple on boulder overlooking mountains and lake

Romantic Weekend NEAR CALGARY: 9 Perfect Ideas

Looking for ideas for a romantic weekend near Calgary? I have 9 excellent options in southern Alberta, each one packed with romance – no matter how you define it! 

You don’t have to travel far from Calgary to find a ton of fabulous itinerary ideas for your romantic weekend getaway. The ideas below center around inspiring settings, cozy and elegant accommodations, and interesting options for getting out (should you want to). Some are expected; others, I’m guessing not.

Other ideas to check out are these romantic itineraries right IN Calgary.

Romantic weekends near Calgary

Limited time? Save me for later.

Here we go!

1. Bragg Creek: Cozy and woodsy romantic weekend near Calgary

Let’s start with a super easy but super romantic weekend option really close to Calgary: Bragg Creek. From Calgary to Bragg Creek is 40 minutes and to Elbow Falls is 1 hour.

If you’re from Calgary, chances are you’ve been to the lovely Elbow Falls before. But making Bragg Creek your romantic weekend getaway is really a fantastic idea. It has the same thick evergreen scent you love about the Rocky Mountains; the same pristine waters cascading over rocky riverbeds; and cozy, romantic accommodation and dining options. But, it takes half the time to get there.

The most romantic things to do on a visit to Bragg Creek include wandering the romantic village of Bragg Creek, enjoying at least a few of its top-notch restaurants and galleries, and of course venturing out to Elbow Falls for an extra dose of romantic scenery. Other popular outdoor hikes are Fullerton Loop near Elbow Falls and Bragg Creek Provincial Park.

Elbow River runs through the pretty little village of Bragg Creek, and thick evergreens enclose it. While exploring the cute shops and galleries, stop in at Cinnamon Spoon for their amazing cinnamon buns and Scoops & Snacks for ice cream. For dinner, check out The Bavarian Inn for authentic German and Austrian dishes and the Italian Farmhouse for authentic Italian food (duh). 

Romantic places to stay in or near Bragg Creek:

  • Azuridge Estate (178057-272 Street West, Priddis, Foothills County): This beautiful estate hotel just south of Calgary is 20 minutes east of Bragg Creek and 30 minutes from Elbow Falls. It’s prime setting, delicious meals presented in style, tastefully decorated spacious rooms, and tons of spa options – including in-room and couples treatments – promise to spoil you. It’s become a go-to for weddings; when you visit, you’ll see why. 
  • Redwood Retreat Bed & Breakfast (48 Wolf Drive, T3Z 1A3 Bragg Creek): This cozy, well-appointed bed and breakfast is about 5 minutes from central Bragg Creek. Being near the Elbow River, it often has wildlife roaming through its gardens – and all suites can enjoy the view. Guests love the comfortable beds, delicious breakfast and gracious hosts.
  • Riverside Chateau Bed & Breakfast (104 White Avenue, Bragg Creek): This very romantic log-style mansion is right inside Bragg Creek, on the shores of Elbow River. It’s an easy walk to main street and highly-rated restaurants, ice cream shops and art galleries.

2. Kananaskis: A chill or active romantic weekend near Calgary

Stunning views on a romantic weekend in Kananaskis Country

Romantic views in Kananaskis. Photo credit: Jordan Ostapiuk from Unsplash.

Now we move a little farther west of Calgary: Kananaskis. Just over an hour away from Calgary, in the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains, is this pretty collection of wildland parks, ecological reserves and cultural zones. 

Kananaskis has something for every romantic itinerary, no matter the season. When the weather’s nice, you have picturesque hiking, bike trails, horseback riding, climbing and whitewater rafting. If you’re here in winter, try out the cross-country ski trails and hills from the 1988 Olympics … or just cozy up with your sweetheart next to a crackling fireplace.

I finally got out to the Kananaskis Lodge after years of living in the Calgary area. And wow! If you haven’t been, it’s such a fantastic and EASY option for your romantic weekend. You’ll have no need to leave.

