31 BEST Things To Do In Whistler in the Summer

The tiny resort town of Whistler, set in British Columbia’s Coast Mountain Range, has an outsized impact on the mountain sports community. It’s well known for being the world’s best skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking destination. Dozens of pros call the mountain home, but that doesn’t mean you have to be professional to enjoy everything the resort community offers.

There’s no doubt it’s likely the best full-package resort town in North America, as there is a wide variety of things to do. They have everything from bobsledding to a zip-line, cross-country skiing, bungee jumping, a multimedia show, golf, spas, and fine dining. It truly has something for everyone.

We try to visit Whistler often, and fell in love so much that one year we decided to even rent an apartment and spend the entire winter in the Whistler Valley. In that time, we really got to know the town and discover the scenic surroundings, charming cultural Whistler attractions, and adventure sports. Below are the best things to do in Whistler in the summer. 

Best Things to Do in Whistler in Summer

Bike, Walk, or Run the Valley Trail

Walking the Valley Trail during Autumn
Walking the Valley Trail during Autumn

The Whistler Valley Trail is a paved, car-free trail that connects many of Whistler’s neighborhoods, viewpoints, and lakes. Locals and visitors use over 45 km of trail daily for running, walking, cycling, rollerblading, and dog walking.

The Best Things to do in Whistler
Biking the Valley Trail in the fall

It’s accessible year-round and getting out on it is a fun way to see what Whistler has to offer. My favorite thing to do on a nice day is get a bike to ride through the forest. Much of the trail is quite far from the Sea to Sky and noise pollution and is extremely well signed. Get the map here.

Audain Art Museum

Audain Art Museum
Credit: Tourism Whistler/Justa Jeskova

A cultural hotspot in the village of Whistler, Audain Art Museum offers a permanent collection and temporary exhibits of historical and contemporary art. Artworks from British Columbia are highlighted, and three rotating exhibitions are on display at any given time from leading institutions around the world. Installations span from the late 18th century to the modern-day in a wide range of mediums. 

Stroll Around the Whistler Olympic Plaza

The Best Things to do in Whistler
I always love walking Whistler Village

Whistler Olympic Plaza, set in the stunning Callaghan Valley, is the site of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Every winter, a special ice skating rink opens here, and it is such a fun time for everyone, especially when you bring hot chocolate into the mix.

It’s a favorite pastime of locals and tourists alike on the mountain, surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights and towering mountaintops. In the summer months, many gather here for a fantastic outdoor concert series featuring talented performers of all different genres.

Stroll the Whistler Village

whistler in the fall

After you take your photo at the Olympic rings, the best thing to do is take a walk around Whistler Village! There are plenty of shops to wander into, places to eat at, and pubs to grab a drink at.

Whistler is a surprisingly great spot to enjoy some retail therapy and shop until you drop. Whether searching for that perfect souvenir or stocking up on your favorite specialty wares, it’s a lovely day out in the charming village streets full of adorable storefronts. Armchair Books is a legendary local haunt, with an impressive selection of good reads.

The Best Things to do in Whistler
Strolling Whistler Village

Everything from fine art to fashion to sports equipment is readily available. 3 Singing Birds, Portobello Market, Nook of the North, and Ruby Tuesday are all perfectly curated spaces to check out as well. 

Go Ziplining

ziplining in whistler

Soaring through old-growth forests among the mountaintops is a spectacular way to soak up the scenery of Whistler. Tours also teach about the area’s ecology and history. It’s an exhilarating outdoor adventure, and there are even two outfitters to choose from here.

Ziptrek Ecotours is the original and has 11 courses to complete and it’s super convenient as you can begin and end right from the village. Superfly Ziplines have the longest and highest around, really committing to that unparalleled feeling of flying. 

Go Bungee Jumping

whistler bungee

If bungee jumping happens to be on your bucket list, Whistler Bungee is the place to make your daredevil dreams come true. There’s nothing quite like the rush of leaping off a bridge high above a glacial river. It’s the highest year-round spot to do it in all of British Columbia, and it’s set fairly close to the village surrounded by rugged forest and cliffs.

