If Banff, Alberta is not on your bucket list of places to visit, then you should definitely put it on. But make sure to put it near the top as Banff is world renowned for its infinite views, wildlife sightings, adventure and of course relaxation. Banff truly has something for everyone and is a great place for families to come and explore in the summer months. Check out these 7 summer activities to do around Banff with kids.
Tour the Town of Banff
The town of Banff is a great place to spend the day and mix in some outdoors views, shopping and good food. While taking in the surrounding mountains walk from the town site or drive to Bow Falls for a picnic and pictures. Then, enjoy some shopping at the many clothing stores. Make sure to enjoy Ice Cream at COWS and head to Beaver Tails to enjoy a famous Beaver tail pastry. If the kids get restless then be sure to check out the Banff central park playground.
Visit Lake Louise
A 40 minute drive from Banff is the famous Lake Louise. Lake Louise is famous for its turquoise water, caused by “rock flour” which is a result of the glacier silt that runs off the glacier, and the gorgeous view on the glacier and surrounding mountains. Try to visit around 9:00 am to avoid the crowds. Make sure to tour the famous Fairmont Lake Louise hotel and browse the gift shops. For families with older kids and with moderate fitness consider hiking to the tea house which is 3.6 km over 400 metres of elevation. More information about the tea house can be found here.
Summit Tunnel Mountain
If your kids have not summited a mountain then now is the time! Tunnel Mountain boasts gorgeous views of Bow Valley, Mount Rundle and the town of Banff. Start at the bottom trailhead to complete the 2.3km (4.3km roundtrip) with 300m elevation up the mountain. If you want to make it shorter then park up on Tunnel Mountain Road for younger hikers. Please note that Tunnel Mountain Road is closed in the winter. While not for all toddlers to complete on their own feet, our 3 year old completed this hike last summer. Be prepared for some incline with proper hiking attire, extra water and lots of snacks!
Banff Natural Hot Springs
Located up the hill from Banff are the Banff Natural Hot Springs. Relax in the famous hot water that is heated naturally by the earth. Adults and children alike love to soak in the hot mineral water and unwind after a day hiking of exploring the town site or hiking in the mountains.
Visit Sunshine Village
Drive 20 minutes from Banff and visit Sunshine Village. Ride the famous gondola 7,200 feet (2,200 m) up the mountain. Hike from the top of the gondola to enjoy the beautiful Sunshine meadows and head to Rock Isle Lake. Opening this year for the first time during the summer is the new Standish chairlift that takes you up 2,200 metres to enjoy 360 degree views of the Canadian Rockies. Return back down and enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants before taking the Gondola down the mountain.
Hike Johnston Canyon
Johnston Canyon is a beautiful hike just a 30 minute drive from Banff. The first 1.1 km takes you along the deep canyon walls on a catwalk with an elevation gain of only 30 metres where you end at thundering waterfall. Cross the bridge and enter the cave for to experience the waterfall up close.
Tip: If your family is new to hiking, get a few tips for hiking with kids.
If the family is feeling energetic then head up the trail into the trees for another 1.5km and 120 metres of elevation gain to the Upper Falls. There are two views of the waterfall, one at the bottom along another catwalk or head up a few metres to view the waterfall from above.
Banff Gondola Up Sulphur Mountain
Glide up Sulphur Mountain and enjoy expansive views of 6 remarkable mountain ranges. From the top walk along the ridge top boardwalk for 360 views. After enjoy hiking the Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk Interpretive hike. Be prepared to encounter squirrels, bighorn sheep, marmots and a variety of native birds but make sure keep some space and don’t feed them or try to touch them!
Get out and visit Banff with the family!