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43+ VERY Best Whistler Summer Activities (by a local!)

Whistler summer activities are some of my favorite things to do in Whistler.

Yes, I love, love, LOVE skiing in Whistler but sometime you just can’t beat spending a sunny day in the mountains with a fresh breeze, sitting by a turquoise lake and incredible views everywhere you look.

When you hear “Whistler,” your thoughts might immediately drift to powdery white slopes and a winter wonderland. However, Whistler is not just a winter paradise. While there are loads of Whistler winter activities, I promise are also so many fun things to do at Whistler in the summer too.

From adrenaline-pumping mountain biking, feeling zen at a Whistler spa, eating at Whistler’s best restaurants, tackling some of the best Whistler hikes, or enjoying a paddleboarding session on the most beautiful these Whistler summer things to do cater to every kind of adventure seeker.

Having lived in Vancouver for 6 years, visiting Whistler was almost a weekly ritual. Summer weekends full of Whistler activities were some of my favorites.

The daylight hours are long and you can enjoy a walk in the morning, followed by some mountain biking in Whistler bike park and then a refreshing dip in one of the beautiful Whistler lakes like Alpha Lake or Lost Lake.

Visiting Whistler Canada in summer is one of the best places to travel in BC. The weather is perfectly pleasant, with daytime averages around 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit), providing a warm and inviting climate. As August rolls in, temperatures rise slightly to an average of 24 Celsius (75 Fahrenheit).

The heat is rarely too much since you have plenty of refreshing mountain air keeping humidity at bay. Rainy days are a rare sight during the summer months, with less than 16 days of rainfall between June and August so the probability of clear, sunny days is high! Perfect for indulging in all the activities Whistler offers.

Though the winter season in Whistler draws the biggest crowds, Whistler in summer is still busy due to the wide range of Whistler summer activities available during the warmer months. I’d recommend at least a full weekend in Whistler to fully appreciate the summer activities Whistler offers.

So, if you’re visiting Whistler in the summer either from abroad or as a Vancouver getaway weekend, then check out this ultimate guide to the best things to do in Whistler in the summer by a local (me!).

Best things to do in Whistler summer season

1. Take a hike in Whistler

whistler lord of the squirrels mount sproatt
Mount Sproatt in Whistler

There are so many gorgeous Whistler hiking trails and one of the best things to do in Whistler in summer is to get out on the trails and take a hike!

From alpine hikes to lift-accessed walks, strenuous multi-day backpacking trips, and easy hikes in Whistler, you have a lot to choose from when it comes to Whistler hikes.

Trails like the High Note Trail on Whistler Mountain offer incredible views of alpine meadows, wildflowers, and glacial lakes, whereas the trail to Cheakamus Lake gives you similar views from a lower elevation. You could also hike out to a train wreck in Whistler, or walk around the trails of Lost Lake which is one of my favorite lakes in Whistler (just keep an eye out for mountain bikers!). Some of these trails are also great for snowshoeing in Whistler in winter!

Hiking in Whistler isn’t just a form of exercise; it’s a great way to explore this beautiful part of British Columbia and immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings.

Plus, it’s one of the best cheap things to do in the Whistler summer season since it’s free if you’re not doing the hikes off the top of the gondola!

2. Visit the best lakes in Whistler

lost lake whistler best hikes
Lost Lake in Whistler

When the summer sun is high in the sky, the clear waters of Whistler’s lakes become an inviting place to take a refreshing dip and cool off. Plus, many of them are surrounded by beaches and parks making them the perfect place to spend a relaxing day in Whistler.

Lost Lake in Whistler is one of my favourites. It’s within easy walking distance from Whistler Village along a paved walking trail and is surrounded by trails and a grassy area. There is a dock on the lake, as well as a swimming pontoon. You’re surrounded by mountain views too. It really is beautiful.

Alpha Lake is another great lake to relax on and Nita Lake is one of the more peaceful lakes in Whistler.

You can also go hiking out to a lake in Whistler such as Russett Lake, Cheakamus Lake, Wedgemount or Garibaldi Lake. They’re all awesome hikes if you’re wondering what to do at Whistler in the summer.

3. Wake up with some of the best coffee in Whistler

purebread whistler coffee shop
Purebread Cafe, Whistler Village

There are so many great Whistler coffee shops where you can get some locally roasted beans and breakfast buns and sandwiches to give you a pre-adventure caffeine kick or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

Purebread is a local favourite, serving great coffee and SO many delicious sweet treats. You’ll need to queue in the mornings but it’s worth it. There’s another location in Function Junction which is a bit quieter than the Whistler Village location.

There’s also Forecast Coffee which roasts its own beans which is well worth checking out.

4. Find these beautiful Whistler waterfalls

nairn falls whistler easy hike
Nairn Falls Whistler

While Whistler’s mountains and lakes often steal the spotlight, these Whistler waterfalls are equally deserving of attention.

A short easy walk from a pullout along the sea-to-sky highway takes you to the stunning Brandywine Falls just south of Whistler. Here you’ll get amazing views of a 70-meter waterfall cascading into a beautiful blue-green pool below.

Meanwhile, Alexander Falls in Whistler’s Callaghan Valley area is in a picturesque forest setting and Nairn Falls to the north is shorter, but beautiful nonetheless.

5. Visit the Whistler museum

The Whistler Museum is the place to go to learn more about Whistler’s history and how it became a world-famous resort.

