Solo Mom Takes Flight blog will introduce you to our adventures, our mishaps and all the lessons learned along the way. It's not always easy and it's sometimes a little more than stressful but at the end of the day it's an incredible adventure. Sharing the ups and downs of literally flying solo with kids
Since hearing about the Ice Castles, I have been very intrigued to go see them. The only Canadian location for the franchise is in Edmonton, Alberta. The kids and I hopped in the car last weekend to finally go check them out. Here is what you need to know about visiting the Edmonton Ice Castles.
Know Before You Go
This list will help make your first visit to the Edmonton Ice Castles go smoothly:
First off, you are going to want to dress warmly. Edmonton is cold in Winter and as the sun goes down, the temperature drops quickly. Kids and adventurous adults will want to wear snow pants to able to enjoy the 3 ice slides.
Secondly, the Edmonton Ice Castles is highly dependant on weather. Know that if it gets too warm out, the Ice Castles will close temporarily due to the danger of falling ice.
Thirdly, you can book your entry time by buying your tickets online. The arrival time means you can enter the Ice Castles during your window but you do not need to leave at any prescribed time. We stayed far longer than I expected.
A great time to book is for 4:00 pm or 4:30 pm. We were able to enter the Ice Castles and check them out during the daytime. Since it gets dark pretty early, we were also able to see them lit up which is a very different experience.
Lastly, the Ice Castles design change annually.
Edmonton Ice Castles Photos
You will definitely want to bring a camera to capture some Edmonton Ice Castles photos. There are plenty of cute photo opportunities for families. Here are some of my favorites from the day.
Visiting Edmonton Ice Castles With Kids
We were really happy we chose to go to Edmonton to explore the Edmonton Ice Castles with kids. I watched kids of all ages marvel at the wonder of the Ice Castles. Bundled-up babies tried to focus on the changing lights in the ice walls. Toddlers laughed and giggled as they went down slides. Older kids had fun exploring the mazes. It truly is a fun family-friendly winter activity.
I was an invited guests of the Edmonton Ice Castles. All opinions are my own.
Alberta has a variety of ski resorts to choose from and deciphering between the hills can be difficult when factoring in kids. Recently, I headed out on a weekend road trip to visit Castle Mountain Resort and found it was a perfect fit for families. Here is what you need to know about visiting Castle Mountain with kids.
Castle Mountain Resort
With an average annual snowfall of 900cm/354 inches, Castle Mountain is a hidden paradise for skiers. Away from the hustle and bustle of Banff township, Castle Mountain Resort truly offers a different type of experience. At Castle Mountain, you will find not only skiing and a variety of accommodations but activities including fat tire biking, snowshoeing, and Alberta’s only cat skiing. Located only 2.5 hours from Calgary, Castle Mountain Resort may be just the escape you are looking for.
Know Before You Go To Castle Mountain Resort
Before heading to Castle Mountain with kids, you’ll want to know a few things. First off, this is a big ski hill and you will need a few days to explore it at the least. With 2 mountains and 8 alpine bowls, Castle Mountain Resort offers 94+ trails, 6 lifts, and 2 terrain parks. Secondly, the lodging at Castle Mountain varies from Castle Mountain Lodge (offering hotel-style accommodation and hostel options) to a variety of true ski-in-ski-out chalets that sit on the base of the Mountain.
Accomodation at Castle Mountain
Before arriving at Castle Mountain, I booked a hotel room in the Castle Mountain Lodge. From the website, I could tell the rooms were simple but would get us close enough to the mountain that we would be able to make the first tracks on some of the hills.
The Castle Mountain Lodge is divided into two floors. The first floor offers hostel accommodations while the second floor offers hotel rooms. Our hotel room came equipped with a queen bed and a bunk bed consisting of another queen bed on the bottom bunk and a twin bed on the top bunk. Since only my son came to Castle Mountain with me, we had plenty of room to spread out. We had a clean bathroom with a tub. Our room also came equipped with a microwave and a small dining table. The rooms would easily fit a family of four. The basement of the Castle Mountain Lodge is home to a kitchen for guests to use, foosball and games for kids as well as a sitting room with a television and plenty of DVDs.
