Located a short two-hour drive away from Vancouver, Whistler is perhaps one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations during both winter and summer months. With summer ending soon, grab a hold of its tail and check out these 15 Whistler summer activities for your next weekend adventure!
1. Cruise the sky with Sea to Sky Gondola.
Sea to Sky Gondola is actually in Squamish, but let’s kick off the “best things to do in Whistler” list with attraction sights along the Sea-to-Sky Highway first. (Which is, by the way, the only highway you can take to Whistler from Vancouver. Definitely make a pit-stop here either on your way there or way back.)
View from inside the gondola.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I first visited Whistler three years ago. (Read all about my journey here.) Now forest fires are a big problem here in BC during summer. I didn’t escape the smog my first visit. However, we did get lucky this second time around. Regardless of which, I’ve noticed that there’s still a hint of haziness in the skies. Maybe this is just a summer heat type problem?
Above 3 photos from July 2015.
Versus these 3 photos from July 2018 featuring Cat from For Two, Please.
Apart from the gondola ride, Cat and I also went for a short hike. (We opted for the 10-minute one to the famous viewing platform.) A lot of visitors just do the bridge then go home. What they don’t know is that there are several different trails around the area each worth exploring. Don’t miss out on these during your Whistler summer vacation!
2. Go waterfall chasing at Shannon Falls.
Forget TLC’s advice and make your way to Shannon Falls.
Geographically speaking, Sea to Sky Gondola is north of Shannon Falls. You can, of course, stop at Shannon Falls first. OR you can park your car at Sea to Sky Gondola then take a short 10-minute walk back to the waterfalls. Parking at Shannon Falls is more limited though so I recommend the latter.
3. Hike down to Brandywine Falls.
Shannon Falls not impressive enough? Behold the jaw-dropping Brandywine Falls.
It’s an easy walk from the parkade to the waterfalls viewing platform. If you wish to get up close and personal, you’ll have to take a hike down to the base.
Way down to the falls.
I’ve made two attempts in these past few years. The first time we weren’t even sure where the unmarked trail started. The second (with Cathy) started similar to the first. We didn’t know where to go until we saw another group of avid hikers and we simply followed them. Unfortunately, it ended up unsuccessful. While I’d previously read online that there was a rope for helping you get down the boulders, there was actually nothing there. We could still get down, but it was a question of how would we get back up. We didn’t wanna risk it although I’ll most certainly be back again (hopefully with a climbing rope). More information on the trail can be found here for those interested.
Even though we didn’t make it to the bottom, we still found a relaxing spot for a quick picnic.
4. Reward yourself with a cold beverage at Whiskey Jack’s Umbrella Bar.
Finally, onto the actual Whistler summer activities…
Photo from Whistler Blackcomb official Facebook page.
Best thing you can reward yourself with after hiking? A glass of ice cold beer at Whiskey Jack’s Umbrella Bar. Come here during summer for their outdoor patio!
5. Challenge your fear of heights on the Whistler Suspension Bridge.
Maybe you’ll want to check this off your list before the beer. Or better yet the beer will help you get over your fear of heights. Aha! 😉
Photo Tourism Whistler, originally shot by Megan Wilson.
This is a fairly new Whistler attraction sight. Now do not, I repeat DO NOT follow Google Maps’ directions for getting here.
Google Maps took us through a gravel road (worst one I’ve ever been on AND I got the deepest, longest rock scratch on my car…) only to take us to Garibaldi Provincial Park. Both the umbrella bar and suspension bridge are located on the actual Whistler Mountain summit (aka Top of the World Summit). I’m guessing Google Maps was unable to distinguish that hence took us to the park nearby below the mountain? Maybe? I dunno… Either way, you’ll need to purchase Peak2Peak gondola tickets for accessing the summit. Tickets start at $58 for online pre-booking or $63 at the window and includes access to the suspension bridge.
Since we wasted too much time going around, we were a little too rushed on time. Anyhow, I do live in Vancouver so I’ll most likely be back – which I’ll be sure to update this post on. In the meanwhile, more information about the bridge can be found on Tourism Whistler’s website here.
6. Treat yourself to Araxi’s Seafood Tower.
Personally, I’m always craving cold foods during the hotter months. (Dollar oysters anyone?) If you’re like me, Araxi Restaurant & Oyster Bar has a delectable seafood tower that will satisfy your craving.
7. Embark on a multimedia night walk with Vallea Lumina.
Vallea Lumina is Whistler’s newest immersive light show experience. Take a stroll through the woods as you follow along the spooky yet enchanting adventures of Dr. David Bogey.
- $29 for adults (16+)
- $24 for youth (6-15)
- Free for children 5 and under
Again, this is a brand new Whistler activity that has only recently started running since July 18th. It will run every night until closing night October 15th.
The whole experience takes an hour to complete. Do wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking the entire time. Keep in mind that certain areas are extremely dark as well and the ground is actually very dusty, which makes the downhill bits dangerously slippery.
