What to Do in Banff When it Rains? (And Have Fun Anyway)

Icefields Parkway Rainbow

You came to Banff to enjoy the great outdoors and suddenly you find yourself stuck in your hotel room. It’s raining and you know it’s not going to stop for a while. What to do? If that’s you, read on for some exciting tips. I listed 22 activities to fill your day with joy on a rainy day.

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The weather in the Rocky Mountains is very unpredictable. It can rain, hail, and even snow in the middle of August! Generally, this type of weather doesn’t last long. But if the weather forces you to stay indoors, it’s good to know your options so you don’t get bored.

Let’s have a look at the surprisingly wide range of things to do in Banff when it rains.

How Likely Is it to Rain in Banff?

Okay, you’re probably reading this because it’s a rainy day in Banff. If not, and you just want to know how much precipitation the park receives on average: According to climate-data.org, the annual rainfall in Banff is 755 mm (29.7 inches).

The driest month is February, with 26 millimeters (1.0 in) of precipitation. However, most of the precipitation falls in June. The average for this month is 129 mm (5.1 inches). The second wettest month is July, with an average of 99 mm (3.8 inches).

There’s a caveat to the above numbers because different weather sites claim different averages. All the sites I’ve checked agree that June is the wettest month. So it’s probably a good idea to plan on visiting Banff in July, August, and even September.

There is also a so-called wet season in the park. According to weaterspark.com, this period lasts from April 13 to October 26, or 6.4 months.

To come to my own conclusions, I used the official data from the Banff weather station to calculate my own averages. You can find them in the post on weather averages in Banff National Park. For precipitation, the data available on the government website was limited, but it still gives you an excellent general idea of what to expect.

What to Do When it’s Raining in Banff?

Since you probably want to keep a roof over your head due to the rain, there are several interesting things you can do during your stay in rainy Banff National Park. I’ve listed them below.

Shop Till You Drop

Banff has a considerable number of shops. Some of them aren’t that interesting because you can find them in any town, but others are quite unique and worth a visit. They are designed to provide a pleasant shopping experience when the weather is not conducive to outdoor exploration.

The Spirit of Christmas

The shop that probably stands out the most is Banff’s Christmas shop, The Spirit of Christmas. As the name suggests, this shop is all about Christmas. It’s a large store and is open year round. Feast your eyes and be amazed by the large number of Christmas items. 

The Spirit of Christmas
Address: 133 Banff Avenue, Banff
Phone: +1 403 – 762 2501
Website: thespiritofchristmas.ca
E-mail: tsoc.customerservice@gmail.com

Willock & Sax Gallery

This gallery offers high quality art, some by local artists. You’ll find jewelry, ceramics, paintings and photography, making for a varied and exciting selection of beautiful art. The shop is open daily except Tuesdays (by appointment only).

Willock & Sax Gallery
Address: 210 Bear Street, Banff
Phone: +1 403 – 762 2214
Website: willockandsaxgallery.com
E-mail: fineart@willockandsaxgallery.com

Rocky Mountain Soap Company

Yes, a store entirely dedicated to soaps. Maybe not the first thing you think of when shopping in a resort town, but the selection of soaps this store has on display is worth a visit. The scents of these soaps are attractive in themselves.

Rocky Mountain Soap Company
Address: 204 Banff Avenue
Phone: +1 403 – 762 5999
Website: rockymountainsoap.com
E-mail: through form on website

Banff Candy Store

Bright colors and a sweet smell. This shop will stimulate your senses. Candy, candy and more candy. This shop has an exclusive selection of candies from all over the world, including the world-famous British and Dutch licorice. Dare you try it?

Banff Candy Store
Address: 126 Banff Avenue, Banff
Phone: +1 403 – 762 3737
Website: facebook.com/BanffCandyStore
E-mail: banffcandy.social@gmail.com

About Canada

Banff is chock-full of souvenir shops, and while you could argue that they’re all more or less the same, About Canada stands out. This gift shop specializes in Canadian-made gifts. Think of the obvious maple syrup, handmade Banff area products, ammolites, First Nations art, wooden bowls and coasters, etc. 

About Canada
Address: 105 Banff Avenue, Banff
Phone: +1 403 760 2996 
Website: aboutcanada.ca
E-mail: info@aboutcanada.ca

Dark clouds over Cascade Mountain in Banff.

