O Canada!

It official. The Blue Whales are heading to Canada for our honeymoon. We just couldn’t resist this”¦

   Image from Rocky Mountain Magazine

Mr. Whale and I were both a little bummed that the Rocky Mountaineer train ride was a little out of our budget. But we decided we can still see everything. We’ll just have to drive ourselves. The tentative plan is to fly into Calgary, rent a car, and stay a few days near Banff or Lake Louise and a few days in Jasper.

If you know nothing about British Columbia, it might be helpful to see a map. Image from BritishColumbia.com

This is where you come in, hive. We’ve never been there. And we don’t know anyone who has been there. So I’m hoping there are bees out there who can give us some advice. We’re looking for recommendations on”¦

  • Where to stay. (Both specifically, like an actual hotel recommendation, and generally, as in, “Which towns should we visit?”) I’ve heard Jasper is very nice, so we want to spend several nights there. I’ve heard Banff is fairly touristy and expensive, but I’d still like to spend a night or two in the area. Are there other places we should stay? We can drive anywhere, and we can potentially stay on our honeymoon for almost two weeks.
  • Where to eat. (Nom nom nom.)
  • What to do. Here’s what we’re thinking:
  1. Mr. Whale and I want to do some hiking. But we don’t really know what we’re doing. I don’t even know how to find out anything about where to hike.
  2. Is there something we should be doing that we just don’t know about? Like, should we rent a canoe at one of the lakes or something? Or I’ve heard the Banff Gondola ride is nice”¦
  3. We’ll be driving along the Icefields Parkway. Other than pulling off and enjoying the view every once in a while, is there anything we should know to do on this drive?

Oh, and you may want to know that we’ll probably be there in June or July.

Has anyone else done a non-beach honeymoon? What were your favorite parts? How did you split your time between relaxing and “doing stuff”?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Blue Whale

Location:
College Park, MD
Wedding Date:
May 2013
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comments

  1. Member
    emma20130601 341 posts, Helper bee @ 10:02 am

    Yay for Canada!! :) Unfortunatley, I don’t live in BC (Quebec) and only visited there for 1 day and it was Vancouver! If I were to go, I’d really want to see Lake Louise…It looks absolutely gorgeous!

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    JennyG, Guest @ 10:03 am

    We thought about Canada, but we’re getting married at the beginning of April and we decided it would be a little too frigid for our taste! But I’m sure it will be beautiful! I have one recommendation which you might already know about- you MUST go to or stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise- if you cannot afford to stay there (it’s pretty pricey), you should go and check it out for an afternoon. The view is something you will never forget, I promise you. I also went to Canada back in 1986 (I was in like 4th grade, ha) for the Calgary Olympics, and I recall going to the Hot Springs somewhere around Banff (or maybe it’s that Hot Springs Canyon on your map? Not sure)- they were so much fun and really cool. It’s something unique, that’s for sure! Good luck- you’ll have a blast! :)

  3. Member
    sweetie78 259 posts, Helper bee @ 10:08 am

    I second the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Was in Banff for a wedding in JANUARY. Pretty, but freezing. The hot springs were a nice break from feeling constantly frozen.

  4. Member
    jennyinstereo 308 posts, Helper bee @ 10:15 am

    Hmm, I’m FROM Canada and I never even thought of staying in my own country for my honeymoon. I think the FI wants to go to Ireland (I also lived there, so it’s very sentimental for me), but now I’m thinking of the west coast! I’ve never been, so it would be a perfect opportunity and excuse to get out there. I’m bookmarking this for info. I’m also a QC bee.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    albertagirl, Guest @ 10:19 am

    It might be worth staying in Canmore, instead of in Banff – it’s a lovely, less touristy town about fifteen minutes east of Banff. Hotels are a bit cheaper, but you’re still close enough to get in to Banff quickly if you’d like to see the sights. And Canmore has some amazing restaurants (my favorite is a tapas place called, you guessed it: Tapas! They have out-of-this-world sangria) and companies offering outdoorsy excursions.

  6. Member
    msj2thez 5697 posts, Bee Keeper @ 10:22 am

    I would LOVE to do this trip one day. I really want to ski Banff as well as see Lake Louise. It’s SUCH a trek to get to Banff though from Seattle it’ll be a serious vacation! I hope you have a wonderful time!

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Suzie, Guest @ 10:28 am

    Lake Louise is amazing! You can rent canoes there and it is gorgeous. You can also go on a hike there to a tea room at the top of the mountain. It’s a pathway, and a challenging walk (so uphill!) but manageable. Plus, drinks and snacks at the top!