Romantic places to stay in the Kananaskis:

  • Kananaskis Mountain Lodge (1 Centennial Dr, Kananaskis Village): Find everything you need to cozy up and breathe in the fresh mountain air. Right at the lodge you’ll find 5 different restaurants, full-service spa, outdoor firepits, pools and sauna.
  • Georgetown Inn (1101 Bow Valley Trail, Canmore): If you’d rather stay right in Canmore, this is such a cute spot, perfect for a little romance. Rooms are tastefully decorated with fireplaces and in-room tubs. The pub downstairs is highly rated, too.

3. Banff: A classic romantic weekend done right

Romantic weekend near Calgary, romantic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel surrounded by mountains and forest

Photo credit: Ezra Jeffrey Comeau from Unsplash.

Yes, yes. You’ve likely been here. A few times. BUT, have you been to THE most romantic hotel arguably in all of Alberta?

I wasn’t going to include Banff, but the Banff Springs Hotel just had to be on this list. If you hate the touristy side of Banff, it’s possible to disengage from it. As for me, I still love the main street ice cream and artisan shops and the lift to the top of the Sulphur Mountain.  

The most romantic thing you can do in Banff is take the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain in the evening. Breathe in deeply as you marvel at the six surrounding mountain ranges from the rooftop observatory. Then, head inside to Sky Bistro for a world-class meal, prepared by an award-winning chef. Watch the sunset or do a little stargazing before heading back down. Tip: If you take the Banff Gondola up after 5pm, you pay 20% less; more money for wine!

During the day, how about getting your adrenaline pumping? While I love whitewater rafting, Via Ferratta has another fantastic idea for you: climbing Mount Rundle by a series of ladders and suspension bridges, while harnessed to a fixed steel cable. This looks incredible

Romantic places to stay in Banff:

  • Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel (405 Spray Ave, Banff): If you’ve never stayed at this hotel, it’ll be the highlight of your romantic weekend away from Calgary. No other place in arguably all of Alberta brings with it the same promise of romantic elegance. The resort was built in 1888, is styled after a Scottish Baronial castle and is a National Historic Site. You’ll have plenty to keep you busy, with a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, 11 restaurants and 14 shops.
  • The Hidden Ridge Resort (901 Hidden Ridge Way, Banff): This is another wonderfully romantic choice, nestled in a wooded area on the outskirts of town. It has a gorgeous outdoor hot tub area and private cabins with real wood fireplaces, balconies and lofts. There’s a free shuttle into downtown and a stocked kitchen so you can make your own delicious meals. We loved it here. 
  • Buffalo Mountain Lodge (700 Tunnel Mountain Dr, Banff): Another rustic romantic getaway in Banff, but this one has a restaurant and lounge instead of hot tubs. Enjoy a wood-burning fireplace and balcony here, too.

4. Lake Louise: The picture-perfect romantic weekend near Calgary

A romantic paddle on Lake Louise

A romantic paddle on Lake Louise. Photo credit: Marcelo Vaz from Unsplash.

Only 40 minutes north of Banff and a 2-hour drive from Calgary is Lake Louise, home to possibly the most pristine scenery you will see in the world. It’s known for the perfectly turquoise, glacier-fed lake and enveloping peaks. Surrounding trails treat you to breaktaking mountain views.

Because of this incredible scenery, the most romantic thing you can do in Lake Louise is explore its natural beauty together. Stroll around Lake Louise; hike up the moderate 3.4km to the Lake Agnes Tea House and continue another 4km to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House; rent a canoe on the lake; and, ride the Lake Louise Gondola up for more breathtaking mountain views, wildlife sightings and delicious food options. 

In winter, the lake turns into a large skating rink with a mini ice castle entrance to make you feel like royalty. Or how about dog sledding, a sleigh ride or snow-shoeing? A glacier walk or ice climbing? Skiing is also a great option in Lake Louise.

