Whistler has long been a tradition for my family to visit during the month of July for my mom’s birthday. However, it has been a hot minute since my last visit thanks to the pandemic and having kids. This time I was travelling with two kids under 5 from Kelowna, about a 6 hour journey with the bathroom breaks. I wondered about all the things to do in Whistler with kids and in particular, young kids.
Would this trip be a bust? Would this kids have too many meltdowns to make a road trip worth the journey? Honestly, nothing I worried about came true. The kids were awesome and the trip was a success and yours can be too if you follow these Whistler tips and things to do in Whistler with kids.
Get an AirBnB or a place with a kitchen!
As a mom of two young ones a kitchen is absolutely necessary! My 1 year old got up a few times the first night and required some warm milk to soothe her back to sleep. Luckily there was a microwave in the kitchen.
The AirBnb we scored also had bunk beds, a crib, hot tub for when we couldn’t go out because of early bed time, and an easy 2 minute walking distance to the Whistler village. If you’re interested in the exact AirBnB as seen on the video take a peak here.
Things to do in Whistler with kids
Canada’s best playground – Canada’s best playground is rumoured to be here in Whistler. Modelled after a large treehouse with swings, seating areas within the playground and a very large waterfall table my oldest loved exploring, running around and making new friends.
One of the reasons why it might be considered Canada’s best is because there are so many things to keep parents preoccupied while the kids play. There’s Purebread, a popular local bakery with excellent coffee, a candy shop, a restaurant and coffee shops with a view of the playground, as well as covered picnic spaces that overlook the playground and concert stage for summertime music.
Vallea Lumina – The forest comes alive with a light show along a hiking trail hosted at 10 pm in July and 9 pm in August. It’s great if your kids stay up later or you have a night owl who needs some extra tuckering out. No strollers on this path so bring or rent a carrier for baby.
Audain Art Gallery – On a rainy day or when the kids want to rest their legs in the stroller, head to Audain Art Gallery. The architecture really takes advantage of the beautiful natural elements that surround it. You can find Indigenous art as well as popular art by the Group of 7, Canadian artists from the 20’s to 60’s that were inspired by the Canadian landscape. There’s also a new exhibit featuring Indigenous artist Dempsey Bob.
Whistler Museum – If you have kiddos who are up early like ours, you’ll find that not much is open. Most businesses, galleries and museums aren’t open until 11 am. On the other hand, you’ll be able to grab a breakfast spot with ease if you’re out the door by 8:30 or 9 am. However, the Whistler Art Museum was the earliest location open at 10 am and is by donation. Perfect for impatient littles who want a quick tour of the history and animals that call Whistler home.
Whistler Public Library – The Whistler Public Library also opens at 10 am, again great for early risers. With story time, yoga, parent/infant drop in and so much more. Entertain the kids on a budget!
Free Yoga in the Village – My son has weekly yoga class on Tuesdays with his preschool. When you go on vacation you remove kids from the familiar and can increase the probability of a toddler meltdown. Walk them through their day and even add the familiar to your new routine. Whistler offers free yoga and even in the drizzle of rain we saw mothers and yogis bring their own mats to take advantage of yoga in the centre of the village with a view of the mountains.
Peak2Peak – For $85 per person (kids under 6 are free) you get one gondola ride up Whistler mountain, unlimited peak to peak gondola rides and one ride down to either Whistler mountain base or Blackcomb mountain base. I was a little worried my 4 year old would be fearful of the heights at 1430 feet above the valley floor at its highest point. But he was a champ and all of the gondolas were large enough to fit 5 adults, 2 kiddos and 1 double stroller (see video). On your way up to and down from the Peak2Peak gondola keep your eyes open for bears. This trip with the kids we spotted 5 including one at the peak!
Wander the Village – There were so many things to look at. Our toddler went wild in the little tourist shops collecting fun souvenirs like polished rocks and a Christmas ornament. There is also a toy store and candy shop near the playground.
Bike Park – For the kids who are enthusiastic about biking and want to try their hand at mountain biking there are beginner’s treks. We saw quite a few younger kids at the age of 7 heading up the gondola wither their dad’s or group classes.
Parents rent a bike & bike trailer – If your kids aren’t ready for the mountain then you can rent an electric bike and bike trailer in the Whistler village. I did a very easy to moderate bike without the kids and could easily be done with the bike trailer in tow. Take them to 3 lakes along Whistler’s bike friendly forest-lined paths. See the full map here.
Babysitting Whistler – We opted for a night on the town with a local and reputable babysitting service called Babysitting Whistler. Not only do they offer babysitting but they also do day excursions with kids, offer camps and babysit your fur babies.