Dreaming of visiting Banff National Park is free. But how much does a vacation in Canada’s oldest national park actually cost? In this article, you’ll find a handy overview of average low and high season prices for car rental, hotels and tours, and admission fees for attractions.
I can imagine that you’re looking forward to visiting Banff National Park. It is always exciting to explore new horizons. The good news is that this stunning destination never fails to impress. The bad news is that you need a big wallet to spend time in Banff.
As with any major tourist destination, prices tend to be very high. This article will give you an idea of what to expect; in other words: What is your budget for one, two, three or even four weeks in the park?
Of course, this article can only provide a general overview as prices fluctuate daily. How much your Banff holiday will cost is ultimately up to you. One thing is for sure: you can always make it more expensive.
I have included average car hire, hotel and tour prices in the table. I have also included entrance fees for paid attractions.
PLEASE NOTE: All prices are in Canadian dollar (CAD).
Table of Contents
How Much Does Car Rental Cost in Banff?
A car is pretty much essential when visiting Banff National Park. It is possible to visit some of the major attractions by public transportation, but you will need a (rental) car to get around.
In the table below you’ll only find Avis car rental prices at Calgary Airport. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get prices from other car rental companies for all dates. That’s why I haven’t included them in the table.
Although prices may vary, the table below will give you a quick idea of what you can expect to pay for an economy or midsize car.
Of course, there are many possible extras when renting a car, such as insurance, navigation, child seats, etc. The prices below are just the car rental prices. I’ve included them for three countries because Avis charges a different rate depending on your country of residence.
|Country of Residence||07/28 – 08/04||07/25 – 08/08||12/23 – 12/30||02/10 – 02/17||02/07 – 02/21||05/01 – 05/08||04/28 – 05/12|
There are somewhat cheaper options in downtown Calgary. If you want to save on your car rental spendings, it can be worthwhile to check prices in the city. However, it will add the hassle of getting there after having arrived at the airport.
How Much Do Hotels Cost?
Hotel costs will comprise the most biggest part of your Banff vacation budget. You’ll find the average prices for summer, winter, and the shoulder seasons in the tables below.
I selected dates representing each season. I picked one date in July and one in August for summer, for example.
The averages are based on the prices of 31 hotels and bed and breakfasts in the park. I selected hotels in all categories: low-end, intermediate and high-end.
Looking to book a hotel in Banff? I recommend reading the extensive post about hotels in the park and their facilities.
About These Tables
It is difficult to provide average hotel rates as they fluctuate constantly with many variables at play. Booking prices depend on the time of booking – booking well in advance can be cheaper, booking closer to your intended stay can be more expensive.
Furthermore, the average price is calculated without any promotions. One drawback to these tables is that not all hotels had rooms available on all five dates (most only had rooms available on two or three dates).
As a result, some dates have more data (prices) on which I calculated the average than others. The more data I was able to include, the more reliable the average.
Nevertheless, these averages will give you a good idea of hotel prices in Banff National Park for 2023 and 2024. They will be updated each year.
