Free Camping and Free Fun in Calgary



We got our Passports ready months ago, I saved up my vacation time, and we took this RV International…to Canada! We hadn’t RVd in Canada before, so after an easy border crossing, we were in for some surprises, like, oh yeah, those speed limit signs are in kilometers….not miles, and how much does that gas actually cost in US dollars?! Canada is interesting, because it feels like the US, and is just a short drive over the border, but is also different in many small ways.

Once we got our bearings, we headed into one of Canada’s most populated cities, Calgary, since it was on our way to our next destination. We saw on Campendium that we could stay for one night at the Southcentre Mall on the southern end of Calgary, so we headed there, registered with security, and they told us where we could park for the night. We felt safe here with the all night security present, and the spot was a short walk to the nice mall (that had a play place), and an awesome library, so there was plenty to do. There was also an indoor Farmer’s Market that was a short drive away, operates a few days a week, and has so much to choose from (and a play place as well). It was the best Farmer’s Market we have been to so far!

Our next night in Calgary, we headed a little west to the Grey Eagle Casino where we could once again register with security, and you can stay in a lot there for up to 3 nights. There was a nice park nearby where we went for a walk, and they had some long bike trails and running trails there as well.


Little did we know, during our stay in Calgary, the biggest event of the year for this city was going on. The Calgary Stampede! Lucky for The Free Family, someone clued us in to this, and we saw that on Sunday admission is free, so we headed into the heart of the city to the Calgary Stampede for the day to see what it was all about. All of the road parking spots we could see were taken, so we opted for the easy parking lot right across from the Stampede that was $20 for the day. We quickly realized, before even getting into the gates to the Stampede, that we were in fact part of the stampede, as in, there were sooo many people there for the Sunday free admission!

We also quickly saw that this was a super fun event! With a map and schedule in hand, we headed to some of the free shows that were going on. The first was a dog and horse show where the animals were racing and running obstacles. Our kids are animal lovers, so they were beaming! Our next stop was to the Dog Bowl show, which was very full, and very entertaining! We walked back out into the causeway, and were once again part of the human stampede. People were kind and luckily it was a slow stampede, but we were all walking pretty much on top of each other.

We heard that some of our kids favorite dogs, The Paw Patrol, were going to have a meet and greet, so we made our way ALL THE WAY, to the other side of the Stampede grounds, and finally found our friends Chase and Sky that the kids wanted to take a picture with (ok, I got in one too)! We bought a few ride tickets, and the kids also rode a couple of rides, and we went to a story time with Marshall. By the middle of the day, we had a wonderful time, and we were spent, so we headed back to the RV.

Calgary was a fun surprise, was thoroughly enjoyable, and a safe feeling city from what we saw! It was a great short stop on our way to our ultimate destination that I had been looking forward to for months! More on that next time….


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