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10 BEST Hotels in Banff Town (Downtown!) for all Travelers and Budgets

10 BEST Hotels in Banff Town (Downtown!) for all Travelers and Budgets

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Banff National Park receives over 4 million visitors annually, and many of these travelers choose to stay in Banff’s central downtown area. With its proximity to epic hikes, stunning lakes such as Lake Louise, and thrilling activities like white water rafting, Banff town is the ideal place to stay!

But with over 100 hotels in a relatively small area, it can be difficult to find the exact right stay for your holiday! Luckily, we have traveled to Banff too many times to count, so we’ve had the chance to stay at a lot of these hotels and narrow down the absolute best places to stay in Banff.

Whether you’re looking for a secluded mountain retreat, a ski-filled holiday, or to be right in the action downtown, there are options for you. Many of these hotels include amenities such as hot tubs with incredible views, onsite restaurants and bars, spas, and free parking. There are even a ton of budget-friendly options that are still very comfortable, so you can enjoy your stay in Banff without breaking the bank!

To ease your travel-planning fatigue, I’ve put together this list of the 10 best hotels in Banff town, broken up into categories to suit whatever type of traveler you are. It includes the best 5-star hotels near downtown Banff as well as cheap places to stay in Banff. So no matter what, you’ll find the right hotel for you on this list!

Don’t have time to read the full article? Here is a snapshot of the best hotels in downtown Banff, for a variety of budgets!

  1. Banff Inn is the best value for your money.
  2. The Juniper Hotel has the absolute best views!
  3. The Fairmont Banff Springs is the most iconic and luxurious stay in Banff!

BEST Hotels IN Banff Town (near Downtown)

1. Rimrock Resort Hotel – The Most Romantic Hotel in Banff

The views of the Rimrock Resort in Banff, Canada
The rooms here have amazing views! Photo Credit: Rimrock Resort Hotel
  • Cost: Standard rooms start at about $380+ CAD per night during the low season.
  • Amenities and Facilities: On-site spa and wellness center, indoor pool and hot tub, restaurant, and bar. Some rooms have a balcony, a large tub, and mountain views.
  • Location: Near the Banff Upper Hot Springs, a 5-minute drive from Banff town center
  • Who will love it: Couples or those on a romantic honeymoon in Banff looking for a luxurious stay.
  • Pet friendly?: Yes, one level of the hotel is reserved for guests with pets you must book this in advance.
the inside of the infinity suite at the Rimrock Hotel in Banff
The rooms are gorgeous! Photo Credit: Rimrock Resort Hotel

The Rimrock Resort Hotel is my top pick for couples looking for a luxurious retreat. It is less than a 10-minute drive outside downtown Banff, so you get that secluded resort feel without being too far out of town. The biggest selling point for Rimrock is those incredible mountain views! You won’t have to climb mountain peaks to get a peek of the sweeping valley below, instead, lounge in your suite or in the hot tub and enjoy the peace and quiet. 

One of the things I love most about Rimrock’s location is that it is right next to the Banff Upper Hot Springs and the base of the Banff Gondola – two of the best things to do in Banff! It’s conveniently located to town, hikes, and many popular attractions, which is always a huge plus in my book.

The Rimrock Hotel also has a highly-rated day spa offering couples massages. The on-site restaurant and bar have amazing views for a romantic dinner, and the rooms range from standard more affordable options to pure luxury with spa tubs!

So while you’ll certainly want to go out and adventure around Banff, you also might have a hard time leaving the hotel, it’s so luxurious.

You can check availability and book the Rimrock Hotel on Booking.com here.

2. Banff Inn – Best value-for-money hotel in Banff

banff inn hotel is great value
The rooms are comfortable and well-priced. Photo Credit: Banff Inn
  • Cost: $240+ CAD for a standard room with two queen beds.
  • Amenities and Facilities: Hot tub, sauna, restaurant and bar, free parking, air conditioning and heating in every room as well as tea and coffee making facilities.
  • Location: A 10-minute walk from the center of Banff town on Banff Ave
  • Who will love it: Anybody looking for a comfortable stay without spending a fortune on extras.
  • Pet friendly?: No
the hot tub at Banff Inn
Relaxing in this hot tub is perfect after a day out exploring Banff. Photo Credit: Banff Inn

I’ve chosen the Banff Inn as the “best value” hotel in Banff because of its reasonable prices, high rating, and good facilities. This hotel has everything you could need without all the extra bells and whistles that cost so much more.

