When I was a kid, I grew up in a small Vancouver suburb and we used to be able to drive to Whistler and back for a day trip. We had our favorite places to eat, like Ingrid’s which is still in Whistler, and we would always stop at the McDonald’s in Squamish along the way. Living in Seattle, the trip to Whistler is now a little further but it’s really cool to be able to share a place the hubby and I both loved as kids with our kids. We visit the area a couple times a year and we usually stay for a few days. We’ve found some great places over the years and we never run out of new things to do.
Since we drive an electric vehicle, Squamish is an important stop. There are no Tesla Superchargers in Vancouver yet, and we’re thankful for the one in Squamish so we can power up enough to get to all the places we want to go. We were really surprised to see MORE chargers on our last trip- I think they’ve doubled the number since we visited in the summer. In Squamish we usually stop for groceries and to browse Canadian Tire (they have an incredible cheese and maple popcorn!) while the car charges. This time we popped into a new-to-us sushi place called Sushi Sen. Here we had an incredible lunch special that was both reasonably priced and delicious. There were also a variety of vegetarian options and I tried a dish with “imperial rice” and the presentation was gorgeous.
On our way back we were a little more adventurous and drove a little farther out to Fergie’s, an adorable cafe in a woodsy area that felt almost ‘off the grid’. I’d love to stay here one day because there were little cabins near the river that looked peaceful and perfect. Because we don’t participate in a lot of the Whistler night life with kids in tow, we might consider staying here next time for a change of scenery-our kids are getting older and can carry their skis from the car park to the mountain without tiring us all out, so where we stay is no longer the main focus of our trip. Squamish is beginning to feel like a more low-key version of Whistler, more like the Whistler we knew growing up. I like that it’s a little less fancy and a little more outdoorsy and down to earth and we’ve really enjoyed the restaurants in the area too. An area of Squamish called Brackendale is home to one of the biggest populations of wintering eagles in North America and when we visited in late November we were excited to see about 40 eagles but in January a few thousand eagles might be spotted in this area. I have to remember that January or February would be an awesome time to revisit Squamish for skiing Whistler and nature viewing in Brackendale.
PAN PACIFIC WHISTLER MOUNTAINSIDE
We’ve stayed at the Pan Pacific Mountainside Hotel numerous times over the years and I think it’s a perfect place to stay with kids (especially young kids) in Whistler because it’a such a short walk away from the mountain that the kids don’t have to walk far with their gear. I’d also say this about Sundial, the next door property. If I book early enough before ski season I’ve had amazing rates on mountainside rooms in both places and it’s so fun to watch the skiers ski down in the winter and the bikes fly down the mountain in the summer. This past visit, I didn’t book in time to get a mountainside room, but it was lovely just the same. The heated outdoor pool is right near the mountainside too.
One thing I didn’t know about the Pan Pacific Mountainside was that they have free valet parking and charging for guests with electric cars. This is incredible value and I’m not sure how long they will offer this but I hope it’s for a while(I always call before I book if this kind of thing is important) because we really appreciated this on our last trip and it is a perk that would make me come back.
LOCAL COFFEE DELIVERY IN WHISTLER
Again, this is something that may or may not be available when you go to Whistler but if it is and you love coffee, this might be something fun to try. Hammer Coffee, a coffee roasting company in the area delivers fresh roasted beans to the area once a week and we had them deliver to us at our hotel. (My husband actually read about the service in the in-room magazine but the hotel had no idea that this was something going on). I love this kind of innovative service that makes vacationing feel more comfortable and because my husband and I both love delicious coffee, we absolutely loved this idea! I hope things like this catch on and we see more fun ways for travelers to feel like a local when they visit!
OTHER KID-FRIENDLY WHISTLER FAVES
We’ve eaten at Stonesedge in Whistler a few times now and really enjoyed it. (They also have a kids’ meal) And we also really like Creekbread pizza. We first tried snowshoeing in the Callaghan Valley and it’s now one of our favorite family activities when we’re not skiing. On the mountain the guys like to breakfast and ski for Fresh Tracks and they used to be free when they were 6 and under. And they’re dying to zip line and snowmobile one day. My sister has taken her family to the Audain Museum many times and they all love it (her kids are two!) and her pictures make me want to spend some time there too. I love that there are so many family-friendly things to do in this area. I hope one day my kids will be able to come back with their kids and share some of these things with them one day too!
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