15 Excuses to Visit Whistler This Summer
Contrary to popular belief, Whistler is not just a ski resort. Yes, it is known primarily for its world-class slopes, but did you know that this town is also a booming retreat in the warmer months? There are things to do in whistler in summer which have nothing to do with the snow.
As the hours of sunlight increase, so does the number of activities on offer. From rafting and hiking to golfing and biking, there are countless things to do in Whistler in the summer.
What to Expect in Summer in the Mountains
Despite what you might think, summertime in Whistler can be just as busy as the winter months, especially during early August when Crankworx (the international mountain bike festival) comes to town. But rather than being concentrated to the ski hills, people disperse all over the valley, taking part in the many activities that this area has to offer.
Summer in Whistler goes from May until early September, with July and August generally being the hottest months of the year. Temperatures range between the 17°C (62 F) to 27°C (80F) mark, but evenings can be cold so be sure to pack a sweater.
Prices for summer activities and eating out are similar to the winter (although you can find slightly cheaper deals on accommodation) – if you’re looking to do Whistler on a budget, push your holiday a little earlier and come in Spring when you’ll find deals galore! Saying that, summer is still affordable – this town has options for everyone!
If you’re wondering what to do in Whistler in summer read on. We’ve listed the local spots to hang out and absorb the rays, the best places to cool off from the sun, and our favourite picks for summer activities.
5 Top-Rated Summer Activities in Whistler
- Golf Whistler
If you’re thinking about what to do in Whistler in summer, be sure to check out the Fairmont Whistler Golf Course. The fresh mountain air, spectacular surroundings and very agreeable temperatures make Whistler an ideal golfing location. Pick between two 18-hole courses and one 9-hole Par Three course depending on your ability level.
- Visit with Wildlife
Black bears are some of Whistler’s most iconic wildlife. Around 60 of these majestic beasts call Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains home and if you’re lucky, you can witness these animals in their magnificent natural habitat. Heading out on a bear tour gives you the best chance to see these creatures as the experienced guides know all of the bears’ usual hangouts. You’re most likely to spot them during early May and early August, and don’t worry, you’ll be watching them from the comfort and safety of a Land Rover
- Shred the Mountain
In winter, Whistler is known for its world-class ski hills and in summer, it’s known for its world-class bike park. So while you’re in town you’ve got to explore the area on two wheels! Hire a mountain bike and pedal around more than 200 trails in Whistler valley on a sightseeing tour, or grab your full-face helmet and go out downhill biking if you’ve got the bottle! There are green trails, technical double black runs and everything in between, so even if you’re not a pro at throwing yourself down the mountain, you can still fuel your gravity-fed adventure!
- Magical Night Walks
Craving more things to do in Whistler this summer? Head deep into the dark forests of Cougar Mountain on a 1.5km multimedia night walk. Vallea Lumina is one of Whistler’s most popular attractions. Marvel at the magnificent light show that takes you on a magical journey of enchanted wonder. The cost of $39.99 per adult (ages 6-15 = $34.99, while kids 5 and under go free) includes a shuttle bus transfer from the village to the Cougar Mountain location (a short 15-minute drive) and back again. Lose yourself in the mystery!
- Fly Through the Trees
One of the most breathtaking ways to view BC’s outstanding Coast Mountains is from the air. Soar like a bird on Superfly Ziplines, 600 feet off the ground and up to 100km an hour. For $159.99 per adult ($109.99 for kids 12 and under) you’ll be guided through four sets of ziplines, which all differ in length, speed and surroundings. The round trip takes around three hours and includes a free return shuttle bus from the village, and the tandem lines let you glide down the mountain next to a friend!
5 Places to Cool off in the Summer in Whistler
- Alta Lake
Alta is a large body of water that stretches between Creekside and Whistler village. We’ve mentioned most of the places on its shores already (Rainbow Park, Blueberry Docks, Lakeside Park), but if you want to spend most of the day cooling off in the water, we’d recommend heading to the smallest park on Alta Lake – Wayside Park. Rent stand-up paddleboards from the Whistler Eco Tours hut and spend the day splashing around in the water.
