This post is courtesy of our contributor Kristie…One of my favourite places to travel with my kids is Banff National Park. We live in Calgary, so it’s a nice short drive at just over an hour and has plenty of things to do throughout all seasons of the year. My favourite time to visit Banff is during the Christmas season. There is something so special about spending the holidays in Banff! This year we ended up having a hockey tournament at the Fenland Banff Recreation Centre just two weeks before Christmas, so it was a nice time of year to visit.
We were lucky to have been given a Chevrolet Equinox to use for a week. The timing for the vehicle was great, as Calgary was hit hard with a blizzard and the roads were extremely icy. The Equinox was equipped with AWD which was a nice feature to have for both the city and the highway. We were also able to stuff all of our luggage and hockey gear in the back with room to spare! We had the luxury of listening to Sirius XM Radio which was nice option when the local radio stations no longer had signal – not sure the kids enjoyed the Oprah station, but I sure did! We also liked that the backseat was adjustable so you could increase the amount of foot room in the back or add more space to the cargo area when you are lugging around an extra hockey bag or two. The vehicle was also equipped with On-Star which is a security and safety feature for if your vehicle breaks down or is in an accident.
Spending The Holidays In Banff:
When we arrived at Banff we headed down to the Cave and Basin to take an activity while we waited for our first game. The Cave and Basin is a National Historic Site of Canada that commemorates the birthplace of Canada’s National Park system. It was our first time visiting the site and it was a beautiful time to visit as the cave was all decorated for the Christmas season. My kids found the Banff Springs snail one of their most memorable learning experiences, which is an endangered species that lives in the Cave and Basin hot springs. Due to the cold weather we were unable to view the pool deck, so we ended up making it a quick visit and decided to head down to downtown Banff to enjoy the Christmas spirit.
One of my family’s favourite traditions is visiting The Spirit of Christmas store in Banff. The store is filled with a multitude of ornaments, trees and décor and collectibles and each year Santa Claus also pays a visit! Each year my children pick an ornament that we get to bring back home and hang on the tree.
We then went to another favourite spot across the street, which is Welch’s Chocolate Shop. The store has everything from candies, chocolates, Old-Tyme favourites, licorice and more! One of my traditions is to purchase the Carmallow’s which are hand-made caramel-marshmallows. My kids always pick out fun candy that you can’t always find in a convenience store – this year that meant a large jawbreaker, sour candies and Orange Crush Licorice! And for the health-nuts like me, they also have an amazing selection of sugar-free chocolate!
After our two favourite places, we decided to just walk down Banff Avenue and take in the Christmas scenery and enjoy a hot chocolate. It is a very beautiful walk with the mountains in the background and snow glistening from the trees, along with the unique architecture of the buildings that surround the street.
Now that we have a Parks Canada Discovery Pass we will be enjoying Banff and surrounding much more often and we are looking forward to our upcoming learn-to-snowboard weekend at Sunshine Village!
You can learn more about what the Banff National Park has to offer by visiting the Parks Canada website.
*Disclosure: I was provided with a Parks Canada Discovery Pass and a vehicle for review. All opinions expressed here are my own.