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Young family accomodation in Rockies

Melbourne, Australia
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Young family accomodation in Rockies

Hi all - my wife and I are planning on taking our 8yo and 6yo on a family holiday in Canada (from Australia... it seemed like a good idea at the time...) around late Sept-Oct 2012. We will likely drive from Vancouver to Kamloops or Salmon Arm (or somewhere else you'd recommend?) then on to Banff, before moving on to Calgary.

This will be part of a longer holiday so we are looking at keeping an accommodation budget of around CA$200 a night for the four of us, if this is possible. We are thinking of something along the lines of camping cabins (preferably fitted out with running water, etc.) or short-term rental homes or B&Bs - no pitching tents and hotels not necessary.

Can anyone recommend any accommodation of this sort for a family of four? I am entertaining the notion of hiring a campervan (Winnebago?) but am slightly freaked out by the size/driving on the other side of the road thing along winding, mountainous highways!

Also, if you can recommend activities and must-see sights for the lil'uns, we'd be grateful. Just starting our planning as you can probably tell!!!

Cheers

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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1. Re: Young family accomodation in Rockies

Late September and early October are fine for camping if you are properly equipped, but you have to have warm sleeping bags as night-time temperatures can dip below freezing. Mornings and evenings are quite chilly too, so you'll need to pack warm clothing for hanging around your campsite.

There are some campgrounds with camping cabins, but I have never heard of camping cabins with running water - probably because the camping season here in western Canada is quite short (officially it's from the May long weekend (Victoria Day) to the October long weekend (Thanksgiving), but some campgrounds are only open June to September). Because early and late season camping in many areas is likely to have temperatures down to, or below, the freezing mark, such cabins would have a very short season, and it's probably just not worth the investment of building them with running water. It's not like Australia where you can camp year-round.

The other thing that is not like there is that most of the time, you won't find campgrounds right in towns or cities ... my daughter is travelling around Australia at the moment and I've been "following along" online and with google maps, and I've noticed that down there, you often seem to have "caravan parks" right in towns; but here, with the camping season less than half of the year at best, and more realistically, only a third of the year, it's just not economically feasible in most cases to develop expensive city/town land for a partial year business.

This "Traveller Article" on RV travel in the Rockies will probably be helpful:

tripadvisor.ca/Travel-g659487-c104900/Canadi…

Note that short term house rentals ("vacation rentals") are not permitted in the national parks, so you won't find any in the towns of Banff and Jasper.

A good, national directory for B&Bs is www.bbcanada.com - browsing through their listings will give you an idea of what's on offer, and prices. Late September is getting to the end of the tourist season, so most would probably be offering rates a little bit lower than their "high season" rates - but that would depend on demand in each area and for that particular B&B.

By the way, I note that your proposed itinerary does not seem to include the Icefields Parkway - www.icefieldsparkway.ca - one of the major attractions in the area. It's an incredibly scenic drive, rated by National Geographic as one of "Twenty Drives of a Lifetime". If you do make it up here to Jasper, "private home accommodation" would be ideal for you - it's similar to B&B, but usually without breakfast... rooms or a suite within a resident's home. Some have full kitchen, and all are under $200 per night - www.stayinjasper.com

Also, regarding your budget - note that prices here are usually quoted *before* taxes, so hotel rates will be more than the quoted price once you add on the federal 5% GST, provincial tax (4% Alberta Tourism Levy, or BC provincial sales tax) and any local taxes or fees. Some B&Bs quote rates similar to hotels (taxes extra), but some are small enough that they don't have to charge additional taxes, so be sure to ask if the rates includes all taxes.

Edited: 29 October 2011, 18:44
Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Young family accomodation in Rockies

Thanks! You've just tripled my knowledge in one post!

Icefield Parkway - it is now going on the itinerary. I am even now thinking of a Vancouver to Vancouver round trip rather than heading straight through to Calgary, as I have read that you can pay an extra charge for not dropping your hire car off at your pick up location. Any suggestions for a7-day itinerary of this sort?

Sounds like B&Bs and private home accommodation might be better suited to our needs. If anyone knows of some family-friendly examples I am open to recommendations!

Cheers,

The info re. taxes is really helpful,.

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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3. Re: Young family accomodation in Rockies

Glad to help!

Personally, I think a 7-day itinerary for Van-Rockies-Van is too much driving with young kids. Have a look at it, plotted on google maps: http://g.co/maps/ngcnq It's over 1900 km in total. Seven days would be a nice span of time for Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper alone.

Not meaning to complicate things by adding in even more choices, but if anyone in your family is crazy about dinosaurs, you might want to add in Drumheller, Alberta's Royal Tyrell Museum: http://www.tyrrellmuseum.com/

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Young family accomodation in Rockies

Hmmm... Yes they are crazy about dinosaurs... That doesn't help!!! Actually that's a great tip which I will now have to work in.

We gave ourselves 5 weeks for this trip and we were hoping to get over to Niagra, Quebec and the Maritimes, but as you suggest when you look at it on paper it is just too much time in spent in transit with two littlees.

I am now thinking that 3 weeks for the Vancouver stay and the Rockies portion of the trip is more realistic? Perhaps a flight to Quebec City...

Anyway thanks for the advice - it's all been really useful.

Jon

Armidale
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5. Re: Young family accomodation in Rockies

If you decide to look at hotel accommodation, the Douglas Fir in Banff would be a good choice for your family. They have waterslides there which are free to guests and dear husband and I had a grwat time acting like kids again on the slides : )

Calgary, Canada
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for Calgary
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6. Re: Young family accomodation in Rockies

The Douglas Fir also has a very large indoor playground, free for guests as well.

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Young family accomodation in Rockies

Thanks - sounds good. It seems like a lot of places I am checking out actually close on October 1st, or turn to long term bookings around the time we are there, so that is complicating things a bit. I will check out the Douglas Fir and see how lucky we'll be there.

Cheers - I am loving this forum - please keep the suggestions coming if you have any!!

Ottawa, Canada
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8. Re: Young family accomodation in Rockies

Ooops,

Sorry posted in the wrong spot... see the QUEBEC CITY TRAVEL FORUM

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 03 November 2011, 14:10
9. Re: Young family accomodation in Rockies

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