Planning the Best Vacation: Whistler for Families
How to Plan the Best Vacation for Families in Whistler
Whistler can feel a lot like a Disneyland for adults, but it has always offered great spaces for family exploration. The adventurous terrain and unlimited outdoor playground is a perfect spot for all ages. Whistler welcomes families, and the municipality has specifically structured the Villages to be full of fun for adults and children alike.
During the day, there are unlimited activities in Whistler and surrounding area for families to all enjoy. The Village Square and the Upper Village are completely safe when the sun goes down, and most restaurants have a kids menu on offer. Even if the adults want to have dinner and a few drinks in a pub, the kids are welcome too. Shirley temples for everyone!
Accommodation in Whistler for Families
Accommodation is as vast as the landscape in Whistler. If you’re visiting during the busier winter months, you will want to book quite far in advance but many hotels offer packages for lift passes and other activities so check out the fine details. Looking for combination packages for families is a great way to save money when there are a handful of kids in tow.
Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside
The Pan Pacific has always been a beloved hotel for its proximity to the gondolas and its reasonable prices. 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 murphy beds that can sleep four. The two-bedroom suites sleep a total of six if needed for bigger families.
Importantly, rooms have dining tables in the event you and your family want to make dinner at home instead of shelling out at a restaurant. But what really makes this hotel a great spot for families is that they offer a lot of amenity 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 is also in-house babysitting available, and they’re always happy to arrange family activities no matter what the season. As all parents know, it’s vital that hotels have pools. Thankfully, Pan Pacific offers a heated outdoor, saltwater pool to ensure the children’s requirements are met.
Nita Lake Lodge
For the truly active family coming to Whistler, Nita Lake Lodge is another great option. It’s located in the Creekside Village, so you’re in a quieter spot than the main village. With that said, they offer a free shuttle to the village 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 that came for authentic Whistler activities, this is the spot. With your stay, you get free snowshoes, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, bikes, and tennis rackets.
They have a fine dining restaurant onsite but don’t worry, a children’s menu is available, and the suites accommodate families. This is a place for making memories in Whistler as a family if you all love to be active in the outdoors.
Daily Outdoor Whistler Activities in the Village
As anyone with children knows, a typical vacation looks a bit different when children are involved.
There is no such thing as downtime; kids need to be entertained from dawn ’til dusk and parents need to know all the hot spots to hit for family entertainment.
Rest assured, it’s not difficult to find family-friendly entertainment in Whistler Village, which is easily walkable and can provide a bit of distraction in its own right.
Whistler Blackcomb Family Adventure Zone
The Adventure Zone is packed full of family fun in the summer months. It is run in the busy summer months by Nintendo and is located at the base of Blackcomb in the mid village. Making good use of the mountain when there’s no snow, the West Coast Slider is a 315-meter slide that you and the kids hit while wandering the Village.
There’s also a Mario mini-golf course and a batting cage that can be done as a family. If your children still have pent-up energy, throw them in the kids-only bouncy castle with balloon slide which is another part of the adventure zone. The epic entertainment doesn’t end there; there’s a massive airbag you can swing or jump into, go karts, and a mini bungee jump!
The Whistler Blackcomb Family Adventure Zone is included in the Adventure Zone Pass that you and your family can share. It also gets you a discount off the Peak to Peak gondola which is a must do when you’re in Whistler.
Whistler Farmer’s Market
A must visit shopping experience with things for every member of the family. Among some of the things available are kids’ clothes, kettle corn, toys, and face painting. There are local artisans that make handmade products, great souvenirs to remind you of your time in Whistler. It makes a great lunchtime stop, as every member of the family can find a food vendor they love for lunch, and nobody gets to complain. They operate every Sunday between May and October from 11 am to 4 pm, plus have a Wednesday market in July and August from 2 pm to 7 pm.
Daily Outdoor Whistler Activities Beyond the Village
Family fun doesn’t stop at the Village’s doorstep, in fact, one can argue that the family adventure gets even more exciting once you leave the Village.
White-water rafting is a memorable family Whistler activity that is run by Wedge Rafting. There are rapids that are well suited for beginners and kids alike, and the raft guides are fully certified to keep you safely entertained in any conditions. Take an afternoon to hit some rapids and take in the stunning natural backdrop Whistler and the Sea-to-Sky region has to offer.
Paddle the River of Golden Dreams
Another magical nature experience is canoeing down the River of Golden Dreams. You’re welcome to bring your canoe or raft, but you can also rent one from Backroads Whistler. This is a serene river that draws you through old growth forest, with some of Canada’s wildlife on full display. Bring a picnic from Hunter Gather, and make a day trip out of it.
Zip lining is another great Whistler family activity, well-known for creating memories and some great family photos. You fly high over the forest canopy swiftly. Superfly Ziplines has a cool feature that allows two of your family members to ride beside each other on their own cable. You can truly share the experience with one another. If a zip line is a bit too extreme for some members of your family, 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 give a thrill to every family member., plus there are elements for the everyone, from relatively tame to totally wild.
Gentle Family Hikes with Great Views
While it’s easy to get distracted by all the adventurous entertainment available in town, don’t forget about a walk in the woods. 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 too extreme with your stroller in tow, as there are hikes for all ages and all buggies.
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 cool and clear, and there is a swimming area with docks, washrooms, picnic tables and a children’s area. You can bring a picnic or treat the family to summer delights at the concession stand.
The Interpretive Forest and Cheakamus River Trails
Long considered a more local destination by those that know, these trails often have much fewer tourists than other more popular locations. It’s still 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. Ask your concierge about where to rent snowshoes.
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 turnoff for the trail on Westside Road which is across from the Function Junction turn off. You can drive there or take the local bus service.
Family Dining in Whistler
After a day of Whistler family activities, chances are, your family is going to be ravenous. Whistler restaurants almost always cater to families, even the nicest Italian restaurant will have a divine macaroni and cheese on their kid’s menu. Here are some of the top family spots in Whistler that are people pleasers, even for the tiniest people.
El Furniture Warehouse
It’s in a convenient location right in the main Village and offers cheap eats in a casual environment. Seriously, all the food is $4.95 cdn. 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 this establishment, and it’s staffed by well-seasoned servers. If you hit the restaurant on any given night, your children may be sitting beside a professional snowboarder they have always looked up to!
Kids always love pizza, and they’ll love the huge wood-fired pizza ovens 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.
While a fairly upscale restaurant, it still has a menu for kids. Plus, while it is considered a fancier dining establishment than the others on this list, they are by no means averse 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 dessert options if everyone has finished their vegetables. The restaurant comes with a view of people walking through the Village and has a welcoming atmosphere.
If you have exhausted everything on this list, and feel as if you need some expert advice about what family activities in Whistler will best suit your crew, you’re always welcome at the Whistler Visitor Centre. Also, it’s always a very good idea to hit up your hotel concierge. Not only are they trained to provide top notch customer service, they often have a good deal in their back pocket if you book through them.