Oh Banff, those beautiful Rockies you’ve seen in multiple backdrops. Banff has a lot more to do than just look that those beautiful never-ending mountains.
Living in Canada it’s extremely expensive to travel within Canada. I was lucky enough to go to Calgary twice through work, and honestly, it’s 100% worth flying out here. It’s about an hour and a half drive and renting a car is super easy. The roads are very smooth and it’s probably my favourite scenery. Banff National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984 and it is surrounded by five different parks.
Here are some of my favourite things to do in Banff
Driving through Icefields
Most people fly into Calgary and do a couple of days and drive back to Calgary to fly out. But then you tend to miss out on the Jasper road trip. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to drive all the way to Edmonton, but I find a lot of people stop at Lake Louise and drive back. But the best drive is the Icefields Parkway. It was the first time I ever seen a mountain goat up close. You do have to be careful though, we almost ran out of gas and there was no gas station nearby, we barely made it with less than 10km left. But I really do recommend doing this drive, it is so beautiful and worth every minute.
Stopping in Canmore
You can see the beautiful landscape here and there are some of the best restaurants in this little town. It’s the perfect pit stop for your drive up to Banff, and make sure to stop by The Grizzly Paw, where you can get amazing handcrafted beer. Plus, if you want to save some bucks, it’s a lot cheaper to stay here than in Banff town. Also, depending what time of the year you are there if you’re not there in dead hard winter or summer and still want to try to see some of the beautiful blue waters, check out Quarry Lake. About 10 minute drive from Canmore, and we got lucky enough to see the beautiful lakes in April!
There are lots of great restaurants to try in this small town. Every restaurant gets busy no matter what time of the year you go, so expect to wait for a table. One of my favourites was Tooloulos, Chuck’s Steakhouse, and the Bear Street Tavern. Alberta is known for its beef, so I definitely recommend splurging a little, and I mean $60 per person splurge. The other restaurants are usually about $20 per person.
Only about a 10-minute drive from Banff town, this is something worth doing if it’s not freezing cold. I wouldn’t say it’s the best hot springs in the world, as there is a giant fence and tree that sort of block the view, though you can still see the mountains. For the price though, how can you say no?! It is a bit crowded but again it’s the closest hot springs in town and it only cost $8.48 for adults. There is also locker rentals and bathing suit rentals for a small fee.
One of my favourite views is going through the Fairmont Lake Louise. There are plenty of places to park near the premises, and you can walk right into the giant hotel and head out the back door to see the stunning view of Lake Louise. I’ve only been there when it’s been frozen but it’s just as spectacular. You can even go skating when the Ice is frozen. Or if you go when there’s tons of snow, you might be stuck in the snow so be careful. I went to take a picture and couldn’t pull myself out of the snow.
I love coming to Banff, even just driving the day from Calgary is good for me because of that stunning drive. It can be quite an expensive trip, but there’s nothing like the rockies in North America. I do hope to get out there during the summertime! Let us know some of your favourite things to do in Banff!