The jumps are done in tandem with an expert, which helps to ease the impending fears followed by certain exhilaration. 

Whistler Museum

Whistler Museum
Credit: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

Whistler has a rich history and a unique culture, and the best place to learn all about it is at the Whistler Museum. It’s located at the heart of the town, and there are a wide array of exhibits year-round.

It takes you on a journey to discover how the resort and the sport of skiing have developed over the course of many years through educational artifacts, photographs, accurate replicas, and multimedia presentations. 


Escape! Whistler is an engaging real-life gaming experience. You work as a team to solve puzzles and clues to overcome creative obstacles and escape a given scenario.

The setup is elaborate, making for an immersive way to play, and there are six different themed rooms to choose from, including a rabbit hole, an underwater lair, and a pirate ship. 

Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center

Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Center
Credit: Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre/Logan Swayze

This is the first center of its kind in all of Canada, a space to share and celebrate the traditional culture of both the Squamish Nation and the Lil’wat Nation. The Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Center is set on the shared territories of the two unique nations, and even the facade embodies their partnership’s spirit.

There’s an hourly guided tour where cultural ambassadors take you through the exhibits and lend their intricate knowledge. They also host many engaging events here, from bracelet-making to song and dance performances to dinner feasts. 

Enjoy the Whistler Festivals

for the love of beer festival
Credit: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

Whistler is famous for hosting an abundance of signature events and festivities throughout the year. The seemingly nonstop lineup includes Whistler Writers Festival, Whistler Film Festival, Whistler Children’s Festival, World Ski and Snowboard Festival, Whistler Pride, the Great Outdoors Festival, Whistler Village Beer Festival, Cornucopia Whistler, and many many more. It feels like there’s always something happening here, so be sure to check their calendar while in town. 

The Point Artist-Run Centre

Set on the far side of Alta Lake, this spot is a favorite of all culture connoisseurs and art appreciators in the know. It’s a hub for many community events, including live music, theatrical performances, art workshops, and writers retreats.

It’s a historic fishing lodge that has been turned into a haven for artists in the area and from all over the world. They strive to incubate excellence through education, creating affordable workspaces, and facilitating collaborative projects. See all the details here.

Have a Spa Day

things to do in whistler when it rains
Visiting the champagne nail bar at Nita Lake Lodge

Whistler is a place where ultimate pampering and restorative relaxation are right at your fingertips. The hardest part is picking just which spa package to indulge in, but the truth is you really can’t go wrong.

While the Scandinave Spa is probably the most popular, with state-of-the-art offerings unlike anywhere else, including a full Nordic-style hydrotherapy experience, there are other options available.

The Vida Spa, the Spa at Nita Lake Lodge, the Loft Salon and Spa, Whistler Day Spa, Glacier Day Spa, and Aviva Wellness Massage Spa all provide an area to rest and relax.

Whistler Farmers Market

Whistlers Farmers Market
At the Whistlers Farmers Market

Whistler hosts a charming outdoor farmer’s market every Sunday throughout the summer. Rotating vendors come to sell an array of local and gourmet goodies, such as fresh produce, artisan fares, boozy beverages, arts and crafts, and much more. There’s always plenty of entertainment aside from browsing the endless booths, including roller-disco, axe throwing, live music, and quaint cafes. It’s a delightful way to spend the day in Whistler.   

Enjoy the Many Whistler Lakes

Whistler has an abundance of clear, shimmering mountain lakes to explore. In the summertime, there are breathtaking hikes, beautiful beaches, and lovely wooden docks that stretch out over the cool waters. There are a total of five in the valley; Alta Lake, Alpha Lake, Nita Lake, Lost Lake, Green Lake. Let’s dig into each of these BC lakes.

Nita Lake

Nita Lake at dusk
Nita Lake

Nita Lake is the closest lake to the Creekside Gondola and one of our favorite lakes in BC. It’s a stunning lake with open views. We particularly love heading to Nita Lake Lodge and enjoying their dock.

Lost Lake

Lost Lake in the fall
Lost Lake in the fall

Lost Lake is located near the village and has plenty of things to do around in. In the summer, it’s a fantastic place to paddle. There’s also a trail around the entire lake for running and walking. There are also cross-country biking trails at Lost Lake for all levels (very beginner-friendly).

