Drive two hours north of Vancouver, British Columbia, and you’ll find yourself in Whistler. Like a fairytale ski resort straight out of your dreams, you’ll be treated to quaint chateau’s, a charming central village and some of the most incredible scenery you could hope to see. In contrast to its idyllic exterior, Whistler is also home to a world of action-packed adventures and wildlife from epic mountain bike trails to heart-pumping rapids and everything in-between. While Whistler is known as a winter wonderland, it comes alive in the summertime too, offering visits a smorgasbord of fun, adventure and relaxation. To help you plan your own incredible trip, here’s our guide to 18 Awesome things you absolutely must do in Whistler.
But first, you might want to watch our video: One Night in Whistler
1. RZR Tour
If you love adventure activities and sightseeing, an RZR (pronounced Razor) Tour is a great way to experience Whistler. You climb aboard a rugged four-wheeler vehicle and tear off into the Whistler wilderness following winding paths, whooshing over puddles and clambering over rocks. The tour stops at different spots so you can take in great views and switch drivers. It’s a great way to get a little dirty and have a whole lot of fun! Perfect for anyone who LOVES Mario Kart. Find RZR Tour here.
2. Do an epic zipline eco-tour
See Whistler from above and learn a whole lot about the local area with a Ziptrek Ecotour. There are a number of different tours, depending on your experience and confidence levels and Ziptrek is the proud owners of the longest zip line in Canada and the USA. You’ll get to whiz high above the world below, potentially spot bears and learn a great deal from experienced guides who’ll share insight on the eco-system. Find Ziptrek Ecotours here.
3. Vallea Lumina
Light up your evening in Whistler with a visit to the newly opened Vallea Lumina! You’ll spend a few hours wandering the forest on a journey along long lost trailheads. Surrounded by an incredible display of lights, you’ll see the forest in a way you never have before while learning the legends of the local area through old stories and short shows. Great for adventurers big and small! Find Vallea Lumina here.
4. Whitewater rafting
If heart-pumping adventure on the water is more your bag, a white water rafting trip might be the way to go. Make the most of those crisp, sunshine-filled, Whistler days by climbing aboard a raft and navigating the rapids. Explore stunning rivers under the expert guidance of professional raft guides while tackling rapids that suit your experience level, from Classes 1 through 4. Find White Water Rafting here.
5. Go Hiking
Whistler offers a great range of hiking trails! Make the most of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain’s alpine hiking trails by catching the Peak 2 Peak Gondola (details below) to the top. Take in the views then set off along the many trails at the top, offering a great opportunity to spot wildlife like the Hoary Marmot. Of course, there is also a great range of other hiking trails around Whistler, ranging in difficulty and length. Find Hiking Trail Maps of Whistler here.
6. Peak 2 Peak Gondola
Touted as one of Whistler’s absolute must-dos the Peak 2 Peak Gondola takes you high up into the mountains of Whistler with none of the effort! Sail right up to the top with ease then take in the incredible 360-degree views of jagged mountain peaks, vibrant lakes and Whistler Village. When I say the views are good… I mean, they’re absolutely, freakin’ epic! There are guided or DIY tours and trails to follow, you can traverse the stunning Cloudraker Skybridge and do the Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk from Whistler Peak and there’s a lot more to see, do and experience while you’re up there. Find Peak 2 Peak Gondola here.
7. Spot Bears
Whistler is known for being home to quite the number of black bears so you’re chances of seeing one are quite high, especially if you head off to do some adventure activities like the Zipline. While I was reassured, many times, the black bears that call Whistler home are used to having humans around, it’s always important you know and follow the bear safety rules. Never approach the animals or attempt to interact with them and, if you’re camping, be sure to keep anything with a scent (and I do mean anything) safely locked inside your car or a bear bin. Find bear safety information here. )
8. Check out a few of the Lakes
There are quite a few gorgeous lakes in Whistler which make for the perfect spot to spend some time swimming, sunbathing and possibly enjoying a great picnic or BBQ, if you’re organised. A number of the lakes are also the perfect spot for water sports and you can hire a canoe, kayak or SUP to make the most of it all. Find Whistler’s best lakes and beaches here.
9. Horseback Riding
Saddle-up and spend the day exploring Whistler on horseback. There is a range of different rides available, depending on how much time you have and your budget. Follow trails through Whistler’s lush forest, follow rivers and marvel at mountains. Learn about the local area from experienced guides and, if you like, join a ride that includes a delicious dinner cooked atop an open fire. Find horseback riding tours here.
