September long weekend is summer’s final gift – three days off before fall arrives and the kids journey on to the next school year.

This is your chance to embark on one last final adventure before the cold Canadian weather sets in, so why not make that adventure visiting one of our amazing national parks? 

Banff National Park is just under three hours away, and if you haven’t had the chance to venture over this summer, now is your chance. Whether you’re flying solo or bringing along the whole family or a group of friends, you can’t go wrong with the beautiful Canadian outdoors.

Here’s why:

1. Thanks to the Canada 150 pass, entering the park for the long weekend is completely free. (If you don’t currently have one, don’t worry. You can pick one up right at the Banff National Park entrance on your way in!)

2. The Canadian Rockies are spectacular.

3. There are many family-friendly, outdoor activities that can be enjoyed.

So, what do you need to know before you head on out? Read on to find out.

Have The Right Equipment

Maybe you’ve camped before, or maybe you haven’t. Before you pack up your car, it’s important that you have all of the right equipment if you’ve chosen to stay at a campground. If you’re a veteran outdoorsman (or woman), you might already have an RV. In this case, you won’t need to bring things such as a portable BBQ or coolers, because your RV will likely already be equipped.

If you’re heading out with just a tent or a tent trailer, these items become a necessity to ensure you can cook and store food during the weekend. The good thing about campgrounds is that they are fairly cheap and offer the true “outdoors” experience. Banff has many to pick from.

Of course, you can always opt to book a stay at a hotel or bed and breakfast – whatever suits your fancy!

It’s also important to note that you should have the right clothes as well. Pack for all types of weather to keep your bases covered, and runners are a must (did somebody say hiking?!).

Bring All The Snacks

This one is vital if you’re bringing kids along. Make sure to pack some road trip food like trail mix, crackers, nuts, cookies and anything else that might curb hunger on that long drive.

Having snacks in the car will make the drive easier and faster, as you won’t have to stop to buy any along the way. Snacks also come in handy when you venture away from your campground or hotel for a day-long activity. Keep that body properly fuelled!

Do Your Research

Depending on your family’s interests, you might be taking on a number of different activities during your visit to Banff. If you haven’t been there before, a good thing to do is sit down and see what the mountain town has to offer.

Here are some key tips:

1. Using a tool like Google Maps, figure out the distance from your campground or hotel to hikes or various locations, this way you won’t waste time during the weekend trying to find certain spots.

2. Sit down with the family and ask them what they would be interested in doing. Fill out a list, and proceed to research those specific topics.

3. Ask friends and family who have been to the park what you should do.

We recommend Moraine Lake as a must-see in Banff National Park! From stunning views of the Rockies to amazing waterfalls, this iconic spot will be sure to leave you breathless.

Take On A Variety Of Different Hikes

Banff is filled with a wide range of different (and beautiful) hikes that range from easy to hard. You should definitely schedule in at least one hike during your stay. Here are just a few that are moderate and easy for the whole family:

Johnston Canyon: This family-friendly spot where you can view breathtaking waterfalls along a moderate hike as cooling mist hangs in the air.

Marsh Loop: A moderate enjoyable trail that takes you around a wetland filled with spectacular view.

Tunnel Campground Loop: Take an evening stroll around this lightly forested trail.

If you’re in the mountains alone, or with an equally adventurous spouse, these are some harder trails you can tackle:

C-Level Cirque: This beautiful trail through serene forests opens up at the end to a stunning view of a massively glacially-carved cirque right beside Cascade Mountain.

Tunnel Mountain Summit: This popular hike is accessible right from Downtown Banff and allows you to see the town and Bow Valley from above, as well as the looming Mount Rundle.

Ink Pots: Hike beyond Johnston Canyon to an open meadow where bubbles from below the Earth’s surface can be seen.

Whichever hike you pick, it’s sure to deliver an unforgettable experience and multiple Facebook-worthy photos.

From everyone here at Red Deer Kinsmen, we hope you have a fantastic September long weekend! Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more great content this upcoming fall.

Cover Image Credit: Onedio