Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. With towering snow-capped Rocky Mountains, turquoise blue lakes, world-class hiking and skiing, everyone should visit Banff at least once in their lives.
Given a visit to Banff is a bucket-list destination for millions around the world, it’s no surprise that Banff has been named the most expensive place to visit in Canada. Finding cheap accommodations in Banff is key to visiting Banff on a budget, but this can be challenging. Not to worry, we have done tons of research to help you find the best cheap hotels in Banff.
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What to Look for in a Cheap Hotel in Banff
It’s easy to get freaked out when looking at the cost of hotels in Banff, especially during the high season. Even the cheap hotels in Banff are quite expensive during high season!
When looking for inexpensive accommodation in Banff, try to remember what’s truly important for your trip to Banff. Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, so you’ll be spending most of your time away from your Banff hotel enjoying yourself outside.
Need help planning your trip? Check out our Ultimate Banff Travel Guide!
Given you’ll be away from your hotel a lot, you don’t need a lot from your hotel. All you need from your inexpensive Banff accommodation are clean rooms and comfortable beds. A history of good reviews from a large number of guests helps assure you that you won’t be staying at a flea trap.
When we are not at home near Banff, we travel on a budget around the world and have a ton of experience finding a good deal on a nice hotel. We’ve used our skills to separate the good affordable Banff hotels from the bad. The 5 hotels and 2 hostels below meet our high standards for inexpensive places to stay in Banff.
The Best Cheap Hotels in Banff
Staying at budget hotels in Banff doesn’t mean you have to stay in a total dump. It’s true, there are some cheap hotels in Banff I wouldn’t stay at, but thankfully these are rare. In fact, many of the best cheap hotels in Banff are very nice places to stay with happy, satisfied clientele.
The inexpensive hotels listed below are among the cheapest accommodations in Banff. They are all inexpensive (relative to other Banff hotels), so they are not ranked in order of cost. These inexpensive Banff hotels are ranked in order of average guest satisfaction.
The Dorothy Motel is the best affordable hotel in Banff. Newly renovated, the guests at the Dorothy Motel in Banff have given it some of the best guest reviews of any hotel in Banff, not just among its affordable Banff hotel peers.
One of the reasons the Dorothy Motel is an affordable Banff hotel is its location. It’s located right on the very eastern edge of the Banff townsite. Being ‘far’ away from downtown makes this Banff motel more affordable, but to put it in perspective, it’s only a 4 minute drive or an 18 minute walk to downtown Banff. It’s location is hardly an inconvenience – I love walking along Banff Avenue!
If the location of the Dorothy Motel is a concern, you can take advantage of the free Roam bus passes guests receive for their stay. Conveniently, there is a Roam public transit stop right by the motel, making the Dorothy Motel an ideal place to stay for visiting Banff without a car.
Two other advantages of the Dorothy Motel location are that it backs onto the forest and its close to the Banff Legacy Trail. This paved bike trail between Banff and Canmore is one of our favorite bike rides in Banff and one of the best free things to do in Banff. (There are some really good inexpensive hotels in Canmore on the opposite end of the Legacy Trail!)
Being an affordable Banff hotel, you won’t find a pool or fitness room at the Dorothy Motel, but it’s clean and has all the basic amenities you require in a Banff hotel room, such as a coffee/tea station, flat-screen TV, a microwave and mini-fridge.
Each motel room has a small table and chairs, so you can save even more money on your Banff vacation by self-catering or eating take-out from some of the nearby Banff restaurants.
The Dorothy Motel also warmly welcomes pets. They provide water and food bowls, a bed, treats and a take-home toy for your treasured family pet.
The only real complaint I see from guests at the Dorothy Motel is that you need to pick up your keys at the nearby Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa. This isn’t ideal, but it’s only a 2 minute drive from the Dorothy Motel. This issue is being addressed with mobile check in/check out and mobile key access coming soon.
