Eats and adventures: A day trip in Banff

By Seema Dhawan

A day trip to Banff National Park is a great way to get out of town and rejuvenate – after all, there’s a reason more than 3 million people visit the park every year. Here’s your guide to an exciting and indulgent day trip to Banff. [Photo credit: istockphoto.com/AlbertoLoyo]

Eats and adventures: A day trip in Banff

Tea at the top

Ease into your packed trip to Banff with a low-key, relaxing visit to The Rundlestone Lodge at The Fairmont Banff Springs for afternoon tea. Choose from 12 varieties of loose leaf tea and bite into refreshing cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches, leek and Swiss cheese quiche, ginger and anise shortbread, Victorian scones and more. It’s a great way to take a moment of pause and indulge in good food and conversation with views of snow-peaked mountains.

Paddle down the Bow River

American poet William Cullen Bryant described a canoe as “one of the most beautiful and perfect things of the kind constructed by human art.” Rent your very own work of art and paddle down the Bow River when in Banff. The Banff Canoe Club offers inexpensive canoe and kayak rentals that include everything you need – a boat, life jackets and steering tips.

Tail end

Banff was the first town in Alberta to become home to the famous Canadian dessert known as BeaverTails – a fried whole wheat pastries made in the shape of a beaver tail. Pick up the tasty snack for an afternoon treat, choosing from toppings including cinnamon and sugar, salted caramel and apple cinnamon. The eatery also serves other favourites, including poutine and hot chocolate.

Get wild

Though the number of quality dining choices available along Banff's main strip are plentiful, you can't go wrong with the Grizzly House Restaurant. Famous for its fondue and wild meat options, guests can choose from numerous options – including the classic Swiss cheese or the Italian vegetable fondue. Go wild with a hunter fondue dinner with buffalo, venison and wild boar or the exotic fondue with shark, alligator and ostrich – options that prove there's no end to the adventure at this eatery. For dessert, order the melted Toblerone chocolate with fresh fruit.

To the top

No day trip to Banff is complete without a ride up the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Enjoy a newly-renovated facility with a 360-degree rooftop observation deck, restaurants and interactive exhibits. Make sure you save time for a stroll on the boardwalk, which sits 2,900 feet above Banff and offers stunning views.

Pool with a view

After a long walk on Sulphur Mountain, head to the foot of the mountain to take a dip in the hot springs. Considered a sacred place by First Nations people, the Banff Upper Hot Springs offers guests a chance to relax in a pool filled with mineral water. With unbeatable panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains, the hot springs are a perfect way to wrap up your trip.

With its amazing sights and wealth of indulgences, no one day will fully cover all the sights and sounds of one of Canada's premier tourist destinations. But Banff's proximity to Calgary means you're never too far to make the journey to the mountain town – a perfect destination to unwind amidst the mountains, far away from the shuffle and stress of day-to-day life.

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