Banff National Park, located in Alberta, Canada, is an amazing destination full of beautiful sceneries. It’s been at the top of my list of places to visit and I knew that I needed to make it happen in 2017. I disregarded my normal “let the deal determine my next vacation” motto and booked a flight for Memorial Day weekend. Just so happens that 2017 is Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation, so they are waiving all entrance fees for their national parks!
I also lucked out with the timing of my trip. I’ll be honest that I didn’t look up too much on when was the best time to go. I wanted to tie in the visit with a holiday to save some PTO and didn’t think of road conditions or if the lakes would still be completely frozen. Moraine Lake Road opened up on May 23rd this year…I arrived to Alberta on May 26th! The weather was perfect during my stay, averaging 70 degrees. The lakes were starting to melt, so I could see the crystal clear water and the infamous turquoise hues were forming.
A few notes about my trip that may be helpful to future visitors:
Where did I stay? I actually rented a hotel (through Priceline’s Express Deals) in Calgary for my 3 nights in the area. The Sheraton Suites to be specific. It was the perfect location in Calgary and the room was extremely spacious.
How did I get to Banff? Car rental is a must! Sure there are tours and shuttles, but having a car allows more flexibility. I drove each morning around 8AM to Banff, which took 1.5 hours from downtown Calgary to downtown Banff. The drive is very easy and goes by quickly! The beautiful scenery you’ll witness makes the drive relaxing and enjoyable. The roads in Banff were easy to navigate and not scary at all! I normally get worried about driving in the mountains, but that wasn’t the case here at all.
Where did I get the park pass? I filled out the information on this website and then printed the pass from the site. They also sent me a pass in the mail along with a brochure!
How was it driving around Banff? Extremely easy! I get so scared driving around mountains and hills, but I had no issues here. The signs are clear, the roads are wide, and the road conditions were great. Some parking lots were small, but if full then there was an overflow lot with a free shuttle service.
How were the crowds? I really lucked out here. The crowds were minimal in comparison to the busy summer months. I never had an issue with parking or traffic.
How did I plan my trip? I made a list of all the main sights that I wanted to visit. I then put them into google maps to see the proximity from each other. I decided to only do two places each day and then ended each trip with a late lunch in downtown Banff. This allowed me to take my time at the attraction without wearing myself out by the end of the day. The sun didn’t set until 9:45pm while I was there, so I didn’t have to worry about driving back to Calgary in the dark either!
During my short stay in Alberta, I was able to check out the following sights:
Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. I sat there in awe majority of the time just feeling so thankful that I was able to witness the unreal scenery. I cannot recommend this place enough. I will definitely be back! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!