Visit a Museum

Banff and Lake Louise have several museums you can visit. An ideal pastime to kill the rainy hours. I’ve listed them below. 


Banff Park Museum
The Banff Park Museum is housed in a 1903 log cabin. The property is protected as a National Historic Site and is the oldest natural history museum in Western Canada.

The museum provides a wealth of information on the history of the flora and fauna of Banff National Park. The architectural style of the building is typical of the early federal buildings in the park.

* Admission fee (Seniors 65+): CAD 3.75

Address: 91 Banff Avenue
Phone: +1 403 – 762 1558
Website: pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/ab/Banff
E-mail:  caveandbasin@pc.gc.ca

Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum
The Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum showcases the heritage of the First Nations people who lived in the area for centuries. Learn about their way of life through artifacts, weapons, tools, clothing and ceremonial items.

* Admission fee (Seniors, 65+): CAD 9.00

Address: 1 Birch Avenue
Phone: +1 403 – 762 2388
Website: buffalonationsmuseum.com
E-mail: info@buffalonationsmuseum.com

The Historic Luxton Home tells the story of Norman Luxton, Georgina McDougall Luxton and their daughter Eleanor. They formed a pioneer family in Banff that lived there for ninety years, spanning several generations.

The museum offers a glimpse into the life of this family. With many of Norman, Georgina and Eleanor’s items on display, you will get a good idea of life in the early days of Banff. The adjacent Luxton Garden, designed in the Arts and Crafts style around 1910, features 120-year-old lilac trees.

* Admission fee (Seniors 65+): CAD 9.00

Address: 206 Beaver Street
Phone: + 1 403 – 762 2105
Website: –
E-mail: – 

Whyte Museum Of The Canadian Rockies
The Whyte Museum Of The Canadian Rockies is dedicated to sharing the history and culture of the Rocky Mountains. The museum was founded by Peter and Catharine Whyte. You’ll find art exhibits and an extensive collection of original artwork and photographs.

* Admission fee (Seniors 65+): CAD 9.00

Address: 111 Bear Street
Phone: +1 403 – 762 2291
Website: whyte.org
E-mail: info@whyte.org


Wildlife Interpretive Centre
The Wildlife Interpretive Centre is full of fascinating and engaging ways to learn about everything that makes the Lake Louise area so unique.

You will find life-size displays of many of the area’s animal species, as well as interpretive panels with information about local wildlife. The Wildlife Interpretive Center is a 5-10 minute walk from the top of the Lake Louise Gondola.


The rain is not the biggest downside when taking the Banff Gondola. If you ask me, it’s the price. Because the trip to the summit is expensive, to say the least, so for some people, it may not give them enough bang for their buck. Besides, there are better places to view Banff and the Bow Valley from above

You’ll pay around CAD 50 (up to about CAD 70 in summer) for a 16-minute ride to the top and back.

Address: 1 Whitehorn Road
Phone: +1 877 – 956 8473
Website: skilakelouise.com
E-mail: info@skilouise.com

Have an Amazing Lunch and Dinner

With so many restaurants in Banff and Lake Louise, you have a lot of options to spend quality time over a hearty lunch. I’ve listed some of the more exciting options below.

If you want to see a list of all the restaurants in Banff and Lake Louise, I suggest you read The Ultimate Overview of Restaurants in Banff. They’re arranged by type of cuisine.

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel High Tea

Want to enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by top chefs, sip an equally delicious loose leaf tea, and take in the magnificent views in an equally magnificent building? Then head to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

Victorian scones, tiny finger sandwiches and more can be found at this famous luxury hotel. The hotel serves afternoon tea from 11 am to 4 pm seven days a week. Reservations are highly recommended.

The hotel has several restaurants and bars, so if you want to dine at this fairytale hotel, be sure to go there. There are several (upscale) options.

Address: 405 Spray Avenue, Banff
Phone: +1 403 – 762 6860
Website: banff-springs-hotel.com 
E-mail: bshdiningreservation@fairmont.com

Coyotes South Western Grill

Situated in downtown Banff this restaurant is easy to get to for a nice lunch or dinner. While this restaurant may not be as fancy as the restaurants at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, this cozy place has a nice atmosphere to spend a rainy afternoon enjoying all kinds of comfort food, especially grilled meats, of course.

