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5 Days in Whistler: A Summer Itinerary

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Whistler | Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

New adventures, local mountain culture, and wide-open spaces are just some of the reasons why you should slow down and take a longer trip to Whistler this summer. This five-day itinerary proves that Whistler’s much more than a weekend escape.

Note:  The following itinerary was written specifically for the unique travel circumstances of summer 2021. Information is accurate at the time of publication; we recommend you contact businesses directly to confirm opening hours, reservations, and COVID safety protocol.

Social distancing in Whistler | Tourism Whistler/Justa Jeskova

Day 1: Whistler Village

Although Whistler’s less than two hours from Vancouver, it feels like a world away. Travelling the Sea-to-Sky Highway is arguably one of the most scenic drives in southwestern British Columbia, to take your time driving and soak up those views.

Upon arrival in Whistler Village, check into your lodging and ditch the car. Stroll out the door of your hotel and take in the vibrant mountain town ambiance, that quintessential feel-good energy that Whistler in summer exudes.

Immerse yourself in the alpine within minutes from the village aboard the Whistler Gondola or Blackcomb Gondola via the PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Experience. The sudden change in scenery–the closeness of the glaciers, the endlessness of jagged peaks, and the bright bursts of alpine wildflowers–is always a mood booster.

 

Both gondolas provide you with access to PEAK 2 PEAK, the record-breaking glass-bottomed gondola connecting Blackcomb and Whistler mountains, as well more than 50km of hiking and interpretive walking trails. Browse the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games displays inside the Roundhouse and consider making a reservation for on-mountain dining.

Down in the village, save moments for serendipity–a patio that catches your eye, a menu that grabs your attention, or a boutique that beckons. You’ll want an early evening though, for tomorrow’s an active day.

Whistler Mountain Bike Park | Tourism Whistler\Mike Crane

Day 2: Adventure

Wake up early and have quick bite to fuel up for today’s activities. For quality coffee and decadent treats, purebread, Gone Eatery, and Portobello are favourite grab-and-go options. Then, choose your own adventure!

If you’re stoked for downhill adrenaline, spend the day at Whistler Mountain Bike Park, arguably the most famous bike park in the world. Be real about your skills and equipment; don’t huck yourself down the trails without proper gear. Rent a full-suspension bike and the latest safety equipment from the local shops and take a lesson to refresh your skills and learn valuable tips from the experts.

Connect with the mountains in a different way by riding the meltwater on the nearby Green, Elaho, Cheakamus or Squamish rivers. Whistler’s whitewater rafting tours offer gentle or thrilling experiences on the rapids, depending on your preference for adventure.

If canoeing or kayaking is more to your liking, consider paddling around Alta Lake with Whistler Eco Tours.

To embrace your inner David Attenborough, head into the Whistler backcountry aboard a professionally guided photo safari to view black bears and other Coast Mountain wildlife in their natural habitat. Be sure to bring your camera. You’ll come away with a deeper appreciation of Whistler’s native flora and fauna, too.

Finally, cap off your adventure with Whistler’s famed après scene. Try Braidwood Tavern for their 14-beer flight of regional craft beers, Basalt for wine and charcuterie, or Dusty’s Bar & BBQ for their legendary Caesars. Or follow the Whistler Ale Trail to visit Whistler’s craft beer destinations, including three beloved craft breweries.

Audain Art Museum | Destination BC/Hubert Kang

Day 3: Culture

After yesterday’s adventures, you’ll want a leisurely morning. Ease into your day with a full sit-down breakfast. Consider Elements Urban Tapas & Wine Bar or The Wildflower, who excel in gourmet breakfasts. Then, get ready to nourish your brain and experience a more cerebral side to mountain life.

Whistler’s resort culture may only go back one hundred years, but the Indigenous cultures of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations have been connected to these mountains since time immemorial. Deepen your understanding of the local Indigenous peoples at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, where the two nations work together to immerse guests in their cultures via interpretive displays, art exhibits, and guided tours. Come with an open mind and prepare for a shift in your perspective.