The rooms are spacious and the staff are helpful. The large hot tub is perfect for relaxing on a winter day and the location is convenient making getting to town very easy. There is also a sauna, restaurant (Carlito’s Pizzeria), and bar onsite. They also offer free underground parking.

This hotel is perfect for families too since their standard room features two queen beds and can sleep up to four people. Rooms come with air conditioning too which is perfect for those hot summer days in Banff. And in the winter, you can take advantage of the ski storage.

When it comes to the location, Banff Inn is conveniently located right on Banff Ave, only a short 10-minute walk from the heart of town.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Banff that is comfortable but also affordable, the Banff Inn is the best choice for you!

You can check availability and book the Banff Inn online here – they often are fully booked so you should book in advance.

Related Read: Only have a few days in Banff? Check out our ultimate 3-day Banff itinerary!

3. Sunshine Mountain Lodge – Best Banff hotel for a ski holiday

View from a room at the Sunshine Village Lodge, Banff
The ski hill will be right outside of your room! Photo Credit: Sunshine Mountain Lodge
  • Cost: $300+ CAD per night for a deluxe room that sleeps three people. Package deals are available when combined with lift tickets.
  • Amenities and Facilities: A large outdoor hot tub, indoor gym and dry sauna, ski storage, many restaurants, and a day spa.
  • Location: Right at Banff Sunshine Village. You can literally start skiing right from the hotel’s back door! A 20-minute drive to Banff town center and a 20-minute ride on the Banff Sunshine Gondola.
  • Who will love it: Anybody looking for a ski-in-ski-out hotel in Banff
  • Pet friendly?: No
inside a premier room at the Sunshine Lodge in Banff
The rooms are so nice too! Photo Credit: Sunshine Mountain Lodge

If you’re coming to Banff for skiing or snowboarding, then the Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the best hotel in Banff for skiing! Located in the Sunshine Village Ski Resort, you can step out of the hotel and right into your skis for a day on the slopes. They also provide package deals that allow you to combine your stay with lift passes, lessons, and rentals. 

The hotel boasts a central location, only a 20-minute drive from Banff town center. And if you don’t want to drive, no worries, they also operate a shuttle! One thing to note is that you’ll have to ride one of the gondolas in Banff for 20 minutes to get to the hotel. This is a really cool feature about this hotel – it’s located right up in the mountains!

Many people love the secluded nature of the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, as it’s a great way to get out of the hustle and bustle of downtown Banff and into the gorgeous winter wonderland. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from right at the hotel, as well as Banff’s largest outdoor hot tub, a dry sauna, and an onsite gym (as if skiing isn’t enough of a workout!). You won’t even need to leave the premises to find all that you need.

With all these amenities, we can’t forget about the rooms themselves! They are cozy and comfortable, some feature a fireplace, balcony, and mountain or waterfall views. Best of all, they are more affordable than you might think for such a prime location. 

In the summer, the Lodge is still open. Prices are even cheaper and it is still one of the best hotels in Banff as there is tons of hiking to be done in and around the area, not to mention the scenic chairlift! 

It’s super important to book Sunshine Mountain Lodge well in advance as they tend to book up months in advance. Prices get as low as $225 CAD during the shoulder season and lower rates are around $300 CAD during the peak winter season. 

You can check availability and book the Sunshine Mountain Lodge on Booking.com here.

4. Moose Hotel and Suites – Most centrally located hotel in Banff town

The front of the Moose Hotel and Suites in Banff, Alberta
This is one of my personal favorite hotels in Banff! Photo Credit: Moose Hotel and Suites
  • Cost: $250+ CAD for a double room during the low season.
  • Amenities and Facilities: All rooms have a balcony or patio. There is an onsite day spa and wellness center, indoor pool, gym, two hot tubs on the roof with views, and an Italian restaurant with a bar.
  • Location: A 1-minute walk from the heart of Banff. Located on Banff Ave with plenty of restaurants and shops right on its doorstep.
  • Who will love it: Families and couples who want to be in the heart of Banff with amazing amenities
  • Pet Friendly?: Yes, but an additional fee applies.
the lobby of Moose Hotel and Suites in Banff
This hotel is new and beautiful! Photo Credit: Moose Hotel and Suites

I’ve stayed in many hotels in Banff, and the Moose Hotel and Suites is one of my favorites. Set in central Banff, this hotel puts you within walking distance of the best restaurants, cafes, shops, and main attractions of the city. This is my top pick for those looking for a nice stay in a prime location!

