Drive the Icefields Parkway
Go as far as you can – if you can get all the way to Jasper and stay the night there, great! Stop at Peyto Lake, Athabasca Glacier and Falls, Bow Lake, Glacier Skywalk, and lots of other great stops along the way.
Shopping and dining are a fun way to spend an afternoon. You can also take the Banff gondola up the mountain for great views and the Banff Hot Springs is a great way to relax if you like natural hot springs. It’s over 100 years old – one of the oldest hot springs resorts in Canada. The Fairmont Banff Springs is a neat hotel to walk through (or stay at). It was built in 1888 and is located on the outskirts of town up by the gondola.
This is often missed as most tourists head to Lake Louise, but I think it is a much prettier Lake. Get there early as the parking lot is small and they only let cars in as others leave. Take the short hike up the Rock Pile trail for awesome views of the lake and Valley of the 10 Peaks. Rent canoes down at the lodge.
The views are amazing but this place gets very crowded too, so get there early if possible. There are some awesome trails around the lake – some take you to “tea houses” where you can stop and have a cup of tea before venturing on your hike. The Fairmont Lake Louise is a beautiful hotel to walk through, dine at, or stay if you wish. You can also rent canoes or kayaks if you have time for an amazing experience on this beautiful lake.
Lake Louise Gondola
This area has the highest concentration of Grizzly Bears in Alberta and you can often see them from the chairlift. At the top of the summit, the views are incredible and you look straight across to Lake Louise and the Fairmont Hotel. There are also some great wildlife exhibits and information in the lodge at the top. I highly recommend this, especially on a clear day.
This is a very easy hike in a canyon that is between Banff and Lake Louise on the Bow Valley Highway. For a longer hike, you can continue up to the Ink Pots – seven pools of green colored mineral springs in an open field.
Cave and Basin National Historic Site
Considered the birthplace of Canada’s national parks.
Whitewater rafting and float trips
The rivers in the Banff and Lake Louise area are great places to experience the amazing scenery and wildlife. There are several outfitters that offer trips for any adventure level, etc.
Another great way to experience the scenery and wildlife. Single and multi-day trips available through several outfitters.
There are plenty of other things to do – depending on their interest levels and budget. Helicopter rides, jeep tours, ATV tours, guided fishing trips, etc etc. Any hotels or tourist areas will have information on how to book these. A new service they have in the area which might be something for them to think about is the “hop on Banff” shuttle. You buy a ticket and the busses take you to all of the major tourist stops. Then you can just hop on or off depending on how long you want to stay in a certain area. This way you don’t have to worry about parking – especially if you are there in the busy months. It’s not a guided tour, but the drivers can offer advice on what to do/see.