Our first real stop on this journey to Alaska we stayed at Tunnel Mountain II in Canada’s first National park, Banff. The campground was gorgeous with views and full hookups. Loads of activities around the campground too. Our sight was lovely and we enjoyed a 5K hike that circles the campground.
In the town there was so much activity that it was difficult to find a parking place. The streets and buildings resembled a Swiss ski village with adorable little shops. We enjoyed the local brewery and a wonderful ice cream shop called Cows with possibly the beat ice cream in the world. Or so the sign said.
The visitor center was extremely helpful and the girl who sold me my can of bear spray was entertainment in her own right.
We hiked Lake Louise, which was unexplainably beautiful even in the rain and mud. And on our way back to the campground we took the old 1A Parkway and spotted bear just past the huge traffic jam. The cars piled up being a sure sign there is a bear within view.
Banff was a beautiful stay. We enjoyed finally being in one place for more than just a day and I think we all fell in love with hiking especially on the trails next to waterfalls like Johnston Canyon.
We joined Thousand Trails at the Fulltime Family Rally. Thousand Trails is a membership that allows you access to a network of campgrounds at incredible discounts. The way it all works is beautifully explained here. Our decision to join was swayed by the fact that we had no place to go after the rally in Tampa and Florida is very full and very pricey this time of year. Lots of smart folks escape to the beautiful climate in Florida to wait out the winter, so we are one of many and places are full and rates are at a season high. Many of the families we met at the rally were moving to Thousand Trails Orlando after the rally to continue their stay in Florida. After looking at all the options we decided this would be a good move for us as well even if we only used it for this season. We bought a Zone Pass, explained here. Thousand Trails Orlando was our next stop and we landed there for the maximum time of two weeks before we needed to move on.
The crowd at Thousand Trails Orlando is varied but there is a definite kid friendly atmosphere and loads of the little buggers running around. We met new families and really enjoyed our stay here. The campground is very large and has options to stay near the activity center, which is always bustling with activity, and then some more distance sites that are a bit more secluded. The location is very close to Disney and the fireworks can be seen at night over a nearby pond. Fulltime Families are known to travel all over throughout the warmer months and end up back here in winter for homeschool co-ops and loads of activities for kiddos of all ages. Plenty of outside activities include Lake Louisa State Park, cycling, farmers markets and “u pick em” citrus groves. Clermont, Florida is a short drive away with loads of shopping and choices of eateries. The park is large enough to support several onsite laundry facilities a workout room and a nature trail. They also offer seasonal sites and annual sites for longer stays that are very reasonable. All in all a wonderful destination for us and I hope to return someday. If you have any questions about Thousand Trails or our experience with them, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section. Look for a future post on the citrus grove we visited nearby. 😉