Whistler, BC!!! One of the most beautiful places I have EVER visited in my life. I’m talking the kind of nature that dreams are made of. Our family spent a few weeks in Whistler over the summer and could not get enough. I could return to Whistler over and over. In fact, I told my husband that I could live there in the summer and be perfectly happy. AND there are some seriously awesome things to do there so here is our guide for the Best Things to do in Whistler in the Summer. So excited to share!
*looking for some other summer mountain retreat vacation ideas? Check out how to best visit and explore the Swiss Alps in the summer!
GO CHASING WATERFALLS IN WHISTLER B.C.
While Whistler is known to be outrageously expensive, we found some great things to do for absolutely free! Namely seeking out some incredible waterfalls. Here are a few of our favorites. Finding a good waterfall was definitely one of our favorite things to do in Whistler in the summer.
The Best Waterfalls to Visit in Whistler with Families
Brandywine is located just off Highway 99 just south of Whistler. We found ample parking and walked the easy 8-10 minute walk to the falls. There are two viewing platforms from which to see Brandywine and snap some darn cool selfies. You can continue down the path for a bit and also see Daisy Lake. It is well worth the easy walk and it is very easy for children as well. We had fun racing with each other back and forth from the falls.
This waterfall is bigger, badder and better than most waterfalls in the area and is the 3rd highest waterfall in BC. And that’s saying something. It is easy to access and is located just south of Squamish on the Sea to Sky Highway. An easy well marked and the well-paved trail leads to the falls. You can view it from the bottom or continue up a little bit further for an even closer view. The facilities are good and it is a good place for a picnic.
Located right there is also the Sea to Sky Gondola. If you take the gondola to the top, there are hours worth of fun and trails at the top in addition to the birds-eye views. Activities at the top include a restaurant, lodge, miles of trails for exploring, the sky-pilot suspension bridge a kids’ play area and a whole load of family fun.
This guy is a very impressive and high flowing 141 foot/43 meter high waterfall. It is located 30-40 minutes south of Whistler in Callaghan Valley on the way to the Olympic Park. The viewpoint is a few feet from the parking lot, the area has picnic facilities and is open year round. It is also known as the best unofficial place to see bears and they frequent the area. We didn’t see any on our visit but this waterfall is one of Mother Nature’s creations you shouldn’t miss.
We made the visit to Nairn Falls early morning and pretty much had the place to ourselves. The trail is located about 20 minutes north of Whistler off Highway 99. The path is shaded and an easy hike with a few inclines and takes about 20-30 minutes to reach the falls. Some areas along the trail had a steep decline right down to the Green River. It was a little nerve-wracking with 5-year-old Beckham in tow. Keep your children close… The trail ends at the falls and the viewing area is up on some large rocks which can be a little slippery so take care. The platform is up close and personal with the waterfall and you can get some really good views. The platform is fenced and with good reason; Nairn Falls is picturesque but thundering. Don’t be one of those dumb people who climb the fence to get closer but instead enjoy the powerful falls from a safe vantage point.
SEE THE B.C. REGION FROM A FLOATPLANE
This was one of our favorite things we did while in Whistler (and that’s sayin’ something because everything was fun). We took an excursion which landed on a jutting Alpine Lake. The thrill of getting here was so exhilarating. From take off to landing, we loved every minute of it. From the air, we viewed turquoise blue glaciers, roaring waterfalls, black tusk mountain and pristine mountainscapes and finally landed on a breathtaking lake with serenity all around. We spent some time exploring the lakeshore and breathing in the crisp mountain air before our return flight. In our minds a must do. We went with Whistler Seaplane tours-Harbour Air. They have several other tours and we can recommend this company.
VISIT WHISTLER BIKE PARK
Whistler is known the world over for their biking. My son in law was obsessed with this place. Even if you are not an avid mountain biker, they have trails and lessons for all levels here including ladies night, and 101 courses for the whole family. We even saw little kids (I’m talking 5 or 6-year-olds) following their instructor around. You will find everything you need- tickets, rentals, gear, maps, camps, lessons and if it’s your dream, you will soon be riding free.
RELAX AND UNWIND at the SCANDINAVE SPA
Okay, so this may not be THE most family friendly thing to do BUUUUT if you can find someone to look after the kids for awhile we suggest you treat yo-self (get it haha)? This spa is nestled into the mountainside in the most relaxing and serene spot and is only open for ages 19 and up. It has, in addition to great body massages and treatments there are Finnish saunas, eucalyptus steam baths, Nordic and thermal waterfalls, hot baths and cold plunges, resting solariums, and indoor and outdoor fireplaces. We felt so rejuvenated after visiting the spa and experiencing both the outdoor hot and cold plunge pools. We had only alloted ourselves a couple of hours here and wished we had set aside more time to enjoy this place. Next time we will enjoy a whole day.
SEE THE BEARS
Whistler is known for its abundance of bears and we saw many of them out and about. We think that everyone should go on an excursion especially to seek them out. We went with Whistler Photo Safaris. They picked us up in comfortable 4×4 jeeps and off we went. The guides were great and our group was large enough that we needed 3 vehicles to transport us. All of us had a great time searching through the back-country and saw some bears (Mama and babies) foraging and playing along the way.
PEAK 2 PEAK GONDOLA EXPERIENCE
Wow! Whistler’s epic summer experience is the record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. It is the highest and longest unsupported gondola in the world. You can even catch a gondola with a glass floor to see the mountainscape beneath you. Pretty cool. Add to the gondola two mountains, miles of hiking trails (there are trails ranging in difficulty from easy to intermediate to advanced), mountain views, helicopter rides, tours, wildflowers… you get the picture. If you are in Whistler in the summer, you should not miss this. The gondola is just the beginning. This past summer (2018) they added the new suspension bridge and west ridge lookout. Dress warmly. We visited in July and it was really chilly on the top of that mountain. You could spend as little time or as long as you want to explore the tops of these two mountains. There are restaurants, terraces and viewing decks for your enjoyment.
If you are into extreme activities, this is for you. Thrill seekers will love this jump 160 feet over the Cheakamus River with Whistler Bungee. Even children can jump. The weight requirement is 45-350 pounds. Under 16 need a signed waiver from a parent. It is an unforgettable experience for sure! We recommend booking in advance.
GET OUT ON THE WATER
Whether you choose a SUP a kayak, canoe, boat or whatever, getting out on the water is a must. We decided to take a trip down the River of Golden Dreams with Whistler Eco Tours. Most of us loved this activity but there were a few of us that may have been stuck in the brush on the side of the river one too many times (haha!!! We aren’t mentioning any names here…right Kamree), we still laugh about those tense moments today!!! Anyway, adventure is the name of the game and there are many bodies of water just begging for you… you will “lake” it a lot… hehe.
LASTLY BUT NOT LEASTLY- GET OUT AND HIKE
Although this was not on our itinerary when we arrived in Canada, we had heard from many a local about the Joffre Lakes hike. We love that often times the best activities are ones that we hear about from the local people. For me, hiking is one of the best things to do in Whistler in the summer. It was difficult but with lots of help, Beckham (age 5) did just fine. It is a 6-mile round trip hike and it is steep, rocky, rough and intense in parts but man oh man…it was gorgeous and by far the most memorable thing I did while in Whistler. There are 3 different turquoise glacial fed lakes that you come to and pressing on to see each one is rewarding. There are no services including emergency services and you must bring your own water. The lakes are glacial fed and are not recommended for swimming. See the website for other information.
Now get out there and explore! Don’t forget to pin this and to sign up for our newsletter to receive travel tips, tricks, insights, and free coloring pages and itineraries straight to your inbox!