Pack up your family and head to the world-class resort town of Whistler to brush off the cobwebs and get back to nature
After a year and a half of serious restrictions, the travel bug is likely taking a chomp on you right now. While some may be venturing further afield, families with small children are looking for safe, local options that still provide some adventure and excitement. Enter Whistler! A short drive from Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Whistler has something for visitors of all ages and interests. So, pack up the kids (and the masks) and head to this mountain paradise for the weekend getaway that you are aching for.
1. En route
Facebook/Britannia Mine MuseumThe road to Whistler, while relatively short, is absolutely packed with worthwhile pitstops. 10 minutes before Squamish is the Britannia Mine Museum. An excellent stop-off point, coming almost half way between Vancouver and Whistler, this museum offers visitors the opportunity to head underground and check out the remains of a once-working mine. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and dress warmly. The temperature is often significantly cooler in the mine’s below-ground caverns. Operators recommend between one and a half and two hours to experience this national historic site. Due to limited capacity, online booking is highly recommended. Once you’re through with the tour, stop at the attached café to refuel with coffee and snacks, before continuing the journey north.
The Pan Pacific Whistler VillageVacationers at Whistler are absolutely spoiled with choice when it comes to accommodations. Make the most of your weekend and choose a hotel adjacent to the Village. The Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre is a perfect choice for families. Most rooms come with a fully-equipped kitchen (a must for anyone traveling with constantly-snacking youngsters!), and you can get anything from a studio to a three-bedroom suite, depending on the size of your troop. Complete with a pool and restaurant, the Pan Pacific Whistler Village makes for an excellent home base. Each morning your choice of breakfast–ranging from yogurt and granola to a bacon and eggs–is brought to your door. The attached Raven’s Room restaurant is the perfect spot to stop in for a snack and drink after an afternoon by the pool. If the weather allows, the best spot for families is to the far left of the outside patio, immediately adjacent to a small garden for little wanderers to explore.
3. Up, up and away
Facebook/Go WhistlerIs it really a Whistler trip if you don’t make it up into the mountains? Absolutely not! The Peak 2 Peak 360 Experience offers a way for anyone check out the upper realms of Whistler’s mountain range. Consisting of three separate, completely-enclosed gondola rides, this experience takes at least an hour to complete. Once you’ve taken your first gondola to the top, you can either check out some hiking trails or a restaurant with stellar views, or you can get directly onto the heart-stopping “Peak 2 Peak” gondola which will take you between the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb. Those who are unafraid can wait for one of the few glass-bottomed gondolas. The adventure ends with a final trip down the opposite mountain. This experience is perfect for children of any age, as it provides a very safe way to get a 360-degree view of Whistler village and the neighbouring mountains, lakes, glaciers and forests. One tip: there is an altitude change, so bring a lollipop for children prone to ear-aches and ensure a painless ride.
MJG BrewhouseWhistler is home to more restaurants and patios than you can count, and it would be impossible to hit them all in one weekend. Where you dine depends entirely on your mood. Looking for a stunning seafood tower? Araxi’s oysters and chilled prawn cocktails will never disappoint. The High Mountain Brewing Co, with it’s local-made beer and unfussy pub food, is the perfect spot for families. A busy atmosphere (so a little noise from your table will go unnoticed) and an excellent selection of kid-friendly dishes, like pizza and burgers, make it an excellent choice. However, the true hero for hungry parents and littles is Pure Bread. Located directly beside Whistler Village’s truly excellent playground, Pure Bread has a line up from the moment it opens (no small percentage of which is made up of groggy parents in search of a coffee and scone). A morning stop at Pure Bread (where you can pick up anything from quiches to brownies) followed by a run around the playground and adjacent field will get anyone in vacation-mode.
Facebook/Go WhistlerWhile the village is an obvious hit, you simply cannot come to Whistler without checking out one of the nearby hiking trails. With so many to choose from it can be difficult to pick, but you can’t go wrong with a trip around Lost Lake. A six-minute drive from the village, Lost Lake Park offers a flat, leisurely walk or bike path around the small, picturesque lake. Perfect for walkers of all abilities (including toddlers or those with strollers), Lost Lake Park feels a world away from the hubbub of the inner village. Extend the stay by bringing a picnic and depending on weather or your resilience to the cold, go for a dip at the sandy, public beach.