Coyotes South Western Grill
Address: 206 Caribou Street, Banff
Phone: + 1 403 – 762 3963
Website: coyotesbanff.com
E-mail: Though form on the website

Ramen Arashi Banff

If you fancy a different kind of lunch or dinner and are open to trying different foods, Ramen Arashi might be the perfect choice to enjoy on a rainy day in Banff. This restaurant is conveniently located in the Sundance Mall and serves Japanese ramen dishes. Highly recommended.

Ramen Arashi Banff
Address: 215 Banff Avenue, Sundance Mall, 3rd floor, Banff
Phone: +1 403 – 760 0908
Website: ramenarashi.com
E-mail: info@ramenarashi.com

Masala Authentic Indian Cuisine

Masala Authentic Indian Cuisine may be the restaurant for you if you’re into exotic food. As the name suggests, this restaurant serves Indian cuisine, so expect curry, hot spices and a plethora of flavours you may not have tried before. Like most restaurants in Banff, this one is conveniently located in downtown Banff.

Masala Authentic Indian Cuisine
Address: 229 Bear Street, Banff
Phone: +1 403 – 760 6612
Website: masalabanff.com
E-mail: MasalaAuthentic_Banff@outlook.com


If you don’t want to spend too much money on your dinner or lunch and want a cozy place to enjoy yourself while eating delicious food, Tooloulous is highly recommended.

This down-to-earth restaurant offers relatively simple but delicious food. They have one particular dish on their menu that attracts crowds: their alligator meat dishes. Definitely try it, you’ll be surprised how good it is!

Address: 204 Caribou Street, Banff
Phone: +1 403 – 762 2633
Website: toolouloos.com
E-mail: info@toulouloos.om

Post Hotel & Spa

The Post Hotel & Spa is situated in Lake Louise Village, close to other amenities and the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1). It offers a variety of exquisite dishes for lunch and dinner. The beautiful wooden interior creates a cozy atmosphere, perfect for spending time indoors when the weather doesn’t allow for outdoor fun.

Post Hotel & Spa 
Address: 200 Pipestone Road, Lake Louise
Phone: +1 403 – 503 3989
Website: posthotel.com
E-mail: info@posthotel.com

Lakeview Lounge, Fairmont Château Lake Louise

If lunch or dinner in a luxurious setting is your thing, the Lakeview Lounge at Fairmont Château Lake Louise will do the trick. And more. With stunning views of Lake Louise through the restaurant’s huge windows, you’ll be able to sample all kinds of exquisite food accompanied by the finest wines, beers or other alcoholic beverages.

As you’d expect from a restaurant in a world-class hotel, the Lakeview Lounge isn’t cheap, but the experience is well worth it. Think about it: You can enjoy one of the most famous views in the world and stay dry on a rainy day.

Lakeview Lounge Fairmont Château Lake Louise
Address: 111 Lake Louise Drive, Lake Louise
Phone: +1 403 522 1601
Website: fairmont.com/lake-louise 
E-mail: cll.concierge@fairmont.comz

Whitehorn Bistro

This restaurant is situated in the Lake Louise ski resort, so up the slopes (altitude: 2,042 meters (6,700 ft). This great location allows for a panoramic view of the mountains while you dine. The food at this restaurant is relatively upscale and varied, which should satisfy your gastronomic needs on a rainy day in the park. Fantastic place to spend some good leisure time if you ask me.

Whitehorn Bistro
Address: 1 Whitehorn Road, Lake Louise Ski Resort, Lake Louise
Phone: +1 403 522 1310
Website:  skilakelouise.com
E-mail: info@skilakelouise.com

Rain in Banff National Park
Rain in Banff National Park.

Hit the Bowling Alley

Yes, bowling. Why not? Maybe you need to practice your game anyway. There are two bowling alleys in Banff National Park, both in the town of Banff. One is called High Rollers and the other is called Five Pins and Pints. I’ve listed the information below.

High Rollers

High Rollers is an excellent and laidback bowling alley on Banff Avenue. It’s easily accessible as it’s located in the Clocktower Mall in the center of downtown Banff. It has six ten-pin lanes, a pool table and other games. High Rollers also serves food and drinks. The selection is quite varied. They even have a beer garden. You can make a reservation on their website (see the link below). High Rollers is open daily until 2 am.

