Jasper, Alberta is one of my favorite places on earth. I always recommend that families visiting Banff National Park head up the Icefields Parkway to explore Jasper. There are plenty of activities for families in Jasper but my favorite is the Maligne Lake Cruise. Here’s why it’s a do not miss experience with visiting Jasper with kids.
Maligne Lake Cruise
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Maligne Lake is well known as one of the most iconic spots in Jasper. There are three glaciers visible from the lake as well as astounding peaks. The drive to the lake is 44km and can take over an hour depending on traffic. You’ll want to keep this in mind when booking your Maligne Lake cruise.
The lake is 22 km long and there are only a few ways to explore it. You can do so by kayak, canoe or on the Maligne Lake Cruise. The Maligne Lake Cruise operates seasonally from May to October. The views are tremendous during Spring, Summer, and Fall. The cruise begins on the shores of Maligne Lake and takes you to Spirit Island, one of the most photographed locations in Canada.
While the description of the cruise may not sound riveting for kids, the Maligne Lake Cruise is, in fact, perfect for families. The captain of the ship and guide are both entertaining and funny while also full of knowledge about the area. Kids are engaged and get to answer questions and have fun during the cruise. While the boat is moving, families have the option to stay inside and participate in a discussion about the geography of the area or head out back and enjoy the view. For kids who don’t like to sit too long, having this option makes for a smooth tour.
Tip: Bring kid-sized binoculars for them to spot animals along the shoreline.
Once the Maligne Lake Cruise arrives at Spirit Island, you are able to depart the boat and explore the Island on a short hike. Here, you will also find state-of-the-art flushable eco-toilets for kids to relieve themselves before the ride back. The walk is incredible and boats are timed so that the Island is not overrun by people during your visit.
Pursuit Collection Banff and Jasper
Not only does the Pursuit Collection offer tours to Maligne Lake. They also offer incredible adventures in Jasper and Banff National Park. These include two iconic stops along the Icefields Parkway; the Glacier Skywalk and Glacier Adventure. Impossible to miss from the road, the Glacier Skywalk is a glass platform that extends 918 feet over the Sunwapta Valley. It’s a unique experience and a lot of fun for kids and adults alike. The Glacier Adventure allows you to walk on, touch and even drink water from the Athabasca Glacier. I always advise families in Banff, to also head to the Banff Gondola known for its iconic views, interactive kids floor, and the best mountaintop dining in Banff.
Maligne Lake Cruise
It took me four visits to Jasper before trying the Maligne Lake Cruise and it’s a stop I won’t skip in the future. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to head out on the pristine water of Maligne Lake and see Spirit Island in person when visiting the area.