Whether you’re looking to plan your family’s next adventure, a getaway with friends, or simply a solo exploration trip, Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada offers sights, activities, and experiences that are hard to find anywhere else. With options for hiking, skiing, snowboarding, guided lake tours, whitewater rafting, and eating, you’re bound to find something to tickle your fancy regardless of when you visit.
To help you beef up your itinerary for your next visit to Banff, below are five essential things to see and do in Banff.
One of the most popular things to do in Banff is taking the eight-minute enclosed gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Atop the mountain’s 7,500-foot tall peak, you can explore the many interactive exhibits, gift shops, and restaurants. Plus, there’s a 360-degree observational deck with breathtaking views of Banff and the Bow River Valley. Although the changing scenery seen while riding the gondola is certainly nothing to scoff at, the best and most unique view available of Banff is atop the summit.
To avoid the crowds and cost associated with riding the gondola, you can hike the two hours to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Just know that as you get closer to the top, the boardwalk you follow to the summit can get very icy. So, it’s important to wear the right footwear.
At 17 miles long, Lake Minnewanka is the largest lake in Banff National Park. Fed by the Cascade River, it’s located just three miles northeast of Banff’s town. The lake got its name from the Stoney Nakoda First Nations people, who would hunt and camp along its shores. They called the lake “Minn-waki” — or “Lake of the Spirits” — because they believed the lake contained spirits. Upon seeing the pristine beauty of the lake, you’ll likely find it hard to argue with them.
In and around Lake Minnewanka, there are plenty of things to do to fill your time. You can hike around the many hiking trails that lead to Steward Canyon and Cascade River, go scuba diving in the lake, or take in the sights on one of the many lake cruises available. To save some money without sacrificing any of the beauty, you can drive along the Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive. This is a large loop that goes right along the southwestern edge of the lake before circling back towards Banff.
Another iconic lake near Banff is Lake Louise. Getting its name from Queen Victoria‘s fourth daughter, Lake Louise is just 40 minutes from Banff by car and boasts the highest elevation of any community in Canada peaking at 5,200 feet. The aqua-colored lake and its iconic Victoria Glacier are a staple among many calendars and screensavers. However, the lake’s real beauty can only be experienced in person.
If taking Highway 1A when traveling between Lake Louise and Banff, there are plenty of opportunities to pull over and snap photos. Alternatively, you can take in the beauty of the lake up-close by hiking the Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail. This trail runs along the northwest side of the lake before meeting up with other trails farther along. When planning your trip to Lake Louise, be sure not to mistake the lake itself with the nearby town of the same name.
Only a 30-minute drive from Banff, Sunshine Village is often the first resort to open up in Canada every winter and one of the last to close. In fact, its ski season lasts from November all the way until May. Sunshine Village does not take its position as a popular ski destination lightly. As such, they provide 3000 world-class skiable acres, 12 chair lifts, and all sorts of different terrain to suit skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Because of this, Sunshine Village is particularly great for families. After you’re done skiing, you can warm up in the rustic lodge with a hot drink in the evening among friends and family.
If you happen to be visiting after the ski season is over, you can take advantage of the far less expensive but equally as enjoyable hiking opportunities among the Sunshine Meadows. Hiking around is a far more affordable way — free, in most cases — to experience the beautiful nature of Banff without breaking the bank.
If skiing, snowboarding, hiking, or scuba diving don’t get your heart racing, then you can up the game by taking advantage of the many whitewater rafting opportunities in and around Banff. If you’re looking to dip your toes in the water, then start off with some of the more mellow options, such as those available on the Kananaskis River. If you want something more than a lazy river ride but not too crazy, the more intermediate route in Horseshoe Canyon might be more up your alley.
If you’re looking for pure adrenaline, check out Banff’s most famous whitewater rafting destination, Kicking Horse River. A short distance from town, the river is considered to have some of the best rafting opportunities in all of Canada. Be prepared to go over waterfalls and squeeze between narrow gorges as you zip down the river’s class-five rapids. Regardless of the difficulty you choose, whitewater rafting is a great way to experience scenic parts of Banff that are otherwise difficult to access.
Hotels are often praised for their outstanding accommodations and incredible dining, but what about the extra amenities that can make your vacation go from good to outstanding. Hotel hot tubs can play an important role in making your experience unforgettable. Forget the dingy hot tubs located beside the hotel pool and get ready to experience some of the best tubs in the world. From outdoor hot tubs that give views of mountains, valleys and wildlife to hot tubs that are built right into your room; these 15 hotel hot tubs will make you want to book your vacation today!
