When to Visit Banff, AB
The best time to visit Banff is from June to September. Snowstorms are over, roads are clear to drive on, and the lakes are no longer frozen. Children can swim in the lakes around the area, and hikers will love the warm sun on their backs as they explore the trails. Wildflowers are blooming in the valleys, and wildlife sightings become much more common as the animals come out of hibernation. Since it is the most popular time to visit, hotel rates tend to be higher. It's best to make reservations as far in advance as possible.
Those who prefer to save money can visit in the cooler months from October through May. The prevalence of tourists also drastically decreases during these seasons, which some may prefer over a bustling town where finding dinner reservations every night is a challenge. There are still plenty of activities to take part in during the winter months.
Offering one of the longest ski seasons in North American, Banff provides skiers with an abundance of mountains to choose from. Nearby Mt. Norquay or Sunshine Village offer a great day of skiing. A little further north, Lake Louise also has exceptional skiing and is accessible by car or by shuttle from participating hotels.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Banff, AB:
Banff by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts demonstrating mean nightly cost trends by star rating class in Banff, AB. You can use these illustrations to determine the cheapest months to book a room in Banff for upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in Banff, AB
4 Star Average Prices: $175.00
There are plenty of options available in Banff for those who prefer a luxurious stay instead. For the ultimate indulgence, book a stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs. Located away from the town in the hills, the hotel is basically a village in itself. Relax after a day outdoors by heading to the full-service spa, or head to the Turkish spa. Golfers will love the on-site golf course, and the hotel bar is a great spot for celebrating after a fun day on the green. Shopping is also available at this hotel.
Another luxury option is the Rimrock Resort Hotel. It has a 24-hour health club so that guests can keep up with their fitness routines. A business center and meeting room are available for those who need to get some work done in between their adventures in Banff. A spa, sauna, and steam room are available for relaxation. Grab a coffee at the café for a quick pick-me-up, or head to the picnic area for an outdoor lunch. Shuttle service is also conveniently available to the Calgary International Airport, the recommended and closest airport to the hotel.
Affordable Hotel Options in Banff, AB
3 Star Average Prices: $190.00
Staying in Banff doesn't have to break the bank, even during the high season. There are plenty of affordable options available in town. The Homestead Inn Banff is a great choice with reasonable prices and a convenient central location on one of the main streets. This hotel allows pets, too, making it easy for the whole family to enjoy a vacation. Kids will love the indoor pool, and adults can use the fitness facility to get in their exercise. The hotel is close to the Banff Gondola and the shopping center, providing quick and easy access to plenty of entertainment.
The High Country Inn is another great option. Located conveniently on Banff Avenue, there are a variety of restaurants and shops surrounding the hotel. The Banff National Park Information Centre is also down the street and can offer assistance planning a hike or finding a lake to explore. Free Wi-Fi is available, as well as free parking, which is convenient to have in the middle of the town. There's even a restaurant available for those who are too tired from a day of exploring to go off-site. Take in a dip in the pool afterwards.
2 Star Average Prices: $157.40
Which Banff hotels have real discounts?
If you're looking for a discount on your stay, the Brewster Mountain Lodge offers up to a 20 percent discount to AAA members. Group rates are also available for a discount of up to 13 percent. Currency exchange is available right at the hotel, so there's no need to go searching down the street to get your loonies. Free Internet is available, along with tea and coffee for those who need some caffeine. Large meeting and banquet rooms are available to rent for groups holding private events.
Those in the military should consider a stay at the Red Carpet Inn. Discounts of up to 15 percent are available to active duty members. The hotel offers free parking and free wireless Internet and allows pets to stay for a fee. The Red Carpet Inn is in a convenient location close to the Banff Gondola and the Upper Hot Springs. The front desk offers assistance with everything from booking a tour at the Johnston Ice Canyon to getting tickets to museums around the area. Ski passes are also available if you prefer to buy them before you get to the mountain.
