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When planning a vacation to the tourism mecca that is Whistler in British Columbia, the hardest part is not just choosing accommodation and activities; it’s deciding how long to spend there! I mean, there’s so much to do in Whistler that it can be hard to fit it all into only a few days.
That’s why I recommend spending 3 days in Whistler – it’s just enough time to sample the very best Whistler has to offer, no matter the season!
There are literally hundreds of awesome activities and tours in Whistler, from skiing in the winter to horseback riding in the summer. But there are also plenty of all-weather activities (that you can do at any time of the year) like ziplining or hiking! Therefore, I’ve included a mix of activities in this blog post – summer, winter, and all-year-round things to do. Literally, everything is covered in this Whistler itinerary.
If you’re on a tight schedule, 3 days (or 72 hours) is more than enough time to tick off the best things to do in Whistler. Believe me, we’ve visited Whistler many times, so we know the region well. That’s why I’ve put together this detailed 3-day Whistler itinerary – you can pick and mix the activities to make your own personalized itinerary. Plus, if you have just one or two days in this resort town, you can just pick one or two of the days from this itinerary.
So, let’s get started on the ultimate 3-day Whistler itinerary!
Whistler Itinerary Overview
As mentioned above, I’ve written this blog so that it works for a 1, 2, OR 3-day Whistler itinerary. If you have just one day, just do the first day of this itinerary (it includes what I believe to be the best things to do in Whistler), but if you have more time, add on the second for a great 2-Day Whistler itinerary.
Day 1: Ziplining in the morning; lake day in the afternoon; dinner and drinks at The Mexican Corner
Day 2: Peak 2 Peak in morning/afternoon (summer only) or skiing in morning/afternoon (winter only); dinner and drinks at El Furniture Warehouse
Day 3: Hike to Joffre Lakes in the morning; horseback riding in the afternoon (summer) or snowmobiling in the afternoon (winter); dinner and drinks at Beer Farmers
Why We Recommend this Whistler Itinerary
I think this is the best 3-day Whistler itinerary out there because it offers something for everyone, from fast-paced, adrenalin-pumping activities like ziplining and snowmobiling to more relaxing things to do like spending an afternoon at one of Whistler’s stunning lakes.
Plus, I’ve also included some specific suggestions if you’re visiting Whistler in summer or winter, e.g., skiing is available in winter only and horseback riding in summer only.
All the activities and restaurants listed here have been thoughtfully researched so you can experience the very best of what this mountain town can offer in just 3 days! Of course, in this short amount of time, you can’t see and do everything; that’s why I’ve put together this unique, unbeatable itinerary – it’s a mixed bag of activities and is certain to leave you wanting more.
So, let’s get into it, shall we?! Below, I’ve summarized this Whistler itinerary in detail with things to do on each day (both summer and winter options) as well as the best restaurants to dine at!
Morning – Go Ziplining
Start your day off on a high – literally! Zoom through the treetops and over glorious creeks on a Ziptrek ziplining tour. There are a few different ziplining tours in Whistler that you can choose from.
If you’re brave enough, you can experience the longest Zipline in North America, which is what this company is most famous for. At a whopping 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) long – taking on the iconic Sasquatch Zipline is one of the best things to do in the summer in Whistler. You go incredibly fast on this particular zipline, reaching speeds of over 100 km per hour!!
The Sasquatch Zipline is only open from April to October, so outside of those months, you will have to do one of the other ziplines, but don’t worry, there are plenty! Such as the popular Eagle Tour, which features 5 ziplines, 4 treetop bridges and lasts between 2.5 and 3 hours. Or the kid-friendly Bear Tour, which boasts 4 ziplines, 4 treetop bridges and is about 2.5 hours long.
These tours start from $145 CAD, and the incredible sasquatch zipline tour lasts for 1.5 hours; as I mentioned, its the longest zipline in North America, so if you’re an adrenalin-junkie (like me), this is a must-include on your 3-day Whistler itinerary! Alternatively, book the Eagle Tour if you’re after a slightly calmer experience.