The museum houses a wide range of exhibits telling the story of Whistler’s journey, from the early pioneer days, through the creation of the resort in the 1960s, to its role as a host of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. There’s also information about the indigenous Squamish and Lil’wat Nations whose traditional territories encompass the Whistler area.

Exhibits cover the natural history of the region, including its geology and the local ecosystems. Whistler’s skiing heritage forms a significant part of the exhibits, with memorabilia, old equipment, and fascinating stories about early ski pioneers. There are also displays about the development of mountain biking and other outdoor pursuits in the area.

  • Opening hours: Friday – Tuesday 11 am – 5 pm, Thursdays until 9 pm, closed Wednesdays
  • Entrance fee: By donation, a suggestion of CAD$5

6. Go to the farmers market in Whistler

If you find yourself in Whistler between July and October, don’t miss the Whistler Farmers Market!

The market runs from 11 am and lasts until 4 pm and has over 50 stalls full of both locally grown fruit and vegetables, food items such as preserves, drinks and more and handcrafted home goods and clothing.

You’ll usually find some food trucks here too!

The market’s location changes annually, so it’s a good idea to visit their website for the most up-to-date info on where to head and who’s vending.

In 2023, the Whistler Farmer’s Market is on the Upper Village stroll.

ziplining in whistler

7. Go ziplining in Whistler

If you’re someone who loves a good dose of adrenaline with their vacation, ziplining in Whistler will be right up your alley.

Two companies offer thrilling zipline courses that’ll have you gliding through the treetops, all while enjoying the mesmerizing views. This tour which gives you the choice of two different zipline routes with multiple zip lines. The Eagle Zipline route gets some of the best reviews!

There’s also the infamous Sasquatch line, boasting the title of the longest single zipline in North America – an exhilarating stretch spanning over 2 kilometres!

The cost of ziplining at Whistler starts from $147 CAD and there are weight and age restrictions (between 27 kg (60 lbs) and 113 kg (249 lbs) and seven years or older) to ensure everyone’s safety.

8. Try the Whistler bungee jump

Another way to get that adrenaline pumping is to pick this next Whistler summer activity: bungee jumping!

It’s the location of the Whistler bungee jump that really makes this activity in Whistler worthwhile. You’ll head out towards the Cheakamus River which is a beautiful blue colour and get views of the river, mountains and forest all around you.

The jump is from 49 meters (160 ft), and it’s situated roughly an hour’s drive from the town along the picturesque Sea to Sky Highway. You’ll need to arrange your transportation to get there.

You can do both solo and tandem jumps depending on whether you can rope a friend into it with you or not!

Places for the Whistler bungee jump can get booked up well in advance, especially in summer, so make sure you book ahead of your trip.

9. Rent a kayak on Alta Lake

kayaking on alta lake in whistler bc
Kayaking on Alta Lake Whistler

What’s a visit to Whistler in summer without a day spent on the beautiful Alta Lake? Alta Lake is beautiful and on our first trip to Whistler, we rented a kayak so we could explore it at our own pace.

Though the parks around Alta Lake can get very busy, it’s a different story once you’re out on the lake.

We rented from the rental shop at Wayside Park on Alta Lake and got to enjoy the views all around us.

Just pay attention to the wind direction as you don’t want to paddle too far out and then be struggling against the wind on your way back before your rental time ends!

10. Go camping in Whistler

cheakamus lake hike
Camping at Cheakamus Lake Whistler

If you truly want to experience the wilderness going camping at Whistler is the way to go.

There are plenty of places to go camping in Whistler from Rec Sites (free or cheap camping with few facilities), to hike-in backcountry camping, hut camping at Kees and Claire Hut near Russet Lake, or camping in a privately owened campground with RV hookups and facilities.

Whichever option for Whistler camping you choose, you’ll wake up to some beautiful surroundings.

Don’t forget to bring your marshmallows for that essential camping experience – the campfire s’mores! And remember, in Whistler, we respect the wildlife, so keep your food secured and trash cleaned up so as to not attract bears and rodents.

cocktails in whistler summer activities

11. Grab cocktails in Whistler

After a day full of adventure, nothing beats winding down with some quality cocktails. And let me tell you, Whistler knows its cocktails. Whistler has a party vibe but it’s not all cheap beer and wine, you can definitely find more upmarket places that serve some delicious cocktails too.

Some of the best cocktails in Whistler can be found at FireRock Lounge right near the Whistler Village Gondola. The Raven Room is one of my favourites for a post-dinner drink and they have a great cocktail menu with some interesting and delicious combinations as well as a great outdoor seating area.

The Mallard Lounge at the Fairmont Chateau is another great choice and the Blushing Geisha cocktail is tasty. Or, try Apres Apres for a nightclub vibe yet surprisingly good cocktails too.

Top tip: Whistler’s sunsets are beautiful, so grab your cocktail and secure a spot on a patio to enjoy the best views. It’s one of the best things to do in Whistler Village in the evening.

12. Chill out at a spa in Whistler

Scandinave Spa in Whistler

As much as I love spending a full day in the Whistler bike park, or out on the Whistler hiking trails, I also love spending a few hours at the spa.

Luckily you can do both in Whistler!

The Scandinave Spa in Whistler is the most well-known and definitely offers something special. You’ll head north out of Whistler Village and to the spa which is located in a forest setting. The entrance ticket gets you all day at the spa though I typically spend just a couple of hours here.