Romantic places to stay in Lake Louise:

  • Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (111 Lake Louise Dr): A stunning luxury hotel that rivals the Banff Springs Hotel, with an unbeatable view right along Lake Louise. Your romantic weekend away from Calgary is set: an elegant spa, 8 onsite restaurants, plenty of onsite and nearby activities, and beautiful rooms overlooking the lake.  
  • Post Hotel & Spa (200 Pipestone Rd): This cozy mountain retreat features an onsite spa, restaurant and promises of a well-stocked wine cellar; nice! Plus, it has an indoor saltwater Roman-styled pool, a spa bath in all rooms and fireplace in some, and shuttles every half hour to the gondola and ski resort. 
  • Moraine Lake Lodge (end of Moraine Lake Rd): Tucked away at the end of Moraine Lake Rd (16km from Lake Louise) is another gorgeous but smaller and less busy Moraine Lake and this cozy romantic lodge. You’ll have your own terrace to enjoy the views, access to a highly-rated restaurant and free guided hikes and canoes. 

5. Jasper: Breathtaking drive to a blissfully romantic weekend 

A romantic ride up the Jasper SkyTram

A romantic ride up Jasper SkyTram. Photo credit: bantersnaps from Unsplash.

Can you tell I love the mountains?? 

Jasper is like the Banff of the north … just a little farther away from the main touristy trails, so it doesn’t get as busy as Banff and is still holding onto its chill small-town vibe. 

But I have to admit that what I love MOST about Jasper is the drive along the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93). It’s an incredibly beautiful drive with views around every corner that’ll leave you breathless. 

The drive from Calgary to Jasper is 5 hours, without stops and when the weather is good. Note that you’ll be stopping a lot so the driver can marvel at the views and wildlife (but don’t approach them!). Also note that this drive can be treacherous in winter or poor driving conditions. 

Popular stops along the way include Bow and Peyto Lakes, the Columbia Icefields, Glacier Sky Walk, and Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls. IcefieldsParkway.com is a great resource for planning your perfect stops.

The most romantic things to do in Jasper are visit Athabasca Falls, Maligne Canyon and Miette Hot Springs. Jasper’s SkyTram is also a fabulous idea, being the longest and tallest guided aerial tramway in Canada, giving you gorgeous views of six mountain ranges.

  • Athabasca Falls is a half-hour drive south of Jasper, where the Athabasca River falls in a brilliant cascade in a rainbow of colors, with birds nesting in cliff crevasses above. 
  • Maligne Canyon is 15 minutes east of Jasper. This 50m limestone canyon walk has beautiful waterfalls in summer; but it’s possibly even more stunning as an icewalk tour in winter.
  • Miette Hot Springs is about an hour east of Jasper, with the hottest natural hot springs in all of the Mountain National Parks (cooled for safety and comfort before entering the pools). Choose from 4 pools with different temperatures. You can also hike the historic mine site, source springs along Sulphur Creek, or the more rigorous Sulphur Skyline Trail. 

Romantic places to stay in Jasper:

  • Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (1 Old Lodge Rd): Overlooking the lovely Beauvert Lake, this lodge has a luxury spa, 8 restaurants and an award-winning golf course. In the summer, go swimming and horseback riding; in the winter, skate and cross-country ski on the lake. A perfect romantic getaway from Calgary.
  • Alpine Village Jasper (Athabasca Rd, Hwy 93A): On the southern edge of town and right along the Athabasca River, you’ll find these cozy and private mountain log cabins. Enjoy your wood-burning fireplace and private deck overlooking the river, surrounded by natural woods and a very good chance of your own wildlife visit.
  • Patricia Lake Bungalows (Pyramid Lake Rd): A five-minute drive from Jasper at the end of a private road is this peaceful wilderness retreat on the lovely Patricia Lake. Enjoy your fireplace, private outdoor patio, canoes, hiking trails, outdoor firepit and 10-person hot tub overlooking the lake, and nearby horseback riding stables.

Jasper also has a lot of very cute guest suites, like Rosehip House Loft. If this is your thing, take a look at other options in Jasper through AirBnB.

