School’s out, Spring is in. How are you planning to spend it?
If you're looking for a destination that offers the perfect mix of play time and down time, Banff National Park makes the top of the list! For one, it’s easy to get to from major cities in western Canada, taking the hassle out of getting the family from A to B. You’ll also have plenty of chances to get your family out into the fresh air, keeping you connected through shared experiences in the great outdoors.
Sound like a plan? Here are some activity ideas (great for all ages!) to make this a trip you’ll all remember:
1. Skiing and Snowboarding
Spend the day at the hill to get your dose of adrenaline amid the most scenic ski runs the country has to offer. All ski areas – Mt. Norquay, Banff Sunshine, and Lake Louise Ski Resort – offer on-site rentals and slopes appropriate for all levels of ability.
Tip: Spring is the perfect time to sign kids up for ski lessons. Parents get some turns in while kids are learning, and then join up for some family time. Travelling with little ones? Daycare options are available slopeside.
Whether your ski legs have turned to jelly or you’re looking for a different way to enjoy the slopes, try your hand at tubing at Mt. Norquay or Lake Louise Ski Resort. Good news is that you don’t need to walk back up the hill – a towing system gets you to the top for the next run!
3. Hot Springs
The perfect end to a big day of activity, the Banff Upper Hot Springs beckon you to relax and soak up the mineral-rich water. The reward is that much sweeter when the air temperature is cool.
4. Banff Gondola
A trip to the top of Sulphur Mountain is more than a gondola ride with lofty views. Also greeting you at the top are one-of-a kind dining experiences and an interpretive centre where you can learn more about the history, wildlife and landscapes of Banff National Park. From January 24 to April 4 visit the Banff Gondola at sunset to experience the Alpenglow Festival. Stand at the top of the mountain while the sun sets and watch as the sky turns a striking pink and the peaks of the surrounding mountains are illuminated. The best part is warming up around the fire pits, where you can prepare your scrumptious s'mores and sip a specially made Alpenglow cocktail.
In late spring, some hiking trails start to open up, so be sure to pack your hikers! Be sure to check trail conditions in advance, but this guide of Early Season Hikes should get you started on the right track.
6. Local Eats and Après-Ski
Whether you’ve got a pack of hungry teenagers or young, picky eaters, there is no shortage of dining options in Banff and Lake Louise. Dip into fondue together for a truly memorable meal, or enjoy some après-ski appetizers for the ultimate comfort food experience.
7. Indoor Activities
A great way to enjoy Banff as a family is to tuck into a museum or historic site to learn more about the incredible region you’re visiting. Check out the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff Park Museum, Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum or Cave & Basin National Historic Site for some out-of-school learning they’ll truly enjoy.
8. Snacks and Souvenirs
What family vacation would be complete without some street-side indulgences and souvenirs? Stroll the streets, enjoy Banff’s vibrant shopping scene, follow your nose to a tasty treat (try Beaver Tails, Banff Sweet Shoppe, Skoki's, and Mountain Chocolates) and poke around for the perfect memento.
For more ideas to make the most of your family’s next trip, check out Banff and Lake Louise for Families.