You’ve travelled to Banff, and you’re ready for adventure! You’ve researched the best trails to hike, the epic views to see, and the most accessible places to park. You’ve planned the flights, got through all the logistics, and are ready for the trip of a lifetime. You set the alarm, eager to leap out of bed at first light and experience everything this pristine mountain playground offers, but then……you wake up to grey skies and pouring rain.
Even the best planners can’t change the weather. The Banff rainy season is sporadic throughout the summer months in July and August in the mountains. If it rains on your vacation to the Rockies, those breathtaking views could be hidden by curtains of raindrops, and slogging up a muddy trail all day isn’t likely your idea of fun.
But don’t despair! These mountains have plenty to offer in all weather. Here are some ideas for things to do in Banff on a rainy day, direct from locals in the area. Guaranteed, you can have fun here no matter what the weather is doing.
5 Things to do in Banff on a Rainy Day
1. Go Whitewater Rafting
Wait, doesn’t it have to be sunny to enjoy being on the river? Not at all. In fact, whitewater rafting in Banff is just as much fun in the rain as it is in the sun. Choose a reputable company like Chinook Rafting, where great effort is taken to ensure that your rafting wetsuit and booties are completely dry when you start. You’ll receive everything you need to stay warm and have fun on the river.
The rapids are fun and splashy, and the emerald green forest views from both sides of the river are sure to not disappoint. You’ll be welcomed back to the river base with a mug of steaming hot chocolate!
Whitewater rafting is one of the best things to do in Banff on a rainy day when you want outdoor fun for the whole family. Riding with Chinook Rafting ensures you don’t have to deal with everyone’s wet weather gear lying around in your hotel room afterward.
2. Get Creative at Crock-a-Doodle Pottery in Canmore
Conveniently located at the Shops of Canmore (which also houses local cafes like the esteemed Mad Dog Café and Cacao 70 chocolatier), Crock-a-Doodle is a great indoor activity in Canmore that lets your creative side flow. Paint pottery pieces, get them baked in the kiln for you, and you have a personal souvenir to take home. This is a lovely keepsake to enjoy for years to come. You’ll remember the day the weather didn’t cooperate, but you made the best of it anyway!
3. Experience Culture and History in Banff
The Whyte Museum in Banff is a great place to start a day of exploring the rich culture and history of the National Park here. Historic photographs and exhibits will tell stories from the past 150 years of adventure, tourism, and commerce in the Bow Valley.
Take a short walk from the museum and recharge with a beverage at many coffee shops and cafes on Banff Ave or Bear Street or walk through the townsite to the Cave and Basin Historic Site. This is the birthplace of Banff National Park and the birthplace of National Parks in Canada. There are often interpreters on-site who can bring this history alive, and you have the chance to spot the rare Banff Hot Springs Snail in its only habitat – the Hot Spring itself (note there is no bathing in this part of the Banff Hot Spring system – it is reserved for the snails).
Round out your day with another short walk along the Bow River, protected by trees, to see the impressive Bow Falls waterfall – always more dramatic in the rain!
4. Explore the Caves near Banff
If it’s rainy in Banff, why not head underground and explore the caves and caverns in Canmore? Crawl, climb, rappel, and slither through these fascinating caves full of geological wonders on the Canmore Caves Adventure with Discover Banff Tours. Head to the spectacular Grand Gallery, then work your way down to the Grotto full of stalactites and stalagmites and a crystal clear pond. Listen to the musical sounds of water dripping and echoing all around you. This activity requires no experience, and it’s accompanied by a guide and full instruction and safety equipment are provided. Challenge your comfort zone with a new skill and appreciation for what lies beneath the mountains!
5: Warm-up at the Banff Hot Springs
No matter what activity you choose for your rainy day, we recommend wrapping it up with a soak in the famous Banff Hot Springs. With beautiful views, this outdoor pool is perfect for warming your bones and relaxing after a fun mountain day.
A rainy day in Banff doesn’t have to stop your vacation. We’ve just given you 5 great ways to explore Banff national park and area and keep you and your family entertained! Looking for more ideas for vacationing in Banff? Visit more Banff and area articles here.