Banff with Kids: 20+ Fun Things to Do in Canada’s Top National Park

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Banff was Canada’s first national park, and remains its most visited today. It is not difficult to see why.

In summer, Banff’s stunning turquoise lakes are easily visited with kids, while winter turns the park into a snowy wonderland, with opportunities for skating, skiing, hot springs, and more.

Growing up in Edmonton, the capital of Canada’s most beautiful province, I’ve been going to Banff since I was a kid. Now I love taking my own kids on family holidays to Banff. It’s pretty cool to say that some of Sage and Lavender’s earliest memories of Canada since we moved here in 2019 are from Banff, the crown jewel of Alberta’s five national parks.

In this article, I’m going to cover our favorite things to do and places to visit in Banff National Park with our kids. I’m going to mix our summer and winter experiences. No matter when you go, Banff will spoil you for choices of awe-inspiring sights and fun activities for kids.

To put it all together, you can also consult my recommended Banff itinerary for three days.

If you’re heading north, then see my similar articles covering the best things to do in Jasper with kids, things to do in Edmonton with kids, and the top Edmonton playgrounds.  

Where to Stay on Your Family Trip to Banff

Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge, a great place to stay in Banff with kids
Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge in Canmore. When we visit Banff, we usually stay in nearby Canmore.

When we visit Banff, we almost always stay in Canmore, a cheaper and less touristy town just outside of Banff. Canmore is a destination in its own right; here’s my guide to visiting Canmore. The town is also the perfect base for activities in Kananaskis country, include the many kid-friendly hikes in Kananaskis and beautiful lakes around Canmore.

A good budget choice in Canmore is Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge (see on Booking / TripAdvisor / Agoda), a motel with a playground and hot tub. For a luxurious stay, try The Malcolm Hotel (see on Booking / TripAdvisor / Agoda), recently voted as one of the top hotels in the world.

View of Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel from Surprise Corner in Banff
Banff Springs Hotel, the most iconic hotel in Banff, viewed from Surprise Corner

In Banff, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel (see on Booking / TripAdvisor / Agoda) is Banff’s most iconic hotel, with loads of activities and tours aimed at families with children.

Douglas Fir Resort (see on Booking / TripAdvisor / Agoda) just out of Banff town has cozy chalets and an indoor waterpark.

In town, Banff Park Lodge (see on Booking / TripAdvisor / Agoda) is a good choice for families, complete with indoor pool.

For a super fun hotel experience, read about our stay in a space-themed room in West Edmonton Mall!

Top 5 Things to Do in Banff with Kids

Here are our five favorite things to do with our kids in Banff National Park, spanning summer and winter visits.

In the following section, I’ll cover the best restaurants and things to do in Banff town with kids, and finally more kid-friendly activities and attractions further afield in Banff National Park.

Remember that you’ll need to pay a daily fee or get a Parks Canada Discovery Pass to stop anywhere in Banff National Park. The pass is valid for all of Canada’s national parks.

Banff Gondola with Kids

A kid riding the Banff Gondola and looking down at Banff town
Looking down on Banff town

After we had a poor experience on the Jasper Skytram only days earlier, our kids were skeptical about gondolas, but willing to try it again.

They ended up having an absolute blast on the Banff Gondola. The experience was excellent from the moment we arrived. Even with a whole wedding party in front of us in line, we were on our own private gondola within minutes.

The kids even got a free snack and activity booklet before boarding. Oh, and did I mention that our kids rode free? With the Family Experience deal, one child is admitted free with each adult, so long as you go before 11 a.m.

You can sometimes get a better deal if you book your Banff Gondola Tickets online here.

A girl sitting in Banff Gondola and looking up at other gondolas coming down the mountain
Counting descending gondolas as they pass by

The kids were slightly nervous about being in the gondola, but the snacks and activity booklet helped to distract them, including mini challenges that began as soon as we boarded, like counting how other gondolas we would pass on the way up.

