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Banff Staying with Toddler

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Banff Staying with Toddler

Hi fellow members:

My wife and I plan to visit Banff area next May 2018 for about 5 days, along with our 2 year old girl.

We´ll be fling in to Calgary and after reading lots of helpfull post still have 3 mayor doubts:

A- Should we rent a car or it will not be neccesary. Specially travelling with kids. Do hotels offer free packing?.

B- Should we visit other areas. We preselected 2 nigths at Banff, 2-3 days at Jasper (think will have to rent a car in that case because of distance).

C-Are there things to do in the parks along with a 2 year old?.

We welcome every opinion.


Edited: 1:31 pm, September 18, 2017
Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Canadian Rockies
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8,096 posts
3 reviews
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1. Re: Banff Staying with Toddler

We would definitely recommend renting a car, especially with a toddler. There is public transport within Banff townsite and Parks Canada has been improving car-free options to other locations. However, having a car gives you a lot more flexibility (very, very important with a toddler) and many of the Parks Canada shuttles may not be available until late May.

Plus, if you are going to Jasper, you really need a car. The only non-car transport to Banff in May would be a tour and once you are in Jasper, you'd have to do tours to get to most locations without a car. With a two year old, you will want the freedom to go at your own pace & stop where you want to stop.

For 5 days, we'd probably 2-3 nights in Banff and 2 nights in Jasper. Five days is going to a fairly quick tour of the area, especially as you would be spending two of those days on the drive to & from Jasper.

Other than a few paid tours which have lower age limits, there's not really any limit as to what you can do with a two year old. It's just a matter of knowing what your wee one can tolerate & making realistic plans. Some people are comfortable taking two year old on overnight backpacking trips, others still are only comfortable with short hikes.

The key will be to keeping it simple and doing your research. In May, crowds & parking will likely be much less of an issue - at least prior to the long weekend. But you will still want to likely keep your plans simple - don't try to do too much and make appropriate plans. Many trails aren't stroller friendly or not very stroller friendly, so if you will be using a stroller, you may need to stick to places that will work with the stroller you have. A baby-pack (if he/she is small enough) would be better if you intend to hike.

Depending on when you come in May, you also need to plan for weather. Especially in earlier May, it can still be cold & wet (or even snowy). Which means having lots of layers, especially if the toddler is going to be in a stroller/pack (i.e. not moving), and finding things to do inside if it's really miserable outside.

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2. Re: Banff Staying with Toddler

Dear ksneds,

Thanks for taking the time to clear our doubts. Will def rent a car and take our time as we go.

We hope to have a blast up there and are very exited about visiting Canada.

Best regards

Edited: 4:28 pm, September 18, 2017
Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Lake Louise
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3,237 posts
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3. Re: Banff Staying with Toddler


Just to give you an idea of low-commitment family-friendly activities that are available year-round, we do have things like the Upper Hot Springs (which does have a shallower inset pool in the main one that is lowered to a more kid-friendly temperature), the Banff Gondola (this one would probably be the largest time commitment, but it has a lot in the way of an engaging interpretive centre and an outdoor boardwalk), and the Cave & Basin heritage site operated by Parks Canada.

From the Cave & Basin as well there are a couple of kid-friendly trails: the Discovery Trail is a boardwalk that goes above the museum complex, and the Marsh Loop goes down from the museum along the river - half of this loop is paved if you have a stroller. Additionally, there is a really nice trail along the Bow River closer to the town centre that is almost completely paved.

Also, The Banff Centre holds their annual Children's Festival in May - this year it was the weekend of May 20, but that may change for 2018. If you wanted to keep an eye on that as a fun family activity we'll have updates on our event's calendar, or you can keep an eye on the Centre's website too for details.

Have fun!


Oshawa, Canada
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6,476 posts
33 reviews
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4. Re: Banff Staying with Toddler

When you rent a car ensure you can rent a car seat as well. By law your toddler must be in a secured car seat.

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5. Re: Banff Staying with Toddler

Hi BaniffLakeLouise & Edmonton_mamma:

I really appreciate your comments. We feel welcome already. It is very nice to have people taking the time to help a family planing this trip we wanted to acheive for so long.

Will make sure to rent the car seat as well


Edited: 7:03 am, September 20, 2017
Oshawa, Canada
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6,476 posts
33 reviews
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6. Re: Banff Staying with Toddler

Reserve a car and car seat early, to ensure they have one appropriate for your child's weight range.

7. Re: Banff Staying with Toddler

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