The Canadian Rockies are a dream destination. Visitors from near and far flock to Banff and Jasper's protected parks for the unspoiled scenic beauty, soaring mountain peaks, postcard-perfect lakes and endless sightseeing and outdoor adventure opportunities. Summer tends to be the peak time for travellers here. This summer is different for so many reasons. But the essence of what makes this place so special—think wildlife viewing, water play, endless hiking and biking trails, and a multitude of unforgettable wilderness experiences—hasn't changed a bit.
If you're keen for a mountain getaway but tight on budget, here are some ways to keep costs down on your next Canadian Rockies adventure.
1. Join Pursuit Rewards
The ultimate staycation is in your backyard. And when it's as gorgeous and exciting as Banff and Jasper, you can keep coming back year after year and still feel thrilled and in awe. Pursuit Rewards helps you reap the rewards of being a local. Albertans can sign up for free and get access to big savings and exclusive deals on attractions, hotels, restaurants and shops.
2. Visit Banff and Jasper midweek, June or September
With kids out of school, July and August are the busiest months in Alberta's national parks. If you plan a visit, opt for midweek stays and avoid holidays and long-weekends. Accommodation prices will fluctuate and may be lower midweek. June and September are also great times to book a vacation in Banff and Jasper. In late spring and early summer, park wildlife begins to make more of an appearance. With snow still blanketing the higher regions, animals venture down into the subalpine and valley terrain in search of food, which presents more viewing opportunities. By late summer and fall, the parks begin transforming into a kaleidoscope of colour, as the leaves change from verdant green to burnt orange, crimson and gold. It's breathtaking at this time of year.
3. Book an Early-Morning Attraction
Travelling with the family? Book an early morning adventure at the Banff Gondola to save on your children's admissions. The mountaintop Family Experience is offered before 11 AM, between June 26 and September 7, 2020, and includes a free pass and treat for each child accompanying an adult. Additional children can ride for a 50 percent discount. Once at the top, wander along the interpretive boardwalk to learn the history of Canada's first national park and to take in the sweeping views of the Bow River Valley, the town of Banff and six mountain ranges. Then, head inside the fully reimagined interpretive centre for more action-packed fun. The bonus? Park wildlife is super active in the early hours, which increases your chances of a sighting from the gondola.
4. Happy Hour Specials in Banff and Jasper
Summer is patio season in the Canadian Rockies, and an alfresco Happy Hour is the best way to spend your après-adventure. Drink and food specials are offered at a host of restaurants in Banff and Jasper. One of the newest spots on the scene is Farm & Fire in the Elk & Avenue Hotel. Locally-sourced, slow-roasted and wood-fired are the restaurant's key culinary themes. Swing by between 3 PM – 5 PM daily to save on delicious handcrafted creations. In Jasper, stop by the cozy Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen for happy hour deals 2 PM – 5 PM like two drinks and an appetizer for just $25.
5. Book Directly with Banff and Jasper Hotels
Many hotels, resorts and chalets in Banff and Jasper offer deep discounts for Alberta residents who book direct. Also, look for special packages that include extras like complimentary breakfast and great deals for multi-night stays. Find your favourites, register your email and follow social media channels to stay abreast of the latest offers. Specials tend to be date sensitive, so if you have the flexibility, you'll win on price. Those in the know always snag the best deals.
6. Bundle the Fun in Banff and Jasper
Another way to save is by bundling accommodation and activities. With the Banff or Jasper Ultimate Explorer package, you'll save up to 25 percent on passes to the Banff Gondola, a boat cruise on Lake Minnewanka or Maligne Lake and the Columbia Icefield Adventure. These combo packages offer full flexibility, as you can use the attraction passes at any time, and on any day, during the 2020 season. Banff Gondola's Sky Experience package is another delicious way to save. The dine and ride duo includes Gondola admission, an appetizer and entrée at the award-winning Sky Bistro and all gratuities.
Make this summer your season to explore Alberta's majestic Canadian Rockies parks. Seize the savings and start planning a mountain adventure in Banff and Jasper.