Whistler Summer: A Local’s Guide To The 10 Best Things To Do


I’ve probably been to Whistler more than hundred times over the last 15 years, both in winter and summer. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is filled with breathtaking mountains and crystal blue rivers and lakes. Nature, wildlife and outdoor sports beckon you whenever you step outside your door. And yet, there are several internationally renowned restaurants serving sophisticated dishes, much of it locally sourced. There are fantastic beaches and spas when you are feeling lazy, and four champion golf courses when you feel up to the challenge. There is something for everyone.

In this blog, I am going to list ten of my favourite Whistler summer activities. Some of them are free, and some of them are not. However, all of them are reasonably priced and I would do them all again tomorrow, if I could. They are each suitable for kids or adults and are not listed in any particular order. If they have made the list, they are simply one of my favourites.

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Whistler Summer Activities

1. White Water Rafting

I took my 12 and 13 year old kids white water rafting with Canadian Outback Rafting Company out in Squamish, British Columbia this past trip. Squamish is one hour north of Vancouver and 4o minutes south of Whistler. Basically, it is in the middle of the two. We drove ourselves, but the company offers transportation for those who do not have a car.

We did the three hour Family-Friendly Cheakamus Splash and it was spectacular. The rapids were level 1 and 2, perfect for our first time rafting. We were surrounded by mountains, eagles, and forests. It was an exciting and fun way to spend the morning. The trip cost approximately $76 USD for adults and $54 USD for each of my children.

White water rafting during Whistler summer
Level 1 rapids on the Cheakamus River during white water rafting. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Outback Rafting Company)
white water rafting during Whistler Summer
Level 2 rapids during white water rafting. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Outback Rafting).

2. Treetop Adventure Course 

The Treetop Adventure Course offered by the Adventure Group is an amazing way to spend a few hours of your day in the Whistler summer. This multi-level multi-challenging course takes place in the trees of Cougar Mountain on the outskirts of Whistler. The challenges start easy and mere feet off the ground, and then gradually get more difficult and higher as the course progresses. Everyone is harnessed so that slips and falls are safe. There is a child’s course for children younger than 13 years old and/or less than 5’11” (with their hands straight in the air). The cost ranges from $32 – $55 USD and transportation to and from the course from Whistler Village is included in the cost of the excursion.

The full course is difficult. You need to have good core strength and not be afraid of heights. I ,and my 12 and 13 year old children, tried the full course this summer. My kids were not able to finish the course – they did not have the core strength to do so – but made it two-thirds of the way through and spent 3 hours having a lot of fun trying.  There is no time limit for finishing the course.

playing in the trees during the Whistler summer
My kids doing the Treetop Adventure Course.
whistler summer
Juliet in the trees doing the Treetop Adventure Course.

3. “Backyard Beer BBQ” at Four Seasons Hotel

Every Thursday during the Whistler summer, the Four Seasons Hotel hosts the “Backyard Beer BBQ” from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Situated on the patio outside its restaurant Sidecut, the Hotel offers a buffet filled with an unbelievable assortment of barbecued meats, fish, and seafood, together with delicious salads, sides and of course, dessert. Live music and activities for children are also on hand. At $30.00 USD for adults, and deep discounts for children, there really isn’t a better deal in town for the quality and quantity of food, or the atmosphere.

Reservations are not accepted so either come early or arrive late.  Either way, be prepared to wait depending on the number of people in your party.

Four seasonsbuffet during Whistler summer
Fresh fish and meat barbecued at the Four Seasons Whistler. (Photo courtesy of the Four Seasons)
four seasons buffet during Whistler summer
Fresh salads and side dishes at the Four Seasons Whistler buffet. (Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Whistler)

4. Bobsleigh Run

The Whistler Sliding Centre offers the opportunity to ride a real bobsleigh with wheels on the actual 2010 Olympic bobsleigh course. This course is still deemed to be the fastest course in the world, and as such, a trained pilot drives the bobsleigh with you and three others down the track. Included in this package is a discussion from experts on how the bobsleigh course is created and maintained during the winter months, and a tour of the facility that includes a walk along the race track.

whistler summer
Summer Bobsleigh at the Whistler Sliding Centre. (Photo courtesy of Coast Mountain Photography)
Whistler summer
Racing down the bobsleigh track. (Photo courtesy of Coast Mountain Photography).

I took my 12 and 13 year old children on this course this summer. The lecture and tour of the track was fascinating. The ride on the bobsleigh was both exciting and terrifying! You can reach up to 90 km/h in certain spots on the track. It was certainly weird knowing that you are on this crazy ride that does not have safeguards like a roller coaster or other carnival rides. You are at the mercy of the abilities of a human being who is piloting the bobsleigh.  Having said that, you start the ride 1/3 of the way down the track to reduce the speed and complexities of the track, and all drivers on hand have a long history of successful provincial, national and international competitions.