- Lost Lake
A refreshing body of water is just a 15-minute walk from Whistler village, but being in a forested park it feels secluded. The warm water is a big draw to this lake, and there’s a floating dock that you can swim out to. Lots of dog-owners frequent Lost Lake because there is a designated off-leash area on one side of the lake, named Canine Cove. So both you and your four-legged friend can take a dip in the water
- Water Park for the Kids
If the kids are getting hot and bothered in Whistler’s summer heat, head north of the village to Meadow Park. Here, there’s a free kid’s water park. Let the young ones in your crew run around in the playground and cool down under the water jets. It’s open daily from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm from May until September.
- A White Water Thrill
Still looking for things to do in Whistler this summer? If you’re searching for the ultimate cool off to take your breath away, try whitewater rafting! Choose from three rafting adventures with The Adventure Group – the Green River (the most popular tour type), the Cheakamus River (more of a float and perfect for young families), or the Elaho-Squamish River (a full-day trip on Class 3 and 4 rapids). Grab a paddle, ride the waves, and be prepared to get splashed!
- Get out of Whistler Village
Although beautiful and easily accessible, Whistler’s five lakes (Alta Lake, Alpha Lake, Nita Lake, Lost Lake and Green Lake) can sometimes feel a little crowded. After all, you are in a famous world-class resort. If you want a taste of the true Canadian wilderness, head to the remote Showh Lakes. Drive north of Whistler for 15 minutes, but from here you’ll need a 4×4 to reach the lakes. Work up a sweat by exploring the network of hiking trails, such as the Ancient Cedars Trail, before taking a plunge into the water.
5 Places to Soak in the Summer Sun in Whistler
- Rainbow Park
With its grassy green area, four beach volleyball courts, picnic tables and washrooms, Rainbow park is a great location for a summer’s day spent with friends or family. Drive to the park via Alta Lake Road (it’s a short 10-15 minutes journey from the village), or take a scenic walk along the valley trail from town (which will take you around 45 minutes). The park is south facing, so it’s a real suntrap. And when the heat gets too much, just dive straight into Alta Lake!
- Blueberry Docks
On the opposite side of Alta Lake to Rainbow Park, is a hidden gem of Whistler in the summer. Four public piers jet into the lake and their secluded location right on the water is perfect for a spot of sunbathing and afternoon reading. It’s a favourite among locals (shh… we aren’t the ones who told you about it!) and in the early evening they can become busy with people popping by after work to catch the last of the day’s rays
- Alpha Lake Park
If you’ve got kids in tow, head to Alpha Lake Park. Five kilometres south of Whistler village, this park is located in the Creekside neighbourhood. To get there from the village, we’d recommend hiring bikes and meandering along the valley trail for 20 minutes. The short ride is beautiful. At Alpha Lake Park there’s a small playground to entertain the kids, a large grassy area, and easy access to the lake.
- Float the River of Golden Dreams
If you prefer to soak in the rays from the water rather than on land, then why not hop in a canoe or single kayak at Lakeside Park on Alta Lake and paddle down the River of Golden Dreams. This journey really is as dreamy as the name suggests! The trip will take you around three hours (there’s the option of guided or unguided tours) and you’ll end up at the glacial-fed Green Lake. Dip your hand in the water along the way to notice as the temperature changes from warm to icy, icy cold! Don’t fall in towards the end!
- Cool Down in Cat Lake
If you want to venture a little further afield for the day, drive down to Cat Lake – around a 30-minute drive from Whistler, just north of Squamish. This beautifully warm lake is nestled in the forest and the small beached area is the ideal place to lap up the summer sun. Dotted around the lake in the trees are 36 walk-in campsites, so why not spend an evening under the stars and stay overnight! Cat Lake tends to get busy with young people during the weekend, so if you’re looking for a more tranquil experience consider visiting mid-week!
More than Snow & Skiing – Things to do in Whistler in Summer
Hopefully, this has given you heaps of ideas for what to do in Whistler in summer. Don’t pigeonhole this town as a holiday-destination for only when the snow falls. It’s so much more than that! Whether you’re visiting for your family vacation, your annual girls weekend, or an adventure-packed week, put Whistler at the top of your destination list. You’ll never be short of things to do in summer in Whistler!