You can enjoy the saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs and cold pools as well as solariums where you’ll find comfortable seating and chairs for napping. There’s no talking allowed at the spa and it’s adults-only so not great for families, but ideal if you’re looking for somewhere super relaxing and peaceful.

You can also book treatments here including massages and there’s a bar and restaurant area too.

There’s also the Nita Lake Lodge Spa which though smaller than the Scandinave Spa is just as worth a visit. This spa is to the south of Whistler and has a beautiful outdoor hot tub and seating area where you can relax with views of gorgeous Nita Lake and the mountains. They also do treatments and booking a treatment gets you a couple of hours access to the spa.

mountain biking in whistler bike park
In between trails in the Whistler bike park

13. Hit the mountain biking trails at Whistler Bike Park & around

Whistler is one of the best places for mountain biking in Canada with a huge lift-accessed downhill bike park and plenty of x-country trails to explore.

With over 70 trails spread across four distinct zones – Fitzsimmons, Garbanzo, Creekside, and Peak – Whistler Bike Park boasts the most extensive rideable terrain in North America. Whether you’re trying your hand at biking for the first time or you’re an experienced rider seeking new challenges, there’s a trail designed specifically for you.

‘EZ Does It,’ for instance, is a gentle but exciting ride down into the village, perfect for beginners. More experienced bikers can choose from various blue trails, while expert and pro trails cater to those seeking technical challenges and steep terrains. A-Line on Whistler Mountain is a favourite jump trail for mountain bikers in Whistler.

You’ll need a bike pass to access the downhill bike park trails at Whistler, but you can also try mountain biking on the X-country network. For instance, there are mountain biking trails around Lost Lake or you could bike to Cheakamus Lake which was how I convinced my husband to go there with me since he’s not much of a hiker.

You can also book a mountain biking tour with a local guide who’ll adjust the trails he takes you on according to your wants and your ability. It’s a great way to explore the X-country trail system without having to stress about the navigation on your own.

For something challenging, check out the incredible Lord of the Squirrels mountain biking route. This is an all-day adventure that requires a strong level of fitness as you head up from the valley bottom to the alpine and then down on some fun blue-black trails. This trail is often closed to grizzly bear activity, so check before you head out and obey the signs.

14. Ride the Peak2Peak in Whistler

If you’ve ever been skiing in Whistler the chances are you’ve ridden the Peak 2 Peak gondola, the shiny red gondola that takes you from Whistler Mountain over to Blackcomb and vice versa.

The gondola stays open in summer and taking a ride on it is the perfect way to do some sightseeing with minimal effort required.

Stretching an impressive 1.9 miles between towers, this Whistler gondola ride offers an unobstructed, 360-degree view of the towering mountain peaks, the lush valley floor, and winding alpine trails.

The gondola ride is an adventure in itself. As the gondola ascends, keep your eyes open; you might just spot a deer prancing in the forest, a bird soaring high, or even a bear lumbering across a clearing.

Top tip: If you’re prepared to wait longer in line you can also go in one of the gondolas with a glass floor so you can see straight down to the valley bottom!

river of golden dreams whistler

15. Paddle the River of Golden Dreams in Whistler

The River of Golden Dreams paddle is one of the best Whistler summer activities.

You’ll travel along the river from Green Lake to Alta Lake enjoying mountain views and perhaps some wildlife spottings such as beavers and their dams! Look up too since you can also see osprey and eagles in this area.

You can do this paddle in Whistler on both your own canoes and kayaks, as part of a tour on the River of Golden Dreams or a self-guided experience where you just get the rentals and safety experience.

The paddle takes up to 3 hours usually though may be faster in early summer when the rivers are at full flow. Both the self-guided and guided experience on the River of Golden Dreams includes transport to and from the start and end of the paddle so you don’t need to figure out a way to get back.

vallea lumina whistler summer

16. Discover Vallea Lumina in Whistler

Vallea Lumina is a unique outdoor experience nestled in the heart of Whistler’s Cougar Mountain.

The immersive event combines nature and technology to turn the mountain’s old-growth forest into a magical wonderland once the sun dips below the horizon.

As part of the experience, you’ll walk along a 1.5 km trail checking out a cool music and light experience which tells the story of two missing hikers.

Vallea Lumina operates in both summer and winter but the start time changes depending on sunset.

sea to summit trail squamish bc (4 of 4)

17. Take a road trip from Whistler

If you’re staying in Whistler for a while then I recommend taking a road trip.

Some of the best Whistler road trips are down the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish or Vancouver. Where you can explore some of the best things to do in Squamish which range from hiking to rock climbing, and go biking around Stanley Park in Vancouver.

Alternatively, you can head north to Pemberton via the beautiful Joffre Lakes hike, or explore the town of Pemberton which has some great breweries and incredible mountain sights. There’s also horseriding in Pemberton which is well worth booking if you’re looking for a unique way to enjoy the views.

If you’re continuing your travels in British Columbia and heading over towards Jasper and Banff National Park, check out this road trip guide to the drive from Whistler to Kamloops for some beautiful places to stop along the way.

whistler cloudraker sky bridge

18. Walk the Whistler Cloudraker Skybridge

If you’ve bought the Peak 2 Peak gondola ticket, it’s worth spending more time up on Whistler Mountain since the ticket is pretty pricey. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do up there and one of those is checking out the Cloudraker Skybridge.

