19 Totally Awesome Things to do in Whistler in Summer!
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Whistler is one of the most popular places to visit in Canada. In this travel guide, we show you all the best things to do in Whistler to make your trip amazing and show you some great places to stay while you’re there!
Whistler – it’s known as a winter paradise with world-class skiing and winter sports.
As one of the most popular places to visit in Canada, we simply had to check it out on our recent trip to British Columbia. The only problem…we were visiting Whistler in summer.
Luckily though, there were tons of awesome things to do in Whistler in summer and for many, summer is the best time to visit Whistler anyway!
What we loved most was the beautiful warm weather, scenic drives, and endless opportunities for hikes.
We spent over a week in Whistler enjoying the sunshine, drinking cocktails at bars, and of course, exploring all the region has to offer!
Here are the best things to do in Whistler if you too are visiting in summer!
19 BEST Things to do in Whistler
1. Explore one of the many lakes around Whistler
|Location:||A short walk or ride from Whistler Village|
|Rating:||5/5 – The lakes are beautiful and a must visit |
in Whistler in summer
There are three main lakes around Whistler all within walking distance from town. Green Lake, Alta Lake, and my favorite, Lost Lake are accessible via easy walking trails through the surrounding pine forest.
I personally visited them all and loved each one for their own unique reason.
Lost Lake: On a sunny day, Lost Lake becomes the best place in town to relax on the beach and have a swim. It’s also the closest to Whistler and on a hot day, it’s the perfect place to spend the day!
Green Lake: Green Lake is much larger than the others. From the opposite side of the lake across from Whistler, you get stunning views of the mountains. It’s not as popular to swim here though and it is the furthest from town.
Alta Lake: I loved Alta Lake because it was very quiet and peaceful. With that said, it’s not as well connected to town via the many trails and much of the lakefront property is privately owned.
Truthfully though, if you’re visiting Whistler in summer then checking out one (or all three!) lakes is definitely one of the best activities you can do!
If you want to visit all of the lakes as well as many of the other best attractions in Whistler then this half-day Whistler sightseeing tour is perfect!
2. Hike to Joffre Lakes
|Location:||Duffey Lake Road around 45 minutes from Whistler|
|Price:||It’s FREE to hike the trail|
|Rating:||5/5 – Its arguably one of the best short hikes in Canada|
If you know me then you would know that I love stunning alpine lakes (almost more than traveling itself!) Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to visit many blue lakes situated high up in the mountains. With that said, Joffre Lakes just outside of Whistler is one of the best I’ve ever seen!
Just picture stunning mountain peaks, a glacier, turquoise lakes, and beautiful pine forest. Yep, I know what you’re thinking… where do I sign up!
It’s easily one of the most popular hiking trails in all of British Columbia and the main trail leads to not one, but three lakes – the lower, middle and upper lake. They’re all stunning, but my personal favorite is the middle lake.
The hike to the furthest lake (the upper lake) took me around 2 hours and is 3.5 km long. The trail is steep almost the entire way and it’s recommended you allow 3 hours to hike up according to the signs on the trail. The hike back down is quicker as it is all downhill.
Important: At the start of the trail, there is a large car parking lot and another one a minute down the highway. These may seem large but they often fill up before lunchtime. My recommendation is to arrive before 9 am to start the hike. This way you can easily get parking as well as avoid the bulk of the crowds.
Honestly, I can’t recommend the Joffre Lakes hike enough. The trail is one of the bes tthings to do in Whistler. If you do only one hike in Whsitler, make it Joffre Lakes!
3. Ride the world’s longest gondola
|Location:||The gondola leaves from Whistler Village|
|Price:||$64 online or $69 at the ticket booth|
|Rating:||5/5 – A must-do activity in Whistler if you ask me!|
You may have taken a ride on a gondola before, but I can guarantee you haven’t ridden one as long as the Peak to Peak Gondola in Whistler.
This HUGE gondola holds the world record for not only the longest gondola but also the highest and longest unsupported span of any lift in the world.
That’s three world records all in one!
