Whistler summer activities
As a non-skier, I vastly prefer Whistler in the summer; there’s so much to do and so little of it involves being cold. Below, find a long list of possible wholesome Whistler activities for the summer. Some are super lazy; some are strenuous and adventuresome. Some are dog-friendly … look for “(dogs ✓)”… and some are
bungee jumping barely human-friendly. Maybe you do one or two activities each day of your stay … or, maybe you think “that sounds really great but I’d rather just day-drink” (which is always an option). Jump in, and have fun! I’ll be the one with the wet dog at the lake…
*Where is …? Generally, I’ve organized this activities list from laziest to most adventurous. Find rainy day activities at the very bottom!
27 Things to Do in Whistler This Summer
1. Whistler spas and laziness
Long week? Long drive? If you can’t come up with a reason to justify the following, you’re not trying very hard.
- Scandinave Spa
- Four Seasons Whistler Spa
- Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa (at Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel)
- Whistler Day Spa
2. Pool and hot tub session
Unlike in Palm Springs, your dog isn’t allowed to join you poolside at any of Whistler’s dog-friendly hotels. But maybe you can sneak in an hour or two while someone else watches your dog/sleeps in/takes him for a run, etc. Since you planned your entire itinerary, it’s only fair.
3. Whistler Village shopping (dogs ✓)
Whether it’s your first time in Canada and you want to buy anything and everything with a moose/bear/eagle/maple leaf on it (easily done), or you just want to window-shop for new tops – Whistler Village has everything from The Gap to diamond shops, and tons of Canadian brands like Arc’teryx, Aritzia, Roots and Lululemon.
Shopping with your dog? Many Whistler shops are dog-friendly – as far as clothing stores, I’ve never been told no when asking.
Don’t miss: In the summer, a favourite store is The Beach Whistler – a great boutique with … guess what … beach stuff. Another great little store for local stuff (like Etsy, but a store) is 3 Singing Birds, just around the corner from Summit Lodge. If you really want to spend, there are lots of art galleries – especially inside hotels like The Westin.
4. Peak 2 Peak Gondola + 360 Experience
Currently closed through May 26
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola has three Guinness World Records for being all kinds of long, tall and fancy. No surprise, it’s always voted the #1 thing to do in Whistler (TripAdvisor). The Peak 2 Peak gondola ride is eleven minutes between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, however, you get much more than a gondola ride for your ticket. You’ll easily find an entire afternoon’s or day’s worth of activities to enjoy as part of your 360 Experience. Mountaintop dining is also available, or book a fancy-pants lunch at Christine’s.
- Summer hours (May 27 – Sept 17) are 10:15 am to 5:00 pm daily.
- $53.95 (advance rate). If you commit to doing the Peak 2 Peak two+ days advance, you’ll save $5 by buying tickets online, otherwise it’s $58.95 from the ticket window.
What is there to do? In early summer, two of the coolest things to do are walking between giant snow walls (May/June) and seeing the mountain wildflower bloom (June/July). And hiking: so much hiking (no dogs on these trails – but see #15 for dog-friendly hikes). Don’t love hiking? How about an interpretive stroll.
- Bear tours: 3 hours (morning and evening), $198-$225 (adult)
- Alpine photography tour: 3 hours (sunset), $189 (adult)
- Geology tour: 2.5 hours (morning and afternoon), $35 (adult)
- Helicopter tour: glaciers – 15 minutes ($169), Black Tusk – 20 minutes ($249)
5. Easy walks (dogs ✓)
Although the Peak 2 Peak is hardcore off-limits to dogs, there’s tons of spectacular scenery down at village level. Two of my favourite summer walks to enjoy with a dog in Whistler are:
- Around Lost Lake (pictured) and;
- Along the Valley Trail (everything in yellow on this PDF – it’s vast)
Both these walks are mostly pretty flat, and on either paved or groomed dirt/gravel paths. Definitely not strenuous, but very pretty. As you can see from these maps, you have a lot of options for your exact route – so the duration is up to you. Lost Lake’s summer trails total 100 km of options. Walking from Summit Lodge, around Lost Lake with a long stop at the dog beach (“Canine Cove“), is easily two hours. Off-leash? Technically, but you’ll spot many locals who “didn’t see the sign”. Don’t forget to bring water!
