Well-known as one of the largest ski resorts in North America, Whistler is also famous for it’s beauty in the Summer.
The surrounding lakes are some of the most spectacular in the world.
The two mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb – are home to countless outdoor sports opportunities.
There’s also a sense of pride at hosting the Winter Olympics in 2010; There are Olympic rings in the village and at the top of the gondola (perfect photo oppoetunity).
The rings in the village are located in the aptly named ‘Olympic Plaza’, which plays host to a free gig – and attracts some decent bands – most weekends throughout Summer.
Finally, Whistler is home to both grizzly and black bears. If you’re lucky, you’ll see black bears roaming the mountain whilst exploring the hiking and mountain biking trails – a special and unique experience
Things to do in Whistler in Summer - Day 1
Zip Lining with Ziptrek
Zip Lining is one of the best things to do in Whistler in Summer.
There are a couple of companies offering zip lining tours in Whistler.
Ok, you might not be shredding like these guys, but it’s still one of the best things to do in Whistler in Summer!
What better way to celebrate an epic day’s adventuring, than with a cold beer at Whistler’s classic “apres” spot.
The Longhorn Saloon has a DJ playing over the weekend during Summer and is one of the livelier bars in the village. There’s a great atmosphere as visitors and locals alike start to ramp up their evening’s entertainment.
What’s more, it’s located right at the foot of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park so you can slide straight in there after biking.
Make sure you grab a table outside so you can enjoy the mountain views as you get the party started.
What better way to wind down after your epic day than with a bit of R&R.
Scandinave Spa is one of the most relaxing ways to spend an afternoon or evening in Whistler in Summer.
With multiple baths (hot and cold!), saunas, and relaxation areas, it’s the perfect place to soak your muscles and relax your mind.
You can also indulge in a massage if you’re feeling particularly worn out after your day adventuring.
The setting is insane.
Nestled among spruce and cedar trees, the peaceful and natural environment will leave you feeling instantly reinvigorated.
There is also a small cafe with healthy snacks (where the above picture was taken), meaning you can chill out with a bite.
Herbal teas are available free of charge.
Things to do in Whistler in Summer - Day 2
Hike to Joffre Lakes
Joffre Lakes is one of the most scenic spots in Whistler and the surrounding area! You simply cannot miss it whilst you’re there.
Joffre lakes National Park is roughly an hour’s drive north of Whistler, straight up Highway 99 (the drive itself is pretty spectacular). You can park just off the highway in the trailhead carpark.
There are 3 beautiful lakes to see here. The first is not even a 10-minute walk from the carpark, and for this reason, it’s by far the busiest.
Don’t be put off by the selfie sticks galore as there are 2 more lakes to see! A lot of tourists will simply drive to the first lake, grab a selfie and leave.
Boy, are they missing out.
Not only do the lakes get better as you follow the trail, but they also get MUCH less crowded.
Ok, I’ll be honest. You do have to earn your photos at the next 2 lakes. The hike is roughly a 4-hour round trip – depending on your fitness and how long you stop for lunch – and involves a bit of a climb.
But, oh my, is it worth it!
Take a packed lunch to enjoy at lake 3.
Go early in the morning to avoid any crowds and for prime photo opportunities.
I’d strongly recommend taking your own car or a hire car for maximum flexibility and so you can get back to Whistler for the afternoon.
However, there is a bus service/tour available through Joffre Bus should you need it.
Paddle Boarding at Lakeside Park
Paddleboarding is fast becoming one of the most popular water-based sports.
With all the lakes surrounding Whistler, it’s no wonder this awesome sport is now one of the top things to do in Whistler in Summer! It’s a great way to tour around the lakes or navigate down the river of golden dreams. You can even do yoga out on the water.
Paddleboarding is also a great way to slow down while still enjoying what nature has to offer. You might need it after all the adrenaline-fuelled activities!
Lakeside Park is the perfect spot for it.
You can get rental SUPs (Stand-Up Paddleboards) at a reasonable price AND Alta Lake is a sweet spot. It has great views and is big enough to tour around and keep things interesting.
Time to unleash your inner lumberjack and hurl some axes!
This action-packed sport is a great social occasion for groups as you compete to hit the bullseye. It’s by no means your average tourist activity and is sure to entertain the whole group and get your competitive juices flowing.
While you’re in the mountains, eh?
Also located in Function Junction, axe throwing is the perfect post-brewery entertainment. Just don’t over-do it on the IPAs beforehand…
Sightseeing at the top of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains is one of the most popular things to do in Whistler in Summer.
One of the main reasons for this is the impressive Peak 2 Peak Gondola.
Hanging over the valley between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, the Guinness World Record-breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola travels a whopping 4.4 kilometres/2.7 miles.
While you’re up there, you get stunning views of volcanic peaks, coastal rainforest, and long-standing glaciers.
Top Tip: Wait for the glass bottomed gondola. It’s not overly advertised, but there are 2 going round and they are worth the extra wait time!