There are a few requirements for their tours, like you shouldn’t weigh over 113 kg (249 lbs) and less than 27 kg (60 lbs). And it’s only suitable for kids over 7.
I recommend allowing 3 hours for this fun activity! It’s one of the best year-round activities in Whistler, in my opinion!
Afternoon – Lake Day!
Whistler is as famous for its spectacular lakes as it is for its mountains, and it’s no wonder with no less than 5 stunning lakes within walking distance of the town. One of my favorite free things to do in Whistler is to walk around a lake shore with a coffee in hand, snapping plenty of photos. Whistler is just so beautiful!
What’s great too is this simple activity can be enjoyed year-round – in the summer, sunbathe on a lake beach and go for a dip when the temperatures soar, beware though the water temperature is still an icy 59 Fahrenheit (15 Celsius) in summer. You can also rent canoes and kayaks from Alpha Lake when the weather is warm. In winter, lakes like Nita Lake are used for ice-skating by locals, and in fall and spring, the lakes are a great place to come to photograph the change in season.
Top tip – all of Whistler’s lakes are connected by the 40 km Valley Trail. So, a great idea (if you have time to spare) is walking the entire trail; this will take approximately 7 hours. Alternatively, rent an e-bike and explore it at a much faster pace!
Below I’ve listed Whistler’s 5 lakes so you can choose where to spend your first afternoon on this 3-day Whistler itinerary!
- Alpha Lake – can be found in the Creekside neighborhood and features a small sandy beach, kids’ playground, dog park, and a few picnic benches. It’s one of Whistler’s quieter lakes and tends to be most popular with locals.
- Nita Lake – also in the Creekside neighborhood, this is a smaller lake right in front of the luxurious Nita Lake Lodge (grab a coffee/ food here if you can); it’s a great spot for some winter ice skating.
- Alta Lake – is a large lake between creekside and Whistler village with a sandy beach, plenty of swim docks, and food trucks in the summer. You can also indulge in watersports like canoeing and SUPing here, and there is a rental store on the lakefront. This is also the warmest Lake in Whistler, so it is a popular swimming spot with locals.
- Lost Lake – it’s a lovely walk from Whistler’s Upper Village into Lost Lake, which is a very popular hang-out spot in the summer. It’s one of the most scenic lakes in Whistler and is a popular spot for snowshoeing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer (there are lots of trails surrounding the Lake)
- Green Lake – located to the North of the village, Green Lake is a gorgeous place for a lakeside stroll. It’s popular for wakeboarding and kayaking, and it’s where floatplanes land.
Related Read: Check out these awesome Whistler Coffee Shops for your caffeine hit!
Evening – Dinner and Drinks in town
End your first day in Whistler on a high note with delicious, authentic tacos and quesadillas, or sample some more unusual dishes like their birria soup or ahi tuna tostadas. Plus, you just have to try their incredible margaritas with yummy flavors like strawberry, mango, and passionfruit! The Mexican Corner on Sundial Crescent is incredibly popular and typically doesn’t take reservations (unless you’re traveling in a large group) so get here early to nab yourself a table.
If you’re not a fan of Mexican food, then Sushi Village next door is a great choice and is arguably the best sushi spot in Whistler. Again, it’s incredibly popular, so reserving a table is a must. Alternatively, if you’re keen to try some great pizza whilst in Whistler, head to Pizzeria Antico on Main Street, which serves artisan pizza and a fantastic selection of craft beers.
Morning and Afternoon (Summer) – Peak 2 Peak Sightseeing Gondola
Spanning across two mountains (Whistler and Blackcomb), the world record-breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola is a whopping 4.4 km (2.7 miles) gondola that takes you from one mountain top to the next. It’s an 11-minute ride that takes in breathtaking views of the ever-changing Whistler landscape. Or, you can ride the glass-bottom gondola (aka the 360 experience), which, although incredible, isn’t for the faint-hearted as you look down below your feet to the valley floor – 436 meters underneath!