15. Amangiri, Canyon Point, UT
Set on 600 acres in Canyon Point and built right into the landscape, this luxury resort offers views over the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, perfect for travelers who love the desert. Along with a massive size swimming pool and incredible terrace, there is a beautiful hot tub located at the base of the rock wall.
King-sized daybeds and sun loungers provide the ultimate place to relax while not in the water. Whether you choose to visit in winter or summer, the hot tub is the perfect place to gaze up into the open sky and watch for stars at night. Guests here will also enjoy the water activities on nearby Lake Powell, exploring the national parks and experiencing the spa treatments.
14. Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa, Beaver Creek, CO
This luxury resort doesn’t just offer one hot tub but five, each with their own selling points, which make this resort one of the best to visit if you are looking to spend some time soaking. If you are looking for some adult only time make sure to wander over to one of the two adults-only hot tubs, if it is a view you are after, make sure to check out the one with a jaw-dropping view of the Vail Valley.
Our favorite hot tub here though is the one with the cascading hot waterfall, straight off the natural rock formation that surrounds the tub. If you are looking to get slope-side service, make sure to head over to the tub that comes complete with cocktails, a personal waitress, plush robes, hot towels and truffle popcorn. If you feel more like swimming and less like relaxing make sure to check out the year-round heated outdoor pool.
13. Twin Farms, Barnard, VT
This all-inclusive Vermont resort is home to ten freestanding cottages that feel more like luxurious homes than rustic cottages. Most of these ten cottages also happen to feature incredible hot tubs. Located both inside and out, guests have their choice of accommodation when booking and whether you are looking for a sunken indoor hot tub next to a fireplace or an outdoor tub in a private screened porch, you are in luck.
Each cabin has been designed by professionals and it is no surprise that guests here come back year after year. Our favorite hot tub of all though is the one located inside the Aviary cottage. Guests who stay here will have the opportunity to soak in a tub that has been sunken in granite rock, with views of the New England forest from the huge window. A towering stone fireplace sits a stone’s throw away and you can assure you will never be cold here.
12. Regent Palms, Turks and Caicos Islands
Part infinity pool and part hot tub make up this incredible multi-million dollar paradise. Overlooking the North Atlantic and situated on the impressive Grace Bay Beach is a ten-person hot tub located inside the infinity pool on its own island. Wooden decking, sun pods, stylish loungers, chilled towels, fresh fruit and complimentary Wi-Fi set the stage for this incredible soaking experience.
The resort itself boasts 72 suites and is just steps away from white sand beaches and turquoise waters. Other amenities include a 25,000 square foot spa, floodlit tennis courts and an abundance of water sports including sailing, kayaking, and snorkeling. It’s easy to spend the entire vacation here poolside though, and whether you are relaxing in the hot tub or plunging into the warm pool, it’s absolutely breathtaking.
11. Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand
On the edge of Lake Wakatipu is an alpine cedar and stone lodge that offer incredibly beautiful suites, rooms, and guest cottages. It is here where guests will find an incredible hot tub overlooking The Remarkables mountains. The hot tub is surrounded by floor to ceiling glass doors which open to expose it to all the elements and with lit candles surrounding it; this is the perfect romantic destination.
An additional hot tub is located outside the spa, along with a sauna and heated swimming pool. If you are traveling with a family or group of friends, make sure to book the owners cottage where you will have access to your own private hot tub located on the balcony overlooking the beautiful surroundings.
10. Blancaneaux Lodge, San Ignacio, Belize
It is no surprise that this hot tub makes this list as it was actually designed by Oscar-winning production designer Dean Tavoularis. The lodge actually has a hydroelectric plant that heats the 11,000-gallon tub with the excess electricity it produces, and unlike a typical hot tub that has many bubbles, this one is just straight hot water. Housed in a tropical jungle, soaking in this tub is like escaping reality, even just for a short time.
What makes this hot tub so unique is the fact that it was constructed by local stone craftsmen with thousands of pieces of local granite. Guests here can enjoy drinks served to you by the bar; just make sure to let the bartender know you are heading down there in order to get the best service.
