Whistler is one of those places in Canada that I’m always amazed at every time I visit. Whether it’s summer or winter, there’s always some type of outdoor activity you can do to enjoy nature. Whistler is a natural playground no matter what time of year it is. While winter tends to be more popular, there are numerous Whistler summer activities.
I take a family vacation to Whistler every spring and have also been up during every other season throughout the years. This was my first time visiting in the summer and I loved being able to stroll through the village without having snow everywhere.
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.
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.
There are also saunas, steam rooms, and outdoor sanctuary areas to relax in. You can also schedule a massage to round out your day there. What I love most about this spa is you’re encouraged to not talk to anyone else and phones aren’t allowed. This means you can do nothing but truly relax in nature.
2. See the Vallea Lumina Light Show
One of the newer Whistler summer activities is the Vallea Lumina light show, which takes place at night in the forest. It’s an interactive light show that tells a story as you walk along the route that you’ll want to check out during your weekend in Whistler.
This runs from July 18 – October 15 on Cougar Mountain and starts when the sun goes down. Tickets cost 29 CAD for adults and 24 CAD for children, and shuttle pick-up is available.
3. Ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola
While the area is called Whistler, but there are actually two mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb. The Peak 2 Peak gondola is how you get from either mountain in the winter, but also a great way to sightsee during the summer in Whistler. While I loved going on the gondola during my 3 day trip to Banff, the Peak 2 Peak blew me away.
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.
4. Buy Local Goods at the Farmer’s Market
On Wednesdays from 2 pm to 7 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.
5. Explore Locals Trails
Whistler is a hiker’s dream with the hundreds of trails you can explore in the area. 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 Train Wreck Hike just south of the village. You’ll need to drive there or get dropped off, but you’ll head south to Function Junction to get on the trail.
The hike will take you into the forest where there are 7 old boxcars from a train wreck in 1956. They’re now colorfully decorated with graffiti thanks to local artists.
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.
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 par 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.
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. 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.
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 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 mountain on dozens of different 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 73 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.
12. Stroll Whistler Valley Trail
You don’t have to go up into the mountains to get exercise. The Whistler Valley Trail is a convenient way to walk, run, or bike on. It’s one of the more popular things to do in Whistler in the summer, as the trail is often filled with many people looking to get some fresh air. The trail also connects the lakes if you want to make a long walk out of it.
13. Walk Around Lost Lake
Lost Lake is a beautiful place to go during the summer in Whistler. Many hiking and biking trails surround it, and there’s a sandy beach for those who want to go swimming.
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 vacation after hiking or mountain biking the day before.
14. Get Wet Whitewater Rafting
It can get hot in Whistler, especially in July and August. 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.
15. Have the Thrill of ATVing
Those who are looking for 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.
It’s a fun way to get to experience the areas without having to hike all the way up to them. Families with children are allowed to go as well, so it’s not just an activity for adults.
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. 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 – 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, 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, has tables outside to sit at
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 having 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 at and relax at.