So we took a trip to Banff! If you don’t know what Banff is, it’s a small tourist town in the mountains of Alberta, Canada. Here’s a little peek:
Yeah, it’s friggin beautiful.
On Wednesday night we decided, heck, let’s go to Banff this weekend. We booked a hotel room for Friday night, and planned to head out Friday morning (Friday was a stat holiday so we had the day off.)
Friday came around and we headed out about 8:30 AM for the four-ish hour drive. We made it about an hour in and I had to go to the bathroom (typical), so we stopped at a gas station. Justin went to fill up the car as I went in to the store, and when I came out he still hadn’t filled up (what the heck bro.)
Turns out the button to open his gas cap was broken and literally fell INTO his door. So we couldn’t get gas (well, diesel actually.)
LOL. So we had to pull off to the side and take his door apart to get at this button. Good thing his car goes forever on one tank, so we didn’t have to fill up at all the rest of the trip.
Fast forward through our drive, and seeing the landscape change from prairies to hills to mountains is so incredible. Don’t know if it’s just because I’ve lived in the prairies my whole life, but damn, those mountains really getcha.
Downtown Banff is just the cutest thing you’ll ever see. Adorable shops, mountains on every side of you, the best pubs. When we stopped for some pool and a drink at Rose & Crown, we peeked out the window and a deer decided to wander through town. Okay, sure deer.
We spent most of our trip just relaxing and wandering through town; took a few drives to see some cool views. Really anywhere you drive around there is gorgeous. If you decide to take a trip up to the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel (or if you’re lucky enough to stay there!) you won’t regret it. It’s a freaking castle, and the views from there are breathtaking.
Before I get into the beautiful-long-way-drive-home part of our trip, here’s a few things you should know about if you’re thinking about a trip to Banff:
- You have to pay to get into Banff National Park if you’re not just passing through. For us, it was about 20 bucks for the two of us. According to Parks Canada, in 2017 all national parks will have free admission for the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation! Bonus!
- I recommend staying at a hotel that’s right downtown if you can. It’s much easier to be able to walk to all the shops and restaurants without worrying about finding somewhere to park.
- Bring your skates! In the winter time they have some man-made outdoor rinks available, and skating with the mountains around you is so fun.
- It’s usually busy. Especially if you go on a long weekend or around Christmas. Be prepared for wait times at restaurants and busy streets. We went to Magpie & Stump for dinner and there they take your name and number and text you when a table is ready. That way you can go and walk around while you wait instead of standing at the entryway of the restaurant. So nice!
On Saturday morning we did some wandering around, and decided we wanted to try taking Icefields Parkway home. It’s a longer drive to get back to Edmonton, but man was it ever worth it. So incredibly beautiful. It’s actually mesmerizing.
Just a heads up though – there’s no service and no radio (so an aux cord is nice!), and no gas stations for over 200km, so make sure you have a full tank! We stopped on the side of the road multiple times to get some photos and take in the amazing views.
Icefields Parkway goes all the way to Jasper, but we turned into Rocky Mountain House to make our way back to Edmonton.
Banff and the surrounding area is such a beautiful spot to vacation. If you’ve never seen the mountains (or even if you have) you won’t be disappointed with the sights you get to see there. Downtown Banff is full of such wonderful people, and the restaurants and pubs have the best atmosphere. A few of my favourites include:
- For Mexican food and a crazy fun atmosphere – Magpie & Stump
- For pub food & drinks, and a game of pool – Rose & Crown
- For awesome live music and dancing – Wild Bill’s
Even though it was a short trip, it was definitely a memorable and beautiful one. Check out my Instagram for more photos from our trip, and share with me your photos if you make a trip out to Banff!