How To Plan the Best Vacation for Your Family in Whistler
Whistler can sometimes feel like Disneyland for adults, but it has always offered great spaces for family exploration, too. It’s so family-friendly in fact that the municipality has specifically structured the Villages to be full of fun for adults and children alike.
During the day, there are endless activities in Whistler for families to enjoy. The Village Square and the Upper Village are completely safe when the sun goes down, and most restaurants offer a kids’ menu.
And the kids are welcome even if the adults want to have dinner and a few drinks in a pub. Shirley temples for everyone!
Accommodation Options in Whistler for Families
Accommodation is as vast as the landscape in Whistler. If you’re visiting during the busier winter months, you’ll want to book far in advance. Many hotels offer packages for lift passes and other activities so check out the finer details.
We recommend looking for combination packages for families. This is a great way to save money when a handful of kids are in tow.
Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside
The Pan Pacific has always been a beloved hotel for its reasonable prices and proximity to the gondolas. In addition, they make family activities easy with their free shuttle around Whistler. Plus, kids 18 or under will stay for free with their parents.
The studio suites are spacious enough to sleep a family with separate living rooms and include Murphy beds that can sleep four. The two-bedroom suites sleep a total of six if needed for larger families.
Importantly, rooms have dining tables if you and your family want to make dinner at home instead of shelling out for restaurant meals.
This hotel is an excellent spot for families because they offer a lot of amenities for children—little things like children’s bathrobes, high chairs, cribs, and even baby monitors if you need them.
The kids will love that the Pan Pacific’s turndown service during the winter includes cookies!
There’s also in-house babysitting available, and they’re always happy to arrange family activities no matter the season.
As all parents know, hotels must have pools. Thankfully, Pan Pacific offers a heated outdoor saltwater pool to meet the children’s requirements.
Nita Lake Lodge
For genuinely active families coming to Whistler, Nita Lake Lodge is another excellent option. It’s located in the Creekside Village, so you’re in a quieter spot than the main village.
If you are looking to make your way into the main village, the lodge offers a free shuttle throughout the day.
Nita Lake Lodge has many amenities to keep everyone happy, and it is the only lodge in Whistler that sits right on a lake.
For families who came for authentic Whistler activities, this is the spot. You get free snowshoes, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, bikes, and tennis rackets during your stay.
They have a fine dining restaurant on site, but don’t worry: A children’s menu is available, and the suites accommodate families. This is a place for making memories as a family if you all love to be active outdoors.
4 Outdoor Whistler Activities in the Village
As anyone knows, a typical vacation looks different when children are involved.
There is no such thing as downtime—kids need to be entertained from dawn ’till dusk, and parents need to know all the hot spots to hit for family entertainment.
Rest assured, it’s not challenging to find Whistler activities for families in the village, which is easily walkable and can provide a bit of distraction in its own right.
1. Whistler Blackcomb Family Adventure Zone
The Family Adventure Zone, located at the base of Blackcomb in the upper village, is full of family fun in the summer months.
Making good use of the mountain when there’s no snow, the adventure zone comprises:
- Spin Cycle Human Gyroscope
- Rope Zone Ropes Course
- Bouncy Castle
- X$ Bungee Tramps
- Drop a Rock climbing wall
- Water Rollerz
- Kiss The Sky Bungee Trampolines
- Glitter Tattoos
Please refrain from eating lunch before you strap in to the Human Gyroscope; otherwise, it could be an eventful experience.
The Whistler Blackcomb Family Adventure Zone is free to enter; however, the attractions are paid. You can select how many attractions you would like to buy passes for on site.
- Suitable for all ages
- One activity costs $13 and passes start at five activities for $50
2. Whistler Farmers Market
Loved by locals and visitors alike, the Whistler Farmers Market is a must-visit shopping experience with stalls catered to every family member.
Among the things available are kids’ clothes, kettle corn, toys, and face painting. In addition, some local artisans make handmade products and great souvenirs to remind you of your time in Whistler.
It makes a great lunchtime stop, as every family member can find a food vendor they love for lunch, and nobody gets to complain.
The markets operate every Sunday between May and October from 11 am to 4 pm in the Upper Whistler Village.
- Suitable for all ages
- Free entry
3. Cycling the Valley Trail
There is no better way to enjoy a sunny day in Whistler than cycling the Valley Trail, a concrete pathway that is car-free, open to cyclists and pedestrians, and connects the village to the surrounding lakes.
Exploring the 46 km trail by bike is one of the easiest and most fun ways to see Whistler and its surrounding lakes. However, if you’re looking for a place to play volleyball, to take your dog, or jump off the docks, we recommend rainbow park.
Didn’t bring your bike? That’s okay because Whistler is home to many bike rental stores that can help you rent easy-to-use bikes suitable for the Valley Trail.
- Suitable for all ages
4. Frisbee Golf
Explore the 27-hole disc golf course that spans Lost Lake Park.
The course is broken into three sections containing nine holes so you can break it up. The first section is the easiest. The second section is the hardest as it involves steep hills, and the third is between the two in difficulty.
The course is open from dawn to dusk daily from April until November. You will be hiking as you make your way from hole to hole, so be sure to take snacks and water and wear appropriate footwear.
- Suitable for all ages; be mindful that there is hiking in the course
- Free to play; must bring your discs
4 Outdoor Whistler Activities Beyond the Village
Family fun doesn’t stop at the Village’s doorstep, and one can argue that the family adventure gets even more exciting once you leave the Village.
1. Wedge Rafting
White-water rafting is a memorable family-friendly Whistler activity run by Wedge Rafting.
The rapids are well suited for beginners and kids alike, and the guides are fully certified to keep you safely entertained in any conditions.
