Our Banff Honeymoon Recap
Updated: Oct 26
At the end of September, Joe and I snuck away to finally take our long-overdue honeymoon! We have been dreaming of this trip since 2019 when our wonderful friend suggested this location for us after I vented to her about how we didn't know where to go for our honeymoon (Thanks, Laura!). With Joe not being a beach guy, my eczema hating the heat, and both of us not being into all-inclusive resorts or cruises, any of the islands were out of the question for us. After Laura showed us photos of her previous trip to Banff, we instantly knew this was where we wanted to go!
When we initially booked this trip, we were planning to go one month after our wedding. As all stories about 2020 plans go, we had to postpone the trip until further notice after changing reservations for the third time. We declared we would not go on any trips together until we could finally (and safely) take our honeymoon. Three years later, we kept to that promise and arrived in Alberta, Canada.
Just to be transparent with our foodies with food allergies, we wanted to let you know we will be making a separate blog post about how we managed this trip with my 12+ food allergies. Joe and I are just so grateful that we got to visit this beautiful place after three years of waiting that we wanted to dedicate a whole blog post about our stay in general. But, have no fear, a food post is very near! But first, our Banff honeymoon recap!
Jump to days:
Day 1: Moraine Lake and Lake Louise
Our first stop on Monday was visiting Banff's two very popular lakes. After plenty of research, basically three years' worth of it, we learned the roads to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake were closed to the general public and that the two lakes fill up with tourists very quickly. Since the only way you could get to the lakes was with the park's official transportation, we reserved our passes a couple of weeks before our arrival. This ensured we had a spot on the bus for the early time we wanted to depart to the lakes.
Our first stop was Moraine Lake, and WOW! The view! The lake! We have looked at a lot of pictures of the area online while planning but nothing prepared us for what you will see in person. The colors of the glacially-fed lake, the breathtaking scenery! Honestly, the pictures do not do justice, but we tried our best to capture the beauty from every angle.
Beating the morning rush at Moraine Lake, we headed back to the connector bus and made our way to Lake Louise. We took in the gorgeous colors and scenery once again before starting our 7,005-foot ascent to the Lake Agnes Tea House.
After that 3.5km hike, a warm cup of tea was exactly what we needed to refuel before making the trip back down the mountain. Day 1 was the perfect start to the week and only a small taste of the amazing sights we would lay our eyes on.
Day 2: Downtown Banff
After such an adventurous first day, we kept things local with plans to explore Downtown Banff. What better way to start a day of exploring Banff, than by stopping at the Banff sign? We made sure to get there bright and early as we saw the day before it formed a small crowd pretty fast. Lucky for us, when we got there, there was only one other couple, which worked out perfectly as we took each other's pictures.
For the sake of tradition, we also took a selfie in front of the sign to match our selfie in front of the Napa Valley sign from our engagement trip.
Then we stopped for breakfast before hitting the town for a day of sightseeing and shopping. Before our scheduled gondola ride, we had lunch at The Balkan Greek Restaurant. After the gondola, we visited Hoodoo Viewpoint before heading to dinner at Chuck's Steakhouse.
While at the top of the mountain, we experienced an array of weather, everything from rain, snow, fog, sunshine, and even a rainbow! The variety of weather made for an interesting experience and some very fun photos.
Day 3: Athabasca Glacier Guided Tour
Our plans for day 3 were not a part of our original itinerary back in 2020. We found this tour while researching our transportation needs for Moraine Lake and Lake Louise and knew we had to book this Athabasca Glacier Snow Trip tour.
The tour started in Downtown Banff, bright and early. Yup, another day that kicked off before 6 AM, but was absolutely worth seeing the mountain-lined streets of Downtown Banff during sunrise. It was also the first sighting of snow-covered mountaintops of the season so that was very exciting and really added to the scenery we took in throughout the day.
On our way to the breathtaking Icefields Parkway, we got a first-hand look at sweeping valleys, colorful alpine lakes, and soaring peaks of the national parks of Banff and Jasper. Our guided tour also stopped at a handful of viewpoints to take in the stunning scenery.
After boarding the Ice Explorer at the Icefield Centre, we rode up to the Athabasca Glacier and explored the remnants of the last ice age.
Day 4: Canmore Exploring
The exploring continues with our day in Canmore. Our resort was located in Canmore, making a lot of the spots we wanted to visit walkable. We started the morning by grabbing coffee before heading to Policeman's Creek Boardwalk, taking that straight to Canmore's 8 Street.
After the last couple of really early mornings we had, we did the same for this day. However, we didn't realize that most of the town of Canmore starts their day a little later on. A lot of the shops didn't open until 10:00 AM. Being that we had time to kill, we walked the strip a couple of times plotting where we wanted to go. To our surprise, Canmore was a lot smaller than Downtown Banff, so we only needed a couple of hours there.
After Joe tried the infamous Beavertails and we had a delicious lunch at The Bankhead Restaurant, we got in the car to hit a couple of viewpoints. We visited the Canmore Engine Bridge along the Bow River, Grassi Lakes, and Whitemans Pond. After, we enjoyed another grass-fed steak dinner at Rustica Steakhouse and tried to go stargazing. However, our visit was during a full moon, making the sky too bright. Instead, we went back to our room and enjoyed the view from our balcony.
Day 5: Checking Out Calgary
Whenever Joe and I visit a new area, we love to check out the nearby cities Being from New York City, we enjoy experiencing the different hustle and bustle, architecture, observatories, and libraries of other cities. This trip was no exception.
We enjoyed a tasty lunch at JOEY Eau Claire (any guesses as to why we chose to dine at that establishment?). Then, after our day in Calgary ended quicker than we planned, we headed back to the mountain-lined streets of Canmore and had an impromptu dinner at a local sushi place, Mii Sushi. In the words of Joe, it wouldn't be a "Mandy and Joe" outing without stopping for sushi.
Day 6: Johnston Canyon
Our sixth day turned out to be my favorite outing of the week. That's one way of going out with a bang! For our final day, we hit the trails and hikes at Johnston Canyon. All our research mentioned that the area fills out pretty quickly with visitors. Since it was a Saturday we were planning on visiting, we made the decision to get there super early in hopes of avoiding the weekend crowd and we were successful! For the majority of our time here, we only ran into about 3 other couples.
Upon arrival, we knew for certain we were going to hike to both the falls (Lower Falls and Upper Falls). Once we got through those and saw it was still very early in the day, we took on the challenge to check out the Ink Pots. We are so happy we didn't let our tiredness and sore muscles speak for us because it ended up being absolutely breathtaking and our favorite view of the entire trip!
The Ink Pots was just a gorgeous scenery we fell head over heels for at first sight, and that's not just the exhaustion talking. During the hike up, it started to drizzle. The further up the mountain we hiked, the rain turned into snow. You can even see how the temperature was getting colder as we were getting higher. The raindrops were freezing onto Joe's beard. It was such a sight to see the snow falling even heavier above us, while we took in the colors of the Ink Pots.
Coming back down from the Ink Pots, we realized we made the right call to get to Johnston Canyon early as there were plenty more people there by noon.
After Johnston Canyon, we picked up lunch, giving Joe the chance to enjoy some Poutine. Then we headed back to our room to get ready for our return to New Jersey the next day.
After 3+ years of waiting, our Banff Honeymoon was worth it! Hope you enjoyed our recap. If you are planning a trip to the Banff, Alberta area and have any questions, or are looking for additional suggestions, feel free to contact us!
Stay tuned for our Banff Food Guide for Foodies with Food Allergies!