Where to Stay in Banff National Park 🇨🇦: Best Places to Stay in Banff

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is a stunning wilderness that attracts millions of visitors each year. With its soaring peaks, turquoise lakes, and abundant wildlife, Banff offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and natural beauty.

One of the most important decisions when planning a trip to Banff is choosing where to stay. The park offers a wide range of accommodations, from luxurious hotels to cozy cabins and budget-friendly hostels. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, there’s a perfect place to stay in Banff for every type of traveler.

Our pick of the best hotels in Banff 🔝

In this article, we’ll explore the best places to stay in Banff National Park, including the top areas and accommodations for different budgets and preferences. From the bustling town of Banff to the serene shores of Lake Louise, we’ll help you find the ideal base for your Rocky Mountain getaway.

Quick Banff Neighborhood Guide 📋

1. Downtown Banff – Best Place to Stay in Banff for the First Time 🔥

🏔️ Central location: Downtown Banff is the heart of this stunning mountain town, offering a central location and easy walkability to many of the area’s top attractions, restaurants, and shops. Staying in this vibrant area puts you in the middle of the action, with a wide range of accommodations to suit every budget and preference.

🛍️ Popular spots: One of the main advantages of choosing downtown Banff is the proximity to popular spots like:

  • Banff Avenue, the main street lined with outdoors shops, souvenir stores, and local boutiques
  • Numerous restaurants offering Canadian food, international cuisine, and fine dining options
  • Banff National Park’s stunning natural attractions, including hiking trails and scenic viewpoints

🚌 Easy access: Staying in the heart of Banff means you’ll have easy access to transit and parking, making it convenient to explore the surrounding areas and ski resorts like Sunshine Village and Mt. Norquay.

🏨 Stress-free stay: Plus, with many accommodations offering free wifi, breakfast included, and family-friendly amenities, you can enjoy a stress-free stay in this beautiful mountain town.

All hotels in Downtown →

Where to stay in Downtown? 🏨

Best hotels in Downtown

  • Moose Hotel and Suites – The location is unbeatable, just a minute’s walk from the heart of downtown. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, with air conditioning and either a patio or balcony. The hotel also boasts a fantastic spa, two rooftop hot pools with stunning mountain views, an indoor pool, and an Italian restaurant.
  • Peaks Hotel and Suites – I appreciate the modern rooms and suites, which come with kitchenettes or full kitchens, making it easy to prepare some meals yourself. The hotel also has a fitness center, hot tub, and sauna for unwinding after a day of exploring. Plus, the location on Banff Avenue is super convenient.
  • Banff Park Lodge – This resort-style hotel offers cozy rooms and suites, some with fireplaces and balconies. The indoor pool, hot tub, and eucalyptus-infused steam room are great for relaxing. I also enjoy dining at the on-site restaurants and appreciate the central location close to shops and restaurants.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Brewster's Mountain Lodge – I love the cozy, cabin-style decor of the rooms and the wood-burning fireplaces in some units. The complimentary continental breakfast is a nice perk, and the hotel’s location on Banff Avenue makes it easy to explore the town on foot.
  • Banff Aspen Lodge – I appreciate the clean, spacious rooms and the kitchenettes in some units. The hotel also offers complimentary breakfast, an indoor pool, hot tub, and steam room. It’s just a short walk from downtown Banff, making it a great base for exploring.
  • Basecamp Suites Banff – For a budget-friendly stay with a bit more space, I recommend the Basecamp Suites Banff. These apartment-style suites come with kitchens, making it easy to self-cater. The location is just a short walk from downtown Banff, and the suites are clean and comfortable. The staff is also friendly and helpful, which I always appreciate.