Alpha Lake

Alpha Lake in the fall
Alpha Lake in the fall

Alpha Lake is near Nita Lake and is an excellent place to take the dogs for a walk and enjoy the area with children.

Alta Lake

Alta Lake on a nice fall day
Alta Lake on a nice fall day

Alta Lake is a popular lake in Whistler, surrounding Rainbow Park. Here, you can paddle and kayak in the summer and take in great views of Whistler Mountain. I particularly love Alta Lake because you get great views of both Blackcomb and Whistler mountains.

Green Lake 

Green Lake in the fall
Green Lake

Green Lake is the largest and most northerly lake in Whistler. It’s where you’ll find plenty of million-dollar houses on the shores and has a stunning vivid turquoise color in the summer.

Hike to Wedgemount Lake

Natasha hiking at the beautiful Wedgemount Lake
The beautiful Wedgemount Lake. This photo was taken in Early September!

One of the best things to do in Whistler in the summer months is hike high to Wedgemount Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park. You’ll gain over 1100 meters in 6 km (12km round trip) to get there, but I promise you it’s well worth the hike.

The hike up is very steep and challenging at times. However, it never gets boring with bridges, forests, waterfalls, and a bit of scrambling. The trail’s finale is Wedgemount Lake, which sits perfectly under Rethel Mountain, providing picturesque views. There are platforms set up for backcountry campers, though the hike can quickly be done in a day.

Hike to Joffre Lakes

Joffre Lakes

A short drive past Pemberton on Duffey Lake Road is the stunning Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, which is one of the most beautiful places in all of British Columbia. The hike to Lower, Middle, and Upper Joffre Lakes is 10km with less than 400 meters of gain. The highlight is seeing the bright blue lakes shimmer under the glaciers.

See the Coast Mountains From Above

The Best Things to do in Whistler

What better way to sightsee in Whistler than from a bird’s eye view up in the clouds? There are a couple of ways to do this, and a common one is by helicopter. One of the best things about this is the pace, allowing you to slow down and soak it all up and being able to reach the remote terrains of the Coast Mountains otherwise unseen with ease.

Alternatively, try a floatplane that sails over rugged peaks, gorgeous glaciers, and lush alpine forests, either vibrantly verdant or blanketed in crisp white snow, depending on the season. It’s also a great way to connect to Victoria or Vancouver from Whistler. 

Go Fishing

The Best Things to do in Whistler

Whether you’re a novice angler or a seasoned pro, there are some amazing opportunities to cast a reel in Whistler. From local rivers to remote lakes to secluded fishing holes, you can find all kinds of stunning spots to fly fish or spin cast all year round. Rainbow trout, char, and salmon are the coveted catches in the area. It’s best to do a guided tour for pro tips, equipment, and locations.

Paddle on the Lakes

The Best Things to do in Whistler

With so much open water around Whistler, paddling is the perfect way to get out on clear, cool surfaces. It’s super easy to rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard here with outfitters like Whistler Eco Tours.

The waters can range from calm to rough, so you can choose the type of adventure you’re looking for, either guided or solo. Exploring the unique ecosystems of the lush landscape has never been more fun. You can even try a thrilling whitewater raft down the River of Golden Dreams. 

Ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola

Peak 2 Peak Gondola

The Peak 2 Peak Gondola offers an unparalleled 360-degree viewing experience of Whistler’s mountainous landscape. Icy lakes, glaciers, and cliffs surround the gondola, and its glass bottom provides the perfect vantage point for every picturesque panorama.

It offers access to Whistler and Blackcomb peaks, rising 1,430 feet above the valley floor. It broke records for the longest, continuous lift system and highest gondola of its kind in the world. Eight miles end to end, it’s a must in any season. 

Of course, if you are already skiing at Whistler, you’ll likely ride this when going between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain, but you can still ride the gondola in the summer too!