6. Sylvan Lake Cottage: A fun and romantic weekend at the beach

If a romantic weekend near Calgary feels a lot like a cottage by the lake, Sylvan Lake is the place to go. From Calgary to Sylvan Lake is about a 1.5 hour drive up Highway 2. And Red Deer is only 20 minutes away, with lots of options for evening entertainment.

The most romantic things to do in Sylvan Lake are to rent your own beachside cabin, take a paddleboat out on the lake, and challenge your sweetheart to mini-golf or go-karting. Sylvan Lake has done a great job at developing beachy activities along its main strip, from ice cream, burgers and beach gear to waterslides, go-karts and paddle-boats. 

You can also find some great restaurants in Sylvan Lake. Check out Lokal Kitchen for brunch, Sushi Hon, Bamboo Hut or Aja Sushi for lunch, and Bukz for dinner. 

Romantic places to stay in Sylvan Lake:

Sylvan Lake’s best accommodations are vacation rentals. Here’s the full lists on TripAdvisor.com and AirBnB.ca, and my favorites are below:

  • Cozy A-Frame Cabin (book to confirm): A super-cute, cozy A-frame cabin half a block away from the beach. Its clean, wooden decor is the perfect escape!
  • Maple Leaf Cottage (743 Elk Street, T4S 1R6 Sylvan Lake): A tastefully decorated cottage with a large deck overlooking the lake. This is a super-cute option for unplugging on your romantic weekend near Calgary.

7. Alberta’s Badlands: A pretty cool romantic weekend near Calgary

A romantic sun setting on the canyons of Alberta's Badlands

A romantic sunset in the Badlands. Photo credit: Roxann Corpuz from Unsplash.

Alberta’s Badlands (with the town of Drumheller in the center) take you back to when the dinosaurs roamed … so embrace the kids in you and roam where they roamed!

Now, as much as I like the Royal Tyrrell Museum, it’s always been packed with kids when I’ve gone; not exactly my definition of romance. But if you haven’t been to the museum, it really is a must-do. It’s a very well-done museum, with one of the world’s largest dinosaur displays.

The most romantic thing to do in Alberta’s Badlands is explore its remarkable scenery. Play hide-and-seek in the super-cool hoodoos. Hike Horsethief and Horseshoe Canyons. And if you’re here on a weekend in July, the Badlands Passion Play is amazing, using the natural acoustics of the valley to present this high-calibre production of the greatest story ever told.

Romantic places to stay in Alberta’s Badlands:

  • Kith and Kin Guesthouse (Rosebud; book to confirm address): This super-cool guesthouse used to be a firehall! Its unique and modern furnishings, fireplace and tilting bed to watch the fireplace (located at the foot of the bed), make this a fun and romantic place to stay near Drumheller (half hour drive). The full kitchen is also stocked with coffee, tea and oatmeal for breakfast.
  • Heartwood Inn & Spa (320 North Railway Ave E, Drumheller): A gem in this little town, with oversized beds, in-room jacuzzis, and spa. Visitors love it, and it’s located right in Drumheller.

8. Edmonton: A perfect mix of elegance, fresh air and crazy romantic fun 

Romantic weekend near Calgary, Edmonton city skyline

Photo credit: Alex Pugliese from Unsplash

Edmonton is Calgary’s northern neighbor, most bitter and beloved rival, and Alberta’s provincial capital. And it’s a beautiful city, with tons to offer for a romantic weekend only 2.5 hours away from Calgary.

The most romantic things to do in Edmonton are canoeing along the river, skating or strolling along the night lights at the legislature, and partaking of its fantastic nightlife. My favorite park in Edmonton is Hawrelak Park; come for Shakespeare theatre and symphony concerts in the summer, an ice castle and skating in winter, and a picturesque view of the North Saskatchewan River Valley at any season. As for restaurants, terrific options include Sabor Restaurant, Red Ox Inn or Violino Ristorante. Finish up with a cocktail at the gorgeous Alchemy (5th Floor, JW Marriott).

