Travel Guide | Banff + Canmore AB
Our family loves weekends in the mountains, lucky for us we’re only an hour and fifteen minutes away from Canmore and an hour and a half from Banff Alberta.
Here are a few of our favourite things to do, see, eat and stay!
( we had a gorgeous snowy departure on one of our visits! )
Accommodations.. there is no question this mountain destination can be expensive! Travelling at off peak times and using searches like Hotels.com can help with finding good deals on must stay spots!
Our favourite is a newer development Moose Hotel and Suites. There is so much good about this spot, the walking distance to town, the pool and two outdoor hot tubs are SO good and the rooms are fantastic. The comfiest beds, fireplaces.. We love their top floor one or two bedroom suites when travelling with the kids! This is our first pick when staying right in Banff.
Fairmont Banff Springs, the castle in the mountains. It’s an epic stay for sure, have cocktails in the Rundle Lounge with live music, spend the afternoon in the outdoor naturally heated mineral pool… the rooms are generally small for what you pay but the experience is worth it. They have a small little tucked away wine bar with charcuterie that is a lovely spot to stop in at. Whether you stay at the hotel or just visit be sure to wander and snoop around, there are some very cool nooks in the hotel ( and a scavenger hunt you can ask for for the kids that tours you around as well )
When Kevin and I were married without kids we loved staying at the Buffalo Mountain Lodge.. if you ask for a top floor room you get large high beamed ceilings with a wood burning fireplace. It’s an amazing spot to curl up in chairs in front of the fire with a bottle of wine and they have a great restaurant and outdoor hot tub.
Breakfast at Tooloulou’s is worth every minute you stand in line ha ha! Their menu is amazing and if you need gfree its a perfect spot!
Brunch at The Juniper Hotel is lovely, we had a delicious brunch with the kids with lovely views.
We haven’t eaten there but we’ve stopped for cocktails at Park Distillery and it’s a great spot with great decor! Great people watching, I love the outdoor wood table and benches with sheepskin rugs to sit on.
Chuck’s Steakhouse is our favourite spot for dinner, great service, decor and steak.. and the sides are amazing!
For a true Banff experience, The Grizzly House is a Banff landmark serving fondu. Beware though, you will have a very distinct oil smell when you leave.. we had people laugh at us after eating there that you have to shower and get ready to go out post dinner! Ha! It was an amazing meal though :)
We love lunch at the Rundle Lounge ( Banff Springs ) if we are staying at another hotel we’ll go over for lunch, their club sandwich is amazing ( so is the gluten free bread they make in house! ) They’ve recently redone the little cafe / coffee stop in the main lobby and it looks fantastic. You can also have brunch at the Bow Valley Grill, you’ll look out the large windows at great mountain view.
Banff is such a great spot to visit and spend time outdoors, there are lakes and hiking and the gondola.. so many experiences! I have to visit Bow Falls every few times we go, and if you’re there in the summer you can climb the stairs across from the falls and wander a little path and end up at Waldhaus. Stop at the pub ( kid friendly ) for an awesome casual lunch, you can sit on the patio and watch golfers and wild life! Moraine Lake is on my list to visit this summer and if you have time head up to Lake Louise, the drive is lovely and so is the lake! Stop and have lunch at the Fairmont Lake Louise, the views from the restaurant are spectacular!
( Mountain Mercato is a must stop every visit for lattes and shopping! )
Canmore is the sweetest little town just before Banff, right before you go through the National Park gates.. it’s a town that we fell in love with a few years ago and go every chance we get.
( Living room at Basecamp )
Basecamp Resorts.. we stayed here on my 40th birthday with 4 friends, we had a 3 bedroom 2 story condo and it was incredible. They have a hot tub with gorgeous mountain views and the decor is so so good!
Solara Mountain Resort has fantastic rooms, we once found an incredible deal ( and I mean crazy incredible ) on Hotels.com for a three bedroom condo and C + L each had their own room with a fireplace.. they keep asking for that room again.. ha! I wish!
