A day trip outside of Vancouver can be well worth it if your destination is Whistler. The road trip alone is enough! Whistler is a beautiful ski area that is graced by people throughout the summer, but comes alive in the winter. Enjoy the experience as you get away from the city and enjoy the outdoors!
- Road to Whistler
- Crystal Lodge
- Peak 2 Peak
- Araxi Restaurant
As we made our way to the thrifty rental car office right across from the waterfront train station, we heard in the news that there was a fire happening. They closed the roads northbound to whistler. We went back and forth on even getting the rental car as Waze showed us taking an opposite direction and a 5 hour trip time! Luckily we decided to trudge on!
Road to whistler: As we made our way outside of Vancouver, we were a bit worried with what traffic would be like on the way up. There was barely any traffic whatsoever so we got even more nervous we started to watch smoke from above the treetops. It felt like the movies where they are driving back into the volcano that’s erupting. Everyone else is speeding away from the scene. The surprise though, we made it straight through. There was a brief part of the road that went to single lane traffic on both sides along with some firefighters reviewing the issue, other than that there was nothing. They did a fantastic job making sure to keep everything contained and allowing the roads to stay open.
The drive is amazing as you make your way through large rock formations, mountains and pure blue water. I would say that the drive itself is worth it, even if you wanted to make it to whistler on a day trip and then just drive back.
Crystal Lodge and Suites: All rooms we looked at were fantastic prices. We settled on this hotel as it had great reviews and a perfect location. Whistler is very much setup like several other ski resort areas we’ve been to. It reminds of Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes or Vail. Our hotel we stayed at for the night was very affordable, but also a really nice resort. The service was extremely friendly right from the beginning and contacted us several times to make sure we were ok. We stayed for one night and didn’t really use much of the amenities but I’m sure they were nice.
Peak 2 peak: Wow, the stunning views that you get as you make your way up these mountains. Your ticket for the P2P also includes riding up whistler and Blackcomb Mountain. The ride up is so neat as you can actually see black bears running through the meadows and mountain bikers speeding down trails. We had no idea on how big mountain biking was in this area. It’s crazy to watch these people going at high speeds down this mountain.
We made our way to the top of whistler mountain and had absolutely amazing views of the surrounding area. Of course since the olympics were here at one point, they have a place for you to stand with the rings behind you. There are several hiking trails around the area and did a small one, but it was just a bit too chilly and we didn’t have the gear to truly make a day out of it.
Sadly there was one lift I couldn’t muster the courage to do. There was a lift that they called the top of the world and it takes you to the very top of the mountain and then there is a suspension bridge to walk across. Looking up at the shear height of this scared me a bit, but I can only imagine the view at the top. I will be adding this one to the bucket list as I do want to take another chance later on with this one!
We made our way over to the P2P gondola that takes you from whistler mountain to Blackcomb mountain. We waited for the glass bottom, but honestly not sure if the glass bottom was that much more exciting than the regular gondolas. The trip over was made even better with friendly chatter with everyone onboard and all looking for black bears. We saw a couple on the way over, but they were so small from the view we had. Very cool though!
We made it over to Blackcomb which also was a neat mountain with a lot of hiking on it. We got there a bit too late and really were only able to eat a meal and then head back down the mountain. I would say for anyone planning this trip, spend a couple of days between these mountains hiking and exploring and get there early each day. The gondola ticket is good for several days so you would not have to buy them again. Looking at the map with all of the hiking trails and views, it would be well worth it.
Saloon: We got back and needed a beer. The first place we saw after making our way down to the village area was the saloon. This place was kicking! It felt like I was on spring break in college again! Loud DJ and then a good band played as drunk people sang and danced along to the music. Fire pits were all around and it seemed like everyone knew everyone! After several pitchers of beer we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the night.
Araxi Restaurant: We stopped at this restaurant and the service was wonderful. We had an extremely passionate waitress in Erica who had moved over here three years ago from Italy. We ordered oysters which were fantastic, from several areas of BC. Our wine was wonderful and for the first time, the waitress always kept us full. I love the personalized factor with bringing the decanter to the table. Most restaurants would not do this I assume, because it puts more work on the server. If the server isn’t good, you have upset guests because they aren’t getting wine on time. It worked wonderfully here though, because she was fantastic! My fiancé went to the bathroom and she came over, folded her napkin and took a pen type object out and actually collected the crumbs left from our bread! We both had some amazing meals to go along with this exceptional service. I had the prawns and risotto and she had the halibut with risotto. Both were very delicious!
- Scandinave Spa
- Brandywine Falls
- Shannon Falls
- Backyard Brewing Company
Scandinave spa: After grabbing coffee at a local shop, we headed out of our hotel. Some relaxation time!! We got to the spa around 9am and the areas didn’t open until 10am. We grabbed some healthy eats and sat and watched the splendor of the place. So peaceful and zen like. We started right at 10am with two amazing massages that got our bodies ready to go for relaxing. The main point of the stay is go to between hot zones (10-15 min.), cold zones (5-10 sec.) and then relax for 10-15 min.
We loved the idea behind this as we first visited the eucalyptus steam room. We loved the relaxing feeling and it really cleared our heads. After the steam room we decided to follow the itinerary and went to the cold zone. It was mind numbing! I walked quickly into the Nordic pool and under the waterfall and this was enough for me! I believe there is some justification to the cold zones, but sorry to say that this was the only cold zone I went through on the day! The rest of the time in the day was spent between hot tubs, hammocks, saunas and fireside sitting. As we left after close to four hours at the spa, we sadly decided we needed to work our way back to Vancouver. I would highly recommend staying all day here if you get a chance!
Brandywine Falls: We visited two quick waterfalls on the way back to Vancouver. Both waterfalls beautiful in their own right. Brandywine falls was a traditional waterfall with big flowing water drastically moving down to a pool below.
Shannon Falls: Shannon falls was an extremely high waterfall (3rd tallest in BC) with more of a trickle down affect from the top and many rocks along the way. Good quick stops that are very close to the parking lot so they really don’t take too much time out of your day.
Backyard Brewing Company: We continued on our way and hit a brewery in Squamish. It was Backyard brewing company in an industrial park right outside of town. Had a good pale ale and also a really tasty flatbread with homemade hot sauce. There were many locals and from what it looked like, they had a pretty solid beer selection.
We made our way back to Vancouver and decided that Whistler should be more than a day trip. It was a wonderful excursion and not sure if you can make it longer than a day, based on most vacation times. It’s an area that I would easily say is worth at least two to three days. We love the ski resort feel and there is so much to do for most outdoor enthusiasts. Take a couple of days and I guarantee you’ll have a great time!
*People watching experience