Arriving at the Upper Station, which sits at 2,281 metres above sea level on Sulphur Mountain, our first-class family experience continued. The large terminal includes an indoor theatre, café, restaurant, and museum. The museum is totally set up for kids. Ours got a thrill out of running around to press all the stamps in their activity books. They almost forgot we were supposed to be seeing some sort of view up there…

A kid stamping a booklet in the Banff Gondola Upper Station
Collecting stamps in the kids’ activity booklet
A kid holding a stuffed cat and stamping his Banff Gondola activity booklet.
They really got a kick out of this.

Speaking of the view, it was incredible! However, the kids were more distracted by the Parks Canada Red Chairs and bear covered in mirrors on the rooftop observatory.

Two kids looking at a bear covered with mirrors on the rooftop observatory and Banff Gondola Upper Station
Forget about the view. Check out this reflecting bear!
Two kids sitting in Parks Canada Red Chairs at Banff Gondola station
The kids made a game of counting all the Red Chairs they sat in during our Jasper-Banff trip.

Next, we stepped outside to do the boardwalk to the Cosmic Ray Station on Sanson’s Peak. It was a steady uphill climb, taking us about 20 minutes with the kids, with only a moderate amount of complaining toward the end. 

Two kids climbing up the boardwalk stairs on the peak of Sulphur Mountain
The boardwalk to Sanson’s Peak

The view from the peak was unbeatable. We could see all of Banff townsite, countless surrounding peaks, and all the way to Lake Minnewanka. The kids were again distracted, this time by a fearless chipmunk.

A chipmunk walking up to a young kid in Banff
Cute as they are, don’t feed the wildlife people!
Two kids looking at the view of banff town from the peak of Sulphur Mountain
Finally noticing there’s a view.

The kids were even excited to get back down the mountain to the Lower Station, mainly to get their final, tactfully placed stamp in their book. Seriously, well played Banff Gondola! 

A toddler on Banff Gondola
Riding back down
A kid looking out the window of the Banff Gondola
So long, Sulphur Mountain!

For your information, Banff can sometimes get quite cold, even in summer, and the weather is generally several degrees colder (and windier!) when you go up that high. Although we were lucky that day, bring extra jackets and hats just in case.

Also, when you book, you’ll need to choose your return time. We found 1.5 hours was just right (and we didn’t eat at the top). The times are flexible though; if you’re going to be more than 15 minutes earlier or later than your selected time, you’re supposed to let them know.

Upper Hot Springs

Banff Upper Hot Springs on Sulfur Mountain
Banff Upper Hot Springs

If you got chilly atop Sulphur Mountain, why not heat up in a hot spring pool right after? The entrance to Banff’s famous Upper Hot Springs is right next to Banff Gondola’s Lower Station, just three minutes away by car.

The hot spring is named after the fact that the original Sulphur Mountain hot springs is located at the bottom of the mountain, now Cave & Basin National Historic Site (see next entry).

We actually visited Banff Upper Hot Springs with our kids on a separate trip, in winter. Soaking in the hot springs on a cold winter day, with snow peaks all around us, was something truly special. We even had a few gusts of snow blowing in while we were soaking and it only added to the experience.

My wife and two kids in Upper Hot Springs in winter
A nice hot soak with the kids

There’s nothing particularly aimed at kids in the pools at Upper Hot Springs. It’s basically just a huge bath tub and people go there to relax, so it’s best to keep your kids under control and not bother other visitors.

Having grown up in East Asia, our kids are very used to hot springs. We can’t get enough of them. Some kids, especially toddlers or babies, don’t do well soaking in hot water for a long time. They can even get sick, and some say it’s not safe for them. This is something to keep in mind if you’re planning to visit Upper Hot Springs with a toddler or young kid..