You’ll need the Peak 2 Peak 360 ticket and this gets you access to the Peak chairlift which whisks you up to the top of the mountain.

The Cloudraker Skybridge is 130 m (425 ft) long, stretching from Whistler Peak to West Ridge across the Whistler Bowl. If you’ve got the nerve, crossing it is an incredible experience to have in Whistler in summer.

Note: To ride the Peak Express, guests must be 40” (3.3 feet or 1 m) or taller and must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Children must be taller than 40” and 12 years or older to ride alone.

Make sure to pack warm layers as it can be surprisingly cold up the top!

golfing in whistler bc

19. Go golfing in Whistler

If you’re into golfing, then you’ll want to check out some of the golf courses in Whistler. They’re super scenic and well-maintained allowing you to enjoy amazing views while out on the course.

You can try your swing at the Whistler Golf Club, or head over to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course. The Nicklaus North Golf Course offers a great 18-hole layout too.

Given the popularity of golf in Whistler, it’s recommended to reserve your tee times well in advance to secure your spot.

whistler atv tour

20. Take an off-road driving trip in an ATV

A super fun thing to do in Whistler is an ATV tour that many people miss!

There are several different tours but they all give you amazing scenic views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains as well as Blacktusk in Garibaldi Provincial Park.

The Whistler ATV Bushwacker Tour is one of the best as it takes you on the backcountry trails of the Brandywine Valley that are off-the-beaten-path. Over the course of 2 hours, you’ll cruise over the rough forest roads and bush trails and get amazing views

There’s also the Call of the Wild ATV tour which is a private 3-hour ATV tour through the beautiful Callaghan Valley trails. With your guide, you’ll travel several kilometers past rivers, streams, and hidden mountain viewpoints.

If you enjoyed ATV rides and want to come back to Whistler in winter, be sure to check out these Whistler snowmobiling tours!

hiking garibaldi lake

21. Explore Garibaldi Provincial Park

Garibaldi Provincial Park is one of the prettiest places on the west coast of Canada and is home to some of the best hikes near Vancouver and Whistler.

The provincial park has several trailheads which are close to Whistler and going on one of the hikes in the park is a must-do if you’re looking for what to do in Whistler in summer.

One of the most popular hikes is to Garibaldi Lake, a turquoise lake framed by snow-capped peaks and alpine meadows. You can extend a hike to Garibaldi Lake by visiting Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge.

Note that hikes to Garibaldi Lake from Rubble Creek require a free day pass.

You will need a day pass to access popular BC parks, Garibaldi (from June 14 – Oct 9), Joffre (May 6 – Oct 9) and Golden Ears (June 14 – Sept 4). The passes are free and available from 7 am two days before your visit. All details & information here

If you’re looking for something challenging then check out Wedgemount Lake to the north of Whistler which involves a long steep hike but has incredible views and a glacier at the top. There’s also an easy option for hiking in the park with the mostly flat Cheakamus Lake trail.

Ensure you check trail conditions before setting off and remember to adhere to Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the park’s natural beauty.

whistler floatplane tour

22. Book a floatplane sightseeing tour in Whistler

For an extra special and unique view of the landscapes surrounding Whistler, book a floatplane sightseeing tour.

From high above, you can soak in the bird’s-eye view of the region’s mountains and lakes it’s an incredible experience.

You’ll take off and land on Green Lake in the centre of Whistler and then head up and see incredible sights as well as have the chance to view glaciers from onboard the plane.

As you fly, the pilot will give you information about what you’re passing over and you can book a 30-minute or 40-minute flight. This floatplane tour heads over to Wedgemount Glacier and Wedge Mountain. I’ve hiked in this area and can only imagine how absolutely stunning it is from the air!

For something extra special, book this helicopter tour in Whistler which flies over the glaciers in Garibaldi Provincial Park and includes a stop off on a mountain!

23. Bike the Valley Trail in Whistler

Biking the Valley Trail is a must-do Whistler summer activity.

The Valley Trail in Whistler is a big network of paved paths that span 40 km and connect Whistler’s neighborhoods with each other as well as the parks and lakes.

It’s not only one of the best ways to get around Whistler, but a great way to explore the valley and see some of the best places to visit in Whistler.

You can make stops at popular destinations like Lost Lake, Green Lake, or Rainbow Park, and be sure to pack your swimsuit for a refreshing dip or a picnic lunch to enjoy against the stunning backdrop.

Rental bikes are readily available throughout the village if you didn’t bring your own. I’ve rented from Evolution in Whistler Village a couple of times and the service has always been great.

You can also rent an e-bike to make it a more leisurely experience.

24. Go glacier skiing in Whistler!

For skiing enthusiasts, the fun doesn’t have to end with winter.

The Horstman Glacier at Whistler Blackcomb gives you a unique opportunity to ski in the summer months.

Accessible via the Blackcomb Gondola and then the T-bar, glacier skiing at Whistler Blackcomb is currently only open to glacier ski camps which must be booked in advance.

It’s also only open to very good skiers but you’ll get the chance to try out new skills under expert guidance under the summer sun.

25. Check out Whistler’s giant snow walls

If you’re visiting Whistler earlier in the summer you have to check out the giant Whistler snow walls!

Depending on how good the snow season was, some of the snow walls on Whistler Mountain just above Pika’s Traverse can reach up to 12 metres (40 ft) high!

The snow walls tend to decline in late May and June so you’ll need to visit before then to see them at their highest!

