We have been doing little summer getaways to Whistler since before my kids could walk. As they have grown older, we have gradually been able to move away from the toddler playgrounds and spray parks to actually participating in many of Whistler’s wide range of summer activities. In this post, we have tried to select the best that Whistler has to offer for kids, whether you are traveling with a toddler or a teenager (or both). From nature walks to gondola rides, here are our top things to do in Whistler with kids.
Note: Wrong season? See also the Top Things to do in Whistler with Kids – The Winter Guide and our post on the Best Whistler Family Hotels.
In a hurry? Take a quick at our 2 minute Whistler Youtube video here.
Whistler for Kids – Things to do in Summer
1. Whistler Peak 2 Peak Gondola Experience
Do you have a toddler who loves to keep on the move, or a kid that is just dying to know what it feels like to ride on one of the world’s longest gondolas? Take a trip on the Peak to Peak Gondola (consistently rated as the #1 attraction in all of Whistler). A nice feature about this particular attraction is that all ages can ride, and kids 6 and under are free.
2. Whistler Zip Lining and Treetop Treks
ZipTrek Whistler offers the exhilarating experience of flying through the air through the treetops and over a canyon. Several different tour options are offered for kids 6 years and up, although to ride the Sasquatch (the longest zipline in all of Canada and the U.S.A.) riders must be at least 10 years old. For parents with younger children, the all ages Tree Trek canopy walk provides and nice alternative. See also our complete post on Ziptrek here.
Superfly Ziplines – The Adventure Group
Just a 10 minute shuttle ride north of Whistler you will find Superfly Ziplines, an adventure center that offers an exciting zip lining tour (with optional tandem lines), white water rafting. ATV riding, and a treetop adventure obstacle courses for both adults and kids. While it took my kids a little while to get the hang of clipping on and off the ropes on the kids treetop adventure course, once they got the hang of it, they absolutely loved working their way along ladder bridges, swings and mini zip lines.
3. Enjoy a Day at the Lake
Lakeside Park – Alta Lake
A favorite for local families, Lakeside Park is a great place to enjoy a picnic, take a dip, rent a kayak, or just putter around. This popular park contains 2 swimming docks, a raft, a children’s play structure, a large grass lawn, picnic tables, and a concession stand. Lakeside Park is located 2 km south of the village in the Alta Vista neighbourhood and is accessible by car from Hillcrest Drive or by biking or walking the Valley Trail.
Lost Lake Beach
Equally popular is Lost Lake Park which can be reached by or short walk (20 minutes) or free shuttle from the village (summer months only). The park area features a swim area, docks, barbecue stands, accessible washrooms, a concession stand (open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. from July 1 to Labour Day, and weekends from June to September), picnic tables and slackline posts.
For a complete list of Whistler parks see: https://www.whistler.ca/
4. Visit Brandywine Falls
Take a 15 minutes drive south from Whistler to Brandywine Provincial Park with its awe-inducing 70m waterfall. The falls are just a short walk from the parking lot, although there are much longer hikes to take should you so choose. If you want to bring along a picnic lunch, stop in Function Junction on your way to the falls to provision up at Olives organic market or the delicious Purebread bakery.
5. The Treehouse Playground
I don’t think our kids have ever missed a visit to this excellent playground near Whistler’s Olympic Plaza. It’s a win-win since the kids love the awesome playground, and I love the fact that it is surrounded by an abundance of coffee/tea shops (Starbucks, Blenz, Purebread, David’s Tea), making me want to linger a little longer. The playground also has a number of strategically placed ice cream and frozen yogurt shops nearby (Cows, Dairy Queen, Menchies). Our strategy has often been to let the kids get hopped up on sugar and then have them run around the park for a while before daring to take them back to the hotel room. Judging by the number of kids at this park past 8pm on a summer night, we are not alone.
6. Family Adventure Zone
During the summer months you will find a little amusement park in the Upper Village (Blackcomb Mountain) which includes bouncy castles, mini golf, a mountain-side slide, batting cages, bungee trampolines and more. My kids really love this place — just be prepared to watch your hard earned money disappear very quickly here. (Poof ! It’s gone.)
7. Mountain Biking Whistler
From May through October, Whistler Ski Mountain turns into Whistler Bike Park — the number 1 lift accessed downhill bike park in the world (over 80km of trails!). With terrain and obstacles suitable for all abilities, this can be a great activity for the whole family. For kids and new riders, there is a biking orientation area (with small obstacles and guides offering tips), as well as a wide range of lesson options to choose from.
Note: If you are more of a cruiser when it comes to bike riding (like me), Whistler offers a very extensive paved (and mostly flat) trail network, including the popular 40km Valley Trail that weaves riders by five alpine lakes.
Learn more: https://www.whistler.com/activities/biking/
8. Free Family-Friendly Events
Cinema Under the Stars – Free Outdoor Movies
From mid-July to mid-August a free family friendly outdoor movie night is offered in Creekside Village. Movies start at dusk (around 8pm). Bring your own blanket and a picnic (or you can buy food and beverages on site). Dusty’s Bar & BBQ invites guests and families to enjoy dinner and a movie on all movie dates, and ‘Kid’s Eat Free’ from 5pm to 8pm. This offer is available to children 12 years and under when ordering from Dusty’s restaurant kid’s menu and when accompanied by a family member.
Learn more: https://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/
Summer Outdoor Concert Series
From July through September Whistler hosts a series of free all-ages concerts at Whistler Olympic Plaza. Throw down a blanket and enjoy the show from the lawn, or listen from the nearby playground (as we did a few years back when one of my favourite Canadian bands played).
Learn more: https://www.whistler.com/events/concerts/
For a full list of family-friendly events including Crafts in the Park and the Lego Building Competition, please see: https://www.whistler.com/events/
9. Whistler Pools and Water Parks
Just 10 minutes by car/bus north of the village you will find Meadow Park Aquatic Centre, with its 25 metre, six-lane lap pool, eight-foot slide, gradual entry kids’ pool and lazy river. On hot days, little ones may prefer cooling off at the spray park behind the Aquatic Centre instead. This water park also has a kids playground, picnic tables, a sand pit, and washrooms
Learn more: https://www.whistler.ca
10. Things to do on a Rainy Day in Whistler with Kids
But Wait There is More……..
While the above list includes our favorite family friendly Whistler activities, this is by no means an exhaustive list. This fantastic recreational area also offers bear watching tours, white water rafting trips, horseback riding, bungee jumping and so much more.
Learn more at: https://www.whistler.com/activities/summer/
Where to Stay in Whistler
Family Friendly Hotels in Whistler
Most Whistler hotels are very family friendly and there are huge number to choose from. The majority of the hotel properties are centered around the lively epicenter of Whistler Village. While this location is handy, some families (including ours) prefer to stay in the quieter Upper Village, just a short 10 minute walk through the forest.
Please see also our complete post on the Best Whistler Family Accommodation options.
Whistler Hotels Deals and Other Accommodation
Whistler hotels can get very expensive in summer, but here are some tips.
- Book a hotel with a flexible cancellation policy as far out as possible and then check back later for better deals.
- If you are within 2 weeks of your planned stay, check out the deals on Whistler Last Minute. With a little sleuthing you can usually figure out the mystery hotel. On our most recent visit, I managed to get a 1 bedroom suite at one of the hotels listed above for less than the price of a studio suite.
- Opt for a Whistler vacation rental property instead. Sites such as VRBO and Airbnb offer some great house, condo and apartments rentals in Whistler.
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