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Edmonton, Jasper, Banff, Calgary with 18 months old

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[OP]
Member
Sep 5, 2007
260 posts
17 upvotes
Toronto

Edmonton, Jasper, Banff, Calgary with 18 months old

Hello,

I am thinking of traveling to Edmonton - Jasper - Banff - Calgary - Edmonton in August for 2 weeks with my spouse and a 18-months-old toddler. We depart from Toronto.

We are thinking of spending first 4 days in Edmonton, visiting friends, and sightseeing the city, then off to Jasper for 4 days, Banff for 4 days, Calgary 2 days, and back to Edmonton for a day.

I would like to ask you if you have any suggestions, tips, route change suggestions, recommendations, must-see, must-bring, etc.

Thank you!
14 replies
Deal Guru
Nov 21, 2011
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Jasper for 4 days will be boring, especially if you're going to Banff right after. They're quite different - Jasper is much less tourist focused. I'd probably drop a day or 2 from Jasper, add one to Banff/Lake Louise, then another one to Calgary. But, depends if you want really low key or not.
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Mar 8, 2002
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You'll want to make frequent stops to keep your toddler happy, get out and run around. Fortunately Banff and Jasper give you lots of excuses to do just that. One or two days in each of Banff and Jasper is plenty unless you plan to go camping or skiing multiple days. With your kid in tow, you'll find you won't have the ability to do a lot of outdoorsy things, as hiking from some of the parking lots to the famous viewpoints (Peyto Lake, Columbia Ice Field) is quite steep.

Check out Athabasca Falls just south of Jasper, it's a very short walk from the parking lot.

Both Banff and Jasper have cable cars heading up mountains.

Pack a lunch if you're spending any time between Banff and Jasper, because there are only two places to stop for food on 93, and they aren't cheap or good.

You may also wish to take a short side trip into British Columbia and visit Yoho National Park and Takkakaw Falls, and see the spiral tunnels.

The drive between Jasper and Edmonton is super boring. Bring a device loaded with movies to keep junior happy. Also bring extra memory cards for photos, they fill up quickly with so many photo ops. Bring your kid's car seat for the rental car; airlines should let you check it for free. Bring (or borrow locally) a stroller with good wheels that move well over rough terrain. When you enter a national park, buy a pass on the spot for the number of days you're going to be in any national park; it's cheaper that way.
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Jan 27, 2007
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Peterborough
MacGyver wrote: You'll want to make frequent stops to keep your toddler happy, get out and run around. Fortunately Banff and Jasper give you lots of excuses to do just that. One or two days in each of Banff and Jasper is plenty unless you plan to go camping or skiing multiple days. With your kid in tow, you'll find you won't have the ability to do a lot of outdoorsy things, as hiking from some of the parking lots to the famous viewpoints (Peyto Lake, Columbia Ice Field) is quite steep.

Check out Athabasca Falls just south of Jasper, it's a very short walk from the parking lot.

Both Banff and Jasper have cable cars heading up mountains.

Pack a lunch if you're spending any time between Banff and Jasper, because there are only two places to stop for food on 93, and they aren't cheap or good.

You may also wish to take a short side trip into British Columbia and visit Yoho National Park and Takkakaw Falls, and see the spiral tunnels.

The drive between Jasper and Edmonton is super boring. Bring a device loaded with movies to keep junior happy. Also bring extra memory cards for photos, they fill up quickly with so many photo ops. Bring your kid's car seat for the rental car; airlines should let you check it for free. Bring (or borrow locally) a stroller with good wheels that move well over rough terrain. When you enter a national park, buy a pass on the spot for the number of days you're going to be in any national park; it's cheaper that way.
I thanked your post. Im never ever planning on doing this trip but your reply was detailed and very relevant.....so, thanks.
[QUOTE]I know you are, but what am I.... ;) [/QUOTE]
[OP]
Member
Sep 5, 2007
260 posts
17 upvotes
Toronto
clseea wrote: Jasper for 4 days will be boring, especially if you're going to Banff right after. They're quite different - Jasper is much less tourist focused. I'd probably drop a day or 2 from Jasper, add one to Banff/Lake Louise, then another one to Calgary. But, depends if you want really low key or not.
Thank you for your comment. We're travelling with a baby, so that's why we want to take it slow. Wasn't sure if that was too long or too short.
[OP]
Member
Sep 5, 2007
260 posts
17 upvotes
Toronto
MacGyver wrote: You'll want to make frequent stops to keep your toddler happy, get out and run around. Fortunately Banff and Jasper give you lots of excuses to do just that. One or two days in each of Banff and Jasper is plenty unless you plan to go camping or skiing multiple days. With your kid in tow, you'll find you won't have the ability to do a lot of outdoorsy things, as hiking from some of the parking lots to the famous viewpoints (Peyto Lake, Columbia Ice Field) is quite steep.

