Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park has been on my husband’s camping bucket list for the last several years, so when we finally got a camping trailer we decided to take a week long trip this past August to explore the area.
We stayed at the Marten River Campground. The campground was very family friendly with a great playground in the center and easy access to the beach and lake. It was a fairly large campground with 112 sites and I loved all the little walking paths and small wooden bridges throughout the grounds.
Our camp site was clean and well kept with plenty of surrounding trees for privacy. There was more then enough space for our vehicle and trailer, plus plenty of room to spread out around the campfire.
Bathrooms were well maintained outhouse buildings throughout the campground and flush toilets and pay showers in the main building near the front booth and dumping station.
Firewood was provided in the park fee and was available in a large central location. For those that enjoy fishing, there were also a couple tables throughout the campground to clean your freshly caught fish.
We got very familiar with the layout of the campground thanks to a fun little Bear Hunt activity they had available through the front gate. The kids were given a list of clues that related to famous bears in books and movies, and you had to go throughout the campground to find pictures of each of the 20 different bears. It was fun, interactive, and admittedly a little trickier then I expected. And, once completed, the kids returned their list to the front gate for a small prize.
The campground does a great job of programming and had several events running out of their outdoor amphitheater. We were able to join one night for campfire bannock and another night my son got to participate in a fun little show about the local wildlife. Camden got to play a bullfrog.
For those with furry family members, there is an off leash area on the north end of the beach, just down from the amphitheatre. We are used to seeing signs to keep dogs off the beach, so it was so nice to have this available right at the campground. It did get pretty busy in the afternoon so we tried to take our dogs earlier in the day to enjoy the sandy beach to ourselves – unfortunately our bulldog doesn’t always play well with others.
We also tried to get out each day to explore the all that Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park had to offer. On the drive in we noticed signs for the Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation so we made the quick drive back up the road as one of our first outings. There were some great exhibits inside as well as crafts and activities set-up for the kids to learn more about birds. For those with an interest in watching and learning more about the different birds in the area, there were also scheduled tours and birdwatching to participate in.
After our visit to the Boreal Centre, we went back up the road to see the Marten Mountain Viewpoint. It was a short drive up the mountain and it was a nice view of the lake from the top.
There are also some great hiking trails from the viewpoint so we ventured a little ways down with the kids and dogs. The hike was fairly short lived with so many short legs, but it was nice to get out and enjoy the view.
Another of our afternoons was spent on Devonshire Beach. I had read good things about this beach so I was excited to check it out. The actual beach didn’t disappoint. The sand was clean and soft and the water was shallow and warm for the kids to enjoy.
I will admit, though, we were expecting it to be a bit more commercialized. With the annual Alberta Open Sand Sculpture Championship & Beach Volleyball Tournament held there every year, I thought there would at least be a concession or ice cream stand on or near the beach. For what was there, we could have just stayed and enjoyed the beach right at the campground.
It was nice and quiet the afternoon we were at Devonshire Beach and we even tried our hand at making our own sand castle. It was a good effort, but I am sure nothing near as impressive as those at the Sand Sculpture Championship.
We also decided to take a drive around the entire lake to fill up one of our days. There was not as much to see as we were hoping, but we did stop for a picnic lunch and took a small hike at Hilliard’s Bay Provincial Park. The campground there was also well kept and right on the lake like Marten River, but a little far from amenities for my liking.
We had a great time at Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park and I do think it would be worth a second visit. It is only 2.5 hours from Edmonton so it is a fairly short trip for us and the camp site had everything we could have wanted. There was plenty to keep the kids busy and happy and I love that there is that off leash area on the beach for my water loving dogs.
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