Best Value Options in Banff, AB
For those looking for a reasonably priced and quality hotel, there are several good options. Mount Royal Hotel is a mid-range hotel that provides plenty of value for your money. Located in the main part of town, it's within walking distance of the Banff Park Museum and the Whyte Museum. The air-conditioned rooms are a great perk while watching cable TV at night in the hot summer months. For the night owls, there's even a nightclub to head to for socializing. A spa tub and steam room are available after a day on the slopes.
For a centrally located hotel with a plethora of amenities, book a stay at the Banff International Hotel. It has on-site shopping, a restaurant available for all meals, and a cozy lounge for indulging in evening cocktails. Keep up your exercise routine by taking advantage of the hotel's fitness center, or relax in the sauna. Shuttle service is available to the Calgary International Airport if you would prefer not to rent a car during your vacation. Each room has an LCD television and MP3 docking station to keep you well-entertained while relaxing in your room.
Top Banff, AB Destinations
Wherever you decide to stay in Banff, you'll be surrounded by a wide array of options for outdoor activities. The Banff Gondola provides a beautiful view of the Canadian Rockies as it goes high up on Sulphur Mountain. Make sure to get out at the top to take in the scenic view. A trip to see the unreal blue colors of the glacier lake at Lake Louise is also a must. Stop in at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise afterwards for lunch with a view of the lake. Bow Valley Parkway offers a beautiful scenic drive and views of local wildlife.
There's no shortage of exceptional restaurants in Banff. The Bear Street Tavern serves delicious pizza with a different special every day. The tavern also has local beer on tap to offer travelers a taste of the area's breweries. If you're looking for fine dining, the French-Canadian restaurant Maple Leaf will keep you satisfied. Start your meal with the famous French onion soup, and save room for an excellent dessert of crème brûlée. For a familiar kid-friendly restaurant with popular classics and reasonable prices, head to the Old Spaghetti Factory.
Although Banff is a fairly small town, it offers a variety of places for sampling beer and wine. The Banff Ave Brewing Co. has everything from pale ales to stouts on tap to try. For a lively and fun evening out on the town, head to St. James's Gate Irish Pub for a pint of Guinness and catch one of the live music acts. If you're looking for an upscale dining experience with fine wine, check out the Three Ravens Restaurant and Wine Bar. The restaurant's selection of wine is impressive, and it will be hard to not find a type of wine to please everyone in your group.
Exploring Banff will keep you entertained for days on end. From skiing in the winter to hiking in the summer, there's something to do for everyone. The excellent choices of restaurants will satisfy even the pickiest appetites, while the selection of bars will be sure to quench your thirst. Whether you prefer a midrange hotel with basic amenities so you can focus on all your outdoor activities, or you would like to indulge yourself in one of the many luxurious hotels available, it's easy to find the perfect hotel to meet your needs and budget in Banff.
A visit to Banff Recapped
Banff is a national park town that lures millions of domestic and foreign visitors every year. Placed within the park, it is surrounded by the wilderness so don't be surprised if you come across an elk or deer. But if you think it's all trees and animals, the city offers much more than just that. The resort town is famous for its mountainous environment aside from its hot springs. It offers tons of activities whatever season you will decide to pay a visit. Sunshine Village and Ski Norquay are just two of the ski resorts where you can hike, bike or ski depending on the season. Immerse yourself with water sports in the surrounding bodies of water. Drive through the country's most scenic lane, the Icefields Parkway to have a glimpse of Bridal Veil Falls and Bow and Peyto Lakes. Take a Banff Gondola ride to have a full view of the Sulphur Mountain. End your day at the mountain by soaking your tired bodies in the Upper Hot Springs or the hot springs cave in Cave and Basin.
Verified reviews of the city: Banff, AB
Below are reviews of the city of Banff, AB from an actual visitor's perspective.
Score 4.0 / 5
Banff is crowded but so, so scenic. World class scenery. Gateway to the Ice field Parkway.
"Great Visit to Banff"
Score 4.0 / 5
We were in town for a music festival. It was an awesome city.
The average traveler rating of the city of Banff, AB shown above is 4.0 out of 5 based on 2 reviews