It’s also good to know that:
- Prices for all hotels were collected from Booking.com
- Prices are in Canadian dollars (CAD)
- The search was for a basic room for two adults (no suites)
- Prices were all checked on 11 May 2023
- You’d probably be able to get slightly cheaper rates when you book directly at the hotel
Selected dates per season:
- Summer: 07/28 and 08/14 2023
- Fall: 10/28 2023
- Christmas: 12/25 2023
- Winter: 02/10 2024
- Spring: 05/01 2024
|A Good Nite’s Rest||–||–||$184||$271||–||–|
|Baker Creek Mountain Resort||$1196||$854||$426||$807||$415||$491|
|Banff Aspen Lodge||$621||$665||$143||$388||$255||$1,111|
|Banff Buffalo Lodge||$699||$655||$388||$421||$266||266|
|Banff Rocky Mountain Resort||$588||$554||$255||$366||$316||–|
|Best Western Plus Siding 29 Lodge||$777||$666||$221||$555||$332||–|
|Bow View Lodge||$656||$634||$189||$245||$245||$156|
|Brewster Mountain Lodge||$561||$587||$161||$433||$161||$215|
|Buffalo Mountain Lodge||$699||$655||$388||$422||$266||$266|
|Dorothy Motel, the||–||$499||$221||$355||$240||$255|
|Douglas Fir Resort & Chalets||$444||$444||$199||$444||–||–|
|Elk+ Avenue Hotel||–||–||$223||$375||$279||–|
|Fairmont Banff Springs||–||$1789||$722||$1227||$560||$738|
|Fairmont Château Lake Louise||$1767||$1600||$944||–||$1099||–|
|Fox Hotel & Suites||$722||$588||$332||$444||$416||$332|
|High Country Inn||$538||$505||$238||$371||$232||$177|
|Irwin’s Mountain Inn||$538||$465||$188||$299||$294||$218|
|Lake Louise Inn||$614||$614||$263||$340||$282||$307|
|Moose Hotel and Suites||$1055||$888||$444||$735||$666||$456|
|Mountain View Bed & Breakfast||–||–||$316||–||$244||$278|
|Peaks Hotel and Suites||$1329||$795||$406||$556||$528||$311|
|Royal Canadian Lodge||$728||$700||$332||$332||$388||$399|
|Storm Mountain Lodge & Cabins||–||–||$466||–||–||–|
From this table we can conclude that hotel prices are highest in July and that spring and fall are much cheaper than in summer (as expected). Prices are slightly less than half the average for July.
All these dates combined result in an average hotel price of a whopping CAD 739.
You might wonder why hotel rooms in Banff are so expensive. I wrote an entire post about it to answer this question. Click the link to find out.
There are two cheaper alternatives if you want to cut your accommodation costs. Hostels are usually about a third of the average price of a hotel. However, for this price you will have to share your room with three, four or more people.
If that’s still too expensive for you, or you don’t like sharing a room with strangers, there’s an even cheaper alternative. You’ve probably guessed it: camping. The average price per night for a campsite in a (frontcountry) campground is CAD 25.50.
As you can tell upon the tables above you’ll be spending less in the shoulder seasons. There are some pros and cons to staying in Banff in spring and fall. I highly recommend you check them out.
How Much Do Restaurants Cost?
Food is another big part of the money you’ll shell out during your stay at the park. If you’re eating out three times a day, it adds up quickly. It proved too difficult to come up with a reasonable average as the menus vary greatly. However, if you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in a restaurant or hotel, you can expect to spend an average of CAD 175 per day for two people.
The obvious alternatives are fast food restaurants. There are many in Banff and a few in Lake Louise. If you want to cut down on the cost of eating out, this is the way to go. Maybe not the healthiest option, but who doesn’t like a Big Mac now and again?
How Much Do Tours Cost?
This is probably the most difficult question to answer. There are literally hundreds of tours to choose from, and prices vary widely. Especially for activities like helicopter rides, snowmobiling and dog sledding, the prices can add up.
I have used the prices of the two main tour operators for the Banff area: Discover Banff Tours and Banff Adventures. All prices are per person.
I would like to stress that comparing these companies is not an exact comparison. Their tours can vary greatly. These tables are only meant to give you an idea of the average cost of different tours and the average price of a tour in Banff.
Also, please note:
- All averages exclude prices for private tours (as they are much more expensive than regular tours and would therefore distort the average significantly).
- Where a tour had ‘starting prices’, I included the lowest price.
- For horseback riding, I excluded multi-day trips from my calculations.
