For the past 5 years, August sees our family heading up the Sea to Sky highway to visit one of the most beautiful places in the world, Whistler. We are so lucky that my in-laws host us in a home and we get to take in all the mountain resort town has to offer. Maybe you have been to Whistler during ski and snowboard season, as that is what it is popular for. However, if you haven’t been during the warmer months, you are missing out. There are so many great spots to enjoy and I am going to share the many family friendly gems that exist.
1. Family Bike Ride
Whistler is home to some amazing best biking trails. The Valley Trail is a paved system through the scenic terrain that connects many areas together. My children have been biking the trails since they were quite young, without issue. While we are not a downhill mountain biking family, Whistler is also known for this sport and every August hosts Crankworx, a festival showcasing talent from around the world.
2. Jump into the Lake at Rainbow Park
Rainbow Park is a family favorite. This is where most nights you can find us jumping in after a hot day doing other outdoor activities. This recreation area has two docks to enter Alta Lake, one which you can swim out to and one you can walk out on. The park is also home to a big green space with volleyball courts and picnic tables. Parking is limited like many spots in the town, so go early or late to avoid disappointment. A shuttle is offered on the weekends.
3. Build Sandcastles at Lost Lake Beach
Lost Lake is centred closest to the village, though like many other lake locations, is tricky for parking. There is a drop off zone and it is accessible via shuttle and bike. In addition to building sandcastles and taking it the scenery, it is a great spot to take a dip in the water with its sandy entrance.
4. Catching Minnows at Wayside Park
This wonderful spot was a new find for us this year. A lesser known location, I am not even sure I want to share it with the world, but I do love you all enough to do so. Wayside Park is a quiet alcove with a small beach full of little fish and what feels like warmer water than other parts of Alta Lake.
5. Play at Nita Lake
Another option is Nita Lake. While this lake doesn’t have the same easy water access as the others, it is a nice location to enjoy water sports or the cute playground.
6. Kayak or Paddle board on Alta Lake
Whistler is the perfect spot to try water sports. There are a couple rental options for canoes, kayaks or paddle boards. Most days Alta Lake is calm and great for the both seasoned and beginner paddlers.
7. Walk to Green Lake
Green Lake is largest in the resort town, but also the coldest. It is fed by the local rivers and creeks and is simply picturesque. It is home to the seaplane terminal so it is also fun to watch the planes come in and take off.
8. Hike the Train Wreck Trail
We don’t do a lot of hiking as a family, but this trail is easy and fun to explore. My kids don’t even complain because it is a short and easy to walk. Roundtrip it is 2km and brings you to the historical train site, as well as, a beautiful scenic standing bridge. The trains are now art pieces and make a wonderful backdrop for those social media photos.
9. Visit the Whistler Library
I always say when I retire, I want to work in the children’s department at the Whistler Library. Centred in the village, this library is so welcoming, organized and well stocked with the newest titles. Depending how long we are in town for, we usually go towards the beginning of our visit to stock up on books and DVDs.
10. Visit the Whistler Museum
Located near the Library is the Whistler Museum. Our last visit we made our way there and loved learning about the early days in the resort town and see lots of memorabilia from the 2020 Olympic Winter Games. Admission is by donation and it is a great spot for all ages alike.
11. Ice Cream in the Village
Ice cream shop Cows has been a mainstay in Whistler for as long as I can remember. Long lines usually exist, so if your kiddos aren’t willing to wait, there is a Dairy Queen right by the playground in the village.
12. Playground in Village
A must see if you have kids is the playground near Whistler Olympic Plaza. This inclusive playground has so much to offer, from a fun slide to a water feature. It also has two play structures, one suited for toddlers and the other for kids of all ages.
13. Visit Whistler Olympic Plaza
This was the site of many special moments from when Whistler co-hosted the Olympics with Vancouver in 2020 and it continues to be a gathering spot for tourists and locals. This is where you will find a beautiful green space and a stage where concerts are offered all summer long.
14. Dinner at Nicholas North Golf Course
Because the home we check into has a full kitchen, we do a lot of meals in, with each family member taking on a different night to cook. However, my in-laws usually treat us to a meal at Nicholas North. This location has views of Green Lake and offers kids activities on a putting green, as well as, a good happy hour menu.
15. Farmer’s Market
Every Sunday from May to October, Whistler Farmers’ Market takes place in the Upper Village. This collection of food and artisan stands does not disappoint. Year after year, the shaved ice stand Frost Bites is our favorite. Think a modern take on the snow cone.
16. Family Adventure Zone
During the warmer months at the base of Blackcomb in the Upper Village, there are a number of activities setup at the Family Adventure Zone. You can purchase tickets to partake in a rope course, climbing wall, bouncy castles and bungee trampoline to name a few. These can start to add up quickly, so we usually allow the kids to pick a couple for a treat, though they would easily do them all.
17. Putt Putt Golf at Blackcomb
The Family Adventure Zone area also offers a mini golf. A perfect family outing, you can complete the 18 hole course together and it won’t break the bank.
18. Hit Balls at Golf Range
Lower down the mountain, near the Village Entrance, there is a picturesque golf range. The site offers free parking and your bucket of balls is good for the range, the putting green and chipping area.
19. Splash Park, Playground and Activities at Meadow Park
Meadow Park is definitely our second home when we visit Whistler each year. Have a sports lover in your life like I do? This park is home to a basketball courts, tennis courts and baseball diamonds. Additionally, the splash park and playground is extremely kid friendly, from toddlers to youth, with lots of green space to setup for the day.
20. Interactive Night Walk
This is one things we actually haven’t done but I have only heard great things about this. It is on my list for next year. Vallea Lumina is immersive walk full with lights and adventuring through the forest after dusk.
Bonus – Visit the Scandinave Spa
And if you happen to get any kid free time, I highly suggest a visit to one of the best spa experiences in the world at the Scandinave Spa. I try and book my treatment months in advance to ensure I can get a registered massage therapist and use my work benefits to offset the costs. Disconnect and enjoy the Scandinavian baths with or without a massage added. As a busy working mom of two, the no talking or technology rule is right up my alley to help me disengage for a few hours.
So whether it is a day trip or a week long getaway, I highly suggest Whistler as a destination for families, couple or heck, even solo. Again, winter may be its peak season, but the other three offer just as much goodness.