Sunday – Friday: CAD $49/lane/hr
Saturday:  CAD 55/lane/hr
Bowling shoes:  CAD 5.99/pp
Socks are mandatory (CAD 2.50)

Address: 110 Banff Avenue
Phone: +1 403 – 762 2695
Website: highrollersbanff.com 
E-mail: through form on website

Five Pins and Pints

Five Pins and Pints is situated in the Banff Springs Hotel. This bowling alley consists of four lanes. Each game has five pins. Of course, you don’t have to be short of anything as food and drinks are served. You can book online (see the link below). This bowling alley is inside the Banff Springs, so you can expect to pay a premium price for everything here. The venue has several weekly specials, including bowling and food. Check the website for more information. Five Pins and Pints is open daily until 11 pm. 

CAD 69 per lane per hour for up to seven guests. 
The price includes shoe hire. 

Address: 405 Spray Avenue
Telephone: +1 403 – 762 2211
Website: fairmont.com
E-mail: banffsprings@fairmont.com

Visit the Sally Borden Centre

On a rainy day, the Sally Borden Centre – part of the world famous Banff Centre on Tunnel Mountain – can keep you busy for quite some time. It has rock climbing, swimming and fitness facilities.

The gym is a medium-sized facility with a variety of fitness equipment. There are cardio and weight machines, free weights and an indoor running track. You can park your car near the building so you won’t get too wet. You can buy a day membership to gain access.

The Aquatic Centre at the Sally Borden Centre is Banff’s public swimming pool. It has several facilities for you to enjoy:

  • 25-meter pool
  • Hot tub
  • Wading pool
  • Steam room

And then there’s the climbing gym. This is the only indoor climbing facility in Banff. It is a great way to challenge yourself and improve your climbing skills. No climbing experience? No problem. You’ll be well secured will climbing the rock walls.

And if you’re on your own, don’t worry: the facility’s auto-belays keep your rope tight at all times, so you can safely climb solo.

Finished working out, climbing or swimming and feeling tired? How about grabbing lunch or dinner at one of the Banff Center’s two dining facilities? You can visit the MacLab Bistro or the Vistas Dining Room to satisfy your appetite.

All in all, there’s enough to do at the Banff Centre to keep you busy all day.

Good to know:

  • Change rooms and showers are available 
  • Towels and locks are included with a day membership
  • Climbing shoes and harnesses are available for rent

Day Membership: CAD 20
Day Membership 60+: CAD 16
Day Membership Youth (4 – 15 years): CAD 16

Banff Centre
Sally Borden Building – Aquatic Centre
Address: 107 Tunnel Mountain Drive
Phone: +1 403 – 762 6450
Website: banffcentre.ca
E-mail: sbb_info@banffcentre.ca

Wanna read more about swimming opportunities in the park? Read the post Everything You Need to Know about Swimming in Banff National Park.

Soak in the Banff Upper Hot Springs

While the town of Banff has only one public swimming pool, it is also home to the world famous Banff Upper Hot Springs. Located on the flanks of Sulphur Mountan, this is where Banff National Park originated, and the reason for its creation.

The Banff Upper Hot Springs is an outdoor pool that draws its hot mineral water from the Sulphur Mountain Thrust Fault, a crack in the mountain.

That’s why the water temperature in the pool is between 37 and 40 degrees Celsius (98 and 104 degrees F). Located at an elevation of 1,585 meters (5,200 ft), it’s the highest hot spring in Canada. From the pool you have a breathtaking view of Rundle Mountain and the Bow River below.

Technically, it’s not a swimming pool, as it’s only for bathing. But the warm mineral water makes for a comfortable soak, even when it’s raining.

Please note: reservations are not possible.

Adult (18-64): CAD 9.25
Youth (3-17): CAD 8      
Child (under 3): Free
Senior (65+): CAD 8
Family*: CAD 29
Extra Youth: CAD 5

* The family rate applies to each of the following combinations:

  • Two adults and two youths
  • One adult and three youths
  • Two seniors and two youths
  • One senior, one adult and two youth
  • Four siblings

Group Rates (10 or more people pay in one transaction and arrive together)
Adult (18-64): CAD 8.25
Youth (3-17): CAD 7
Senior (65+): CAD 7

Go to the Movies

Make yourself nice and comfortable while watching the latest Hollywood flick in the Lux Cinema. Banff’s own movie theater has four theaters, including 3D showings. You can make reservations online or pop by their ticket window. 