2. Banff Springs Area – Where to Stay in Banff National Park for Luxury 💎

🏰 Iconic hotel: The Banff Springs Area is a stunning location nestled in the heart of Banff National Park, known for its iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. This historic Scottish castle-style resort offers luxurious accommodations, world-class amenities, and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

🏞️ Scenic surroundings: Staying in the Banff Springs Area offers:

  • Scenic beauty with the hotel’s idyllic surroundings, including the nearby Bow Falls and picturesque hiking trails
  • Luxury amenities such as a championship golf course, spa, indoor and outdoor pools, hot springs, tennis courts, and a fitness center

🥾 Outdoor activities: Guests staying in the Banff Springs Area can enjoy a range of outdoor activities and attractions, such as:

  • Hiking the network of trails around the hotel, including the Spray River Loop and the Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk
  • Exploring the Upper Hot Springs, a natural mineral pool with stunning mountain vistas
  • Visiting nearby landmarks like the Banff Gondola, Bow Falls, and the historic Cave and Basin National Historic Site

🍽️ Dining options: When it comes to dining, the Banff Springs Area offers a variety of options, from the Fairmont’s elegant restaurants to casual cafes and bistros. You can indulge in Canadian cuisine, Italian fare, steakhouses, and more, all while taking in the beautiful surroundings.

Where to stay in Banff Springs? 🏩

Best hotels in Banff Springs

  • Fairmont Banff Springs – This historic castle-like hotel offers luxurious rooms, many with stunning mountain views. The resort features multiple dining options, indoor and outdoor pools, a world-class spa, golf course, and numerous shops. The service is top-notch, making it the perfect choice for a special occasion or a luxurious getaway.
  • The Rimrock Resort Hotel Banff – The rooms are spacious and well-appointed, with many featuring balconies to take in the scenery. The hotel boasts an indoor pool, hot tub, spa, and several dining options. The staff is friendly and attentive, ensuring a memorable stay.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Banff Boutique Inn – This charming adults-only property is just a short walk from downtown Banff, yet offers a peaceful retreat. The rooms are uniquely decorated and feature high ceilings and modern amenities. I appreciate the complimentary parking and the well-equipped shared kitchen for preparing meals.
  • Elkhorn Lodge – I’ve stayed here a few times and always enjoy the rustic charm of the lodge-style rooms. Some units feature kitchenettes, which is convenient for longer stays. The hotel offers complimentary parking and is just a short drive or walk from downtown Banff. The staff is friendly and helpful, making for a pleasant stay.
  • At Wit's End Bed & Breakfast – For a more intimate and personalized experience, I recommend At Wit’s End Bed & Breakfast. This cozy B&B offers comfortable rooms with private bathrooms and a delicious homemade breakfast each morning. The hosts are warm and welcoming, always ready to offer advice on local attractions and activities.

3. Tunnel Mountain Area – Best Place in Banff for a Quiet Stay 🌄

🏔️ Secluded locationThe Tunnel Mountain Area offers a quieter, more secluded location just a short distance from downtown Banff. Named for the tunnel that was once proposed to be built through the mountain for the Canadian Pacific Railway, Tunnel Mountain is now a popular spot for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing.

🥾 Outdoor adventures: Staying in the Tunnel Mountain Area allows you to enjoy various activities, such as:

  • Hiking the Tunnel Mountain Summit Trail, a moderate 2.4 km one-way hike with interpretive signs and stunning views of Banff town, Bow Valley, and surrounding mountains
  • Exploring the area’s hiking and biking trails, which range from easy walks to more challenging routes suitable for all skill levels
  • Observing wildlife like elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats in their natural habitat
  • Cross-country skiing on the fully lit ski trails near Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court Campground during winter

🍴 Dining options: When it comes to dining, the Tunnel Mountain Area has you covered with options like:

  • The Prow at Buffalo Mountain Lodge, offering mountain tapas and creative cocktails
  • Maclab BistroVistas Dining Room, and Three Ravens, each providing a distinct culinary experience showcasing fresh, local ingredients
Tunnel Mountain Area
Tunnel Mountain Area
Tunnel Mountain Area
Tunnel Mountain Area
Tunnel Mountain Area
Tunnel Mountain Area

❄️ Winter activities: In the winter, the Tunnel Mountain area is perfect for cross-country skiing, with groomed trails that wind through the scenic forest. The area is also home to the Banff Centre, a renowned arts and culture institution that hosts performances, exhibitions, and workshops throughout the year.