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    Air, Guest @ 10:29 am

    If your going to be there in July, you should definitely check out the Calgary Stampede. It’s July 5-14. I’ve personally never been but I hear it’s a lot of fun and a must visit if your in the city around that time. :) Not your typical honeymoon excursion, but when in Rome, right?! LOL!

  9. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 10:30 am

    Oh this looks awesome! Mr. Lemur was born in Canada, Quebec though. I’d love to visit British Columbia sometime. I did a train ride in Ontario down a canyon and back—just a day trip—that was amazing!

  10. Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 10:36 am

    @JennyG: and @sweetie78: I’d never heard of these hot springs! I’m checking it out!

    @albertagirl: I had wondered about that. I think I’ll look into more seriously now. Mmmm… tapas :)

    @jennyinstereo: haha. Isn’t it funny how we forget that huge countries can offer all sorts of different stuff? (I’ve never even been to California… I’ve got to make it happen soon.)

    @Suzie: !! That sounds awesome. I will definitely look into that.

    @Air: Wha?? If we’re there in July, it just might happen.

  11. Member
    jennyinstereo 308 posts, Helper bee @ 10:37 am

    @Miss Lemur: Is he a dual citizen? That’s awesome :)

  12. Member
    saskgirl 41 posts, Newbee @ 10:51 am

    My neck of the woods! First of all, to clarify Calgary and the Rockies are all in Alberta…including the lake in your picture!…They are close to BC, but not quite there! :)
    In Banff, check out the Banff Hot Springs…they are fantastic, and do a gondola ride. Tunnel Mountain Lodge is a great place to stay. The Fairmont Banff Springs is the high end “fancy” place, but the rooms are terribly small and it is VERY overpriced. Cow’s ice cream is an absolute must-eat. Trust me on this! 2 nigths is plenty in Banff…it is very touristy.
    If you are going to splurge on a great hotel for a couple of nights, do the Fairmont Lake Louise. You won’t possibly get a better location or view. one of my favorite hotels. The lake in your picture is Morraine Lake, about 20 minutes from Lake Louise…you can go there either on the way up or down the hill to Lake Louise, but it is easily one of the most gorgeous lakes in Canada. Well worth the drive in. In Lake Louise (Grizzly bear capital of Canada) you can do gondola rides to the top of the mountain (it’s a ski town in the winter) and very, very often see Grizzly’s from up above in the Summer. It’s very cool! The Post Hotel has a great resturant. There is a great hike up to a tea house from the Lake Louise Trail…it takes about 90 minutes round trip. It is a busy trail, so no need to worry about Grizzly bears! Johnson Canyon is another place you should stop…Hard to explain, but google it!
    About 40 minutes west of Lake Louise is a resort called Emerald Lake Lodge (it’s in BC, not Alberta). This resort is ridiculously romantic and one of Canada’s hidden gems.
    The Icefields Parkway is one of – if not the most – scenic drive in the world. Allow yourself a lot of time, because you will be stopping many many times along the way…more often than not, you will be stuck in an “animal jam”, where there are moose and bears on the side of the road so tourists stop to take pictures. very cliche, but that’s what happens in Canada! On your way to Jasper, the Columbia Icefields is AWESOME. You go on a huge bus out on a real glacier. You can walk around on it, and drink real glacier water. Well worth the trip. Often it can be 30 degrees, and you are out walking around in snow. Hope this helps! :)

  13. Member
    mswallaby 2063 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:59 am

    I’ve alwayyyyys wanted to go to Banff – my parents have been there twice and they rave about it!

  14. Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 11:00 am

    @saskgirl: I was waiting for someone to point out that I’d said British Columbia instead of Alberta! I noticed it as soon as the post went up… Fail. Obviously I really need the map :)

    This is so SO helpful. I’m googling everything right now :) Johnson Canyon looks fabulous. I can’t wait for my tea in Lake Lousie.

    And an animal jam!! I can’t wait. Thank you so much for giving me so much info!

  15. Member
    saskgirl 41 posts, Newbee @ 11:05 am

    You’re welcome! Also, just a tip, if you are not really into the calgary Stampede, avoid travelling that week at all costs! It is SO BUSY everywhere, and the hotels litterally double in price. If you are into it, it’s a really great time – but bring your wallet!!