Important to note – the Peak 2 Peak Gondola opens in late May and closes in mid-October for sightseeing; outside of these months, it is only used to transport skiers – which I’ll go into more detail on below.
There is over 50 km of hiking trails to be explored across both mountains. Some other great things to be enjoyed once you hop off Peak 2 Peak include:
1. Walk the Skybridge – the biggest attraction after the Peak 2 Peak is the Skybridge and the good news is that entry is included in your ticket price. But, if you have a fear of heights, you may want to skip this. If not, you can walk on the Skybridge out to an epic viewpoint of Blackcomb Mountain and the valley below.
2. Walk the snow walls (spring/ early summer only) – these famed snow walls can be up to 40 feet high, and it’s a short walk from the top of Blackcomb Mountain to reach them. Take photos next to the giant walls and walk the short path through them.
3. Lunch with a view – after all that sightseeing, be sure to stop for an incredible option with an awe-inspiring view. The two best options are Christine’s or The Roundhouse. Christine’s is a fine dining eatery that specializes in seafood and is located at the top of Blackcomb within the larger Rendezvous restaurant. If it’s sunny, be sure to ask for a table on the patio. The Roundhouse, on the other hand, is a more casual, cafeteria-style restaurant and is, in fact, the biggest restaurant in Whistler. It’s located at the top of Whistler Mountain.
4. Via Ferrata – you’re in for a thrill on this unique tour which involves climbing to the top of Whistler peak with a professional guide by your side. You’ll have to hike and climb your way to the top with the help of specialized gear. This particular tour is 4 hours long, is highly recommended, and costs from $169 CAD per person.
As you can see, there’s so much to do once you hop off the Peak 2 Peak that it’s easy to spend a full day up here. This is a must-do on any 1, 2, or 3-day Whistler itinerary in the summer!
Morning and Afternoon (Winter) – Hit the Slopes
Whistler is one of the most renowned ski resorts in the world, and as a matter of fact, it’s regularly voted as the best ski resort worldwide! It’s no wonder, then, that pretty much every tourist to Whistler in the winter comes here with one purpose only, and that’s to hit the slopes. So, of course, I just had to include it in this 3-day Whistler itinerary!
The Whistler Blackcomb ski area is a huge 4,757 acres (1,925 hectares) of skiable terrain; add in 200 runs and 36 lifts, and it’s easy to see why this is such a popular spot with snow-lovers! There are runs suitable for beginners up to pros, so there’s a run for everyone here. S
ome of my favorites on Whistler Mountain include Ego Bowl – one of the best green runs in Canada; the lengthy 11km long blue run aptly named the Peak 2 Creek because it takes you all the way to Creekside; and the powder-filled West Cirque, which is a double black diamond run and so only suitable for experts.
While over on Blackcomb Upper and Lower Panorama via the 7th Heaven Express chairlift is a firm favorite thanks to the epic views, and it’s a must-ski on a bluebird day!
After a tiring morning of skiing, be sure to stop for lunch at either The Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain or Rendezvous on Blackcomb Mountain; both are large cafeteria-style restaurants with lots of seating. Or, for something a little more unique and hidden – Crystal Hut on Blackcomb is your best bet. It can be accessed via the Crystal Chair. Here, they serve a limited menu – but you just have to try their famous waffles with berry sauce!
Skiing on Whistler Blackcomb is available between mid/late November to early/mid-May. However, the best months to ski here are January and February, as that’s when the powder is at its best, although this is also the busiest time!
Related Read: Going for a ski holiday? Check out the best hotels in Whistler for skiing!
I should mention that Whistler Blackcomb is a notoriously expensive ski resort with lift passes for adults starting at $190 CAD, kids ages 7 to 12 at $95, and teenagers 12 to 18 at $160. But if you book a couple of months in advance, you can avail of the early bird discounts!
The first lift up Whistler Blackcomb is at 8:30 am and the last lift at 3 pm; however, as it gets into spring, the last lift is extended out to 4 pm.