Regardless of the fun ride up, it’s more about the views from the top! Once you reach the top you can head off and explore. Some of the best things to do at the top are:
1. Walk the Skybridge – The Skybridge is the main attraction and entry is included in your ticket price. For those afraid of heights, you may want to skip this, but if you can stomach the bridge, you can walk out to a beautiful viewpoint.
2. Walk the snow walls – This is such a cool activity I’ve included it on this list below.
3. Lakeside Loop – This short but beautiful hiking trail leads to Blackcomb Lake. Here enjoy a picnic and the stunning color of the lake!
The Peak to Peak Gondola isn’t one of the best activities in Whistler for no reason, so you won’t want to miss this one!
4. Rent a bike and explore
|Location:||All over Whistler|
|Price:||$14 to $20 per hour or around $55 for the whole day|
|Rating:||4/5 – It’s a beautiful way to spend a summer|
day in Whistler
Mountain biking is easily one of the best summer activities to do in Whistler. We rented bikes for a few hours and explored some of the lakes around Whistler – and it was awesome!
What makes this activity so popular is the fact that the bike trails around Whistler can just about get you anywhere. It only takes a few hours to explore most of the closer trails to town and take a scenic ride around.
Don’t worry about finding the perfect route for you either. The rental companies have maps and can give you great advice on where to go depending on what you want to see.
If riding around town isn’t exciting enough for you then consider upgrading your bike (and safety gear) and hitting the downhill trails at the top of the gondolas. You can get day passes or even season passes for the gondola and they have special lifts to get you and your bike to the top.
If you want to try it out but are a little nervous then join this organized downhill riding tour with a guide.
We rented our bikes from Summit Sport right in town. They had really good mountain bikes for riding around town and are very reasonably priced. If you want to go downhill mountain biking then they also have the bikes and gear for even the most serious riders!
5. Go whitewater rafting
|Location:||Leaves from Whistler Village|
|Price:||Starting at $105 per person|
|Rating:||4/5 – Great activity on a nice day and very scenic|
Who doesn’t love whitewater rafting? And it’s summer so this activity is a no brainer – especially on a hot day.
In Whistler, the whitewater rafting is done on the Cheakamus River a short drive from Whistler. The rapids on this river range from level 2 to 5 depending on the tour you choose to do.
If you’re traveling with kids then picking the tour with levels 2 to 3 are best, but if you’re a seasoned veteran like myself (or just consider yourself a little crazy) be sure to pick the level 5 rapid tour.
Like almost all the tours mentioned in this blog, whitewater rafting does book up in summer especially on weekends. You can choose and book your white water rafting tour in advance and the best part? It costs as little as $105 per person!
6. Visit a museum
|Location:||Around Whistler Village|
|Price:||$2 to $18|
|Rating:||3/5 – Would only interest those wanting to learn about art |
or history. Great for a rainy day.
Not every day during the summer in Whistler is going to be a bluebird day. So, it’s best to have a back-up plan in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Luckily, there are a few museums in Whistler you can visit to hide from the rain all while learning lots about history, art, and culture!
There are three main museums in Whistler and they are the Audain Art Museum, Whistler Museum, and the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center. All offer different exhibitions and touch on different subjects.
The Whistler Museum is by donation but the others have an $18 admission fee for adults.
Be sure to read up on them all and choose the one you like most. Alternatively, you can just visit them all!
7. Wander the “Train Graveyard”
|Location:||Starts on Jane Lakes Road near Whistler Olimpic Village|
|Rating:||3/5 – A beautiful short hike and very unique attraction|
Whistler is home to some pretty unique things to do and one that surprised me the most was the Train Graveyard.
This unique attraction is a graveyard of train carriages that derailed back in the 1950s. In order to get the train tracks open as fast as possible after the derailment, they moved the carriages off the tracks and left them in the forest nearby.
That was some 50 years ago and well, they’re still there today!
Nowadays, the trains are covered in graffiti and murals which makes wandering around them a very cool thing to do in Whistler and one I personally enjoyed.
