Family summer triip to Banff

Old Feb 20th, 2008, 04:18 PM
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Family summer triip to Banff

We are in the initial stages of planning a summer trip to Banff/Canadian Rockies. We'll be travelling with a 5-yr old.

Can anyone offer suggestions as to where to stay, things to do, etc...? Our itinerary is open and flexible. We'll probably be there for a week to 10 days.

Thanks for any adivce or ideas!
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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 07:34 AM
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well, i'm assuming you are going to move around a bit. in banff, i'd consider http://www.douglasfir.com/ - if your kid likes water and slides, it's a fun place to stay. there are separate chalets or main lodge. i'd stay 3 nights in banff.
if you want to check out lake louise area check out this place http://www.cathedralmountain.com/index.html - looks nice. budget, look at the hostel that gets great reviews or high end, the post hotel.
i love jasper - much more layed back then banff - i'd stay there for 3 nights.
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Old Feb 27th, 2008, 03:32 PM
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Hi stayed in Canmore last due to prices of hotels in Banff in July and it was very very noisy. The train runs through the town every 15 minutes.The track is right behind most of the hotels. So try to stay in Banff if you can.
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 11:50 AM
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Banff, Lake Louise, and Field, BC are all also on that rail line - the CP (Canadian Pacific) main line. In fact, the railway is the very reason that Banff National Park was created!

You will not be able to totally escape the sound of the trains, as the valley is only a few km's wide and you share it with the tracks, but if you do not stay immediately adjacent to the tracks, it's not too bad. Personally, I love the sound of the rumble of diesel engines echoing up the valley at night when all is quiet - and also echoes of far-off whistles (but nearby ones are VERY annoying).

I would suggest you visit the local tourist authority websites, as well as Parks Canada's to answer your very basic questions:

www.banfflakelouise.com
www.jaspercanadianrockies.com
www.pc.gc.ca (then choose the park of your choice - Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay)

Some accommodation websites:

www.stayinjasper.com
www.bbcanmore.com
www.bbcanada.com
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Old Mar 1st, 2008, 07:48 AM
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Hi! We have stayed often in Canmore at the mystic springs,best western and what used to be a residence inn but now is part of the grand vacation timeshare properties. We have never been bothered by the train! What were you looking for as far as accomodations? Something with a kitchen, waterslide, restaurant? There are many condo units in canmore. Windtower Lodges, Falconcrest Lodge, Mystic springs,Firemountain lodge just to name some. Mystic springs, the best western ,The Lodges at Canmore as well as the new Blackstone lodge all have pools, something you'd probably like with a child.
If you stay in Canmore, it's also about an hours drive to Calgary. There you could go to the zoo, Heritage Park, and Calaway Park which is a moderate sized amusement park with rides, etc.
The Kananaskis area is also nice. We were there years ago when our kids were young and did some managable hiking/walking. There was also a beautiful mountain lake that we fished at, was too cold to swim in,but the kids enjoyed fishing. There is also a Delta hotel there that looks nice and might have kids activites. You could also white water raft. I've heard there is a very mild one that might be suitable for you.
Of course Banff has the hot springs, sulphur mountain, as well as activites that you can look into at the Park's office on Main Street. Not too far away is Lake Louise and Johnson Canyon.
It is a very beautiful area and I'm sure you and your family will have a wonderful time.
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Old Mar 8th, 2008, 08:35 AM
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Thanks to everyone for the suggestions! You've given us lots of info and places to consider!

We could go anytime in July or August. Is there a time that is better?
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Old Mar 8th, 2008, 11:10 AM
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July and August are prime, high season. June and September are also high season, but with the kids in school, there's not quite as many people travelling and it's not quite so busy then.

The summer long weekends are the busiest of the busy season - Canada Day (July 1) and the first weekend of August. Book well ahead if you are travelling then!
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Old Mar 9th, 2008, 03:56 PM
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Assuming your 5-yr old is reasonably responsible (ie will keep a life jacket on and stay sitting when asked ), be sure to hire a canoe on Moraine Lake or Lake Louise (both at/near Lake Louise) - about $35 for an hour as I recall, and all the kids we saw were having a wonderful time. Even if you don't canoe, both lakes are pretty good for novice canoers since they are smallish without very hard currents to cope with, so you are not likely to have big problems.
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Old Mar 10th, 2008, 08:03 AM
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With respect to your question about visiting in July or August - although both months are busy, July tends to be a bit less so, especially the first two weeks. I've lived in the Canmore/Banff area for over 10+ years, and that is my personal observation.
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Old Mar 18th, 2008, 03:40 PM
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NinaM -- How about late Sept/early Oct? Does it get very cold and wet? Thanks.
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Old Mar 24th, 2008, 07:47 AM
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Shanghainese - sorry it's taken me so long to respond (have been away).

Late Sept or early October is far less busy that the summer months - seems to be the time alot of seniors/retirees hit the road. At that time of year weather can be great, especially September, but like anywhere there could be rain. There could be snow on the peaks in October, but not at ground level.
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Old Mar 24th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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Banff is a great place to visit. My wife and I were there on a hiking trip last summer and stayed at a bed and breakfast www.banfftreetops.com which was excellent. My brother went with 3 young kids and stayed at the Hidden Ridge Resort - www.bestofbanff.com which suited them as they had a kitchen and were away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. The restaurants are mostly kid-friendly - we were impressed by the Pub St James Gate which gave our nephews coloring books & crayons to keep them amused while we ate!! The Banff Gondola is great for kids, as are the rafting tours which depart from below Bow Falls.
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