I always find some new marvel at Banff National Park, and many of my favorite memories there were formed with my daughter who loves to scramble up mountains and search for moose. With its picture-perfect scenery, abundant wildlife, and opportunities to try dozens of outdoor sports, the park is the perfect place for kids of all ages.
Ride the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain so the kids can point at where they want to explore next, go horseback riding along the Bow River for a cowboy adventure, or spoil them with afternoon tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. This sprawling natural wonderland offers plenty to see and do.
Pack layers and don’t forget spare socks and gloves—the mountains can get chilly.
If you only have time for one thing, make it a cruise around Lake Minnewanka.
Banff is filled with hiking trails suitable for all abilities, and exploring the park's trails first thing is sure to build excitement for the adventure ahead. Grab breakfast in downtown Banff (Evelyn’s Coffee Bar is great for baked goods) to fuel up for the day, and consider a guided tour so you can focus on nature rather than deciphering a map.
In the evening, rest your legs on a wildlife bus tour—the park is filled with animals like deer, bears, elk, and sheep, and kids will haave a blast competing to see who can spot which animals first.
Early settlers in Banff arrived on horseback. Let your kids live out their Wild West dreams with a horseback ride and cookout along the wide Bow River. Younger children can participate by riding in a covered wagon. Seasonally, take a cozy horse-drawn sleigh ride through nearby meadows.
Later, reward your little adventurers with a traditional afternoon tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs (make sure to wash away the dust from horse-riding first.)
Ensure you’ve seen the best of Banff with a visit to nearby Lake Minnewanka—this glacial-blue lake is surrounded by hiking trails and is perfect for a morning cruise. Keep the kids involved as you all scan the shore for the wildlife that congregates around the lake.
Get a bird’s-eye view of the land you’ve explored with a trip to the top of Sulphur Mountain—the gondola ride to the top is a favorite for kids, and the interpretive center is full of hands-on exhibits.