It is only fitting that my first destination post be about the first place I took my daughter. In fact, it was because of this trip that I thought I could take her anywhere with me. Whistler is a very kid-friendly town, and it’s kid-friendly year-round. Here is what I found most helpful to me.
Accommodations and Planning.
First thing’s first. Splurge for accommodations with a 1-bedroom suite or more. Many of you will deal with time changes that will throw your kids off of their sleep schedules. Joy! Nothing is worse than having to share a studio unit with sleeping children. I made this mistake once and spent my nights in the silent darkness (or the bathroom) for fear of waking the sleeping dragon. Being able to close the door and have your own adult living space is something I will never sacrifice again.
Furthermore, if you can access a unit with a kitchen, even better. It is nice having the ability to make meals in the comfort of your own space, especially when you have the pickiest eaters alive (am I the only one with a picky-eater?). Click here for a list of family-friendly hotels with kitchenettes: https://www.tripadvisor.com/HotelsList-Whistler-Hotels-With-Kitchenette-zfp26451.html
For warmer weather visits, save yourself the pain of lugging a stroller though the airport and rent a bike with a cart (or “chariot”) attachment instead. The entire town is bike accessible, and guess what? You won’t even need to hit the gym in the morning because your transportation is your workout. Rent them here: https://www.whistler.com/activities/biking/recreational/
Oh, you can also leave your pack and play at home because you can rent one of those too. Save your airport bicep workout for your wine glass instead. Here’s where you can rent all of your kid stuff (including that stroller I told you to leave at home): https://www.babysonthego.com/
The village itself very easy to navigate. If you’re not a bike rider, there are plenty of other ways to get around. Most resorts are within walking distance and many include complimentary shuttles. The BC transit system is also a breeze and allows for up to 3 kids free with a purchased adult fare. Oh, and no need to install that obnoxious car seat. Take advantage of that! https://bctransit.com/whistler
If you’re planning a trip to Whistler, you probably already are clued in to the fact that it is an active, outdoorsy destination. But that doesn’t mean you have to stress out about seeing the sights while appeasing kids. The options are honestly endless and for all ages, but the following are a few of my favorites:
Many activities in Whistler go year-round, and one of my favorites is the Peak-to-Peak Gondola Ride. Take in the beautiful scenery and Whistler village from a bird’s eye view. Dining is available during the attraction and kids under 6 are free. For more information, click here: https://www.whistler.com/activities/peak-to-peak-gondola/
Want some adult time? There are childcare facilities available to you. Real ones. Drop them off between 8AM and 10AM, and pick them up by 3:30PM. That’s plenty of time for a round of 18 at Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course or plenty of runs down Whistler Blackcomb. Don’t forget about all of the AMAZING spas if you prefer to actually relax sans kids! https://www.whistler.com/family/childcare/#three
We all love obstacle courses (oh that’s just me?). Why not try one suspended 60 feet above ground in the forest? Tree adventure courses are an all-season activity for all ages where you can cross bridges, swing on tightropes, climb cargo nets, and explore anything that requires the use of some gross motor skills, all while taking in the beautiful view of nature. https://tagwhistler.com/tour/treetop-adventure-full-course/
Have older kids? Take them ziplining. Especially if they’re mouthy teenagers and are scared of heights. Send them down that once and they’ll shape up for the rest of the trip! Enough said. Here are some of your disciplinary options: https://www.whistler.com/activities/zipline/
On a serious note, the water in Whistler is one of its most beautiful attributes. With that said, you can hike (or bike, snowshoe, etc.) around many bodies of water that are picnic friendly. Lost Lake is a must see and an easy hike, which is only a 10-minute walk from the resort zone. There is also a café there just in case you feel less inclined to pack a picnic. It is located inside the Lost Lake Passivhaus, right at the lake’s main entrance. https://www.whistlerhiatus.com/parks/lost-lake-park.html
If relaxing really is on your to-do list, maybe some live entertainment or a show is more up your alley. In that case, try the Maury Young Arts Center. They have classes and attractions available for all ages, none of which require breaking a sweat. https://artswhistler.com/
Then you have your signature Whistler activity- snow sports. Need I say more? Channel your inner Olympian and hit the slopes while the kids are in ski school. Or daycare. Remember, you have that! This link has every option available for whichever sport you deem worthy. https://www.whistler.com/activities/winter/
Dining with Kids. Eek.
Oh the dreaded idea of eating out with kids. Tired kids. We parents all know how fun it is taking kids to restaurants when they’ve skipped their naps and/or have low blood sugar. Here are a few restaurant suggestions where people will mind tantrums less:
The Brewhouse (You guessed it. They have beer. It helps drown out the whining.) The kids can also get more energy out running around by the Olympic Rings right outside while you watch and down your IPA.) http://www.mjg.ca/brewhouse/
Creekbread (Great wood-fired pizza with lots of space for strollers (you were supposed to leave those at home, but I forgive you) and large parties. This is rated one of the best family spots by locals.) http://www.creekbread.com/
Pasta Lupino (A cute Italian lunch spot that you can order food to-go. Yes, you want it to-go because they don’t have high chairs. Take it back to your room and kick your feet up while the kids are, cross your fingers, napping.) http://pastalupino.com/
El Furniture “El Furny” Warehouse (Large, budget conscious families, this is your dream spot. Everything on the menu is $5.95. Also, yes, they do have high chairs. And crayons.) https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g154948-d3468691-Reviews-El_Furniture_Warehouse-Whistler_British_Columbia.html
Time to get Packing!
At the end of the day, a stress-free vacation is what you make of it. In Whistler, you have many avenues of accomplishing that, all while enjoying the company of your babies (large or small). If I could’ve changed one thing about my own vacation with my daughter, I just would’ve taken more pictures. You know it was a good trip when you don’t have anything to show for it though, right? Pack that camera[phone] and make some memories!
All in all, if you enjoy beautiful scenery, an array of entertainment choices, and moving your feet a bit, Whistler should absolutely be on your kid-friendly vacation bucket list. Book and enjoy!
Special thanks to the following resources:
Maury Young Arts Center
The Whistler Insider