Lux Cinema
Address: 229 Bear Street, Banff
Phone: +1 403 – 762 8612
Website: luxbanff.com
E-mail: – 

Visit a Karaoke Bar

If singing is your thing, visiting a karaoke bar might be an amazing idea to spend a nice time during a rainy day in Banff. You can visit several places to fulfil your singing needs. So no reason for you to be bored when it rains.

The Beaver Bar
433 Banff Avenue
Phone: +1 403 762 4499
Website: beaverbarbanff.com
E-mail: beaverbarbanff@samesun.com

The Storm Cellar
Address: 801 Hidden Ridge Way (HI Hostel)
Phone: +1 403 – 762 4123
Website: hihostels.ca
E-mail: info@hihostels.ca

Hello Sunshine Sushi
208 Wolf Street
Phone: +1 403 985 7225
Website: hellosunshinebanff.com
E-mail: through form on website

Visit an Escape Room

Visiting an escape room might be THE leisure activity in Banff National Park on a rainy day. It’s exciting, keeps you occupied for an hour or so and it’s fun to do with many people.

If you don’t know what an escape room is: It’s a room where you and your team get locked up and where you’ll find all kinds of puzzles and clues to find your way out.

You can also battle against another team to find your way out the fastest. Eureka Banff has two escape rooms, Marv’s Classic Soda Shop and The Warden’s Cabin

Eureka Banff
Address: 229 Bear Street, Banff
Phone: +1 403 762 8612
Website: eurekabanff.com
E-mail: eureka@bestofbanff.com

Visit Canmore

If you’ve stayed in Banff for a few nights and feel you’ve seen enough, it might be a good idea to head to Canmore on a rainy day.

The town is only a 25 minute drive from Banff and is much larger. Canmore’s downtown has a lot to offer, with plenty of restaurants, bars and all the necessary shops. Oh, and if the sun is shining brightly, Canmore is also a great destination!

Attend a Performance at the Banff Centre

How about catching an arts performance on a rainy day? Banff is home to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, a world-class arts venue that hosts a wide range of performances throughout the year, from plays to poetry, artists to musical performances and concerts.

Located on Tunnel Mountain, the center has 7 performance venues and two great dining options: the MacLab Bistro and the Three Ravens. Check out the programs on their website to see if there’s something you like.

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Address: 107 Tunnel Mountain Drive, Banff
Phone: +1 403 – 762 6100
Website: banffcentre.ca
E-mail: box_office@banffcentre.ca

Also read: Exploring Banff’s Music Scene

Visit the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Staying inside when you’re vacationing in Banff National Park due to the rain sucks, excusez le mot. But if that means wondering about in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, it isn’t all that bad. This world-famous hotel is a must-see during your visit to the park.

It’s beautiful, it’s over 135 years old, it has a fascinating history, it has its own shopping promenade, and it also has several bars and restaurants where you can spend some great quality time with your partner or family.

Even if you don’t sit down to eat or drink, you can easily spend an hour taking in the views of the Bow River and the surrounding Rockies.

Also read: The Fascinating History of the Banff Springs Hotel

Visit the Fairmont Château Lake Louise

If the rain spoils your day, you can still have a great time in Lake Louise and enjoy the views. Just visit the Fairmont Château Lake Louise. After the Fairmont Banff Springs, this is the second most famous hotel in the park and it’s comparable in size.

As far as views go, the Château Lake Louise has the edge over the Banff Springs because you can look out over beautiful Lake Louise. Can’t beat that. You can sit in one of the hotel’s bars or restaurants and overlook the lake while sipping your beer or cocktail or enjoying a good steak.

Like the Banff Springs, the Château Lake Louise also has a shopping promenade, it’s also old (about 125 years), and it has many impressive rooms, spaces and promenades for you to admire and spend some time.

You could easily spend the whole afternoon here and never get bored. So even if it’s raining, I promise you’ll have a good time.

And if it’s not raining too hard, grab an umbrella and walk the paved path along the shore of the lake.