  16. Member
    olomanany 52 posts, Worker bee @ 11:06 am

    I have that same exact picture hanging on my wall. I would also suggest Canmore instead of Banff. We are very budget-minded so we stayed at a Radisson Hotel in Canmore. Very nice but we didn’t spend much time at the hotel. We didn’t stay in Jasper but outside of the city but it was a trip to go back and forth. I would also suggest visiting Yoho National Park. We did several amazing hikes – Mount Edith Cavell, Jasper National Park, Lake O’Hara hiking trails: the Lake O’Hara Alpine Circuit, Takakkaw Falls in Yoho; Lake Agnes trail at Lake Louise. This is also a great website – http://www.canadianrockies.net/hiking. In addition, this road between Banff and Jasper is a great ride. The Bow Valley Parkway (formerly the 1A Highway) is a low-speed scenic drive between Banff and Lake Louise on the opposite side of the Bow River from the Trans-Canada Highway.

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    Vanessa, Guest @ 11:28 am

    Oooh! The Rockies – my home :) I second saskgirl and I will add my two cents:

    1. Banff – more the tourist/Japanese hot spot, but well worth it if you’re less the hardcore, backpacking camping type (leave that for Jasper Nat’l Park). Imagine lots of tour buses.
    My recommendations: Hike tunnel mountain – it’s short, easy and will get your legs prepped for hiking. Also lovely overlook at the top if you pack a lunch for a picnic.
    Also recommend hiking Sulphur mountain (where the hot springs and gondola are located) for 2 reasons: 1) the gondola will be free to go down (but >$30 to ride up) and the hot springs are at the bottom, so start in the morning – hike the 2-3 hrs up, take in the views, eat lunch, gondola down then soak in the springs.
    If you’re into horses – totally recommend booking a cookout morning ride (or the evening dinner ride – dinner is more $ and tends to be crowded) http://www.horseback.com/trailrides_cook.html

    2. Banff Nat’l Park. – Lake Louise (can rent canoes) or hike up to the Tea house. Avoid mid-afternoon on the weekends as it’s realllly busy. Moraine Lake (that you pictured) is really close but again, traffic really backs up this highway if you wait until the afternoon. See it in the morning, then go to Lake Louise. The hiking here isn’t as great, just drive up, see the lake and take off again. Johnson Canyon is an amazing hike – more shady which is perfect for a hotter summer day. It can get busy – but not as bad as Moraine or L. Louise. easy trails.

    3. Columbia Ice fields: SEE THEM! they’ve become much smaller with global warming. totally worth it.

    4. Jasper: People are catching on that it’s more rustic further north. The Jasper Hot Springs are actually quite larger than Banff – so if you missed Banff – you have another opportunity here!

    5. In case you head into BC (west of Banff) there are also the Radium Hot Springs – in Radium. And if you’re really adventurous – Golden, BC has THE best updrafts in Canada for parasailing off the mountains, and the Kicking Horse river gives some excellent rapids for white water rafting (June is the most crazy – late summer the rapids die down a bit).

    Enjoy!! I’m excited for you!

  18. Member
    khaki 21 posts, Newbee @ 11:28 am

    I’ve lived in Calgary all my life, and am proud to hear that it is a destination that couples consider for their honeymoon! I agree with all of the above posters and their comments.

    For Calgary:
    The Calgary Stampede can be fun – there are rides, free music, a parade (Will and Kate from the royal family have even attended). Beware though that this is more of a party atmosphere than a romantic one. If you have a day or two to kill in Calgary, I would recommend the Calgary Zoo or wander Prince’s Island Park and shops at Eau Claire if you are staying downtown. If either of you like dinosaurs, you could visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It is world renowned and has some cool hiking trails there through the hoodoos.

    For Banff/Canmore/Kananaskis:
    Canmore is a great place to stay to save some money that is close to Banff and the Kananaskis. They have lots of walking trails within a 15 minute drive.
    You may also want to have a look at the Delta in the Kananaskis. There are a lot of great trails in there for hiking. We really like the Troll Falls hike.
    Of all of them, personally, I prefer Banff. We usually go for a few days once a year. We like to stay downtown on Banff Avenue. This way we can walk to all of the shops, restaurants, and drinks without worrying about driving or parking. The Grizzly House is famous for their fondue dinners. In the evenings we like to pub/lounge hop and get a drink at many of the different places on the way back to our hotel. I would highly recommend the hot springs and the gondola which are right beside each other. The views from the top of the gondola are amazing. It’s also nice to walk around the Fairmont Banf Springs Hotel. We can’t afford to stay there (and prefer a more central location anyway), but make a point of going there for their Saturday/Sunday brunch. It is a bit pricey, but SO worth it, and you can wander around the property after.

    Lake Louise:
    Stay there! So romantic. There’s no night life or anything – you’re there for the view. The only hotel that is actually on the Lake is the Fairmont Lake Louise. If you can afford it, it is a nice treat. There are also a couple of other hotels in Lake Louise not too far from the lake. Also go to Morraine Lake!