In addition to locality, the Moose Hotel and Suites don’t sacrifice when it comes to amenities and comfort. The rooms range from a standard hotel room all the way to rooftop suites, and really, even the standard rooms are comfortable! However, my favorite part is the rooftop hot tubs (yes, plural– there are two!) which are great for a snowy winter night or after a long day of hiking. 

They offer free parking, which can often be quite costly in Banff. Luckily, the hotel is so centrally located you can simply leave your car there as you go out and explore the city. And if you don’t feel like venturing out to find something to eat, you can enjoy their onsite Italian restaurant, which is actually one of the top-rated restaurants in Banff. 

The Moose Hotel and Suites is one of the best places to stay in Banff for a range of travelers, whether it’s with your family, on a friend’s weekend, or just as a couple. You can check availability and book the Moose Hotel and Suites on Booking.com here.

5. Banff Rocky Mountain Resort – Best hotel for families

The pool area at the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort
The outdoor pool is ideal for summer! Photo Credit: Banff Rocky Mountain Resort
  • Cost: $140 CAD for a junior suite with two queen beds that sleeps four. Prices are more during peak season for one and two-bedroom apartments.
  • Amenities and Facilities: Outdoor and indoor pools and hot tub, tennis courts, squash court, gym, bike rentals, BBQs, kitchenette or full kitchens in all rooms, free shuttle to Banff town. Onsite restaurant.
  • Location: On Tunnel Mountain Road, a 7-minute drive from Banff town center.
  • Who will love it: Families looking for a fun and affordable stay
  • Pet friendly?: Yes, but an additional fee applies.
the iside of the two bedroom condo at the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort
These condos are perfect for families. Photo Credit: Banff Rocky Mountain Resort

Banff is an ideal family vacation destination, especially if your kids are little adventurers! With a plethora of hiking options, kayaking on alpine lakes, or unique tours like horseback riding, it’s an outdoor playground. To make your family trip even more memorable, you need the perfect place to stay in Banff for the whole fam. 

The Banff Rocky Mountain Resort is my top pick for family-friendly hotels in Banff, as they offer suites and apartments with plenty of room for the whole crew. Rooms are equipped with kitchens, which are ideal for storing groceries and snacks or doing some cooking. The prices for this hotel are also very affordable, as I know how expensive traveling can be with kids! 

There is also a ton of outdoor space to explore and play including both outdoor and indoor pools as well as the opportunity to rent bikes and explore the countless trails nearby – tons to keep the little ones busy right outside your hotel door!

The Banff Rocky Mountain Resort is about a 5-minute drive outside of downtown and the hotel includes a complimentary shuttle to Banff town to make your logistics a little easier. They also welcome pets, so if you’re family includes a four-legged friend, bring them along!

You can check availability and book the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort on Booking.com here.

6. Juniper Hotel and Bistro – Banff hotel with the best views

Mt Norquay Banff National Park. Views from the Juniper Hotel & Bistro
Isn’t that view amazing?!
  • Cost: $118 CAD+ for a standard room for two people in low season.
  • Amenities and Facilities: Outdoor hot tub, onsite restaurant with amazing gourmet food and reviews, mountain views, all rooms have a mini-fridge.
  • Location: Near the base of Mt Norquay (10-minute drive) and about a 6-minute drive from Banff town.
  • Who will love it: Anybody who can appreciate an amazing view and doesn’t mind being a few minutes from town
  • Pet friendly?: Yes, but must be booked in advance and an additional fee applies
the inside of a room at the Juniper Hotel in Banff
Such modern rooms with mountain views! Photo Credit: The Juniper Hotel

Without a doubt, the Juniper Hotel has the best views in all of Banff, making it one of the best hotels in Banff too! The hotel is set at the base of Mt Norquay, slightly higher than the rest of town so you really can see everything. Only a couple of minutes from town, this peaceful hotel offers mountain views from every window and balcony.

