“Can we go to the pool now, Mama? Please?” We’d only checked into our room fifteen minutes ago, and I was in the process of unpacking the suitcases and putting our cooler items into the fridge. Our three kids, ages nine, eight, and five, had been counting down the days until our arrival. They just couldn’t wait to get in that pool; it even had a waterslide! And so, my husband and I helped them into their swimsuits, grabbed the towels, and headed down for some splashy fun. Where are we? It may surprise you to learn we’re in Whistler, British Columbia.
When most people think of Whistler, they picture huge mountains and deep powdery snow. They may think of cabins and gondolas, snowboarders, or the 2010 Winter Olympics. But did you know that Whistler sees 55% of its visitors arriving during the summer months? That’s right – it’s more than just a winter playground. It’s basically an outdoorsman’s paradise. It’s also a great place to take the kids!
Whistler is only 1.5 hours from downtown Vancouver, making it an easy getaway for our family. It offers hiking, biking, rock-climbing, swimming, golfing, and just about every other kind of outdoor adventure you can imagine. Most hotels have swimming pools and hot tubs, and there’s a great wooden playground near the Olympic rings. Pro-tip for parents, there’s coffee and ice-cream shops scattered throughout the village. Whether you’re hot or cold, they’ve got you covered for snacks!
If you’re looking to explore a little more, there is no shortage of options.
Are your kids thrill seekers? Strap into a harness and take a wild zipline ride down the mountain with ZipTrek Ecotours. The Sasquatch® is the longest line in both Canada and the USA at over 2 km in length and over 7,000 feet!
Do you prefer a leisurely stroll through the forest that ends in a super cool photo-op? Do not miss Train Wreck! A short 20-minute walk will lead you to an old train derailment that has been covered in spray paint. The whole family will love clamoring over the dilapidated cars and posing for pictures.
Is history your thing? The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre will open your eyes to the land you’re standing on and the people who call it home. Through art, conversation, demonstrations, and displays, you’ll learn more about the First Nations community in Whistler and beyond.
Think you can keep your kids up a little later one night? I promise it’ll be worth it! When darkness falls on the forest, something truly special happens on Cougar Mountain. It’s called Vallea Lumina. Music plays, lights dance, and stories come alive all around you. Strap on some good shoes and follow the lanterns up through the trees, over the river, and back down to camp. Oh, and keep an eye out for the singing hikers. They put on an excellent show!
Or maybe you’d like to take in the views of the village? Purchase a ticket for the Peak 2 Peak experience. You’ll ride multiple gondolas across Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain, treating you to an incredible 360-degree view of your surroundings.
Whistler offers something for everyone. Whether it’s afternoons at the pool, walks through the forest, or something a tad more exciting (Whistler Bungee, anyone?), there’s no shortage of activities you can sign up for.
I know it’s been a rough year. We travelers are really feeling it! While we wait for the world to re-open, I’d encourage you to look at what’s available right here in Canada. Whistler is a place people come to from all over the world – and right now, it’s all ours!
Written by Carolyn Bechard
Carolyn Bechard is a homeschooling Mom of three living on a small acreage in the Fraser Valley of Vancouver. She and her husband have always had a strong conviction in regards to their kids' education and knew homeschooling was the route for them, even before their first child arrived. In her free time, she can be found baking in her kitchen, speed reading through a book, or planning the family's next travel adventure.