Vacation planning for us has often involved researching family friendly resorts and making sure our passports are up to date. This year we decided to try something different.
This year marks Canada’s 150th birthday.
To mark the occasion, we have decided to make our vacation plans within Canada this year. Our first stop on our Canadian Adventure was Canmore, Alberta.
We are very fortunate in that my brother lives in Canmore, so we have a place to stay, but there is no shortage of cute little lodges and beautiful hotels to call home for a few days. Many of the lodges come equipped with kitchens and cozy fireplaces.
Canmore is just over an hour away from Calgary, about 15 minutes from Banff. It makes it a perfect location to catch all the attractions.
There is so much to do in Canmore and the surrounding areas that it was impossible for us to do it in five days, but we tried to get as much in as we could while spending time with family that we don’t often get to see.
After a couple of stressful months at work, I was really looking forward to a bit of downtime, so it’s no surprise that the first stop on our sightseeing list was the Banff Upper Hot springs.
There is something magical about sitting blissfully in naturally hot water with a beautiful mountain backdrop while there is still snow falling around you. Within a few minutes the tension started to melt away and the pain that had been throbbing in my hip since the plane ride disappeared.
After a relaxing soak, we wandered Banff and enjoyed a delicious lunch at one of the many amazing restaurants Banff has to offer. Melissa’s steakhouse offered one of the best turkey sandwiches I’ve had in a long time, made with real turkey. The kids inhaled their burgers and pizza, and my husband raved about “the best steak he’s had,” all topped off with delicious old fashioned milk shakes.
Banff is absolutely one of the most beautiful places I have ever been both within Canada and outside. The shopping, the restaurants, the museums are all amazing. Over the course of our five days, we visited a few restaurants, did some shopping, and even went bowling.
You can’t go to Canmore without making the drive up to Lake Louise. The crystal-clear blue of the lake in the summer looks like something from a painting but the quiet stillness of the frozen snow covered lake in the winter brings such an inner calmness.
With four younger children, Elevation Place was a great day to spend a rainy day. For $30.00 you can gain access to the entire facility for a family of four. You can spend the day swimming, indoor rock climbing, or getting in a workout in the fitness area. We spent the morning doing some indoor rock climbing, and after having lunch, we swam the afternoon away where the kids had a blast sliding down the indoor waterslide.
If you’re outdoorsy, then Canmore is the best place to be. Whether you prefer camping, hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing and backpacking you can spend days outdoors and still not get enough of the fresh mountain air.
Be on the lookout for wildlife because bumping into moose, deer, elk and even bears is so common.
Bring along your camera because the photo opportunities never end. Capturing a good picture of Three Sisters Mountains is any camera lover’s dream.
This winter was the first winter that we introduced our kids to skiing so how amazing was it that they got to experience the beauty of skiing in the Canadian Rockies during their first ski season? The highlight of my trip was spending the day skiing with my brother and his family at Sunshine Village. I was amazed to watch my six-year-old niece and nephew tear it up on their snowboards. They have both been on snowboards since almost the moment they could walk, and they are so talented. I spent my childhood skiing, and we visited so many resorts in Ontario and spent many March breaks in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec, but skiing in the Rockies was a whole new and breathtaking experience.
The Gondola ride up the mountain was beautiful in itself, but once we reached the top, I felt like I was on top of the world. It was truly breathtaking.
Canada is filled with so much beauty. I want my children to see as much of this beautiful country we live in. What better year to see the wonders of Canada than this year when it’s celebrating its 150th birthday?
Alberta was a success! Where to next?
I know I can’t wait to find out.