Guest Post by Rachael Hopwood
Whistler’s lofty reputation as a winter ski resort often results in it being overlooked as a summer family destination. However, this mountain resort in the heart of British Columbia offers an abundance of family adventures to enjoy during the long warm days of summer.
To help give you a little more inspiration, we’ve pulled together some of the top kid-friendly adventures to be had in Whistler this summer.
HEAD TO THE LAKE
The Lost Lake trail is just a short walk or bike ride from Whistler Village and is a must-visit on a hot, sunny day. The well-signed Valley Trail will guide you to Lost Lake bypassing forests, streams and tadpole-filled lakes along the way. For kids who like to make a splash, the lake reaches comfortable temperatures in summer and there are docks and floating platforms for more experienced swimmers. Dry off in the sunshine using one of the onsite BBQs and picnic tables and don’t forget to enjoy a game of frisbee on the beach before heading home.
RIDE THE PEAK TO PEAK GONDOLA
No visit to the mountains of Whistler would be complete without a trip on the Peak to Peak Gondola. You’ll ride the highest gondola lift of its kind at 1,427 feet above the valley floor, taking in awe-inspiring views of the mountain landscape. Accessible via the Whistler Village Gondola and the new Blackcomb Gondola, the Peak to Peak reopens for summer from May 25th until early October. Children aged six and under go free! Feeling brave? Ride the special glass-bottom gondola for the best view of the forest.
CROSS THE CLOUDRAKER SKYBRIDGE
Part of the Peak 2 Peak 360 Experience, this 130-metre suspension bridge spanning from Whistler Peak to the West Ridge is fast becoming a sightseeing icon in these parts. Offering spectacular views over the Whistler Bowl, this is arguably one of the most Instagrammable locations in Canada – as long as you have a head for heights.
GO INDOOR ROCK CLIMBING
Despite Whistler’s largely reliable warm weather in summer, there will inevitably be the occasional day when rain stops play. One of the best indoor activities is rock climbing at The Core Whistler. The Core offers an array of action-packed classes and camps for children four years and up – and no climbing experience is necessary. Experienced guides will teach your little ones the basics including climbing techniques and safety skills, and don’t worry, you can even join in. Summer Camps start at the beginning of June and run through to Labour Day and the classes are extremely popular with families.
WALK THE VALLEA LUMINA AT NIGHT
Add a sprinkle of magic to your Whistler trip with the Whistler Night Walk or The Vallea Lumina as it’s also known. Journey along 1.5 km of mysterious trails through an enchanting coastal rainforest. This luminescent journey is perfect for kids of all ages and has the feel of a real-life fairy tale. The Night Walk runs throughout the summer months with special rates for kids – those under five go free. Overall, it takes between 50 and 80 minutes to complete but allow around two hours to make time for transportation to its hidden location.
GO TREE CLIMBING AT OLYMPIC PLAZA
Whistler was one of the host locations for the 2010 Olympic Games and the famous Olympic rings stand proudly in the heart of the Village. Nearby, you’ll find the Whistler Treehouse Playground where kids of all ages can climb until their heart’s content. There are a number of coffee options too, so the adults can sip a latte while the kids let off some steam.
TAKE A HIKE
The spring thaw released miles of hiking and biking trails from winter’s icy grip so you’ll find a huge network of paths ready to explore. Newcomers to the area are advised to head out on a guided hike to truly get the most out of their trip. Not only will you benefit from the expertise and insight of a local, but you’ll also stay safe in the wilderness. Your guide will be able to recommend the best hikes according to the age of your kids and overall fitness levels.
TRY AXE THROWING
One of the best things to do in Whistler is to try your hand at the Canadian pastime of axe throwing. Ideal for older kids (10+), this exciting and exhilarating lumberjack sport is fun and totally safe. At the award-winning Forged Axe Throwing, you’ll hurl hatchets at a target under the watchful eye of experienced axe throwing aficionados in the hope of sinking a bullseye. Compete against the teens and strike up a little family competition, learning a new skill and taking shelter from the midday heat.
Zipline tours in Whistler are available for children aged 7 years and over or a minimum weight of 27 kgs (60Ibs). You’ll be safely harnessed before taking off on an exciting and invigorating high-wire flight over old growth forests and the valley floor. Unleash your inner superhero and soar through the sky, taking in the natural beauty of British Columbia along the way.
FLY HIGH ON A WHISTLER FLOATPLANE
Our final sightseeing idea is one unique to British Columbia’s coast. A floatplane gives you the opportunity to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the mountain ranges, glaciers, valleys, rivers and lakes and you can even enjoy a picnic lunch on an alpine lake. Tours range from 30 minutes to two hours with discounted rates for kids.
WHERE TO STAY IN WHISTLER
Just like Whistler’s summer activities, there’s an accommodation choice for every taste and budget.
Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre: Hugely popular with families, the Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre enjoys one of the most central and convenient locations. The family-sized suites come complete with full kitchen and dining areas and offer plenty of space for kids and gear.
The Four Seasons Resort: If you’re a family that enjoys a taste of luxury, then the Four Seasons is for you. The generously sized rooms have large, five-piece bathrooms and an abundance of closet space. There’s an outdoor heated pool and a steam room in each change area, and the indulgent buffet breakfast has something for even the fussiest of eaters.
The Aava: This contemporary hotel is another popular choice largely thanks to its location on the edge of Whistler Village Centre. The rooms are clean and snug with queen beds, sofa bed and a basic bathroom. The hotel is reasonably affordable so is perfect as a base for an active family who want to be at the heart of all their adventures.