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Travelling 3 weeks with a toddler - Calgary loop itinerary

Bruges, Belgium
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Travelling 3 weeks with a toddler - Calgary loop itinerary

Hello,

After carefull consideration, travel agency advise, intense google episodes and -of course- excessive reading on Tripadvisor... we have booked a plane to visit Canada.

As we (two 30 year olds) are travelling with our 2 year old toddler, we opted for -our first- RV holiday.

We have tried to make a 3 week itinerary based on the following.

* We are travelling with a 2 year old. So if she has fun, so will we (not the other way around).

* We arrive and leave from Calgary airport, hence it's a loop itinerary.

* This gives us flexibility in the direction to follow in function of expected weather.

* We have zero RV experience.

* We tried to keep the driving distances on a single day to a minimum.

Below is our itinerary, if the weather allows, we would follow it in this direction.

Except for the campground on May 27th, we haven't made reservations for campgrounds.

>> Are there any recommendations for 'the most toddler friendly campgrounds' ?

In Revelstoke we will be visiting the Enchanted Forest, but...

>> Do you know any other specific toddler-friendly activities along this itinerary?

Toddler-friendly-feedback is welcome, but of course any general feedback is to...

May 26th

Leave from Brussels, via Chicago, Arrive in Calgary

May 27th

Pick up RV at Cruise Canada

Go shopping at Walmart

Drive to Cochrane, stay at Bow RiversEdge Campground

May 28th

Drive to Peter Lougheed PP

May 29th

Peter Lougheed PP

May 30th

Drive to Canmore, walk to Grassi Lakes

Drive to Fairmont Hot Springs

May 31th

Drive to Kimberley, visit Ford Steele Heritage Town

June 1st

Drive to Creston, visit the market, visit a winery

June 2nd

Drive to Nakusp, visit hot springs

June 3rd

Drive to Revelstoke, visit Revelstoke NP

June 4th

Revelstoke NP, visit the Enchanted Forest

June 5th

Revelstoke NP, some activities (hikes, crazy creek, 3 valley ghost town, ...)

June 6th

Drive to Field, visit Yoho NP

June 7th

Yoho NP, Emerald Lake

June 8th

Drive the Icefields Parkway, many stops

June 9th

Visit the Glacier Skywalk / go to the glacier

Continu the Icefields Parkway to Jasper

June 10th

Jasper NP

June 11th

Jasper NP

June 12th

Jasper NP

June 13th

Drive the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise, Morraine Lake

June 14th

Drive Bow Valley Parkway to Banff

June 15th

Banff NP

June 16th

Banff NP

June 17

Banff, drive to calgary, drop off camper, stay at the hotel.

June 18th

Leave to Brussels

Thanks for your feedback!

Kristof

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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1. Re: Travelling 3 weeks with a toddler - Calgary loop itinerary

Does your RV rental come with a child car-seat? Since my kids are grown, I am not 100% sure of the current child seat regulations, but I believe that in an RV, they have to be strapped into an approved child seat, the same as in any other vehicle.

Children love to play outside, and staying in campgrounds gives tons of options for "exploring", toddler style... balancing on fallen logs, climbing on small boulders, playing with sticks and rocks etc.

Bring warm clothes for everyone. Evenings and mornings are chilly, possibly only a few degrees above freezing. As long as you are dressed for it, you can be outside... it probably wouldn't be much fun to be cooped up inside an RV with a toddler, with the heater running to keep warm.

Also, not to unduly frighten you, but do keep a very close eye on your child (as in, follow her around). Other than the obvious danger of having her wander off into the woods, there have been pets taken from campsites by predators (cougars) when the campers were just a few feet away, as well as very rare incidents with coyotes and children. Usually when there are any problems with scary critters hanging around campsites, those campgrounds get closed ... but sometimes, until something happens, no one is aware of the animals' presence.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Travelling 3 weeks with a toddler - Calgary loop itinerary

You have a very child friendly pace there, so its a good start. I'm going to tweak the beginning of your trip just a little, because I think you have the time. Have a look at this plan:

https://goo.gl/maps/VN2LP

Rather than going back and forth through Banff, I'm suggesting you use the Crow's Nest Pass to get into the east Kootenay. This bypasses Fairmont HS, so you have to give some thought about that. There are several hot springs along your route, and to be honest, I would give careful consideration to going into a hot springs with a toddler. The pools can be very hot and often, in full sun. We've found that it can just be too hot between the water and the sun, and the cold pools are really too cold to enjoy for more than a dip.