Visiting the snow walls is part of the PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Experience which has lots of super fun Whistler activities in summer.

black bear in jasper

26. Take a bear viewing tour in Whistler

Look, I know bears can be dangerous, but there’s just something I love about them and despite having seen plenty of bears while living in Canada, I will never tire of seeing them.

Whistler is a great place to see bears from a safe distance as they go about their day. Though there have been tales of grizzly bears in Whistler, they’re more typically black bears. If you visit in spring and fall, you’ll likely see the bears on the golf courses or on the mountainside and in summer you can see them from the gondolas as you go up Whistler or Blackcomb Mountain.

Since the bears are wild, there’s no guarantee you’ll see them but earlier in the morning and early evening is the best time for bear spotting. Driving out towards Whistler Olympic Park on Callaghan Road is a good place to try too.

Alternatively, book a bear-viewing tour in Whistler with a local guide.

Remember never to get too close to bears or try to attract them over to you with food. A fed bear is a dead bear and we don’t want them being killed because they become too habituated to people! If you see a bear in your car, do not get out of the car. And, if you see bear cubs, take extra caution as the mumma bears can be very protective (rightly so). Check out my bear safety post for more tips.

27. Visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center

The town of Whistler is on the traditional lands of the Squamish and Lil’Wat Nations and the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre is a must visit in Whistler to learn more about their histories and cultures.

You’ll learn from a Lil’Wat ambassador who guides you through the centre starting with a hand drum welcome song.

Don’t rush off after your tour. Take your time to wander around the exhibits that showcase the bond between the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation.

whistler via ferrata tour

28. Try the Whistler Via Ferrata, Whistler Sky Walk

If you’ve never heard of Via Ferrata, it’s like rock climbing with training wheels.

In Italian it means the iron way and Via Ferrata adventures involve climbing up metal rungs and ladders while roped into a bolted route on the rocks.

The Via Ferrata Tour in Whistler is an adventure you won’t want to miss. Even if you’re new to climbing, you’ll be just fine as you ascend Whistler Mountain’s 2160-meter (7,087 feet) summit (as long as you’re not too scared of heights!)

Another option is the Whistler SkyWalk tour which is run by a mountain guiding company we’ve used previously for rock climbing trips and I’d highly recommend them.

You’ll need a Peak 2 Peak gondola sightseeing pass to reach the starting point of the tour.

white water rafting
A similar trip in Radium Hot Springs

29. Go river rafting near Whistler

How about some whitewater rafting on the Green River in Whistler?

You’ll love the icy spray from the glacier-fed rapids on a hot summer day. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry, the rapids on Green River are class II or III, so you won’t be thrown into anything too wild plus you’ll have some river rafting guides who’ll teach you everything you need to know and guide you down the rapids.

There are also harder options which take place on other rivers including the Lower Cheakamus, Elaho and Squamish Rivers.

Rafting tours in Whistler start at CAD$120 per person and last from a few hours to a full day depending on what you’re looking for. You can learn more about Whistler rafting tours here.

30. Check out the Whistler sliding centre

The Whistler Sliding Centre was used in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics so it’s one of the best sliding facilities in the world.

The sliding centre sits above the village and you can take a free, self-guided tour to learn more about the facilities and the sports that take place here such as luge, skeleton and bobsleigh.

If you’re looking to try your hand at these sports yourself, you can!

You can get into a bobsleigh and feel a rush of adrenaline as you head down the track with a guide. Participants must be at least 14 and your ticket fee goes towards supporting the athletes that train here.

what to do in whistler in winter for non skiers (3 of 3)
Whistler Village in winter

31. Explore Whistler Village and Whistler Stroll

Whistler Village is a great place to spend a few hours by walking along the Whistler Stroll which is a pretty pedestrianized pathway connecting North and South Whistler Village.

There are bridges and a stream and lots of places for coffee, grabbing something to eat and even indulging in some shopping.

My favorite shop in Whistler is Armchair Books which has all the must-read books as well as locally written books that focus on local adventures, stories, and nature. Grabbing a new book here and heading to Lost Lake is my favorite summer activity in Whistler.

If you’re visiting Canada from abroad, then you’ll find so many places to get some Canadian souvenirs from your trip. Besides typical souvenirs like statues, magnets, and t-shirts, there are Canadian-owned stores by Lululemon and Roots that have Whistler-specific items you can only find here.

As evening falls, unwind on an outdoor patio, sipping your favorite drink. Top spots include the Irish bar Dubh Linn Gate, Basalt, La Brasserie, and The Living Room.

32. Find your way out of the Whistler Escape Room

If you’re looking for an activity that’s a bit more cerebral, try out the Whistler Escape Room.

In this exciting and immersive game, you and your team will be locked in a room and must solve puzzles, and riddles, and find clues to escape within a set time limit.

It’s a fun, thrilling, and mentally stimulating way to spend an hour or two, especially if you’re looking for things to do in Whistler in the rain.

The Escape Room themes can vary, offering something for all tastes. Whether it’s solving a mystery, escaping from a haunted cabin, or preventing a disaster, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.

33. Attend an event in Whistler in summer

Whistler is a town that has tonnes of community and cultural events with summer having a particularly full calendar for activities.

The Whistler events season kicks off with the Whistler Half Marathon in early June. This event attracts athletes from all over, providing various race lengths, including a 21.1 km half marathon, 10 km, 5 km, and even a 1 km ‘little rippers’ race for the kids.

