School’s back in session but that doesn’t mean the summer fun has to stop. September is one of the most beautiful times of the year to plan that final trip to the mountains, to wrap up the camping season with one last trip or even to cross one more hike or bike ride off of your family’s summer checklist. Try some of the following suggestions, and show the kids that their vacation is far from over:
1. Plan a camping trip to that favorite campground that was booked solid all summer long. Reservations are much easier to come by in September, and you’ll often be able to show up at any campground last minute to find several free sites. Autumn days are often as warm as any summer day, so there’s no reason to put the trailer or tent away just yet!
2. Enjoy golden larch trees on Banff’s best family-friendly hike! Sunshine Meadows was closed throughout the whole 2013 season, but White Mountain Adventures is back up and running with bus shuttle service to Sunshine Village through the beginning of October. Celebrate Larch Madness with reduced bus rates from September 8 until the end of the season. All adult ticket prices from the Sunshine Village parking lot to the Upper Village are reduced at this time to $20 per person ($10 per child three and up,) and it’s a short hike to the gorgeous Sunshine Meadows that any young child can do. An easy 3-kilometre return hike leads you to Rock Isle Lake and by the third weekend of September, the lake will be bordered by golden larch trees as far as you can see. For more information on White Mountain Adventures and Sunshine Meadows, visit www.sunshinemeadowsbanff.com/sunshine_meadows/sunshine_meadows.htm.
3. Head to the beach one last time! Quarry Lake is a popular summer destination and picnic area in Canmore with a beautiful beach and swimming area. While it is very busy in the summer, autumn days are quiet and you might be one of the only families at the beach. Sounds like a good place to spend a Saturday afternoon to me!
4. Bike at the Canmore Nordic Centre before the snow flies. Come winter, you’ll have to pay to use the trail system at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Until that time, the trails are open to all users and it’s a fabulous place to try mountain biking. There’s even an easy paved trail that is suitable for families with young children. For more information on biking at the Nordic Centre, visit www.albertaparks.ca/canmore-nordic-centre.aspx.
5. Enjoy popular local attractions without the crowds! Family favs like the Calgary Zoo and Heritage Park Historical Village can get pretty busy in the summer! Go on a warm weekend in September and you’ll be surprised how much quieter the parks are - and more enjoyable! For a real family treat this Fall, visit Calaway Park on weekends between September 6 to October 13 for some spooky fun during their Halloweekends. For more family-friendly events throughout September and October, check out the Calendar of Events on this website.
The kids are back in school, but the family fun is far from over. See you outdoors this Fall!
Tanya loves hiking, camping, skiing and all things mountain related. She is the author of the blog, Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies, www.rockiesfamilyadventures.com, and the founder of Calgary Outdoor Playgroups on Facebook. More information about her playgroups can be found on her blog.
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