The second option for accommodation is to choose from a variety of ski-in-ski-out chalets that range in size, location, and amenities. We couldn’t help but look at the large chalets that came equipped with hot tubs, grills and more and think that another outing to Castle Mountain would be necessary in the near future.
Castle Mountain Resort Activities
Skiing At Castle Mountain
Skiing is the highlight of Castle Mountain and you will want to do as much of it as possible. Don’t be afraid to head up to the top of the mountain using the Tamarack Chair (red lift). Although intimidating at first, even novice skiers will find favorite runs.
For families with young skiers and snowboarders, Castle Mountain offers a variety of lessons and ski clubs to keep kids busy.
Scenic Snow Cat Experience
Castle Mountain is Alberta’s only ski resort to offer Cat Skiing. You don’t have to be an experienced skier to board the Powder Stagecoach. For families, novice skiers and people who don’t ski at all, Castle Mountain offers the Scenic Snow Cat Experience. Board the snow cat for a scenic ride to the top of the Haig Ridge where you can enjoy hot chocolate and snacks while taking in the views. On our tour, we learned about the wildlife that shares the hill with skiers, hiking opportunities in summer and how Castle Mountain was discovered. The Scenic Snow Cat Experience truly was the highlight of our weekend.
Guide Snowshoe Tours
Another amazing activity to try if you want a new adventure is the guided snowshoe tours offered at Castle Mountain. Board a lift with your guide and descend through Ghost Rider Glades and back along the Ski-Daddle Traverse.
Castle Mountain resort also offers snowshoe and fat tire bike rentals.
Castle Mountain Avalanche Dogs
Not an actual experience but if you have dog obsessed kids as I do, keep an eye out for the Castle Mountain Avalanche Dog team. The working dogs are used to help in an avalanche situation and trained as an adorable rescue squad. Like any service dog, you cannot disturb them during work and must ask handlers if you can say hello when they are off-duty. We met retired avalanche dog Huck and truly enjoyed learning about the avalanche dog team.
Castle Mountain Resort with Kids
While I was unsure what to expect when heading to Castle mountain resort with kids, I am extremely glad we tried it out. From the sunrise drive through Alberta cowboy country that took my breath away to the family ski resort welcome we felt the entire weekend, Castle Mountain is truly an Albertan gem. Lose the crowds and enjoy a weekend of exploring new trails, trying new activities, and relaxing in the true après-ski pub T-Bar.
We were invited to participate in a Media Day with Castle Mountain Resort. All opinions are my own.
Known for its ski hills, Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada is a winter wonderland for families. What you may not know is that there are plenty of great activities for kids in Mont Tremblant in Summer and Fall.
Stay at the Fairmont Tremblant
I’m a sucker for a good Fairmont (like the Fairmont Copley Plaza) and the Fairmont Tremblant is one of the best I have experienced. The hotel is located at the base of the mountain at the highest point in the Village that makes up the Mont Tremblant Resort. It is steps from most of the kids’ activities that we loved.
We checked in and were welcomed with not only open arms by the staff but an excited tail wag from the hotel’s resident dog Umi. The dog mostly hangs out in the lobby welcoming people and is always ready for a cuddle or photo.
We headed up to our room on the fifth floor which was clean, quiet and pretty. We had a great view of the mountain and loved watching the groundhogs play amongst the flowers from our window.
The piece de resistance at the Fairmont Tremblant is the pool deck. There is an indoor pool as well as an outdoor pool which has a full-time lifeguard. There are three different temperature hot tubs including one that is restricted to adults over 18 (thank you Fairmont). During the day, there is a chef by a large BBQ cooking up delicious lunch offerings. At night, the lifeguards light a gorgeous fire pit where families gather to chat. We stayed during the annual Tremblant Blues Fest this year and I loved that I could sit by the pool at night and listen to the band at the main stage while the kids played in the pool.
