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Banff, Lake Louise pre cruise

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Hi All....I am going on the Golden northbound from Vancouver 8/3/19. We would like to rent a car and stay in Vancouver 7/30, drive to Banff, Lake Louise for 2 nights, and then stay back in Vancouver 8/2 before boarding the ship.

Any recommendations for hotels, or sites to see during the stay? 1st time traveling this area

 

Edited by vacation rccl
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16 minutes ago, vacation rccl said:

Hi All....I am going on the Golden northbound from Vancouver 8/3/19. We would like to rent a car and stay in Vancouver 7/30, drive to Banff, Lake Louise for 2 nights, and then stay back in Vancouver 8/2 before boarding the ship.

Any recommendations for hotels, or sites to see during the stay? 1st time traveling this area

 

Unless you want to spend all your hours driving you will require at least 3 nights. It's over 9 hours from Vancouver to Banff. Lake Louise hotels are limited, lots of hotels in Banff.

We have been to both locations and there is lots to see and do.

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Have to agree that you are really shorting the time you will need to truly enjoy Banff or Lake Louise.  Add a day or two more to your time or consider a couple of other options.  Fly to Calgary, from which the visit to Banff is much quicker, then fly on to Vancouver for the cruise.  Another alternative but different set of mountains would be to visit Whistler from Vancouver.  Both areas have magnificent scenery but I think your original plan has too much driving for a short visit

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As others have said, it's a very long drive and I'd fly to Calgary, do Banff, then fly to Vancouver, but if that's what you want to do....

 

IMO:

 

Best Lake Louise hotels:

Chateau Lake Louise - Grand old hotel with magnificent views.

Post Hotel - Not a nice views, but world class food.

 

Best Banff Hotels:

Banff Springs - Iconic mountain Chateau.

Rimrock - Great views. Great food.

 

Pro tip: Book now so you aren't disappointed.

 

Have fun.

 

Talked it over with my wife. She suggested fly to Calgary, drive to Banff, stay the night. Do Banff and Lake Louise the next day, then through the mountains to Kelowna. Finally, drive Kelowna to Vancouver and drop the car off. She's right... it's a bit more expensive, but half the driving and twice the vacationing!

Edited by CRZR58

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yes, you need to leave yourselves more time to see the area.  I recommend staying in Banff or Lake Louise.  I recommend the two Fairmont hotels in each location highly.  Loved our stay at the Fairmont on Lake Louise.

 

Pooh

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I have stayed at the Fairmont in Banff and visited the one in Lake Louise (they are now part of Le Accor hotel group).  Banff is town where as Lake Louise has only a few shops and no real restaurants.  They are about an hr away from each other.  I would suggest staying in Banff and visiting Lake Louise (unless you don't plan on leaving the hotel, which is lakefront, for meals).  Both areas are in the same national park so you will need to buy a park pass upon entering the area.

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We enjoyed our stay at Rimrock years ago.  It's above the Fairmont and has a great view of Cascade Mountain!

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If you stay in Banff (Canmore is less expensive and a cute little town that was home to all the Nordic Skiing events for the Calgary Olympics) AND rent a car, I'd recommend driving the "Icefields Parkway."  It goes all the way from Lake Louise to Jasper; but, about half way up there's the Athabasca Glacier and an associated Visitor's Center.  It's an all day trip but absolutely gorgeous.

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Wow......thanks for the help! Prices are crazy high for that time frame, but flying into Vancouver and renting a car is at least doable. We are going to add a day on to the trip (Thanks Work) so we will have 2 full days in the Banff area. The Icefields Parkway drive sounds awesome!!

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1 minute ago, vacation rccl said:

Wow......thanks for the help! Prices are crazy high for that time frame, but flying into Vancouver and renting a car is at least doable. We are going to add a day on to the trip (Thanks Work) so we will have 2 full days in the Banff area. The Icefields Parkway drive sounds awesome!!

Its not that you needed more time in Banff, you need more time for the drive.  Are you planning a 12 hour drive there and 12 hours back in one day?

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This might be a small point, but FYI. We flew to Calgary, rented a car and drove to Banff then back to Calgary and flew home - wonderful vacation. I was surprised at the Toll charge on the highway to Banff - there were four of us in the car and the best option was 12 month Family Pass. I don't remember the exact cost but it was in the region of $150.

