Are you planning a family get-together in the Banff area? There is nothing like family gatherings with the whole family when the energy is high, and multi-generations spend time together under one roof. Those lasting memories include kids playing outdoors and parents and grandparents cooking, relaxing, or enjoying spirited conversations.
Finding things to do together also creates lasting memories, as long as you can find an activity that everyone will enjoy.
Activities in Banff that everyone— young and old will enjoy.
There are plenty of activities to choose from in the Bow Valley and around Banff. Still, finding something that works for the whole family can be challenging, not to mention any activities that avoid the summer crowds when no one has the patience to wait in line.
Our top list of family things to do in Banff regardless of age
1: Head up the Banff Gondola
The Banff Gondola is popular for a very good reason! Where else in Banff National Park can you ride in comfort to a summit, and be treated to spectacular views in all directions? Perhaps the kids will be able to practice their wildlife-spotting skills by looking out for the Bighorn Sheep that wander high in the mountain.
There’s space at the top for kids to stretch their legs and burn off some energy exploring the boardwalk, while other family members can enjoy a coffee or other refreshment with a view of the restaurant on the summit. Take in an interpretive show and be educated and entertained by the incredible nature you can see all around you. Visit Discover Banff Tours for this Banff Tour with Gondola, a tour perfect for all ages and booking a tour allows you to avoid the crowds rather than booking on your own.
2: Go Whitewater Rafting on the Kananaskis River
Yes! Kids, parents, and grandparents love rafting trips! The Kananaskis River is a family-friendly river that is right on the doorstep of the Canadian Rockies. This class 2-3 rapid river includes a calmer scenic float in the second half. This rafting trip is gentle enough for small children and grandparents or those who want a “fun and splashy” ride.
Most companies use boats that seat up to 10 people, so you can probably have your family in one or two boats, creating a fantastic, family-fun atmosphere.
Safety is a priority.
Rafting trips with Chinook Rafting care about safety so you can have fun. Safety is their top priority with meticulously-trained professional guides, which will run a detailed safety briefing with your family, and your trip will use high-quality rafting gear and safety equipment. Grandparents have so much fun on our raft trips, often though they prefer to ride comfortably towards the back of the raft, and the kids like to ride in front as a “wave blocker” to get wet!
3: Play a Game of Frisbee Golf Together
There is fantastic frisbee golf, also known as Disc Golf or Frolfing in the Banff area. Frisbee golf is a combination of frisbee and golf similar to the traditional game of golf. However, instead of using golf balls and golf clubs, players throw a disc into a basket or at a target. The score is kept the same with the lowest score winning.
This activity can be enjoyed by everyone. Head to the Three Sisters Disc Golf Course in Canmore for a nice beginners course or to the Canmore Nordic Centre for a well-designed advanced course, and a free round. You’ll need a couple of hours to complete the ‘golf’ course, and in that time you can choose your pace from leisurely strolling to tearing around after the frisbees (that one is for the kids!). It’s best to pick a sunny day for this activity so that you can relax and enjoy a picnic, and really make the most of your time relaxing in the beautiful Bow Valley.
4: Take a Drive into K-Country and Picnic by the River
Kananaskis County, or K-Country, is a group of parks such as Bow Valley Provincial Park, just next to Banff National Park. K-Country offers some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery around and can easily hold its own next to the more well-known Banff and Lake Louise. However, K-Country has the advantage of being much quieter and where locals go.
We recommend taking a scenic drive down highway 40, which is immersed in mountain vistas within 15 minutes. To maximize the fun for the whole family, we recommend stopping off at one of the picnic sites next to the Kananaskis River. Canoe Meadows has plenty of parking and space close to the river, or you could also head down to the Widowmaker parking lot. Both options provide access to the riverside trail that runs up and down the Kananaskis River. June is a beautiful time when the forest floor is covered with abundant wild roses.
Pack up an elaborate picnic, bring the whole family, and experience a relaxing afternoon by the river that everyone will enjoy!
5. Enjoy a Cowboy Cookout and Wagon Ride
For a true Alberta experience, ride on a horse-drawn wagon ride as a family along the scenic Bow River. Then, stop for a western-style BBQ lunch or dinner fit for a cowboy and cowgirl. Banff Trail Riders offer this Cowboy Cookout Tour that kids, parents, and grandparents love!
It’s no wonder why this activity is recognized as a Canadian Signature Experience. For horse-loving families with kids, 8+ can choose to ride horseback together instead.
Every family moment counts! Make this summer a special one with a Banff family vacation full of activities suited for everyone. Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate during your visit to Banff, we’ve got recommendations for Things to do in Banff when it rains.
For more ideas for things to do in Banff and the area, visit our blog.