Whistler, a captivating gem nestled in the heart of Canada, never ceases to astonish me with its boundless allure, regardless of the season. A true haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Whistler transforms itself into a vibrant, natural playground that offers an abundance of activities to indulge in throughout the year. While winter often takes center stage, Whistler in the summer reveals a side that’s equally, if not more, enchanting.
My family heads to Whistler every spring for an annual vacation, but a few years ago, I finally had the chance to visit during summer in Whistler. While it’s hard to leave Seattle in the summer with all the activities we have, I was not at all disappointed with all the things to do I found up here. In fact, I’m already planning my next Whistler summer visit here this year!
Whether you’re spending a long weekend from Seattle here or looking for a quick weekend getaway from Vancouver, Whistler is the place to go during the summer. Here are some of the best things to do in Whistler in the summer as well as tips on where to stay and how to get there.
This post was first written in 2018 and last updated in April 2023.
19 Best Things to Do in Whistler in the Summer
Here are some of my favorite Whistler summer activities that I know you’ll love.
1. Relax at the Scandinave Spa
The Scandinave Spa is one of the more amazing things to do in Whistler in the summer. They have various pools where you go in several cycles of dipping in a cold pool, spending 10-15 minutes in a hot pool, and then relaxing. This was by far one of my favorite Whistler attractions in summer that I did, as I rarely get a chance to sit in silence and relax.
There are also saunas, steam rooms, and outdoor sanctuary areas to unwind in. You can also schedule a massage to round out your day there. What I loved most about this spa is you’re encouraged not to talk to anyone else, and phones aren’t allowed. This means you can do nothing but truly relax in nature, which is needed after your Vancouver to Whistler road trip or your drive from Seattle to Vancouver.
2. See the Vallea Lumina Light Show
One of the most popular things to do in Whistler during the summer is to check out Vallea Lumina, a multimedia light show that will take you away to a magnificent, illuminated world. Immerse yourself in a spellbinding tale told through cutting-edge projections, soundscapes, and interactive installations set in the beautiful coastal rainforest at night.
Just follow the lights, and you’ll find yourself in awestruck settings that celebrate the region’s cultural history and natural wonders. You’ll love putting this on your weekend in Whistler itinerary.
This runs on Cougar Mountain and starts when the sun goes down. Tickets cost 39 CAD for adults and 34 CAD for children, and shuttle pick-up is available.
3. Ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola
While the area is called Whistler, there are actually two mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb. The Peak 2 Peak gondola is how you get from either mountain in the winter in Vancouver, but also a great way to sightsee during the summer in Whistler. While I loved going on the gondola during my trip to Banff, the Peak 2 Peak blew me away.
You can take the Whistler village gondola up the mountain from the main part of town, and then will transfer to the Peak 2 Peak. Gondolas come every few minutes to take you two miles over the valley between the mountains. Every 15 minutes, a special gondola comes by with a glass bottom if you want to see what’s below you.
Admission for the gondola can be bought at the bottom of Whistler Mountain in the village and costs 58 CAD for adults when booked two days in advance or 63 CAD for walk-ups.
Both Blackcomb and Whistler have lodges at the top that are open year-round, so you can grab lunch or a drink. There are also many hikes to do on either mountain, whether you visit Vancouver in the spring or later to spend three days in Vancouver.
4. Buy Local Goods at the Farmer’s Market
On Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm, the Upper Village hosts the Whistler Farmer’s Market. They have dozens of different vendors to browse through. It’s a great way to stock up on local fruits and vegetables if you’re in town for a while.
Other vendors include local artists, homemade health products, and sweet treats. Food trucks are also on-site for lunch or dinner, and you can even enjoy a glass of wine while you’re there.
The dates they’ll be open this year are from May 21 to October 8, 2023.
5. Explore the Trainwreck Hike
Whistler is a hiker’s dream with the hundreds of trails you can explore in the area, especially when the weather is nice during summer in Vancouver. You can walk around Alta Lake or Lost Lake for shorter hikes or head up to the mountains for longer and steeper hikes.
One of the more unique hikes is the Train Wreck Hike just south of the village, and this is a hike I’ve done multiple times because it’s so scenic. You’ll need to drive there or get dropped off, but you’ll head south to Function Junction to get on the trail. It’s one of the top things to do in Whistler in summer due to it being a relatively easy hike.
