If thoughts of snowy days and colder temperatures are getting you down, we’ve got good news! There are fantastic getaway options for any time of year, but winter is one heck of a magical time to explore all of the beauty Alberta has to offer. And many great destinations are perfect for Alberta winter family getaways that are just a short drive from Calgary.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect spot to hit the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding or just want a fun place for a change of scenery, we’ve rounded up some of the best Alberta winter family getaways that you and your kin can take ASAP – how about this weekend?
Alberta Winter Family Getaways from Calgary
1. Canmore and Banff, AB
An Alberta winter family getaways list wouldn’t be complete without mention of Canmore and Banff. Although the two towns have many of their own distinct features that make them wonderful to visit on their own, we’ve stuck them together because we firmly believe if you’re in the area, you’ve gotta visit both! Canmore has many opportunities for adventure, from caving to cross country skiing and mountain biking to dog sled adventures and snowshoeing. For hiking fans, there are plenty of trails nearby to explore, including Grotto Canyon, where you can see spectacular frozen waterfalls. Some of our favourite restaurants in town include Crazyweed and Red Rock Pizza.
After you’ve had your fill of fun in Canmore, head over to Banff for even more awesomeness! Anytime we visit Banff, our family always makes a point to visit the stunning Fairmont Banff Springs hotel to wander the grounds. We also love to visit the cute little shops on Banff Avenue (we can never leave without getting a candy apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory). For nearby skiing and snowboarding, check out Mount Norquay and Sunshine Village.
Last year, one of our winter highlights in Banff was checking out Nightrise, an immersive experience at the Banff Gondola. The experience opened this year on December 2 and runs until the end of February. Created by Montreal’s Moment Factory with the participation of the Stoney Nakoda Nation, Nightrise brings guests the opportunity to experience beautiful light and multimedia displays and original soundscapes as they enjoy Rockies-inspired food and drinks.
2. Lake Louise, AB
Lake Louise is another popular Alberta winter family getaways spot to visit, and with its stunning snowy views, it’s easy to see why. One of the top reasons to visit Lake Louise is to visit the Lake Louise Ski Resort, which has been voted as the number one ski resort in Canada for three years in a row. In front of the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, there is much fun to be had, including sleigh rides, ice skating on frozen Lake Louise, and visiting the spectacular Ice Magic Festival – a world class ice carving event – which will return to Lake Louise in 2023. Nearby, there are plenty of opportunities for winter hikes, snowshoeing, dogsledding and more!
3. Sylvan Lake, AB
Sylvan Lake is a ton of fun to visit any time of year, but the winter is jam-packed with reasons to enjoy the great outdoors. Once the lake freezes over, the town makes a point of enjoying everything the slippery surface has to offer! There’s ice skating on three separate rinks, perfect for a leisurely skate or a game of shinny. At night, the ice is illuminated by colourful lights embedded under the surface. After you’ve taken off your skates, be sure to visit the giant ice slide which gets constructed every year in mid-February. If you’ve always wanted to try ice fishing, why not rent a heated ice shack and some fishing poles and see if you can make a catch? And that’s not all there is to do! Hop on an ice bike or snow kart – part go-kart and part snowmobile – for a ride across the ice, or strap on some snowshoes or cross-country skis to trek through the snow. All the equipment you need can be rented from Sun Sport Rentals if you don’t have your own!
There are plenty of cute places to stay in the area, but I’ve got my eye on this Cozy A-Frame cottage for my next visit!
4. Crowsnest Pass, AB
A couple summers ago, my family and I had a chance to drive out to Blairmore to stay in one of the themed cottages at Charmed Family Resorts, and I’ve gotta tell you – it was magic from start to finish. Our kids couldn’t believe their eyes when they passed through the gate into the resort which currently has 7 fairytale cottages (and another four on the way) complete with wood-fired hot tubs, outdoor fire pits, and adorable accommodations inside. Our family stayed in Rapunzel’s cottage, which had a queen sized bed and two loft spaces with a queen and two twin beds. The electric fireplace inside would be perfect for one of the most delightful Alberta winter family getaways!
The nearby towns of Blairmore and Coleman have some must-visit restaurants, including The Rum Runner, The Pass Beer Co. and The Cherry on Top Bakery and Koffee Shop. Iconic sites nearby include Lundbreck Falls, Frank Slide and The Miner’s Path. For skiing and snowboarding, Pass Powderkeg is close by and boasts affordable day or night skiing, while Fernie Alpine Resort is a short 45-minute drive away if you’d prefer to ski the mountains.
What are your favourite trips to take from Calgary during the winter? We’d love to hear them in the comments!
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