Check out Athabasca Falls just south of Jasper, it's a very short walk from the parking lot.

Both Banff and Jasper have cable cars heading up mountains.

Pack a lunch if you're spending any time between Banff and Jasper, because there are only two places to stop for food on 93, and they aren't cheap or good.

You may also wish to take a short side trip into British Columbia and visit Yoho National Park and Takkakaw Falls, and see the spiral tunnels.

The drive between Jasper and Edmonton is super boring. Bring a device loaded with movies to keep junior happy. Also bring extra memory cards for photos, they fill up quickly with so many photo ops. Bring your kid's car seat for the rental car; airlines should let you check it for free. Bring (or borrow locally) a stroller with good wheels that move well over rough terrain. When you enter a national park, buy a pass on the spot for the number of days you're going to be in any national park; it's cheaper that way.
Thank you so much for your input! I am so excited about this trip after reading your post!
Deal Addict
Jan 2, 2015
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Welcome out West!

Here are my random thoughts, we did a similar trip last (but I live out here), I think you said you are flying into Edmonton, so I will try to give some ideas for things to do, and rough itineraries

Edmonton: I have only done the main touristy things, so a local will be able to give you more ideas

West Edmonton mall of course, can't come out here unless you see it. You could hit the water park, but a little pricey with a 18 month old, because you won't be going on may of the big slide, or maybe you will =)
Science Centre - I really like this one for the kids, actually a little better than the one in Calgary. Good for all ages
Old Strathcona area - I love outdoor farmers markets, and I don't why, but I like. Check out to see if there are any festivals when you are coming. I was there last year, in the same month, and there were some
If you are visiting friends, then 4 days is great and I am sure your friends will have better ideas than me

Jasper - I think 2 or 3 days is good
It gets REALLY expensive for accomindations in the summer. Last year we were in a divvy place for almost $200, I am used to paying $70 in Banff for.
On the way from Edmonton, you can stop off in the Jasper hot springs (Miele pools, I think is the name), that breaks out the drive a bit. It's almost 45 minutes -60 before the Jasper town
After the hotsprings, head into the town and walk around and enjoy a quieter but picturesque evening
Jasper Gondola is worth seeing just on the other side of the town site, do this the next day so you don't have to wait as longs as it gets busier in the after noon. Hike whatever else you want to do, or more importantly Jr wants.
If you want to be more adventurous, there was a rafting trip you can take from there, they allowed babies, and it was safe. It was a 2 hour, and my girls loved it, and there seniors in at least their 70s or 80s in their little dress outfits on the same excursion. I can't remember the name. Just remember class 1 rapids (it's like a float)
Next day head towards the Sky walk and the Glacier walk, and Columbian Icefields go early as it's a little bit of a drive from the townsite, and you want to spend some time there. As other said, pack some food and snacks, there is not much there for stops.
Then continue into Banff townsite.


Banff - it will probably be later in the evening.
Check out the townsite, stop off for Beaver tails, and my favorite but severely overprice place to take tourist the Grizzly house Fondue house (I recommend the hot rock) and try to wild game If you are not sure, then go to the Maple leaf instead
Just take in the town, there are ALOT more tourist
Check out the gondala at sulfer mountain
Go to the Fairmont hotel, just like a little castle.
Stop off a lake minnewake for a picture and what the land scape for the $20 bill (or was it $50)
If you want to make a day trip, head over to Lake Louis, it's beautiful (do it for the day)

3 days maybe 4 if you do lake Louis
I don't hike at all, so if you like to do that, build it in.

