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As one of the only outfitters in Cochrane who offers guided paddleboarding trips, Kelsey Baldwin is on a mission to get Albertans out on the water.

Tours with Kelsey’s Caravan help Albertans experience the diverse geology and landscape of the province’s waterways, no matter their level of experience.

“It’s kind of fascinating how we have this beautiful river that flows right through town, but it’s not utilized very much,” Kelsey says. “The river can be very intimidating for some people. They’re scared of it. It’s moving water, and there’s a lot of unknowns for folks who have never experienced a river before.”

Kelsey’s Caravan offers guided lake and river adventures for Albertans from all walks of life.

Kelsey wanted to find a way to make river and lake adventures accessible for people from all walks of life. And that’s how Kelsey’s Caravan was born.

It all started after a camping trip with friends back in 2018. Kelsey had already made a habit of exploring Alberta’s beautiful outdoors when her friends suggested she should turn her passion into a business.

To bridge the gap between newbies hitting the water with little to no safety knowledge, and experienced adventurers investing in full-blown courses and expensive gear, Kelsey provides guided trips with instruction about basic safety and paddle skills. She takes care of all the logistics - including gear, transportation, and a knowledgeable guide - so all visitors need to worry about is having a good time.

“We talk about river safety, the do’s and don’ts of being on your paddleboard, introducing some very basic paddle strokes,” Kelsey says.


It helps people feel confident moving around by themselves on the river.

Kelsey Baldwin, owner of Kelsey’s Caravan

Kelsey also loves highlighting other activities people might want to check out around Cochrane, including the best cafés, restaurants, and other water sports.

“Cochrane is Alberta’s fastest growing community,” says Jo-Anne Oucharek, Executive Director of the Cochrane Tourism Association. “When people come to an area to do activities like paddleboarding, they spend about 80% of their money dining and shopping after.”

“Cochrane is a beautiful middle ground between the mountains and Calgary,” Kelsey says. “It’s a great playground for people who are travelling through or coming from Calgary, and for locals who are realizing how much there is to do here.”

The response from the community has been heartwarming, Kelsey says. She is especially moved by the women who’ve told her they never would have experienced these adventures without her.

“A lot of women are intimidated to get into a new sport," she says. "They don’t see a lot of other women who are certified and understand the mechanics of the sport they want to get into. Whether that's starting hockey, baseball, paddleboarding, kayaking, a whole wide array of sports that people want to get into.”


I’ve had people tell me, ‘I never would have thought to get on the river on a paddleboard by myself if I didn't go with you first.’

Kelsey Baldwin, owner of Kelsey's Caravan

“That’s exactly why I’m doing what I’m doing – to get people out there for the first time and trying something new.”

Now, with funding from Travel Alberta, Kelsey can offer guided tours more often and at a more affordable cost, helping beginners more easily get out to experience the water.

“It allows me to have my own fleet of boards and schedule as many trips as I want at any time of the day," she says. "I won't have to rely on the availability of gear and schedules at rental shops."

This flexibility will be life-changing for Kelsey’s business, which she hopes can one day serve as an adventure hotspot in the Bow Valley, offering a variety of self-sustaining, eco-friendly tiny homes where people can stay and play affordably.

“That’s the big goal,” Kelsey says. “To offer accommodations and partner with local businesses to give people the adventure trip of their dreams.”

For now, Kelsey is excited to expand on her guided lake and river trips.

“Applying for funding was such a smooth experience,” she says. “Between Travel Alberta and the Cochrane Tourism Association, they had good communication, prepped me throughout the grant process, and gave great advice and feedback. I’m really grateful for that.”

Kelsey’s Caravan received funding through Travel Alberta’s Product Development Innovation Fund. This fund helps existing tourism businesses and communities purchase new capital assets, diversifying the product offering and/or visitor experience.

Investing in Alberta tourism

Last year, Travel Alberta invested in 249 tourism projects across the province. We are dedicated to collaborating with industry and stakeholders to grow our visitor economy. Together, we can position Alberta for a prosperous future that benefits visitors and residents.

Find out how your business can benefit from investment funding.

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