For families, I found the food at the Fairmont to be the best of what we tried at Tremblant. At night, we loved heading to the Windigo restaurant to wind down and spend some time together. Most nights we played board games before digging into the delicious offerings. The kids’ menu had a great variety of healthy offerings and the French Onion soup was a hit. Like many Fairmont restaurants, kids aged 5 and under eat free from the children’s menu while kids 6 to 11 eat for half price from the regular menu.
I have no hesitation in saying that the Fairmont Tremblant made our vacation to Tremblant ever more enjoyable than expected.
Kids Activities in Tremblant in Summer and Fall
You know that families ski at Tremblant but you may be wondering what there is for kids to do in the Summer or Fall. The answer is a heck of a lot of really fun things. I found the best way to experience the activities was to buy an activity card at the base of the hill. The cards vary in price depending on how many activities you want to try. During our stay, we used the card daily and were able to try almost all of the 14 activities available. The activity cards are valid until mid-October and are 10% off when purchased 48 hours in advance. If you are staying at a hotel onsite, the cards will be delivered to you upon your arrival. Otherwise, you can easily pick them up at the ticket window near the kids’ activities.
The kids and I went luging every day. Because Will was over 6 and taller than 3 feet 7 inches, he was able to drive his own luge which meant that the three of us could tackle the course with Charlie and I riding together. The fun starts as you get on the chairlift and continues until you return to the bottom. You are given proper instruction on driving the luge and then let loose on the track. It took us a few rides to build up speed and after that, we kept getting better and better. Will particularly loved the luge and Charlie is begging to go back when she turns 6 to have a go at the course on her own.
Plan on going more than once.
2. AquaClub La Source
Although the pool at the Fairmont was great, we also loved hanging out at the AquaClub La Source located in the village. The AquaClub is an indoor/outdoor aquatic center with something for everyone. I loved that they had change rooms designed for families with separate changing stations inside so Will did not have to go off on his own, a common problem for a traveling family of 3.
Once inside the AquaClub, we instantly loved it. The kids couldn’t decide where to look first and soon were begging to try everything. There is a cute small pool for babies will a slide and sprinklers. There is also a large family sized pool with rocks to jump off of and a really fun rope swing. Add that together with a huge outdoor pool, attentive lifeguards, and hot tubs to make the perfect afternoon at Tremblant.
3. EuroBungy, Climbing Tower, AkroPark
All located within steps of each other, the EuroBungy, Climbing Tower, Akro Park will get your kids smiling. The EuroBungy is a combo of 4 trampolines teamed with bungee cords. My kids loved getting up in the air and being taught how to do front and back flips. The Climbing Tower is great for kids over 40 pounds and the people working the wall are excellent coaches and route planning assistants. A nice touch is that next to the large wall there is a free smaller one for little kids. The Akro Park is a miniature ropes course that will get your kids excited about trying more. After all the action, cool off in the free splash pad nearby.
4. Beach and Tennis Club
The Beach and Tennis Club located on Lac Tremblant is also really great. The kids loved the shallow warmer water and immediately made friends. They spent almost a whole day building sand castles and throwing frisbees around. Don’t miss out on the option to take a boat out to the climbing icebergs in the water. We loved climbing up then and sliding down.
5. Other Activities
There are so many more fun activities available at Tremblant. We loved taking the Gondola up to the top of the mountain and seeing the deer playing on the hillside. Mini-golf was also a big hit with my kids. Other activities include checking out the Captain’s Harbour to drive kid-sized motorized boats, renting bikes, attending the Birds of Prey show and renting non-motorized boats.
Do Not Miss Activities
In addition to the activities above which are all accessible with the Activity Card or through individual tickets purchases, there are two activities at Tremblant that really blew me away. We spend a lot of time doing activities like these and its not often that I am stunned by something.