Where to stay near Tunnel Mountain? 🏨

Best hotels near Tunnel Mountain

  • Tunnel Mountain Resort – The suites and chalets are spacious and comfortable, with cozy sitting areas and fireplaces in some units. The resort’s location is perfect for accessing hiking trails, and the indoor pool, sauna, and fitness center are great for unwinding after a day of exploring.
  • Buffalo Mountain Lodge – I love the rustic elegance of the rooms, each featuring a wood-burning fireplace and comfortable furnishings. The outdoor hot tub is a perfect spot to relax and take in the beautiful surroundings. The on-site restaurant, Sleeping Buffalo Restaurant & Lounge, serves delicious locally-inspired cuisine.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Mount Royal Hotel – The rooms are modern and well-appointed, with free WiFi and flat-screen TVs. The hotel’s rooftop lounge and hot tub offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The on-site restaurant and bar are convenient for grabbing a bite or a drink after a day of exploring.
  • The Rundlestone Lodge – I appreciate the spacious rooms with comfortable beds and the convenience of the kitchenettes in some units. The hotel’s indoor pool, hot tub, and fitness room are nice amenities. The complimentary underground parking is a bonus, especially during the winter months.
  • Mountain View Bed & Breakfast – This charming B&B offers cozy rooms with stunning mountain views and a delicious homemade breakfast each morning. The friendly hosts are always happy to share their local knowledge and help plan your Banff adventures. The B&B’s location provides a peaceful retreat while still being close to the town center.

Best hostels

  • Samesun Banff – I’ve stayed here a few times and always enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and the opportunity to meet fellow travelers. The hostel offers a variety of room types, from dorms to private rooms, all with comfortable beds and lockers. The on-site bar and restaurant are great spots to hang out and swap stories with other guests.
  • HI Banff Alpine Centre – I appreciate the clean and comfortable dorm rooms, as well as the private rooms for those seeking more privacy. The hostel’s common areas, including a large kitchen and dining area, are great for socializing and preparing meals. The on-site cafe serves delicious breakfast and dinner options.

4. Lake Louise – Family-friendly Area Outside of Banff 👪

🏞️ Stunning destinationLake Louise is a stunning destination located within Banff National Park, known for its turquoise glacial lake, luxurious accommodations, and breathtaking mountain scenery. This area is perfect for those seeking a serene and picturesque escape in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

🌄 Outdoor paradise: Lake Louise is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with a wide range of activities available year-round, such as:

  • Hiking the numerous trails around the lake, including the Lake Agnes Tea House Trail, Plain of Six Glaciers, and Larch Valley
  • Canoeing or kayaking on the turquoise waters of Lake Louise, with rentals available at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
  • Skiing and snowboarding at the Lake Louise Ski Resort, one of the largest ski resorts in North America

😋 Dining: In addition to its natural beauty, Lake Louise also offers a range of dining options, from casual cafes to fine dining experiences. Some highlights include:

  • The Fairview Dining Room at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, offering upscale Canadian cuisine with breathtaking lake views
  • The Glacier Saloon, a cozy bar and grill with a lively atmosphere and hearty fare
  • The Station Restaurant, a charming spot serving up delicious Canadian and international dishes

✨ Something for everyone: Whether you’re looking for a luxurious getaway, an outdoor adventure, or simply a chance to admire the stunning beauty of the Canadian Rockies, Lake Louise has something for everyone.

