We may be in the middle of winter, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay huddled up indoors! Banff's a scenic escape from the hubbub of the city during the colder months. A chance to reconnect with nature, and with one another. It's the perfect place to bring the family for a beautiful winter experience.
From the snow-covered mountains, to the frozen lakes—this picturesque little town epitomizes the cozy wonder of winter. To prove it, we’ve planned out the perfect day trip in Banff below!
Start your morning the right way with a breathtaking drive through the Rocky Mountains, straight after breakfast. Banff is only one and a half hours from Calgary, making it a favourite destination for local families. Don’t forget to pack your warm clothes, ice-skates and a swimsuit!
Tip 1: Kids go free before noon, so get there before 12 PM!*
Begin your exploration of Banff at the summit of Sulphur Mountain—the only mountaintop accessible to the public in winter. On weekends the experience is incredible with a number of activities that celebrate the magic of winter in the mountains. From rooftop firepits overlooking breathtaking views, to sampling a Canadian delicacy (maple toffee), to storytelling and even stargazing with an astronomer—there is no shortage of things to do! Learn more
The Junior Explorer Program at the Banff Gondola encourages both parents and kids to explore the Rockies with various interactive activities, and the interpretive centre is a great place for the kids to learn more about the area while having fun!
Stay for a delicious lunch at Northern Lights—try the Northern Lights Lunch Package from 11 AM – 3:30 PM, which includes lunch with your Banff Gondola admission.
*Gondola packages are not combinable. Alberta Locals Discount and Northern Lights Package can be booked online. Kids Go Free offer must be booked in person at the Banff Gondola or an Explore Rockies location, one free child admission with each paying adult.
Next on the agenda is a relaxing soak in the Upper Hot Springs. Conveniently located next to the Banff Gondola, the steamy, natural mineral water is a luxurious spot to take a dip and warm up, and has enough room for the kids to splash around.
Next, liven things up with a trip to the local ice-skating pond in Banff’s Central Park. Always a favourite with the kids, this sizeable ice-rink surrounded by the dramatic landscape provides an enormous amount of fun and excitement. If you’ve never skated before—this is the perfect place to test out your skills!
Tip 3: Don’t have ice skates? Banff’s got you covered—you can rent skates from places like Bactrax or Banff Arena.
Grab some grub at one of the many family friendly restaurants in town such as Ricky’s All Day Grill, where the kids can join Panko the Pug in completing activity booklets and card games. Other options include Earls, with a great selection of items on the kids menu, and Sushi House, where the whole family can be entertained by the sushi train.
After an action-packed day out in the fresh mountain air, you can leave the enchanting town of Banff behind and head back to the city feeling rejuvenated, with great new memories and the kids fast asleep in the back seat.