8. Take a morning dip at Lost Lake.
Lost Lake is another sight that I’d previously checked off my list except I didn’t really even get to see the lake because it was covered by heavy smog! It’s nice to finally come back again and see things in a different light because this is, without question, one of the absolute must things to do in Whistler, BC.
Wouldn’t mind getting lost here! Note: you can access this pier via the trails on the right-hand side of the main lake/park area.
Try to arrive early in the day so you can enjoy its beauty all to yourself and catch a glimpse of a flawless reflection on the lake.
9. Relax and unwind at Scandinave Spa Whistler.
Scandinave is no doubt one of Vancouver’s most well-liked spa facilities. Even though this is a perfect Whistler itinerary item for the colder months, visiting during summer is great because you won’t be freezing your butt off outdoors going from pool to pool.
Aerial view of all the outdoor pool facilities.
Yes, that is correct. Scandinave Spa Whistler has several different pools ranging from different temperatures of hot and cold. This is known as hydrotherapy and the idea behind this age-old Finnish tradition is so that it helps improve blood flow as well as activate the lymphatic system to help detoxify the body.
Café food options.
Baths alone at this Whistler spa is $70 per person until October 31st and $79 from then on. Massages aren’t included and start at $175. Packages are available too of course including one that gives you access to the baths + Vallea Lumina.
10. Enjoy breakfast for champs at Fairmont’s Wildflower Restaurant.
Okay, this isn’t strictly a Whistler summer activity (only) per say, but I do recommend coming in the summer time when the weather’s nicer. You can grab a seat outdoors or by the window and enjoy the lovely garden terrace views.
Buffet is priced at $35 per person. Before you dismiss this as any other ordinary buffet, I encourage you to give it a try. Despite it being buffet style, the food is definitely very fresh and made with quality ingredients. Wildflower has made to order dishes as well so worry not if buffets aren’t your thing. À la carte items start at $8 and ranges to $25.
11. Lose yourself in nature.
For those who love a little adrenaline rush, Whistler is home to crazy fun outdoor activities like zip-lining, mountain biking, white water rafting, bungee jumping, jet boating, rock climbing, and much much more.
While I did want to try bungee jumping one year for my birthday, I’m just not that much of an outdoor adventure type gal. Hiking, yes. Canoeing, yes. Low stress level activities, yes. Anything and everything else? Not a chance. Luckily, Tourism Whistler has all the information you need. Check out their full list of Whistler summer activities here.
12. Tour Whistler Village.
Proudly sporting my Araxi seafood tower food baby XDD.
These Olympics Rings are one of the most popular things to see in Whistler!
In preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler really upgraded its overall community facilities. To this day, it remains one of the most luxurious ski resorts I’ve visited. From brand-name shops to high-end restaurants, the village really is a spectacle on its own. Don’t forget to stroll around town and maybe even take a photo by the famous Inukshuk or Olympic Rings!
13. Check out Whistler Farmers Market.
Located at the Upper Village, Whistler Farmers Market takes place every Wednesday from 2:00 – 7:00PM and Sunday from 11:00AM to 4:00PM. You got amazing hand-crafted jewelry. Stunning photography prints for sale. Fresh picked berries. Organic vegan pies. Kombucha on tap. Ponchos. Sun dresses. Knitted blankets. The list never ends!
14. Taken advantage of patio season at Table Nineteen.
Table Nineteen Lakeside Eatery is a restaurant part of Nicklaus North Golf Course. Golfing’s not our thing, but that makes for a great summer outdoor activity as well. Otherwise if you prefer to sit and relax like us, order yourself a glass of sangria and enjoy the lakefront views.
In addition to the marvellous water views, you can watch seaplanes take off. If you fancy an aerial journey, join Whistler Air on a seaplane tour through stunning vistas and majestic glaciers. (I guess you can call this a 14-b.)
Again, we didn’t have much time after the whole getting lost incident so we opted for drinks alone. Further information and pricing for the seaplane tours can be found here.
15. Compete in IRONMAN – or simply be a spectator.
For those unfamiliar with IRONMAN, it is essentially a worldwide triathlon that involves running, cycling, and swimming. We unintentionally planned our trip the same weekend as the race and boy was Whistler busy!
Athletes who compete train the entire year just for this. The major highway closes down for the cycling portion and streets in Whistler Village are also blocked off for the run. As for swimming, this year it took place at Rainbow Lake. It’s a huge event and a lot of people gather around to cheer on their friends and family or simply just to watch like us. It’s obviously not something you can decide to participate in on a whim, but if you’re up for it, there’s always next year 😉
More information about the race can be found on the IRONMAN official website here.
And there you have it! 15 Whistler summer activities.
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Please note that I was invited as a guest to Vallea Lumina, Scandinave Spa Whistler, and Wildflower Restaurant at Fairmont Whistler. Opinions expressed are my own.