You must be a minimum of 12 years old to ride the bobsleigh. Each adult costs $85 USD with one youth free per adult. Each youth after that costs 50%.  Whistler Sliding Centre is a 100% not for profit organization.  Every dollar spent there goes back to help train athletes from all over the world.

5. Rainbow or Alpha Lake Park

There are dozens of parks, playgrounds and picnic areas in Whistler. However, my two favourite ones during the Whistler summer is Rainbow Park and Alpha Lake Park. Neither are close to the Village but both can be found along the Valley Trail.

Rainbow Park is on the far side of Alta lake. There is a beach and large grassy area for blankets, or for playing frisbee or soccer. A couple of docks are available a short swim from shore. There are three beach volleyball courts and normally, you can count on a game or two going while there. Whether it’s kicking a ball around, playing frisbee or volleyball, people are normally very friendly and are happy to have you join in if you ask.

Rainbow park during Whistler summer
Rainbow Park

Alpha Lake Park is near Nita Lake Lodge at Creekside. It is on Alpha Lake below beautiful mountains. There is a large playground for children, a small beach and a dock to swim out to. There are free tennis and basketball courts at this park as well. It’s a great place to try some paddle boarding as well.

Alpha lake park during Whistler Summer
Alpha Lake Park

Bring a picnic or something to cook on the barbecues provided in the park free of charge as there isn’t food for sale. For either park, go to Home Hardware at Function Junction beforehand and purchase an air mattress to float on or a dingy to row about the lake.

6. Sitting on the Patio of the Nita Lake Lodge or Nicklaus North Golf Course

There are two spectacular patios in Whistler. My favourite is at Nita Lake Lodge at Creekside. This patio offers both shade and sunshine, depending on your needs. It overlooks Nita Lake and Rainbow Mountain, allowing you to bask in the beautiful Whistler summer. Nita Lake Lodge provides lounge or formal dining menus with sensational food and drink. On most nights, there is either live music or a DJ, creating a relaxing atmosphere for the evening. Heat lamps and blankets are available for cooler nights.

Patio dining during Whistler Summer
The patio at Nita Lake Lodge. (Photo courtesy of the Nita Lake Lodge)

Table Nineteen Lakeside Eatery at Nicklaus North Golf Course is also beautiful. You overlook Emerald Lake and Cougar Mountain, and can watch the float planes take off and land. The food and drink menu is casual, yet delicious.

7. Tennis Drills or Social Mixer at Whistler Racquet Club

Whistler Racquet Club is a tennis facility walking distance from Whistler Village. It has several outside and inside tennis courts. The Club offers many different programs for adults and children alike. There are regular daily drop in social mixers and drill sessions for all levels from between $12.50 and $25.00. They will even include a tennis racquet at no extra cost for those that need one. It is easy to register online for the sessions. I have done dozens of drills and joined countless more social mixers. The pros are excellent and you get to meet and play with lots of locals as well as people visiting from all over the world.

tennis during whistler summer
Tennis drills and social mixers are available for drop in at Whistler Racquet Club. (Photo courtesy of Yulia Gladysheva Photography)

For a handy list of these activities, links to their websites, and helpful hints, please fill out the form. 

Whistler summer

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 8. Riding the Ski lifts, gondolas and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola

The vertical height of Whistler Mountain is 1530 metre or 5020 feet, and 1565 metre or 5133 feet to the top of Blackcomb Mountain. There are several ski lifts and gondolas from Blackcomb and Whistler Village that are equipped for pedestrians during a Whistler summer and you can take a series of them to reach the top of either mountain.

At the top, there is the Peak 2 Peak Gondola which has one of the longest free spans between ropeway towers  in the world at 3.03 kilometres or 1.88 miles. It also holds the world record for the highest point above the ground at 436 metres or 1,430 feet. A highlight of every trip up the mountain is to take a ride or two across the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. The views are magnificent. For an extra thrill, wait for one of the gondolas with a glass bottom. If you purchase tickets a couple of days in advance, the all inclusive cost to ride all ski lifts, gondolas and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola ranges from $22 – $50 USD for a day pass.

The scenery on the way up or down the ski lifts and gondolas, and across the Peak 2 Peak Gondola is breathtaking. It is common to spot bears on the mountains at certain times during the Whistler summer while you ride the lifts. No matter how hot the village feels before you ascend the lifts, make sure you take a warm jacket for the rides on the lifts, and for walking around on top of the mountains.

on the mountains during Whistler summerRiding the Peak to Peak Gondola. (Photo courtesy of Whistler Tourism/Mike Crane)

**New in 2019

For the 2018/2019 ski season,  a new 8 person Blackcomb Gondola opened which created the first three gondola connection in North America between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. This means during the summer months, all guests will be able to upload in a gondola, connect between the two mountains via the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola and download in another gondola.

