Families living in or visiting Calgary already have tons to do with kids in the city, 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, our Weekend Wanderings series would not be complete without the following weekend family itinerary outside of Calgary.
Day 1: Enter the Rockies at Kananaskis
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. Start at Spray Valley Provincial Park, which 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!
Day 2: Head to Banff National Park
From Kananaskis, Banff is only an easy drive west on AB-1/TransCanada Highway. 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.
Day 3: Jasper National Park
If time allows, continue West to 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 back to Calgary: It’s a full half-day drive from Jasper National Park to Calgary: take the TransCanada Highway on a return route toward Banff.
Where will your family wander this weekend? Try these other Weekend Wandering ideas:
- June 28th —Weekend Wandering from Miami: The Florida Keys, Please
- July 5th — Weekend Wandering from Seattle: Washington’s Olympic Peninsula
- July 12th — Weekend Wandering from Atlanta: The Blue Ridge Mountains
- July 19th — Weekend Wandering from Chicago: Family Fun in Indianapolis
- July 26th — Weekend Wanderings from Calgary: Exploring Greater Alberta with Kids
Read Trekaroo’s Family Road Trip Travel Tips