Who doesn’t love choice, especially when you’ve got people of all ages and sizes in your family to satisfy? But when you’re facing the stunning array of choices that await your family at North America’s largest mountain resort, it can feel a bit overwhelming. Fear not, brave vacationer, for I have pulled together the best of the best from all my insider knowledge to give you the perfect 3-day itinerary (plus some bonus bits) for an unforgettable getaway at Whistler Blackcomb. Let’s get started.
I can’t think of a better place to begin your family adventure than way up on these two magical mountains (equipment check: everyone got their cameras ready?). Head over to the Whistler Village Gondola, grab everyone a PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Season Pass (it costs less than two individual day tickets and gives you loads of other perks and savings), and head up to your first stop: the Roundhouse Lodge. From here the kids can get into some cool stuff: getting their picture on a podium with spectacular alpine vistas, sitting in the driver’s seat of a snowcat or snowmobile, or hanging out with an Inuksuk (you’ll see what I mean when you get there).
Then buckle up (figuratively!) – We’re going to take a breathtaking ride over to Blackcomb Mountain on the Guinness World Record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Believe me when I tell you, this is a totally unmissable part of your Whistler Blackcomb experience – everyone will completely love it!
After arriving at Blackcomb Mountain, I suggest popping into the amazing Samsung Alpine Theatre for a fun video that’ll really “immerse” your family in the mountain experience. After such a busy start to the day, you’ll probably need a little fueling up so why not grab a tasty lunch at the newly-renovated Rendezvous Lodge (the young ones will love their kid-friendly menu).
The glorious high alpine afternoon is now waiting for you and what better way to experience it than on a stunning collection of hiking trails (you’ll find lots of easy suggested routes) that wind through a volcanic landscape surrounded by jaw-dropping vistas, ancient glaciers, alpine lakes, and wildflower-filled slopes. Keep those cameras ready!
While over on Blackcomb you can do a small hike, watch the show in the Samsung Alpine Theatre, and have a tasty lunch in the newly renovated Rendezvous Lodge. You’ll love their kid friendly menu.
For the perfect end to your afternoon, I highly recommend getting back on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola and heading over to the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain for their family-friendly Mountain Top Summer Feast. It’s an incredible, mouthwatering dining experience with fantastic live music and endless views, and it happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening (first seating starts at 5:30pm). TIP: With your PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Season Pass, you’ll save 20% off the Mountain Top Summer Feast. Or you can just kick back at the new Roundhouse Umbrella Bar and enjoy a drink or two while taking in the breathtaking 360º views of the valley and surrounding mountains.
Now that you’re Masters of the Mountains, it’s time to see what special treats await you down below in Whistler’s amazing valley, and there’s no better place to begin than in the pedestrian-only resort village that many feel is the most awesome on the planet.
An always-great way to start your family’s day is with a wholesome breakfast served out on a sun-drenched patio watching people from around the world stroll by. There are countless restaurants and cafés in the Village to choose from, each serving up their own unique mountain flavour’s.
After breakfast, head off to explore the countless shops (fair warning: Whistler is a shopper’s paradise, so I suggest making a list of things you want to come back for tomorrow!). I have to think the kids (and you) would love a mid-morning treat so why not pop into one of the many ice cream parlors in the village for a cool Whistler creation. Then head over to Whistler Olympic Park where you can explore our legacy venues and learn about the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (TIP: check out the Electric Assist Mountain Bike Rentals – lots of fun!).
While the afternoon is still young, it’s a great time to visit other great kid-friendly spots in Whistler such as Lost Lake, Whistler’s Outdoor Water Park and the Family Adventure Zone presented by Nintendo. The Lil’wat Cultural Center is a really unique place to spend some family time. It’s a wonderful showcase of the art, history and culture of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations with lots of ways to have fun, including trying on some traditional regalia, playing a drum, and discovering their interactive exhibits.
For a delightful change of pace, I highly recommend heading out on two wheels along 40+ km of winding, paved trails with inspiring views of mountain landscape, lush forests and pristine lakes. Or gear down and take a leisurely stroll along Whistler’s gorgeous Valley Trail.
One of the fantastic summertime features of Whistler that catches many visitors by surprise is its incredible collection of rivers, lakes, and beaches. All are easily accessible and most feature great amenities for families, including kids’ play areas, grassy fields and picnic tables. Many offer kayak or canoe rentals, and some have volleyball and tennis courts. For a closer look, check out Lakeside Park, Lost Lake, Rainbow Park, Alpha Lake Park, Meadow Park, and Wayside Park.
Speaking of kayaking and canoeing, I consider them to be summertime must-do’s in Whistler and perfect for families. How can you beat floating along the gorgeous rivers and lakes of Whistler while soaking up all that the great outdoors has to offer? Highlights include Green Lake and Alta Lake – and don’t miss the River of Golden Dreams!
If it’s thrills you’re after, nothing tops putting on a wetsuit and getting wet as you fly down the rivers of Whistler going through beautiful lakes and exhilarating rapids. With options for all skill levels, this activity is perfect for families.
If your Whistler visit happens to coincide with one of many special summer events, think of it as the cherry on top of your sundae. Here are just a few that really stand out:
- On weekends from May through September, bring your picnic blanket and dancing shoes to the Whistler Olympic Plaza and enjoy the free Whistler Outdoor Concert Series.
- The open-air Whistler Farmers’ Market (held twice a week from May to October) is a fun outing for the family, showcasing local food and art, refreshing beverages and live entertainment.
- With tons to see and do, including free, family-friendly performances by the world-renowned Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Whistler is the perfect place for a fun-filled Canada Day long weekend, June 30-July 2.
- Catch the Whistler Children’s Festival, July 6-8 at Whistler Olympic Plaza. There’s fun for the whole family in this action-packed weekend of workshops, live musical performances, and other amazing creative stuff.
- For Whistler’s tastiest summer event, check out the mouth-watering food and rockin’ concerts at The Canadian National BBQ Championships from August 1-3.
- You’re guaranteed to be mesmerized by the gravity-defying feats of the world’s best downhill bikers during the 10-day Crankworx competition at the Whistler Mountain Bike Park (August 10-19).
With so many places in Whistler to eat, drink and be merry, it’s impossible to know where to begin. For families, here are some of my personal highlights.
- The après scene at Whistler Blackcomb is the envy of mountain resorts everywhere with some super-fun family choices at the base of the mountains. The GLC is in a prime location above the Whistler gondola, overlooking downhillers as they charge through the mountain bike park (and its family friendly until 10p.m.). Dusty’s is really popular and nestled into the base of Whistler Creekside while Merlin’s at Blackcomb Base is one of the most famous fun-time venues in the whole resort.
- For lots of laughs and a menu that will put a smile on everyone’s face, big and small, check out the Old Spaghetti Factory and their amazing offerings of pasta, special sauces, and lip smacking desserts.
- One of my favourite places to go for pizza (who doesn’t love pizza?) is Creekbread, where the whole family can watch while your choice of all-natural pizza is baked in a primitive wood-fired oven.
- Believe me when I say that you WILL give in to temptation when you see the stunning freshly-baked dessert goodies waiting for you at Purebread.
- What family outing would be complete without ice cream, and I can think of no better place to drop in for some delightfully original (not to mention irresistible) cool treats than Cows Ice Cream.
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