20 Things to Do in Whistler Without Snow
Set against stunning mountain backdrops, Whistler is as popular during the summer months as it is during the winter. Hiking, biking, rafting and adrenaline-fuelled activities can be found in abundance, and a friendly welcome from the locals is assured.
Try Axe Throwing
Unleash your inner lumberjack at Function Junction’s Forged Axe Throwing, trying your hand at this most Canadian of activities. Each action-packed axe throwing experience includes a thorough safety talk, step-by-step instruction, practice runs and a final round of competition, sure to have you nailing those bullseyes in no time. Whether you’re a first-time axe thrower or seasoned timber sports veteran, Forged welcomes everyone over the age of 10. And as one of the newest Whistler attractions, it’s also advisable to check availability and book in advance.
A visit to British Columbia wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the thrills and spills of wedge rafting. Whistler has rivers for all levels of ability, winding their way through some of the most breathtaking scenery. Wedge Rafting caters to everyone, from family floats to Class IV rapids, sure to get the heart pounding as you risk an early bath! Talk to Wedge Rafting about what adventure you’re looking for, and they’ll be sure to put you on a suitable raft, keep you safe, and provide an epic day of outdoor adventure. There’s no better way to cool down on a hot summer day in Whistler!
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Play Disc Golf
What better way to spend a Sunday morning than with a round of disc golf? Unlike traditional golf courses, the Whistler Disc Golf Course encourages participants to dress down and bring a beverage or two. The Whistler disc golf course is also completely free, besides, of course, the purchase of your first few discs from Whistler Village Sports. The course is set up like a traditional course in the sense it has 18 holes, but instead of “holes,” has metal baskets to catch your disc-in-ones. The course is located just north of Whistler, near Riverside RV Resort and Campground. Plan to spend at least two to three hours on a full round.
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Do a Bungee Jump
Want to see Whistler from a different angle? Take a leap of faith with Whistler Bungee Jumping. While not for the faint of heart, Whistler Bungee has a perfect track record on safety and has been operating just outside Whistler for over 20 years. Open every day, all year long, a stunning view is promised whenever you choose to take the plunge. Whistler Bungee Jumping caters to all, including kids, tandem jumps and even those in wheelchairs. There’s also a great place for spectators to watch from, perfect for those who prefer to stay grounded.
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Hike to the Train Wreck
A Whistler secret no more, the train wreck isn’t simply a bunch of rusting old cars in the woods. Now transformed into a graffiti art gallery, the seven cars are creatively decorated and make for an awesome Instagram backdrop! The trailhead takes only 40-60 minutes to complete the round trip. It’s dog and kid-friendly, although there are sometimes bears in the area (as with all of Whistler), so ensure to carry bear spray or sing a song if you’re walking alone! The hike takes you under the highway and eventually along the railway tracks. Look out for the beautiful waterfall on the Cheakamus River en route.
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Drink Craft Beer
There’s a thriving beer scene at Function Junction, and the former industrial neighbourhood is well worth a visit. Whistler Brewing remains the original mainstay of the Whistler craft beer scene, and they have long been a favourite among the locals. Coast Mountain Brewing, while new on the scene, is already upping the game by creating interesting staples and experimental new flavours. Why try only one brewery, when you can easily try both on the same day? After all, they are only one block away from each other.
Go Tree Climbing
On hot summer days, The Treetops Adventure is an excellent way to beat the heat. The adventure course is located deep in the woods, under the green canopy of an ancient forest. The Treetops Adventure Course on Cougar Mountain requires a bit more courage than the typical zip line course because each of the 70 elements, all perched high in the tree tops, requires participants to plant one foot in front of the other instead of just taking one leap of faith. This activity is great for kids, stag and bachelorette parties, and corporate groups.
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Attend a Festival
No matter the month, there’s always something going on in Whistler, with public activities and exclusive events aplenty. Whatever you’re into, there’s a festival for you. Foodies should check out the Cornucopia Festival happening in November, while the Ski and Snowboard Festival is a great end of season bash in April. Crankworx in August is ideal for those seeking bike stunts, speed contests and plenty of mud, while September brings the ever popular Whistler Beer and Wine Festival. The “Fungus Among Us Festival” in October is a quirky attraction celebrating the bounty offered by the local forests. (Editor’s note: Events may have been postponed due to COVID-19. Please check the website for updates.)