Along with stellar views come comfortable rooms and a friendly staff, which makes this stay all around enjoyable. You can choose from standard hotel rooms, full suites, family-sized rooms, and even a cabin that sleeps 6, so it’s a great option no matter who you’re traveling with!

But the true standouts of the Juniper Hotel are the mountain view hot tub and the top-rated bistro. I’ve come to grab food and drinks here, even when I wasn’t staying at the hotel!

For those planning on skiing at Mt Norquay, one of the best things to do in Banff in the winter, the Juniper Hotel is an ideal stay. It will only take you about 10 minutes to get to the ski resort. When you’re done skiing for the day, you can catch the shuttle into town for an après ski cocktail! 

Prices for the Juniper Hotel are also incredibly reasonable starting under $200 CAD a night. To be honest, Banff can be rather expensive, so finding this nice of a stay for an affordable price is incredible!

You can check availability and book the Juniper Hotel on Booking.com here

7. Samesun Banff – Best budget hotel/hostel in Banff

room with a mountain view from the window in the Samesun Banff hostel
Check out that mountain view! Photo Credit: Samesun Banff
  • Cost: $50+ CAD for a dorm in a mixed room/$175+ CAD for a double room during low season.
  • Amenities and Facilities: Private bathrooms in all rooms (even dorms), communal areas including a shared kitchen, on-site bar, and restaurant
  • Location: Right in Banff town center, just off Banff Ave
  • Who will love it: Those on a tight budget. Solo travelers will enjoy the dorm rooms, while couples can stay in the budget double room.
  • Pet friendly?: No
double room with a fireplace at that Samesun Banff
Cozy fireplaces in the rooms. Photo Credit: Samesun Banff

For those looking for a cheap place to stay in Banff, the Samesun Banff is a perfect choice! Rooms are well under $180 CAD a night and are comfortable with a private bathroom, a small balcony, and free parking included. You can find a dorm bed in a mixed room for as low as $28 CAD!

The location is right in the heart of Banff, ideal for walking to many of the attractions and activities in the area. Hostels are a fun way to meet fellow travelers and allow you to enjoy this magnificent place, even on a budget!

The amazing price tag does come with a couple of sacrifices though. There is no onsite pool and the rooms don’t have air conditioning (which isn’t normally a problem in Banff but is worth noting). The on-site bar can also get quite rowdy and loud, so this might not be the best place to stay for those who are light sleepers.

That all being said, the reviews of this hotel are incredible for the price and there is a reason it is almost always booked full months in advance!

You can check availability and book the Samesun Banff either on Hostelworld here or Booking.com here.

8. Fox Inn and Suites – Best hotel for a group weekend getaway

The cave spa at the Fox Inn & Suites
The hot tub is in a cave setting. Photo Credit: Fox Inn and Suites
  • Cost: $250+ CAD for a double room or $550+ for a two-bedroom suite that sleeps 6!
  • Amenities and Facilities: Chili’s onsite restaurant and bar, huge hot tub styled like a cave, sauna, mountain views, one and two-bedroom apartments with kitchens. Free underground parking, free breakfast, and laundry facilities.
  • Location: A 10-minute walk from the center of Banff town
  • Who will love this hotel: Perfect for groups of friends or large families in their 2-bedroom apartments.
  • Pet friendly?: Yes! However, you do need to book for the pet in advance and there is a $25 extra charge
the living room in the two bedroom suite at the Fox Inn in Banff
The living room in the two-bedroom apartment, Photo Credit: Fox Inn

For a large group looking for a weekend getaway, the Fox Inn and Suites is an ideal place to stay in Banff! Not only does the hotel have everything you could ever need within it, but it is also only a short walk into the heart of town. You can easily venture into town for attractions or a night on the town.

If you are traveling with just two people, the queen rooms start under $200 CAD (what a steal!). But, I love this hotel for larger groups as they have plenty of room options to accommodate more people. What’s better than a weekend in the mountains with friends? In fact, we have a whole weekend itinerary in Banff full of ideas!

Onsite, you’ll find a restaurant, a trendy bar, free parking, and a fitness center, although there are enough hikes in Banff you won’t need to hit the gym! There is also a hot tub that resembles a cave and is very luxurious and relaxing. A perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring!

Fox Inn and Suites is the perfect combination of comfort, amenities, and a great location, making it an easy addition to the best hotels in Banff list!