At Tremblant, the activity that most impressed me was the Apprentice Falconer program. I had no idea what to expect but had been told by people we met that we needed to try it before we left Tremblant. On the final morning, I was able to get a booking. The kids and I were met by a woman carrying a large box who took us into the woods. Soon, she opened the box to reveal Onyx, a gorgeous hawk. As he took off ahead of us with his wings skimming our heads, she taught us all about falconeering and how and why they train the birds. Personally, I could have done this all day. It was incredible to learn about the hawk and watch him both come when called and hunt in the wild. Its an experience the kids and I will remember for a very long time and was well worth the cost.
The second do-not-miss activity is the Children’s Course at the Tree to Tree Adventure. We arrived as it was opening and were met by enthusiastic guides. They dressed the kids in equipment and after a brief instruction session the kids set off onto the course. They did not leave the course until 2 hours later when I had to explain to them that it was time to go. The course isn’t very tall but it is one of the more challenging kids’ rope courses that I have seen. It’s also one of the most inventive. My only advice, besides not missing it, is to bring a sufficient amount of bug spray and a Go Pro if you have one.
Activities for Kids in Mont Tremblant for Summer and Fall
The activities for kids in Tremblant continue daily until September. After Labour Day, you can still play on weekends until Mid-October. I can say without a doubt that this was one of the best vacations we have had due to the enormous range of activities and ease of staying in the Village. The kids are already asking to head back and I can’t say I disagree with them.
Here’s a video of our time at Tremblant and a look at the kids’ activities shot on our GoPro Hero 4 Session.
Full disclosure. I love LEGO. I love LEGO for kids, I myself build with LEGO and I think LEGO is the best Christmas gift a child can receive. LEGO to me symbolizes endless possibilities and a return to the root of play. So when the LEGO Group reached out me to share a new way to give back through LEGO, while participating in something HUGE, I knew I needed to share.
An Easy Way to Help Kids in Need
From now until Sunday, December 2, 2018, you can help kids while participating in something very cool. The LEGO Group is inviting people living in or visiting Toronto to help build the largest LEGO mystery mural ever to be built in the western hemisphere. The mural when complete will measure over 40 ft x 12ft and be composed of approximately 663,552 LEGO bricks.
During the next three weeks, brick-by-brick Torontonians and visitors to the city will build together to continuously reveal the mural image until the final brick is in place and the ultimate scene is revealed. Participation in the event is free and to ensure that even more children can enjoy play this holiday season, LEGO Canada will donate a LEGO set, for each participant, to the Toy Mountain campaign.
To take part, head to Sir John A. McDonald Plaza at Union Station in downtown Toronto. See daily operation times. A LEGO Group helper will assign you a LEGO base and the pieces needed to complete your addition to the mural. Once assembled, the LEGO helper will hammer it to the wall. Bring your kids to help build and take a family picture in front of a 10-foot tall 3D LEGO fireplace complete with stockings.
LEGO fans can head to Nathan Philips Square from December 3rd to the 23rd to check out the completed mural.
Pay It Forward Friday
Know a brand, company or organization doing awesome things that should be featured in Pay It Forward Friday? I’m always looking to help spread the word on ways we can help each other. Leave a comment on this post or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
With Winter on it’s way to Calgary, families are headed indoors to the Stampede Corral for another great installment of Disney On Ice. This year’s show Dare to Dream features Moana in her Disney on Ice debut. She is joined by Elsa, Rapunzel, Belle along with Mickey and friends. Make sure to enter our Disney on Ice Giveaway Calgary!
Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream
Dare to Dream kicks off that the Stampede Coral November 14-18, 2018. On November 14, the show begins at 7 pm. On November 15, you have two chances to catch the show at 3 pm and 7 pm. On November 16 and 17th, there are 3 shows a day at 11 am, 3 pm and 7 pm. Dare to Dream wraps up in Calgary on November 18th with shows at 11 am and 3 pm. Check for tickets to Dare to Dream in Calgary. Ticket prices begin at just $30.
Dare to Dream
Follow along as five Disney heroines display acts of courage. Moana joins Maui as she exhibits courage and a spirit of adventure while trying to save her beloved island. Anna and Elsa join in on the fun while trying to stop the eternal winter accidentally set-off by Elsa. Rapunzel and Belle share their adventures as well as Cinderella before the show is done.