All hotels in Lake Louise →

Where to stay in Lake Louise? 🏩

Best hotels in Lake Louise

  • Paradise Lodge and Bungalows – The facilities were amazing, with spacious lodge rooms and fully equipped cabins nestled in beautiful gardens. I especially enjoyed the cozy fireplace in my room. The beds were incredibly comfortable, ensuring a great night’s sleep. The location is unbeatable, just a short walk from the stunning Lake Louise.
  • Mountaineer Lodge – The rooms are clean and comfortable, with modern amenities like free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. I really appreciated the indoor hot tub after a day of exploring the area. The hotel’s proximity to shops, restaurants, and the Lake Louise Gondola makes it a convenient base for enjoying all that the region has to offer.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • Lake Louise Inn – I had a very comfortable stay at this inn, which boasts an excellent location near Lake Louise. The heated indoor pool and hot tubs were a highlight for me, as were the two on-site restaurants and lounge. My room had a lovely view of the surrounding mountains. The free shuttle service to the nearby Lake Louise Ski Resort during the winter months is a great perk for skiers and snowboarders.
  • HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre – For budget-conscious travelers, this hostel is a fantastic option. It offers both dorm-style and private rooms, all of which are clean and comfortable. The shared kitchen and lounge areas provide a great opportunity to meet fellow travelers. I appreciated the free shuttle to the Lake Louise Ski Resort and the on-site cafe serving delicious meals.

5. Canmore – Where to Stay in Banff on a Budget 💸

👍🏻 Affordable alternative: While Banff is the most famous destination in the Canadian Rockies, the nearby town of Canmore offers an excellent alternative for those seeking a more affordable and less crowded base to explore the area. Just a short drive from the gates of Banff National Park, Canmore provides easy access to the park’s stunning natural attractions while offering a wider range of dining, shopping, and accommodation options.

🛍 Numerous benefits: Staying in Canmore provides numerous benefits, such as:

  • A larger town with more dining options, from casual eateries to fine dining restaurants
  • Excellent shopping opportunities, including boutiques, outdoor gear stores, and local artisan shops
  • Easy access to Banff National Park’s attractions, including the Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise, and Moraine Lake

🥾 Outdoor hub: In addition to its convenience, Canmore is a hub for outdoor activities, including:

  • Hiking and biking on the extensive trail networks in and around the town
  • Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park
  • Rock climbing, ice climbing, and mountaineering in the surrounding Canadian Rockies

🌄 Excellent choice: Whether you’re seeking a more affordable alternative to Banff or simply prefer a less touristy base, Canmore is an excellent choice for your Rocky Mountain getaway.

All hotels in Canmore →

Where to stay in Canmore? 🏨

Best hotels in Canmore

  • The Malcolm Hotel – The rooftop swimming pool and hot tubs were absolutely stunning, especially as the sun went down over the surrounding mountains. My room was spacious and comfortable, with a double queen bed and all the amenities I needed. The hotel’s location is perfect, with easy access to shops, restaurants, and walking trails.
  • Stoneridge Mountain Resort – My suite featured a full kitchen, a cozy gas fireplace, and a private balcony with a barbecue grill, making it feel like a home away from home. The outdoor heated pool and hot tub were perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring the nearby Banff National Park.
  • Spring Creek Vacations – The lodge offers a variety of accommodations, from cozy rooms to spacious suites with full kitchens. I appreciated the complimentary Wi-Fi and the convenient underground parking. The lodge’s location is ideal, with easy access to walking trails and downtown Canmore.

Best cheap/moderate hotels

  • The Georgetown Inn – This quaint inn offers great value for its central location in Canmore. My room was clean and comfortable, with a flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi. The inn’s pub and restaurant serve delicious meals and local beers, making it a convenient spot for dining. I also enjoyed the outdoor hot tub and the friendly, helpful staff.
  • Basecamp Canmore – My room was well-appointed with a kitchenette, a work desk, and a comfortable bed. The hotel’s location is great, just a short walk from downtown Canmore and close to various outdoor activities.