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Spend a Day at the Lake
With five lakes sprinkled throughout Whistler: Alta Lake, Nita Lake, Green Lake, Alpha Lake and Lost Lake, you’re sure to have everything you need to set up an epic picnic day. Bring the entire family, lay out your blanket, and soak up the sunshine on a summer afternoon. Each lake has a designated public park, some offer docks, some offer canoe rentals, nearly all of them have some form of a beach (sandy or pebble), and all are thoroughly enjoyable. Even if you don’t have a car, load up your friends on to the next bus, because each lake is accessible by public transit.
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Spend an afternoon following in the footsteps of an Olympic Bobsledder at the Whistler Sliding Centre. They’ll coach you into heading down one of the fastest tracks in the world, built originally for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Will you go bobsledding or try going face first as a skeleton racer? However you choose to slide, this is a must-try activity for sports fans and thrill-seekers alike.
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Peak 2 Peak Gondola BBQ
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola is an experience not to be missed, but visitors should also make time to enjoy the Peak 2 Peak Gondola BBQ—offered at 1,800 metres on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. You’ll need to plan ahead due to limited space and only two seating times, but it’s well worth it! The menu and location will take your breath away. After a long day in the Whistler countryside, you might just need some serious comfort food to power you up for a night on the town. The feast and a lift pass can be combined for significant savings.
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Drink at the Ketel One Ice Room
If you’re seeking something fancier, try Whistler’s very own Ketel One Ice Room at the Bearfoot Bistro. With a gourmet vodka tasting menu, expertly hosted by some amazing bartenders, and a snuggly oversized jacket to keep you warm, it makes for a great date night or start to a night out. With 50 different varieties of vodka available, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
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Visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
Take some time out to explore the roots of this fine land by visiting the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, located on Blackcomb Way and easily walkable from the Village. If you think museums are bit bland, think again. The centre is beautifully built, steeped in cultural history, and full of some of the most spectacular native artifacts and art. Learn about the history of Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish from guides with a deep cultural knowledge of the region.
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Paddle the River of Golden Dreams
The River of Golden Dreams is an excellent way to get closer to nature, get a little wet and explore the undeveloped side of Whistler. Rent a kayak or canoe from Backroads Whistler, and head out to the start of the experience at Alta Lake. Just a few hours later, you’ll arrive feeling refreshed at Green Lake. Bring some snacks and drinks, and don’t forget your life jacket! While you might see some other people foolishly trying to make the same trip in an Explorer 300, we highly recommended only renting serious watercraft only—the water is cold, and the river is long!
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For those in the know, Sushi Village is the place to be. All the locals head here for delicious, reasonably priced sushi and competitive group bookings! On Friday and Saturday nights, this place transforms into a party hotspot. Sip legendary sake margaritas, mingle with the local crowd, and brush shoulders with VIPs and even celebrities! If you’re coming with a large group, it’s best to book ahead.
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When the snow disappears, Whistler becomes one of the world’s most epic mountain biking parks. There are over 200 km of lift-serviced trails to get your adrenaline pumping, as well as camps and tours for those who are not quite ready to hit the trails solo. You can rent bikes at various locations and there are several relaxing lakeside bike paths, as well as downhill trails.
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Take the Slow Train
The Rocky Mountaineer Sea to Sky Climb train meanders its way up to Whistler in pure luxury. This three-hour trip gives unparalleled views of the Howe Sound, canyons, falls and of course, mountains of this beautiful area. Service is deluxe, with a leisurely champagne breakfast served in the morning and high tea in the afternoon.
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Play a Round or Two
Whistler has four championship golf courses and was voted Canada’s number one golf destination by Golf Digest. With courses designed by masters such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, all nestled into some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Teeing off at this resort is a real treat.
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Watch the Bears
There are an estimated 50 black bears living on Whistler and Blackcomb. During the summer months, you can go on a tour of the bear’s feeding sites, active bear dens and places they are known to hang out in. You’ll travel through the beautiful, lush forests in a 4×4, observing the bears from a safe distance. You may also get to see other Whistler wildlife up close, including coyotes, Western Horny marmots, Barred and Great Horned owls, and Red Tailed Hawks.
Hit the Spas
Spas in Whistler are plentiful and top-notch. For a European experience, head to Scandinave Spa, which has Finnish wood-burning saunas, eucalyptus steam baths, thermal and Nordic waterfalls, and outdoor fireplaces. The Taman Sari Spa offers an authentic Javanese experience, and includes a truly indulgent four-hand massage. The Spa at the Four Seasons also offers a number of locally-inspired treatments, such as the Sea to Sky Massage (which uses ingredients that are indigenous to the Canadian west coast).
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