The Banff Boutique Inn is another of the best inexpensive hotels in Banff. Tucked away in a well-treed residential neighborhood on the road to the historic Cave and Basin, the Banff Boutique Inn is a another affordable Banff hotel with excellent reviews.
A short 5 minute walk from downtown Banff, the recently renovated Banff Boutique Inn has many elements of a bed & breakfast. There is a fully equipped kitchen for guests to use during their stay, along with a common living room and dining room.
If you are looking to visit Banff on a budget, cooking your own meals will reduce the money you spend on restaurant food. When you take these food savings into account, the Banff Boutique Inn becomes even more affordable Banff accommodation.
Guests of this budget Banff hotel will enjoy a light bite in the morning, with a selection of cereal, oats and hot beverages to choose from.
The Banff Boutique Inn keeps its rooms affordable by limiting full housekeeping service to once every 7 days. Personally, I don’t view this as a negative – I frequently keep my “Do Not Disturb” sign on my hotel room door for days on end to keep housekeeping out. If you’d like more frequent cleaning, it is available at an extra cost.
The cabin-style decor of the Deluxe King Rooms earned the Banff Boutique Inn a spot on the best cabin rentals in Banff.
With an excellent location just two blocks from downtown Banff, the High Country Inn is one of the cheapest hotels in Banff with a pool. Not only does the High Country Inn have a heated indoor pool, but it also has two hot tubs and a cedar dry sauna. You get a lot of amenities for your money at this affordable Banff hotel!
The rooms at this inexpensive Banff hotel are all climate controlled with microwaves, refrigerators and coffee makers. All rooms at the High Country Inn enjoy a mountain view, and most have a private balcony to enjoy the view.
If you’d prefer to save money on your trip to Banff by avoiding an expensive rental car, there are Roam bus stops in both directions just outside the High Country Inn.
Of all the cheap Banff hotels on this list, the Banff Park Lodge has the best location. The Banff Park Lodge is nestled in-between downtown Banff and the beautiful Bow River, offering guests of this inexpensive Banff hotel the best of both worlds – nature and urban amenities.
There’s plenty of things to do near this inexpensive Banff hotel. A short walk north on the Bow River walking path will lead you to the popular Fenlands Loop Trail. If you go south on this easy Banff walk, you can go all the way to the Bow Falls and the iconic Banff Springs Hotel. In addition, two of the best Banff museums are just a short walk along the Bow River.
The Banff Park Lodge has a long list of amenities, giving you excellent value for your money. This inexpensive Banff hotel offers guests a heated indoor pool, a hot tub, steam room and a fitness centre.
Hidden away in a forest setting at the corner of Banff Avenue and Tunnel Mountain Road, the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort offers its guests a ton of amenities at a very affordable price.
This inexpensive Banff hotel has an indoor swimming pool, an indoor & outdoor hot tub, a health and fitness club, squash courts, tennis courts and a basketball court. There’s even a play area for the kids!
With the beautiful setting and the long list of amenities, we wouldn’t blame you for spending all your time at this affordable Banff resort hotel. When it’s time to go into town, the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort offers a free shuttle service to town, or you can drive yourself – it’s only 6-minutes away.
In addition to the standard hotel rooms, guests at this affordable Banff hotel can stay in a loft, or a 1-bedroom apartment or even a 2-bedroom apartment. Many of the rooms feature a full kitchen, enabling you to stretch your Banff travel budget even further by cooking a few meals.
The Best Cheap Hostels in Banff
If you are willing to give up a little privacy and perhaps be willing to share a bathroom, you can save a ton of money on your trip to Banff at one of these affordable Banff hostels.
Just a few blocks away from downtown Banff, the Samesun is a popular Banff hostel which has earned very good reviews.
Private rooms are available at the Samesun Backpacker Lodge with 1 or 2 double beds. These rooms may well be the cheapest hotel rooms in Banff. The private rooms at Samesun Banff are nicely appointed, but very basic with shared bathrooms.