    Emerald Lake Lodge:
    About 20 minutes west of Lake Louise this place is beautiful! One of my best friends was proposed to in a canoe in the middle of the lake. Just a heads up – there are no tv’s at this resort.

    Columbia Icefields is a good place to stop to see a glacier, but I have to be honest, maybe it’s because I’m used to living here and seeing it, but I wasn’t all that impressed with it, and found the tours to be expensive for what you get, but some of my friends love it there!

    Jasper:
    Very pretty, expect to see lots of wildlife. It’s normal to have traffic stopped due to moose, deer, elk, mountain sheep, etc.

    Hiking Trails:
    http://hikealberta.com/hike

    It’s hard to recommend too many specific places without an idea of your budget. If you have any thing specific, feel free to ask.

    I hope you have a wonderful honeymoon!

  19. Member
    LizTheProcrastinator 88 posts, Worker bee @ 11:35 am

    My now-husband and I did this trip a few years ago (in late june) — we loved it and have the most incredible photos. Enjoy your trip! Here’s my 2c:

    - Don’t underestimate what you will pay for food (particularly near Lake Louise, Jasper is a bit better). Everything is at tourist-level pricing.

    - as saskgirl said, Canmore is definitely more affordable than Banff, we were able to book a suite with a kitchen there. Groceries are more affordable than restaurants.

    - If you can possibly swing it, stay in the Lake Louise Fairmont hotel. It is so worth it. There are very few options for meals around here, so we ended up booking a “Gold Floor” room, which is more expensive but includes breakfast and evening tapas. We would get up, eat, grab some apples, juice and cookies from the lounge (“free”), hike all day, come back for tapas, then get a light dinner (soup, salad, sandwich) at one of the hotel restaurants.

    - From Lake Louise we did two really memorable hikes. One out around the lake, and up toward the Victoria glacier where they have a tea house (cash only, place for lunch or snacks), and I think different from the shorter teahouse hike saskgirl is referring to — this one took us several hours. Another about a half hour drive away to Emerald Lake in BC. We did the gentle loop around the lake. We didn’t stay at the lodge, but we had a great lunch there.

    - Lake louise is at a pretty high altitude and is quite chilly. When we were hiking there we needed lots of layers to combat the changes in exertion (climbing vs strolling), sunlight (the sun comes and goes, mountains cast shadows..), and altitude (you can gain an appreciable amount in a few hours of hiking).

    - for the drive along the icefields parkway, there aren’t a lot of places to get food. Bring plenty of water and snacks so you can enjoy the sights at your leisure.

    - there are a few mini-hikes off the parkway. We did the one up to Peyto lake and did not regret it.

    - Jasper was where we got a bit more experience with the local restaurants, particularly memorable/delicious was North Face Pizza.

    - Nearby, there is the Maligne Canyon, a beautiful place for hiking. If you can, take one of the high-elevation routes. The views are so so incredible.

    - Enjoy your honeymoon!

  20. Member
    Lakelyn 226 posts, Helper bee @ 12:11 pm

    Congrats on choosing a location for your honeymoon! Thought I’d throw in my two cents on places to visit. Most of my recommendations are in line with what others have posted.

    - Do visit Moraine Lake, but try to get there earlier in the day. The destination itself isn’t touristy, but because it’s so picturesque it’s always packed with tour busses.

    - If you are into hiking I do recommend the hike to the tea house at Lake Louise. Not a tough hike and not touristy, but again tons of tour busses so start your day earlier. http://www.lakeagnesteahouse.com/

    - Another really nice hike is the Grassi Lake trail in Canmore. It’s about two hours round trip with nice views and a lake at the top. I suggest packing a picnic for this one. http://hikealberta.com/hike/grassi-lakes-trail

    - The Johnston Canyon hike is lovely as well and is actually the beginning of a longer trail which will take you to the “inkpots” which are natural underground springs. If you do this hike please don’t miss the inkpots! They are worth the extra time and effort! http://hikealberta.com/hike/johnston-canyon-trail-ink-pots

    - There are a number of hot springs between Banff and Jasper. http://www.hotsprings.ca/ I find the Banff Hot Springs can get a bit packed. So again, try to visit early in the day and then use your afternoon to explore Banff. Another poster suggested visiting Cows. I recommend that as well.

    - I haven’t been up towards Jasper in years, but Emerald Lake is lovely and the Columbia Ice fields are fun. I would visit the ice fields again just to ride in their crazy bus.