6. Scenic drive (dogs ✓)
If it’s extra hot, or even raining, you might enjoy a scenic drive. Two easy options that offer massive sights for relatively little time (1 hour return):
Pemberton: A small town of about 2,500, about 30km north of Whistler. It’s famous for its potato farming and, as such, is much less touristy than Whistler. Drive to Pemberton (1 hour return): Stop at Green Lake and/or Nairn Falls on the way, or a paddle on One Mile Lake. One of my favourite Pemberton stops is North Arm Farm, but Pemberton Distillery comes highly recommended.
The Callaghan: In the winter, this is a popular nordic skiing/snowshoeing destination – in the summer, it’s pretty quiet. Drive to Callaghan Country/Whistler Olympic Park (1 hour return): You have to pay to enter the park, but the drive from Whistler Village to the park gate turn-around is really pretty. On the way you pass the trailhead to Whistler Train Wreck, as well as Alexander Falls. Or, if you want to see if you have a future as as Olympic Bobsleigh athlete – head into Whistler Olympic Park (see #18 for details).
7. Golf and disc golf
- Whistler Golf Club
- Nicklaus North Golf Course
- Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course
- Big Sky Golf Club (Pemberton)
- Whistler disc golf + more details
If Katy Perry can do it, so can you. You have two choices for zip-line companies in Whistler: Ziptrek and Superfly. What’s the difference? No idea. Both are highly reviewed.
(A) Ziptrek Ecotours
- Zipline: 6 tour options from 2.5 hours, $119 to 4.5 hours, $199 (adult)
- Claim to fame: Canada & the States’s longest zipline (summer only) + optional GoPro rental.
- Treetop course: 1.5 hours, $39 – suitable for infants
- Zipline: 3 hours round-trip, $149 (adult)
- Claim to fame: Canada’s longest tandem lines …
- Treetop ropes course: 2.5 hours round-trip, $59 (summer only)
- Location: back country (Cougar Mountain)
9. Jeep tours
Whistler Jeep Tours offer 2-, 3-, and 4-hour options that take in Blackcomb Glacier (by day and at sunset), Callaghan Valley, or – best of all – will deliver you 6,000 feet up Blackcomb mountain for your salmon bake dinner at Crystal Hut. $129 (2-hour), $139 (3-hour) and $169 (4-hour incl. salmon bake).
10. Whistler beaches & lake swimming (dogs ✓)
With or without a dog, Whistler’s lakes have great summer beaches (and optional swimming). Lost Lake is one of the most popular, and has a separate dog beach (Canine Cove). Best of all, the dock near the dog beach has special dog ramps. Dogs aren’t allowed on the human beaches, but if you just want to hang out in the sunshine you’ll always be able to find a spot to lay out a blanket and enjoy the day with your puppy. Alphabetically, your options include:
- Alta Lake – Rainbow Park (dog beach ‘Barking Bay’)
- Alpha Lake (dog area ‘Arfa Park’)
- Green Lake – huge, beautiful, COLD!
- Lost Lake (dog beach ‘Canine Cove’)
- Nita Lake – instant access from dog-friendly Nita Lake Lodge
- YYoga at Neo Whistler ($20 single class)
- Yogacara ($20 single class)
- Loka Yoga ($18 single class)
- White Gold Yoga ($18 single class)
For SUP yoga, see #17.
12. Bike ride (dogs ✓?)
Rent bikes (or bring your own), and ride the 40km Valley Trail. 24-hour bike rental periods mean it’s easy to split your ride into breakfast, lunch and dinner sections. Some hotels (including Summit Lodge and Nita Lake Lodge) offer free bike rentals for guests. Is it dog-friendly? If you bring your own bikes and dog-cart/basket/thing … it definitely could be. You can rent ‘kids chariot trailers‘ for children, I’m not sure if they’d let you chuck a dog inside, but worth asking. Dogs are welcome on the Valley Trail as long as they’re leashed (or otherwise contained).
