Best Kids Vacations -
Banff Offers Great Things To Do With Kids
Best Kids Vacations
Put Banff and the Canadian Rockies on your list of Best Kids Vacations....
We have great weather during the summer months.
It really doesn't get that hot. In the evenings there's a beautiful breeze that comes off the mountains and cools things down if you have a hot day.
Because the weather is good you and your family could spend your whole vacation just exploring the great outdoors.
What a great experience for you city kids!!! Experience the great vastness of Banff National Park.
If you've arrived on this page without reading my Summer Travel Page with lots more things to see and do in Banff, click here and read on....
Best Kids Vacations - Biking
Is biking part of your summer travel plans? It's a great way to enjoy Banff National Park. Get some good exercise and clean fresh air. Great for the kids!!
Rental bikes are available at several stores in Banff (Mountain Magic, The Ski Stop, Banff Adventures Unlimited, Banff Springs Ski & Mountain Sports).
How about a short ride around town and a relaxing picnic in one of Banff's beautiful parks.
Or enjoy the mountain views from the well groomed grass of the Banff Springs Hotel.
Banff Legacy Trail
As of 2010 Banff is even more bike friendly with the addition of sharrows which will help motorists and bicyclists navigate the roads better. This "new muti-use recreational trail that will run from Canmore to Lake Louise and beyond".
Sharrows alert drivers to the potential presence of cyclists on the road and guide them away from the outside edge of the driving lane, allowing space for cyclists.
Sharrows identify recommended cycling routes, and help to position cyclists for the safest and most efficient shared use of the road.
"Sharrow" markings ease the way for cyclists on designated bike routes. This paved trail will be 3 metres wide and be suitable for walking, bicycling and in-line skating.
You'll be able to access the Cascade Ponds now with out having to cross the highway to reach this popular picnic spot.
This helps cyclists navigate easily from the end of the Banff Legacy Trail at the east entrance of town to Vermilion Lakes Road.
This route will use a short piece of Banff Avenue and then put cyclists onto Cougar, Squirrel, and Elk Streets to head out of town. This trail has incredible scenery and could take you as far as Canmore if you like. It's about 15 km each way.
Best Kids Vacations - Mountain Biking
In Banff National Park, mountain bike riders will find several trails open for riding. Most of these are accessible from the townsite. Other local favourites are at Lake Minnewanka, and further down the road in Lake Louise.
Best Kids Vacations - Bike Touring
For those riders who are seeking pavement, Banff offers a great variety of rides, ranging from one hour to several days in length. Shorter rides originating from the townsite include the trail along the Bow River, Vermilion Lakes Drive and a loop around Tunnel Mountain or Lake Minnewanka Road.
Climbers will enjoy riding the road up Mount Norquay (approximately 5 kilometres from the Highway 1 exit to the Ski Norquay parking lot). More ambitious rides include the Bow Valley Parkway (1A Highway) to Lake Louise and back (approximately 120 kilometres return).
There are several local tour operators who provide guided bicycle tours. Retailers such as The Ski Stop provide a range of services for riders, including a bicycle valet service and a 'shuttle & ride' service.
Best Kids Vacations - Swimming
What would your summer travel plans be with out swimming? There are some local swimming spots where you can relax or play in the water when it warms up at the height of summer.
Best Kids Vacations - Hot Springs
Any Season is a Good Season for a Soak at Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Relaxation is an integral part of any holiday. It's important to fit it into day-to-day life as well.
Your summer travel plans should include great ways to seek relaxation. through a selection of hot springs and spas .
Banff Upper Hot Springs offers visitors the opportunity to soak out-of-doors in soothing hot, 100% natural spring water, surrounded by magnificent mountain views.
Run by Parks Canada, the Banff Upper Hot Springs includes:
100% natural spring water
Year-round access, with extended hours during high tourist seasons
Children's wading area
Spacious changing rooms
Indoor cafe, outdoor snack bar (in summer) and Gift Shop
Pleiades Massage & Spa
Best Kids Vacations - Cascade Ponds
Located off the Minnewanka Loop near Johnson Lake is Cascade Ponds. This open area around a large man-made pond with islands is a fine place to spend a lazy summer afternoon. This lake is at the end of a softly flowing creek. Set against the Banff wilderness, the lake is actually man-made, created for use as a daytime recreation area. The spot features picnic areas, picnic shelters, and camping.
To get there, turn off the Lake Minnewanka Road onto the first gravel road north of the Trans-Canada overpass. Cascade Mountain is visible everywhere.
The Cascade Ponds site is a local favourite, especially for family-and-friends barbeques on summer evenings and weekends.
The Cascade Ponds swimming area includes:
covered picnic shelter with wood stove
outdoor picnic tables with firepits
The shallow water and expansive surrounding grassy areas make this a great area for families with young children to spend time.