Then there are Canada Day celebrations on July 1 in Whistler where the whole town turns into a giant festival, complete with free outdoor concerts, colourful parades, and local art demonstrations.

For those who love a physical challenge, the Red Bull 400 World Championships presents an arduous 400-meter uphill climb on the ski jump at the Whistler Olympic Park and mountain biking lovers should mark their calendars for the Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival. This event celebrates mountain biking culture, with top riders from around the world competing on Whistler’s challenging and beautifully crafted trails. The festival also features live music, art installations, and a thrilling atmosphere.

whistler fine dining tour

34. Enjoy a meal at one of the best Whistler restaurants

Whistler isn’t just about outdoor adventures; it’s also a foodie paradise.

The town boasts a range of amazing restaurants, offering everything from casual bites to fine dining experiences. Enjoy fresh, local cuisine prepared by world-class chefs, all while taking in beautiful mountain views.

Whether you’re after a gourmet burger after a day of activities, a romantic dinner for two, or a hearty breakfast to fuel your day, you’ll find an eatery to satisfy your cravings.

Be sure to book in advance during peak times, as the best spots can fill up quickly!

This Whistler fine dining tour is definitely the best way to experience some of the best Whistler restaurants. This 4-hour progressive dinner tour gives you the chance to explore local cuisine from award-winning chefs and visit cavernous wine cellars where you will learn to sabre a champagne bottle!

With your local guide, you’ll sample regional fare from blackened ahi tuna to icewine truffles, a local speciality.

35. Take a walking tour in Whistler

Walking tours are a great way to really get to know a place and there are some great walking tours in Whistler.

The Great Whistler Walking Tour is a 2-hour walking tour where you’ll discover local secrets, explore some of the prettiest spots in Whistler and learn about the town as you go from Whistler Village to some of the places featured in the 2020 Winter Olympics.

36. Get a selfie at the Olympic Rings, Whistler

The Whistler Olympic Plaza is home to the iconic Olympic rings and is a must-visit spot for any traveller in the area.

The five interlocking rings, representing the five continents united by the Olympic spirit and make a perfect backdrop for a memorable selfie or group photo.

You’ll find the rings in the Olympic Plaza surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty that Whistler is famous for. At the plaza, there’s a large grassy area and a stage where there are free concerts and events held during the summer season.

parkhurst ghost town trail whistler

37. Visit a ghost town near Whistler

Just a short distance from Whistler lies the fascinating remains of Parkhurst Ghost Town.

Once a bustling mill town, Parkhurst is now abandoned and is slowly being reclaimed by nature. The hauntingly beautiful juxtaposition of the old buildings, rusted vehicles, and thriving forest creates a living outdoor museum.

Visiting Parkhurst Ghost Town is an eerie yet interesting journey back in time and gives you a unique opportunity to imagine life as it was in the early 20th century.

38. Visit Whistler’s art galleries

You might be surprised to find that there are several art galleries throughout Whistler where you’ll find contemporary large canvas works to intricate soapstone sculptures. Many of these galleries host artists from the local area and beyond, providing a unique and exciting overview of Canadian art.

Some must-visit spots include the Audain Gallery, Whistler Contemporary Gallery, Mountain Galleries at the Fairmont, Fathom Stone Gallery at the Westin, and Plaza Galleries.

The Audain Art Gallery in Whistler is one of the best and is housed in a beautiful building. The gallery and museum are a testament to the philanthropy of Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa.

It houses nearly 200 artworks including 19th-century Northwest Coast masks, works by Emily Carr, and pieces by post-war modernists like E.J. Hughes, Gordon Smith, and Jack Shadbolt. In addition to the fixed collection, the museum hosts up to three changing exhibitions annually, featuring both historical and contemporary art from top global art institutions.

39. Go fishing in Whistler

Fishing enthusiasts will be thrilled to know that Whistler is surrounded by lakes teeming with rainbow trout, bull trout, and salmon. For the best experience, consider a guided fishing trip with one of the local guides who will provide all the necessary equipment and knowledge of where the fish are biting.

If you’re more of a solo angler, Alta Lake, Green Lake, and Nita Lake are excellent spots for trout fishing. These lakes are easily accessible and offer a variety of conditions, from shallow beach areas to deeper waters. Keep an eye out for wildlife as you fish, as it’s not uncommon to see black bears, deer, and even bald eagles in the area.

If you do go fishing on your own, you’ll need a fishing license which you can buy online here.

whistler 4x4 buggy tour

40. Take a tour in a 4×4 buggy

For a thrilling adventure in Whistler, try a 4×4 Off-Road Buggy Tour. It’s a fun ride where you drive a speedy buggy through forests and up narrow roads. With two seats in the buggy, you and a friend can swap driving duties.

The buggy can reach 60 mph, so hold on tight one of the best parts is splashing through creeks and small rivers, so make sure you’ve got a change of clothes for when you’re done.

You need to be at least 19 with a valid driver’s license to drive, otherwise, you can be a passenger. This buggy tour in Whistler lasts 3 hours and it’s best to book it ahead of time.

bad axe throwing

41. Try axe throwing in Whistler

Ever fancied yourself as a lumberjack? Well, in Whistler, you can give axe throwing a go at Forged Axe Throwing!

This exciting and slightly unconventional sport is actually a lot of fun and a great way to pass a few hours in the afternoon.

After a little bit of coaching on technique, safety, and rules, you’ll be hurling axes at targets like a professional.