    - I also recommend not staying in Banff. It’s super touristy and overpriced. Canmore is a better option. However, if you do stay in Banff, I recommend the Rim Rock. It’s within walking distance of the Banff Hot Springs. It’s pricey but lovely. They have a phenomenal restaurant called Eden if you are in the mood to splurge. http://www.rimrockresort.com/

    - Keep in mind that if you fly into Calgary during Stampede prices for hotels will be jacked sky high in the Calgary and Banff area. The Stampede is definitely fun, but the highlights of it are the rodeo shows and the midway. If neither of those things appeal to you then avoid Calgary and Banff anytime between July 5th and 14th 2013.

    - Check out the urban spoon for info on where to eat in both Calgary and Banff http://www.urbanspoon.com/c/72/Alberta-restaurants.html
    - Lastly, don’t forget to pack lots of clothing you can layer!!! It can get really cold in the mountains even in the middle of summer and bad weather can sneak up on you fast.

  21. Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 1:05 pm

    Super jealous! You may want to hit up some of the Calgary bees for info. :)

    If you want to travel at all outside of Banff/Jasper into BC, like Vanessa said Radium has hot springs too, and you can keep going into Fairmont (note: I worked there for two summers so if you go there let me know and I’ll give you some more tips) and to the Lussier springs for the ‘natural’ experience.

    Kootenay Park is kind of awesome because it’s pretty narrow in how it follows the highway, so you can get to a lot of the attractions without going too far (easy to see lots of stuff quickly). Sinclair Canyon is pretty sweet too.

    Of course that’s all in the opposite direction of Jasper. ;)

  22. Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 1:26 pm

    @olomanany: Thanks for your tips. I am definitely going to use that site to look up hikes. We’re total hiking amateurs, so your list is a big help.

    @Vanessa: Good tip about Sulphur Mountain! I’m down for saving $30. Especially for a nice hike :) I’m almost afraid to tell Mr. Whale about the parasailing. I saw some people doing it once and it look simultaneously awesome and absolutely terrifying. I know he’d want to do it.

    @khaki: I love fondue. I’m looking up The Grizzly House :) And it’s nice to hear that some people really do enjoy Banff. There must be a reason so many tourists end up there :) And I really thought a lot of people would say not to stay at the Fairmont in Lake Louise. But since everyone says it’s awesome, I think we’ll have to spend a night or two there. I may enlist your help again once we have a better idea of our entire itinerary :)

    I saw someone on the boards who got married at the Emerald Lake Lodge. It looked sooooo beautiful.

    @LizTheProcrastinator: I had really thought that people would say the Fairmont is not worth it, but I’m going to have to reconsider. It does look pretty fabulous. So maybe we can splurge for a couple of nights.

    I’ll have to remember Peyto Lake and Maligne Canyon. I’m going to be googling stuff all weekend :)

  23. Guest Icon Guest
    AlbertaRosey, Guest @ 1:32 pm

    I live 40 minutes from Jasper, you are in for a great honeymoon! You have to check out Pyramid Lake in Jasper, Lake Annette, and definitely Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge! We will be getting married in Jasper in 7 months!!! :-)

    You can go right on to the glacier at the Icefields, either by hiking up or riding the big machine that takes you up. It’s a beautiful area! Make sure you have a coat because the glacier can be cold.

    What time of the year are you going?

    Miette Hot Springs are great. They are about 20 min east of Jasper, and are less busy than Banff but equally as nice. Also, if you want to head West from Lake Louise to Radium, there are some great hot springs there.

    Lots of hiking! Sulphur Ridge is great, so is Parker’s ridge. Maligne Canyon is great as well. There is a great lookout before the bridge that you can see all of Jasper (our ceremony site woo hoo!)

    Check out Jasper Pizza Place for great pizza, and Jasper Brewery for awesome blueberry beer! Also, the best fudge ever is made in Jasper (our wedding favour!!)

    I second the Grizzly House in Banff, its awesome for fondue.

  24. Member
    This Time Round 10219 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 1:41 pm

    Glad to see that you’ve chosen Canada as your Honeymoon Destination… positive that you will absolutely LOVE it… and make lots of fabulous memories, and return again and again in the future !!

    The other Canadian Bees have given you excellent advice, so I won’t rehash all their recommendations…

    Just will say that there are lots of great resources available to you on-line when it comes to planning:

    Alberta Tourism = http://www.travelalberta.com and
    BC Tourism = http://www.hellobc.com
    is where you should start your research / planning

    As well, all the major cities / destinations will have their own Tourism Websites as well…

    Calgary = http://www.visitcalgary.com
    Banff & Lake Louise = http://www.banfflakelouise.com
    Jasper = http://www.jasper.travel/

    A Road Trip thru this part of Canada is truly AMAZING… you’ll be able to take in soooo much of the incredible scenery & wildlife… more so than if you were “tied down” to an organized tour (be that by Motorcoach or Train). Personally I think road-tripping is a much better option for younger more active folks.