Calgary -
Zoo - the penguins are here, and something else new in the summer
Telus Science right across from the Zoo - If you are planning to do both science, you can get a yearly pass in your local one in Toronto, and you either get in for free or a huge discount. Check under your pass
Calgary tower - make reservations for dinner or lunch, a little pricey, but you will get free admission and a 360 view of the City.
There is heritage park - for the 'olden days' if you are into that.
If you want more recommendations I can give them

Then when leaving Calgary for Edmonton, stop off in Drumheller to go to the Royal Tyrell Musuem. It's considered world class.

Back to Edmonton.


If you want more info just ask, if you were to use similar itineraries, I would try and get a SUTP coupon book, many of the place are listed.
If you plan on going to Banff/Jasper for more than 6 days total, then buy the yearly pass, or pick it up in AMA in Edmonton. You can always sell it right after. (Six days is the current break even, but that could change if prices change by then)
Deal Guru
May 29, 2006
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Edmonton has one of the nicest river valleys in the world, its very nice in the summer. plus we are a festival city, depending on the dates you arrive, you could be here for a top notch festival, such as the fringe, Klondike days, heritage days, taste of Edmonton.

The mall is super busy, be prepared for lines and lots of people.

Telus world of science is very nice place for kids, at 18 months though they probably wont care for it.

Jasper is a 1 street town pretty much, theres not a lot there, its nice sure, but theres not a lot to do there, there are ice fields and the falls, very little shopping or food to enjoy.

I would pass on the dinosaur museum, unless you love dinosaurs, Drumheller was a very boring over hyped place when we visited it last. The museum is top notch, but unless you love dinosaurs, it was pretty boring. Do not do the coal mine tour if you go here, its really bad. And the giant dinosaur is really bad also.

Calgary has a very nice downtown, lots of places to eat, very walkable, the train is free in the downtown core as well. Calgary Olympic park is on the way to Banff, this is where they held alot of the core functions of the 88 winter Olympics.
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Jun 8, 2008
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Toronto
Haven't done this particular trip with my kids but I would just suggest that you think about elevation changes; like in a plane, your child may feel the changes in elevation as you go up and down hills/mountains - just have something for them to suck on closeby or you'll be dealing with a very uncomfortable child.
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Jul 10, 2004
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- I don't think you need any special considerations travelling with an 18-month old. Make sure you arrange to have some sort of car seat for the car you plan to drive; that's about it? The longest stretch of drive between those 4 places is Edmonton to Jasper, which is ~4 hours... not that long.

- 4 days each in Jasper and Banff sounds excessive. Personally, I'd get super bored - especially in Jasper - after 2 or 3 days. On the other hand, only 2 days in Calgary? Maybe think about spending 2-3 days less in Jasper and/or Banff and spending 2-3 days more in Calgary.

- Try to hit Edmonton during one of its summer festivals (e.g. The Fringe, Heritage Days, etc.) or, better yet, hit Calgary during its Stampede.

- Personally, I think that most Torontonians would find Calgary and especially Edmonton pretty boring... there isn't anything (e.g. museums, restaurants, shops) noteworthy about either city aside from maybe Edmonton's river valley. Visiting friends is sure to be fun of course. And no PST I guess.

Source: I was born and raised in Edmonton, have lived in Toronto, and have taken many roadtrips around Alberta :)
[OP]
Member
Sep 5, 2007
260 posts
17 upvotes
Toronto
Macx2mommy wrote: Welcome out West!

Here are my random thoughts, we did a similar trip last (but I live out here), I think you said you are flying into Edmonton, so I will try to give some ideas for things to do, and rough itineraries

Edmonton: I have only done the main touristy things, so a local will be able to give you more ideas

West Edmonton mall of course, can't come out here unless you see it. You could hit the water park, but a little pricey with a 18 month old, because you won't be going on may of the big slide, or maybe you will =)
Science Centre - I really like this one for the kids, actually a little better than the one in Calgary. Good for all ages
Old Strathcona area - I love outdoor farmers markets, and I don't why, but I like. Check out to see if there are any festivals when you are coming. I was there last year, in the same month, and there were some
If you are visiting friends, then 4 days is great and I am sure your friends will have better ideas than me

