I recently embarked on my first post-COVID getaway/staycation with my boyfriend and my dog Beau. We were invited to spend two days in Whistler, which is a quick two-hour drive from Vancouver along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway. I love Whistler in the summer!
Local road trip getaways like this are pretty popular lately since they generally keep you isolated from other people. You’re either on the road and in your vehicle, looking at wide-open nature spots, or staying in accommodation that has new policies and practices to keep you safe during COVID times.
Anyway, travelling to Whistler was a ton of fun and it was great just to get a change of scenery! As nice as home can be, I’m sure we can all agree that staring at the same walls day in and day out gets pretty old.
Being one of the largest ski resorts in North America means that Whistler definitely draws a crowd (normally). It is located amidst the beautiful Coast Mountains of British Columbia. It’s reminiscent of other ski resort towns around the world in its charm and quaintness, with chalet-style houses and a compact village as the central hub.
Despite the reputation that Whistler maintains during the winter for various snow sports enthusiasts, the town is actually an amazing destination year-round. The views are no less striking during the summer time, looking like a little piece of Switzerland nestled in those mountains. The grass is a vibrant green and the mountains are breath-taking every single time you catch a glimpse of them.
If you’re looking for a quick getaway soon, Whistler should be added to your list of destinations.
Where We Stayed—Pan Pacific Whistler
Heading to Whistler with a dog? Right in the heart of Whistler, you can find some great dog-friendly suites! This is super important as someone who loves taking her dog on as many trips as I can. As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I love my dog Beau.
Besides the dog-friendly aspect, safety is another plus to the Pan Pacific, located in the Whistler Village Centre. They’re handling stays differently due to COVID.
“As we enter the ‘new normal,’ Pan Pacific Whistler remains a safe haven for your travels. We have implemented new cleaning and disinfecting policies and social distancing measures,” their website states. For example, they have implemented automatic touchless doors, paperless check-in, and hand sanitizer throughout the lobby. All the latest COVID protocols for the Pan Pacific Whistler can be found on their website.
Continental breakfast is delivered daily to your suite. This is instead of the typical breakfast buffet that would attract groups of people to congregate all at once. They are also going cashless for the time being, in order to further limit the spread of any germs.
It was honestly a relief to know that our place of stay was putting so many protective measures into order!
Where We Ate
Two days in Whistler doesn’t give you a lot of time to try a number of different restaurants, and with a suite, you may not even want to eat out. If you do head out, here are a couple of suggestions.
The Raven Room is a new cocktail bar and eatery that is locally owned and operated by Jason and Steph, who kindly greeted us at the door. They explained the menu to us and how they strive to make the food options inclusive for all, making sure to cater to different allergies and dietary restrictions.
We also visited La Cantina, an authentic Mexican street food style restaurant that pleasantly surprised us with their vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options!
Things to do with your Dog in Whistler
Travelling to Whistler with a dog means you’re headed for some great options for outdoors activities and other things your fur baby can come along with you to enjoy!
Why are there so many pet-friendly areas? Well, a lot of people in Whistler have dogs, so the vendors in town make sure to provide its locals–and tourists–with plenty of dog-friendly freedom. This includes having lots of trails, parks, beaches, and even hotels where your pet will be welcome.
Whistler generally has a leash-on bylaw, but there are plenty of areas where your dog can “let their leash down” and run free (as long as they don’t run too far)!
If you are planning to visit Whistler with your dog, then here are some options you’ll have for exploring when you arrive.
This is such a nice spot, and definitely dog friendly. The views are stunning, and there is a path you can follow around the whole lake with your pup, ensuring they get lots of exercise for the day!
At Alta Lake, there is an unfenced, grassy area and a beach in Rainbow Park called Barking Bay, where your dog can enjoy their own off-leash area to swim and play! It’s accessible from both ends of the Sea to Sky Highway.
Whistler Valley Trail
This trail consists of over 40 kilometres of pavement and boardwalk where you can walk, bicycle, run or rollerblade (alongside your furball, of course!). It connects Whistler’s lakes, neighbourhoods, and vistas, so you can see some really nice spots on this one while enjoying nature and the wide-open space.
The Sea to Sky Trail
Whistler Valley is connected to this trail. It begins at the Squamish waterfront and continues 180 kilometres north, to D’Arcy. You can see lots of forest, Callaghan river views, and even Brandywine Falls with your pet on this trail, but that deserves a whole section by itself!
Exploring Whistler Village
You can always take your dog around the town, as long as they are on a leash! Even so, they’ll appreciate being able to people-watch, smell all the smells, and maybe even meet other fellow doggos.
This is a really cool spot to take your favourite animal adventuring. It’s a beautiful waterfall to stare at once you’ve hiked there, and it’s a nice background to take pics in front of! Get a few with your dog, if you can, to capture the memories.
Whistler Interpretive Forest
Let your dog soak in the sights, smells, and sounds of this coastal temperate rainforest, which has a trail you can take to McLaurin’s Crossing suspension bridge over the Cheakamus River.
Situated on Alpha Lake, this dog-friendly spot is fenced on three sides and has a doggy dock, too. It’s a good place to go for fetching and swimming.
Bayly Park in Cheakamus Crossing
This area features four fenced sides, and even an agility course! This is a good option for high-energy dogs that require a thorough daily workout.
Just twenty minutes north of Whistler and five minutes from Pemberton town centre, Nairn Falls is another nice hiking option where your dog can come along. It’s incredibly scenic, and the hike to the waterfall isn’t too challenging. The falls cut through two zig-zagging walls of rock, making it quite an aesthetically pleasing scene to look out at once you reach the viewing platform.
Ancient Cedars Walk
This walk is more lowkey, but no less beautiful! It takes you and your pup through a forest of impressive Ancient Cedar trees, and it also has access to a view of Cougar Lake.
I went on a helicopter excursion with Blackcomb Helicopters and it was amazing! We flew to land on a snow covered viewpoint, enjoying spectacular views of the Coast Mountains the whole way. If you have two days in Whistler, I suggest you try to fit in a helicopter ride. You know I am always a fan of helicopters.
Of course, COVID safety protocols were observed–face masks were required and we washed our hands before and after entering any facilities. The company ensures proper cleaning and disinfecting of their equipment as well.
See the rest of their safety measures taken here. You can also see COVID health and safety guidelines on the website. They will be following these when you go to choose a specific tour on the site.
Sea to Sky Gondola
A trip to Whistler wouldn’t be complete without taking the Sea to Sky Gondola! Don’t forget to take it on your way in, or even on your way back home. The sweeping views are incredible, and at the top you can do various outdoor activities.
After enjoying the amazing views of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains on the way up, explore your options of things to do at the top.
Some of these activities include exploring interpretive loop walking trails, complete with viewing platforms. You can also go rock climbing, hiking, and the incredible Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge.
The walking trails are easy-going if you’re looking for a more beginner experience. If you are looking for more of a challenge, though, you’re in luck! Squamish and the Sea to Sky Corridor (right where the gondola operates) are known for having some of the best hiking in the world!
After spending two days in Whistler, we got a much-needed breath of fresh air while also practising health and safety measures the whole way through. It was a great escape for me, my boyfriend, and Beau! Travelling to Whistler with a dog was definitely a fun experience that I would recommend to anyone looking for a safe and pet-friendly getaway full of nature and beauty.
If you had two days in Whistler with your dog, what would be on your list?