The first thing that comes to mind when people hear Whistler, is that it’s a skiing and snowboarding destination, the clear emerald water of Joffre Lake and home to the 2010 Winter & Paralympics Winter Games; And yes, Whistler is all those things and so much more. Nestled in the Coast Mountains and just roughly a 2 hour drive north of Vancouver, Whistler B.C is a year round haven that offers an extensive range of accommodations and activities like spa, clubs, golfing, outdoor sports, and plenty of world-renown restaurants and bars etc. to satisfy your vacation needs. However, now coming back as a new parent, I’ve discovered that Whistler is also a great destination to take your kids and offers lots of family-friendly attractions. Today I am going to be sharing with you some great ideas for you to plan a unforgettable fall trip with your kids in beautiful Whistler B.C
Accommodation: Where To Stay?
Delta Hotels by Marriott Whistler Village Suites
One of the first things you have to consider when traveling is the accommodation and especially now as a parent, a family-friendly hotel is a must! This time we chose to stay at Delta Hotels by Marriott Whistler Village Suites located at the heart of Whistler Village because it is so accessible to all the shops, restaurants and just a short walk to the Blackcomb Mountain gondolas. As soon as we walked in this full-service hotel with warm and friendly staff, we saw many families with small children there so it’s a good sign to me that we chose the right place to stay. A dream to take yourselves or with your kids, their suites are spacious and inviting with a beautiful pool area. For me, a great pool is necessary because Adelina likes to play in the water and what I love is that both their indoor & outdoor swimming pools are heated and they also have plenty of Jacuzzi’s pools for you to unwind after a long day of fun!
They also have other great amenities like a 24 hr adult-only fitness centre, a washer & dryer option in the rooms and boast two amazing in house restaurants: Hy’s Steakhouse and Brickwork's Public House to satisfy maybe quick late night food craving or if you like to experience a delicious sumptuous steak and cocktail! And if you don’t fancy any of those ideas, you can always cook a nice meal in your fully equipped kitchen, call room service or go exploring in the Village for some Instagram-worthy restaurants. But my favourite part of the stay is that I get to wake up every morning and enjoy the crisp autumn air, at the comfort of my own private balcony overlooking the mountains which is a nice way to start the day ahead. Adelina also enjoys watching her daily Peppa Pig on their flat screen T.V and comfy couches to begin her baby day.
Attractions: Where To Go?
Whistler is truly one of those places that can cater to anyone’s vacay desires and fall is a great time to travel still because the weather is nice (with the occasional rain) and with lots of activities for both adults and kids of all ages to do.
En Route to Whistler: Britannia Mine Museum
A great place to stop and take a breather is the Britannia Mine Museum in Squamish, which is a great half-way point to Whistler. Established in 1975 to educate the public about mining in B.C, the museum got a makeover in 2010 and now is an award-winning internationally recognized education and tourism destination. The museum includes a fun and short educational train ride into the mines and here we get a glimpse of how they mined for copper back then. During the train ride, we found out there was a gentlemen by the name of John who was one of the original miners in 1966 and he shared with me some interesting insights of what it was like back in the day. After the train portion we then headed to the museums newest attraction BOOM! an interactive live action multi-sensory experience that introduces audience to story, sights and sounds with "Disney-like" effects like rumbling seats and thrilling conclusions that will leave you at the edge of your seat. Unfortunately, Adelina was a little scared of the underground mines and the loud noises (kids will have earplugs) that come with the show, but I did see other people bring their small babies and lots of kids so it really depends on the child. What Adelina loved was just to walk around the renovated National Historic Site and truly it is a great place to take your kids. There is also a Spoo-oo-tacular Halloween event so make sure you check that out in October!