It’s an activity suitable for all, and don’t worry, safety is the top priority. It’s a unique activity to try out while you’re in Whistler and also incredibly fun!

42. Try Whistler’s Breweries

If you’re a beer lover, you have to try some of the local craft beers in Whistler.

There are three breweries in Whistler; Coast Mountain Brewing, Whistler Brewing Co. and The High Mountain Brewing Company. I’m a sucker for the honey larger by Whistler Brewing, but between these three you’re sure to find a beer you love!

Whistler Valley Tours does brewery tours in Whistler which take you to all three breweries. You’ll get tastings and learn more about the beer-making process along the way.

43. Take a distillery tour in Whistler

It’s not all about the beer though, if gin is more your style then you can also tour the local Whistler distillery.

The 2-hour tour takes place in Function Junction, about 15 minutes south of Whistler Village and includes a guided tour of Montis Distilling, and tastings of all their spirits. You’ll also get a free box of snacks from Picnic Whistler.

The tour includes pick-up and drop-off from Whistler Village and after the tour, you can enjoy special deals at The Raven Room, a top cocktail bar in Whistler I’ve also mentioned above.

green lake in whistler

Best Time to Visit Whistler in summer

While Whistler offers an unforgettable summer experience from June to September, it’s during July and August that the region truly comes to life.

In June and late September you may find that not all the activities are open or that the hiking trails are still covered in snow, so if you want to roam all of the bike park, or hike up in the alpine, July and August are best.

During these peak months, the days are long, and the temperatures are ideal for outdoor activities.

Do remember though, this is also when Whistler is most popular, so if you prefer a bit more solitude, consider the shoulder months of June or September.

lions bay loop trail (1 of 1)

How to get to Whistler BC

Getting to Whistler, British Columbia is a relatively straightforward affair, whether you’re coming from within Canada or abroad.

Flights to Whistler

The closest major airport to Whistler is Vancouver International Airport (YVR), located about 2 hours away.

Vancouver International is well-connected with major cities around the world. Upon landing, you can opt for car rentals, buses, or private transfers to reach Whistler.

I use comparison sites like DiscoverCars and RentalCars to book my car rentals as it’s easy to check prices and compare the best deals!

If you’re staying in Vancouver already, you could also book a scenic floatplane flight from Vancouver to Whistler.

Driving to Whistler

The most common way to get to Whistler is to drive and there are two scenic routes depending on which way you’re coming from.

If you’re coming from Vancouver, you’ll drive the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway which passes through Squamish on the way. You’ll be surrounded by the ocean on one side and forests and mountains on the other. There are some great places to stop on the Sea to Sky too. The drive takes about 2 hours, depending on traffic.

Local insight: The Sea to Sky highway gets very busy and you should expect traffic on Sunday afternoons/evenings as well as Friday evenings and weekend mornings. Though it usually isn’t at a standstill (unless there’s a crash), it can be slow moving and lengthen the journey time to 3+ hours.

Alternatively, if you’re coming from Kamloops in the east, then you’ll come into Whistler from the north. This is also a super scenic route with beautiful (less crowded) places to stop off at on the way.

Check out my Kamloops to Whistler guide for more information.

I use comparison sites like DiscoverCars and RentalCars to book my car rentals as it’s easy to check prices and compare the best deals!

Buses to Whistler

Several companies offer bus services from Vancouver to Whistler. This can be a cost-effective and stress-free option, especially if you’d rather not navigate the mountain roads yourself. Some buses even offer Wi-Fi, allowing you to relax or plan your Whistler itinerary en route.

The main company is SkyLynx and there’s also Epic Rides. You can book your bus in advance through Busbud or Viator with this bus ride from Vancouver Airport to Whistler.

Private Transfer to Whistler

If you prefer a bit more luxury or are travelling in a large group, consider booking a private transfer to Whistler.

Several companies offer services from Vancouver Airport directly to your accommodation in Whistler. This can take the hassle out of organizing transport, especially after a long flight.

This is the most expensive way to get to Whistler, but also the most pleasant if you’re not renting a car.

Getting around Whistler

Once in Whistler, getting around is easy as the main Whistler Village area is very pedestrian friendly.

There are also shuttle buses which go around the whole of Whistler town and out towards the various different neighbourhoods.

Many of the tours and summer activities in Whistler in this guide also offer shuttles so you don’t need to make your own way there.

nita lake lodge whistler
img via Nita Lake Lodge

Where to stay in Whistler in summer

It’s virtually impossible to find cheap accommodation in Whistler, but you can find some deals now and then.

The good thing about visiting Whistler in summer is that you can stay a little outside of the centre since you’re not trying to get the first gondola up the slopes in the morning and can take things at a more leisurely pace.

If you book well in advance you’ll get the best prices, especially during the summer months when accommodation is cheaper in Whistler since it’s not the peak season.

Stay in Whistler Village if you’re looking for a lively atmosphere and easy access to restaurants, shops, and local events and over towards Blackcomb or just outside of the village for a quieter, more peaceful experience.

