Banff vs Canmore; Jasper

Old Sep 13th, 2008, 02:04 PM
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Banff vs Canmore; Jasper

Hi. We are two families planning a trip together to the Canadian rockies in August 2009 and plan to rent a vacation home for a week. I am considering several, some in Banff, most in Canmore. I would love to hear the opinions of those in the know regarding the relative benefits of each location. We have boys that will be 10 and 12 so that is a factor. I have read more about Canmore and liked the idea of riding bikes along the river and also the Sports Center that has an indoor swimming pool. Is this open to the public for a charge?

Also, we plan to go to Jasper and stay 2-3 nights. Any recommendations on where to stay. We are more in the $200 a night range as opposed to the $400+ range. Is it feasible to get to the Calgary Airport for a 2:30 pm flight, if we leave from Jasper? What time do you think we would have to leave to make it? Or should we plan to spend the night in Calgary? Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old Sep 13th, 2008, 09:57 PM
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Double check the location of the vacation rentals. Most often "Banff vacation rentals" are in Canmore. The reason is national park development regulations. Banff homes (Jasper too) have residency requirements (the infamous "need to reside" clause - you have to be employed in the park to occupy residential housing) and renting residential housing as vacation home rentals is not legal there.

There are some hotels in Banff that offer condo-style units: www.banfflakelouise.com has full listings

Jasper is a five hour drive from Calgary airport (5 hrs, 28 minutes according to mapquest.com), so it would be (imo) a stretch to get there for a 2:30 flight. Add in a stop for lunch, time to drop off the rental car, check in time (1 1/2 hours?), and a little "wiggle room", and it would have to be a VERY early departure from Jasper (6 or 6:30?). Maybe this would work for you ... me, I find it stressful to cut it close. I haven't had a flat tire in many years, but I guarantee it would happen on a day I was trying to drive in for a flight. lol Living in Jasper and usually flying out of Calgary or Edmonton, I prefer to go in to the city the day before unless I have a later flight. (We drove to YYC on the day of our flight to Germany last year; it left at 2130 - 9:30 pm.)

In summer, hotel rates in the town of Jasper start at about $200 and go up from there. Some of the cabin resorts offer better rates (and some have self-catering facilities). Jasper Tourism's website, with hotel & cabin listings, is at www.jaspercanadianrockies.com

Another option is private home accommodation or B&B. There are 150+ homes in Jasper that offer visitor accommodation, ranging from a bedroom to a full suite. Many are geared to families. They are about half the price of a hotel - you could get a two bedroom suite for $150 - $175. www.stayinjasper.com

Your kids will love the Jasper Aquatic Centre. There is a pool, water slide, kiddie pool, hot tub and steam room.
http://www.jasper-alberta.com/module...howpage&pid=98

Be aware that the first weekend of August is a long (holiday) weekend, and if I have it right, I think the long weekend of August 2009 will be the biennial folk music festival. August in general is a very busy time - and that weekend in particular is usually a sell-out for all accommodation in Jasper, so book well ahead.
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Old Sep 15th, 2008, 11:34 AM
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for jasper, i would recommend a home accommodations. you should be able to find one with 3 bedrooms, kitchen, living room etc for much less then you'd pay for 2 or 3 hotel rooms.
canmore has some great places for larger families to stay in. if you wnat to stay in banff, i'd recommend http://www.douglasfir.com/. they have some great family suites. we stayed in the mount rundle suite which had three bedrooms and was nice. you say $200 range...i'm assuming that you mean $200 per family. there is no way you'll find a place to accommodate 6 people (on the assumption that there are 2 sets of parents and the two kids) for $200. banff and jasper are expensive places.
have fun.
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Old Sep 15th, 2008, 12:17 PM
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For Jasper I suggest taking a look at Patricia Lake Bungalows.

My son stayed there with his family of 4 total, parents and 2 boys.
They enjoyed it very much.

I like it too.
"Pat Lake" offers several choices of accommodations. It is a little out from the central town site, which for me personally is a plus.

Jasper House is another places that has places with separate bedrooms and kitchen facilities, but it is a tour bus haven in recent years.

Becker's Chalets is recommended highly also, but I have never stayed there.

The latter two places are south of the main part of Jasper.

There are quite a few private home accommodations as well. I have tried two of them with some success. The quality is subject to many variations because they are owned by individuals who rent perhaps 2 or 3 accommodations at most.
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Old Sep 16th, 2008, 05:53 AM
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Thanks for all your replies. Yes, we are two sets of parents and two kids and I meant $200+ a night per family in Jasper. krp329 thanks for the info about Jasper Aquatic Center. I hadn't heard about it. Also, I checked the date of the Holiday weekend and we will arrive 6 days after that. I think we will spend the last night in Calgary and if we do that we will take an early morning flight. The one house we were looking at in Banff does turn out to be in Canmore. You know your stuff.
ltt - We considered Douglas Fir but decided against it when their website said the three bedroom unit was less than 700sq ft. There are three and four bedroom houses in Canmore with 2000 to 4000 sq ft. If we want we can take the kids to Douglas Fir - the waterpark is open to the public.
bob_brown - Thanks for the Patricia Lake Bungalows recommendation. We are definitely considering them and we will take Jasper House off the list with the information you shared about them being popular with tour buses. We are also considering Alpine Village. It gets good reviews and a deluxe bedroom suite is $260 in high season.
The only remaining question I have is if anyone knows if the Canmore Recreation Centre is open to vacationers for a fee. I looked at their website, but it isn't clear. I hope they are - it looks like a great place to take the kids.
Thanks again for all the good replies.
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Old Sep 16th, 2008, 10:12 AM
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Regarding Canmore's recreation centre - yes, it would be open to visirors. I found this page with pool schedule and fees:

http://www.canmore.ca/content/view/124/306/

If it is like Jasper, they would be very welcoming of visitors - municipal recreation facilities are expensive to run and are funded by local taxes. Earning extra revenue helps to keep the cost down. Jasper couldn't afford to have our pool without the visitors who come and use it.

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Old Sep 17th, 2008, 05:48 AM
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Thanks, krp329. I had found the same website, but it didn't really have fees except for swim classes. But, on another site yesterday I found that admission is $7 Canadian. We find these kinds of rec centers really come in handy on vacation. A couple of years ago in Durango CO I found one that had a $3 admission and all of us loved it.
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Old Sep 17th, 2008, 06:21 AM
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We just returned last night from a fabulous trip to the area--too short but wonderful. I will post a trip report soon.

I have not stayed in Canmore. You would do a bit more driving if you stayed there. There are several 2 br units in Banff though--even if they were smaller, I would stay there. From what I hear though, when visiting in August, you need to be prepared for crowds. Check www.bestofbanff.com. to check for lodging.

I also found that using www.kayak.com for a hotel search was a quick way to find hotel rates.

We stayed at Paradise Lodge and Bungalows in Lake Louise and Patricia Lake in Jasper(in the older units) and loved both.

Alpine Village in Jasper is very nice but requires a 3 nt stay. We could only stay 2 nts.

On a previous visit, we stayed at Baker Creek Chalets (LL)and Beckers (Jasper)--both were very nice.

We got a great rate on car rental, I either searched on kayak or www.carrentals.com. $89 for the week for a full size car with Dollar--with tax that was $156. They ended up upgrading us to a minivan for the same rate--originally had 2 cars. We had 6 adults travelling together.
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