Walk Or Bike at the Train Wreck

whistler train wreck
Walking around the Train Wreck

One of the more unique spots to check out in Whistler is the Train Wreck site. When a train derailed in 1956, no one probably thought that half a century later, this would become an area of exploration and wonder. Deep in the forest, you’ll find a handful of derailed railway boxcars scattered amongst the forest.

At first, you may feel like you are in a horror movie, but after romping around a little, you’ll find it’s more like a free public art gallery. Graffiti artists, photographers, trail runners, and bikers have long loved the site. Numerous biking trails are in this area, and the hike to the site is short and easy.


rock climbing in whistler

When in the land of extreme sports, it’s a great time to try your hand at climbing! There are indoor and outdoor opportunities, so it’s available all year-round. Experts are ready to guide you through the steps, or if you’re experienced, you can take to climbing fantastical ice formations of the Via Ferrata on Whistler Mountain all on your own.  

Head Out On Two Wheels

Cameron mountain biking in Whistler
Cameron mountain biking in Whistler

Whistler made its name in ski, but it’s been mountain biking in the last decade, making waves internationally. One could easily argue that Whistler is the best place in the world for mountain biking. It is the most extensive downhill bike park in the world.

They set the precedence, and the rest of the world is just playing catch-up. Trail builds in Whistler are brilliant with technical descents, huge jump lines, unique features, and buttery smooth flow trails. There are many bike shops in the village with some dream-worthy bike rentals.

Waiting in line at The Whistler Bike Park
Waiting in line at The Whistler Bike Park

It doesn’t stop at the bike park either as there is an extensive network of trails that spread out from the village. The network here offers some lung-busting climbs and burly technical challenges.

I love a classic trail ride and have ridden almost everything around the village. The classic rides around Whistler would be Comfortably Numb, Lord of The Squirrels, Dirty Beasts, Danimal North, Duncan’s (It’s Business Time), Kashmir, and Dark Crystal. Check out TrailForks to guide yourself around the Whistler.

The Best Things to do in Whistler
Classic Slab in Whistler

There’s such a fantastic variety of cycling options for all skill levels and preferences. Even if you’re after a leisurely ride you can try some gentle cross-country trails that offer a bit of challenge around Lost Lake Park.

Recreational trails make for an easy and leisurely ride, e-bike rentals are excellent for exploring long routes and tough terrain with a bit less effort, mountain biking brings rugged and beautiful rides that can be both exhilarating and relaxing, and road cycling offers steep ascents, fast descents, and gentle journeys. It’s best to try it in the autumn season for both weather and path conditions.

Visit Brandywine Falls

Beautiful Brandywine Falls in the summer
Beautiful Brandywine Falls in the summer

Brandywine Falls is a spectacular 70-meter BC waterfall a short drive away from Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway! Brandywine is the perfect place for a lunch break, a short hike to stretch the legs before hitting the road for a short drive to Squamish.

Day Trip to Squamish

natasha with a lumberjack in squamish

Squamish is one of the best places to visit in Canada, and at just 45 minutes away from Whistler, it’s a fantastic day trip. Nestled between the sea and the mountains, Squamish offers something for everyone.

Whether it’s mountain biking, rock climbing, or taking in the views of the Howe Sound, you’ll love this coastal town. When we visit Squamish, we particularly love having a beer at Howe Sound Inn & Brewing before setting sail on the water.

Day Trip to Pemberton

The Best Things to do in Whistler

Pemberton is in the opposite direction of Squamish, further north of Whistler. The main village of Pemberton is located at the base of Mt Currie and has astonishing views any visitor will love. Some fun things to do there are visiting North Arm Farm or horseback riding through the valley with Copper Cayuse Outfitters.

Try Axe Throwing

Close to Coast Mountain Brewing is Forged Axe Throwing! So if it’s a rainy day, grab a group of friends and stay dry inside, competing against each other. A one-hour session is $38 per person. Don’t forget your closed-toed shoes (for obvious reasons).

Where to Stay in Whistler

My two favorite places to stay in Whistler are Nita Lake Lodge and the Fairmont.

Fairmont Whistler

There are tons of amenities here, including a huge fitness center, outdoor spa with a full-service bar, apres-ski lounge, and yoga studio. The Fairmont has underground parking for guests and valet if you want that as well. Once you park in Whistler, you likely won’t need your car again until you leave, as there is so much to do, see, and eat in Whistler Village.