Blackstone Mountain Lodge has great rooms with kitchens and a fireplace along with a great outdoor pool and hot tubs. We’ve enjoyed every stay here!
Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. We could eat here three times a day ha ha.. it’s SO good and SO popular, worth any wait or line up, I promise! They offer a gluten free bagel as well. Any restaurants mentioned in this post will offer great GF! )
Gaucho is Brazilian BBQ and we love the experience. It’s a nice casual spot with great food. I’m kind of a sucker for their Caipirinha’s!
Our newest find is Wild Orchid Bistro and Sushi Lounge. AMAZING. We ate here with the kids and shared all kinds of amazing small plate dishes including the best ginger beef I’ve ever had.. and the ENTIRE menu is gluten free!!
Mountain Mercato is a stop for delish coffee and a browse through the fabulous shop! They do have a little cafe as well with a lovely menu, but mainly not gfree so we stop for Dulce Lattes :)
If you’re a beer drinker be sure to check out The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company!
On my list to visit is Where the Buffalo Roam Saloon.. looks like a very cool very instagramable vibe ;)
The Range also has a great vibe, an artisan roasted sandwiches spot.. I’ll have to check out their menu!
Wander Main Street ( 8th Street ) in downtown Canmore. You’ll find great shops, great food and a fantastic mountain view as you stroll along with your Dulce Latte :) We love Rocky Mountain Soap Co, Unlimited Skate & Snow, Twelve 21, Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe, Indigo Bay, Alberta’s Own Marketplace and Mountain Mercato!
There are plenty of outdoor activities as well, hiking, a hidden swimming hole ( it’s so cool! ) Quarry Lake.. we truly stick to town and resort pools when we visit but have a peek at all the activities here.
I can’t believe it’s come and gone! We had an awesome trip out to Kelowna for spring break.. it’s one of our favourite spots to head for a little chill time with the family! The key to this trip, and I’m not kidding is Hotel Eldorado. It’s our third time returning and easily one of our all time fav hotels to stay. When you add together the incredible waterfront location, to die for views from your room, the pool and hot tub, the restaurant, the hospitality and service.. it’s truly the best.
You start your day slowly with this view and coffee, there’s nothing like it!
I love how much time you can spend at the hotel, we had lazy mornings, the kids would get in a swim while Kev worked out and I uh sat on my computer and supervised.. :) Every evening we spent back at the pool, it’s the kids favourite spot and Kev and I love to relax in the hot tub. You leave the hotel feeling relaxed and refreshed!
We spent our days visiting wineries, wandering and a little shopping and checking out some great restaurants..
Wineries we stopped in at were //
Sandhill, loved this Urban Winery with a tasting room right in downtown Kelowna!
Cedar Creek Estate Winery, a gorgeous destination with incredible views! After our visit we wound up the mountain a bit to stop at Carmelis Goat Farm for a cheese tasting, so good! We brought home a few selections and the girls loved the goats milk gelato!
We popped in to BNA Brewing Co for hubs to do a beer tasting, really cool spot! Brought some beer home and the coziest sweatshirt that is staying in my closet!
A visit to The Hatch is always on our must do list, they won us over with their wine a few years ago and we adore it to this day! We brought home a few ;) bottles and we may have joined the wine club! It’s SO good!
And thanks to a recommendation we headed out on a little day trip to visit Liquidity. OH MY. The location, decor, WINE, FOOD.. it’s ALL incredible. We walked away with the most incredible experience!
Restaurants worth a stop ..
Any and every meal at Hotel Eldorado. I could eat every meal every day of our stay here and then stop in for a cocktail. It’s my FAVOURITE! The views, the ease of ordering gluten free selections, the cocktails are incredible and top that off with impeccable service, so great!
We tried out Krafty Kitchen + Bar, the restaurant of Top Chef season three winner Chris Shaften. Really cool spot, great decor, a really cool spot to go with friends and have cocktails and fresh farm to table food. The menu had some incredible selections and Kev and I really enjoyed our meals, devilled eggs included! YUM! but with the girls the menu was a little tricky. A wonderful experience, seriously good cocktails and an awesome environment.
