By this point in Calgary Week, we know families visiting Calgary already have tons to do with kids in the city, during the Calgary Stampede or any time of year. But Alberta is such a beautiful province, it would be a shame to neglect to explore the surrounding areas! There’s so many things for families to do in Alberta, no trip would be complete without taking at least one of the following weekend family getaways outside of Calgary.
Banff National Park
Winter or summer, families will enjoy awe-inspiring vistas, outdoor recreation, hiking trails, and pristine alpine lakes at Banff National Park. In summer especially, Banff shines: all the visitor centers are open to visitors, families can explore caves, and ride a gondola to high mountain hiking trails. Canadian Rockies blogger and Trekaroo user Tanya Koob recommends Johnson Lake and Cascade Ponds on the Lake Minnewanka Loop in Banff.
Where to stay: Our editor’s pick is Hidden Ridge Resort. Located on Tunnel Mountain with views that just don’t stop, Hidden Ridge offers suites so families can spread out, access to a free shuttle so mom and dad don’t have to drive, and hiking trails on-site.
Getting there: There’s a good reason Banff National Park is popular with Calgary families: it’s only an easy drive west on AB-1/TransCanada Highway.
Jasper National Park
The largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is a full five hours’ drive from Calgary, but worth every mile. Make it a long weekend trip for time to experience cultural First Nations events, hiking, biking, and park touring. Check the Jasper National Park official site for seasonal events; they’re worth scheduling around! For older kids and adventure-seekers, Maligne Adventures takes families on guided river rafting, hiking, and even winter snow tours.
Where to stay: True outdoor lovers will want to camp in Jasper National Park, or even backcountry backpack in summer months. If you’re looking to add some comfort to your stay, and really want to be pampered, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is a worthy splurge.
Getting there: It’s a full half-day drive to Jasper National Park from Calgary: take the TransCanada Highway past Banff, then take 93 north to Jasper.
Kananaskis is the place to go if you want a taste of the Rockies without departing Calgary for long. Less than one hour away by car, this area is teeming with wilderness and wildlife and yet also offers plenty of comforts. Spray Valley Provincial Park plays host to an entire village of fun, including walking trails and playgrounds. Kananaskis Country is a year-round destination: families flock here for affordable and family-friendly skiing in winter, and rafting and kayaking in summer. Have you been to Kananaskis with your family? We need your reviews!
Where to stay: Locals with the inside scoop tell us the Delta Lodge in Kananaskis is an obvious choice among Calgary families, due to its world-class amenities paired with its ideal year-round location adjacent to ski facilities and golf courses. Kids stay free, and kids six and under even eat free with most packages at the Delta!
Getting there: Just take the TransCanada Highway to 1A from Calgary, getting there in under an hour!
More from Calgary Week:
Welcome to Calgary Week: Win a Calgary Family Vacation
Saddle up for the Calgary Stampede
Weekend Getaways from Calgary: where to go in Alberta with kids
Calgary travel tips: insider ideas for visiting Calgary with kids
Official Canada Launch Announcement