For more biking activities, see also #16 Whistler Mountain Bike Park and #18 electric assist fat tire bikes at Whistler Sliding Centre. If you’re a road cyclist, find suggested routes here.
13. ATV tours
Much like the Jeep tours (#9), with more effort required on your part. Surprisingly, given that you’re doing the driving, the ATV tour prices are fractionally more than those for the Jeep tour: $129 – $179 depending on tour/duration.
14. Canoeing (dogs ✓)
River of Golden Dreams: I’d only ever seen the River of Golden Dreams in the winter, and had no idea how beautiful it looked in the summer. So this is definitely on my activity list for this summer. The river connects Alta Lake and Green Lake and operators say it’s suitable for all ages/abilities and takes about three hours one way (with shuttle return). Summit Lodge’s blog promises a decent chance of seeing beavers on an evening paddle. How to do it? Options from Backroads Whistler include: A self-guided tour, private and small group tours, and a twilight tour for the best wildlife viewing. Rates from $82 to $169. No dogs: too much wildlife!
Lake paddling: You can also rent canoes, kayaks and pedal boats for paddling around Alta Lake. Dogs aren’t allowed on/in this rental equipment, but for guests at Nita Lake Lodge – there’s a third, dog-friendly option….
Canoe with your dog: As with their free guest bikes, Nita Lake Lodge also offers free canoe rental for their guests – dogs included. Dogs welcome: Guests’ dogs are welcome everywhere except dining areas and the spa at Nita Lake.
15. Hikes (dogs ✓)
For hiking at any level, with or without a dog, Vancouver Trails and Whistler Hiatus are your two best resources. We would have got lost on many occasions without their tremendously detailed tips and photos. Highly recommend!
- Best dog-friendly Whistler hikes
- Ancient Cedars Trail, Brandywine Falls + Brandywine Meadows, Crater Rim Trail, Whistler Train Wreck
- 7 dog-friendly hikes around Whistler
- Summit Lodge recommends Joffre Lakes as a dog-friendly hike. Dogs have to be leashed, but it’s so pretty you won’t care.
- The Adventure Group offers three hiking tours (but you can probably manage Lost Lake on your own).
Guides + useful info
16. Whistler Mountain Bike Park
Any sport that requires an armadillo spine-protecting suit is well beyond my limits. As such, I refer you to the expert hands of those braver than me:
- Whistler Mountain Bike Park 101: Rates, hours, etc.
- Five Whistler Mountain Bike Must-Do’s
- Crankworx 2017 (August 11 – 20)
- Cross-country mountain biking
- Redbull’s thoughts on Whistler Mountain Bike Park
17. Stand-up paddleboard
Rent a board for a paddle around Alta Lake (map here), or take a SUP yoga class (your core strength impresses me).
- Stand-up paddle board rental ($30/board/hour)
- Beginner lessons and tour ($120/adult, or $160 for private)
- SUP yoga ($25)
Whistler locals’ SUP secrets? With your own board (or a longer rental), these are 5 scenic stand-up paddle boarding spots in Whistler (How scenic? One requires a helicopter!).
18. Whistler Sliding Centre / Whistler Olympic Park
Built for the 2010 Winter Olympics (for a cool $105 million), Whistler Sliding Centre offers a few activities through the summer (from early July to early September):
- Summer bobsleigh: Feel the rhythm! Four passengers ride in a bobsleigh with a trained pilot (not Sanka), for a ride that will reach up to 90 km/hour. Kids 12-18 welcome, and no experience is needed. $99 per adult. Available rain or shine.
- Summer biathlon: Try a biathlon rifle in a quick activity that takes just 10-15 minutes ($10).
