Updated March 2018 with new summer vacation planning tips and advice

When it comes to summer vacation planning, the equation is simple.

We want more time to relax. We want to spend less. And most of all, we want to come home feeling like we’ve actually had a break – not simply been stuck in a hot car with the kids.

As Whistler Insiders we’re lucky enough to live here year-round, and we know exactly how awesome summer in Whistler can be. We’ve put together some simple tips, from finding the savings to shaking up how you think about travel and vacation planning, all so you can maximize every moment of your summer.

Spring day in the village
Less organizing, more strolling.

For the Best Deals, Book Early

A big part of any trip is the accommodation, and the earlier you book the better the vacation deals are. It’s a no-brainer, with discounts, bonus credits on activities plus the best choice of dates  – meaning you can maximize vacation days, long weekends and hit Whistler’s big events for less. Lock it in now.

Do Your Research

No, you don’t have to schedule every second of your time when summer vacation planning, but it’s worth checking out Whistler’s summer activities ahead of time so you know exactly how much there is to do and can plan to fit them all in and have time to relax. It’s a vacation, after all…

We’ve done some of the work for you – may we suggest browsing the summer activity selection, these itineraries, some ideas for time on the water, our biking checklist and our essential Canadian summer experiences?

Pick Travel Time Wisely

Sitting in traffic isn’t a great way to start or end a holiday. The cool thing about those summer vacation days is you can choose ANY day of the week to arrive and leave and avoid the busier Friday and Sunday travel times on Highway 99, plus get the other advantages of holidaying midweek while the world is at work.

But you don’t have to invest all your  vacation time – adding even one or two days onto your weekend is a super smart option, because that precious time off should be spend out in nature, not on the highway.

The stunning Sea to Sky Highway
Maximize those Sea to Sky views by getting someone else to drive, so you can soak up all that majesty.

Ditch the Car

Getting to Whistler is a breeze with plenty of options for transfers from Vancouver and Vancouver Airport. With neighbourhoods where you can walk everywhere, free transit on peak summer weekends and over 40 km of Valley Trail set aside for non-motorized traffic only you simply don’t need a car when you are in Whistler. We’ve got a few solid reasons why your vacation will actually be better without a car in tow.

Travel Light

Bikes of all kinds (including chariots), paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, golf clubs, essential baby gear – it’s all available to pre-book and rent right here. You don’t need to bring the entire garage on vacation.

Eat for Less

There’s plenty of ways to keep the food costs down and still eat like a king. Grab accommodation with a kitchen and do some meals at home then and mix it up with nights at Whistler’s restaurants. Keep an eye out for dining specials when you are in town (Insider tip: midweek and off peak), and you can also try Whistler’s food trucks and the Farmers’ Markets for cheap eats. And it’s summer, so grilling and picnicking are other great ways to have a big feed for less while enjoying the outdoors (just please be bear smart and pack out what you pack in).

Summer Picnic in Whistler at Lakeside Park
Not a bad spot for dinner.

Après for Less

No matter what patio you are eyeing up for your post-exercise cold beverage, they’re likely to have a happy hour or even two with drink specials – keep an eye on the specials boards or ask a server.

Free Summer Concert Series in Whistler
Free concerts, plenty of seating and the backdrop isn’t too shabby either.

Find Free Entertainment

There’s always a lot of things happening throughout Whistler and a lot of entertainment through the summer has no price tag attached. Catch street entertainment, free concerts, art demos and music through the Village Stroll, and you can also catch other things like races, free outdoor movies, kids craft stations and more – every day of the week. Take a look at our event calendar to find out what’s on, and when you’re in town….

Chat to a Local

We’ve got a brilliant Visitor Centre and a Village Host program staffed by locals who know the ins and outs of Whistler and are ready to share their knowledge. Looking for what’s on that day, what hiking trails are open or a place to eat? Hit ‘em up.

And if you want advice before you book big things like accommodation, then give the Whistler.com team a call. Their office is right at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains so they have an excellent idea of what’s happening in town and how to sniff out the discounts. You can also keep an eye out for our Insider Local’s List at the start of every month for more off-the-beaten-path ideas on things to do.

Taking break in Cheakamus forest
The perfect antidote to the workday world.

Plan…and Don’t Plan

There are so many summer activities to do here in Whistler you can book something every single day – and now is the time to find discounts. But don’t be afraid to schedule a day or two with nothing to do because in our humble opinion some of the best days of summer are simply spent meandering.

So leave yourself a couple of days to go beyond the Village; explore the Valley Trail to find a different view of the mountains, cruise the neighbourhoods, check out all the lakes, hike from dusk til dawn, dip into our music, arts and culture, wander the Village and stumble across the perfect ice cream. Because some of the best summer memories are from the days where you let the moments just drift away…

Check out our Insider summer articles for more ideas on things to do in town. Ready to plan your trip?  Whistler.com is the best place to start. Roll on summer.


Pip has somehow worked her way around from being a snow-and-bike bum to holding a real job while also being outdoors as much as possible. She’s collected scars, bikes for (almost) every occasion, a small trail dog and a love of craft beer plus a rudimentary understanding of skiing, snowboarding, sketching, and the art of chairlift conversations. She currently believes a combination of gravity, snow, dirt and rad people are what make Whistler tick but investigations are ongoing.