Best Kids Vacations - Johnson Lake
About a 20 minute drive from the town of Banff is Johnson Lake. This cold-water lake features a small beach area making it a popular summertime spot for a cool dip.
Picnic tables and a hiking trail that wraps around the shoreline are located here. This lake is larger and deeper than Cascade Ponds.
The Johnson Lake recreation area includes:
outdoor picnic tables
a hiking trail around the lake
sandy beach area
a rope swing located on the opposite side of the lake
The extensive sandy beach area and shallow wading area makes this another favorite spot for family outings. It is often crowded on hot summer days in July and August.
Words of caution: swimming in these lakes is unsupervised, so visitors swim at their own risk.
Most other lakes in Banff National Park are glacier-fed, and thus too cold for swimming, unless you have a good wet suit!!
Best Kids Vacations - Canoeing & Kayaking
Banff National Park offers a variety of canoeing and kayaking opportunities for paddlers of all levels. Make this part of your family's summer travel plans this year...get into the outdoors.
Best Kids Vacations - Canoeing
In the Town of Banff, canoes can be rented at Blue Canoe, at the north end of Bow Avenue (also accessible from Wolf Street). From the canoe docks, paddlers who put in directly may choose to explore up a gentle leg of the Bow River or have the option to follow 40 Mile Creek into the Vermilion Lakes. Both routes offer splendid wildlife viewing.
Experienced canoeists may wish to paddle any of three different legs of the Bow River:
Lake Louise to Castle Junction
Castle Junction to Banff
Bow Falls to Canmore
Canoes are also available to rent at Moraine Lake Lodge and at the Chateau Lake Louise. Hourly rentals allow visitors to paddle up and down these lakes, enjoying majestic views from the water. Summer travel at it's best.
Best Kids Vacations - Kayaking
The lakes surrounding the Town of Banff are inviting to kayakers because of their serene settings and use by wildlife.
The best kayaking spots include:
Two Jack Lake
The Bow River between Castle Junction and the Banff townsite
For experienced whitewater kayakers, some local routes include:
Bow River (Banff Springs Golf Course to Canmore) - Class I-II
Upper Bow River - Class III-V
Pipestone (at Lake Louise) - Class IV
Red Earth Creek - Class V+
Banff Adventures Unlimited offers half-day guided tours in inflatable kayaks, including a scenic "calm water" trip down the Bow River, with instruction in basic kayaking techniques and safety.
Best Kids Vacations - Boat Tours
Explore the largest lake in Banff National Park by boat. This should be on your summer travel plan list. It's beautiful. Lake Minnewanka Boat Tours offers several interpretive boat tours each day. The 1.5 hour cruise is designed to explore the magnificent Lake Minnewanka and its surrounding area.
It's rich with history, native folklore, and geologically-significant sites. The "stuffy engineer" will enjoy this. The highlight of the tour is exploring the Devil's Gap; a glacial path carved through Lake Minnewanka from the foothills of the Rockies.
Lake Minnewanka is 15 minutes from the Banff townsite by car. There's lot of free parking for vehicles and coaches. Lake Minnewanka can also be reached via bicycle (approximately 15 kilometres from the Town of Banff) and by bus, with Brewster Tours.
Best Kids Vacations - Whitewater & Float Tours
River adventures are ideal for keeping cool at the height of summer. For the thrill-seeker, whitewater rafting trips are guaranteed to spark an adrenaline rush. Those who prefer to keep the heart rate manageable will prefer float tours.
Best Kids Vacations - Whitewater Rafting
Several local operators provide different types of whitewater experiences, including:
Banff Ski Hub
Canadian Rockies Rafting Company
Hydra River Guides
Kootenay River Runners
Rocky Mountain Raft Tours
Wet 'N' Wild Adventures Ltd.
Wild Water Adventures
Best Kids Vacations - Float Tours
Some of the most popular float tours in the area are:
Bow River Eco-Float (3 hours), offered by Canadian Rockies Rafting. A leisurely river float with excellent wildlife viewing. A short nature stop allows viewing of wildflowers and other flora. Twilight tours can offer unique alpine lighting and increased beaver activity. Experienced river guides provide interpretive information along the way.
Hoodoos Float Tour (1 hour), offered by Rocky-Peak Holidays: This float launches beside Bow Falls and lands beneath the north face of Mount Rundle. It includes an interpretive presentation by the rafting guide. Bus pick-up is available from The Banff Park Lodge 15 minutes prior to tour departure or the Banff Springs Hotel 5 minutes prior to departure. Otherwise, meet at the launch site.
Rundle Float Tour (2 hour), offered by Rocky-Peak Holidays: This float launches from the base of Mount Rundle’s towering North Face, and covers a section of the Bow River where wildlife, waterfowl, and wildflowers are abundant. At the end of the float, a 15-minute walk returns the group to the bus. Hotel pick-up and drop-off included.
Check out some more great summer travel ideas in Banff and around our Canadian Rockies
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