Summer is just around the corner
Nestled in the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, the town of Banff is known as a top ski destination; however when the city truly comes to life is during summer! So, with summer arriving in just a few short months we at the Douglas Fir Resort thought we would write a blog to help inspire you to plan the perfect Banff summer vacation.
The Douglas Fir Resort & Chalets
When planning the ideal Banff family summer vacation, you need go no further than the Douglas Fir Resort - we have servicing families down to a fine art! From the fully equipped kitchens to the two storey play-zone, our hotel has been designed to ensure that guests from every age group have a relaxing and fun stay.
The arrival of summer transforms the Douglas Fir Resorts grounds into a luscious, green haven – the perfect place to unwind and absorb the beauty of the National Park. Why not dine with the wildlife (including deer which commonly visitor on the resort grounds) by firing up the BBQ and enjoying a meal outside with the family, or even packing a delicious picnic lunch to eat under the shade of a tree while playing a game of Bocce??
If getting your blood pumping is what you desire, the Douglas Fir Resorts ‘Water Park’ is a must for the entire family! Slip, slide and splash down one of our two magnificent indoor waterslides, or just paddle around in one of our wading pools – perfect for toddlers!
Keen to see the sights in Banff and don’t have a lot of time to plan? Our Banff Summer Splashes package (one of our many fabulous packages) is perfect. The package includes:
-Three nights’ accommodation in the condo of your choice
-Two adult passes to the Banff Upper Hot Springs
-Two adult passes to the Banff sightseeing Gondola
-Two adult passes for the Lake Minnewanka Boat Tours
-One ‘cook your own’ breakfast groceries delivered to your fridge
-One $100 dinner voucher for a participating downtown restaurant.
What more could you want!?
Nothing is more liberating than peeling off your winter layers and taking a dip when summer finally arrives; and what better place to go for a swim than one of the beautiful lakes or rivers surrounding Banff? Here are two of our favorites:
The Cascade Ponds site is a local favorite, especially for family-and-friends barbeques on summer evenings and weekends. The Cascade Ponds swimming area includes:
-covered picnic shelter with wood stove
-outdoor picnic tables with fire-pits
The shallow water and expansive surrounding grassy areas make this a great area for families’ with young children to spend time.
This lake is larger and deeper than Cascade Ponds. The Johnson Lake recreation area includes:
-outdoor picnic tables
-a hiking trail around the lake
-sandy beach area
-a rope swing located on the opposite side of the lake
Banff National Park offers a variety of canoeing and kayaking opportunities for paddlers of all levels. Enjoy the outdoors - make this part of your families summer travel plans this year.
In the Town of Banff, canoes can be rented at Blue Canoe, at the north end of Bow Avenue (also accessible from Wolf Street). From the canoe docks, paddlers who put in directly may choose to explore up a gentle leg of the Bow River or have the option to follow 40 Mile Creek into the Vermilion Lakes. Both routes offer splendid wildlife viewing.
Canoes are also available to rent at Moraine Lake Lodge and at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Hourly rentals allow visitors to paddle up and down these lakes, enjoying majestic views from a unique vantage.
Hiking is arguably one of the most popular activities in Banff all year round. There are a few family-friendly, easy trails around the Banff and Lake Louise area which are under an hour long with minimal elevation change.
We suggest taking the trail to Sundance Canyon and enjoy a picnic or visiting Johnston Canyon early in the morning to avoid the crowds. The lower portion of the Johnston's Canyon walk is handicapped/stroller accessible. Take the short hike to the lower and upper falls, or extend the hike for a few hours and head up to the inkpots. A circuit of Johnson Lake (on the Lake Minnewanka road) takes 30-45 minutes, and there is a picnic area at one point along the north shore.
Fenland Trail near the Banff town site also has a nice picnic area and takes less than half an hour to walk; however this trail is often closed during spring to protect people from over-protective female elk
Biking is a great way to enjoy Banff National Park. The town site itself offers several paved pathways, and bike racks are abundant along the main downtown streets. Rental bikes are available at several stores within the Town of Banff (Backtrax Bike Rentals, Mountain Magic, The Ski Stop, Banff Adventures Unlimited, Banff Springs Ski & Mountain Sports).
Most rental stores also have trail maps that can show you where easy rides are. The flat ride along the Bow River, over the railway tracks, through Fenland Trail and out to the Vermilion Lakes dock is a favorite easy ride for families.
Horseback riding is an integral part of Banff's heritage, and remains one of the most popular activities in the area.
There are several types of horseback experiences to choose from, including:
-Local rides (1 - 3 hours): Spray River, Sundance Loop, Bow River, and Mount Rundle rides, among others
-Overnight excursions with lodge accommodations (2 - 6 days)
-Overnight tent excursions (2 - 6 days)
-Adventure expeditions (6 days) into isolated sections of Banff National Park
When holidaying in Banff, sometimes it is just nice to buy a sandwich, or pack a picnic and recline in the sunshine while the little ones play on one of the many local playgrounds. Banff playgrounds are appropriate for a range of ages and offer lots of opportunities for fun.
Rotary Park – 527 Banff Ave (structure designed for ages 2 – 5)
Banff Elementary School – 327 Squirrel St (structure designed for ages 5 – 12)
Central Park – Buffalo Street at Bow Avenue (structure designed for ages 5-12)
Banff Recreation Grounds - Sundance Road (structure designed for ages 2 – 5)
Adult supervision and appropriate clothing and footwear are recommended. Just enjoying the playground with your family could be part of your summer travel plans.
Summer in Banff – nothing is better!