Are you looking for an affordable road trip? How about somewhere pretty-as-a-picture? I think this is a guaranteed memory-maker and yet respectful of your need to stretch your Canadian Dollar as far as possible.
Banff. Yes, Banff. Or you could make the trip to Banff AND Canmore. Or Banff, Canmore AND Calgary. You pick. Just fill up the gas tank and hit the Trans-Canada highway west from Manitoba.
If you make it just as far as Medicine Hat in the first day, you will find hotels like DH3 and Holiday Inn, at about $100 a night. That includes breakfast (DH3) or waterslides (Holiday Inn).
Next stop, (about 5 hours away) is Banff National Park. The park pass itself will cost you about $20 per day, per vehicle with up to 5 occupants.
Since this is “shoulder season” or that magical time (April to June) between busy ski season, and busy summer season, you’ll find hotels inside the park itself for under $200. Some really great hotels (like boutique Elk + Avenue) or Buffalo Mountain Lodge right around $130 (taxes included). Gosh, you could even splurge and get the Fairmont Banff Springs at this quiet time of year for about $300 a night. (Splurge! Do it!)
Canmore, is about 20 minutes away, and outside of the National Park. You could choose to stay at a lodge there or even the Holiday Inn for UNDER $100 a night.
What is there to do/see in “shoulder season?” Mountains! The majestic mountains are there 24/7, all year round. If that’s not breathtaking enough, there’s wildlife! Go hiking, biking, photo gathering or visit the famous hot springs. Just be outdoors in the fresh air and take in the view.
If you’ve got an extra day, and are looking for an indoor opportunity, do visit the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity . You’ll be inspired.
The bottom line is, there are great opportunities to enjoy a spring road trip, to the mountains, for much less than that very same trip in the summer. With gas, and 5 nights in a hotel, cost shared by 3 people, $250-$300 per person PLUS your food/entertainment/souvenirs.
Feature photo courtesy of Barbara Osiowy.