9. The Ski Dream Home, Park City, Utah
This opulent ski-in, ski-out home is located 8,000 feet above sea level atop Deer Valley Resort’s Little Baldy Peak and offers an incredible 12-person stone hot tub. Guests here won’t have to worry about being cold in the frosty weather with the outdoor fireplaces, heated wrap around decks and a heated outdoor pool. From the hot tub, guests will be privy to watching the sun turn the Wasatch Mountain Range into brilliant shades of purple while sipping on a cocktail from one of two bars located inside the house.
Other amenities in this luxurious house include six bedrooms, ten bathrooms, DJ booth, a home theatre, pool table and a full swing golf simulator. After spending days hitting the slopes via a privately heated ski bridge, make sure to relax in this ultra swanky, breathtakingly beautiful outdoor stone hot tub.
8. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Maldives
It is one of the most romantic hot tubs on this list, located at the ultra-luxurious Conrad Maldives Rangali Island hotel. The hot tub is situated outside the beautiful over-water spa and is meant for just two people, giving guests the utmost privacy. Overlooking the clear Indian Ocean, surrounded by vibrant coral reef and heated to 104 degrees; guests will have no reason to ever want to leave this hot tub.
You won’t have to worry about getting out anytime soon as hotel staff will provide you with fresh fruit juices and cool aromatic towels while you are soaking. Other awesome amenities at this resort include an underwater restaurant, an underground wine cellar featuring over 20,000 bottles of wine, holistic treatments from the beautiful spa and unique experiences such as swimming with whale sharks.
7. Doe Bay, San Juan Islands, WA
This rustic resort is tucked away on beautiful Orcas Island and the focus here is on reconnecting with nature. Three clothing-optional outdoor hot tubs are at the heart of the resort, overlooking the Salish Sea and out to the other islands of the San Juan Archipelago. The tubs can seat up to eight people and can be used by guests of the hotels as well as drop-in guests, for a fee.
Guests of this resort can choose from campsites, cabins or yurts as their accommodations and there are plenty of activities to experience on the island. Relax and renew your spirit with yoga or massages, before heading over to the sauna and soaking tubs which remain at a lovely temperature of 104 degrees all year around.
6. Nimmo Bay Resort, British Columbia, Canada
Guests of the Nimmo Bay Resort in British Columbia can soak their cares away in one of two red cedar hot tubs that are tempted at a lovely 104 degrees all year around. The setting itself is absolutely stunning and the views from one of the eight-person hot tubs are equally impressive; cascading waterfalls, lush green vegetation and the feeling of being tucked in the middle of nowhere.
Many guests here dare to take a plunge in the cold pool before hopping into the hot tubs for the ultimate cold-hot experience that is meant to invigorate your body and senses. The tubs are actually filled with the clear waters that fall from the top of Mount Stephens. Other activities at this all-inclusive upscale resort include heli-fishing, whale watching, paddle boarding, hiking, and kayaking.
5. The Hotel on Rivington, New York City
This hotel located on the lower east side is a secretive hot spot for anyone looking for incredible views, a great party, and an incredible rooftop hot tub experience. This 10 seat coveted cedar hot tub is the perfect place to enjoy some cocktails while taking in the view. The round cedar hot tub looks more like a bucket and only adds to this ultra-hip penthouse.
Surrounding this sleek hot tub is incredible extras such as an outdoor shower to cool off in the summer, an outdoor fireplace to warm your toes in the winter and some incredible themed party nights. This hotel boasts luxurious and sleek guestrooms, celebrity parties and a full-size pool table in the lobby.
4. Banyan Tree Lijiang Resort & Spa, Lijiang, China
Guests of this incredible resort won’t have to share a hot tub with anyone else, as each garden villa comes complete with its own two-person private hot tub. Hot tubs look out onto the famous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and are heated to a comfortable 100.4 degrees. With world-class dining, an incredible spa and luxurious accommodations; this resort offers something for everyone to enjoy.
While soaking in the tub make sure to request some local plum wine or traditional Chinese tea. Other amenities at the resort include Yoga, outdoor tennis courts, a state-of-the-art fitness center and an abundance of tours and treks to experience.
3. The Molori Safari Lodge, South Africa’s North West Province
This five-suite lodge boasts one of the most impressive hotel hot tubs in the world. This in-ground tub can seat up to six people and visitors should prepare themselves for awesome wildlife viewing. From the hot tub, guests can watch as elephants, zebras, wild dogs and even lions graze nearby. The Molori Safari Lodge is located deep inside the Madikwe Game Reserve, a 185,329-acre reserve that is teeming with wildlife, and is malaria free!