Cave & Basin National Historic Site

Two kids standing at the entrance to Cave & Basin National Historic Site in Banff
The entrance to the original cave

Cave & Basin is a National Historic Site at the base of Sulphur Mountain. To get there, you’ll need to cross the bridge over Bow River at the south end of town, turn right, and drive about five minutes.

Cave & Basin is pretty much the reason Banff National Park was created. After Canadian Pacific Railway workers discovered hot spring water in a cave there in 1883, the Canadian government decided to attract tourists to it and created Canada’s first national park.

Hot spring cave at Cave and Basin in Banff
The original hot spring at Cave and Basin National Historic Site

On our visit to Cave & Basin in winter, we were thoroughly impressed with how kid-friendly the museum on site is.

The kids enjoyed learning about Banff springs snails, an endangered species that live in the spring water. They also loved going into the actual hot spring cave, which is connected by a tunnel to the museum.

A kid touching a model of a Banff spring snail at Cave & Basin in Banff
Learning about the endangered Banff spring snail
Children's activities inside at Cave & Basin
“In my dream country, we would protect…”

There are several kid-friendly activities to be enjoyed in the museum. But for the kids, the best part was outside, in the courtyard which once houses the popular “Lower Hot Springs” pool that was closed for good in 1992.

A kid making doing a winter ice activity at Cave & Basin
Making ice sculptures at Cave & Basin

There, the kids enjoyed trying hockey, curling, bean bag tossing, making mini ice sculptures, and more. If you visit in summer, there are other kid-friendly activities to be enjoyed.

Although we didn’t do them this time, there are also some easy walking trails starting from the museum.

Our kids curling at Cave & Basin, a unique winter activity in Banff
Have your kids tried curling?

Johnston Canyon

Two kids smiling in Johnston Canyon in Banff
Proud little hikers

Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular attractions in Banff National Park, and for good reason. A walking trail follows Johnston Creek through a stunning, narrow waterfall to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Alberta (which also happen to be some of the closest waterfalls to Calgary!)

The easy walking trail through the canyon is definitely doable with kids. We even tackled Johnston Canyon with our kids in winter!

A kid walking on a snow-covered trail in Johnston Canyon
The start of the Icewalk

From the parking lot, it is 1.1 kilometers to Lower Falls. In summer, you can do this in about one hour return with kids. This is as far as we made it with our kids in winter, and it took us closer to two hours in total, but it was great fun.

Unlike the Maligne Icewalk in Jasper (which, I must say, was even more impressive than Johnston Canyon in winter), we didn’t bother getting spikes for our shoes for this one. There were a few slippery spots, but the kids were fine without them. We did notice some other people using them, though.

Two kids looking at Lower Falls in Johnston Canyon in winter
Frozen Lower Falls

If you go all the way to Upper Falls (5 km return), you’ll need at least two hours with kids in summer, and even longer in winter (we’d only recommend this for older kids). The trail does get a little steeper after lower falls, so we didn’t go that far on our winter visit.

For the truly enthusiastic, you can hike past Upper Falls to the Ink Pots (11.7 km return for the whole trip), but this would be far too long for our kids, and some hikers say the trail is less interesting after Upper Falls.  

Our kids were definitely impressed with Johnston Canyon, especially all the snow & ice formations, frozen waterfalls, and hanging icicles. However, by the end of it, they were thoroughly pooped:

Sitting on a bench looking tired about walking Johnston Canyon in winter with kids
No energy left after finishing the Icewalk

Ice Skating on Lake Louise

My son ice skating on Lake Louise, one of the best activities in Banff in winter
Sage LOVED skating on Lake Louise

Lake Louise was the first place our kids ever tried ice skating. And what a venue for it!

Sage and Lavender were born and raised in Taiwan, a subtropical country where most people have never seen snow. We moved to Canada in late 2019 and went to Banff a few months later in early 2020.

From the moment they put on skates and hit the ice, they absolutely loved it. Sage was a natural, and he has become quite the little ice skater since then.

