Who has annual family vacations that they hold dear to their heart and cannot wait to be able to enjoy every year? Hands up!
We always always go to Banff in December and Kelowna in the summer and those are our two favourite family destinations. This year we decided to make a bit of a combo by hitting Banff on the way home from our Kelowna trip. We of course had to stay at the Banff Caribou Lodge which as you know is our favourite Banff hotel. The Caribou Lodge has beautiful rooms, the staff is always so friendly, there is a Keg restaurant in the hotel which has a great brunch and perfect for dinner before heading to the room, the best large hot tub pool and of course our favourite spa.
This trip I wanted to really share with you what there is to do as a family in the summer when you stay at the Caribou Lodge. Banff was a lot different than when we visit in the winter mostly because there is no snow but also because the town is a lot busier than we are used to. It was really nice to be able to go for a drive, enjoy the beautiful blue lakes, hikes and the warm days. So here are some of our favourite things to do in Banff in the Summer plus our favourite hotel!
The Banff Caribou Lodge:
We have stayed in this suite several times now and already have it booked for our winter vacation. This room has the biggest large windows that overlook Banff Avenue and the mountains. It’s called the Mountain Loft Jacuzzi Suite and we love it because it allows us to have our own private room located in the loft, the kids sleep downstairs in the main room and we all get to enjoy the jacuzzi at night after a busy day. There is also 2 bathrooms which always helps when you have multiple people sharing one bathroom. The hot tub is our favourite place to spend time, it is a really large hot tub that the kids can swim around in while we relax and enjoy the warmth. Hubby also really loves the steam room so he’ll disappear in there for a bit. In the morning you can pop into the Keg for breakfast which we decided to do this trip and really enjoyed their buffet, the kids also loved all the options and pancakes! If your feeling like you need a spa date we HIGHLY recommend the spa! It’s so peaceful and a great way to sooth your soul from all the craziness of life.
THINGS TO DO:
Road Trip – Our favourite thing to do is to drive and look for animals and luckily this year we came across 2 bears, a herd of elk and a bunch of deer. Here are a few of our favourite places to drive.
- Minnewanka Loop – This was our favourite loop as we saw a lot of animals on this loop especially if you go late at night around sunset that is when they really start to come out. Plus the perk of this loop is the beautiful lakes you get to stop at on the way.
- Bow Valley Parkway – This is the drive that takes you to Johnston canyon. You would think that because it is the drive to a very populated area this wouldn’t be a great spot but because it is a bit more of a secluded road there it is a beautiful drive.
- Tunnel Mountain Road – There are some beautiful spots to pull off and take a look at the beautiful mountains all around you. One has the best view of the mountains and is perfect for taking photos and the other has these fun red lawn chairs that you can sit in and just soak it all up. Plus it makes for a fun photo spot from the behind looking at the mountains.
Kayak on the Lakes – These lakes are so crystal clear and the prettiest blue aqua colour that you just want to be able to enjoy. This trip we didn’t have a kayak because we just didn’t own one but when we were driving the Minnewanka loop there was this couple that just came in from their kayak trip and had this 2 man inflatable kayak. It was awesome! So of course we asked them about it and then promptly went and ordered on. So we haven’t used out in Banff yet but we have used it at our lake and LOVE it! Even though we didn’t use it on this trip I’m sharing it here because we will ALWAYS be using going forward. It folds down into this carrying case and was really easy to blow up. Such a good thing to have when you want to experience the lake but don’t want to pay a fortune for the kayak or travel with it on a roof rack.
Johnston Canyon – I LOVED this!! We really tossed this one up in the air because Brayden can be slightly crazy with no fear for danger… hence our 3 trips to the hospital for stitches already. Once was in Banff… So taking him near a canyon with a big fall into rapids sounded a little iffy… That said we did not go for the full hike to the upper falls as much as I would have absolutely loved it we did make our way to the lower falls. The lower falls will leave your calves sore if you aren’t trained for this (PS I work out but they still were sore lol) so prep for the hike, wear running shoes (Opps that was our fail, although I live in sandals runners would have been a better option) The hike can be pretty busy so plan for earlier in the morning to get a better view of the lower falls and have a less crowded hike. The hike falls the falls so you get to hear the rapids the whole walk and experience being in the middle of the canyon looking up at the beautiful sun peaking through the mountains and trees. It really is so peaceful. Listen to the youtube video when we get to the falls to hear the roar. It’s my favourite.
Favourite Lakes – There are some amazing lakes to check out as I mentioned so here are a few that we went to and then the one we missed this trip is supposed to be phenomenal but again super busy so go to the last one early in the day.
- Minnewanka Lake (on the minnewanka loop)
- Two Jack Lake (on the minnewanka loop)
- Johnson Lake (on the minnewanka loop)
- Lake Louise
- Moraine Lake – we missed this one but it is top of my list next time!
Downtown – We are a bit of a foodie family when we travel. We love finding beautiful restaurants and enjoying their menu’s… Which is odd because we barely go out to restaurants when we are at home but LOVE it when we are on vacation. Banff has so many amazing restaurants that it is impossible to not enjoy being a foodie! Here are our favourites
- The Maple Leaf – This is a fancy restaurant but the service and the food has always been incredible. We highly recommend the two tier seafood platter or the charcuterie board.
- Block Kitchen + Bar – Another must have, everytime we got there we get something from their feature menu. The food is always spectacular and different from what you would get anywhere else. It’s a smaller restaurant so plan to go earlier, and if it’s already packed they will put you on their wait list and text you when your table is ready. That way you can enjoy downtown while your wait.
- Banff Sushi House – total family favourite! If your family is sushi lovers make sure to pop into the Banff Sushi House. We always pop in here for lunch, pretty close to every day on our trips, and as soon as they see us they start preparing our favourite chop chop rolls. They make rally good sushi and because you pick your sushi off the train delivering plates it really easy to eat the right amount and not spend a fortune on sushi… Unless your kids are like ours and starting to love the expensive plates lol.
I hope this inspires you to create your next family vacation to Banff, stay at the Banff Caribou Lodge and really enjoy all the Banff has to offer. Your mindset, your family and your soul will thank you.
Thanks so much for reading and watching and please share this post with anyone you think will love it! Let’s spread the love