9. Walking or Hiking the Trails

There are many walking and hiking trails all over Whistler. Several of them are easy and relatively flat for those that want to experience Whistler’s natural wonders, without committing to day long hikes or requiring special equipment. An easy one to access and enjoy is the Lost Lake Loop. You can effortlessly walk along the Valley Trail from the town to the Loop, and you can choose from a relatively flat loop, or go into some of the trails off the Loop into the lower parts of the mountain.

hiking during Whistler summer
Hiking in Whistler. (Photo courtesy of Tourism Whister/ Mike Crane)

For more adventurous hikers, I would recommend heading up to the top of Whistler or Blackcomb Mountains to go on one of the hikes up there. There are several that are a little more demanding than the Lost Lake Loop, but yet are still reasonable for the moderately fit person. I consider myself one of those people. The views on top of the mountain are incredibly special. Depending on the time of year, you can witness thousands of wildflowers as you head into Blackcomb Mountain, away from the lifts. You can also see some of the spectacular ski runs that make Whistler a world renowned ski resort.

For a list of amazing hikes all over the Whistler region, please refer to Whistler Hiking Trails.

***New in 2018 Skyraker Skybridge and Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk on Whistler Mountain

At 2181 metres or 7155 ft, you will reach the Peak of Whistler Mountain off of the Peak ski lift and find the new Cloudraker Sky Bridge. This suspension bridge is 130 metres or 426 ft long and crosses from the Whistler Peak to the West Ridge where Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk viewing platform is located.  From many places along this bridge and viewing platform, you will get a 360 view of Rainbow Mountain, Black Tusk and other Coast Mountains. Admission is included in the cost of the lift tickets to access Whistler or Blackcomb Mountains.

Whistler summer
The Cloudraker Sky Bridge with views of Rainbow Mountain and beyond. (Photo Courtesy of Whistler Mountain/Mike Crane)

10. “5 After 5” at the Whistler Golf Club

Whistler Golf Club is a championship golf club in the centre of Whistler which is surrounded by mountains and forests. It offers many great reasonably priced programs for both adults and children during the Whistler summer. For example, for British Columbia residents, one junior player plays for free with one paying adult during certain times.

One of my favourite programs is the “5 After 5”.  After 5:30 pm each day, an adult can play 5 holes of golf for $27 USD. One junior BC resident can play for free. If you need to rent golf clubs and a cart, that amount increases to $37 USD for the adult.

If you are not sure about taking on a full 18 holes of a spectacular championship golf course, or you question your abilities to deal with a professional golf course, then this is the right option for you. I have done this a number of times with my children and have been able to try a few holes and experience the natural beauty of Whistler, without stressing about the cost or our abilities.

golf during Whistler summer
A beautiful golf course below the mountains awaits you at the Whistler Golf Club. (Photo courtesy of Whistler Golf Club)
golf during Whistler summer
Children are welcome at Whistler Golf Club.(Photo courtesy of Whistler Golf Club)

Accommodation For Your Time In Whistler

For the best accommodation near any of these Whistler activities, I would highly recommend searching below in and using the amazing interactive map to find your ideal location at the best prices.


I have only scratched the surface of what is available to do, see and eat during a Whistler summer. The 10 listed here are my favourites, but there is so much more that I do and want to do when I go to Whistler. I guess more blogs will have to follow!

Many of these activities are accessible along the Valley Trail. This paved trail is a car-free and connects all of Whistler. It is 40 km long and during the Whistler summer, you can find people walking, running, cycling, or rollerblading on it. Here is a map. My favourite is to bike on the trail. There are several spots in the Village where you can rent a bike. There is also excellent public transportation and taxis available.

I hope that one day you can enjoy a Whistler summer!  If you have already been, what is your favourite thing to do?

if you are interested in other articles about Whistler, please see the list below:

For dining options:

For summer activities:

For winter activities:

For Indoor activities:

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I have been to Whistler hundreds of times over the last fifteen years. Here are my 10 favourite things to do during a Whistler summer. #Whistler #BritishColumbia #Canada #travel #familytravel #adventure | Alpha Lake, biking, Creekside, Four Seasons Resort, hiking, Nicklaus North, Nita Lake Lodge, peak to peak gondola, Rainbow Park, ropes course, Side Cut, ski lifts, Squamish, swimming, tennis, Treetop Adventure, Valley Trail, volleyball, golf, Blackcomb, white water rafting

I have been to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada over hundred times. Here are my 10 favourite things to do in the summer. | Lake, Blackcomb Mountain, Creekside, Four Seasons Resort, golf, hike, Nicklaus North, Nita Lake Lodge, Peak to Peak gondola, Rainbow Park, ropes course, Side Cut Restaurant, Squamish, swim, Table Nineteen Lakeside Eatery, tennis, Treetop Adventure, Valley Trail, Whistler Golf Club, Whistler Racquet Club, white water rafting, foodie, restaurant, patio, kids, children, teen


    • I love that Whistler combines all these amazing adventure or outdoor experiences with fantastic food. For me, that makes it the perfect destination.

