Happy Travel Tuesday Everyone! Today is the second post in my Honeymoon series. If you missed the first, check it out here!
Tucked deep within the Canadian Rockies, you’ll find the picturesque towns of Banff and Canmore. Both very different, but perfect in their own ways. If you are planning a trip to Banff National Park, either of these two little towns would be a perfect place to base yourself for your trip. But how do you choose which town is best for you?
Banff: Banff’s downtown main street looks like a postcard. It’s a small street lined with shops and restaurants. This little town receives over 4 million visitors a year, so there is always something going on. It is inside Banff National Park, so you do need a park pass to get to it. No matter where you chose to stay in Banff, you will be close to everything you need. The best bonus of staying in Banff is that you’re already inside the national park. So if you chose to stay here over Canmore, you can easily cut off 20 minutes of your drive every day.
Canmore: Unlike Banff, Canmore is not within the national park, so you don’t need a park pass to get to it. It feels very homey, and not so touristy. Want to grab a beer with the locals? Canmore is the place to do it. It was also the home to all the Alpine events during the 1988 Olympics! Because the town is more residential, you will find everything you need to feel the comforts of home easily, but you may need to drive to them! Because Canmore is not in the national park, you will need to drive to it every day. It’s about 20 minutes, depending on traffic.
Now that you have a little over view, I think it’s time to shout at you all the wonderful things about both these places. And yes. I said shout. Because whenever I talk about Banff and Canmore I get soooo excited I tend to start yelling!
Where To Stay: My hubby’s parents have time shares with Wyndham, and as part of our wedding gift, they gave us a week at any time share we wanted. Enter: The WorldMark Canmore Banff. This hotel was seriously awesome, and we loved staying here. It is just on the outskirts of Canmore, nestled among the Three Sisters. We loved being able to explore downtown and do some smaller hikes in K Country, which were both just around the corner from our hotel. We liked that it was in a more residential area of Canmore, because we got to drive around and shop for our future house someday. HAHA. Our hotel boasted views of the Three Sisters, an outdoor pool, grilling area, and condo like accommodations. If you are considering staying in Canmore, be sure to check out The WorldMark Canmore Banff!
Where to Eat: So there is just no way I could chose only one place as my favorite place to eat in Canmore. So I’ll just have to tell you about two! The first is The Wood. Driving through town, you can’t miss it! It has a huge patio, and let me tell you, I would go here even if the food stunk to sit on this patio! You are literally surrounded by the mountains, and it is so beautiful! We went on a Monday night, because we heard it was wing night! We sat amongst the locals and enjoyed THE BEST wings ever. Hooters and BDubs can’t even hold a candle to these bad boys. Trev had BBQ, and I had Sweet Chili. We noticed locals ordering 3 platefuls each… the second we tasted them, we knew why! At only 40 cents a wing, it was a steal. They also have a fantastic drink menu, and we got to try some great Canadian craft beers.
Speaking of Canadian craft beers… we couldn’t not visit a brewery while we were there! We saved Grizzly Paw Brewing Company for our last night. It was the perfect place for our last dinner in the Canadian Rockies. They also have an awesome patio to sit on, and soak in that crisp mountain air. Their beer is all incredible, but my favorites were the Powder Hound Blonde and Beavertail Raspberry. Not a beer drinker? Don’t worry, they have wine, cocktails and HAND CRAFTED SODAS. The food is also incredible. I like to think of myself as a cheeseburger connoisseur (totally kidding, but I do really love cheeseburgers!) and mine was extra delicious. They have an elk burger for all you adventurous eaters out there, that the people sitting next to us were raving about!
What to Do: One of my favorite things about Canmore was the Policeman’s Creek boardwalk. After a long day of hiking, we loved to wander the boardwalk. Its a picturesque walk, that you don’t have to put much effort into. And after a long day of hiking in Banff, you’ll want easy! (That elevation is NO JOKE). Check out the shops downtown, go on a picnic (Quarry Lake is the perfect picnic spot!) and maybe even take a short hike or two! (We loved the Grassi Lakes hike!)
Where to Stay: Well, if you ask me, there is only one place to stay in Banff. And that is The Fairmont Banff Springs. I mean, who doesn’t want to sleep in a castle that literally looks like a postcard come to life? For more than 125 years, the Fairmont Banff Springs has been allowing guests to leave their normal lives behind and live like kings and queens during their stay. With rooms that start at $413 CAD a night, it’s definitely a splurge. While we didn’t stay here, the second we saw it, we instantly put a night here on our bucket list.
Where to Eat: Just like Canmore, I can’t choose just one favorite restaurant! In the mood for LIFE CHANGING pizza? Look no further than Bear Street Tavern. No. I am not exaggerating when I say life changing. All of their pizza is served with a house made chili sauce and honey. Unwrinkle your noses right now, I can see you. I promise, as strange as this sounds it is amazing! I was skeptical too, when our awesome bartender Alex set them in front of us. But seriously, one bite and you will NEVER want to eat pizza without it. Honestly, if you don’t even like mountains, book a trip to Banff just for this pizza!
Looking for something a little fancier than life changing pizza? Check out The Grizzly House… for lovers and hedonists since 1967. The second you enter, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the 1970s. This is the place fondue lovers dream about. We did the fondue dinner for two, and it was incredible! We each got a starter (I had salad, Trev had soup), then shared a cheese fondue, an oil fondue for our meats, and a Toblerone Chocolate Fondue for dessert. The food was top notch, and totally worth the money. While we enjoyed our food, we enjoyed the atmosphere the most! Now, I won’t say TOO much, because you have to experience it for yourself. But don’t be surprised if your table phone rings during dinner…
What to Do: Besides the national park I mean! Check out Brewster’s Banff Gondola. I hear the views are incredible! Too bad for us, we got up there and were stuck in a snow storm in June! Head to Mount Norquay lookout for a stunning view of the city. Watch the sunset at Vermilion Lakes. Buy all your souvenirs at the hundreds of shops downtown. And grab a beer at Banff Avenue Brewing. We sat outside, overlooking the downtown and the mountains, and it was absolutely perfect!
Wow. That was long. And a ton of information. But honestly, I could talk about these two little towns all day. Canmore was fantastic, but to be frank, I fell head over heels in love with Banff. Writing about it is making me miss it like crazy. If you’ll excuse me I think I might need to go book a plane ticket…