Whistler is known as a place of high-energy thrills, but it has a ying to its yang with a laid-back summer vibe that invites you to slow down, consider your impact and explore the lesser known.

Paddle along a glacier-fed lake as you take in the majestic mountain landscapes. See sunlight beam through old-growth trees as you breathe in the fresh mountain air. Lay out a blanket and enjoy a picnic at one of the picturesque parks as you watch the alpenglow cast its colours over the mountaintops.

Here are some of our favourite ways to enjoy laid-back summer fun in Whistler.

Pedal the Valley Trail

Meander along one of Whistler’s best-kept secrets, the Valley Trail; a paved, car-free trail network that connects neighbourhoods, lakes, viewpoints and picnic spots. With over 46 kilometres to explore, you can choose your journey by pedalling (or walking, if that is more your style,) as much or as little of the trail as your heart desires. Stop to smell the flowers, grab a bite or jump in a lake along the way.

It’s easy to rent a bike in Whistler and if you’re looking for a little assistance try an e-bike. Don’t forget to brush up on your e-bike etiquette before getting on the trails.


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Patio Hopping

The summer patio and dining scene is top-notch in the summer. Sit back and relax as you watch bikers rip down the Whistler Mountain Bike Park on the Garibaldi Lift Co. or Black’s Pub patios, located right at the foot of the Whistler Village Gondola or go for Beacon Pub or Araxi’s patios for people-watching along the Village Stroll.

Or, take in panoramic lake views while you dine at Table Nineteen located at Nicklaus North Golf Course, or, Cure Lounge & Patio at Nita Lake Lodge. These options provide a more laid-back, nature-immersed patio experience.

Enjoy a Lake Day

A laid-back summer day isn’t complete without some lake time. Lay down a blanket, soak in the sun and immerse yourself in that special mountain-town atmosphere at one of Whistler’s five lakes, each one unique and offering a different vibe.

Rainbow Park is set to re-open this July after some renovations, offering a large park space and off-leash dog area, shaded picnic areas and a children’s playground, making it a great option for families looking to spend the day by the lake. Be sure to check the latest park update before your visit to make sure it’s officially re-opened.

Alpha Lake is another great option, also featuring a grassy lawn, slackline poles, volleyball net, playground, dock and off-leash dog area. This park also features tennis and basketball courts, should you fancy some activity. There are plenty of stunning lakes and parks in Whistler, so check out our round-up of all five lakes to choose the one that best suits your laid-back lake day needs.

The early bird gets the worm with a sunrise paddle on one of the lakes, taking in the first rays of morning light over a lake as clear as glass. Not a morning person? Catch the alpenglow cast over the mountain tops during a sunset paddle. You could also opt for a cruisy ride down the River of Golden Dreams to bask in views of surrounding mountains, wetlands and if you get lucky, wildlife.


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Alpine Sightseeing

Take in the panoramic alpine views without breaking a sweat. The Summer Alpine Experience includes access to the Whistler and Blackcomb Gondolas, Peak Chair, Cloudraker Skybridge, alpine hiking trails and dining options. Don’t miss the breathtaking PEAK 2 PEAK  gondola, featuring iconic, panoramic coast-mountain alpine views that will leave you in awe.

You can also take the Peak Express (check the operating hours before your trip) up to the Cloudraker Skybridge and the Raven’s Eye Lookout atop Whistler Mountain for the ultimate alpine views. Afterwards, head to the Umbrella Bar on the back patio of the Roundhouse Lodge, for a laid-back drink overlooking Whistler Valley – it’s dreamy.

Leave it to the Experts

Want to completely unplug and disconnect? Then sit back, relax and let the experts show you the best spots and sights in town.

From guided walks to driving tours and helicopter flights, there are plenty of sightseeing tour providers in town offering seamless ways to explore Whistler (they know the most photo-worthy spots). For a comfy ride around town, book a three-hour tour with Whistler Sightseeing Tours, which takes you to Whistler’s scenic lakes, neighbourhoods and landmarks. For a different perspective, view the valley from the air on a helicopter tour, which soars above ancient glaciers.

Hoping to spot some wildlife while you’re here? We recommend a bear-viewing tour. The guides know where you might find them, it’s the easiest way to learn about our furry neighbours and it’s the safest option for both you and the bear. Make sure to brush up on how to be bear-aware in Whistler before you visit!

Soak in a Spa Day

Unwind and get pampered with a spa day, the ultimate way to relax. Whistler has a variety of spas to choose from, all with unique offerings based on how you want to unwind. A pedicure while sipping on a glass of wine? Choose The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge.  For a full day of muscle-melting thermotherapy, check out the renowned Scandinave Spa. Encircled by Whistler’s old-growth rainforest and mountain views, you’ll immerse yourself in a silent, digital detox while journeying through cycles of hot, cold and relaxation.

Slow Down and Wander

With so much to explore, sometimes the best plan is to simply step outside and start walking. With a little help from the Go Whistler Tours app, you’ll be self-guided on an educational stroll around one of Whistler’s neighbourhoods, cultural centers or parks at your own pace. It’s one of the best ways to adventure more deeply in Whistler, whether you want to immerse yourself in nature or meander through one of Whistler’s arts & cultural centers. 


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In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, sometimes all we need is to slow down and be present. No matter what you choose to do in Whistler, slow down and savour the magical moments – that’s how the best memories are made.

Book your summer stay between May 1 and October 31, 2024, and save up to 20% on lodging and 15% on activities. Secure your mountain getaway with Whistler.com for personalized service and the local knowledge of our Whistler-based teamIf this post has you dreaming about Whistler, enter our Feel It All in Whistler summer contest to win a trip for two!


Born and raised in BC, Arden currently resides in Pemberton where she enjoys all the area has to offer, especially mountain biking, skiing, hiking and lake dips. When Arden isn't getting the adrenaline pumping on the trails, she is in the dance studio teaching classes throughout the Sea to Sky.