  • Oh. My. Gosh! I must get back to Whistler! I’ve only been once…and that was way back in 2000. I had no idea there were so many great things to do there. That gondola ride! Spectacular! Also..the rafting looks amazing. Such beautiful scenery..everywhere! Thanks for sharing this great info!

    • You are welcome. When you plan your trip, please let me know if you have any questions about Whistler. I could hopefully help.

    • Except for the shoulder seasons (autumn and spring), it is a fantastic place to go. There is a lot of rain in the shoulder seasons so u have to like rain to visit then!

  • We were thinking to come to BC this summer, but at the end we stayed in Europe. All the activities are those that we would also enjoy with our kids, even though we will have to wait some years (our kids are now 3 and 1)

    • Whistler is really kid friendly. I have four kids and started going to Whistler when they were babies. There are great camps for little ones and a lot of the lakes and beaches are wonderful for small children. There are playgrounds and free outdoor tennis courts all over and a amazing indoor swimming pool at the community centre. You would be able to do more with older children but you could have a great holiday with smaller kids too.

    • Summer is my favourite season in Whistler. Although when it’s cold and miserable out, heading up the mountain to ski is a pretty good day too!

    • There are a phenomenal amount of trails in and around Whistler. Honestly, you could spend weeks going on different ones. They just opened up another 24 km connecting Rainbow Mountain to another mountain. I’d come for as long as you can or want, and you won’t be bored!

  • Oh wow Whistler seems like a perfect place packed with adventure. The variety of activities is amazing and they all seem like it would be a fun place for adults too. If I ever come to that part of the world I know where to go.

    • The fantastic thing about Whistler in the summer is that it really works for people of all ages. There are such a range of activities that would thrill everyone, plus fantastic food and patios to relax on. You really can’t go wrong spending some time there.

  • So many great options in Whistler during the Summer. I’ve been to Whistler during the Winter for snowboarding and would love to go back during the warmer months. The Treetop Adventure Course sounds quite fun although I don’t’ think I have enough core strength to finish the entire course.

    • Whistler in the summer is so different from Whistler in the winter. I’ve skied in Whistler for the last 20 years, but absolutely love Whistler in the summer. I actually prefer it. So, if you have the chance, try and come back to experience it.

  • That is certainly a lot of times to visit a place – so you must love it. I’ve never made it to Whistler, but have been to the Rockies. I need to get this on my list and hopefully be brave enough one day to try the white water rafting!

    • We live about 1 1/2 hours away from Whistler so this is an easy weekend getaway. The white water rafting was mostly gentle with a little bit of rapids, so totally manageable for your first time. I was nervous about this too, so I totally understand what you are feeling.

  • We are staying in Whistler for 3 days this July. Would you recommend needing a vehicle as we are thinking of tourist activities such as gondola, white water rafting, bobsleigh run. We are weighing up cost of hire car whilst we are there and maybe not having to use it against using public transport to get us to these activities.

    • Hi Wendy, Sorry for the delay in responding. We are in Kenya and we didn’t have wifi for a few days. Whistler has a very good public transit system and lots of taxis. So long as you are not more than 4 people, and you do not need car seats or room for strollers, you should be fine. Depending on the activity, you may also get free transportation to and from the village. Renting a car gives you the most flexibility, of course. But can be expensive. The only other consideration is stopping and exploring on the Sea to Sky Highway. That is the highway between Vancouver and Whistler. It is one of the most beautiful roads with breathtaking scenery that you will ever see. Being able to stop, take photos and walks and such, would be something that you would have to forfeit if you do not rent a car. However, very inexpensive buses go from Vancouver airport or downtown Vancouver to Whistler so you will drive the highway and see the scenery. But, you won’t be able to stop. Let me know if I can answer any more questions. Have a great time!

  • Where’s the The River of Golden Dreams paddle in your list? I can hardly believe you’ve not found it yet. It runs between Alta and Green lakes. It’s a classic Whistler flat water excursion.

    • LOl! Of course I have and you are right. It is absolutely beautiful. However, my blog was about free or inexpensive things to do that everyone (tourist or local alike) could enjoy. The paddle is free, but you have to have a canoe. You can rent a canoe (which is not expensive) but you somehow have to get it back from Meadow Park to wherever you rented it and you need a car with a rack on it. You can book a tour, but that is expensive, even if all they do is meet you at the end of the paddle and simply return the canoe back. This is an amazing activity but not all that simple or inexpensive to do. So far that reason, it didn’t make my list.

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