Banff in November - activities

Nov 1st, 2008, 10:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 14
Banff in November - activities

what are some activities to do(besides skiing) in & around Banff in November.We are a couple in our early thirties with a 3 year old.We'll be staying in Banff for 3 days during the 3rd weekend of november.

How cold will it be during that time ? Will I need a rental car or can I survive w/o one ? and if so do I need a 4x4 or will a regular sedan do.

ckramer is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 07:05 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,343
There are hot springs to lounge in and you can drive up the Icefields Parkway if the weather cooperates. Heck there might not even be much snow in the townsite.

Banff is essentially a ski town in the winter - some shopping, bars and restaurants, etc..

If you want to do some driving I would recommend the 4x4. Not everyone has one of course, but not everyone wants to sightsee in November.
Aramis is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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A trip to Lake Louise is usually nice. You can take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the lake which your 3 year old may enjoy. Other suggestions are the Sulphur Mountain gondola and dog sledding. Here's a link that may be helpful:

As for vehicles, getting one with winter tires would be a higher priority than one with 4 wheel drive IMO. I've seen many people get stuck in the snow in a 4x4 with all-season tires.
ShelliDawn is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 06:26 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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<<As for vehicles, getting one with winter tires would be a higher priority than one with 4 wheel drive IMO. I've seen many people get stuck in the snow in a 4x4 with all-season tires.>>

Good luck getting snow tires on a rental vehicle. I've rented cars in Calgary for the past 6 winters and have yet to be able to get one, and I've tried with a number of companies there.

On the other hand, unless there's a really bad storm, the Trans Canada Highway through the parks is usually well cleared, and I've not encountered problems with all-season tires. But I do keep my fingers crossed. At home we always use snow tires in the winter.
laverendrye is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 09:18 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Rental cars in Canada do not come with snow tires on, except for in Quebec where it is the law, in winter. "Marketplace", a consumer affairs show on CBC TV, our public broadcaster, ran a show about this last winter.

Rental companies will try to sell you on the benefits of a 4X4 but
4X4 can get you in more trouble than a regular vehicle - I don't know how many times in dicey winter I have seen 4X4s in the ditch, while regular vehicles drive on by (slowly). 4X4 drivers sometimes get overconfident, and don't slow down enough when conditions deteriorate.

About whether you need a rental car or not - the town of Banff is the service centre for Banff National Park, which is quite a large area (it takes just over an hour to drive through it on the Trans-Canada highway). So if you want to do any sightseeing, you will need one - and a car seat for your child. There are companies that offer tours, but they can be pretty pricey, and with a 3 y/o in tow, you are probably better off touring on your schedule, not theirs.

Banff National Park's website is loaded with information:

Also, the Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau (chamber of commerce):
krp329 is offline  
Nov 16th, 2008, 07:46 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 550
ckramer... you are in for a treat!

I did this trip a few yers ago with children who were 1, 3 and 5 at the time.

We did not find a lot of child freindly activities "in Banff" but in the surrounding areas, these were our favorites:

At the Fairmont in Lake Louise, do go on the sleigh ride... they serve hot cocoa and our kids loved it! The bar at the fairmont also has a great menu and is very child friendly.

There is a dog sled company that did a great job with our kids and they enjoyed getting to mush the dogs... also helping feed them when we were done with the ride. Depending on snowfall that may or may not be an option for you. I will look in my notes and post back on their company name.

In Canmore, there is an ice skating rink that is open to the public and a great casual restaurant called the Grizzly Paw that my boys loved... if it's still open... it may work for you.

Have a wonderful time!
onemoneygirl is offline  
Nov 16th, 2008, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 550
ckramer... I'm sure you're trip is planned by now but just in case... I have an old trip report on here. I dont know how to link to it but if you type moneygirl into the search look for my report titled "5 californians to canada" and you will get way more details about each of these activities than you need.

The company that does the sleigh rides is Brewer's. The dog sled company is Howling Dog Tours and the wonderful owners names are Dana and Rich. The bar at the Fairmont is called Glacier Saloon.

Have a wonderful time and do post a report so we know what worked for you!
onemoneygirl is offline  
Nov 16th, 2008, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 959
I think the company that onemoneygirl meant is "Brewsters". Not a big difference but may make doing a search a little bit faster.
ShelliDawn is offline  
Nov 16th, 2008, 09:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 550 are absolutely correct...Brewsters... thanks for the correction...maybe I should be more careful proofing my posts!

onemoneygirl is offline  
Nov 24th, 2008, 06:29 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 199
ckramer is probably in the Banff area as we speak and will know that there's no snow here yet! So, it won't matter about snow tires, 4x4s, etc. It is just gorgeous now with crisp weather (not too cold)and blue, cloudless skies. I trust their little family will be having a wonderful time.
jranger is offline  
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