I’ve been to Banff twice in the last couple of years and I’m somehow just now getting around to writing a full travel guide! I’ve been in mid-October and mid-September.
First, let me just say I LOVE BANFF SO MUCH.
If you enjoy the outdoors and some of the most stunning landscape views with brightest blue water your eyeballs have ever seen, you’ll like it too.
If you need some inspiration, here is a post with 15 Photos to Encourage You to Visit Banff.
GETTING THERE: You’ll need to fly to Calgary (YYZ) then rent a car and drive the 1.5 hours to Banff.
GETTING AROUND: You can drive everywhere you’ll want/need to go.
CURRENCY: Banff is in Canada so they use the Canadian dollar (CAD). If you’re there just for a few days there’s no reason to bother with a currency exchange because you can use your debit/credit cards everywhere. Of course, make sure you tell your bank where you’re going.
WHEN TO VISIT: It gets really cold and snows a bunch so some of the roads to the pretty lakes can be closed depending on when you go. If you’re okay with it being chilly but want to make sure you have access to all the lakes, September is great. It typically snows around the first week of October. Summer is wonderful (June-August) but it’s also the most crowded (aka pricey) during this time.
TIP: How to get the cheapest car rental! I book a TON of rental cars, and this really is the cheapest way (with reputable companies).
THINGS TO DO
I would say to plan at least 3 full days here. There really is so much to do and so many stunning lakes and hikes. Because it’s also a popular place, to get the best views I recommend getting to these places at sunrise. It makes for very long days but so worth it and if you need to you can take naps in the afternoon when the crowds are the heaviest.
My top favorites are:
- Moraine Lake
- Peyto Lake
- Two Jack Lake
- Lake Louise
- Emerald Lake
- Driving around the Icefields Parkway
I put lots of other places and everything on the Google Map below!
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Check out the Google Map below but here are my top favorites I still think about!
- Tooloulous – go for breakfast!
- Park Distillery – we loved this place so much we went twice. Probably my favorite dinner spot in all of Banff.
- BeaverTails – the best fried pastry treats with goodness on top!