    The Columbia Icefields are a MUST SEE / DO. Truly magnificent.

    I could tell you a million more things… but really I suggest that you sign into TripAdvisor which has great trip planning resources (best on the net IMO… I WILL NOT go on vacation any more without consulting that website first).

    Besides the general type of info you’ll find in their Travel Guide Pages, there are also Reviews for Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions (things to do). AND the best thing is they have Forums… like the Boards we have here on WBee where you can post Questions and get one-on-one help / advice from Destination Experts and folks who live in the area and know it really well.

    Lol, the one thing for sure you’ll be wishing at the end of this adventure is that you had even more time… as you’ll hate to leave. 7 days is good, 10 is better, 14 or more ideal.

    Hope this helps,

  25. Guest Icon Guest
    MsMagtoMrsK, Guest @ 1:47 pm

    OMG…so excited to see this post. I too have always wanted to take the Canada Train tour and finally convinced my FI that it would be a great first anniversary trip, since our Honeymoon is set for Hawaii. I am not a terribly good ski or snowboarder so having lots of other things to do is essential. Thanks to all the other bees for the great tips in case the train is just too much!!

  26. Member
    bretonvirgniia 1656 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:57 pm

    I have been through this part of Canada three times! Beautiful honeymoon spot.

    Where to stay: I would stay 100% at the Fairmont Chateau Louise. Banff is more of a college town so I would skip it. If you get a chance to go to Golden, BC check that out too!

    Don’t miss out on the several hot springs around the area too!

  27. Member
    pinkmoon 10748 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 3:17 pm

    I live in Calgary! We drive out to Banff a few times each summer but we don’t go there nearly as often as most people here. We aren’t really big skiers or hikers, the common draw.
    The Banff Fairmont is nice to see but honestly the rooms suck. They are not worth the $400/night. The Rimrock is a lot nicer!

  28. Member
    panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:38 pm

    oh it’s going to be absolutely gorgeous! so cool!

  29. Member
    eagle 1552 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:51 pm

    I’m from Calgary! I’ll write my reply to your questions soon. :)

  30. Member
    Mathis13 242 posts, Helper bee @ 3:55 pm

    That’s so exciting! We are going to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon, but Canada has always been on my bucket list. Hopefully I can talk FI into going next year.

  31. Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:20 pm

    That’ll be awesome! I know there are a few Calgary-area blogger bees. You should get in touch with them for info.

  32. Member
    papercrafter 399 posts, Helper bee @ 5:25 pm

    soooooo excited for you!!! Jasper is one of my favourite places in the whole world! I’ve been very lucky to have traveled a bit and nothing I have seen has compared to Jasper! I lucked out one summer as a student and got a job as a housekeeper at a hotel…best summer ever! Ok so some ideas…

    http://www.tekarralodge.com/

    This is the hotel I used to work at- it was ages ago, so I have no idea how they’ve kept up. BUT, they do have super cute little cabins…they are also within walking distance from town which is nice. They are not in the center of town so parking isn’t an issue. Back when I worked there too, their prices were very competitive. Plus they have little kitchens in them for days you want to do your own thing. I would not recommend the fairmont hotels- from my experience, they are not worth the massive price tag!

    I would also highly recommend driving between Jasper and Banff rather than taking a tour bus- so much better when you can stop as you please to take in the sights. Definitely leave loads of time! You will want to stop often.

    Places to eat…ok this is horrible but I can’t remember the names of any places. BUT..one place I do remember is a pizza place :) Just ask in town- people will know what I’m referring to.

    Don’t worry too much about planning your hikes. There is a parks canada information center in the middle of town and they will help you with maps, and what’s in the best condition at the time. The best thing about Jasper is there’s lots of hikes starting right from town. I’m not sure if you’ve already looked but check out this website for sure…

    http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/jasper/index.aspx

    Banff will be great too. I’m not a big fan because it’s very touristy! But definitely very beautiful places to see there.

    If you go hiking, definitely check with parks canada first- there is a ton of wildlife and they will tell you where it’s safest.

    Hope this helps a bit…you will have a FANTASTIC time! When are you thinking of going?

  33. Member
    Firework 346 posts, Helper bee @ 6:43 pm

    I wanted to go to the Rockies in the US (Montana) for my 21st birthday but couldn’t afford it either so we went to Banff. It was amazing.

    I’m not sure what month you are going in (hopefully summer) but there are a lot of great things to see/do.

    You can canoe at Lake Moraine (the one in the pic) – better than lake louise

    I stayed at Juniper Hotel right outside Banff (the town) and it was very nice and cute. Had a great balcony/view.