Guests can not only enjoy this epic hot tub but are also treated to a personal butler who serves them traditional drinks and snacks while they are soaking. As an added bonus this beautiful hot tub is surrounded by an equally stunning infinity pool, gorgeous wood furnishings and comfortable chairs and couches.
2. Hotel Villa Honegg, Lucerne, Switzerland
This outdoor hot tub is one of the largest on this list, being more like a steaming swimming pool than a regular hot tub. On the back lawn of this 1905 mansion is where this incredible hot tub is located, overlooking the pristine Lake Lucerne. In the winter time, the dramatic landscape includes snow-covered peaks while the summertime green grassy hills roll on as far as the eye can see.
This ultra-modern tub is sleek in design, with stainless steel railings and crisp cut corners, contrasting brilliantly with the surrounding stone. Other amenities at this beautiful hotel include a 20-seat cinema, e-bike rentals, salon and fireplace room, a nearby golf course and an excellent restaurant.
1. Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Canada
Known for looking more like a castle straight out of a fairytale rather than a hotel, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel offers incredible luxury, beautiful surroundings, and one epic hot tub. This enchanted landscape is home to blue skies, towering mountains, huge pine trees and snow-capped peaks. In the middle of all of this sits an outdoor hot tub that begs to be soaked in. Whether you choose to visit in the summer or winter, guest will enjoy soaking in the healing waters while they breathe in the alpine air.
Also located on this magnificent property is the equally impressive Willow Stream Spa, offering its own indoor and outdoor hot tubs, along with numerous treatment rooms and mineral pools. There may not be anything more magical than soaking in the warm waters while taking in the views of this breathtaking landscape that surrounds you on all sides.
Cowtown, as it’s often referred to, it’s absolutely jam-packed with things for kids and it’s no wonder so many families choose to visit the beautiful province of Alberta. From the epic mountains that offer exceptional glacier lakes and hiking to the incredible zoos and malls, this province offers something for every age. Discover the awesome dinosaur museum, the annual Calgary Stampede and more with these 7 awesome things to do with kids in Alberta.
7. Experience the Calgary Stampede
It is one giant party that takes place every summer and provides enough entertainment for kids to tire them out, both physically and mentally. The Calgary Stampede is for adults too but the big focus is on families here. There are endless rides, midway games, fried foods such as Oreo cookies and chocolate bars, livestock shows, a rodeo, pancake breakfasts and more.
The Stampede Parade is a favorite among little ones as the World Champion Calgary Stampede Showband leads the parade, followed by beautiful floats, marching bands, riders, celebrities and more. Visit the Indian Village, play a couple games of ring toss, get your picture taken under a giant cowboy hat and have fun until the cows come home.
6. Go Caving
Discover the secrets of underground caves when you head to Canmore to dive deep into the Rat’s Nest Cave; a wild undeveloped cave under Grotto Mountain. Discover a cave in its natural state where there are no handrails, no walkways, and no lighting installed. Discover breathtaking chambers of stalagmites and stalactites, lit by only the light on your helmet. There are a few different options depending on the age of your kids.
The Adventure Tour is one of the most popular, with a minimum age of 12 and runs a total of 6 hours long, with 4 hours spend underground. If your kids are younger than that you will want to book the Discovery Tour, a short 2-3 hour tour that includes a catch and release fossil hunting activity, wildlife tracking and a visit to the cave.
5. Travel to Drumheller
It is here where the famous Royal Tyrrell Museum is housed, a museum dedicated to the study of dinosaurs and where children can come face to race with real fossils. The museum features over 40 dinosaur skeletons, numerous kid’s programs and fun hands-on activities including fossil casting. This museum also happens to run a very cool 60-minute guided hike called “Seven Wonders of the Badlands” where the guide will take you through rocks that tell stories, ancient giants and those mysterious popcorn rocks that are seen everywhere.
After spending some time at the museum make sure to head to the Hoodoos- the unique rock formations that are over 70 million years old. They cannot be climbed but feel free to explore the surrounding areas and marvel at these crazy looking rock configurations.
4. Take a Jasper Raft Tour
A unique way to experience Jasper National Park is to take a scenic float trip down the Athabasca River, a designated Canadian Heritage River. Here all families need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride as a licensed guide provides commentary on the human and natural history of Jasper. Navigating the same route used by fur traders over two centuries ago, the guides will do all the rowing for you!