Also read: The History of Château Lake Louise, an iconic hotel

Drive the Bow Valley Parkway

One of the best ways to spend your time in the park is to drive the Bow Valley Parkway, guaranteed! This stunning road is a 48-kilometer (30 mi) secondary highway that connects Banff to Lake Louise.

It runs more or less parallel to the Trans-Canada Highway on the east side and was purposely built for sightseeing. That’s why you’ll find pullouts and hiking opportunities along the way.

And because it’s a much smaller road than its successor, it’s much more enclosed by the wilderness. It’s an exhilarating drive over rolling terrain past stunning vistas, lodges and world-famous Johnston Canyon.

Other highlights include Castle Mountain, which can be seen in all its glory at Castle Junction. This impressive mountain makes for stunning Instagram material, so be sure to stop your vehicle here and snap a few shots of this intimidating mountain, which is actually shaped like a castle.

In case you missed the turnoff (okay, you can’t really), you’ll find the Castle Cliffs Lookout on your right, which also offers stunning views of the mountain.

Another nice place to stop is Storm Mountain Lookout. This lookout offers views of Storm Mountain and the surrounding mountains. The nearby train tracks make for stunning snapshots of a train against a spectacular backdrop.

Just wait for a train to pass. In terms of beauty, it rivals the much better known Morant’s Curve, another iconic scene in the park. This section of railroad is probably one of the most photographed parts of Banff National Park and understandably so. You have to see it to understand.

At the end of the road you’ll find Lake Louise Village. Here you can visit several restaurants for a good meal (see above) or you can continue on to Lake Louise itself and explore the lake from the impressive Fairmont Château Lake Louise.

Drive the Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway connects Lake Louise with Jasper and travels through a landscape of jagged mountain peaks, glaciers, canyons, waterfalls and pristine wilderness.

Considered one of the most beautiful highways in the world, you can’t go wrong. Even if it’s raining.

It’s 230 kilometers (142.6 mi) long, so it and will keep you busy all day. There are many viewpoints along the way, some of which don’t even require you to get out of your vehicle to take in the scenery.

You can do so at Crowfoot Glacier Viewpoint, Bow Lake Viewpoint, Waterfowl Lake Viewpoint, Weeping Wall Viewpoint, and the Big Hill & Big Bend section of the highway.

Otherwise, the road is just a joy to drive. Just driving it is enough for an exciting experience. The scenery changes all the time and there’s an impressive new view around every corner.

You might even see wildlife. And since rain doesn’t really affect bear movement, you might see one or two if you’re lucky. Especially since the road is less busy on a rainy day.

There are several spots along the way that will require you to get out of your vehicle to see them, such as Peyto Lake, Mistaya Canyon, the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Falls. It would be a shame to miss them. So be sure to bring an umbrella. If it’s not pouring, you can still enjoy these impressive sights without getting soaked.

TIP: You might want to book a room in Jasper for the night. You can make it a round trip, but first of all you’ll be driving about 500 kilometers (311 mi) or more in one day and secondly Jasper is of course very much worth seeing.

Ride the Banff Gondola

Riding the Banff Gondola is one of the quintessential activities in Banff, and it’s worth it even on a rainy day. First, the covered gondola takes you up Sulphur Mountain without getting wet (you can also hike to the top).

Once at the top, you’ll find the four-story Above Banff Interpretive Centre AND three restaurants that will keep you busy for hours while you enjoy stunning views of the town of Banff, the Bow Valley and the surrounding mountains.

The Interpretive Centre features interactive exhibits with lots of information about Banff.

It’s especially fun for kids and includes the Above Banff Theatre. It’s a 48-seat multi-sensory theater that plays a six-minute drone-shot movie that showcases the breathtaking grandeur of the Canadian Rockies.

Regarding the restaurants: there are the Sky Bistro, Northern Lights Alpine Kitchen and Peak Patio for lunch, dinner or a quick bite and a drink.

But why stay inside? If you bring an umbrella, you can enjoy the Sanson Peak Boardwalk and hike up to the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station, also known as the Sulphur Mountain Observatory, while taking stunning pictures of your surroundings.

Also read:

Go Rafting

Yes, you read that right: go rafting when it rains in Banff. You’re going to get wet in a raft anyway, so it doesn’t really matter that it’s raining. Rafting gives you the opportunity to experience the wilderness of the Canadian Rockies in an unprecedented way while getting a huge adrenaline rush at the same time.