    Athabasca glacier was a once in a lifetime experience! Take a water bottle to take some suuuuper fresh water :)

    Went “semi hiking” in a canyon but I’m not sure which one .. mystia… johnston..?

    You’ll have a blast!

    oh and hike up to views of peyto lake

  34. Member
    Firework 346 posts, Helper bee @ 6:49 pm

    we also went whitewater rafting in the kananaskis river (further from banff, closer to calgary ) maybe halfway in between?

  35. Member
    bee_happy 110 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:11 pm

    Looks like you have lots of great suggestions! I will second the votes for splurging on Chateau Lake Louise, if you can swing it. It really is amazing! I also recommend spending a couple nights in Canmore. My girlfriends and I rent these condos (http://www.canmorecrossing.ca/) often and always have a great time. The location is perfect, their a pretty good value, and you have a full kitchen and access to rooftop hot-tubs (in buildings A&C).

  36. Member
    xjamit 42 posts, Newbee @ 9:54 pm

    it’s going to be absolutely gorgeous! so cool:)

  37. Guest Icon Guest
    Cinderella92, Guest @ 11:37 pm

    The Banff National park is the 3rd oldest national park in the entire world

  38. Member
    O.My.Heart 1234 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:54 am

    Beautiful area!

    You will love it. It’s so pretty it takes your breath away. Talk about romance!

  39. Guest Icon Guest
    Jeff Bartlett, Guest @ 8:07 am

    Hello Blue Whales! Awesome to hear that you’ll be honeymooning in our backyard. I’m the media and PR specialist for Tourism Jasper, so send me an email and I can offer a world of info and possible support here in Jasper.

  40. Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 8:20 am

    @AlbertaRosey: All the wedding I’ve seen in that area are GORGEOUS. If it had been remotely possible to have a destination wedding there, I would totally have done it. We’re going in June or July. I’m excited to spend some of my summer where it’s not super hot. Thanks so much for all of your suggestions.

    @bretonvirgniia: Several people have suggested Golden, BC. And from the rave reviews of the hot springs, it looks like that’s going to be on the list too. (Do you think it’s too warm to do hot springs in June? I know it’s not hot up there, but I also don’t know much about hot springs) :)

    @Mrs. Eagle: Awesome. Thanks.

    @Firework: Thanks for the tips! The Peyto Lake hike looks pretty neat.

    @bee_happy: Several people have suggested Canmore. And we would love to have some kind of kitchen. I’ll check the condos out. Thanks.

    @Cinderella92: What? That’s awesome.

    @Jeff Bartlett: Thanks so much.

  41. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 1:16 pm

    @jennyinstereo: Yes :) American born abroad!

  42. Member
    brittandkelly 128 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:10 pm

    @Vanessa:

    +1 this is a great list of places to visit and I second the updrafts in Golden and Radium Hot Springs. I live very close to the hot springs and they truly are so amazing! Especially at night.

    Oh and @Miss Blue Whale I think Emerald Lake Lodge is one of the prettiest places I have ever seen! Sounds like you’re going to have a wonderful honeymoon – congrats!!!
    Enjoy my neck of the woods :)

  43. Member
    nicole73 58 posts, Worker bee @ 7:27 am

    just in case it hasn’t been mentioned, in Banff, if you decide to trek up Sulfur Mountain, you can actually take the gondolla back down for free… but make sure you have good shoes for this, as there will be snow near the top even in the summer… I am from B.C. in the Kooteneys so as for continuing on to the Fairmont or Radium Hotsprings it is a definate yes…. I have lived in Calgary for 4 years too so check if your trip is close to the Calgary Stampede… it is billed as the greatest outdoor show on earth; so worth the trip! As for the food, depending on whether you want cheap or a good resturant meal, you can pick your choice at any place you visit…. all have your standard fast food as well as 5 star dining.

  44. Member
    Barb-arian 1 posts, Wannabee @ 8:52 am

    I’m also from Calgary – and I just spent last weekend at the Fairmont Banff Springs. The rooms are definitely small – but really cute. The hotel is beautiful. If you want a fancy dinner, Costello’s in the hotel was amazing. The Rimrock (as Pinkmoon mentioned) is fabulous too and you can get a better deal on the rooms than the Fairmont properties (and it’s built into the side of a mountain).

    I would suggest either going up to Jasper or going towards BC – rather than trying to do both. If you want to do a hot springs I would skip Banff and do either Miette (in Jasper) or Radium. The Banff Hot Springs isn’t fed by the springs anymore so now it’s just a heated pool.

    If you want to go to BC, I’d go down to Radium/Invermere rather than Golden. I really dislike Golden and avoid stopping there if I can. But I really like Radium.