And that’s not all you get with your sightseeing pass…
Whilst at the top of Whistler Mountain, ensure you take the Peak Chairlift up to the very top and check out the Cloudraker Skybridge (pictured below).
This suspension bridge gives you unparalleled views of the valley.
There are several hiking trails to be explored at the top of the mountains. You can pick up a hiking trail map in the gondola station. Or you can simply ride the gondolas and chairs and enjoy the views.
Top Tip: Keep a sharp eye out for bears as you take the sightseeing loop and travel in the gondolas!
Whistler Golf Club – A nice course with exceptional views
Whistler ATV Tours – A great all weather activity. Get out into the back-country and explore the rugged local terrain on an ATV
The River of Golden Dreams – Whistler’s famous river winds through amazing landscape. Hop in a canoe and go yourself or take a guided tour.
Rainbow Park – A beautiful spot on Alta Lake (Whistler’s biggest). Take a picnic and enjoy the veiws, take a dip in the lake and play some sports in the park.
Guided Tours in Whistler
Bear Viewing Tour – A great opportunity to take in some of Whistler’s wildlife and natural surroundings. Hopefully you’ll get to see one of the elusive black bears!
Scenic Flight – A floatplane tour is one of the most spectacular things to do in Whistler in Summer. The views of the mountains, glaciers, lakes and forest are unparalleled. Planes take off and land from Green lake.
Where to Stay in Whistler in Summer
Now you’re all set with your things to do, you’re probably wondering:
Where should I stay in Whistler in Summer?
Well, there are a number of accommodation options available.
These range from plush hotels to private apartments to pitches at campsites. It’s important to think about what you want from your accommodation.
Generally speaking, accommodation in Whistler is on the expensive side, it’s an EXTREMELY popular place to visit. That being said, there are a few cheaper options available when you know where to look.
That could be the reason I lived there for over 18 months and now consider myself ‘a local’.
Why do I love it?
There is just SO much to do.
In fact, it was hard to fit everything I wanted to into this itinerary! If you like the outdoors, you’re in for a real treat. The surrounding mountains and rainforest are stunning.
An additional treat I didn’t expect is the quality food scene. The village is packed with excellent restaurants and eateries with cuisines from all over the world. There really are so many things to do in Whistler in Summer.
Costs in Whistler
What you spend in Whistler depends completely on what you want to do.
For example, the more tours you take or the more you party, the more you will spend. These costs are non-essential, and you can take part in as many or as little as you like depending on your budget.
However, certain costs such as food and accommodation are non-negotiable.
Here’s a rough breakdown of essential travel costs in Whistler (all costs in $CAD):
Hotel room for 2: $150 – 1,000 Hostel: Dorm – $40; Private – $100 Air BnB: $80 – 400
Bus: $2.50 Bike rental: $40/day Short Taxi Journey: $12
Dinner: $30 – 100 Lunch: $20 Take-out meal: $12
Beer in local bar/pub: $6 Beer in high-end bar: $8 Cocktail: $15 Nightclub entry: $10
How to get to Whistler
The closest Airport to Whistler is Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Flights are available from destinations all over the world.
Driving is by far the least complicated way to get to Whistler. From Vancouver, Whistler is approximately a 2-hour drive north on Highway 99. This is one of my favorite drives EVER. The views are insane.
As you’ll see from the next section, a car is also the best way to see everything Whistler has to offer.
Check road conditions, weather alerts, delays, and construction that may affect your route on DriveBC. Ensure you take extra precautions when driving in the mountains.
Buses to Whistler are available from Central Vancouver and Vancouver Airport. Tickets are as cheap as $24 one way and can be booked through the following outlets:
There are public buses available in Whistler. They’re cheap and (semi) reliable, and you can simply check on Google Maps for timings.
There are also several taxis. These are less cheap and slightly harder to pin down but can be handy if staying outside of the village.
By far the best way to explore all that Whistler and the surrounding area has to offer is by car. There are some places that simply can’t be accessed without your own vehicle.
Best time to visit Whistler
Summer is, without doubt, one of the best times to visit Whistler.
The Summer season runs from late May until early September – be wary that Whistler is significantly busier during July and August because of school holidays!
The weather in Whistler can be temperamental.
With the Pacific Coast close by and the surrounding rainforest, storms do roll in from time to time. Generally, over Summer, the weather is pretty good. Let’s just say that swimming in the lakes is a popular Whistler Summer activity!
One more thing:
Whistler suffers from a real ‘dead season’ between Summer and Winter.
The weather starts to take a turn for the worse and the village tends to shut down from October until late November. Aim to visit before then.
How to save money in Whistler
It’s no secret that Whistler isn’t the cheapest place to visit.
As a local, I’ve learned a few hacks to save money.
Book your lift tickets and bike rentals in advance
The grocery store gives out discount coupons for retail stores
Most bars have a happy hour – check out Whistler Bites
Do free stuff – hiking trails and lakes cost nothing!