I have been taking my two to Disney on Ice since they were toddlers. Both are very excited to check out Dare to Dream and see their favourite characters take to the ice again. Families with younger kids will appreciate the quick intermission in the show that makes food and bathroom runs easier. If you have the chance, I really recommend taking the time to take your kids. You won’t regret it and you’ll never forget the memories of watching their tiny faces enjoying such a magical night out. Make sure to arrive early to join a sing-along with Miguel from Disney Pixar’s Cocoduring a live fiesta Disney On Ice style!
Disney On Ice presents Dare To Dream! - YouTube
Disney On Ice Giveaway Calgary
Enter now to win a family four pack to a performance of Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream in Calgary!
As my kids grow older, we are beginning to extend our adventures. Recently, we took a leap into the ocean, a previously uncharted territory for my two. At 8 and 10, I had no idea if they would be able to SNUBA or even like it. Here’s what I learned about SNUBA with kids.
What is SNUBA?
SNUBA is essentially SCUBA diving without the hassle. As a certified SCUBA diver, I was skeptical about SNUBA but had to admit at the end of our dive, that it was essentially a worry-free SCUBA session. You breathe through a regulator but instead of carrying a tank of air, your air supply floats on a raft at the surface. You are accompanied by a guide at all times who monitors your air consumption.
Can you SNUBA with kids?
Where SNUBA gets particularly interesting is when you attempt to SNUBA with kids. My two are adventurous but I was quite nervous that SNUBA would be too much for them. We first attempted SNUBA at Beaches Resorts Turks & Caicos. We tried it out for a few minutes in one of the pools. At this point, I realized they could handle being underwater at 4 feet but had no idea what would happen at 20 feet. I decided to throw caution to the wind, sign up for a full session and find out what it was like to SNUBA with kids.
SNUBA with Kids: From Introduction to Ocean
Once you take on a full SNUBA session with kids a few things happen. To begin, you and the kids are given a 15-minute intro. While I understood the conversation about safety and equalizing, I was pretty sure my 8-year-old did not. The SNUBA instructor then geared a secondary talk to the kids in a language they fully understood. He spoke about respect for the ocean and individually taught them how to safely equalize. After this talk, I felt ready to go.
We entered the ocean as a foursome. Me, the instructor, and my two kids. I concentrated on Charlie who is 8 and helped her safely get to the reef. When I arrived, I was surprised to see my 10-year-old had beat me to it. He looked exceptionally comfortable under the water and both kids eagerly began swimming. Our SNUBA guide checked to make sure everyone was okay, went over our hand signals, and then led us forward.
Within seconds, we encountered a grouper fish that seemed well-acquainted with our guide. The fish took to Will and began swimming the dive with him. At one point, I looked over to find Will rubbing the fish’s belly. It was truly a magical moment and a highlight of our vacation.
During the 25-minute dive, my kids stayed at 20 feet below water without surfacing. This to me was simply mind-blowing. My major concern was that they would head up to the surface every five minutes which never occurred. We saw sharks, tons of fish and explored the reef with ease.
Why is SNUBA a Good Starting Point?
I emerged from the water having quickly learned a few things about SNUBA. First off, it’s a lot more relaxing than SCUBA. I have proudly held a SCUBA diving license for over 24 years and absolutely feel at ease under the water. Still, I find that since I don’t dive regularly, I am constantly doing refresher courses before my tropical vacations. If given the choice, I would in most circumstances choose to skip the refreshers and do a few SNUBA dives on our next vacation over going through the process again.
Secondly, SNUBA is an awesome starting point for anyone who is curious about SCUBA diving. I have many friends who have taken hours of resort dive courses in pools only to find out that they are not comfortable SCUBA diving in the ocean. With SNUBA, you can do a short introduction and then actually head out in the water to see if you enjoy the feeling without spending a ton of money first.
Investing in a SNUBA with kids session is also a great way to learn if your kid will take to the water and be okay with a regulator in their mouth before signing up for a full PADI session. Now that we are at home, I am looking into signing both of mine up for PADI knowing that they loved being in the water and were able to handle swimming with a regulator for an extended period.