About the tables: In each column you’ll find the average price for the type of tour and operator. Between brackets you’ll find the number of tours used to calculate the average.
|TOUR||AVERAGES DISCOVER |
|AVERAGES BANFF |
|Canyoning/Caving||$174 (2)||$210 (4)||$192|
|Helicopter Rides||$420 (4)||$375 (5)||$398|
|Hiking||$63 (3)||$139 (3)||$101|
|Horseback Riding||$171 (11)||$106 (2)||$139|
|Sightseeing||$118 (12)||$119 (8)||$119|
|Via Ferrata||$285 (1)||$168 (2)||$227|
|Whitewater Rafting||$167 (12)||$108 (4)||$138|
|Wildlife||$134 (6)||$96 (5)||$115|
|TOUR||AVERAGES DISCOVER |
|AVERAGES BANFF |
|Dogsledding||$298 (4)||$261 (3)||$280|
|Helicopter Rides||$315 (3)||$390 (3)||$353|
|Ice Walk||$121 (8)||$109 (6)||$115|
|Sightseeing||$123 (7)||$131 (5)||$127|
|Snowmobiling||$240 (2)||$333 (4)||$287|
|Snowshoeing||$107 (4)||$94 (4)||$101|
|Snow Tubing||$66 (2)||$73 (5)||$70|
The cheaper alternative here is to do it yourself. It won’t cost you a penny and you only need to hire the necessary equipment (such as snowshoes). You can easily have a lot of fun on your own and be amazed by the park’s stunning beauty.
Looking to book an activity in Banff? I sorted some of the most exciting tours in Banff for you.
Several attractions in the park require an entrance fee. The table below gives an overview of the attractions and their prices.
I’ve included the prices for adults and seniors:
|Banff Cave and Basin (Banff)||$8.50||$7|
|Banff Gondola (Banff)||$60 – $66 *||$60 – $66 *||Depending on the date|
|Banff Park Museum (Banff)||$4.25||$3.75|
|Banff Upper Hot Springs (Banff)||$16.50||$14.25|
|Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum (Banff)||$12||$11|
|Historic Luxton Home (Banff)||By donation||By Donation|
|Lake Louise Gondola (Lake Louise)||$60 *||$49 *|
|Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff)||$12||$10|
* Price is from price as you can buy combined packages.
So What About the Actual Cost of a Banff Vacation?
Answering this question is still complicated, despite the numbers above. There are so many variables involved that it is impossible to give valid figures. I haven’t even included airfares, as people come from all over the world to visit the park.
Nevertheless, let’s try to get an informed average for the peak summer season:
First, accommodation. The average summer hotel rate for 2023 in the town of Banff is CAD 738 (to get this number, I added the average rates for 07/28 and 08/14 and divided by two).
Add to this the cost of eating out three times a day for two people (breakfast, lunch and dinner), which is about CAD 175.
Add to that the average price of CAD 178 for a summer tour, multiply by two and add it all up. That comes to a whopping CAD 1091.
This does not include gas, snacks, souvenirs and other things you might buy during the day. Not to mention plane tickets and car rental.
Multiply CAD 1091 by 7 and you’ll spend CAD 7637 (!) for a week in the park this summer. This EXCLUDES car rental and your airfare.
At that price, you can see why it might be worth checking out Banff holiday packages.
As I said in the introduction to this article, you can always make your stay in Banff more expensive, depending on your wishes and desires. I hope that the averages above will at least give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay during your stay in the park at different times of the year.
It might be good to know there are some activities you can do in the park that don’t make you pony up big amounts of cash. Want to know what they are? Read cheap things to do in Banff.
Banff Travel Guide and FAQ
Where is Banff National Park, Canada?
Banff National Park is in the southwest of the province of Alberta. It’s home to the towns of Banff and Lake Louise and borders the province of British Columbia in the west of Canada. You can easily access famous places like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake and the stunning Icefields Parkway from these locations.
Banff and Lake Louise are situated in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, close to the boundary with British Columbia, as shown on the map of Banff National Park below.
Is Banff, Canada safe?
Generally speaking, yes. Like most areas, Banff has crime, but it’s still a safe travel place. But Banff has a lot of wildlife, including bears and cougars, so you should always carry bear spray and exercise caution when hiking in the mountains.
