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The flat farmland and forest near Grande Prairie, Alberta, is a stark contrast to the rugged Canadian Rockies not too far from the south. Grande Prairie is a small city in northwest Alberta, six hours northeast of Prince George, and five hours northwest of Edmonton. You wouldn’t know it by the farmland surrounding the town, but Grande Prairie is rich in dinosaur fossils, and visitors driving an RV rental in Alberta can take tours of fossil sites and walk through museums full of old bones.
Grande Prairie wasn’t incorporated as a city until the late 1950s, but its history dates back much older than that. European settlers began trading with the native peoples in the early 19th century, and the Hudson Bay Company eventually established an outpost here in 1881. Farmers eventually began developing the land, and as more settlers poured into the area, economies in natural gas, oil, and timber also popped up. These economies are still active in Grande Prairie, as well as recreation. If you book an RV in Grande Prairie, you’ll find plenty of parks and campgrounds to enjoy here before heading south to the magnificent Jasper and Banff National Parks.
Grande Prairie is home to several amazing parks, many colocated with campgrounds for your motorhome rental. Muskoseepie Park is a municipal park with over 1,100 acres that run through Grande Prairie. The park has numerous distinct zones for all types of activities. You’ll find a pond for fishing in the summer, more fishing in Bear Creek Reservoir, and ice skating in the winter. The lake is also great for kayaking, canoeing, and picnicking. One corner of the park hosts Crystal Lake, a small refuge with interpretive signs featuring the waterfowl that migrate through here. You'll also find 17 miles of both paved and dirt trails for hiking and biking.
The first of a few provincial parks in Grande Prairie is O’Brien Provincial Park. This small, peaceful park is along the scenic Wapiti River. Here, you can enjoy kayaking, fishing, mountain biking, and nearly three miles of hiking trails. Half of the trails are paved and wheelchair-accessible.
Saskatoon Island Provincial Park is one of the bigger provincial parks near Grande Prairie at 250 acres. It’s not really an island as much as it’s an isthmus between Saskatoon Lake and Little Lake. This park is excellent for wildlife viewing and birdwatching, and many birders come here to view the rare trumpeter swan. Other animal species include deer, beaver, and muskrat. Two and a half miles of paved, flat trails wander through marshy wetlands and dense forests. The lakes are also great for canoeing and kayaking, though swimming isn't recommended.
There are several great places to camp with your RV rental in Grande Prairie, and all of them accept pets. Country Roads RV Park is on the western edge of Grande Prairie and is open spring through fall. This park features 115 sites, all with full water, sewer, and electric hookups with 15-amp, 30-amp, and 50-amp connections. Other amenities include showers, laundry, and internet. Activities near Country Roads RV Park include hiking, golf, and shopping. There's also an indoor recreation room, and the park hosts a corn maze in the late summer and fall.
Grand Prairie Rotary Campground is on the northwest side of town, in Muskoseepie Park. This RV campground is open from the spring through fall and features a total of 61 sites. The sites are a mix of pull-through and back-in; 40 sites have electric and water hookups, and the other 21 sites have full hookups with 30-amp electric. There's also a dump station at this park for RVers who can’t get a sewer connection. This is a large, open campground with sparse trees and plenty of walking trails with flowers and wildlife. Campground amenities include showers, laundry, Internet, and a playground.
Camp Tamarack RV Park is also open spring through fall and is located a few miles south of Grande Prairie, close to Wapiti Sand Dunes and O’Brien Provincial Park. Camp Tamarack features 89 pull-through and back-in RV sites with water and either 30-amp or 50-amp electric. Sewer connections are also available at 51 of these sites, and there’s a dump station conveniently located for everyone else. Each site has a picnic table and a fire pit. Other amenities include showers, bathrooms, laundry, and internet.
If you’re going to get a camper rental in Grande Prairie during winter months, check out Nighthawk Year-Round Adventure Park, five minutes south of Grande Prairie. This RV park features 72 sites, all of which have electric and water connections. An additional 22 sites also offer a sewer connection. Nighthawk Adventure Park has plenty of hiking trails, a mountain bike park, and hosts several winter activities.
Discover Grande Prairie’s dinosaur ancestors at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum or tour the Pipestone Creek bonebed. You’ll find additional fossils at the Grande Prairie Museum, which also features displays from the pioneer days. Historic Heritage Village is another attraction where you can see what early pioneer life was like. Grande Prairie seasonal festivals include the Maple Sugar Festival in the spring, an homage to pioneer descendants and regional candies. Folk musicians and artists from all over the world perform at the Bear Creek Folk Festival in late fall.
Grande Prairie has plenty for art lovers also, with several galleries and museums to enjoy. Walk through the living studio at the Centre for Creative Arts or see what regional artisans have created in painting, woodwork, and sculpture at the Grant Berg Gallery. The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie often hosts events and auctions of their vast collection of beautiful artwork.
There are more than enough gas stations and resupply stores in Grande Prairie. You can also find some fresh regional fare at Grande Prairie’s numerous steakhouses and grills. It’d be a good idea to resupply here before heading south; if you drive your Alberta motorhome rental in any other direction, you’ll still have enough refueling opportunities in nearby towns like Dawson Creek and Rycroft.