You can check availability and book the Fox Inn and Suites on Booking.com here.

9. Basecamp Suites – Great for groups, families, or a private stay

the outside of Base Camp suites in Banff with Rundle Mountain behind it
What a gorgeous spot for a hotel! Photo Credit: Basecamp Suites Banff
  • Cost: $350+ CAD for a 1-bedroom apartment/$900+ CAD for a 3-bedroom apartment that sleeps 7!
  • Amenities and Facilities: Full kitchen and sitting areas in each apartment, hot tub with mountain views, air conditioning, onsite paid parking, and private entrances.
  • Location: Right in Banff town center, less than one block off Banff Ave
  • Who will love it: Families and large groups, accommodating up to 7 people in apartment-style rooms.
  • Pet friendly?: No
inside of an apartment at Basecamp Suites in Banff with a mountain out the window
The apartments are modern and offer mountain views! Photo Credit: Basecamp Suites Banff

For a centrally located stay that will fit your entire friend group or family (extended and all) Basecamp Suites is a great option! Located in the heart of Banff’s downtown area, these private, apartment-style rooms range from single bedrooms, up to three-bedroom stays and luxurious superior king apartments. 

The apartments are equipped with full kitchens and sitting areas, making this a very comfortable accommodation. You will also find a giant hot tub that has some of the best views of the mountains from downtown (no kidding!). This sounds like the perfect stay for a ski weekend with friends if you ask me!

You can reach many of Banff’s best restaurants in less than a 5-10 minute walk, as the hotel is just off of Banff Ave. It is also conveniently behind the main grocery store, so if you want to grab some groceries and put that kitchen to use, it is an easy option. You’ll also find the Banff Park Museum and Banff Visitors Center nearby!

Even if you’re not traveling with a large group, some apartments fit two people perfectly and make for a nice, homey stay.

You can check all accommodation options and book the Basecamp Suites in advance on Booking.com here.

10. Fairmont Banff Springs – Most luxurious hotel in Banff

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is a romantic honeymoon hotel in Banff
Photo credit – Banff and Lake Louise Tourism Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
  • Cost: Standard rooms start at $450 CAD during the low season.
  • Amenities and Facilities: 11 restaurants, 14 shops, outdoor heated pool, indoor lap pool, day spa, and gym all onsite. Rooms offer views, feather beds, down duvets, and air conditioning and heating.
  • Location: A 7-minute drive from Banff located on the drive up towards the Banff Upper Hot Springs.
  • Who will love it: Luxury travelers or those looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
  • Pet friendly?: Yes, for a fee.
At the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Me, in front of the Fairmont Banff.

If you truly want an experience and a hotel all in one, then you MUST stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. This luxurious hotel is actually an old Scottish Castle built in 1888 and declared a National Historic Site.

The Fairmont is the most prestigious hotel in the area offering a range of restaurants on-site to choose from as well as tons of activities. Even for those not staying here, most travelers will come to check out the hotel, it’s that goregous!

But if you do treat yourself to a stay, guests can go bowling, play tennis, go horseback riding, golf, or swim in the large lap pool. They also have a heated outdoor pool, which is great any time of year (Banff can still be a little chilly in the summer nights!). Plus, you can take your luxurious stay to the next level by booking a spa day at the wellness center!

They don’t cut corners when it comes to details either. The rooms are carefully designed with guest comfort in mind and are just as luxurious as the hotel’s facade. Rooms range from a standard queen room (although I don’t know if I’d call anything about the Fairmont “standard”) up to two-bedroom suites or Gold-View rooms.

The location is close enough to town that you can walk, but a free shuttle is also offered. The views from most of the rooms are amazing too. You’ll be just around the corner from the Banff Upper Hot Springs – a must-do if you’re visiting Banff in the winter months.

The Fairmont is also known to host many different events. If you’re coming to Banff around Christmas time, be sure to enjoy all of the family-friendly activities they offer right at the hotel.

You can check availability and book the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel on Booking.com here.

Best Hotels NEAR Banff Town (Around Banff National Park)

You don’t necessarily need to stay right in Banff town to experience all that Banff National Park has to offer. Often, hotels in Banff are completely booked up so you might have no other choice but to stay elsewhere.