Jasper - I think 2 or 3 days is good
It gets REALLY expensive for accomindations in the summer. Last year we were in a divvy place for almost $200, I am used to paying $70 in Banff for.
On the way from Edmonton, you can stop off in the Jasper hot springs (Miele pools, I think is the name), that breaks out the drive a bit. It's almost 45 minutes -60 before the Jasper town
After the hotsprings, head into the town and walk around and enjoy a quieter but picturesque evening
Jasper Gondola is worth seeing just on the other side of the town site, do this the next day so you don't have to wait as longs as it gets busier in the after noon. Hike whatever else you want to do, or more importantly Jr wants.
If you want to be more adventurous, there was a rafting trip you can take from there, they allowed babies, and it was safe. It was a 2 hour, and my girls loved it, and there seniors in at least their 70s or 80s in their little dress outfits on the same excursion. I can't remember the name. Just remember class 1 rapids (it's like a float)
Next day head towards the Sky walk and the Glacier walk, and Columbian Icefields go early as it's a little bit of a drive from the townsite, and you want to spend some time there. As other said, pack some food and snacks, there is not much there for stops.
Then continue into Banff townsite.


Banff - it will probably be later in the evening.
Check out the townsite, stop off for Beaver tails, and my favorite but severely overprice place to take tourist the Grizzly house Fondue house (I recommend the hot rock) and try to wild game If you are not sure, then go to the Maple leaf instead
Just take in the town, there are ALOT more tourist
Check out the gondala at sulfer mountain
Go to the Fairmont hotel, just like a little castle.
Stop off a lake minnewake for a picture and what the land scape for the $20 bill (or was it $50)
If you want to make a day trip, head over to Lake Louis, it's beautiful (do it for the day)

3 days maybe 4 if you do lake Louis
I don't hike at all, so if you like to do that, build it in.

Calgary -
Zoo - the penguins are here, and something else new in the summer
Telus Science right across from the Zoo - If you are planning to do both science, you can get a yearly pass in your local one in Toronto, and you either get in for free or a huge discount. Check under your pass
Calgary tower - make reservations for dinner or lunch, a little pricey, but you will get free admission and a 360 view of the City.
There is heritage park - for the 'olden days' if you are into that.
If you want more recommendations I can give them

Then when leaving Calgary for Edmonton, stop off in Drumheller to go to the Royal Tyrell Musuem. It's considered world class.

Back to Edmonton.


If you want more info just ask, if you were to use similar itineraries, I would try and get a SUTP coupon book, many of the place are listed.
If you plan on going to Banff/Jasper for more than 6 days total, then buy the yearly pass, or pick it up in AMA in Edmonton. You can always sell it right after. (Six days is the current break even, but that could change if prices change by then)
Thank you so much for your input.
So I guess I am putting too many days in Jasper and Banff? And is Banff cheaper than Jasper in terms of accommodation?
Also how old was your girl when you did the rafting?
And how many days would you recommend for Calgary?

Thanks!
[OP]
Member
Sep 5, 2007
260 posts
17 upvotes
Toronto
rocking23nf wrote: Edmonton has one of the nicest river valleys in the world, its very nice in the summer. plus we are a festival city, depending on the dates you arrive, you could be here for a top notch festival, such as the fringe, Klondike days, heritage days, taste of Edmonton.

The mall is super busy, be prepared for lines and lots of people.

Telus world of science is very nice place for kids, at 18 months though they probably wont care for it.

Jasper is a 1 street town pretty much, theres not a lot there, its nice sure, but theres not a lot to do there, there are ice fields and the falls, very little shopping or food to enjoy.

I would pass on the dinosaur museum, unless you love dinosaurs, Drumheller was a very boring over hyped place when we visited it last. The museum is top notch, but unless you love dinosaurs, it was pretty boring. Do not do the coal mine tour if you go here, its really bad. And the giant dinosaur is really bad also.

Calgary has a very nice downtown, lots of places to eat, very walkable, the train is free in the downtown core as well. Calgary Olympic park is on the way to Banff, this is where they held alot of the core functions of the 88 winter Olympics.
Thank you for your post.

I remember West Ed being ALWAYS busy. I hate malls, but West Ed was kind of fun. =)
I think we'll be in for Heritage Festival times. We might go there with friends.

Apparently, my husband is in cloud 9 about visiting the dinosaur museum. I don't think we can pass that. =(
But for sure no coal mines! Thanks!