Expand your appreciation of British Columbia art at the Audain Art Museum, one of the most exquisite architectural experiences in the province and an absolute must for art lovers. The permanent collection houses a diversity of art in both Indigenous and western-inspired styles, from contemporary works by artists such as Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Brian Jungen, and Jeff Wall, to classics by famed BC artists E.G. Hughes, Emily Carr, and Jack Shadbolt. You will not want to rush your visit.

Extend your art crawl further by taking a self-guided tour of Whistler’s creative spaces. Pick up an Arts Whistler map where you can uncover independent studios and galleries to get up close with Whistler’s thriving arts scene.

Alta Bistro, Whistler | @viranlly
Cultural Ambassadors outside the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre | Blake Jorgenson

By evening, enjoy the diversity of Whistler’s cuisine. Tip: You’ll want to plan ahead and book a reservation in advance. If you’re craving Mediterranean cuisine, consider Il Caminetto for fresh, contemporary Italian or Bar Oso for Spanish-influenced small plates and house made charcuterie. If Mexican’s more your scene, try The Mexican Corner for queso fundido, tacos and Mexican classics like enchiladas. If you’re in the mood for Japanese, Sushi Village is a Whistler staple and has an extensive list of sashimi, nigiri, and innovative house rolls.

After dinner, take in Vallea Lumina, Whistler’s newest attraction that only happens at dusk. This multimedia storytelling experience takes you on an illuminated journey through Whistler’s Cougar Mountain and will no doubt leave you feeling enchanted.

Aerial Obstacle Course | The Adventure Group

Day 4: Adventure Deeper

Wake up feeling well-rested, for today is all about trying something new.

Did you know that Whistler’s home to the longest zipline in Canada and the USA? Start your day soaring over creeks and old-growth trees on a guided zipline tour with Ziptrek Ecotours or Superfly Ziplines. You don’t need experience – the guides supervise your entire journey and ensure your safety while teaching you about Whistler’s ecology along the way.

Craving a physical challenge? Consider a day at Aerial Obstacle Course where suspended planks, swinging logs, and tightropes await. If you’re a complete newbie to manoeuvring on these types of contraptions, take the beginner’s course for a gentle introduction.

Of course, trying something new doesn’t have to be daring. You could spend the day golfing at a new (to you) course. Whistler is home to four championship golf courses, each with their own unique character. Be sure to finish up on the club’s patio as a reward for a successful day.

If you’re in the mood for exploration, take a side x side UTV tour to see Whistler’s mountainous terrain in a whole new way. No experience is needed to drive these duo-passenger utility-terrain vehicles, only a valid driver’s licence and a sense of adventure.

Nicklaus North Golf Course, Whistler | Tourism Whistler/Justa Jeskova
Superfly Ziplines, Whistler | @alexconnorr via Instagram
Scandinave Spa, Whistler | Scandinave Spa/Justa Jeskova

Day 5: Chill

On your last day in Whistler, it’s all about slowing down and being present in the moment. Treat yourself to a relaxing breakfast on the patio of Aura Bistro where you can enjoy French-inspired west coast fare while overlooking the tranquil setting of Nita Lake.

Step aboard a float plane or helicopter to see Whistler’s mountains, glaciers, lakes, and valleys from a bird’s eye view. Harbour Air and Blackcomb Helicopters offer daily flight-seeing tours for you and your bubble. Choose options like a glacial lake landing or a volcano and ice cave tour to truly make it unique.

Spend a blissful afternoon at Scandinave Spa, a silent, open-air Finnish spa beneath the fragrant groves of Douglas fir. Lose all track of time as you alternate between the hot pools, cold plunge pools, cedar saunas, eucalyptus steam rooms, hammocks, and waterfalls. Go one step further and book yourself a massage with their certified massage therapists. Tip: Reserve your massage as early as possible as they often book up weeks in advance.

For a grand finale, spoil yourself with a multi-course wine-pairing dinner at one of Whistler’s renowned fine dining restaurants. Consider Alta Bistro, Araxi, Rimrock Café or Bearfoot Bistro for innovative, locally-sourced, seasonal menus. Unwind as the servers take good care of you and reflect on these past five days. You may find yourself dreaming of your next Whistler adventure.

Header image: PEAK 2 PEAK | Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

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