Know Before You Go
- Canadian currency is the desired cash. Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
- The drive from Seattle takes 4-5 hours depending on road conditions
- Your best rest stop in Canada is at the visitor center right across the border. Most other restroom stops will be in small towns off the main road
- Scenic stops are mainly on the left hand side of the road. May be easier to stop on the way back. But definitely have your camera hand. The mountain vistas are astounding.
- Toilets- I never saw toilet seat covers, so if you must have them, bring your own or use toilet paper to line the seat. Also, when flushing, you may need to hold the handle down for a few seconds to make sure the water goes all the way down. Try this first before assuming the toilet is broken.
- Warm jacket, gloves, hat and scarf
- Good snowboots to walk in the slush, ice and snow
- Long johns, even if you won’t be hitting the slopes, it still gets old walking around
- Swimsuit and flip-flops for the outdoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at your hotel
- Sunscreen- if it gets sunny, you can still get sunburn even if there is snow on the ground
- Baby carrier and/or sled- strollers can be very tough in the snow, but not impossible if that is all you have. You will just be limited in where you can use them.
Driving to Whistler
- Sea to Sky Highway (AKA BC-99)
- Scenic stops- Shannon Falls is just before you get to Squamish. We drove by twice and I kick myself for not stopping. You can see the falls from the road and they are spectacular. Plan a quick pit stop to see the falls up close and stretch your legs.
- Lookouts- unfortunately the pull offs for the official “look outs” aren’t the best. Many of the beautiful mountain and lake vistas are blocked by trees. The bests spots to shoot a picture are the worst spots to pull over. Pull offs are also on the southbound side of the road making it difficult to pull off on your way up to Whistler. There are one or two on the way though.
- Shopping-Squamish is your best bet for cheap shopping just before you get to Whistler. There is a grocery store and Wal-Mart to load up on basics. Whistler has all you need, but if you want to save a few coins, stop before you get there.
- Canada Tire has sleds and any other hardware needs you may need.
- The Whistler Blackcomb outlet is next to Canada Tire on the drive north through Squamish. You can find discount gear for your winter adventures. We found the best pair of Columbia brand mittens for Dek. They were originally listed for CA$9.99, but when they were rung up they were additionally marked down to $4.99. Score!
Crossing the U.S. border into Canada
- Don’t forget your passports, even for kids.
- Nexus cards are also accepted at the border crossing and can make your wait time much shorter.
- Bathrooms- Your best restroom stop is right after you go through customs. There are not many easy restroom breaks on the way to Whistler unless you want to get off the main road or stop at a restaurant.
- Family Friendly Dining in Whistler
- Sachi Sushi
- Nagomi Sushi
- 21 Steps
- Pasta Lupine
- Crepe Montagne
- The Brew House
- Aspens on Blackcomb (ResortQuest)- Upper Village
- Fairmont Whistler- Upper Village
- If you can afford it and will have very small kids in tow that can’t hit the slopes, think about staying in Village North. You can park your car for the week/weekend and walk everywhere.
- For a great breakdown on each “neighborhood” of Whistler, check out Wandermom.com’s post Whistler Canada Accommodation Primer.
- Parking: You will probably have to pay to park at your hotel. If you drive into the village you will have to pay to park on Main Street, but if you will be in Whistler Village less than 2 hours, you can park in the MarketPlace parking for free. You can park on the street for about $5 for 4 hours.
- Hotel shuttles: Check with your hotel for the closest shuttle stop near your hotel. Also be sure to ask how to get where you are going. Some shuttles just do a loop of the Upper Village, Whistler Village, etc.
Activities with Toddlers
- Whistler Kids Winter Childcare for 18-48 month olds- $80/day
- Babysitters: contact your hotel for recommendations. Many hotels will require a nanny to check in with them upon arrival and when leaving. The parents will also have to check in at the hotel front desk as they leave and once they return.
Posts to Inspire You
- Things to do with a Toddler in Whistler
- Sea to Sky Drive to Whistler
- Get Cozy with a Crepe in Whistler
- Hitting the Whistler Slopes Toddler Style
- Hot Tubs, Toddlers and Snow Oh My!
- Tackling ice-skating with a Two Year Old
- Whistler Inclusive Playground Serves Up Plenty of Fun
- Fire and Ice Show Wows Us All
- Whistler Food Round Up
- Toddler’s First Crack at Using a Camera
- Finding Olympic Glory 2 Years Later
- Pregnant in the Snow
- Books that Inspire a Little Snow Adventure