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Summer comes but once a year to the mountains and foothills of Calgary and Banff. But after spending cash on a few weeks of lakes, bars and cabins, it might not be the heat that makes it feel like the dog days of summer, it could be your wallet. Of course, having a good time doesn’t have to be expensive—especially in places as naturally beautiful as Calgary and Banff.
Read on to find out how to score the perfect day in Calgary and Banff for $50.
Even if you have 500 dollars in your pocket, you should visit the Blackfoot Truckstop. This Calgary institution offers up cheap and incredibly delicious food. Order the Cowboy’s Breakfast, and for just $10, stay full for a good chunk of the day.
Walk off a bit of that breakfast and enjoy the completely free Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. This 36-hectare wildlife reserve has more than 270 species of birds, 21 species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, butterflies, and more. Bring some binoculars or just enjoy the sights and sounds.
Boardgames are a great time any way you slice it. If the weather is less than ideal during your visit, consider visiting Pips, where you can drink coffee and play unlimited board games for just $5.
Glenbow is pretty all-time and features a ton of beautiful exhibits and architecture. Entry is free if you get there from 5pm-9pm on the first Thursday of every month. Every other day of the week you can spend the very reasonable $16 entry to see some great exhibits and learn something new.
No trip to Calgary is complete without a stroll around their fantastic Crossroads Farmer’s Market. With a host of food stands and fresh fruits and vegetables, it’s the perfect place to load up on some snacks for the rest of your day.
Shakespeare by the Bow is an outdoor production program organized by Theatre Calgary. From June 20 to August 27, 2017, an emerging company of actors performs outside at Calgary’s Prince’s Island Park. Bring a picnic and a blanket and enjoy some amazing summer entertainment in a beautiful location.
In anticipation of Canada 150, On-It Regional Transit worked out an amazing schedule to shuttle those in the city out to Banff National Park. For just $10 you can hop aboard for the 1 hour drive. The schedule also runs well into the night so you can experience some of the legendary Banff nightlife.
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Walk around the shore of this amazing lake and you’re very likely to see some bighorn sheep. Obviously do not approach them, but do bring your camera. If you don’t have a car, take the free bus service that operates from Banff to the Minnewanka Loop, 7 days a week.
Two Jack Lake is another incredible spot on the same Minnewanka road loop. Bring your snorkeling gear, but you’ll want to make sure the water is a comfortable temperature before going for a dip. We don’t want to spoil the secret too much, but there are some bighorn sheep skeletons in one of the far corners of the lake.
Within the town of Banff is The Bow Falls Trail. This trail network provides separate routes for cyclists and pedestrians and meanders next to the beautiful shores of the Bow River. Take the short 25 minute walk along the Bow’s gorgeous blue water and enjoy the sound of roaring rapids before arriving at Bow Falls.
By now you’re probably pretty worn out. Though these hot springs aren’t completely wild, they do provide great views and are still filled with naturally heated waters full of relaxing minerals. The best part? Banff Upper Hot Springs are only $7 for entry.
Aardvark Pizza and Sub is a staple in Banff. Their notorious subs are amazing and all under $10. If you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, you can grab a bunch of their personal 9″ pizzas, jumbo poutines, and chicken salads for around the same price. It’s a delicious way to cap off a full day.
Looking to have an epic day that is easy on the wallet? Check out all of the locations in this article on the map below.