Related Read: my top tips if you’re visiting Whistler in December!
Evening – Cheap Drinks and Meal in Whistler Village
When night falls, and after a hectic day of activities, you’ll want to spend your second night eating somewhere with a chilled-out vibe. El Furniture Warehouse, or “furnies” as the locals call it, is a Whistler icon. Located on Main Street, it is famous for its cheap food and drinks and relaxed atmosphere – everything on its food menu is under $10, with burgers costing as little as $8.45 CAD!
Their drinks menu is equally as purse-friendly, and you can order a pint of beer for $6.45; they also offer a wide variety of cocktails!
In the summer, grab a table on their patio and watch the world pass by on Main street, and in winter, it’s one of the best apres-ski spots in town with banging tunes and a fun clientele from around the world.
If you want to continue the night, there are plenty of places to head out for a night of dancing in Whistler. On weekends, some clubs even host international DJs. It’s safe to safe the nightlife in Whistler is vibrant, and if you’re up for it, you should check it out.
Related Read: If you’re heading to nearby Vancouver, check out our guide to spending 4 days in Vancouver which is the perfect amount of time to see the highlights!
Morning – Joffre Lakes
Joffre Lakes is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and most popular hiking trails in Whistler, if not all of Canada. The scenery on this moderate 9.4 km (5.8 miles) trail is seriously breathtaking; think not one but three turquoise lakes, a glacier, and jagged snow-covered mountain peaks. The views are postcard-perfect! It will take most people between 4 and 6 hours to complete this hike.
The up-and-back trail leads to three lakes – aptly named the lower, middle, and upper lake. It’s a pretty easy hike, although there is an uphill section on the approach to the upper lake- which is one of the prettiest lakes, with Matier glacier in the background overlooking the lake. If you’re a little tight on time, you could just hike as far as the lower lake, which is just 200 meters (5 minutes) from the car park!
And the best thing about this hike is that it can be completed pretty much year-round. Although from late November, only those with experience in icy conditions should attempt this hike due to avalanche risk! In early-mid November, it can be icy in parts, especially on the way up to the Upper Lake, so wear hiking boots with good grip, and even pack a pair of crampons or microspikes. Summer is the busiest time to visit Joffre Lakes, and parking can be a nightmare at this time of year! But the lakes look their prettiest in these months, especially in August!
Joffre Lakes isn’t, in fact, located in Whistler, but outside the smaller town of Pemberton, it’s 62 km or a 52-minute drive here from Whistler.
Related Read: before you go, read my detailed blog post about hiking in Joffre Lakes!
Afternoon (Summer) – Horseback Riding
If you complete the above Joffre Lakes hike during the summer, then I recommend staying around Pemberton and joining a horseback riding tour here. In fact, this is one of the best summer-only activities in the Whistler area. This particular guided tour is the exact one that we did.
It is a guided horseback ride that takes you through the scenic Pemberton Valley range, which during the summer, is overflowing with wildflower meadows. You will travel by horseback across the Lillooet and Ryan rivers (yes, a river crossing on horseback!), and you may be lucky enough to spot wildlife like brown bears, deer, and elk! We actually saw three baby bears when we did this horseback tour in August.
Afternoon (Winter)- Snowmobiling Tour
If it’s winter, then an afternoon snowmobiling tour is the perfect addition to your 3-day Whistler itinerary. Departing at 2 pm, you will explore Whistler’s backcountry terrain think – frozen lakes, scenic viewpoints, and high alpine bowls from a speedy snowmobile (which can reach speeds of up to 90 mph!)
Snow pants, jackets, boots, gloves, helmets, and goggles will be provided free of charge!
The tour takes place through the picturesque Brandywine Valley, and a hot drink and snack are included.
In total, the experience is 2 hours long and costs from $204 CAD per adult. Children as young as 5 can be passengers, but all drivers must be 19 years and over and have a valid driver’s license.