A hugely popular destination-within-a-destination is, of course, West Edmonton Mall. You can find pretty much any experience you’re looking for here, including your perfect romantic getaway. Stay in a luxury room at the Fantasyland Hotel; enjoy an upscale meal at Cactus Club Cafe; catch a show, hop on a heart-stopping water-slide or roller-coaster, breathe deeply at the spa, or shop ‘til your heart’s content.

But my favorite area to wander in Edmonton is Whyte Ave (82 Ave). It reminds me of Calgary’s Kensington, with its cute little artisan shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs. Grab a coffee, your sweetheart’s hand, and enjoy!

Romantic places to stay in Edmonton:

  • Union Bank Inn (10053 Jasper Ave): This pretty boutique hotel is my favorite kind of place to stay! Elegant decor; a fireplace in every room; suites with a jacuzzi tub; delicious breakfast. Excellent service with the extra touch. It’s near good restaurants and Citadel Theatre.
  • Metterra Hotel (10454 82 Ave): This contemporary boutique hotel is right on Whyte Ave, has comfortable rooms with fireplaces and private balconies, and a daily wine and cheese tasting in their lounge; awesome! 
  • The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald (10065 100 St): This classy historic hotel from 1915 overlooks the river valley, with luxurious rooms, spa and indoor pool. Its afternoon tea on weekends is such an elegant treat, taking you back to the early 1900s. Close to Rogers Place.

9. Vulcan & Lethbridge: Eclectic romantic weekend near Calgary of geek and gardens

Romantic view over High Level Bridge in Lethbridge

Romantic views overlooking High Level Bridge. Photo credit: Graham Ruttan from Unsplash.

For the fellow Star Trek geeks out there (my husband and I’ve binged every single series and movie out there), visiting Vulcan is like coming home! There’s not a lot here other than the Vulcan tourist information center, but the center has a lot of really fun memorabilia and the Enterprise is parked outside. So. Fun!

Since Vulcan is kinda a one-hit wonder and you likely won’t find much to fill the rest of your romantic weekend away from Calgary, I recommend continuing south to Lethbridge. Lethbridge, you ask? Yup. 

Calgary to Vulcan is a 1.5-hour drive; Vulcan to Lethbridge is 1 hour.

The most romantic thing to do in Lethbridge is visit the Japanese Garden. Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden was built in 1967 as a tribute to the contributions of Japanese locals and as a symbol of international friendship. Ideally, time your visit to take in their long-table four-course dinner, Matcha & Mimosas morning brunch, or sumo wrestling Sundays. Open mid-May to mid-October.

If you like parks, check out the nearby Henderson Park and the four below the impressive 1909 High Level Bridge. It’s the longest and highest trestle bridge in the world. 

In the evening and on poor-weather days, explore its galleries, like SAAG and CASA. Or take in a jazz show, symphony or theatre production.

Lethbridge also has some great restaurants and craft beer pubs. For Japanese, check out Lighthouse Sushi Bar & Japanese Restaurant or Dono Sushi; for Canadian or European, Plum or Miro’s; and, Two Guys & A Pizza, Blaze Pizza or Bridge Pizza for … you guessed it – pizza! Finish up with a visit to Coulee Brew or Theoretically Brewing

Romantic places to stay in Lethbridge:

There aren’t a ton of cute options in Lethbridge, unfortunately. Here’s the full listing on Booking.com and AirBnB.ca, and my favorite options below:

  • Prairie Rose Cottage (Orton; book to confirm address): This cute tiny home is half an hour west of Lethbridge, but definitely the cutest option in the area. You have it to yourself, including the private deck and BBQ to watch the sunset, and everything you need in this self-contained little house. Complete with bikes to explore the countryside.
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriott (4081 2nd Ave S, Lethbridge): A decent, highly-rated option that’s comfortable, well cared for, and has a pool, hot tub and good breakfast. Step it up by getting a room with the extra sitting area.

I hope you found some inspiration for your romantic weekend near Calgary. Have other ideas? Share the love below!

Here are other posts you might be interested in:

Featured photo credit: Couple on rock by Timo Stern from Unsplash.

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