On the way to the trains, you’ll also pass a beautiful suspension bridge that crosses the Cheakamus River. There are a total of 7 carriages to explore with 5 being just after the suspension bridge and the other two and little further on.
The official trail to the graveyard starts on Jane Lakes Road near the Whistler Olympic Village. The trail to the trains takes around 30 minutes each way and is a very easy hike.
If you have a car and want a shorter hike then you can also reach the trains from a small carpark just off the Sea to Sky highway. This trail is a little less maintained but only takes about 10 minutes to reach the trains.
You can find the location of both the trails and the carpark to start the trail on Google Maps.
8. Explore Whistler by floatplane
|Location:||Planes leave from Green Lake near the |
Nicklaus Golf Course
|Price:||Starting from $125 per person|
|Rating:||5/5 – An experience you won’t forget!|
There’s no better way to explore Whistler than from the sky. It’s beautiful, exciting, and sometimes a little scary, but one thing is for sure, it’s unforgettable.
In Whistler, you have an even more unique way to explore the skies and that’s via floatplane. On a floatplane, the lakes will become your airport in what I would call one of the most unique experiences I have had to date.
Taking off in the water was the scariest because you honestly feel like you’re not going fast enough as you slowly run out of the lake! Once we were in the air though I was just in awe at the surrounding landscapes and loved every minute of it.
Although fun, scenic flights around Whistler are not cheap. You can get the 30-minute scenic flight around Whistler we did for around $200 and if you can afford a little more you can even add in an alpine lake landing and lunch for around $400.
Although it’s not the cheapest tour in Whistler, it’s certainly an exciting one and one I recommend if you can afford it.
You can book your Whistler scenic flight in advance and save the worry of it booking out!
9. Hike to Garibaldi Lake
|Location:||On the Sea to Sky Highway between Whistler |
|Price:||FREE to hike but costs $13 pp per night to camp|
|Rating:||5/5 – Such an awesome hike but getting to the |
lake isn’t a walk in the park and requires some
Garibaldi Lake is one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in Canada. But despite its natural beauty, it remains rather unvisited compared to other lakes in Canada. The reason?
It’s the grueling 5.6 miles (9km) hike to the lake and 2,950 feet (900 m) gain in elevation that keeps people away. This is enough to turn most away, but for those willing to tackle the tough incline, the reward at the top is worth every sore muscle!
Once at Garibaldi Lake you can head off onto two other trails to viewpoints. They are the Blacktusk and Panorama Ridge lookout. Both are another 5.5km and 7km further and both incline more than 500m so it’s best to only tackle these if you consider yourself very fit.
To make it easier though, you can spend the night camping at Garibaldi Lake. The campsite at the lake has over 50 campsites, toilets, and cooking shelters. Campsites are $13 a person per night and need to be booked online prior to arrival.
If you’re having trouble booking you can ask the Squamish visitor center to book it for you (as we did!)
The trail starts around 30 minutes outside of Whistler around halfway between Squamish and Whistler. There is a large carpark that has just been upgraded to help deal with the larger numbers of hikers on the weekends.
10. Ride the longest zipline in North America
|Location:||Blackcomb Mountain Whistler|
|Rating:||5/5 – If you’ve ever wanted to go zipling this |
is the place to do it!
Ziplining is super fun but to be honest, after completing the Gibbon Ziplining Experience in Laos (2 days of 30 Ziplines some over 1km long) I hadn’t come across another zipline worth doing that would top that. That is until I came across the zipline in Whistler.
Whistler is home to the longest Zipline in North America at over 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) long! More than double the length of the longest zipline in Laos! For me, going ziplining in Whistler is a no brainer for anyone wanting to add a little ( or a lot) of excitement to their visit in Whistler!
You can skip the lines and book your Zipline with Ziptreck Eco Tours online in advance!
11. Visit Brandywine Waterfall
|Location:||Along the Sea to Sky Highway around 15 minutes |
south of Whistler
|Rating:||5/5 – It’s easy to get to and very beautiful!|
Brandywine Falls is a must-visit either on your way to or from Whistler. It’s located just on the outskirts of Whistler about a 15-minute drive from the village towards Vancouver.