My daughter ice skating in winter in Banff, with Fairmont Chatear Lake Louise in the background
Skating in front of Chateau Lake Louise

Lavender didn’t instantly figure it out (nor did my Taiwanese wife, Emily), but they still had a lot of fun skating (or rather, walking around on skates) on the ice.

A mother and child ice skating on Lake Louise
Emily and Sage getting the hang of skating

While we brought skates from home, you can also rent them on site at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (see on Booking / TripAdvisor / Agoda), one of the most iconic hotels in the Canadian Rockies, which sits on the lakeshore.

You can also rent them for cheaper at Wilson Mountain Sports in Lake Louise Village or several spots in Banff town.

Lake Louise is by far the most popular lake in Banff National Park. It is so popular that overcrowding has become a serious issue, especially in summer.

If you’re planning to visit Lake Louise and nearby Moraine Lake (which some say is even more beautiful), I wish you luck! Lake Louise’s paid parking lot is often full, even before sunrise. Use the park and ride. Moraine Lake is only open in summer. It is so popular that private cars are no longer allowed. I recommend using this shuttle bus, the only one that has sunrise departures.

A kid climbing a snowy hill beside lake Louise with a mountain in the background.
Playing on the snow bank beside Lake Louise

The only way to guarantee actually seeing Lake Louise and Morraine Lake in one day in summer is to park your car at the Lake Louise Park & Ride six kilometres east of Lake Louise Village. Make sure to book your tickets well in advance!

Is it worth the trouble to take your kids to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in summer? Well, I’ve been to both as a kid, and I would say, if you’ve never been before, then yes. Both lakes are incredibly stunning and you have to see them once in your lifetime.

Two kids in a snowy scene in front of a sign that says Lake Louise

At Lake Louise in summer, kids will enjoy walking around the shoreline trail and dipping their hands in the ice cold water.

At Moraine Lake, the easy walk up the moraine at the end of the lake would be fun for the kids, including spotting cute little pikas. And the picture postcard view of the lake from the top is worth a million dollars.

From Moraine Lake, Consolation Lakes trail is a beautiful hike that is doable with kids.

If you can, try visiting the lakes on a weekday in spring or fall, or do like we did and go in winter.

A hockey player on Lake Louise
A hockey player on Lake Louise

Places to Visit In Banff Townsite with Kids

Two kids standing in front of a fake black bear in Banff town
Watch out for the bears in town!

Since most hotels are located in Banff town, there’s a good chance you’ll be staying there.

The town centre is compact and easily walkable. Make sure that you point out to your kids that all the streets are named after animals (Wolf Street, Lynx Street, and so on)!

Besides a few fun things to do in Banff town with kids, there are some interesting shops, treats to be had, and many family-friendly restaurants. Around town, there are also several easy hikes worth trying with kids.   

Two kids standing on Banff Avenue in summer
Banff Avenue in Summer

For more fun places to visit in Alberta, see my guides to Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Waterton, Dinosaur Provincial Park, and Drumheller with kids.

Banff Visitor Centre

Two kids holding children's activity booklets in Banff Visitor's Centre
Free children’s activity booklets available at Banff Visitor’s Centre

We started our explorations in Banff town by popping into the Banff Visitor Centre, if only to get some Children’s National Park Activity Booklets for our kids.

There are all kinds of fun activities inside, and these helped our kids to pass the time on some drives to the local sights. Plus, they got to learn some useful information about Canadian wildlife and more.

Banff Park Museum National Historic Site

Banff Park Museum, the most popular museum in Banff
Banff Park Museum National Historic Site

The most interesting attraction for kids in Banff town is the Banff Park Museum.

The oldest natural history museum in Western Canada is housed in a historic 1903 log building at the southern end of Banff town. Inside, there are over 5000 specimens of wildlife, from insects and fish to the famous big mammals of the park.

I have fond memories of visiting Banff Park Museum as a child. In fact, it is one of the things that stands out the most from my childhood visits to Banff.

