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Best Things to do in Whistler in the Summer

the ultimate summer guide to whistler Canada

Best Things to do in Whistler in the Summer

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!

little boy with red umbrella playing at Nita lake lodge to illustrate best summer activities in Whister*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 Falls

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.

Shannon 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.  

mom and child playing at shannon falls in whistler canada

We loved hiking and playing around Shannon Falls!

Alexander Falls

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.  

Nairn Falls

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.  

view from float plane ride to show the best things to do in Whistler in the SummerVISIT 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.

explore the mountains for the best summer activities in whistlerPEAK 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. 

free Canada coloring page

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BUNGEEEEEE

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. 

couple kissing at joffre lake in the summer

Joffre Lakes was AMAZING!!!

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!

ultimate summer guide to whistler

 

23 Comments
  • Danijela
    Posted at 11:55h, 07 July Reply

    So many waterfalls! I think I’d go for the Shannon Falls. I can only imagine how powerful it is, being the third highest in BC. And I love the fact that there is a restaurant on the top, so that one can relax.
    Judging by your photos, no wonder you’d be able to live in Whistler, it’s breath taking!

  • Danik
    Posted at 13:04h, 07 July Reply

    I did a short stop up here last summer and only did the gondala and took a short hike, but I did like the area. However I noticed a lot of buildings were empty and not lived in. Not sure if other visitors noticed this. Hopefully be back there again for a ski season soon.

  • Rosemary
    Posted at 11:49h, 08 July Reply

    I’ve always wanted to visit Whistler in the winter but had never thought about it as a Summer destination. Love all the stunning waterfalls. I especially love the name of the “Brandywine Falls.” There is so much more to do than I thought. I love hiking and the hikes you describe with the turquoise colored waters would be my favorite activity.

  • Thomas Bourlet
    Posted at 01:23h, 09 July Reply

    I couldn’t read ‘chasing waterfalls’ without TLC playing in my head! My fear of heights might kick in when flying on the float plane, but for those views and that experience I’d take it on the chin. However I might have to leave the bungee jumping, I think my knees would give way before I got to the edge.

  • Shreya Saha
    Posted at 08:38h, 09 July Reply

    I have read a lot about Whistler and this blog has just made me go restless to head to Vancouver. The waterfalls look magnificent, the idea of checking the view from a floatplane, the idea of hiking – these are too tempting. I would love to include these in my BC itinerary.

  • Debra Schroeder
    Posted at 11:14h, 09 July Reply

    Whistler’s been on our bucket list for a long time but for skiing. I hadn’t thought about going in the summer until I read your post. Shannon Falls would first on our list but I’d pass on the bear watching.

  • Tami Wilcox
    Posted at 00:04h, 10 July Reply

    I have a good friend who keeps telling me I have to go to Whistler. Her favorite word to describe Whistler is PRISTINE! And from your photos, looks like she’s right. I’d love to visit (in fact, I can’t believe I haven’t yet!) and see all the gorgeous nature and wildlife, too!

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 03:28h, 10 July Reply

    Definitely sounds like there are a ton of outdoor adventure activities to do in Whistler. I love bears, so I’d be all in for a bear safari. And you have to hike in a place like that. I’ve heard the food scene is pretty good there, too. With getting outdoors to work it all off, I wouldn’t feel guilty about indulging.

  • Danik
    Posted at 02:34h, 14 July Reply

    I love Whistler. I was there recently to do a hiking trip and I liked the place. Maybe not my overall favorutie in BC but it was still an enjoyable experience. I noticed a lot of empty houses there also..makes the place have a ghost town feel which is a shame. And nope, haven’t tried the bungee! :D

  • Danijela
    Posted at 10:26h, 14 July Reply

    Didn’t know that Whistler is so beautiful. Would definitely love to visit the Shannon Falls. It must be breath taking, and how about the fact that it’s the 3rd highest in the BC.
    Gondola ride sounds lovely, along with the restaurant on the top. Sounds like one should take a break there.
    Thank you for this lovely suggestion. :)

  • Holly
    Posted at 07:12h, 15 July Reply

    I have never been, but it looks really pretty. These are some great suggestions. I would love to do SUP there.

  • Rosemary
    Posted at 11:03h, 15 July Reply

    Whistler, Canada is a dream destination for me especially in the Winter. I hadn’t thought of visiting in the Summer. Reading this and seeing the pictures of the gorgeous hikes, is making me reconsider. The Joffre Lakes picture with the amazing blue hues is amazing. I’d also love to check out the bike park. Thanks for getting me to reconsider Whistler as a Summer destination.

  • Marlene Marques
    Posted at 05:54h, 16 July Reply

    Such an incredible place and awesome things to do! Would definitely like to see the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola with the glass floor. That must be an amazing experience and the views to die for.

  • Milijana
    Posted at 09:04h, 16 July Reply

    I understand when you said you could live there in the summer. What a joy must be to see every day such incredible scenery of turquoise glaciers, waterfalls, and pristine mountainscapes A true treat! And a great place for a retreat!

  • Thomas Bourlet
    Posted at 13:53h, 16 July Reply

    I would love to see some bears in the wild, how big were they? That view from the bridge would both give me anxiety and extreme joy in equal measure.

  • vanessa workman
    Posted at 23:46h, 16 July Reply

    I had no idea Whistler has so many waterfalls! Guess that makes sense considering it’s a mountain location. Typically I think Whistler, I just think snow, great to see the area being promoted for more than just skiing. The mountain bike trails must be a blast to ride especially if there are maps available for the direction-ally challenged (like me :D ). I’m definitely stopping by next time I’m in Canada.

  • Debra Schroeder
    Posted at 07:35h, 17 July Reply

    What a fun trip, we want to visit Whistler to ski, neat to know there are a lot of things to do in the summer. Shannon Falls would be our first stop and I’d skip the bears.

  • Tami Wilcox
    Posted at 21:37h, 17 July Reply

    I love how you keep creating the cutest coloring pages to accompany your posts. I know the grandkids will love them! Whistler is a place that’s been on my radar for quite awhile, as I’ve heard from several friends how beautiful it is. Looks like you’ve found that to be true, too!

  • Linda (LD Holland)
    Posted at 00:42h, 23 July Reply

    We loved our visit to Whistler in the summer. We found it cool that we could take the chair lift up and still find snow on the very high tops. We missed Shannon Falls. But that looks like a spot to visit. That view from the float plane looks stunning! I might pass on the mountain bikes. But not on the spa! We do need to go back!

  • Hannah
    Posted at 10:37h, 23 July Reply

    We didn’t get as far as Whistler on our recent Canadian trip – and now I’m sad I missed out on all these wonderful places. I would love to go on a bear tour – to be able to see them in the wild would be amazing. And Joffre Lakes looks idyllic!

  • Chris Bloomfield
    Posted at 18:53h, 23 July Reply

    The free hiking and waterfalls sound like something our family would like to check out. Of course my wife and kids would want to ride the gondolas. Since I am terrified of heights, but a team player, it wouldn’t be all that fun! The views look awesome though and I really want to visit BC now.

  • Jean
    Posted at 03:44h, 28 July Reply

    I’m not sure if I’m brae enough to do a floatplane! Was it nerve rracking? I’ve always wanted to try mountain biking around Whistler in the summer time

  • Andi
    Posted at 19:04h, 28 July Reply

    I was happy to see this post as I always see things to do in the winter because of the skiing. I love winter but hate skiing and think that so many resorts are awesome in the summertime. I love this area of Canada and I have much more exploring to do.

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