Nice to know that Calgary has the free train in downtown core!
[OP]
Member
Sep 5, 2007
260 posts
17 upvotes
Toronto
wirebound wrote: Haven't done this particular trip with my kids but I would just suggest that you think about elevation changes; like in a plane, your child may feel the changes in elevation as you go up and down hills/mountains - just have something for them to suck on closeby or you'll be dealing with a very uncomfortable child.
Oh, I didn't think about it. I will keep it in mind.

Thank you!
[OP]
Member
Sep 5, 2007
260 posts
17 upvotes
Toronto
coolwasabi wrote: - I don't think you need any special considerations travelling with an 18-month old. Make sure you arrange to have some sort of car seat for the car you plan to drive; that's about it? The longest stretch of drive between those 4 places is Edmonton to Jasper, which is ~4 hours... not that long.

- 4 days each in Jasper and Banff sounds excessive. Personally, I'd get super bored - especially in Jasper - after 2 or 3 days. On the other hand, only 2 days in Calgary? Maybe think about spending 2-3 days less in Jasper and/or Banff and spending 2-3 days more in Calgary.

- Try to hit Edmonton during one of its summer festivals (e.g. The Fringe, Heritage Days, etc.) or, better yet, hit Calgary during its Stampede.

- Personally, I think that most Torontonians would find Calgary and especially Edmonton pretty boring... there isn't anything (e.g. museums, restaurants, shops) noteworthy about either city aside from maybe Edmonton's river valley. Visiting friends is sure to be fun of course. And no PST I guess.

Source: I was born and raised in Edmonton, have lived in Toronto, and have taken many roadtrips around Alberta :)
Yes, we will be bringing our car seat from here. It would make more sense since we'll be driving whole time.

After reading your and other's post, I am thinking of cutting some days in Jasper and Banff. I didn't know that Calgary has a lot to offer. I will reconsider allocating more days there.

Yes, most likely we'll be there for Heritage Festival. Unfortunately, we won't be there for Stampede. Next time. =(

Well... We're not typical Torontonians. We hate shopping (literately. I go shopping once a year, and even then I hate it so much that I wish I didn't have to go.) and don't care too much about the restaurants because it's really hard to enjoy our food with the little one. =(

Edmonton is more for visiting. I wanted to show my husband where I grew up.
Deal Addict
Jan 2, 2015
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NOT centre of Univer…
parkbr wrote: Thank you so much for your input.
So I guess I am putting too many days in Jasper and Banff? And is Banff cheaper than Jasper in terms of accommodation?
Also how old was your girl when you did the rafting?
And how many days would you recommend for Calgary?

Thanks!
My youngest was almost 5 for rafting, so much older, but I was really concerned at first and one tour company (it was only one) that catered to families with multigenerational people. Now, that I think about it, I don't know if there were babies, I remember seeing kids smaller than mine, and she is REALLY small for her age, so I was guessing they were two or three. Years old, so maybe your little one is still small.

I was really surprised at how expensive Jasper. Perhaps if you book earlier than my husband did, but it was over $200 a night, where as Banff was just over $100 for pretty much the exact inn. Jasper is much less touristy than Banff, so I think if you do both for a total of maybe five days or nights , unless you love hiking. I don't. If you want something a little different on the way on from Banff , you can stay a night in the kananaski lodge (it is expensive) but beautiful.

In calgary, it depends on what you you like to do. Being that you are from Toronto, you probably have many of things already. I would do at least three days.

I forgot about Canada Olympic park, and if you are a big sports fan they have also opened the Olympic hall of fame. You could go on the sky luge while your are there but will have to take turns as you toddler will not be allowed on, I think. If you are staying in dowtown, take in Eau Claire and on the Bow river. Walk across the Peace bridge. Calgary downtown is safe but is not happening like Toronto.


Definite drum heller for you husband then. Also, walk up through the hoodoos while you are there.
parkbr wrote: Thank you for your post.

I remember West Ed being ALWAYS busy. I hate malls, but West Ed was kind of fun. =)
I think we'll be in for Heritage Festival times. We might go there with friends.

Apparently, my husband is in cloud 9 about visiting the dinosaur museum. I don't think we can pass that. =(
But for sure no coal mines! Thanks!

Nice to know that Calgary has the free train in downtown core!

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