Had the best Mexican food I have ever tasted at Hector’s Casa. We ordered way too much food and loved every single bit of it, HA! Our waitress was the sweetest, the food incredible and the atmosphere so fun!
Stopped in for Thai at Zabb and I have never seen a busier more popular spot! They were able to give us great g free options and I love that!
Girls are already talking about our next trip out…
Are you up for picture overload? The day after school was finished we headed to Mexico with our besties and had the most incredible week.. over 200 pictures worth on my phone.. that may be why I’ve delayed posting it! It was the best time to take a vacation, how fun for the kids the day after schools out?!
We flew into Cancun and headed out to Playa Mujeres to the Finest Resort. It was AMAZING. We had neighbouring rooms with private pools so the kids could still swim after the main pools closed, we shook on a Tequila shot every day, a deal made before we left and it turned into a fun daily event ( Ashlyn HATES tequila ha ha ) we swam in the ocean and enjoyed quiet resort pools ( great time of the year to go! ) The kids loved the family swim up bar for slushy kid drinks and we weren’t complaining ;) My only complaint was how fast the week went by. Our kids are still greeting each other in Spanish.. the food was awesome, and for Lauren and I being gluten free, every restaurant could accommodate it! The kids learnt how to tip and were regulars at the smoothy bar all day long. We were lucky to have amazing servers + bartenders who we talked to and got to know and had with us all week long. You’ll see Kevin giving his Jays hat to Carlos in the pics :) The kids had a few brief stays at the kids club so we could have some hang out time at the adult swim up bar, our bartender friend Manuel was more than happy to pull special tequilas out of the back for our daily shots ( and he knew how much Ash disliked them! ha! ) If you’re looking for a Mexico vacay I couldn’t recommend this place more..
It was just a week ago on my birthday that hubs and I escaped to Vancouver for 3 nights. I love going to Vancouver so much.. it’s an easy one hour flight from Calgary.. we had no plans except having no plans, it was perfect!
We stayed at our FAVORITE Fairmont Pacific Rim. The impeccable service, being spoiled on my birthday, Lobby Lounge ( BEST people watching spot + even better cocktails! ) the rooms, the view, the location.. you can walk everywhere.. oh and running into Owen Wilson in the elevator ( gah! ) made this one incredible trip :)
Photo over load starts now ;)
Pretty views leaving Calgary and heading over the mountains.. it was so clear you could see the mountains the entire flight, it was incredible! In flight birthday caesars ;)
Checking into the Pacific Rim, Lobby Lounge cocktails, views, birthday treats from the hotel in my room ( THANK YOU!! Sweetest!! )
A stroll up to Robson Street and then off to dinner at Chambar. Incredible!
The best brunch at ORU, a walk to Nordstrom, died over this pretty blouse, a snack at The Rosewood Hotel Georgia / Reflections rooftop patio.. more walking :) Dinner with Alex and Melanie Auld at Fable.. amazing dinner and even better company, and not one picture?! Argh! Haha..
Sunday morning ritual of a charcoal mask, even better paired with room service and this view! Headed over to Granville Island to wander and have lunch at Sandbar.. love sitting outside, and the oysters were amazing!
Dinner at Nightingale was incredible, the share plates delish and the decor.. perfect.
Monday morning we enjoyed our last room service and headed back home.. it’s these views and our perfect stays at the Fairmont Pacific Rim that keep us coming back!
A few of the pieces in my suitcase >>
Now since it’s the weekend again and it’s a big sale long weekend, here are a few awesome specials going on!
Nordstrom has their summer clearance and there are some great pieces included!!
Enjoy your weekend! XO
I took a thousand photo’s but just a few of what I was wearing :) :)
These shorts on serious repeat.. to the beach, around the room, on the flight home >
bralett to hat >> Aritzia
Tkees all day everyday for myself and the girls!
Hats + dress >> Aritzia
orange sweater + black shorts also Aritzia + shoes
Shorts again in blue ( love these so much! )