The hike will take you into the forest, where there are seven old boxcars from a train wreck in 1956. They’re now colorfully decorated with graffiti, thanks to local artists, which makes it one of the best things to do in Whistler in the summer with kids.
6. Drink at the Umbrella Bar
There are plenty of bars in Whistler to visit, but the Umbrella Bar on Whistler Mountain quite literally tops them all. You can take the Peak 2 Peak gondola up to the lodge and then walk to the back to get on the deck. While it’s a bit of a trek to get here, it’s by far one of my favorite places for a drink.
You’ll see a giant umbrella and can sit outside or inside under the shade of the bar. There are not many other places in the area to have such a scenic view while you have a cold beer. This is one of the best things to do in Whistler in the summer, as it’s not often you can see the entire valley not covered in snow.
You’ll also be able to grab something to eat while you’re up there. One of my favorite Canadian dishes is cheesy poutine, so make sure to try that if it’s available.
7. Spend a Morning on the Golf Course
One of the more popular Whistler summer activities is golfing, as the weather is perfect for it. You can check out the Whistler Golf Club, which was the first Canadian design by Arnold Palmer. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course is another great one that’s been called “mountain golf at its finest.”
Nicklaus North Golf Course is a beautiful place to golf and is an 18-hole course that’s parred 71. I highly recommend booking your tee time well in advance at all of these sites, as the courses are packed during the summer in Whistler.
8. Try Local Ice Cream
Cows is the most popular place to get ice cream in the area, which is evident by the long lines no matter what time it is. It’s a classic Whistler summer activity, especially when the weather is hot outside (although I won’t lie – I come here literally every visit, whether it’s summer or winter).
They have a variety of fun flavors, such as Caramel Moochiato, Fluff’ N Udder, and Gooey Mooey. There’s also a large gift shop if you want to take home a souvenir.
9. Ride the Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sea to Sky Gondola is on the way to Whistler in the city of Squamish, but worth including in this list because it’s one of the best things to do in the Pacific Northwest. You’ll have amazing views of Howe Sound and other parts of Canada as you take the gondola up.
Once you get to the top, you can walk on the suspension bridge or take pictures from the viewing platform. Those who are really adventurous can hike up this steep mountain and then take the gondola back down. There are also other hikes to do at the top, or you can go rock climbing, which is another fun thing to do in Whistler in the summer.
10. Try Mountain Biking
While skiing may be a popular winter sport, mountain biking rules when it comes to the summer in Whistler. You’ll see people everywhere on their bikes, and most of them are headed to the Whistler bike park. When you’re looking for things to do in Whistler in the summer, check out this activity.
It’s fun to see the normally snow-covered ski lifts turn into bike lifts. Every other chair is changed out to become a bike rack, so your bike will come up the mountain right behind you. You can ride down the downhill mountain biking trails and even try some of the jumps at the bottom if you’re brave.
Tickets are cheaper when bought online and when you buy multiple days together. One day for an adult costs 87 CAD if you walk up and buy it.
11. Indulge in Outdoor Happy Hour
When you’re ready for happy hour, Four Seasons Whistler is the place to go. They have this adorable outdoor area where they serve drinks out of a restored camper.
It’s a peaceful and quiet setting to relax in, and the chairs are really comfortable. There’s also a putting green if you feel like moving a bit while having your drink.
However, there are many places to visit in Whistler in summer that have an outdoor happy hour, which is one of my favorite aspects of the town. Here are a few that I recommend:
- Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar & Grill: Overlooking the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, GLC offers a lively outdoor patio where you can enjoy happy hour deals on drinks and appetizers while watching bikers descend the mountain.
- Dusty’s Bar & BBQ: Located at the base of Creekside Gondola, Dusty’s outdoor patio is the perfect spot to unwind with happy hour specials on drinks and their famous BBQ dishes, all while soaking in the spectacular mountain views.
- The Longhorn Saloon & Grill: Situated right at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb gondolas, The Longhorn Saloon features a spacious outdoor patio where you can take advantage of happy hour prices on drinks and tasty bites as you watch the bustling village action. I always come here because of its convenient location.
- Black’s Pub & Restaurant: Offering a large outdoor patio with panoramic mountain views, Black’s Pub & Restaurant is an ideal spot to enjoy happy hour deals on drinks and a diverse menu of appetizers in a relaxed atmosphere.
- Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub: With its authentic Irish charm and a cozy outdoor patio, Dubh Linn Gate serves up happy hour specials on beverages and pub fare, making it a perfect spot to kick back and enjoy the Whistler ambiance.
12. Stroll Whistler Valley Trail
The Whistler Valley Trail is one of the more popular things to do in Whistler in summer and is a beautiful and wide paved walkway network that winds its way through Whistler. This multi-use trail system spans over 25 miles, linking communities, lakes, parks, and overlooks to make it easy and pleasurable for hikers, bicyclists, and rollerbladers to experience the scenic splendor of the area.
You’ll run into both tourists and locals on this path because of the abundance of natural beauty they will meet along its length. The Whistler Valley Path is a great way to mix time spent in nature with a stroll through the lively shops and restaurants of Whistler Village. This is the perfect idea when you’re looking for free things to do in Whistler in the summer.
13. Walk Around Lost Lake
When you’re looking for summer things to do in Whistler, head over to Lost Lake. Walking there from the village only takes 15 minutes, or you can take advantage of a free shuttle. It’s a fun way to mix up your Pacific Northwest vacation after hiking or mountain biking the day before.
The tranquility of Lost Lake, hidden among Whistler’s beautiful forests, makes it the perfect place to get away from it all. The lake’s calm waters beckon you to relax and take in all the beauty of nature that surrounds you. You can have an invigorating Whistler summer day at Lost Lake, with its sandy shores great for sunbathing and its clear waters perfect for swimming (making it one of the best Whistler family activities in summer).
The lake’s scenic trail system invites hikers and cyclists to explore the lush scenery, and the many picnic areas provide a wonderful opportunity to enjoy an outdoor dinner with friends and family. I’ve come here multiple times because it’s a nice break from the busy village.
14. Get Wet Whitewater Rafting
It can get hot in Whistler in July and August, and whitewater rafting is one of the more refreshing Whistler summer activities to do and doesn’t require much skill. They’ll teach you how to hold the paddle and when to use it. You’ll get pretty wet, but that’s half the fun!
Whistler’s whitewater rafting trips are a thrilling way to explore the outdoors and see the region’s natural beauty in a new light. There are rafting trips for both novices and seasoned veterans among the many rivers and rapids available.
Guides with an extensive understanding of the area’s ecology, history, and rafting skills will make your trip both safe and unforgettable. Anyone visiting Whistler in the summer seeking adventure should not miss out on this exciting activity.
15. Have the Thrill of ATVing
Those who are looking for activities to do in Whistler in summer that will give them a thrill will love going on an ATV in the mountains. There are guided tours you can take whether you’re a beginner or advanced at the sport.
The difficult backcountry trails wind through deep forests and over gentle hills, and provide spectacular mountain panoramas, all of which may be explored on a variety of guided tours suitable for riders of all skill levels.
Guides will provide interesting information about the history, ecology, and animals of Whistler as you travel. In addition to the thrill that comes with driving an all-terrain vehicle, an ATV tour also opens up stunning vistas that would otherwise be out of reach.
Book your spot in advance before you go.
16. Try a Variety of Cuisine
There are a variety of restaurants in Whistler to satisfy whatever craving you have. I’m always surprised by how I can find almost every type of cuisine here, and there are many cheap Whistler restaurants despite the town being generally expensive. These Whistler restaurants are some of my favorite ones:
- Dubh Linn Gate – Irish food like fish and chips, my favorite place to get a pint, and Irish music plays many nights of the week
- 21 Steps – Good for when you want a nicer meal has a selection of custom cocktails and unique pasta dishes
- Indian Masala Bistro – Located in Whistler Village close to the gondola, has a variety of Indian foods
- Sidecut – The restaurant at the Four Seasons has seafood dishes to try and share as well as refreshing mocktails in addition to alcoholic drinks
- Fifi’s Bistro – Located in the Upper Village, it has a variety of salads, hummus dishes, and sandwiches
- Avalanche Pizza – Perfect for cheap, quick slices when you want to save money or are in a rush, and it has tables outside to sit at
Want a unique dining experience? Check out this Whistler hidden gems experience.
