Watery Fun Awaits:
A Driving Loop to Amazing Lakes, Beaches and Rivers

Travel Lakeland’s curated adventures will help you explore different aspects of Alberta’s the Lakeland, from outdoor activities to historic places. This one is a road trip—from two to four days—that takes you to beaches, lakes and experiences on the water along a 328 kms stretch from Cold Lake through Bonnyville, to Vermilion and Metis Crossing, near Smoky Lake.

If you love lake life and fun on the water, Alberta’s the Lakeland Region is the place for you. Northeast of Edmonton, the Lakeland makes up less than five percent* of Alberta but has more than a third of its 500 plus lakes. White, sandy beaches and uncrowded lakes offer everything from a quiet paddle, a beachy family get together, or a wild weekend of flyboarding. Enjoy!

Part One

Try flyboarding at one of Canada’s Top 25 Beaches

Make your way to the town of Cold Lake, on the shores of Cold Lake, a lake so massive—373 square kms—it straddles both Alberta and Saskatchewan and is Alberta’s seventh largest.

At the “far” end of Kinosoo Beach, a splendid three-block stretch of soft sand, adventurous types will find Wicked Watersport Rentals. Invite your friends for the ultimate experience, a FlyBoard® Party aboard a pontoon boat, and place bets on who will master the dolphin dive or be able to soar at 14 metres above the water. Guidance is given on how to manoeuvre the tricky water propelled hose attached to a “board” which is attached to sturdy boots you put your feet into.

Other rentals include kayaks, paddleboards, pedal boats and pontoon boats (without the flyboard experience).

Kinosoo Beach, Cold Lake

Voted one of Canada’s Top 25 Beaches by Canadian Geographic, Kinosoo Beach has a children’s playground, concession stand, washrooms, and colourful tent sails that provide shade to picnickers. Zinnia laden flower pots and benches line the promenade. A zipline lets kids drop into the water and a splash park delights younger ones. Further down the beach are volleyball and basketball courts. Besides the wonderful amenities, the broad, long beach has silky sand and a gentle descent into the water, great for everyone, but perfect for younger children.

Cold Lake Municipal Campground is a shady place to camp and walk to the beach. Directly across the road from the beach are accommodations such as Lakeshore Inn or Edgewater Cottage & Suites Waterfront Harbour B & B but there are plenty more campgrounds, bed & breakfasts, and hotel accommodations to choose from.

Quench your thirst with a rooftop view at Cold Lake Brewing & Distilling with a changing roster of brews such as the Honey Lime Lager. Or try their Honey Shine vodka infused with local haskap berries.

Vezeau Beach, Bonnyville

At Vezeau Beach on Moose Lake just a few kilometres outside of Bonnyville, you can rent every kind of watercraft from L & D Marine Rentals. Try a Sea-Doo or pontoon boat to explore yet another big lake in this part of northeast Alberta, Moose Lake. Trails for hiking or biking follow the lakeshore and go all the way into Bonnyville.

Backing the beach at the parking lot, the stunning stone and wood Shaw House is home to a well curated historic display of trader days and a gift shop with such things such as hand carved Leon Mercier walking sticks, S’more packs and fish pillows that perfectly depict the actual fish. How novel!

Vezeau Beach Campground is right on the beach with 23 full service sites. Also on Moose Lake, is Moose Lake Provincial Park, Pelican Point Municipal Park and Franchere Bay Provincial Recreation Area, where Franchere Rentals have boat AND cabin rentals.

Part Two

Paddle on the Vermilion River

Vermilion Provincial Park is a hidden gem along the Vermilion River’s south shore. Five kilometres of paved trails beckon as well as 15 kilometres more in the backcountry. Burnt Rock Adventures rents kayaks, paddleboards and canoes for people to paddle on the Vermilion River.

The river is slow moving and calm, making it easy for novice paddlers and enjoyable for birders.

After your paddle, grownups may want to sample snacks and another type of liquid refreshment at Copper Cork Distillery on Main Street with hand crafted cocktails, such as the Vermilionaire including raspberry moonshine.

Paddle into the past at Metis Crossing

Métis Crossing Interpretive Centre — built on the original river lots of Métis settlers—is an ideal place to explore Alberta’s—and Canada’s— Métis history, while having a fantastic experience on the land, or in this case, the North Saskatchewan River.

It’s Signature Experience—Paddle into the Past—guests will head out on a big traditional canoe ( I can double check but I think they are called Voyageur canoes) to Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site, take in arts and crafts, and enjoy an end of the day dance! As you take in the day’s Métis traditions, try bannock over an open fire, and learn even more about the Métis.

Métis Crossing also offers a range of experiences from painting with Indigenous artists to taking a shot at archery. On more than 600 acres of riverbank land, the site consists of a 40 room lodge, cultural gathering centre, boat launch and river access, various barns, gardens and dwellings, camping area, playground, outdoor stage and fire circle classroom.

Camp, overnight in the lodge or, better yet, book a luxury Sky Watching Dome for two, or a family suite for up to six people.

Make extra time:

Cold Lake Mountain Bike Park and Trails - a hot spot for cyclists

Kinosoo Ridge Aerial Adventure Park - select from 40 challenges 60 feet off the ground! Amazing lake view!

The Old School Cheesery - a small family run cheesery with in house shop with patio and eight table restaurant in Vermilion. A hit is the Harvest grilled cheese sandwich with brie, ham with bacon jam on sourdough bread topped with sea salt and thyme.

* Alberta is 662,848 square kilometres. Alberta’s Lakeland is almost 36,000 square kilometres.