Living in Vancouver, Whistler is a short hop, skip and jump away. It does not matter how many times we have been, it feels like there is always something new to discover and that is what keeps us coming back for more. It had been a couple of years since we had last made it up to Whistler and we were craving the relaxed atmosphere and great outdoor activity options. We were hoping to find a couple of new places that we had not yet ventured.
We have been having such great weather in Vancouver, and though it is not good in the way of climate change, we have been enjoying every minute of the sun. So, it was no surprise that as we were approaching Whistler that we discovered that there is already a fire ban in effect.
This is the first time we have brought our year and a half Golden Retriever, Comet, to Whistler with us and he was sure a happy puppy! We were thrilled when we decided to check out Rainbow Park at Alta Lake. It was a relaxing, dog-friendly beach. Every direction you look you are captivated by the surroundings. We had heard that it is one of Whistler’s most popular swimming beaches since it is south facing, so every morning the sun rises behind Wedge Mountain; making it one of the best places to watch the sunrise in Whistler. The kids sure loved taking a dip in the water and thoroughly enjoyed every second of splashing around.
When you come out of the parking lot and walk towards the lake, you will notice a train line and some old log cabins. Rainbow Park gets its name from Rainbow Lodge, a popular stop along the train line from 1914 to 1974. It was a popular fishing and relaxing destination, with the original lodge burning down in 1977. The few restored log houses you’ll find feature interpretive panels that show descriptions of life a century ago. We encourage you to go take a look!
We found Rainbow Park to definitely be one of the most dog-friendly parks in Whistler. We loved the dedicated dog park/beach area located next to the large pier at the end of the main beach. It was perfect for Comet to run down the pier, jump in the water and swim around and chase sticks with his new friends. He was having so much fun that it was hard to get him to come to us when it was time to go — he knew we were trying to leave and would have nothing of it. We will definitely be making our way back there again for him.
The playground in the ‘middle’ of Whistler village is quite a hit with the smaller kids. It was great to especially see Jacob get over some fears. At first, he wanted my hand to go down the slide, but a few minutes later was charging down it by himself, head first. The girls still go crazy over the playground too and on the slide, they start off head-first.
Near the playground, there are also options for ice cream. We just ended up at the Dairy Queen, and Comet sure did not mind finishing what the kids did not want to have. Comet sure was living his best life this last weekend. Whistler Village is also the location of a great photo op — the 2010 Olympic rings.
Alice Lake In Squamish
On our way home, we planned on stopping in at Alice Lake, but once we drove into the parking lot we saw the signs indicating that the dogs were not permitted near the beach or picnic areas– so really, Comet could not go beyond the parking lot. I am totally against leaving even a dog in a hot car, so stopping at this lake was not an option. I went for a quick walk to see what it was like if we had the opportunity another day to stop, while Darcy stayed at the van with the windows rolled down. It looked like a peaceful spot with plenty of tables to enjoy an outdoor barbeque or to take a kayak out on the water.
Scenic Drive To Whistler
The Sea-To-Sky Highway is seriously one of the most beautiful drives in the world. Drive it on a sunny day and you will be in awe from the moment you are leaving the North Vancouver area and are making your way up to Whistler. The mountains and sea are absolutely stunning.
A great spot to take in the views along the Sea-To-Sky Highway is Porteau Cove, about 20Km south of Squamish. Other nearby communities include Brackendale and Lions Bay. The park is 50 hectares in size, offering camping, picnicking and a boat launch. There is a rocky beach, perfect for the kids to throw some rocks and search for treasures, or a crab claw. It is perfect for the kids to stretch their legs, or to get out that last little bit of energy.