Stuffed animal displays inside the Banff Park Museum
Image: Parks Canada/Kahli April

Unfortunately, Banff Park Museum has been closed since early 2020, with no reopening date yet announced.

If it’s open by the time you visit, we do recommend it. There’s a large (paid) parking lot and Central Park (see next entry) right beside it. We found this was the most convenient parking lot for exploring Banff town.  

Central Park & Playground

Kids playing in a playground in Banff Central Park
A more natural playground

Central Park is a large green oasis at the southwestern end of Banff town. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic with kids.

Our kids enjoyed the playground there, which is more natural looking than the usual plastic ones. Louis Trono Gazebo is an iconic sight in the park.

The Bow River runs around the park, with the scenic Bow River trail following it in both directions.

A girl climbing a log in Banff Central Playground

Bow River Bridge & Banff Pedestrian Bridge

A kid standing on Bow River Bridge with Banff town in the background
Smile please!

At the south end of town, our kids enjoyed walking across Bow River Bridge. The bridge offers the classic view looking back at Banff town, backed by towering Cascade Mountain.

On the other side of the bridge, you can easily walk to Buffalo Nations Museum (see next entry), access Bow Falls Trail (also see below), or in summer, take a walk to see the flowers in Cascade of Time Garden.

The Banff Pedestrian Bridge is a short walk east of the Bow River Bridge, if you prefer a bridge with no traffic.  

Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum

Two kids looking at a display in Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum in Banff
Miniature battle scenes

Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum is an indigenous Canadian-focused museum that many visitors fail to notice because it’s on the other side of the river from rown. The exterior of it looks like an old-time log fort; you can’t miss it.

Two kids playing indigenous drums in Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum
Honing their drumming skills

We were pleasantly impressed with the museum. There are various displays on wildlife and First Nations culture, including teepees and miniature hunting & battle scenes. Our kids also enjoyed trying drumming and watching a powwow scene on VR headsets.

There’s also a pretty good gift shop on site, including indigenous crafts and artworks.

Kids using Virtual reality headsets in Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum
Virtual reality headsets in Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum

Bow Falls Trail

A family looking at a waterfall on Bow Falls Trail, one of the best hikes in Banff for kids
Looking down at Bow Falls

One of the best hikes for kids in Banff is Bow Falls Trail. The trail follows the south shore of the Bow River from Banff Pedestrian Bridge to Bow Falls, the famous waterfall below Banff Springs Hotel.

A kid walking up a staircase on Bow Falls Trail in Banff
One of the best trails in Banff for kids

The trail has some up and down but nothing that little ones can’t handle. You can budget about an hour return for walking Bow Falls trail with kids.

If you’ve got toddlers or don’t want to walk the whole trail, you can just drive to the parking lot at Bow Falls, then walk as far back on the trail as you want to. This is actually what we did.

Two kids looking at Bow Falls
Bow Falls

At Bow Falls, our kids enjoyed climbing down to the river and playing with the rocks. Bow Falls is also an easy quick stop on the drive up to Banff Gondola or Upper Hot Springs.

A kid climbing a stone wall with Bow Falls in the background
Playing at Bow Falls

Surprise Corner

Two kids standing at Surprise Corner and looking at the view of Banff Springs Hotel in winter
Admiring the view of Banff Springs Hotel from Surprise Corner

Surprise! Here’s one of the most beautiful views you’ll ever see.

Your jaw might just drop when you round the corner and take in the classic view of Banff Springs Hotel at the base of Sulphur Mountain.

It only takes a few minutes to drive to this scenic lookout just east of town on the north shore of the Bow River.

With older kids, you could even walk there from town on the Bow River Trail.

Surprise Corner Viewpoint is also the starting point of the Banff Hoodoos Trail. But to actually see the hoodoos, it’s better to drive to the Hoodoos Viewpoint (see next entry), which is quite a ways away, northeast of Banff townsite.

