19 Totally Awesome Things to do in Whistler this Summer!
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Whistler – it’s known as a winter paradise with world-class skiing and winter sports.
It’s one of the most popular places to visit in Canada and 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 in Whistler is the best time to visit!
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!
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 stunning trails through the surrounding pine forest.
I personally visited them all and loved each one for their own unique reason.
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 town and on a hot day, it’s the local hangout spot – the perfect place to spend a day!
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.
The last is Alta Lake. I loved this place 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 something you’ll want to do!
If you want to visit all the lakes as well as many of the other best attractions in Whistler then this half-day Whistler sightseeing tour is perfect!
2. Joffre Lake Hike
|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 – and 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 British Columbia and the main trail leads to not one, but three lakes: the lower, middle and upper lake. They are 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 3.5km 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.
At the start of the trail, there is a large carpark 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 this hike enough. If you do only one hike in the area, 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:||4/5 – If the weather was better for us I would have been |
sure to give it a go!
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 get up there you also get access to the many beautiful hiking trails on Blackcomb Mountain. So, lace up your hiking boots and make a day of it!
Unfortunately, we never got to ride the gondola as the day we had planned to the weather wasn’t on our side. That said, it’s something I regret missing! You can book your tickets here so that you can skip the line!
4. Go mountain bike riding
|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 Whistler summer activities. We spent a few hours exploring some of the lakes around Whistler on a mountain bike – it was awesome!
The trails around Whistler can just about get you anywhere in town quickly. It only takes a few hours to explore most of the closer trails to town and take a scenic ride around.
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 white water rafting
|Location:||Leaves from Whistler Village|
|Price:||Starting at $105 per person|
|Rating:||4/5 – Great activitiy on a nice day and very scenic|
Who doesn’t love white water rafting? And it’s summer so this activity is a no brainer – especially on a hot day.
In Whistler, the white water 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, the white water rafting does book up in summer especially on weekends. You can choose and book from 4 different tours here and the best part? They cost 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 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 $200 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 sky’s and that’s via Float Plane. I personally have never had the pleasure of taking off or landing in a lake but it’s definitely on my bucket list.
One of the best things I have ever done was take a scenic flight in New Zealand in Mount Cook National Park. It became an unforgettable experience worth every penny! Although this time it wasn’t in our budget, it’s one activity I highly recommend to those who can afford to do it!
You can get a 40-minute scenic flight around Whistler 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.
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 a grueling 9km hike to the lake that gains over 900m in elevation. 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 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 (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 honestly so worth it!
12. Hike the Ancient Cedar Trails
|Rating:||3/5 – Perfect for those after a relaxing and easy hike|
If you’re after a short beautiful trail through stunning forest areas with amazing views then the Ancient Ceddar trail is perfect. This short 5km round trip only takes around 2 hours to complete at an easy pace.
If you’re having an awesome time and want to hike a little more there is another trail that connects to the Ancient Cedar at around the halfway point. This trail will take you back to the carpark via another route.
Be sure to download the app Maps.me on your phone and download the Whistler area. This way, you can see all of the nearby trails even without cellphone service!
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, it’s worth it for any beer lover like myself!
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 amzing scenery to see!
What could sound better than kayaking the River of Golden Dreams? This very unique kayaking tour in Whistler is honestly a must for anyone who loves seeing nature from a kayak or canoe.
The trip travels between two of Whistlers biggest lakes starting at Alta Lake. From here, you’ll head off in 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 gondoala 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 was satisfying.
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 the Via Ferrata Climbing and Gondola pass! On a sunny day, it’s so beautiful up there!
I recommend doing both, 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 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 do 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 actually 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”. Which is true but with the training, it’s actually super safe and there’s nothing to worry about!
I highly recommend giving this ago 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. 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 which is much more than I covered on my mountain bike!
Tours are $15 CAD and include a guide! You can book your tour here in advance!
18. Explore the ice walls
|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 ice 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 ice 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.
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 ice 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 I was luckily enough to do the Capilano Treetop walk in Vancouver last winter and loved it!
The Tree Top Canopy Walk in Whistler 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. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to do the tour, but it’s on the list for next time!
You can book the tour ahead of time here!
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.
If you found this blog helpful be sure to book your tours through the links above. It won’t cost you a thing extra and will save you time and ease the stress of planning your visit. Oh, and we’ll get a little kickback which helps us to keep this blog going!
Have a great time and enjoy Whistler!
We have written a ton of informative Canada blogs (similar to this one) about other popular tourist destinations. Some worth checking out are:
November 15, 2019