Nita Lake Lodge

Nita Lake Lodge is perched perfectly on Nita Lake near the Whistler Creekside Gondola. It’s easily one of the nicest places to stay in Whistler and provides guests with a comfortable stay in a surreal location!

Where is Whistler?

Whistler is a small ski town in British Columbia and is considered one of Canada’s best places to visit. It is less than a two-hour drive away from Vancouver via the Sea to Sky Highway. It’s well known around the world for being a top ski destination, and it is the largest ski area in all of North America.

While it’s immensely popular for domestic and international travelers in the winter, it is also a premier adventure destination in the summer. Many Canada roadtrippers like to include Whistler on their epic Western Canada road trip when driving between destinations like Calgary and Vancouver.

Before it became a world-famous ski resort, Whistler was a simple logging town until a group of Canadian investors realized its potential as a winter destination in the 1960s. Whistler Mountain was initially named “London Mountain,” but that was changed to “Whistler Mountain” after the high-pitched whistling marmots in the area.

In the 1980s, another corporation opened a second ski resort on Blackcomb Mountain, and in the late 90s, the mountains merged to create “Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation.” Today, Whistler Blackcomb is owned by Vail Resorts.

When is the Best Time to Visit Whistler?

Strolling around Whistler in December / Valley Trail Whistler
Strolling around Whistler in December

Two activities keep the Whistler scene really spinning. Obviously, between December and April, Whistler Blackcomb keeps visitors flocking in to ski powder on both mountains. The best time to visit Whistler in the winter is between December and March, though the holidays and Family Week keep Whistler incredibly busy and expensive around these times.

nita lake in winter
Walking around Nita Lake in the winter

In the summer and early fall the Whistler Mountain Bike Park keeps biking enthusiasts pedaling all season long. The summer and winter are by far the best times to visit. While spring and fall are Whistler’s low seasons.

If there is one time I would recommend not visiting Whistler, it is mid-October and November; we made the mistake of spending these months here and saw torrential rain five to six days a week! It was an unusual year, for sure, but Whistler is always prone to plenty of rain at lower elevation.

Whistler’s two high seasons generally offer the best weather. However, this is the Pacific Northwest with rainforests all around the village, so the weather is never guaranteed.

How to Get to Whistler

The Sea to Sky Highway
The Sea to Sky Highway

Whistler’s closest airport is Vancouver International Airport. It is about a two-hour drive from Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway to get to Whistler.

You can rent a car in Vancouver to get to Whistler, but check the prices first, as once you get to Whistler, it’s unlikely you’ll need a car, and parking in this small town may present an issue. Everything in the Whistler Village is walkable or connected by bus.

Under British Columbia law, from October 1 to March 31, winter tires are required on most provincial highways (including Highway 99 north of Squamish). There are several private bus companies that connect Vancouver to Whistler. EpicRides and YVR Skylynx connect YVR to Whistler for a $55 round trip ticket.

How to Get Around Whistler

The Best Things to do in Whistler
Nita Lake at sunset

If you stay at a hotel in Whistler Village, everything is extremely walkable, including all grocery stores, restaurants, and bars. If you stay in Creekside, you can easily walk to the lifts and the Creekside Market.

Whistler has an extensive bus network. The BC Transit – Whistler Transit runs regularly from 5:30am-3:30 am year-round. You can also bike almost everywhere in Whistler via the Valley Trail. For those without a car seeking alternative options there are two main cab services in town – Whistler Taxi and Whistler Resort Cabs.

Familiarize Yourself With a Map

About Natasha

Natasha calls Canmore, Alberta home. After traveling across seven continents and 90 countries with Cameron, she settled down in the stunning Canadian Rockies. She loves to help others travel and make their planning easier. She is a winter enthusiast and loves to snowboard, ice skate, and snowshoe and enjoy all the fantastic summer opportunities in Banff like hiking, scrambling, and biking. You can find her in the mountains or enjoying a coffee by the river. Learn more on the about us page!

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