Hoodoos Viewpoint

Hoodoos and Bow River on Banff Hoodoos Trail
One of the best hikes in Banff with kids

Do your kids know what a hoodoo is? Show them the real thing at Hoodoos Viewpoint, where the Banff Hoodoos trail offers views of a cluster of them along the Bow River.

It only takes about 10 minutes to reach some viewpoints of the hoodoos, which you’ll be looking down on from above, as the trail follows the base of Tunnel Mountain in the Bow River valley.

The Hoodoos Viewpoint parking lot is a five-minute drive northeast of Banff town on Tunnel Mountain Road. You’ll pass the very large Tunnel Mountain Campground on the left.


Two kids sitting on a bench on Banff Avenue about to eat Beaver Tails, one of the best treats for kids in Banff
Your kids have to try this unique Canadian treat!

There are loads of sweet treats to tempt your kids in Banff, but for us, the ultimate temptation is always BeaverTails.

A Beaver Tail is a classic Canadian treat consisting of a flat piece of fried dough smothered with your choice of sweet toppings. You can find this chain at famous attractions and national parks across Canada.

If you or your kids have never had one, well, you’re missing out!

Family-Friendly Restaurants in Banff

Although none of them are specifically kid-focused, you’ll be spoiled for choices when it comes to dining in Banff. Most restaurants and even breweries are family-friendly and have kids’ menus.

Our kids really enjoyed The Old Spaghetti Factory, which I actually chose because I have memories of going there as a kid. The complimentary bread and butter to start is helpful for hungry kids who can’t wait to eat, and our kids loved their lasagne.

Two kids eating poutine at Banff Poutine
Kids always love poutine!

If you’re visiting from abroad, don’t miss your chance to try authentic Montreal-style poutine at Banff Poutine. This is always a big hit with our kids.

We are big on Asian food; we loved our Japanese meal at Shoku Izakaya. There’s a sushi place next door, and we were also tempted by the ramen at Chaya on Banff Avenue.

For a pizza fix, try Banff Ave Pizza, which is connected to Banff Ave Brewing. There’s also a kid-friendly menu at Three Bears Brewery.

Two kids eating noodles in a kid-friendly Japanese restaurant in Banff
Feasting on noodles at Shoku Izakaya

Other Places to Visit in Banff National Park with Kids

Beyond Banff town and the top five sights for kids in Banff I already covered above, there are several more worthwhile places to take the kids in Banff National Park.

The below are roughly in order of distance from Banff town. Basically they are all lakes, as lakes are really the focal point of activities in Banff National Park.

For even more options, see my guide to the best lakes in Banff, and if you’re heading north after Banff, the best lakes in Jasper.

Vermillion Lakes

Vermillion Lakes just out of Banff town
Dock at Vermillion Lakes just out of Banff town

Right on the edge of Banff town, Vermillion Lakes are super easy to access. You could even walk there from town with older kids.

You can access the lake shores on Vermillion Lakes Road, which starts just past the Banff sign at the western entrance to town and runs parallel to Highway 1.

There are some docks on the lakes, and they are a good spot for paddle boarding or kayaking.

Cascade Ponds

Two kids swimming at Cascade Ponds in Banff
A cold dip at Cascade Ponds

Cascade Ponds are a hot spot for people visiting Banff with toddlers or young kids.

Located at the start of the Lake Minnewanka Loop drive just north of town, the ponds and surrounding scenery are drop-dead gorgeous. Kids love to play in the water here, even though it is quite cold.

There are a few bridges to islands, and at the far end, there are some shallow creeks that kids enjoy exploring.

Johnson Lake

A kid standing by the beach at Johnson Lake, one of the best swimming spots in Banff
The best swimming beach in Banff National Park

Johnson Lake, a short drive off the Lake Minnewanka Loop, is another magnet for families. It has one of the few sandy beaches in Banff National Park.