Evening – Beer Famers
The last evening of your 3-day Whistler itinerary keeps you out in the Pemberton area with a visit to Beer Farmers – an organic farm/ brewery that has been in the same family for 4 generations!
Here you can sample their locally crafted ale and lager at their beer tasting room, which is a nod to the area with ingredients grown on the farm making it into their beer. In the summer (and in other seasons, provided it’s dry), there’s a large outdoor seating area with lovely valley views. They also provide live music on Friday nights.
From mid-August to early September, you can check out their sunflower maze, which is home to over 100,000 colorful sunflowers! Or, if you’re here in the fall, they have a pumpkin patch where you can pick your own pumpkin!
Their beer tasting room is open every day from 12-8 pm; be sure to check out their on-site food truck, too, which serves up delicious burgers. The food truck is open on Thursday and Friday from 4-7 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12-7 pm.
Other Things to do While You’re in Whistler
If you have more time in Whistler, then be sure to check out some of our other favorite things to see and do in the area:
- Brandywine Falls – The nature all around Whistler is stunning and the 70 meters (230 feet) Brandywine Falls surrounded by rough cliffs is not one to miss! This is a really short hike – only about 15 minutes one-way starting from the parking lot. It’s accessible from April to October and you’ll cross a wooden footbridge, some train tracks and head through the forest until you make it to the first viewing platform.
- Ride an ATV/buggy – One of our very favorite tours in Whistler was a buggy tour! In our small 4-wheel utility vehicle, we zoomed the mountain tops and admired all of the panoramic views (when we weren’t splashing in the puddles, that is!) If you prefer to ride an ATV, that is possible too with the same company. The buggy tour is $325 CAD whereas the ATV tour costs $169 CAD.
- Scenic flight – Although fun, scenic flights around Whistler are not cheap but are 100% bucket worthy! There are a few different options here but the most unique options are the scenic helicopter flight with a mountain landing and a seaplane flight that departs and lands from the water! The helicopter tour includes a 20-minute flight and a 15-minute glacier landing on Rainbow Mountain for the cost of $325 CAD. On the seaplane flight, you’ll be in the sky for 30 minutes and it costs $199 CAD. Whichever you choose both options have mindblowing views of mountains, glaciers, and lakes!
Where to Stay in Whistler
As you can imagine, Whistler is a mountain town filled with great hotels.
Our go-to hotel in Whistler is the Adara Hotel. For us, it is the perfect mix of luxury and affordability with everything you need for a comfortable stay. They offer underground parking and are only a one-minute walk from the Whistler Stroll, so you can park your car and leave it while you explore Whistler Village. They also have a beautiful outdoor pool and hot tub offering mountain views – perfect for relaxing on a Fall evening. The loft rooms are our favorites and most also offer mountain views from the upstairs patio.
For budget travelers, Pangea Pod Hotel is a great option. It’s a basic hotel with pod-style rooms with clean, well looked after facilities. The location is also really good right in the heart of Whistler Village. One thing to note is this is not your typical hotel and it does lack privacy due to the style of rooms. However, for location and price, it’s the best low-cost option. You can book on either Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.
For luxury travelers, I obviously love the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, but another option slightly cheaper is the Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre. Its location is perfect for luxury travelers because it’s only 250 meters from the closest gondola/chairlift. On top of that, it has all the luxury facilities you’d expect such as a heated, outdoor pool and 2 hot tubs with mountain views, a fitness center, a spa and wellness center, as well as an included breakfast. Oh, and all suites have a full kitchen!
Those are just a few of the many amazing places to stay in Whistler – read our blog for more info!
Thanks for reading!
Whistler is one of my favorite destinations in the world, and I hope this detailed 3-day Whistler itinerary has helped you plan your upcoming trip to this breathtaking location. This guide works as a 1-day or even 2-day Whistler itinerary; just pick the first day if you have 1 day or the first and second day if you have 2 days in town.
Below we’d love to hear from you, so please leave us a comment if you have any comments or questions!
Thanks again, and happy travels!!