It’s an easy 5-minute walk to the falls and once there you’ll be amazed at not only the waterfall but also the stunning valley lookout.
This is such a short trip but a great easy activity to do in Whistler.
12. Hike the Ancient Cedar Trail
|Rating:||3/5 – Perfect for those after a relaxing and easy hike|
If you’re looking for a short but beautiful trail with amazing views then the Ancient Cedar Trail is perfect. This short 5km round trip only takes around 2 hours to complete at an easy pace.
The path is a hike in, hike back trail that leads to a beautiful viewpoint (pictured above), and just past that viewpoint is the Ancient Cedar Forest. This is one of the few areas left that weren’t logged and quite rare nowadays.
The trail starts just north of Whistler at the end of Sixteen Mile Creek Forrest Service road up Cougar Mountain. The road to the trailhead is unpaved but almost all vehicles should be able to make it up without trouble in the summer.
13. Enjoy a beer at Whistler Brewery
|Location:||10 minutes south of Whistler Village|
|price:||Beers start at around $5|
|Rating:||4/5 – Great brewery with a lively atmosphere.|
If you love craft beer as much as I do then you simply must visit Whistler Brewing Co. This small craft brewery makes a selection of tasty beers and they are all very well priced!
A 20-ounce beer costs $7 and there is a huge range to choose from. You can also get takeaway growlers or six-packs of beer to take with you.
We also had lunch at the brewery and shared the “as big as your face nachos”. This dish really is huge and it’s certainly a lot bigger than your face.
The brewery is located to the south of Whistler. Although a little out of town, this is a great Whistler activity rain, hail, or shine!
14. Kayak the River of Golden Dreams
|Location:||Pick up in Whistler|
|Rating:||4/5 – It’s rated by many as an awesome tour with |
plenty of amazing scenery to see!
What could sound better than kayaking the River of Golden Dreams? This very unique kayaking tour in Whistler is really relaxing. On the trip, you can enjoy nature from a kayak or canoe.
The self-guided tour travels between two of Whistler’s biggest lakes starting at Alta Lake. From here, you’ll head off down the river mouth while floating along casually paddling in the currents. Along the way you’ll see geese, navigate past beaver dams, and enjoy overhanging greenery and stunning views.
The end of the tour finishes in Green Lake where you’re picked up and taken back to Whistler. It’s a great tour!
You can book your kayaking tour down the River of Golden Dreams in advance online or even find out more information!
15. The Chief and Sea to Sky Gondola
|Location:||In Squamish, 45 minutes from Whistler|
|Price:||The Chief hike is free and the gondola is $45|
|Rating:||5/5 – Both the hike and gondola have breathtaking |
views and it’s well worth checking out one of
them (or both!)
I wasn’t sure whether to include this on my list because it is a little bit far from Whistler, but I honestly loved it so much I just had to include it! The Sea to Sky Gondola is actually 40 minutes from Whistler in the town of Squamish and sits next to the Chief hiking trail.
Both the Chief and the Sea to Sky Gondola give you fantastic views of the Howe Sound.
I loved the Chief as it’s an amazing hike and great place to warm your legs up for some much harder hikes around Whistler. The hike takes around 3 hours to complete there and back and finishes on top of the Stawamus Chief. There are three peaks to climb but completing peak one is all I did and it was enough.
I also loved the Sea to Sky Gondola and it actually takes you much higher than the Chief trail. From the top of the gondola, you can explore a few other trails and enjoy stunning views.
You can also have lunch or even join the Via Ferrata climbing tour up there. There is actually a tour that includes Via Ferrata Climbing and Gondola pass!
I recommend doing both the Chief and Sea to Sky Gondola, but if you only have time for one then just ask yourself if you feel like hiking up or spending the $45 on the gondola.
This gondola and hike is also only about an hour’s drive from Vancouver. This makes it one of the best things to do in Vancouver too!
16. Test your skills at axe throwing
|Location:||10 minutes from Whistler Village near |
Whislter Brewing Co.
|Rating:||5/5 – Its super fun and you gotta try it at least |
once while you’re in Canada!