Where can you SNUBA?
There are plenty of opportunities for you to SNUBA with kids. Personally, we have seen it in Hawaii, the Turks & Caicos, Jamaica, and Florida. You can check your destination for a SNUBA operator here. A quick glance showed operators in 33 regions including most of the Caribbean, Japan, and Australia.
At 6 years old, kids can try a SNUBA DOO program where they wear an inflatable vest that keeps them at the surface with about 10 feet of line from the raft. It is an excellent alternative to the much more frustrating activity of snorkeling with a six-year-old.
At 8 years old, children can fully participate in the SNUBA Adventure Tour. This is the regular tour that lasts approximately 25 minutes.
I was definitely impressed with our first foray into SNUBA. As I plan our upcoming vacations, I am searching for more resorts and locations where this option is available. I would highly recommend it for anyone with young, competent swimmers who are ready to start exploring the ocean. I went in with hesitation as to whether my kids could do it and came out truly baffled by how seamless the experience was. Go ahead and try SNUBA with kids. You won’t regret it.
Choosing where to stay at Beaches Turks and Caicos can be a challenge for first-time guests and return visitors. The property offers 4 unique villages to choose from all with their own characteristics. Some friends of mine contend they would never book anything but the Italian Village while I personally prefer the Key West Village. Which village at Beaches Turks and Caicos is that best fit for your family? Read on to see what you’ll love about each of the 4 villages.
Where to Stay at Beaches Turks and Caicos
When determining where to stay at Beaches Turks and Caicos, it is important to know that the Caribbean Village is usually the most affordable option along with the French Village. Built first, the Caribbean Village of the resort tends to show its age a little but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss staying there. With great restaurants, a stellar pizza joint and some of the more active pools, the Caribbean Village is a great fit for families who want to be able to step outside their room to play basketball, volleyball and participate in other family-friendly sports and activities. It’s also the closest village to the Kids Camp for children ages 0-5.
We recently stayed in a Junior Honeymoon Suite in the Caribbean Village and loved it. From our balcony, I was able to watch the kids play in the playground and it was a quick walk to the larger Italian Pool and Pirate Island Waterpark.
What You’ll Love: Quiet; Close to beach and Kids Camp; Less crowded pools; Adult only hot tub overlooking the beach; Some of the best restaurants including Bella Napoli Pizzeria and Arizona’s; Closest to the famous Friday Night beach parties at Treasure Beach; Lots of family activities at your doorstep; Quick access to a fun playground.
Much like the Caribbean Village, the French Village is also a more affordable option. Although the French Village is farthest from the beach it is closest to Pirate’s Island Waterpark. The French Village has a good bakery and coffee shop as well as the only adult only restaurant on the property. Parents with little ones love the proximity to the main stage where Sesame Characters perform almost nightly. The French Village also has a sizeable pool.
What You’ll Love: Close to Waterpark and Main Stage; Close to some of the best restaurants on the property like Kimono’s and Le Petit Chateau; Large lawns for kids to play on with hammocks and a chess set; Quiet large pool; Close to Mac Daddy’s food truck and Curls and Swirls ice cream truck.
Most people who stay in the Italian Village absolutely love it. With ocean views and the largest pool, this is the epicenter of the resort. The rooms are newer and big enough for families of 5. Most people with teenagers also prefer the Italian Village. This village is closest to some of the better breakfast restaurants including Barefoot By the Sea where fresh food is served with your toes in the sand.
From the concierge lobby in the Italian Village to the furnishings in the room, this village is an upgrade to a more luxurious experience and is a good fit for travelers who prefer modern hotels. Every room in the Italian Village has a separate room for children with a bunk bed that includes a pull-out trundle bed. The children’s rooms provide enough space for families to spread out and relax. The children’s rooms are closest to the hotel room door and may not be a good fit for smaller kids who sleepwalk or tend to wander.