Johnson Lake is not glacial fed, meaning the lake is not nearly as cold as most others in Banff.

There’s also a fairly easy walking trail around the lake. If you keep your eyes peeled, you can even find a rope swing on one side of the lake, and a regular swing at the other. See how to find them here.

Two Jack Lake & Lake Minnewanka

Boat launch and Canadian flags at Lake Minnewanka with fall colors
Boat launch for cruises on Lake Minnewanka

After the turnoff to Johnson Lake, the loop road reaches Two Jack Lake. There’s an excellent campground here (book early!), with one section on the lake shore and other on the other side of the road.

Two Jack Lake is incredibly beautiful and is a great spot for all kinds of water activities. The lake is connected to the much larger Lake Minnewanka.

Lake Minnewanka is especially known for its cruises in summer, and in winter as an unofficial ice skating spot (take caution and do your research first!)

Completing the Lake Minnewanka loop, your kids may enjoy exploring Bankhead Ghost Town, an abandoned coal mine town.

Bankhead Ghost Town in Banff National Park
Abandoned Bankhead Ghost Town

Herbert Lake

A view of Herbert Lake in Banff National Park
Escape the crowds at Herbert Lake

Heading north on the Icefields Parway past Lake Louise, Herbert Lake is a smaller and lesser known lake that is a better stop for families who prefer to escape crowds.

There are a few picnic spots beside the lake, and the water isn’t quite as cold as other lakes.

A trail leads around the lake but heads up that there are parts where it is hard to find the way. There is even a makeshift diving board about halfway around the lake.

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake in Banff National Park
Enjoy this view of Peyto Lake with no long walk needed

Peyto Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Banff National Park. It’s the only one where you can stop and enjoy an incredible view looking down on the lake from high above, right off the highway.

This is a quick and easy, yet highly rewarding stop with kids. It is understandably popular and can be crowded, though.

In summer of 2021, the parking lot was undergoing renovations and closed. It should be up and running again soon.

Waterfowl Lakes

Two kids standing in Waterfowl Lakes, Banff
An icy cold dip in Waterfowl Lakes

Continuing along the Icefields Parkway toward Jasper National Park, Waterfowl Lakes is a set of two connected, turquoise-colored lakes with a campground right between them.

The campground is first-come-first-serve. The lake water is about as cold as it gets, so our kids had a lot of fun counting how many seconds they can stand in it before it hurt.

A kid standing in the water at Waterfowl Lakes Campground
Seeing how many seconds she can last in the painfully cold water.

More Kid-Friendly Summer Activities in Banff

Some kids kayaking at Cascade Ponds, one of the best family activities in Banff
Kayaking at Cascade Ponds

Besides all the sightseeing, hikes, and other activities I’ve described above, there are loads of kid-friendly summer activities in Banff for adventure loving families.

Some of the most popular options include kayaking, canoeing, SUP (stand-up paddleboarding), whitewater rafting, fishing, camping, wildlife tours, horseback riding, helicopter tours, cycling, and more. 

More Kid-Friendly Winter Activities

Two kids running into an ice castle at Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival
The Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival

Above I already covered ice skating, the Johnston Canyon Icewalk, and soaking at Upper Hot Springs.

Banff National Park is also home to three world-class ski resorts: Lake Louise Ski Resort, Nakiska Ski Resort, and Sunshine Village.

Other winter activities that may be suitable for older kids or teenagers include snoeshoeing, cross-country skiing, dogsledding, snow tubing, sleigh rides, and more.

For a fun side trip outside of Banff National Park, check out the famous frozen ice bubbles at Abraham Lake in winter.

Feet standing on ice bubbles at Abraham Lake
Ice bubbles at Abraham Lake just outside of Banff National Park

Well, that brings us to the end of this guide to visiting Banff with toddlers, a baby, or kids. I hope you’ve found loads of ideas for your Banff family trip. You can’t really go wrong in Banff; be prepared for the family trip of a lifetime!

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