Axe throwing was something I never thought about doing before coming to Canada. To be honest though, I didn’t even know it was a thing to do! But as it turns out, it’s super popular and there are actually places all over Canada to do it.
Let me tell you though, it’s super fun and the hour we had booked went by so fast! As a first-timer, it took a few throws to get the hang of it but after that, we were keeping scores and getting super competitive.
If you’re wondering what it’s like, Bailey put it best “it’s like bowling but way more dangerous”. This is true but with the safety rules and training, it’s actually super safe and there’s nothing to worry about!
I highly recommend giving this activity a try in Whistler or at least once while you’re in Canada! You can book your Whistler axe throwing ahead of time here at no extra cost!
17. Rest your legs on an e-bike tour around Whistler
|Location:||Tours travel 27km around Whistler|
|Price:||$100 for a 3 hour guided tour|
|Rating:||4/5 – Its a great way to see Whistler in one day|
Whistler seems flat…that is until you decide to bike around the many trails in the area. To make it easier you can actually do an E-bike tour around Whistler instead. On the E-bike you won’t have to work nearly as hard as on a normal bike and you’ll be able to glide up the hills with ease!
E-bike tours go for around three hours and cover much of the greater Whistler area including the three major lakes, all three golf courses, a real bear den, and lots more. On the tour, you cover 27km!
Tours are $115 CAD and include a guide! You can book your tour here in advance!
18. Explore the snow walls on Blackcomb Mountain
|Location:||At the top of the Gondola in Whistler|
|Rating:||3/5 – Depending on the time of year this activity |
can be well worth checking out
It’s summer and outside temperatures are almost 30 degrees Celcius, but did you know you that you can still check out the snow walls for most of the summer?
Once the winter season wraps up, Blackcomb Mountain opens for sightseeing and at the top of the gondola is the famous snow walls that tower over the access road on the mountain.
Depending on the year, these can tower some 40 feet high! With that said, they do get smaller as the days go by so this activity is best suited to late spring or early summer. When we visited they were only a fraction of the size the can be.
As mentioned above, you’ll need to take the gondola up Blackcomb Mountain to reach them but from there it’s only a short hike to the snow walls!
19. Treetop Canopy walk
|Location:||Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler|
|Price:||$60 for a two-hour tour|
|Rating:||4/5 – scenic walk with amazing views|
I love treetop walks especially since I was lucky enough to do the Capilano Treetop walk in Vancouver!
The Tree Top Canopy Walk in Whistler is no different. This is a beautiful way to explore the pine forests near Blackcomb Mountain. On the walk, you are up to 200 ft. (61m) from the ground!
On the tour, your guide will explain lots about the forest and there is also lots of interpretive signage along the way. The tour runs for around 2 hours and only costs $60 CAD per person. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Whistler!
You can book the tour online ahead of time!
Where to Stay in Whistler, BC
For those travelers on a budget, the Hi Whistler is one of the only budget options. Although a hostel, the place is very clean and comfortable and they also have private rooms. A great place to meet travelers and enjoy your time in Whistler.
The Listel Hotel Whistler
The Listel Hotel is a beautiful place to stay in the heart of Whistler. I still consider it a budget option for Whistler but the hotel has lots of luxuries including a spa, restaurant, and bar.
You can check availability on Booking.com
Delta Hotels by Marriott Whistler Village Suites
For a luxury hotel in the heart of Whistler, the Whistler Village Suites is my top choice. For Whistler, it’s still a great value hotel and has a swimming pool, bar, fitness center, and restaurant. The rooms a very nice and for groups they have 2 bedroom apartments.
You can check availability on Booking.com
Before you go…
Whistler isn’t just a place to visit in winter. As you can see, summer is just as amazing (and as busy) and made our visit one to remember. With all of these amazing things to do in Whistler, you’re sure to have a great time too!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read our guide to the best things to do in Whistler. If you found this blog helpful then be sure to check out all our Canada blogs here or check out these related articles below!
April 28, 2020