Banff has been the most amazing place I have ever visited. I could not believe how much beauty and adventure could all be in one place. It was so fun to check off one of my top 5 bucket list items. I am already planning our next trip!
What I particularly loved about this trip was how spontaneous it was. We have a married couple we’re good friends with who happen to be from Canada, and we basically hung out with them every day last summer. One day, someone brought up the idea of driving up to Banff. I was seriously all over this idea (for those who don’t know me– once I get an idea in my head, I will literally do everything I can to make it happen lol). So basically that is what happened.
Since we are still poor, college/ married students, we tried to make this trip as cheap as possible. I book our campsite at Parks Canada and it only cost us about $15/ night. For those wondering if it’s worth it to camp in Banff– HIGHLY recommend it! We made sure there was a bathroom at our campsite, and it made it so nice! The bathrooms are really well maintained/ cleaned, and best of all– they have warm water! For all my girls that have to wash their face every night– you will love this lol. The only stinky thing was that they had a fire ban because of the forest fires that were going on! So we couldn’t ever make a fire while we were there. This was the only sucky part. If you go while there is no fire ban though, then you will be set.
The first night we got there, we went to the town of Banff and HOLY!!! It is like Jackson Hole on steroids! I loved it so much. There were so many people from all around the world. Because of the exchange rate, everything is pretty reasonably priced! Food wasn’t too expensive and you could get some fun souvenirs without breaking the bank as well.
We did Banff in 4 days. Technically two of those days were fully driving! So we spent two days in Banff itself and we felt like it was enough time! We were even planning on spending a third day in Banff but we felt like we were able to see everything in two days. We went to Lake Louise first. If you want to get pretty, uncrowded photos at Lake Louise, I recommend getting there as early as possible! The sun will rise around 6 am, so that is the best time to go! We got there by about 11 am and the water wasn’t reflective at that point — still so stunning though.
Also– if you want to jump into Lake Louise, just beware that it is the most freezing water ever. I was planning on jumping in, but when I felt how cold it was, I decided eh better not.
We did a trail/ hike up Lake Louise, and it was SO worth it! You pass a couple lakes on the way up, and then when you get to the top, you get a breathtaking view of Lake Louise. It took about 3 hours in all, and it was so worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
After we went to Lake Louise, we immediately head over to Moraine Lake, or as I like to call it the gatorade lake. It was so fun! There are tons of rocks you can climb and I noticed that more people swam here. I didn’t swim, but if we had been there more time and it was hotter outside, I probably would have gotten in!
We did not go canoeing in any of the lakes, and it is my biggest regret:( It is pretty pricey though. Lake Louise is the most expensive to canoe in but you can go all the way to the other side and come back which is amazing! Chris’s parents have done it, and they raved about it. If you are really wanting to canoe in one of the lakes and you have a tight budget, I recommend doing Moraine Lake or Emerald Lake, because they are just as beautiful and a lot cheaper!
Overall, Banff was amazing. I would do it again in a heartbeat if we didn’t have school! Let me know if you have any questions!
WHAT WE WORE:
- If you want to take cute photos– I recommend bringing MANY interchangeable outfit pieces. It seriously is so easy! For example, when we went to Lake Louise, I wore a black tank top underneath my blue tee shirt and then I wore a tan vest on top. It gives your photos so much diversity so you don’t feel like you’re posting the same photos over and over again.
- Bring a tripod! If you don’t trust other peoples camera skills/ there aren’t any tourists around to snap a pic for you, tripods are gold! I always keep mine in the trunk of my car, and it has come in handy SO many times.
- If you’re camping with your special someone, bring two sleeping bags and zip them together. Then you can cuddle in a sleeping bag cocoon– it’s much warmer than sleeping in two separate sleeping bags!
- If you’re camping, bring warm sleeping bags + BLANKETS! We would have died without having our fleece blankets in our sleeping bag. Also– dress warm when you go to bed. AKA be prepared to wear a beanie, sweatshirt, warm pants, and thick socks when you go to sleep. Even at the end of the summer, it still gets cold at night.
- DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT. I think I had nightmares the whole week prior to Banff, because I was so afraid we would forget.
- If you want to save a ton of money… DRIVE!! Road trips are 1000% more fun, and if you have other people coming with you, you can split gas to save even more money!
- Book your campsite early because they run out quickly!
- Bring bear spray.. you never know!
- Don’t leave a DROP of food anywhere on your campsite. ever. Just don’t. The campsite will tell you the same thing!
- Bring your own canoe + paddles if you don’t want to pay to go canoeing!