I agree with both of krp's points: 1. That toddlers love to explore and you just need to give them time for that.

2. That you have to remember that we do have large predators that can be a threat to children. Its a very small risk (its a substantially larger risk that you have a significant car accident while driving, and that's not going to stop you, right?) but when you live in Europe these things don't occur to you. (like when we were in Airlie Beach and my friend doesn't mention the crocodiles until AFTER my son picks up a coconut from the water's edge!) Just keep your child in sight and close to hand.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Travelling 3 weeks with a toddler - Calgary loop itinerary

Oops, just noticed you are starting this trip on May 27th, so moving through the hight of the Rockies in mid-June. You can expect some spots to be inaccessible due to snow at that time of year, and you can certainly expect mornings and evenings to be quite cold. You should be Ok for campgrounds at that time of year in the places you are going.

Bruges, Belgium
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4. Re: Travelling 3 weeks with a toddler - Calgary loop itinerary

Thanks for the tips!

@Krp329:

* our RV does not come with a car child-seat. We will buy one on arrival as this is much cheaper when compared to renting it from Cruise Canada.

* warm clothes: check.

* keep an eye on the little one: check :)

@Vancouverite67:

* thanks for the alternative map, new questions arrive :)

Is the "2" a more scenic drive than the "22"?

We have no problem with bypassing one hot spring, are there any other reasons why would you would trade off 2 days in Peter Lougheed PP for a longer drive + Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump?

Is there something else, toddler-specific, along the route down there?

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Travelling 3 weeks with a toddler - Calgary loop itinerary

I recommended that route because I really enjoyed that drive when we did it. Places like HSIBJ are admittedly difficult with a toddler, so it is all about trade offs. I am not familiar with Peter Lougheed PP and will leave it to the locals to provide a comparison. I just wanted to offer an alternate route that goes through some different country and scenery that is quite different to the rest of your trip. That being said, nothing wrong with going through Banff twice! Its beautiful.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
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6. Re: Travelling 3 weeks with a toddler - Calgary loop itinerary

In my opinion, Hwy 22 (Cowboy Trail) is much more scenic than Hwy 2. Perhaps, as an Albertan, I have driven Hwy 2 far too many times, but I like the closer view of the mountains that you get when driving the Hwy 22. It's also a meandering 2-lane road compared to the 6-lane Hwy 2.

Here's my alternative: https://goo.gl/maps/7y8Kh

I've thrown in a side trip to camp at Waterton Lakes National Park instead of visiting Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, since Waterton is probably more kid-friendly than HSIBJ. I just had a quick look at the Head-Smashed-In website to see if, during your visit, they have any special events that kids would like. I don't see anything:

…alberta.ca/headsmashedin/specialevents/docs…

Edited: 20 May 2014, 01:33
Bruges, Belgium
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7. Re: Travelling 3 weeks with a toddler - Calgary loop itinerary

Waterton looks nice indeed! It would mean a 4 hour drive from Cochrane, but Bar U Ranch is along hwy22.

We are coming in two days :-)

Edited: 24 May 2014, 20:22
Calgary
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8. Re: Travelling 3 weeks with a toddler - Calgary loop itinerary

A few additional thoughts ...

I travel and camp with 3 young kids on a regular basis .....

Skip Cochrane. There just isn't much there, and the campground is a big disappointment.

I suspect your RV is in northeast Calgary. Buy your supplies at Walmart and head south on Hwy 2 until Okotoks.Then move west to Hwy 22.

The drive south from there on Hwy 22 is sublime enjoy it .....

Campgrounds for the first night? Maybe the municipal campground in Black Diamond, or if you are awake and still want to drive, Chain Lakes.

Turner Valley also has a nice simple campground at the STOP sign.

The rest of the route suggestions are excellent. I would support them. You would enjoy the Frank Slide exhibit in the Crowsnest Pass.

Your 2 year old may enjoy a 1/2 day at Fort Steele (short train ride available) just outside of Cranbrook. You would enjoy Heads Smashed In, your 2 year old will not be interested.

Have fun, and don't panic about wolves/cougars/bears and other wildlife. just keep your camp clean, and engage your child. The risk from driving greatly outweighs the risk from wildlife.

Also: Ainsworth Hot Springs is great fun for you and your child.

Our kids LOVED the Enchanted Forest - much to my shock, but I had to defer to their enthusiasm. There is a decent campground about 15 minutes to the east on the north side of the highway.

Edited: 26 May 2014, 00:06
9. Re: Travelling 3 weeks with a toddler - Calgary loop itinerary

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