What You’ll Love: Located close to the beach and in center of the resort; Spectacular ocean views; Quick access to Pirate’s Island Waterpark; Separate room for children in all rooms; Luxurious furnishings.
Key West Village
The newest addition to Beaches Turks and Caicos is the Key West Village. Capturing the laid-back attitude of Key West, this area of the resort is quieter and filled with green grass and gorgeous gardens. The lobby of the Key West Village is welcoming and luxurious and sets the tone for the rest of your stay. The rooms are clean and large with amenities not found in the other villages including kitchens and washer dryers.
Staying in the Key West Village is a different experience than the other villages and is perfect for larger families or luxury travelers. The restaurants in the Key West Village all have beautiful ocean views. The Key West village has a few smaller pools that are never crowded. Families can relax in the sun and play in the pools often alone.
What You’ll Love: Clean new rooms; Washer Dryers and full kitchens; Ocean views; Lots of grass for kids to run and play; Luxurious furnishings; Easy to get away from busier sections of the resort.
Choosing Where to Stay at Beaches Turks and Caicos
Although the decision can be a little confusing at times, I can assure you that you will love your vacation to Beaches Turks and Caicos. As always feel free to comment below or email me with any questions you may have at email@example.com.
Jasper, Alberta is one of my favorite places on earth. I always recommend that families visiting Banff National Park head up the Icefields Parkway to explore Jasper. There are plenty of activities for families in Jasper but my favorite is the Maligne Lake Cruise. Here’s why it’s a do not miss experience with visiting Jasper with kids.
Maligne Lake Cruise
Maligne Lake is well known as one of the most iconic spots in Jasper. There are three glaciers visible from the lake as well as astounding peaks. The drive to the lake is 44km and can take over an hour depending on traffic. You’ll want to keep this in mind when booking your Maligne Lake cruise.
The lake is 22 km long and there are only a few ways to explore it. You can do so by kayak, canoe or on the Maligne Lake Cruise. The Maligne Lake Cruise operates seasonally from May to October. The views are tremendous during Spring, Summer, and Fall. The cruise begins on the shores of Maligne Lake and takes you to Spirit Island, one of the most photographed locations in Canada.
While the description of the cruise may not sound riveting for kids, the Maligne Lake Cruise is, in fact, perfect for families. The captain of the ship and guide are both entertaining and funny while also full of knowledge about the area. Kids are engaged and get to answer questions and have fun during the cruise. While the boat is moving, families have the option to stay inside and participate in a discussion about the geography of the area or head out back and enjoy the view. For kids who don’t like to sit too long, having this option makes for a smooth tour.
Tip: Bring kid-sized binoculars for them to spot animals along the shoreline.
Once the Maligne Lake Cruise arrives at Spirit Island, you are able to depart the boat and explore the Island on a short hike. Here, you will also find state-of-the-art flushable eco-toilets for kids to relieve themselves before the ride back. The walk is incredible and boats are timed so that the Island is not overrun by people during your visit.
Pursuit Collection Banff and Jasper
Not only does the Pursuit Collection offer tours to Maligne Lake. They also offer incredible adventures in Jasper and Banff National Park. These include two iconic stops along the Icefields Parkway; the Glacier Skywalk and Glacier Adventure. Impossible to miss from the road, the Glacier Skywalk is a glass platform that extends 918 feet over the Sunwapta Valley. It’s a unique experience and a lot of fun for kids and adults alike. The Glacier Adventure allows you to walk on, touch and even drink water from the Athabasca Glacier. I always advise families in Banff, to also head to the Banff Gondola known for its iconic views, interactive kids floor, and the best mountaintop dining in Banff.
Maligne Lake Cruise
It took me four visits to Jasper before trying the Maligne Lake Cruise and it’s a stop I won’t skip in the future. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to head out on the pristine water of Maligne Lake and see Spirit Island in person when visiting the area.
Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies is a bucket list destination for many families. From hiking and skiing to bathing in hot springs, Banff offers year-round fun for travelers of all ages. After exploring the best Banff has to offer, you’ll want to take a moment to relax at The Post Hotel: Lake Louise Hotel & Spa. Here’s what makes The Post Hotel, one of the best Lake Louise and Banff Hotels for families.
