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Banff or Lake Louise or Both (if we have just 3 nights)

boston, ma
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Banff or Lake Louise or Both (if we have just 3 nights)

We are planning to visit in either late August or early September of 2016. Right now preliminary plans are to drive from Calgary to Banff, stay one night, drive the next morning to Lake Louise and stay for two nights. My thought is that staying anywhere one night means you never see the place you are staying, so I would like some direction as to whether we should stay one night in Banff and two in Lake Louise or the other way around, or three nights in just one spot so we get to explore. Any input will be appreciated.

Saint Louis...
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1. Re: Banff or Lake Louise or Both (if we have just 3 nights)

There are a lot more experts on here than me, but we did this trip this past May (and we're visiting again next May) and I would say go ahead and stay in one place and explore. I think you can use either place as a home base. Banff will have more restaurants but LL is more centrally located to go to Yoho NP and Glacier NP. You have fewer hotel choices in LL. We're using LL as our home base in May, just because. Banff is very touristy and LL seems smaller. Regardless of what you do you're going to love it. But, in my opinion, 3 nights in one spot is the way to go.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Banff or Lake Louise or Both (if we have just 3 nights)

It's only 45 minutes between the two. Seems pointless to go through the hassle of changing hotels to move 45 minutes up the road.

boston, ma
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3. Re: Banff or Lake Louise or Both (if we have just 3 nights)

Great advice - thanks

boston, ma
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4. Re: Banff or Lake Louise or Both (if we have just 3 nights)

Staying in one place is my choice too. Thank you.

Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Banff National Park
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5. Re: Banff or Lake Louise or Both (if we have just 3 nights)

Which of the two you will pick depends on the activities you're interested in, and on your budget. Lake Louise is central to a lot of beautiful hiking, and gives you a headstart if you are headed up the Icefields Parkway to the Columbia Icefield area, and will be more expensive. Banff offers a greater range of accommodation and dining options, and is central to some of the park's best-loved non-hiking experiences, such as the gondola, hot springs, Minnewanka boat tour.

Historic Corydon...
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6. Re: Banff or Lake Louise or Both (if we have just 3 nights)

Yes, it does depend on what you want to do. If you are more interested in hiking but would still like to see a bit of Banff, on the day you arrive, you could spend the day in Banff, even eat dinner there, then drive on to Lake Louise and actually sleep there the 3 nights. That is exactly what we did. We had more time than you overall but our arrival day was spent in Banff and we drove to Lake Louise that night. Our hotel had 24 check-in.

boston, ma
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7. Re: Banff or Lake Louise or Both (if we have just 3 nights)

Which do you prefer for late August/mid September? Banff or Lake Louise? what are the towns like? Restaurants?

Sydney
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for Croatia
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8. Re: Banff or Lake Louise or Both (if we have just 3 nights)

We stayed in Banff for 3 night and LL for 2 nights. We prefer LL and next time we would only stay at LL.

As already mentioned, Banff has more facilities, restaurants, supermarkets, shops, etc. Those facilities at LL are much more limited, but more than adequate for a few days.

We stayed at Paradise Lodge and Bungalows and loved it.

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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9. Re: Banff or Lake Louise or Both (if we have just 3 nights)

Lake Louise is not a town. There are no permanent residents; people work there temporarily and live in employer-provided staff accommodation and anyone who moves up the ladder and continues to work there generally commutes from Banff or Canmore. It is a visitor services centre, with a few hotels, a hostel, visitor information centre, some shops and a few restaurants (not many), and an RCMP station. There is no school, church etc. The "village" area where all these services are is down in the Bow valley, adjacent to the highway - the lake itself is 4 km uphill (2 miles), where the Chateau Lake Louise is, and Deer Lodge and Paradise Bungalows nearby.

If you are keen hikers and not looking for nightlife, shopping/browsing and other town amenities, Lake Louise may suit. Otherwise, choose Banff - it's a town of about 8500 people, with lots and lots of services for both locals and visitors.

Edited: 29 October 2015, 00:49
Historic Corydon...
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10. Re: Banff or Lake Louise or Both (if we have just 3 nights)

I was also happy with our choice to base in LL but we did hikes in the area everyday and were not interested in shopping and nightlife. You won't be roughing it in LL. The little shopping center has a bakery, candy store, liquor store, little grocery store, outdoor gear store, a café and one maybe two restaurants. There are other restaurants in the area but not a lot. We ate at the Outpost the first night. It was a nice atmosphere but I didn't like my hamburger, my husband liked his. We ate at The Mountain Restaurant the next 3 nights in a row. It was great food. Right next to the Husky gas station

We stayed at the Mountaineer Lodge, no frills, no complaints that would keep me from staying there again. It was the cheapest available option.

The two restaurants we ate at in Banff were Athena Pizza ( not good) and The Bear Street Tavern (very good). We didn't dislike Banff but it wasn't the type of trip we were looking for. If you have a bad weather day though, being in Banff means there are other options.

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