The trip is about 2.5 hours and covers 16km, passing through gentle rapids and calm stretches allowing you to take in the spectacular scenery around you. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as moose, wolves, mountain sheep and bears. This trip is truly designed for families, as anyone aged 2-99 years are welcome. Tours do operate rain or shine and a poncho will be provided if necessary. Enjoy Jasper from a different view and relax while someone else does the paddling and the talking.
3. Explore Lake Louise
Located within Banff National Park, Lake Louise is the perfect destination for families looking to get outdoors. This emerald green lake is absolutely breathtaking to look at and the region has a range of hikes for families. Whether you want an easy lakeside stroll or a steeper ascent, you can find it here. While you are here make sure to take a ride on the Lake Louise Gondola which takes visitors up Mt. Whitehorn offering spectacular panoramic views.
If you are lucky, the kids might just spot some grizzly bears or elk during the summer days. Ascend either on a ski lift, or a closed gondola, best for younger kids. If you have slightly older kids who are more interested in hitching a ride along the lake, make sure to book an awesome horseback tour that will give spectacular views of the colorful lake.
2. Visit the Calgary Zoo
The Calgary Zoo is a magical place, one where kids can come face to face with animals. A place that gets lit up with twinkling lights in the winter and that feature numerous outdoor exhibits in the summer. It is a zoo that took a huge hit during the flood and has rebuilt itself into a family-friendly attraction that is definitely worth checking out. What is nice about this zoo is there is a lot of things to see and do packed into a smaller space, meaning less walking for the little ones.
But don’t kid yourself, there are still plenty of animals to marvel out including lions, giraffes, gorillas, tigers, monkeys and more. And then there is the magnificent Penguin Plunge display. One of the best in Canada, this display gets you so close you could reach out and touch the playful penguins (No touching is allowed though). Watch them as they dive, splash and interact with visitors in this awesome exhibit. Trust us, the line up is worth the experience here.
1. Play at the West Edmonton Mall
The West Edmonton Mall is literally a kid’s paradise, absolutely loaded with attractions that cater to any age of kid (we can’t promise the parents you will ever get your kid to leave here). To start off with, let’s talk about World Waterpark that houses the largest indoor wave pool and more than 17 unique waterslides and play features. Did we mention the simulated surfing attraction as well?
Then there is Galaxyland, the world’s largest indoor amusement park that features more than 24 rides and play areas for all ages. A challenging 18-hole mini-golf course, a professional sized ice rink, an underground aquarium and a bowling alley are just a few more of the exciting things that happen at this mall.
When you are looking for the perfect destination for a winter family getaway (that includes plenty of snowshoeing) there are so many options to consider. We have looked at hundreds of destinations and compiled a list of what we believe to be the best 10 snowshoe destinations for families. We examined factors such as location, ease of access to superior snowshoe trails, amenities for kids and parents and opportunity for guided and non-guided snowshoe treks. From luxury hotels to themed resorts there is a destination here to suit every families needs.
10. Ski Portillo, Chile
The first of two all-inclusive options on this list–Chile’s Ski Portillo resort; this once-in-a-lifetime vacation destination is the perfect spot for families to relax, bond and snowshoe. Overlooking a pristine lake and situated in the Aconcagua Valley in the heart of the Andes, the scenery is enough to make you want to hop on a plane right now. But this destination offers so much more than just magnificent views and a ski hill. Portillo offers two excellent lodging choices for families. They offer two access trails to the mountain, along with numerous opportunities to trek around the base of Mt. Aconcagua. This all-inclusive resort includes meals, lift tickets for your entire stay (we suggest trying your hand at some skiing), accommodations, airport transfers and all amenities on site. From the dedicated tubing hills and outdoor heated pool for the kids to the outdoor hot tub and nightly live music for the adults, this gem should not go undiscovered.
9. Adventure Suites – New Hampshire, USA
Our next destination is truly a kid’s paradise. If you are looking for a relaxing, unwinding vacation, this may not be the one for you. But if you are looking for something totally unique that will have your kids begging to come back, Adventure Suites is the place. Named one of the top 10 theme hotels in the world, this hotel offers more than just really awesome rooms. We first need to talk about the suites they offer. From a prehistoric cave suite that features a five-person hot tub in the suite to a jungle themed suite that offers an upstairs for the kids complete with a flat screen TV and PlayStation…it may be hard to want to leave your room. Adventure Suites offer guided snowshoe treks as an add-on to any stay and offers free trail passes if you stay two or more nights. If you are looking to get on your own, Glen Trails Outdoor Center and Purity Spring Resort offer extensive trails to explore.
