Visiting Whistler in the Off-peak Season
Hiking, biking, skiing... definitely a must stop destination for all thrill-seekers. Whistler is located north of Vancouver and is where the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics were hosted, it's also home to Whistler Blackcomb which is an incredibly popular ski resort.
- How to Get to Whistler Village
- Where to Stay in Whistler
- Things to Do in Whistler
- Where to Eat in Whistler Village
- Whistler Travel Tips
- Final Thoughts
Getting to Whistler Village
We travelled to Whistler from Vancouver International Airport on the Whistler Shuttle bus which took around 2.5 hours. Shuttles depart hourly (it did when we visited) so it's an excellent, convenient choice if you don't have a car. The views on the drive are just beautiful, you pass through Downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park and then have the ocean, trees and glacier covered mountains beside you. Whistler village is a pedestrianised, quaint, little town and has the most amazing red and autumnal coloured trees in October.
Where to Stay in Whistler
In comparison to Banff, the village was quieter and more compact. There are shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels and you can explore the whole village on foot in about 20 minutes. We had a great stay in a deluxe studio at Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel located in Village North, just a few minutes walk to the centre of the village.
Things to Do & Places to Visit
Rainbow Lake Trail
We attempted the Rainbow Lake trail but unfortunately Rainbow lake was just too far for us. We managed to pass Alta Lake and made it to the tranquil Rainbow Falls, but this ended up being a 3 hour roundtrip journey! To get to Rainbow falls on foot, part of the journey involves walking alongside the road which was a bit scary at times! You enter the forest and walk for a short distance to reach the impressive Rainbow falls.
Lost Lake Trail
The Lost Lake trail was a nice easy 15 minute walk from Whistler Village, we ended up getting really lost on the way there despite parts of it being well signposted! This is a pretty lake surrounded by dense forest, it's very peaceful and not at all overcrowded.
Favourite Restaurants in Whistler
- Breakfast - if you fancy a healthy-ish, filling savoury or sweet crepe, I highly recommend a visit to Crepe Montagne
- Lunch/sweets - everything in Purebread looks incredible! This is a super cafe but it's very tiny with limited seating
- Dinner - if you're looking for a place for drinks, or perhaps a light dinner/small plates, La Bocca is a fine choice
My Top Tips
- Check the schedule - October wasn't the best time to visit Whistler, you want to make sure it's not off-season and there is plenty to do
- On your bike - there's a lot of bike rental places located in the village and at some hotels, ideal for some of the longer trails
- To book or not to book - if you're visiting during peak times I would advise you to book your restaurants in advance if possible
We would have liked to have done much more in Whistler, but unfortunately arrived during off-season so most key activities were closed! There's a period in October where the summer season ends and the winter season hasn't started, so not a great deal to do. Be sure to check the schedule when planning so you're not affected by this down time. On the plus side, as it wasn't a peak time we were able to dine at our chosen restaurants without having to book or queue and it was nice to explore without the area being overrun with tourists!
We stayed in Whistler Village for 3 nights in October 2017 and I would say 3/5 nights is the perfect amount of time. When I return, I'd like to do the activities that were closed such as ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola to Blackcomb Mountain and go on a glacier tour.