The visitors are coming! Living in Calgary, the gateway to Banff National Park, arguably Canada’s most beautiful protected space, we delight when family and friends announce vacation plans here. However when multi-generational families arrive, our good host alarm bells go off. How will we find Banff family activities that toddlers with tantrum throwing potential, eye-rolling teens, parents and grandparents can agree upon?
“Can we eat now?”
“I really can’t walk that far.”
I feel a headache coming on.
Whether you live in Calgary, or are looking for family holiday ideas from the other side of the world, these Banff activities are crowd-pleasers. All within minutes of downtown Banff, you can drive and park at Mount Norquay or take the free shuttle service.
Banff Family Activities – Something For Everyone
Banff Tube Park – Downhill thrill and no experience required
This Canadian farm girl spent many winters with her toboggan in search of snow-covered hills to slide on. Coming to Banff with kids, or adults who want to feel like kids again, the Mount Norquay tube park offers stunning mountain views.
With eight, groomed lanes, the inflatable circular discs send Banff visitors squealing and giggling down Alberta’s largest tube park. All one needs to do is sit down, hold on and grin.
At the end of the ride there is no need to walk uphill. A magic carpet moving sidewalk takes tubers back to the top. Of all things to do in Banff, this one gets our vote for best multi generational vacation ideas. The fun is appropriate for ages 4 to 104, although little ones must be 42 inches tall.
For the wee ones not making that height cut off, a free play park is available. It includes a tubing merry go round, where your littlest family members can lie in a small inflatable tube and spin slowly.
The North American Lodge at the base of the tube park is a good spot for watching the fun with a cup of steaming hot chocolate.
Interested in visiting Banff Canada? Read these.
Banff’s Best Kept Secret View
It would be rare to find a visitor in Banff, who is not determined to find the best Banff view of the postcard mountain panorama. Who can blame them? Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest protected parkland and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has been beckoning world travelers for over 125 years with it’s endless valleys and jaw dropping mountain peaks.
Of all the Banff attractions, finding a spectacular mountain photo is often high on visitors wish lists. However, Banff National Park sees more than 3 million visitors a year.
Here’s our secret to avoid elbowing crowds and one of the best things to do in Banff.
There is no need to put on your skis or snowboard to ride the North American chairlift to views of Banff that need to be seen to be believed. (Not to worry the staff will give you instructions and a safety bar will keep you secure.)
The panoramic views, sometimes above the clouds, will make this Banff family vacation one not soon to be forgotten. This is also the start point for Mount Norquay’s Via Ferrata routes. One of our top suggestions for those wanting the best Banff adventure.
Lunch in Banff at 7000 feet
Steps from the chair lift and viewing platform, the Cliffhouse Bistro provides one of the most stunning restaurant views in the world. With Mount Rundle hovering over the Banff town site, mountain sheep are known to casually stroll by.
Originally built as a tea house in the 1950’s, the renovated Banff restaurant now takes on a look of modern chalet. Visited by Marilyn Monroe in 1953 during filming of or River of No Return, today’s main attraction is the can-you-believe that lunch view.
Information on hours of operation for the Cliffhouse Bistro can be found here.
Young or old – Banff is a great place for ski lessons
My husband attempted to teach me to downhill ski as an adult 40 years ago. That day ended with me sprawled on the snow and ski gear lying about as though I had been in a tornado, Dave with a head wound and some words between us not fit for publication.
Never try to teach your friends, families or visitors to ski is our motto. Whether the first time on snow or coming back to skiing after years away, a lesson from an expert is what we recommend.
In speaking about lessons for children to Gord Fielding , director of Mount Norquay’s snow school, “Success is that they want to come back and are smiling.”
“We don’t force a child to move.” explains Gord. “It’s all about the kids and if the kids don’t want to move, the instructor will play games on the spot.”
Our recent adult visitor embraces the never-too-old-to-learn philosophy and signs on for adult lessons while her sons snowboard on nearby runs. Turns out her smile is as big as our granddaughter’s after her 2-hour group lesson.
Explore the snowy wonders of Banff winter activities
What if someone in your family doesn’t want to ski, snowboard, ride the chairlift or tube? How about taking a walk or snowshoeing in a what resembles snow globe? It’s as easy as putting one foot in front of the other in this Banff mountain paradise. Snowshoe rentals are available on site.
Cheers to your Banff family trip
What about the guest who just wants to head to the pub? The Lone Pine, on the second floor of the Cascade Lodge offers a full-service menu. May we suggest the ‘Norquay 94’ beer from local Banff Brewing Co?
When the rest of your multi generational crew finishes their family activities in Banff you can compare notes over snacks in the après-ski venue. All ages are welcome.
What would be your top pick of Banff family activities?
We are ambassadors for Mount Norquay and as such we receive mid week ski passes.