- Electric assist fat tire bikes: Hey fellow lazy peeps – how does this sound? Explore Whistler Olympic Park’s ski hills … on a bike that does the hill-climbing for you. Rent a bike for up to two hires ($15/hour, includes a helmet) – with returns by 4:00 pm.
With various raft-able rivers in the Whistler area, you can choose how white you like your white-water:
- Family-friendly – Cheakamus River: “a mild rafting adventure”
- Most popular – Green River: “perfect combo of fun bouncy rapids & picturesque scenery”
- Most exciting – Elaho-Squamish River: “provides thrill-seekers with the challenge they crave”
Tours range from $109 to $169, and are 2.25 to 8 hours in duration. Other options include twilight floats and two-day trips. Excepting extreme weather, tours run rain or shine. Since you’ll be wearing a wet suit … let’s classify this as a potential rainy day activity.
Experience “Whistler’s ultimate adrenaline rush” at Whistler Bungee (or – like me – scurry away with a “thank you but no thank you!!!”). The jump is 50 metres (160 feet) above the beautiful Cheakamus River, open year-round. $130 per person with group rates available. Reservations are recommended, at least a few days out. While I’ll never be a customer, Whistler Bungee’s FAQ page is my new favourite:
Q: Is it free if I go naked?
No – We’d be bankrupt in 10 seconds!
21. Summer skiing
Note that Whistler’s summer skiing is for advanced/expert skiers only and runs mid-June through mid-July. Here’s everything other people can tell you about summer skiing – I have zero.point.zero knowledge on the subejct:
- Summer glacier skiing (Whistler Blackcomb)
- Blackcomb’s Horstman Glacier (Ski Canada)
- Summer Skiing in BC (The Globe and Mail)
- Glacier Skiing in Whistler (Whistler Traveller)
If you’re a 90s kid, paintball cannot be separated from Ten Things I Hate About You. Paintball Whistler looks a little less cute, and a lot more bruise-inducing, but it’s a popular activity for bachelor parties and groups of competitive friends. $45 per person, with discounts for groups of 10+. Sessions last three hours. It’s outside but play happens in all weather.
23. Day-drinking (dogs ✓)
Yes, it qualifies as an activity. See Whistler’s 8 best dog-friendly patios – and don’t skip the nachos.
Whistler’s rainy day options
Whistler and environs are pretty much all about being outside. If the weather is disgusting, it can seem like there’s nothing to do. (Can you hear your mother’s voice in your head? “Read a book!!!”) However, on a rainy day in Whistler, you actually have some great options for indoor activities – though, sorry dog people, very few of them can involve your dog.
Rainy Whistler day with a dog?
With a dog, if you’re happy to relax in your hotel room, it might be a day for room service and reading or watching a movie in bed. (Maybe a movie filmed in BC?) To keep your dog happy, grab some treats and play ‘Find It’ in your hotel room – lots of new hiding spaces to discover. Otherwise – head out there and get wet! In crap weather, you’ll have the Lost Lake loop nearly to yourself – and you can’t say you’ve visited BC without doing a rainy day.
First Nations Museum (aka Squamish and Lil’wat Nations Cultural Centre)
Open daily from 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
By donation ($5 suggested)
Open daily from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm (Thursdays to 9:00pm)
Audain Art Museum
Open from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (closed Tuesdays)
If you need surroundier-sound than watching a movie in your hotel bed – Village 8 Cinema is right in the middle of Whistler Village. Weekday showings usually start mid-afternoon / around noon on weekends.
26. Indoor fitness
Whistler Core (gym and climbing)
Drop in for a workout, a class (including spin, pilates, HIIT, etc) or try out the climbing gym: drop-ins, classes and guided sessions available. Brand new beginners welcome!
Drop-in gym $13.50
Studio classes $18
Climbing $18 (drop-in)
Whistler Bounce (indoor trampoline park)
$20 drop-in (adults)
Open for adults 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm (week days), and 11:00 pm – 9:00 pm (weekends)
27. Dog People
Whistler Animal Shelter drop-in volunteering
Currently suspended during construction – but check website for updates.
Photo: Used under license from Shutterstock.com