The cool thing is that you don’t need any rafting experience to enjoy this rainy day activity. Basically, the only requirement is that you’re healthy and in relatively good shape, as rafting involves some physical activity. Most companies offer a range of rafting tours, from beginner to advanced; just find one that suits your skill level.

Concerned about safety? Of course, rafting is not 100 percent safe, but it doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea of a rafting adventure. The risk of getting hurt is minimal.

Your instructor will give you a thorough safety briefing on how to handle the raft, how to use your paddle, and what to do in unexpected circumstances to ensure that your exciting rafting trip is fun and not dangerous.

In general, rafting is an exhilarating adventure that lets you feel the raw energy of the wilderness. You don’t want to miss that, do you?

Here are some companies that offer rafting adventures in the Canadian Rockies near Banff:

Kananaskis River Rafting Adventure

The Kananaskis River Rafting Adventure is a sweet way to discover this instant adrenaline rush of an activity. It’s a day trip from Banff or Canmore. You’ll float down the wild Kananaskis River and its rapids.

Along the way you’ll have time to spot wildlife including bald eagles, bears and deer. There is an optional swim at the end of your rafting adventure.

This tour is for a small group of up to seven people: make sure your guide is fully focused. Perhaps the best part: You don’t need any experience to take this tour!

The tour takes about 4 hours and is suitable for kids of 5 years old and older.

Adults (15+):
CAD 130
Children (5-14): CAD 81

Also read: Attention, Thrill-Seekers in Banff: Go Rafting!

Go Caving

If you’re looking for a way to escape the rain and still have an adventure in Banff National Park, caving might be the perfect solution.

While the Cave and Basin in Banff National Park is not a traditional caving experience, it does offer you the chance to explore the underground. The Cave and Basin is a natural thermal hot spring cave that was discovered in 1883 and was instrumental in the creation of Banff National Park.

Today, you can explore the cave on a guided tour and learn about the history and geology of the area. The cave is home to several unique rock formations that you can learn about without the need for special caving equipment.

Another interesting caving opportunity can be found just outside the park in Canmore. Here you can visit the Rat’s Nest Cave.

This 4-kilometre cave is very popular as it’s one of the longest caves in Canada and tours are available year round. The cave maintains a temperature of 5°C (41°F) every day of the year. Tours take you through the cave’s various chambers and water-carved passages where you can climb, crawl, wiggle and slide your way through the underground world.

Rat’s Nest Cave offers two tours year-round: the 6-hour Adventure Tour and the 4.5-hour Explorer Tour. The explorer Tour is the easier one of the two.

In any case: Make sure you bring a jacket!

Explorer Tour:
Adults: CAD 149
Children (10-15): CAD 129

Adventure Tour
Adults: CAD 199
Children (12-15): CAD 169

All prices exclude 5% GST.

You can book these caving activities here.

Do a Lake Cruise on Lake Minnewanka

If you’re looking for a way to explore the beauty of Banff National Park, a cruise on Lake Minnewanka might be just the ticket, even if it’s raining.

This lake is the largest in the park and offers the chance to see a variety of wildlife including moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. And the best part? There are several cruise options, each offering a unique and fun way to experience the lake.

The Pursuit Collective’s Premium Lake Minnewanka Cruise takes you on a 90-minute guided tour of the lake with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. You’ll learn about the history and geology of the area, as well as the wildlife that calls the lake home. It’s like a mini geography lesson, only a lot more fun!

You can also take the short version of this cruise, which lasts one hour.

Or how about exploring the lake while sampling some great beers? On this 1.5-hour Beer Voyage Cruise, you’ll enjoy a selection of local craft beers as you cruise the lake.

The tours are held from May 19 – October 1, 2023, weather dependent.

Classic One Hour Cruise
CAD 61.00 adult
Children: CAD 39.65 child

Premium Cruise (1.5 hours)
CAD 72.00
Children: CAD 46.80

Beer Voyage Cruise (1.5 hours)
Adults only:
CAD 84.00

Junior Explorer Cruise
Children (6-12): CAD

Kids age 5 & Under: Free

Also read: The Ultimate Guide to Lake Minnewanka: All You Need to Know

Visit a Brewery in Banff

The weather too drowsy to spend time outside? Why not take a brewery tour in Banff? There are three places to choose from: Banff Avenue Brewery Co, Three Bears Brewery & Restaurant, and Park Distillery Restaurant + Bar.