Lake Louise, Banff National Park
You’ll find Lake Louise and the Post Hotel just 30 minutes from the gates of Banff National Park. While at the Post, you’ll find you are a world away from the bustling center core of Banff.
The Post Hotel & Spa
Every aspect of the Post Hotel contains an element of luxury. A flurry of staff members assists with everything from the moment you check-in until your departure.
The views from the lobby and the rooms are stunning. Each window provides another look at the wonders which are the Canadian Rockies.
Lake Louise and Lake Moraine
One of the true perks of a stay at the Post is the access to Lake Louise and Lake Moraine. You can enjoy both these lakes earlier in the day or later in the afternoon without the crowds.
The Post Hotel offers bicycles to guests in summer and offers a shuttle to Lake Louise ski hill in Winter.
Rooms at the Post Hotel
The rooms at the Post Hotel are gorgeous. Family loft suites feature large living rooms, balconies, and two bathrooms. A great touch is the addition of real fireplaces in the rooms perfect for enjoying a cozy board game night indoors. The Post is truly a place of luxury and relaxation. No one will blame you when you cancel all your plans to enjoy room service and a bath in the oversized jacuzzi tub. Families can also opt to book a private cabin on the property.
The Food at The Post Hotel
Breakfast at the Post Hotel is a daily celebration. Expect fresh fruits, plenty of options from meats and cheeses to warm dishes like fresh omelets and our favorite Roti featuring farm fresh eggs, bacon, and cheese over a delicious potato pancake. The chef pairs breakfast meals with fresh hand squeezed orange and grapefruit juices as well as a variety of coffees.
In the evening, guests can enjoy meals in the formal dining room, the Fondue Stübli which offers traditional Swiss fondues or the Outpost Pub. We intended to try them all but the food in the main dining room was so delicious we kept going back for more.
Expect the Post Hotel’s food to be fresh and local when you visit. The menu constantly changes with the seasons ensuring you will be offered the very best of Banff. The onsite sommelier offers perfect wine pairings for each dish. The Post Hotel is known for its wine cellar which contains over 25,000 bottles with 2,200 labels. The hotel has once again won the “Grand Award” from Wine Spectator Magazine, an honor held by fewer than 75 establishments worldwide.
Extra Luxury Touches at The Post Hotel
What the Post Hotel truly excels in is providing a luxury experience. There is constant staff available to fulfill your every wish. The hotel owners and management clearly take great pride in the hotel and you will not find service like this anywhere else in Banff. The staff members at the Post ensure your every need is met before you can express it. The Post Hotel somehow manages to feel familiar even on your first visit.
The Spa at The Post Hotel
While I did not get to indulge in The Post Hotel Spa offerings on this visit, I did want to mention The Temple Mountain Spa located in the hotel. Open since 2005, locals and visitors regard the spa as one of the best in Alberta.
The Post Hotel Indoor Pool
When visiting Banff and Lake Louise, we always look to stay at hotels with pools. After a long hike or great ski day on the hill, it’s nice to come home to a pool where the kids can swim while the adults relax. The Post Hotel has hit the mark with their pool. Large windows light the space and the pool is located next to a sizable hot tub.
The Post Hotel – Banff Hotels for Families
Within the gates of Banff National Park, there are many choices for places to stay. The reality is that not all of the hotels are family-friendly. Since we have now tried most of them, I can say that the Post Hotel provides the perfect mix of family-friendly and luxury within Banff National Park. Kids are made to feel welcome at the Post Hotel. Small but meaningful touches make kids feel at home. Examples include a complete DVD collection with rentals at no cost, a library with games for families, and kids meal that are actually meals. The Post chefs make sure kids are not limited to kids’ menu staples like pizza and instead offer smaller portions of the delights that make up the main menus.
Banff National Park is beautiful but the days can be busy and the park can get crowded. There is no nicer place to return to at the end of such days than The Post Hotel & Spa in Lake Louise.