Whistler Public Library
If you follow the rainbow road just across our hotel entrance you will find the gorgeous 12, 000 square ft Whistler Public Library. Renovated in 2008, the library is one of the busiest in the province and has become a community hub for both locals and visitors earning the nickname of”Whistler Living Room". The library's green design and unique timber-framed structure truly captures perfectly its surrounding and has a wonderful space in the back for sing-a-long and story time for babies and toddlers during the morning! Adelina loves to explore the ample books they have for children and the beautiful garden they have in the back. A hidden gem, from the outside I would not have expected a garden filled with fall flowers of yellow and gold and across is the Whistler Museum, where there is a lovely mural for some great family photos.
This attraction is not for children but I would highly recommend it for parents if you are coming up for anniversary/couple trip or if you are traveling with friends and family who can watch the kids for a few hours. Our first time here, what I heard about the spa was a "no-talking" rule inside and no photos of course but I wasn't expecting the beautiful scenery. Set within Spruce Grove and overlooking the mountains, Scandinave Spa is a gorgeous Nordic oasis filled with flowers and hammocks and chairs where you can relax after you experience their Hydrotherapy, a cycle of hot and cold and then relax. At first I was scared of heading to the cold cycle (looks like a small waterfall) and just stayed in the hot pool, but once I got the courage to try it out it I feel instantly relaxed. I think am a fan now of this Scandinavian tradition and will definitely return next time
The highlight of our trip I would have to say is Vallea Lumina, an immersive award-winning multimedia nighttime walk that gives audiences an unforgettable experience. Now in its second year, the enchanting show follows two hikers journey to find hidden wonders as they explore Whistler’s, Cougar Mountain. A dazzling collaboration between Moment Factory and the Adventure Group, Vallea Lumina was inspired by Whistler’s culture and natural beauty and uses the language of emotions to speak and engage with audiences of all generations. I was not only mesmerized by the stunning lights and effects but also how interactive the whole show is. Even though I have heard of Vallea many times and have seen pictures on Instagram, you really have to be in person to truly understand it’s magic. Only accessible by shuttle service provided by the show, the bus ride up was short (only about 10 mins) and super fun as we got a party bus. The shuttle ride really helped with building anticipation for the show as it feels like you are going on a trip within a trip. From the moment we got there I felt like we were transported to a camp, with people roasting S’mores by the fire pit and kids playing checkers and Jenga. As we hiked up the first part of the show we were greeted by radio transmission and the story unfolds as we follow the hiker’s adventure through the mountain. I can only say the experience was like seeing fireworks and animation on screen for the first time because the imagery was just so unreal and all made by computers. The hike I have to say was a little tedious for me as I have to carry Adelina in a carrier (no strollers allowed) but the hiking up the mountain really made you feel like you were part of the journey and I think that is why it’s designed the way it is.
Overall the show was unbelievable and one of the most dazzling shows I have ever encountered and truly an experience you have to take your kids to. As mentioned Vallea Lumina is not accessible by car but there is a complimentary shuttle service to take you to and back from the mountains. Also, the show only allows for baby carriers and not strollers as you really have to hike up steps so please be aware that you might have to carry your toddler and small child in some parts of the way especially if they can’t really walk well yet. The show we went to is the summer experience and will end in October but we are in luck because a winter show (for the first time ever) is coming and will begin on Nov 28 and is a great non-ski winter experience for all ages and truly the first of its kind!
So you can follow this Link for more info about the winter attraction coming soon!
Lost Lake & Farmers Market
The last day of our trip, we wanted to keep it relaxing and simple before we headed home. So we ventured into the Upper Village and checked out the Whistler Farmers Market. Not only just vendors selling specialty B.C made goods, to fresh produce, to unique foods like paella, the farmers market is also really fun for kids. Adelina loved to walk and see all the sights and cute dogs walk by while listening and dancing to the live music. She was a crowd favourite that day with her new pom pom toque and people greeted her enthusiastically lol. The market is now over for the season but will reopen for the summer so please check back HERE for more info next year. After the market and a lovely lunch at Milestones, we then drove just about 8 mins to Lost Lake Park. Surrounded by a lush evergreen forest and mountain views, in the winter Lost Lake turns into a cross country ski trail; while in the summer, it’s a perfect and very stroller-friendly trail for walking, biking and relaxing on the beaches.
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