  • Budget: Pangeo Pod Hostel in Whistler Village: The cheapest place to stay in Whistler, this pod-style hostel groups the pods into suites, each with a private bathroom. So, if you’re travelling in a group, you get an ensuite. This Whistler hostel is right in Whistler Village and there’s an on-site bar and rooftop patio.
  • Mid-range: Pinnacle Hotel Whistler: This hotel offers suites with kitchens and there’s also an outdoor pool with great mountain views. You’re in the perfect location too for exploring Whistler.
  • Mid-range/Luxury: Nita Lake Lodge: On the beautiful Nita Lake, with an on-site spa this Whistler lakeside hotel is a beautiful relaxing place to stay in Whistler. There’s a free shuttle service to Whistler Village and a great on-site restaurant too.
  • Luxury: Four Seasons Whistler: The Four Seasons brand is known for delivering luxurious stays and the Whistler Four Seasons is no exception. With beautiful views, a heated outdoor pool and 3 hot tubs, this property in Whistler’s Upper Village is a great place to stay.
  • Luxury: Fairmont Chateau Whistler: The luxurious Fairmont Chateau Whistler, situated at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, provides ski-in/ski-out access, hot tubs, saunas and Eucalyptus steam rooms. The hotel has comfortable rooms with workspaces and a variety of dining options, live entertainment in the Mallard Lounge, a heated lap pool with underwater music, a health club, tennis court, Vida Spa, yoga and aqua fit classes, and year-round village shuttles.

Canada Travel Planning Guide

Should I buy Canada travel insurance?

100% YES! — You should have travel insurance for all your trips. Though Canada has “free” healthcare, it’s only for residents. If you’re just visiting, you’ll need travel insurance should you need medical care. It also helps you claim for delayed flights or lost/stolen baggage. We use SafetyWing for our travel insurance!

Is it safe to rent a car in Canada?

Yes — Renting a car is a good idea in most of Canada as public transit isn’t the best!

Car hire is usually quite reasonable, especially compared to some other countries and they’ll all be automatic so you shouldn’t have a problem driving it if you’re used to manual transmission.

I personally use a mix of DiscoverCars and RentalCars to find the best deal that works for me when I rent a car. I used them in Norway, Italy, and Canada when we first moved, and have never had an issue. For RV rental I recommend Outdoorsy.

What’s the best way to pay/exchange money for Canada?

Wise (formerly Transferwise!) — I use my Wise card everywhere these days. I fill it with a certain currency and then I can spend it in countries across the world, online and even for direct debits. Wise has the best currency exchange rates (and they’ll even tell you when you can get it cheaper elsewhere!). When you pay in another currency through chip and pin or tap/wireless, they’ll automatically convert it for you – it’s easy! This link gets you a fee-free transfer.

Do I need a visa for Canada?

Many countries do not need a visa to travel to Canada — However, you may need an ETA which costs $7 (you need this if you’re from the UK). You can buy them online and they usually take a few hours to come through though it can take longer. Only ever buy from this official website otherwise you’ll end up paying more money necessarily. If you want to move to Canada, check out my guide to the Working Holiday Visa which is how we first moved there! Always check the official Canadian Immigration website to see whether you need a visa to travel there.

Will my phone work in Canada?

It depends — Some American and European companies work in Canada for a certain amount of data or time but many will not work at all. Getting a Canadian SIM card will help you get around with Google Maps and stay in touch with people back home. There isn’t much free WIFI in Canada so you can’t really rely on that, especially if you’re heading outside of major cities.

Where can I book my Canada accommodation?

I always check for hotels or Hostel World for hostels. If I’m looking for something for a bigger group of people, or a bit more unique (cosy cabins, luxury beach houses) then I use VRBO.

When we first moved to Canada we used Trusted Housesitters to get free accommodation!

What’s the best site to buy Canada flights?

I only ever use Skyscanner to find cheap flights no matter where I’m travelling!

FAQs about what to do in Whistler in the summer

Why visit Whistler in summer?

Visiting Whistler in summer gives you access to incredible natural beauty, adventurous outdoor activities, and local culture, with fewer crowds than in ocktailcthe winter season.

Is 3 days enough in Whistler?

Three days in Whistler would give you a good taste of what the area has to offer, but with so many activities and attractions, you could easily fill a week or more.

Which is better Banff or Whistler?

Both Banff and Whistler offer stunning landscapes and outdoor activities. However, Whistler has a more vibrant nightlife and food scene, while Banff is renowned for its serene natural beauty and wildlife encounters. Why not visit both with this 7-day itinerary?

Is it worth going to Whistler in the summer?

Absolutely, Whistler in the summer offers a wealth of outdoor activities from hiking and biking trails to beer tasting and unique experiences like axe throwing or escape rooms. It’s truly a summer playground.

green lake whistler canada

Final thoughts on the best Whistler summer activities

As you can see, there’s no shortage of fun Whistler summer activities. While Whistler is most popular with international visitors over the winter seasons who come to ski in Whistler’s amazing snow and terrain, I think it really shines as a summer resort too.

From the thrilling 4×4 off-road buggy tours to scenic Sky Walks and incredible Whistler hikes, there’s plenty for the thrill-seekers. Food lovers can explore local dining at the best Whistler restaurants and you can get some culture at the Whistler Museum, Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, and the Audain Art Gallery.

Summer is still a busy time in Whistler, so always check the details and book your activities in advance.

If you’re already planning your visit to Whistler in winter, check out this guide to the best Whistler winter activities as well as what to do in Whistler if you don’t ski, and the best Whistler dog sledding tours.

Looking for more things to do in Vancouver and nearby? Check out my Vancouver travel guides which are full of information on the best things to do in Vancouver, the best Vancouver restaurants, and detailed guides for each of the main neighborhoods.

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