Take an afternoon to hit some rapids and enjoy Whistler’s stunning natural backdrop and the Sea-to-Sky region.
- Suitable for ages 10 and older
- Youth 10 – 16 years old – $119.99
- Adult – $134.99
2. Superfly Ziplines
Zip lining is another great Whistler family activity, well-known for creating memories and some great family photos as you fly high over the forest canopy.
Superfly Ziplines has a cool feature that allows two of your family members to ride side-by-side on their cable, to share the experience.
If a zip line is a bit too extreme for some family members, you can always bring them to the Treetop Adventure Course, which is equally as entertaining.
This unique aerial tree course has over 70 elements that thrill every family member as there are elements for everyone, from relatively tame to wild.
- Suitable for ages 10 and older
- Kids – Early Bird $119.99 / Regular $139.99
- Adult – Early Bird $144.99 / Regular $174.99
3. Forged Axe Throwing
In Whistler, we never let a little rain dampen our spirits. Luck for us, Forged Axe Throwing has indoor and outdoor lanes to practice your throwing. You might be searching for an indoor activity to keep you dry.
The minimum age to participate is 10, which is perfect for pre-teens and teenagers looking for a unique Canadian experience.
Forged is located in Function Junction, just a short 10-minute drive south of Whistler Village. They are also located next door to Coast Mountain Brewing, in case mom and dad are looking for a bit of an escape while the kids throw some axes.
- Must be 10 years or older to throw
- Per person – $38
4. Treeline Adventure
When Superfly says they have treetop adventures suited for everyone, they mean it.
The Superfly kids aerial obstacle course is designed for children aged seven to 13 years, to get them from the floor of the rainforest and into the trees.
For adults, there are two options. First, the beginner course is a first-timer-friendly course that is perfect for those who are a little bit nervous when they’re not on the ground.
The full course is the real deal for those looking to have an extreme experience. Thrill seekers will navigate through green, blue, black, double black, and red sections, reaching heights of up to 60 feet.
- Suitable for children seven years or older
- Kids course – $65
- Beginner course – $70
- Full course – $95
3 Easy Family Hikes with Great Views
While getting distracted by all the adventurous entertainment available in town is easy, don’t forget about a walk in the woods. Hiking is one of the best Whistler activities for families.
Whistler is known for its classic beauty, and taking the family for a hike is a great way to soak it all in. Don’t worry about getting extreme with your stroller, as there are hikes for all ages and all buggies.
1. Lost Lake
A quick walk from Whistler Village will lead you to a large grassy area that overlooks Lost Lake. You can spend all day here in the summer.
The lake is calm and clear, and there is a swimming area with docks, washrooms, picnic tables, and a children’s area. It is the perfect place to organise a picnic and go for a swim.
2. The Interpretive Forest and Cheakamus River Trails
Long considered a more local destination by those who know Whistler, the Cheakamus River trails often have fewer tourists than other popular trails.
It is an easy trail to walk with the family and makes a nice loop that keeps you close to the river. You’ll also see some stunning views of Whistler in the background.
In the summer, you can pick blueberries and blackberries, and in the winter you can snowshoe through the trails.
The Interpretive trail has some spectacular places to picnic, areas to put your kayak in the water, and a suspension bridge along the way.
The turn-off for the trail is on Westside Road, across from the Function Junction turn-off. You can drive there or take the local bus service.
3. Train Wreck Hike
One of the most visited hikes in Whistler, the Train Wreck Hike, is a favourite of those looking to explore outside the Whistler Village.
This hike’s main attraction is an old derailed train that has left its carriages in the forest since 1956. Local artists have taken this as an opportunity to put their mark on these carriages and turn it into a unique spectacle.
Along the hike, you will encounter a suspension bridge that offers a fantastic birdseye view of the Cheakamus River below.
The hike is more accessible than most in the area; however, it can be slick if there is still snow on the ground.
3 Best Whistler Restaurants for Families
After a day of Whistler family activities, your family is going to be ravenous. Whistler restaurants almost always cater to families—even the most excellent Italian restaurant will have divine macaroni and cheese on their kids’ menu.
Here are some of the top family spots in Whistler that are people pleasers, even for the tiniest people.
1. El Furniture Warehouse
It’s in a convenient location right in the main Village and offers cheap eats in a casual environment. The food doesn’t take long to hit the table, and if your child is having a tantrum, it’s casual and the music is loud.
Some local ski and snowboard pros co-own El Furniture Warehouse, and well-seasoned servers staff it. So any night, your children may be sitting beside a professional snowboarder they have always looked up to!
Kids always love pizza, and they’ll especially love the enormous wood-fired pizza at Creekbread. It’s a big place that can easily seat larger families, even the extended members.
The pizza is arguably the best in town, with more refined options for the adults and some epic cheesy varieties for the children.
There is a lot of room for large families, and the portion sizes almost always result in some pizza being taken home to eat the next day.
3. 21 Steps
While a relatively upscale restaurant, 21 Steps still has a menu for kids. Plus, while considered a fancier dining establishment than the others on this list, they are not opposed to children.
It’s sometimes quite loud, which means children fit right in! They have great food for adults like steak, seafood, and appies, plus gluten-free options and delicious desserts if everyone has finished their vegetables.
The restaurant comes with a view of people walking through the Village and has a welcoming atmosphere. The location also means it’s only a short walk from any hotel.
Whistler: A Destination Designed for Families
Don’t be fooled by the high-speed skiing or the gut-wrenching mountain biking that Whistler brings to most people’s minds. There are plenty of Whistler activities for families available year-round.
Whether you are looking to throw some axes, cycle in between the lakes, or go out for dinner with the whole family, there is something for you and your family to enjoy.