17. Stay at a Luxury Hotel
There are several different luxury hotels in Whistler to stay at. I’ve had the chance to stay at the Four Seasons Whistler and highly recommend it. It’s located in the Upper Village and away from everything else, which is a huge bonus.
The crowds can be crazy during the summer in Whistler, so you’ll love the solitude at night. It’s only a five-minute walk to get back to the main part of the Upper Village, so it’s still plenty close.
The Four Seasons Whistler has plenty to do on the property itself, including a spa, pool, fitness center, restaurant, and bar. There’s even an outdoor lounge to grab a drink and relax at.
18. Play at the Playground
If you have young kids as I do, you know how important it is that they get their energy out. That’s why you’ll love all the playgrounds in Whistler, so you can make a quick stop when needed. My favorite playground is right by the Whistler Olympic Plaza, which is great so parents can grab a coffee while their kids play (several of the best Whistler coffee shops are here, like Purebread).
This location is really convenient if you’re staying there like I was last time and need your kid to run around a bit before naptime. It’s also one of the best cheap things to do in Whistler in the summer (because, yes, the village definitely is pricey at times).
19. Zipline Through the Forest
One of the first things I ever did at Whistler was zipline, and I’ve done it multiple times since because it’s one of the most fun things to do in Whistler in summer. There’s a zipline course right at the base of the village, and you’ll go through various lines to go over forests, rivers, and more.
There are many different types of zipline courses available, from those designed for families to those designed to give thrill-seekers a heart-pounding ride. Your safety is ensured by professional guides, who also enrich your experience by elucidating the area’s flora, animals, and history.
This is a very popular activity, so I recommend booking your day and time well in advance. Even when I come here during my annual spring trip when there’s still snow on the ground, ticket slots are limited. When looking for what to do in Whistler in summer, put this at the top of your list.
Book your tickets in advance before you go.
Where to Stay in Whistler in Summer
There are tons of places to stay in Whistler, but here are some of my recommended ones.
Luxury Hotel: Fairmont Chateau Whistler
The Fairmont Chateau Whistler is a luxury and stylish hotel located at the foot of Blackcomb Mountain. Luxury accommodations, including restaurants, a spa, and a course that has won awards, can all be found at this resort.
There is also a fitness center, a free shuttle to Whistler Village, and a heated outdoor pool. In the summer in Whistler, guests looking for a luxurious hotel with impeccable service might consider staying at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. (Rates start at $350 per night)
Budget Hotel: Pangea Pod Hotel
In the heart of Whistler Village, the Pangea Pod Hotel provides an original and inexpensive option for visitors on a tight budget. The hotel’s innovative pod rooms offer peace and quiet to guests without sacrificing the hotel’s lively communal areas.
There is a bar and café on the top floor, as well as secure storage for your equipment. If you want to see what all the fuss is about in Whistler without breaking the budget, this is your best bet. (Rates start at $60 per night)
Vacation Rental: Bright Modern Village Studio in the Heart of Whistler Village
This pristine, newly-renovated studio is filled with natural light and features an industrial elegance throughout the space. The spa-like bathroom adds to the luxurious feel, while the fully-equipped kitchen makes meal preparation a breeze. Situated within walking distance to the lifts, the studio boasts a comfortable memory foam queen-sized bed.
The studio is furnished with a queen-sized bed and a sleeper chair that can be converted into a single bed, providing comfortable accommodations for a third guest.
Book your room on VRBO
How to Get to Whistler
Whistler is approximately 75 miles north of Vancouver and takes about 1.5-2 hours to get there, depending on traffic. Here are some ways to get there if you don’t plan on driving from home:
The nearest major airport to Whistler is Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in British Columbia, Canada. From there, you have a few options to reach Whistler:
- Airport shuttle: Numerous shuttle services provide transportation between YVR and Whistler, offering door-to-door service or drop-off at designated locations in Whistler. Some popular options include Whistler Shuttle, YVR Skylynx, and Pacific Coach Lines.
- Car rental: Renting a car at the airport allows you the flexibility to explore the area at your own pace. I always drive there, so I recommend checking out companies like Expedia to find the best rates.
Several bus companies offer service between Vancouver and Whistler, including Greyhound and Epic Rides. These services usually depart from downtown Vancouver or nearby transit hubs, with multiple departures throughout the day.
There are tons of things to do in Whistler in the summer, so you’ll have plenty to choose from!