10. Bungee Jumping
Give your lovely mother anxiety by signing yourself up for a bungee jump in Whistler! Throw yourself off a perfectly good bridge in one of the most beautiful places on earth and get the photos to prove it. You’ll jump from a 53-metre bridge down toward the glacial fed Cheakamus River. Find Bungee Jumping here.
11. Helicopter tour
If you’ve got a little more cash to splash and want an unforgettable experience, a helicopter tour could be the way to go. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of taking off in a helicopter, watching the ground below you pull away as you soar high above it all. When it comes to ideal helicopter destinations, scenic spots like Whistler really are the best as they offer jaw-dropping flight paths over mountains, glaciers, forests and lakes. There are quite a few different options, depending on just how much you want to spend, what you want to experience and how much time you have. Find Whistler helicopter tours here.
12. Glacier tour
I’ve done two glacier tours in my time and loved them both! They’re a unique experience, a fascinating way to experience something new and learn about a destination’s history. Be sure to rug up but rest assured your guides will give you everything else you need, like crampons for your shoes. You’ll be led over the glacier by an expert guide with in-depth knowledge on the glacier and local area. It’s a fun way to spend your time and the photo opportunities are fantastic. Find Glacier tours here.
13. Experience the Olympics
Whistler was home to a number of events in the 2010 winter Olympics and Paralympics. You can wander through Whistler Village and spot a few of the sites yourself or, if you prefer, get hands-on. In the summer months, visitors can climb aboard the ‘rolling thunder,’ a bobsleigh on wheels and whoosh down the fastest ice track in the world (seriously!) Visitors can also visit the Whistler Olympic Park and enjoy activities like hiking up ski jumps, skiing with an Olympian and disc golf (obviously not an Olympic sport). Find Olympic experiences here.
14. Do Shot-Skis
Home to a large number of Australians (my apologies in advance for what you’ll undoubtedly witness) and visitors the world over, Whistler has a natural party scene that pops up most evenings. While there are a large number of bars, pubs and clubs to choose from, you might like to commemorate your Whistler experience with a shot-ski. Head on over to the Longhorn Saloon & Grill, grab a couple of friends and coordinate yourselves to all take a shot off the same ski at the same time. Photos, please. Find Longhorn Saloon & Grill here.
15. Eat delicious Japanese food
For a nice dinner out, head to Sushi Village right in the heart of Whistler Village. The private dining booths here are fantastic and the perfect spot to tuck away for a few hours with a few glasses of Asahi or warm Sake. Note: the make a Sake Margarita! The group menus are perfect if there are a few of you who want to try different things. The price is per person and you’re served a great amount of food a.k.a there’s no way you leave hungry. The sushi is fresh and delicious, well-prepared and a great way to cap off an epic Whistler day. Find Sushi Village here.
16.Grab a slice
For a budget bite, you can’t go past a slice or two of piping hot pizza. There are a few spots to choose from in Whistler and just who serves up the best will depend on personal preference and who you ask! Two of which come recommended and offer good pizza at good prices are Fat Tony’s and Misty Mountain Pizza. Great for a post-adventure snack or a cheap dinner. Find Fat Tony’s here and Misty Mountain Pizza here.
17. Mountain Biking
As you stroll around Whistler Village you’ll see no shortage of people on mountain bikes. If you want to get amongst it, you can hire a mountain bike and set off for the day. Of course, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park is the way to go. The gravity-fed downhill biking experience is notorious and a drawcard for mountain bike lovers the world over. There are four mountain zones, green trails, jump trails and so much more to explore. Your ticket will include lift access too! Woohoo! Find Whistler Mountain Bike Park here.
18. Relax at the spa
If all that ‘doing stuff’ sounds like too much, a day spent at the Scandinave Spa may be just what you need. Spend your day soaking in Whistler’s stunning, traditional Scandinavian outdoor baths, enjoying the picture-perfect scenery. There’s a Finnish sauna, a wood-burning sauna, eucalyptus steam baths, Nordic waterfall and showers plus hammocks, solariums and outdoor fireplaces if needed. Treat yo self to a massage followed by a stint in the cafe and emerge refreshed and recharged. Find the Scandinave Spa here.
Useful travel resources for your trip to Canada!
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TourRadar – a great search engine for booking tours
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.