Near Banff, there are a few other places to stay that also offer great accommodation. Some of the areas you can stay near Banff to easily access the park include:

Hotels in Lake Louise

Lake Moraine on a cold morning in Banff National Park
Moraine Lake at sunrise on a cold morning in Banff National Park

Lake Louise is an attraction all on its own. This beautiful lake and village are home to some very famous attractions. There is a range of things to do in Lake Louise including visiting Lake Louise Ski Resort, Moraine Lake, and tons of hikes (like the popular Larch Valley Trail). In Lake Louise Village you’ll find a few amazing restaurants as well as hotels to choose from.

Some great hotels in Lake Louise are:

  • Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – Similar to the Fairmont Banff Springs, Fairmont Lake Louise is everything luxury! In fact, many say it offers even better views!
  • Lake Louise Inn – This hotel is reasonably priced and offers spacious rooms and apartments. There is a pool, gym, hot tub, and three different restaurants onsite.
  • Baker Creek by Basecamp – This is another luxurious option featuring spacious chalets and suites with a fireplace. Guests can enjoy spending time in their fitness center, steam room, and sauna. Or head outside and have a campfire by the river or go skating on the rink.

Related Read: Be sure to read about all of the fun things to do if you’re visiting Lake Louise in winter.

Hotels in Canmore

Three Sisters Mountain Peaks In The Canadian Rockies Of Canmore,
Canmore’s famous Three Sisters mountain peaks and their reflections on the Bow River

Canmore is a great alternative to the pricey hotels in Banff. First of all, Canmore is not technically in Banff National Park (right on the border) which means you don’t need to buy a national park pass for the days you stay within Canmore.

Second of all, the hotel prices in Canmore are generally cheaper than in Banff town. This is great considering Canmore is only a short 20-minute drive from Banff town center – a win-win if you ask me!

Besides, Canmore is a beautiful destination on its own. There are a ton of fun things to do in Canmore including popular day hikes like the famous Grassi Lakes and Ha Ling Peak, or relax with a beer in hand at one of Canmore’s local breweries.

Some great hotels in Canmore are:

  • Canadian Rockies Chalets – Close to the center of Canmore, this gorgeous hotel offers chalets with 2 and 3 bedrooms, private patios, and full kitchens for as little as $135 CAD!
  • Lamphouse Hotel – This hotel is in a very central, but scenic location. It is perfect for those on a budget at only $125 CAD a night for a double room.
  • Malcolm Hotel – A luxury hotel with impeccable reviews offering an indoor pool and hot tub, BBQs, bar, and gym.

Calgary

The city skyline of Calgary
The city skyline of Calgary

Calgary isn’t necessarily “close” to Banff, but if you stay on the edge of the city closest to Banff the drive is only 1 hour and 20 minutes. The last time I went to Banff I spent one night in Calgary before heading to the national park for a couple of nights. I got up early after the night in Calgary and still had an entire day in Banff!

Doing this is a smart way to increase the amount of time you can spend in Banff by a day on either side for a cheap price. Hotels in Calgary are significantly cheaper than in Banff.

Alternatively, you could always stay in Calgary and just join a day tour to Banff or rent a car and go on your own day trip!

Some great hotels in Calgary are:

  • Centro Motel – This is a basic hotel very close to Banff. It is comfortable though and has free parking. It’s a good place to rest your head for a night before heading to Banff bright and early!

Related Read: Check out all of the fun activities you can do in Calgary in the winter before you go!

Other Things to do While You’re in Banff

Banff gondola building and boardwalk on a early spring day with lots of snow
The top of the Banff Gondola
Bailey and her mum pose for a photo at Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake!

While planning your trip, there are so many incredible things to do in Banff. But with so much to choose from, it might feel overwhelming. So below, I’ve picked some of my favorite activities in the area to help you out!

