I love Whistler resort’s Euro-village streets, where you can walk from bar to bookstore in just a few steps. I love the joyful atmosphere…it seems like there’s always a film festival, children’s art fest or après ski happening. I love the outdoor activities. Nowhere else is it as easy to ski, snowshoe, skate, and swim within just a few miles—and not even get your car out of the garage.
Whistler-Blackcomb is a British Columbia ski resort that’s an accessible, playful, family-friendly town. After you’ve scored a hotel room or AirBnB stay, what can you do with kids in Whistler?
What To Do with Kids in Whistler: Winter
1, Coast on giant inner tubes down the Tube Park‘s snow. Best for parents of older preschoolers and up — you must be 3 years old to ride here.
2. Slip along kilometers of cross-country groomed paths at Lost Lake Park, when in season; pick up your toddler-friendly chariot carrier at Cross Country Connection. Even very young children can snowshoe or ski for short distances, and Cross Country will be able to suggest good ski paths and destinations.
3. Sign the kids up for ski or snowboard camps or drop-in lessons or childcare (for ages between 18 months and 5 years). Check the kids’ ability charts online before you enroll them, to make sure you’re signing them up for the right class. Don’t miss the “Magic Castle” or children’s play areas on the mountain if you’re going it alone.
4. Play Wii at the Nintendo Gaming Lounge, when in town (usually March).
5. Chill out on the ice skating rink (winter only) at the Olympic Plaza, which accommodates 150 skaters at a time.
6. Wow even hard-to-impress teens at the Fire and Ice Show, which runs from December through March. Snowboards dive through fiery hoops and acrobats juggle flaming torches; do not try this at home.
7. Take toddlers and little ones (under 5) to the sled hill at Whistler Olympic Plaza. Bonus: Even if no snow has fallen lately, a snow machine blows piles of fresh flakes. Alternate: Tobogganing at Whistler Olympic Park.
8. Hold on tight and coast from one mountain to another in a glass-bottom gondola on the Peak 2 Peak. Even if you don’t ski, a trip in a gondola up Whistler, on the Peak 2 Peak, and back down Blackcomb is a heart-pounding adventure. Don’t forget to stop for a cup of hot chocolate. In summer, you may even spot a bear from your perch inside the gondola, so bring binoculars.
9. Go out for crepes, hot chocolate, fondue or another family-friendly Whistler meal.
Whistler Activities with Kids: Year Round
1.Pick out a trinket, activity book or board game at Whoola Toys, a Whistler mom-owned toy store literally packed from floor to ceiling with great, eclectic choices. It’s a good place to pick out a special in-hotel play set or cool hand-held toy for the drive home.
2. Browse the paperbacks and pictures books at Armchair Books, which has an extremely well-stocked children’s section with classic titles, graphic novels and YA books for teens.
3. Hold your breath and jump into the lazy river at Meadow Park Sports Centre, which boasts a slide, a six-lane lap pool, a vortex and hot tubs for mom and dad. If your Whistler resort hotel doesn’t have a fantastic pool (or that pool is just too darn cold), head here. Not feeling like swimming? There’s also an indoor skating rink with disco nights…
4. Fill your bag with candy at the Great Glass Elevator Candy Shoppe, which offers enough bins of jellybeans, chocolates and sweet ‘n’ sours to scare a dentist. Yum.
5. Fly through the air with the greatest of ease at Bounce Acrobatic Academy, which boasts a giant indoor trampoline, padded walls and a foam pit. Drop-in rates available.
6. Rainy day in Whistler? No problem. Catch a flick at Village 8 Cinemas. Visit the website to grab some coupons for this Whistler favorite.
7. If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands along with your toddler at a Whistler Public library storytime, or just sit and snuggle up with a good book.
8. Learn to weave at Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre; this culturally rich museum is great to introduce older kids to the First Peoples of the area. The hands-on crafting demonstrations and opportunities are relaxing and informational.
9. Enjoy the swings, slide and ramps at Whistler Inclusive Playground at Whistler Olympic Plaza. It’s a 13,000-square-foot outdoor play area with innovative spinning disks, swings and carved structures. I love all the smooth, formidable wood here – it’s one of the most aesthetically appealing playgrounds I’ve seen in the Pacific Northwest. If it’s cold? Just bundle up and grab a coffee, because your kids will want to play here. Update 2019: Okay, it’s a little broken now, especially the swing. Hopefully it’ll be fixed soon.
10. Let the kids climb the walls at The Whistler Core, which offers rock-climbing classes for big kids, evening climb/dinner childcare options and fun Whistler summer camps. Update 2019: The climbing gym is very well suited for teens, with affordable drop-in learn-to-climb classes.
What to do with Kids in Whistler: Summer
1. Nosh your way from stall to stall at the Whistler Farmers Market, where you’ll find hand-picked local berries, mushrooms and veggies. You’ll find crafts here too (although those are not nosh-able).
2. Bounce on the bungee trampoline, drive a mini-car or walk the rope course at the Family Adventure Zone, where tickets purchase rides scaled for all ages: toddlers through teens. A super-fun summer Whistler activity with kids, and near the Blackcomb-side lifts.
3. Ollie at the Whistler outdoor skate park.
4. Navigate the waters along the grass-lined River of Golden Dreams, just north of Whistler. Bring binoculars, a camera, snacks and a sense of adventure; on calm days, lazing along the river, mountains in sight… it’s Northwest travel at its best. If you’re not sure your kids are ready for this, try paddling Lake Alta. In any case, we rented (and got great advice) from Backroads Whistler’s family self-guided tours. You could also hire a guide, but I don’t have any experience with that (and the self-guided is the less expensive option).
5. Sing through the treetops on a Ziptrek Tour; children as young as six years old can go on these bird’s-eye-level trips through the evergreens.
6. Watch the street entertainers — bring a Loonie or a Toonie to drop into the busking cases of your favorites. One of my favorite (free) forms of entertainment in the summer.
7. Hike or bike your way along some of the region’s stunning trails. See this map of hiking and biking trails in the Whistler area; I recommend trails near Lost Lake in particular.
Updated January 6, 2020 with fresh content and links.