    June can be really rainy here. The later into July you can push your trip, the nicer weather you’re likely to have – warm days (mid-high 20s – but no humidity). We always plan our summer holiday in the last week of July/first week of August because it has the best chance of good weather.

    And finally, I’ll echo the advice to avoid Stampede week if you don’t plan to go to Stampede. Yes you get free pancakes every day, but the cost/availability of accommodations is ridiculous.

  45. Member
    mtnhoney 1311 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:22 pm

    yes, as others have said, look into the dates of the Calgary Stampede, to avoid if you wish. If you’re into that kinda thing, then book early! the city becomes a zoo.

    I also recommend canmore over banff, probably will find slightly better prices there. as for hiking, there’s lots of websites to check things out beforehand, and there will be pamphlets wherever you go to show you trails.

    We spent our honeymoon in Whistler, BC, which is only a few hours from where we are in Vancouver, and we LOVED having a mountain honeymoon. Didn’t make any sense for us to go south in August!

  46. Member
    gazelle 1019 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:32 pm

    Hey Blue Whale! I live in Calgary and have travelled to Banff and hiked a fair bit. Please feel free to send me a DM to ask questions as I’ve posted details on several hikes in the park on my non WB blog.

    My favourite place to stay in Banff is the Fox Inn. The newest hotel in Banff and it has its own private (and free) hot springs. The Hidden Ridge Resort is also really nice and you’ll get free bus passes to get into town.

    We also love the Grizzly House! Great fondue, fun atmosphere. Definitely call for a reservation.

    I don’t know too much about Jasper.

    Like I said, send me a DM and I can help you out with hikes or any other info about Banff or Calgary.

  47. Member
    gazelle 1019 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:33 pm

    Oh, and Stampede is July 5-14.

  48. Member
    _adelaide_ 730 posts, Busy bee @ 1:39 am

    Lake Louise is actually where hubs and I met! The Fairmont at Lake Louise, actually. I would suggest staying there just for the sheer beauty, and there are some really accessible hikes. If its pricey, Deer Lodge is the only other hotel at the top of the mountain, but its not on the lake. worth a thought, though. for hiking, Little beehive is great and pretty easy. Also, there are two teahouses close within easy day hikes from the lakefront; that’s always a really great memory for guests. One is on the way to lake agnes/ little beehive. The other, which is more work but offers a far greater reward is the plain of six glaciers. Not hard, but its a bit of work. Still an easy day hike, though. I would recommend planning to be at the lake really early in the morning, before the tour buses get there. My favourite thing used to be getting a coffee and sitting down at the lakes edge when the sun was still coming up (before the tourists all got there).. It’s so quiet, and really beautiful.

    If driving out to moraine lake, be sure to use caution. (With all the mountain roads, actually) With all the tourists, the roads can be dodgey – foreigners renting rv’s and not being great drivers, or stopping in the middle of roads to get closer to grizzlies – and I’ve had a few friends in serious accidents over that way. I agree that canoeing is better there, though.

    Castellos is good at the Fairmont Banff spring but I wouldn’t recommend staying there – it’s beautiful, but there are so many other economical options in town / closer to things, and the payoff isn’t as great as staying at CLL. Really, besides taking the gondola up the mountain in Banff (which I think is better thank the ski hill one in Lake Louise), unless you want to do some shopping, I wouldn’t spend too much time in Banff. Staying in Canmore is a good option, and there’s a large grocery store there with cheaper prices, so I would stock up if you’re trying to stay on budget. Also, if you are driving, you will need to pay to enter the park system. I don’t know how much it is ( I think it’s free if you live there?) but just a little expense to consider.

    Also, Emerald Lake Lodge might be something to consider. Far quieter than Canmore/Banff/LL, but can still get a little busy in the summer months. Beautiful, though.

    Oh, this is making me so nostalgic! I spent three years travelling back and forth to CLL – spring break, christmas, summer, long weekends while my hubby was working on his apprenticeship – and still have so many friends that live there. I hope you have an amazing time. It’s beautiful, and the smell during the summer is amazing.

  49. Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 6:42 am

    @Barb-arian: I’ll keep the weather in mind. Since we’re both graduate students, we have a little more flexibility with our summers.

    @Ms. Gazelle: Thanks! I’m sure I’ll have lots more questions once I look everything up.

    @_Adelaide_: Those hikes sounds so wonderful. I think we’re going to have to either splurge on the Fairmont Lake Louise or the Emerald Lake Lodge. Both look amazing, but I think we can only afford one. What would you choose?

  50. Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 5:34 pm

    @Lakelyn: and @This Time Round: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! These links are so helpful.

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