A buffalo traffic jam is a situation Google Maps can’t prepare you for! With hundreds of bison roaming free Elk Island National Park, you might spot a herd grazing in an open meadow or stop in the middle of the highway with steam rising from their woolly coats in the morning. Just 35 minutes east of Edmonton, Elk Island offers some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in North America. Pro tip: Plan to visit the park during the week to avoid the crowds, as Elk Island is currently operating at limited capacity.
The park is also part of the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve, which means it’s a stellar place for stargazing. Bring a blanket, a basket full of late night snacks (ahem, stock up on delicious food at the local restaurants and bakeries – check out our huge list here) and contemplate the starry sky where you will see star clusters, nebulae and galaxies.