Who better to send you off into parenthood than Mother Nature herself? Adventure-seekers looking to squeeze in an epic thrill before baby makes his appearance can’t go wrong with Banff and Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. There’s plenty to do (and see!) around this outdoor wonderland—even those sporting bumps can join in on the fun with pregnancy-safe excursions that you can enjoy at your own leisurely pace, like hiking and canoeing.
You’ll feel like you’ve stumbled into a storybook the first time you catch a glimpse of the Fairmont Banff Springs, nicknamed the “Castle in the Rockies” and styled after a Scottish baronial castle. Start your stay here in the heart of Banff National Park, where you can spend your days taking in the spectacular landscape, and then return to your home base for plenty of pampering, which every mama deserves. Spend the latter part of your trip at the nearby Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (about a 45-minute drive northwest), surrounded by mountain peaks and glittering blue-green water. (Nightly rates from $579)
Wander along the lakeshores, trek up a mountain pass (there are over 1,000 miles of walking trails at varying skill/intensity levels), and paddle out onto the shimmering water to fully immerse yourself in this breathtaking expanse. If you’re looking for a less strenuous way to take in the wide-open vistas (we’re familiar with those achy hips!), fret not. You can cruise down the Icefields Parkway for a scenic drive with stop-offs for short walks to stretch your legs, or board a gondola for a lift up the mountainside to gaze at the alpine peaks stretching before you.
Grab a bite once you’ve reached the pinnacle of your gondola ride for a meal with a bird’s-eye view. You’ll also not want for food at the Fairmont resorts with room service 24 hours a day and a total of 16 different restaurants between them, ranging from Japanese to Italian cuisine, so you can satisfy any pregnancy craving.
For an extra treat, plan a hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House. Built as a refuge for hikers by the Canadian Pacific Railway, this family-run establishment has been serving tea since 1905. You’ll have to navigate a 2-mile-long forested trail to get there, where you’ll stumble upon Mirror Lake and a waterfall cascading out of lake agnes. At your destination you can choose from 75 loose leaf teas, homemade soup, sandwiches with fresh baked bread, cookies and tea biscuits … all made without electricity and baked in a propane stove. Fun fact: Fresh supplies are hiked up daily by staff, and recycling and garbage are hiked out in the evenings. Heavier items, including flour and sugar, are brought in on horseback or flown in by helicopter once a year.