  • Visit Lake Louise and Moraine Lake – If you want to see more stunning lakes in the area, check out these two! Parking at Lake Louise can be tricky (and impossible at Moraine Lake!), so we’d recommend this Banff National Park Tour. You’ll get to visit Lake Louise as well as Moraine Lake in one go – with enough time to walk around, learn the local history, and snap postcard-worthy photos.
  • Ride the Banff Gondola – If you want the best vantage point in town, ride up the Banff Gondola! You’ll climb 698 meters (2,292 feet) to the top of Sulphur Mountain where you’ll have a view of six different mountain ranges. Tickets do sell out in the busy season, so make sure to purchase yours ahead of time!
  • Look for wildlife – Banff is home to some pretty incredible wildlife. You might just spot elk, bears, deer, foxes, coyotes, bighorn sheep, and more! The best chance you have of seeing the most critters is on a wildlife tour in Banff. We really liked this small group tour where the guides tailor the itinerary to recent wildlife spottings and you get to see highlights of the national park along the way.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

Parks Canada Pass Quick Info

If you plan on spending time in Canada’s national parks (including Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Kootenay, and more) then you’re going to have to pay for a Parks Pass.

Single Daily Admission:

This type of pass is valid for one person for one day. It is ONLY the best value if you are traveling alone and only plan to visit a national park for a couple of days.

  • Adult (ages 18-64) is $11 CAD
  • Senior (65+) is $9.50 CAD
  • Youth/Child (17 or younger) is FREE

Group Daily Admission:

If you’re traveling in a group or with family, you can buy a single-day admission for your entire vehicle (up to 7 people in one vehicle.)

  • $22.00 CAD gets your entire vehicle entry for one full day

Parks Canada Discovery Pass

The “Discovery Pass” is what Parks Canada calls their year-long (365 days from the purchase date), multi-park entry pass. This pass will give 365 days of access to all participating national parks in Canada. This includes the most popular parks like Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke, and so much more.

  • Adult (age 18-64) – $75.25 CAD
  • Senior (65+) – $64.50 CAD
  • Group/Family (up to 7 people in one vehicle) – $151.25 CAD

Hot Tip: Although more expensive up front, if you plan on spending more than 7 days in different parks in Canada within a 12-month period, then the Discovery Pass is actually the better deal!

Parks Canada Passes can be bought online here or at one of the Visitor Centers or booths at the entrance to many national parks.

Renting a Car in Alberta

A car drives along the Icefields Parkway
The drive is mesmerizing!

If you’re arriving in Alberta via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. Canada is a large country and traveling between cities and even just getting out to some of the best places to visit in Alberta requires transport. Although you can use public transport, on some occasions, it means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Renting a car will definitely make exploring all of the fun things to see and do in Alberta easier.

Car rental in Canada isn’t super cheap, but it isn’t overly expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year and the type of car that you rent. For car rentals, I use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used them all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Read our honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie on the Banff Gondola
Thank you for reading!

Taking a few days to explore Banff will make for the trip of a lifetime. With its rugged outdoor beauty, you’ll want somewhere comfortable to relax, without breaking your budget! I hope this blog has helped you choose the best hotel for you for your Banff holiday. Banff is truly one of my favorite towns in the whole world – I hope you enjoy it as much as I always do!

If you have any questions about your upcoming trip to Banff or Canada leave us a comment below and we will get back to you! Also if you loved this travel guide, check out all our Canada travel guides here or these related articles below.

50 BEST Things to do in Vancouver, Canada

10 Best Winter Tours in Banff to Explore Canada’s Winter Wonderland

5 BEST Hot Springs in Alberta (and near the BC border)

21 BEST Stops on the Drive from Vancouver to Banff: Road Trip Itinerary

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Michael Paul

Friday 4th of September 2020

Just going through the exciting process of planning a trip to Canada for next year, we live in the UK and have never been to Canada, so trying to get as much info as possible and have been on loads of websites over the last few weeks, and have found this to be one of, if not the best, full of so much info explained in a clear and interesting way. The plan is to fly to Vancouver for six nights, then by train to Banff for four nights, and drive the Icefields Parkway to Jasper staying four nights, Back to Banff for three then Calgary to fly home, so this guide has been invaluable, thank you so much.

destinationlesstravel

Monday 7th of September 2020

Hey Michael!

Thank you so much for the kind words! We always love to hear that our travel guides are being put to good use and helping others plan their holiday.

Sounds like you have a really good trip coming up. I have always wanted to take the train from Vancouver to Banff, the trip looks so amazing.

I will mention though that we just published a new blog on Canmore. Canmore is only 45 minutes from Banff but outside the national park. Despite this, there is still so much to do there and a great option, if you want to spend time in another small mountain town that is cheaper than Banff. You can check it out in the blog section on our website!

Once again thank you! It's messages like this that make blogging so rewarding!

Daniel