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Banff

Traveling to Banff has been a dream of ours for a while now!  We generally don’t take a ton of nature trips- especially because the boys (ages 4 and 1) are not able to walk far distances, so long hikes are much more difficult. But since it was summer, and the weather would be ideal, we deiced to go!  Of course we had no idea that I would be pregnant for the trip!!!  I was definitely not myself because of the morning sickness but I am still glad we went!  Banff is gorgeous!  You can read my tips for traveling while pregnant in your first trimester here.
Sights
Lake Louise- I’m pretty sure Lake Louise is the main attraction that everyone thinks of when they travel to Banff, and boy was it touristy!  The beautiful Fairmont Lake Louise sits right in front of the lake and the view is just breathtaking!  The hotel fills up fast and is very pricey so be prepared for that if you decide to splurge and book it.  A lot of people recommend going early in the morning, before the crowds, to see Lake Louise, which- in theory- is a great idea.  But having kids and with me being pregnant and needing to eat first thing in the morning, there was no way we would get there at the crack of dawn.  I say go in the evening instead!  We ended up going two different times, once in the afternoon and the second in the evening.  In the afternoon, we waited in LONG lines of traffic just to get into the parking lot and pushed through crowds to get a quick picture in front of the lake. Lol!  It really didn’t bother me too much and it was still gorgeous just the same- but the next day we went back in the evening and that was fantastic!  Very few people and we were able to drive right up without any wait.  The water was calm and serine.  It really is stunning.
There are a few hikes you can take from Lake Louise that take you to Angies Tea House right in front of Mirror Lake.  I’ve heard it’s really gorgeous and we tried to hike up there but after about an hour of walking up hill from Lake Louise and realizing we still had another hour to get there (not to mention the threat of rain) we decided to turn around.  I really hate “giving up” and was sooo disappointed that we never got to see beautiful Mirror Lake, but sometimes we just have to give in.  The boys were exhausted and there was no way we’d be able to carry them for another hour… and then back down.  We always say “we’ll be back when the kids are older” when we don’t get to do something because of the kids and it always makes us feel better. ;-)
Morrain Lake- I’m obsessed with Morrain Lake and it was definitely my favorite view the whole trip.  It’s only a few miles from Lake Loiuse and there’s a lot less parking so many times the lake is completely closed and you will miss it.  Another reason why I’m so glad we ended up going in the evening- there were plenty of spots and few people.  We parked and walked up a ton of stairs (about 10-15 minute climb) to get to the top of the mountain which overlooks the lake.  You can also see a great view from the ground if you don’t want to climb up the stairs! 

Peyto Lake- We drove a couple hours from the town of Banff to get to Peyto Lake and it was definitely worth it!  When you arrive there’s about a 15 minute hike to the overlook.  It was breathtaking!!!  There’s a little platform area where you can take pictures, but of course, the best pictures are beyond the platform where you can see everything without the wood barriers blocking the photos.  However the cliff is STEEP so we literally held our 1 year old and wouldn’t let go of our 4 year old’s hand the entire time.  
Glacier in Jasper- Jasper is a good 2 hour drive from Banff, we visited the area and the drive is worth every minute.  Soo many scenic spots to stop for a photo op, the views were incredible!  We got to the glacier and boy was it cold!  It was amazing how different the temperature changed while we were there.  The first day we arrived, it was 96 degrees and then by glacier it was in the 40s!  The glacier was so big, you could see it from the street. 
Town of Banff- We loved exploring the little shops in the town of Banff.  Of course we also frequented their McDonalds a few times which was right on the town’s main street.  I loved just going into little shops and walking around the town with the gorgeous mountains in the background.  It really made the town feel so magical.  They also have a little natural park for the kids to climb and play, and a lot of green space, which we spent more time than we had planned, but the boys were having so much fun!

Accommodations
Fairmont Banff Springs- The Fairmont Banff Springs is absolutely gorgeous!  Sitting on the top of a mountain, it literally looks like a castle from the distance!  We really LOVED staying there.  We felt so well taken care of and everything was elegant and beautiful!  Some of our favorite parts of the hotel was the pool- overlooking the most gorgeous landscape, and the small hike you can take from the hotel to a waterfall!!  We would definitely recommend the Fairmont Banff Springs to anyone- it certainly made our experience even more enjoyable.
I highly recommend Banff in the summertime if, if like me, you are not a “cold weather” person!  I’m sure that the Banff area is beautiful and amazing in the winter but it was so enjoyable to see all the gorgeous sites and not be freezing the whole time! 
Next time… we will conquer the Mirror Lake hike!
                                                                                                                         

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