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29 minutes ago, Tedferg said:

This might be a small point, but FYI. We flew to Calgary, rented a car and drove to Banff then back to Calgary and flew home - wonderful vacation. I was surprised at the Toll charge on the highway to Banff - there were four of us in the car and the best option was 12 month Family Pass. I don't remember the exact cost but it was in the region of $150.

wasn't that the entrance to the Park fee? it's only $10 a person for the day.  I don't believe the road has any Tolls

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4 minutes ago, Cruise Junky said:

wasn't that the entrance to the Park fee? it's only $10 a person for the day.  I don't believe the road has any Tolls

There is a National Park  entrance fee to drive the parkway from Banff to Lake Louise. It's around CAN$10/pp/per day, a little less for seniors. I don't think the Icefields Parkway had any tolls, just the park entrance fees.

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We fly to Calgary and drive over to Banff every year for the holidays (Always New Years, sometimes Christmas). Banff Springs is gorgeous but it isn’t right in town. We usually opt for Banff Park Lodge since it’s easy walking distance to many things in the actual town.  Lots of stuff to see and do in the area for sure. 

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21 hours ago, Cruise Junky said:

wasn't that the entrance to the Park fee? it's only $10 a person for the day.  I don't believe the road has any Tolls

 

21 hours ago, skynight said:

There is a National Park  entrance fee to drive the parkway from Banff to Lake Louise. It's around CAN$10/pp/per day, a little less for seniors. I don't think the Icefields Parkway had any tolls, just the park entrance fees.

 It is a little vague to me but I am sure we were on the highway from Calgary to Banff when we hit the Toll Booth. I wondered what people did if they were going trans-canada and not to National Park. It is possible the charge was at an exit leaving the highway to go to Banff.

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Thanks to everyone for all the in depth information and advice! We have decided to fly into Calgary, rent an SUV, and spend 3 days in the Banff area. After that we are driving to Vancouver to board the Royal Princess. 

 

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On 12/19/2018 at 12:05 PM, Tedferg said:

 

 It is a little vague to me but I am sure we were on the highway from Calgary to Banff when we hit the Toll Booth. I wondered what people did if they were going trans-canada and not to National Park. It is possible the charge was at an exit leaving the highway to go to Banff.

It was the entrance to the National Park; if you were driving straight through and not stopping in the Park, then you can go right through the far right lane without stopping at the gate. 

Edited by cruiseryyc

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On 12/19/2018 at 5:56 PM, vacation rccl said:

Thanks to everyone for all the in depth information and advice! We have decided to fly into Calgary, rent an SUV, and spend 3 days in the Banff area. After that we are driving to Vancouver to board the Royal Princess. 

 

This would be my suggestion as well. I don’t know how much time you have but I would consider spending a night in Kelowna to break up the drive to Vancouver. That would give you 5 hours of driving each day instead of doing it all in one drive. The Kelowna/Okanagan area of British Columbia is our wine country .

 Seeing how you would have a vehicle, I would suggest staying in a suburb of Vancouver (Langley Holiday Inn is 40 minutes from Vancouver ) along the highway to save about 50% on lodging.

Edited by lamchops

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Even if you do not go all the way to Jasper, do be sure to do part of the Icefields Parkway.   It is a beautiful drive with many photo ops.  A little scary as you realize how far some of the glaciers have receded 

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We are on a cruise Holland America Volendam, 18-25 September from Vancouver to Alaska.  On our return to Vancouver, plan to rent a car and travel to Banff National Park.  Plan to fly home from Calgary for Houston, Texas on 29 September.  What is the weather like.  Thank you.  Such as temperature, rain, snow etc.

 

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This is probably the single most useful page to point you at John. Official Environment Canada stats wrapped in a nice Plain English wrapper to try to explain to tourists how not to die when visiting the area;-) it also has links to current local weather reports, park visitor centre info etc.

 

NB: temps and rain/snowfall is in C(ivilized units) since this is Canadian info, but a quick "X C = ? F" Search in your browser should pull up a conversion easily (ballpark you are visiting during a time when historic high temps can be over 80F while lows are in single digits F, and a range from a little below freezing point to ~60F can be expected as very normal). The high elevation means whatever you are bring for Alaska, you definitely need another warmth layer for your Rockies trip!

 

You are also into the time of year when some snow falling is as likely as none, but hopefully not enough to impact you greatly on the highway. Unless someone else was asking the same thing a while back, I think I already mentioned to you elsewhere on the site that winter tire laws are not in force at the time you'll be driving - but they're still a very good idea so I'd be asking around the rental agencies to see who as already fitted their cars in anticipation of folks e.g. driving up to Whistler from Vancouver, where the tire laws would be relevant as soon as Oct 1 rolls around.

Edited by martincath

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