8. Hoshino Resort Tomamu, Japan
A huge resort featuring more than 800 rooms in two magnificent towers, an indoor wave pool, an ice village in the center of the resort (January-March) and unparalleled views of the mountain from your room makes Hoshino Resort Tomamu number eight on our list. Tunnels connect the towers to the restaurants and food court, which allow for warm ease of access during a cold night. Snowshoeing has become quite a popular sport in Japan and visiting the Polar Village Activity Center is where you will find all your snowshoe needs. Equipment rentals as well as maps of the area are provided. Members of the resort’s staff are happy to help and if you tell them what kind of difficulty or length of trek you are looking for they will point you in the right direction. With fresh powder, breathtaking scenery and an experience you won’t get in North America, Hoshino Resort is a fantastic choice for a family getaway.
7. Douglas Fir Resort and Chalets – Alberta, Canada
If you are looking for the finest family accommodation in Banff, look no further as Douglas Fir Resort and Chalet is where you want to be. Located a four-minute drive from downtown Banff in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the views from your patio will take your breath away. All rooms include complimentary WiFi, flat screen TVs, plug-and-play panels for personal gaming systems and a fireplace. What makes this resort even more family friendly is the indoor two-story playground, the indoor water park featuring two giant water slides and a “quiet time” for adults only, and an outdoor hot tub with views of the awe-inspiring mountains. There are unlimited snowshoe opportunities in Banff ranging from beginner to experienced. We highly recommend trekking around Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park and the Sundance Trail to Sundance Canyon. Parks Canada offers up suggestions here or check out a tour company for a guided experience.
6. Firelight Lodge – British Columbia, Canada
The Firelight Lodge, located in the Silver Star Mountain Village, is one of the newest properties to the village; Firelight is located right next to the skating pond and tube park. With access to 16 km of snowshoe exclusive forested trails, Silver Star Mountain is your perfect destinations. Firelight Lodge offers up your choice of rooms that can include anything from a personal outdoor hot tub to a gas fireplace and patio BBQ. An in-resort shuttle runs through the Firelight and Village areas of the resort making it easy to access all amenities and restaurants. Snowshoe rentals and trail passes/maps are available at Ski Dazzle Rentals or the Village Ski shop. The kids will go nuts for the tube park and mini snowmobiles, or perhaps they will try their hand at the indoor climbing wall or ski-in ski-out bowling alley. Parents can relax in the outdoor hot tub, visit one of the pubs or unwind at the Yoga classes offered next door to the lodge.
5. Crystal Mountain – Michigan, USA
Crystal Mountain Resort in Michigan is a compact resort that offers older kids a chance for independence as condos, restaurants and amenities are within a five-minute walk. For the wee ones with the tired legs, there is a complimentary shuttle to take you where you want to go. With more than 250 rooms ranging from the standard hotel room to bungalows to full houses, the accommodations at Crystal Mountain are superior. Snowshoeing is permitted on the entire Crystal Mountain property, except for the downhill runs and the cross-country ski trails. Equipment rental and trail maps are provided on-site as well as guided tours. For something a little different take a trek Michigan Legacy Art Park where ice sculptures line the way. Moonlight snowshoe tours are a popular activity at Crystal Mountain and a fun way to explore nature in the dark.
4. The Lodge at Sugar Bowl – California, USA
The Lodge at Sugar Bowl is not your typical family resort. Here you won’t find huge flat screen TVs, gaming systems or world-class children’s programs. Here you will find the country’s only snowbound lodging experience, where you park your car in a garage and whisk up to the lodge in a gondola with your luggage. There are many different room options ranging from standard Mountain View rooms to family suites and adjoining rooms. The lodge also boasts a dining room, bar and new athletic center. But what you are really coming here for is the miles upon miles on snowshoe trails at Royal Gorge. Located right outside your front door you have access to North America’s largest cross-country resort that features an array of exclusive snowshoe trails. Rentals and trail passes are available at the Summit Station Lodge where you can also rent a sled to pull the little ones along the trails with you.