What is the best time to Travel to Banff, Canada?
The best time to travel to Banff, Canada, depends on your reason for visiting the park. If you’re going for the stunning nature the park’s famous for, you’d better visit from June to September. The best months to ski are from January through March.
WEATHER IN BANFF, CANADA: AVERAGE TEMPERATURE
The worst months to visit Banff National Park are November, April and May. It’s too chilly to go sightseeing in November, and there isn’t enough snow on the slopes yet. The iconic lakes in the park are still frozen in April and May, and it can still be quite cold.
How do I travel to Banff, Canada?
Want to fly to Banff? Calgary International Airport (Code: YYC) is the closest airport. It’s 130 kilometers (81 mi) to the east of Banff.
Several cities, including Toronto, Chicago, Seattle, and Dallas/Fort Worth, have direct flights into Calgary.
Pick up a rental vehicle at Calgary International Airport, or take a private transport service to your destination. The trip to the park takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Viator has several good options. Click the link to check the options and latest rates.
Banff Car Rental
Want to rent a car during your stay in Banff National Park? Rent one at Calgary International Airport or in the city of Calgary. Yep, there are rental firms in Lake Louise and Banff, but as these are small towns, your rental options can be limited.
Avis is a reputable car rental company, which I’ve used many times. Book now with Avis
What do I pack for Banff, Canada?
The time of year will affect what you should bring with you on your trip to Banff, Canada. If you plan to spend your summer vacation in Banff National Park, you should be okay with light-colored, breathable clothing. Bring a few sweaters, too, as Banff’s summer evenings can be chilly. You’re in the mountains, after all.
When visiting in winter, bring a heavy jacket, such as a parka, and other winter clothing, such as warm pants, long underwear, and (fleece) s
Banff Travel Planning Guide
Do I need a visa for Banff?
Most likely not. Citizens of the US, most European countries, Australia and New Zealand don’t need a visa to enter Canada. Not sure? Click the link to see whether you need a visa or not. The typical length of stay in Canada for people with visa-exempt passports is 90 days.
Do I need travel insurance for Banff?
You bet. Feel confident while traveling with a plan from Travel Insurance Master, one of the top names in travel insurance, for just USD 10 on average per day.
What’s the best way to book my Banff accommodation?
If you plan to book a hotel, hostel or bed & breakfast, Booking.com is your best bet. It has the most hotels listed and often offers the best rates.
Do I need to rent a car in Banf?
Absolutely. While Banff is one of the few national parks in North America with a sizeable public transport network, I strongly advise renting a car if you want to make the most of your visit.
Will my phone work in Banff?
It depends. In the towns of Banff and Lake Louise, you should have good to excellent reception. However, in more remote areas, the signal is spotty. In many places, there will be no signal at all.
What’s the best site to buy Banff flights?
If you’re looking for cheap flights to Banff, I recommend Skyscanner. No surprises with suddenly increased rates (for taxes, seats or luggage) upon checkout. What you see is what you get.
One thought on “How Much Will a Banff Vacation Cost in 2023? (Crazy Numbers!)”
“As it goes with major tourist destinations, prices tend to be high, very high.” Uh.. no… Unfortunately, as a newcomer to Canada I have found that sadly this is only true here in Canada for some reason. Sure, normally prices are a little higher everywhere based on time of the year, but here in Canada the prices are crazy ALL YEAR… I have travelled al over the world, and even during high season you will find reasonable places (talking within the $100-150 range -and even some sub-100). Honestly do not understand how these places are even in business, because while just for right now I cannot travel outside of Canada, as soon as I can again there is no way on earth I will spend a dime here when I can go to places like Hawaii, California, heck even Mexico for a fraction of what they want to charge at places like Banff or even “Kelowna”… (KELOWNA FFS…). Anyway, not really sure I will ever understand people option to be robbed like this, but to each their own I guess…