If you are looking for a single bed in a dormitory style room, you can get a very cheap place to stay in Banff. The Samesun Banff has a selection of mixed and female-only dorm rooms with anywhere from 6 to 14 beds per room.
You can save even more money on your trip to Banff by using the shared kitchen to cook your own meals. The Banff IGA grocery store is just a few minutes walk down Banff Avenue.
A big draw for many of the visitors to Banff on a budget who stay at this hostel are the public meeting areas and of course, the on-site bar where you can get cheap meals and drinks. At the Samesun, it’s easy to meet other budget Banff travelers and fun to exchange stories and ideas for Banff adventures!
The Banff International Hostel also has an excellent location, just a few blocks away from downtown Banff. As a nice coincidence, it’s only a block away from the Samesun hostel, so there’ll be no shortage of travelers to meet in the area!
You’ll have everything you need at this inexpensive Banff hostel. Guests of the Banff International Hostel have access to a full kitchen or can use the BBQ outside. There is a computer station, an onsite liquor store and lots of indoor and outdoor gathering places to hook up with other Banff travelers.
You can choose from a wide variety of rooms at the Banff International Hostel. Private rooms with private bathrooms are available with anywhere from 2-to-8 beds.
Renting a bed in a shared dorm is one of the cheapest ways to stay in Banff. Shared dorm rooms are available in male-only, female-only or co-ed, with 4 to 9 bunks per room.
We hope you found an affordable play to stay in Banff within our recommendations above. If you’d like more selection, check out the rest of the affordable Banff accommodations on Booking.com. Simply plug in your dates and sort by price. Easy!
Finding Cheap Places to Stay in Banff FAQ
How can I stay in Banff for cheap?
Banff is one of the most expensive places to travel in Canada. You can stay in Banff for cheap by staying in low season, or by finding an inexpensive hotel or hostel. Affordable accommodations in Banff typically sacrifice a downtown location or expensive amenities like a pool in order to keep costs down for guests. We have listed the best affordable places to stay in Banff within this post.
How much does it cost to stay in Banff?
The cost of a hotel room in Banff varies quite a bit with season. In the low season, you can find a really nice affordable hotel for less than $100 CAD per night, or a bed in a shared dorm room for less than $40 CAD. In the high season, even the affordable Banff hotels can cost upwards of $300 per night. That’s not exactly cheap, but it’s much better than the $700+ you’ll spend at the Banff Springs Hotel.
Is Banff Canada expensive?
Banff is a bucket-list destination for travelers around the world and is therefore one of the most expensive places to visit in Canada. The cost of a Banff hotel is a large part of the cost of a trip to Banff. Save money on your trip to Banff with one of our recommended inexpensive Banff hotels and hostels.
When is Low Season in Banff?
Staying during low season in Banff is an excellent way to find a cheap place to stay in Banff National Park. Banff has two low seasons:
1) From late March to June, the ski season winds down and the snow starts to melt. You can enjoy some beautiful spring weather during this time, yet the mountains will still look incredible with snow-capped peaks.
2) A visit to Banff in the fall (September – November) is an excellent time to visit the national park. The crowds are mostly gone, but the warm weather can still linger. Be aware that for 2 weeks every fall, Alberta goes crazy for the larch trees and prices of hotels spike.
Other Places to Stay in Banff
Visit Banff National Park
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Dan Brewer, a life-long Alberta resident, calls Canmore home along with his wife and two kids. He is the co-owner of Travel Banff Canada, where he gets to share his passion for the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Dan, along with his family, love being outdoors doing one of the many activities they enjoy in the mountains: hiking, mountain biking, paddleboarding, skiing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
When he's not in Canmore enjoying one of his favourite local hikes, you can find him hoping on a plane to explore a new country with his family or working on one of their other two travel sites: Family Can Travel and Baby Can Travel.