3. Waldorf Astoria Park City – Utah, USA
If you are looking for a luxury family getaway, Waldorf Astoria Park City in Utah is where you will want to head. With more than 4,000 acres of varied terrain in the backyard, this resort was meant to be explored. Dedicated shuttles will take you to local dining, skiing, shopping and entertainment. We do recommend this destination for kids 10 and up. Ranging from standard guest rooms to three bedroom suites with full kitchens, this resort offers such pleasures as upscale bathrooms with hot tubs and TVs, a free gondola up to Canyons Resort and free kids s’mores at night. Guided snowshoe tours are provided at Canyons Resort (a free shuttle ride away) where equipment can be rented. You can also go off on your own around the Canyons Resort and follow the marked trails. If you are looking to explore other areas, we recommend checking out Snowshoe Utah where you will find a variety of trail maps.
2. C Lazy U Ranch – Colorado, USA
If you are looking for a vacation that combines the love of the outdoors, breathtaking scenery and a chance for the kids and you to learn something new, C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado is the perfect destination. From horseback riding to sledding to ice skating to snowshoeing, this dude ranch is the perfect all-inclusive winter wonderland. Choose from cabins that include refrigerators, stone fireplaces or separate bedrooms for the older kids. Enjoy the personal touches such as daily housekeeping service, bed turn down, coffee and tea, plush robes and a fruit basket that is replenished each day. Now let’s talk about the snowshoeing. A popular winter activity at this resort, all equipment is offered for no extra charge and a trail map is provided on request. From beginner to expert, there are trails to suit any level of experience. Other activities include skating, sleigh rides, sledding, snowmobiling, skiing and so much more.
1. Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Vermont, USA
Rated as the granddaddy of all family resorts, it is no surprise that Smugglers’ Notch Resort ranks No. 1 on our top 10 list. From the huge fun zone offering an arcade, slides and after-dark teen programs to the heated indoor pool to the massages for mom and dad, Smugglers’ has gone above and beyond what one expects from a resort. Upon booking your vacation you will have the choice of condominium style lodgings. Each are either within walking distance or an on-demand resort shuttle is available to take you to all the village amenities. The Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Adventure Center is where you want to head for all your snowshoe needs. Here you will find 24 km of dedicated snowshoe trails to explore off the beaten path. If lessons are what you are looking for, they offer both group and private lessons with equipment rental on-site. For a memorable snowshoe experience try the snowshoe adventure dinner; a dining experience atop Sterling Mountain with a 40-minute snowshoe after dinner back to the base lodge.
From coast to coast, the country of Canada is packed with magnificent scenery, charming small towns, snow-capped mountains, rolling hills, and thick, lush nature. If you are looking for a romantic getaway there is no need to look further than this country packed with hospitality and romance. Choosing to stay at a cottage rather than a hotel doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort and amenities. What it does mean is more privacy, seclusion and opportunity to rekindle that romantic spirit. From Newfoundland to Ontario to British Columbia, these eight romantic cottage destinations are sure to make you swoon.
8. Heart’s Delight, Newfoundland
With a name like Heart’s Delight it would be hard to expect anything but romance from this destination. Located on the Atlantic Coast in rural Newfoundland, it is truly a getaway from everything and everyone. Visitors looking for romance coupled with nature should put this small town on the top of their list. With views of Shag Rock, icebergs outside your window and visiting whales that you can see from your porch; the conditions are ideal for a whole lot of snuggling, candlelight and romance. There are many choices to choose from in terms of cabins and cottages along Trinity Bay and if you fancy a road trip, make sure to check out the two neighboring towns, Heart’s Content and Heart’s Desire. Take a sunset hike, watch the fisherman gather their catch and enjoy the tranquil and peaceful nature of beautiful Newfoundland.
7. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Whatever season you choose to visit Cape Breton, one thing remains the same. The slow paced laid-back lifestyle is perfect for a romantic getaway. Choose a cottage located along the Cabot Trail and awake to the sound of the waves crashing against the cliffs. The beauty of the landscape here is almost poetic and it’s as if you have stepped into another world once you cross over to the island from the mainland. Delicious seafood dinners in cozy pubs with fiddlers playing a quiet jig are ideal for reconnecting with your partner. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the landscape by hiking or cycling in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. If you are looking for the ultimate relaxation getaway to rekindle the romance, where cell phones are turned off and the only sounds are the waves crashing and the birds chirping, Cape Breton should be at the top of your list.
6. Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
It is known as one of the prettiest small towns in all of Canada, with its historic houses and theatres, garden boxes lining the streets and boutique shops. With every season come new surprises in terms of landscape and scenery, making it a year-round romantic destination. The cottages here are more than likely houses that are hundreds of years old, adorned with original features and charm. In a region full of world-renowned wineries, it isn’t hard to find romantic experiences here. Winery tours and dinners are a must for anyone visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake and prepare to open your senses to an exhilarating culinary experience. Get around town by horse-drawn carriage or rent a bicycle and tour the historic downtown. The Niagara River meets Lake Ontario here and days are passed by sitting on the sandy shores, or walking the trails along the river. One of Ontario’s best kept secrets; this town was made for the romantic couple.
5. Algonquin Park, Ontario
The pristine wilderness setting of Algonquin Park sets the stage for romance for the true nature lovers. Thousands of lakes, rocky ridges and forests are yours to explore on one of many romantic getaways that await visitors. Most of the romantic cottages you will find around Algonquin Park feature luxury accommodations and fine dining. Think wood burning fireplaces, handcrafted furniture and private hot tubs on the deck. This region of Ontario is full of upscale, high profile cottage owners and for the right price; you could have the romantic getaway of a lifetime. Paddle your way through one of the thousands of lakes without seeing another soul, hike through the wilderness to watch bears and moose in their homes and return to your cottage retreat for a 5 star dining experience. It is one of the most breathtaking natural scenic experiences in Ontario and begs to be explored, made better only by the company you are with.
4. Quebec City, Quebec
Quebec City remains one of Canada’s top romantic getaway destinations year after year. The Rue du Petit Champlain has been called one of the prettiest streets in all of North America and while taking in the sights from the top of the stairs, it is easy to see why. Visiting in the wintertime is actually when Quebec City is at its most romantic. The charming shops and boutiques are decorated with twinkling lights, horse-drawn carriages clop along the cobblestone streets and fires crackle in the confines of your cottage. Choose to stay in a cottage outside of the city where you can escape from it all and take in the breathtaking landscape. Many have beautiful views of the Saint-Lawrence River or are placed on the banks of the many surrounding lakes. Cozy up in a quaint café, stroll hand in hand through the historic city and dine in luxury at one of the award-winning restaurants.
3. Whitehorse, Yukon
The choice is yours, the Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun. Whichever one you choose, visiting the Yukon is like visiting another planet all together, and although it may not be your first thought when you think romance; this cottage destination has it all. The luxury log cabins that are located outside of Whitehorse offer everything from outdoor hot tubs to saunas to luxury linens to satellite TV. Combine that with the endless opportunities to explore one of the most uninhabited regions in the world and this promises to be a trip of a lifetime. Couples can hike, canoe, mountain bike, horseback ride, ice fish, ski, snowboard and more through the Yukon’s epic landscapes. The Yukon also happens to provide incredible views of the breathtaking natural phenomenon referred to as the Northern Lights. What’s more romantic than witnessing this incredible natural light show that occurs in the sky?
2. Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia
Peggy’s Cove is full of cozy cottages, romantic B&B’s and picturesque landscapes that will create unforgettable memories. The small fishing village is famous for its lighthouse and the story of Peggy, which can be romantic or practical, depending on who you ask. Nestled amongst glacier rock formations and surrounded by nature, this romantic getaway is best spent relaxing and exploring the landscape. Long walks on the beach, sunset picnics with a nice bottle of wine and ocean views as far as the eye can see are just a few of the activities that romantic couples do here. Bask in the sun, feel the ocean salt as it hits your cheek and dine in one of the intimate seafood restaurants nearby. Above all, Peggy’s Cove gives couples the chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and experience the sounds of nature around them.
1. Banff, Alberta
The West Coast of Canada is truly breathtaking with its awe-inspiring mountains, colorful lakes and romantic hot springs. Lake Louise in Banff has been named as one of the top honeymoon destinations in Canada year after year for its romance factor. Secluded, pristine, cozy and unbelievably beautiful; this area of the country offers hidden cottages in the mountains and a setting for romance unlike any other. Vacation goers can choose from luxury cabins on the shores of the lakes or secluded cottages hidden in the mountains reached only by hiking. Winter brings wood fires, snowshoeing and the experience of a winter wonderland while summer lets visitors canoe, swim and hike through the beautiful land. Whichever season you prefer, we promise this won’t be your last romantic cottage getaway here.