Park Distillery + Bar

Let’s start with the last one. Park Distillery + Bar brews its own spirits like whiskey and gin. It is located at 219 Banff Avenue.

Park Distillery hosts small and interactive gatherings with plenty of room for questions. And, of course, you can sample their products: a ½ ounce sample of the Park Distillery’s six most popular spirits.

As a tour member, you will receive a ten percent discount on items in the Park Store. You’ll find products such as Park Alpine Dry Gin, Park Maple Rye and Park Glacier Rye, Park Vanilla Vodka, Park Bird’s Eye Chili Vodka, Park Classic Vodka and Park Espresso Vodka.

Park Distillery tours are available daily. Private tours are also available. The minimum for this tour is eight people and you must book ten days in advance.

Banff Avenue Brewery Co

Your second option is the Banff Avenue Brewery Co. This brewery is located on the second floor of the Clock Tower Village Mall at 110 Banff Avenue. Here you will find an interesting selection of Banff craft beers. They have no less than twelve! How about their Head Smashed IPA and their Pint’a Colada, which actually tastes like a pina colada! And yes, they serve food.

Three Bears Brewery & Restaurant

There’s also the Three Bears Brewery & Restaurant. It’s conveniently located on Bear Street, which is not as busy as the adjacent Banff Avenue. This brewery is owned by the local park distillery (see below) and serves their own pilsners, ipas and ales for you to try.

They market themselves as a brewery in a restaurant, so expect good food that you can order with your beer (or is it the other way around?).

If these three options are not good enough for you, you can also visit Canmore, a 20-minute drive away. Canmore has The Grizzly Paw Taproom Brewery, Canmore Brewery & Distillery Tours and Canmore Brewery Company.

Carouse on Banff Avenue

Tired of eating on a rainy day and ready for a drink? Banff Avenue is the place to be! It’s full of great bars and pubs that will keep you partying into the wee hours of the morning.

The Rose and Crown on Banff Avenue (#202) is one of the go-to bars for locals. Although it is quite large, it still has a cozy atmosphere. You can eat, play pool, listen to live music or dance the night away.

Another good option is the Pump and Tap in Sundance Mall. This is a nice bar to grab a beer, watch a nice game of American football, real football (soccer), hockey or basketball.

If you’ve visited these two places and are looking for more options, I highly recommend the St. James’s Gate Irish Pub. Although it’s not technically on Banff Avenue (it’s on Wolf Street), it’s definitely worth a visit if you fancy a nice pint of Guinness in a typically Irish atmosphere.

Speaking of atmosphere, the Beaver Bar in Samesun Hostel is definitely worth a visit. It’s a little further away from Banff’s shopping district, but still within walking distance.

If you don’t want to walk too far, Tommy’s Neighborhood Pub is another good option. It’s located in the heart of Banff Avenue (#120). This typical pub is cozy and big at the same time, has lots of good pub food and the beers to go with it.

Listen to Live Music in the Rose and Crown

If you’re looking for a night of good live music, the Rose and Crown is the place to be in Banff. Located on the second floor of 202 Banff Avenue, this venue features bands from both the Bow Valley and further afield.

Most bands play rock with some country influences thrown in here and there. Although I have to say that the bands I’ve seen here over the course of a year are pretty eclectic.

During the high season there is a band playing every single day! Often the entrance is free, otherwise the admission fee is between 5 and 15 CAD.

Check the venue’s website to see who’s playing when!

What to Do When Not Staying in Banff or Lake Louise?

If you spend your nights in a more remote area in the park, enjoying yourself during a good downpour might be more challenging. It depends on your hotel’s facilities as for what you can do.

The simple advice is to go out and drive (depending on your location in the park) to Banff, Jasper, or Lake Louise to enjoy the advantages of the urbanized world.

Banff Travel Guide

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.

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.

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. 


As a former Banffite, I love writing about my favorite part of the world. I keep coming back to enjoy the park's mesmerising beauty. It never fails to impress me. With my extensive knowledge of the area, I aim to provide you with the best information on Banff that you can find on the internet.

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