Camping is available year-round in Banff, though there are more campsites to choose from during the summer months---more than 13 campgrounds and 2,000 sites. Some campgrounds offer interactive educational programs, so be sure to check ahead of time. No matter what season, all campers need permits, and between June and September, consider reserving a spot in advance, as sites fill up early.
Reservations available at:
Banff National Park hosts several festivals throughout the year. During summer, choose from the Banff Bike Fest in June, the Dragon Boat Festival in August or the Banff Summer Arts Festival, which runs from May through August. The Bike Fest hosts many competitive cycling competitions, while the Dragon Boat Festival celebrates a centuries-old boat race.
In October, the Mountain Book Festival and various film festivals begin, and WinterStart Festival begins in November, complete with ski racing and Christmas in the Rockies events. Ice carving enthusiasts will want to hit the Ice Magic Festival in January, while foodies' mouths water over the Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival in May.
The Bow River flows through Banff and offers plenty of water adventures. Canoeing can be a unique and memorable way to see the park. The three most common routes include Lake Louise to Castle Junction, Castle Junction to Banff and Bow Falls to Canmore. May through October, the colorful Harlequin ducks hang out on the river, so bird enthusiasts can watch them in their natural habitat. You can also fish on the Bow River with a valid fishing permit from the Parks Canada Information Center.
Banff Information Center:
Banff's Upper Hot Springs is one of the biggest attractions in the park and offers a little slice of Banff history from one of the most relaxing locations. Open year-round, the warm mineralized water has been touted for centuries to possess medicinal properties. Besides the springs, there's a fully equipped day spa that offers massages, wellness treatments and a steam room, as well as a cafe.
Upper Hot Springs
Fees: $7.30 per adult