Best hostels

  • Canmore Downtown Hostel – I stayed in a private room, which was simple but had everything I needed, including a shared bathroom. The hostel’s common areas, including the kitchen and lounge, were great for socializing with other guests. The location is unbeatable, right in the heart of downtown Canmore.
  • HI Canmore – The hostel offers both dorm-style and private rooms, all of which are clean and well-maintained. I appreciated the fully equipped kitchen, the cozy common areas, and the knowledgeable staff who provided great advice on local hiking trails and activities.

What is the Best Time to Visit Banff 😎

🌞 Summer (June – August) is considered the peak season in Banff. The warm temperatures, around 70°F on average, make it ideal for hiking, biking, canoeing, and other outdoor activities. The lakes are thawed and vibrant in color during this time. However, it can be quite crowded and more expensive.

🍁 Fall (September – October) offers fewer crowds, stunning fall foliage like the golden larch trees, and generally mild temperatures. It’s a good shoulder season for hiking and photography before winter arrives.

❄ Winter (December – March) is prime ski season at the major resorts like Lake Louise and Sunshine Village. It’s a magical winter wonderland setting with opportunities for skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and more. Crowds are smaller after the holiday period.

🌼 Spring (April – May) is another shoulder season with the return of milder weather and wildlife emerging from hibernation. However, some trails/areas may still have limited access due to snow. The Canadian Rockies have an extended winter, so late spring can still offer good skiing conditions.

While each season offers its own unique experiences, summer tends to be the most popular overall for hiking and sightseeing, while winter draws skiers and those seeking a winter adventure. Shoulder seasons like fall can be great for avoiding crowds while still enjoying nice weather.

How to Get Around Banff 🚘

🦵 Banff is a very walkable town, with most attractions and amenities within a 10-minute walk. The townsite is compact, spanning just 3.94 square kilometers. Locals tend to walk or bike everywhere.

🚲 Cycling is another great way to get around Banff. There are over 190 km of mountain bike trails and numerous road riding options. Popular routes include the Legacy Trail, Tunnel Mountain, Lake Minnewanka Loop, and the Bow Valley Parkway to Lake Louise. Several bike rental shops offer regular bikes, e-bikes, and fat bikes.

🚍 The Roam Public Transit system is an easy and convenient way to reach popular destinations without a car. Routes service attractions like Sulphur Mountain, Banff Gondola, Tunnel Mountain, and Minnewanka Loop. Fares are required, but some hotels provide free passes.

🚖 Taxis and shuttles are also available 24/7 for transportation around the Banff area. Many hotels offer shuttle services to nearby ski resorts and attractions.

🅿 For those who prefer to drive, be aware that parking is limited and traffic can be congested, especially during peak summer months. Always obey posted speed limits and watch for cyclists and wildlife on the roads.

Best Areas & Hotels in Banff on a Map 🗺

FAQs about Visiting Banff ❔

How many days do you need in Banff?

Most visitors spend 3-5 days in Banff to see the major attractions like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, the Banff Gondola, and do some hiking. A week allows you to explore at a more relaxed pace.

How far apart are Banff and Lake Louise?

Banff and Lake Louise are about 57 km (35 miles) apart, taking around 40-45 minutes to drive between them via the Trans-Canada Highway.

What is the closest major city to Banff National Park?

The closest major city is Calgary, located about 130 km (80 miles) or a 1.5 hour drive from Banff. Calgary has the nearest international airport serving Banff.

How to stay in Banff for cheap?

For budget accommodations, consider hostels like HI-Banff Alpine Center, motels like Banff Inn, or look for vacation rentals/Airbnbs outside the town center. Canmore is generally cheaper than Banff town.

Where to stay in Banff in winter?

Popular winter bases include the Fairmont Banff Springs, Sunshine Mountain Lodge for ski-in/ski-out access, downtown Banff hotels like Moose Hotel & Suites, or Canmore for a less expensive option close to the ski hills.

How to get to Banff?

The main options are flying into Calgary Airport and renting a car (1.5 hr drive), taking a shuttle bus like Banff Airporter or Brewster Express from Calgary, or driving from other cities like Vancouver or Edmonton.