A month in the most beautiful British Columbia destinations of Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton spent eating, drinking, biking, hiking, and dancing on the mountains stole my heart. When you cross the state lines, there’s a sign that says “Welcome to the best place on Earth”, which I thought that was a pretty big claim, but British Columbia definitely lives up to the hype–especially Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton! Check out this travel guide for the best restaurants to eat at and things to do in Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton.
If you’ve never been to British Columbia, you might be wondering where these majestic village are on the map. They’re super drive-able to each other, and you could honestly do all three towns in one long weekend, which is why I’ve included them in just one travel guide! Squamish is the most south and closest to Vancouver. Drive 45 minutes northeast and you’ll land in Whistler. Then, 30 minutes north of Whistler is Pemberton. I’ve separated out the activities by village municipality for easy itinerary planning.
What’s a healthy travel guide?
I call my itineraries “healthy travel guides” because in every place that I visit, I seek out wellness and relaxation activities, note-worthy restaurants with nourishing foods (for the body AND the soul), and overall things to do that contribute to a happier, healthier life! And if you’re traveling with a partner, these healthy travel guides are guaranteed to make you feel healthier together.
Things to do in Whistler
- Explore the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center: it’s amazing to learn about the history of the native Squamish and Lil’wat land that the entire region occupies plus all of their beautiful, cultural traditions. The cultural center itself actually sits on land the Squamish and Lil’wat people have shared for centuries. It’s a must-see!
- Pedal through nature: we rented e-bikes at Whistler E-bikes and saw four bears on our tour!
- Unwind at the Scandinave Spa: this is Whistler’s iconic spa destination where you can enjoy Scandinavian baths, cold plunges, saunas, and get massages (in the best robes!!)
Things to do in Squamish
- Ride the Squamish Sea-to-Sky Gondola: There’s truly nothing more magical. You’ll ride from the ocean to the top of the mountain where you’ll dance to live music every Friday throughout summer!
- Play at the aerial adventure park: Rope Runner Parks is pure childlike joy! There’s 50 elements where you can create your own route, and you get two hours to do it! They also have axe throwing (on land), if that’s more your speed.
- Go sailing!: Squamish is where sea meets sky, so get out on the beautiful blue water! We loved Squamish Sailing Ventures. You can do an intro to sailing course if you have no experience, and they also offer advanced trips, private group trips, and sunset trips for the ultimate vibes!
How to spend a day in Pemberton
An hour northeast from Squamish and just thirty minutes from Whistler, you’ll find a gorgeous village that feels like Jackson Hole and Napa Valley had a baby. And if you need a Jackson Hole travel guide, I’ve got you covered! What I mean to say is that Pemberton is all views and incredible farms! There’s so many amazing things to do in Pemberton, but here’s how I recommend spending a day:
First, grab lunch and feed the adorable animals at North Arm Farm. They have a menu of sandwiches, wraps, and salads with seasonal produce from their Farm Kitchen. Then drive 15 minutes to Laughing Cow Organics to for seasonal fun: the most magical sunflower maze (in season from August to September), the pumpkin patch (in October), or the farm stand (from June to November). Lastly, you can grab locally crafted beer & burgers at The Beer Farmers which is nestled in the Pemberton valley wilderness.
The best hikes in Whistler and Squamish
- The Chief (Squamish, BC): the hike is pretty much straight vertical and you might have to slide down on your butt, but the views are so worth it.
- High Note (Whistler, BC): I recommend going early because you’ll start at the top of a gondola that closes at 5pm.
- Elfin Lakes (Squamish, BC): moderate in difficulty, but really long, so bring snacks like these homemade chocolate orange almond butter bars or these birthday cake energy bites!!
- Joffre Lakes (1 hour from Whistler): this is by far easiest the easiest and shortest hike of them all and it’s absolutely worth it. If you take the day trip to Pemberton, this hike is only thirty minutes from there!
What to wear hiking
These are my top recommendations for products that I own and love to wear when we go hiking in British Columbia in the summertime.
- Hoka sneakers: I swear by Hoka’s trail runners because they’re grippy for uneven terrain and SO comfortable for long hikes. Obviously, if there’s snow or ice on the ground, you’d need snow shoes with spikes!
- Seriously Fab face sunscreen: I’m obsessed with this facial mist suncreen by Seriously Fab. It’s vegan, cruelty free, natural, fragrance-free and totally safe. It’s also designed to go on over makeup or bare skin.
- Necessaire’s body sunscreen: I love all of Necessaire’s body products, but their sunscreen is just *chefs kiss*. Use code MOODY10 for 10% off your purchase!
- High-waisted leggings from Amazon: I’m a huge fan of these affordably priced leggings. They emphasize the booty in the best ways and come in a bunch of really cute patterns.
- Parks Projects t shirts: I love the idea of giving back to nature while you’re exploring it. Parks Project is an amazing organization that does just that in exchange for your wearing their insanely cute gear. You can get 10% off your first order on their site when you sign up for newsletters!
- Cuts t shirts: literally the ~perfect~ basic tees for looking stylish while hiking and honestly for a polished “off duty” look too! Use code LIZMOODY for 15% off!
- Bombas socks: these are the best socks for hiking because they’re super comfortable and sweat-wicking, but they also have a honeycomb arch support system that cradles the arch of your foot!
- Camelback water bottle: I think this is the best leak-proof, BPA-free water bottle for hiking. It feels super lightweight and makes staying hydrated on hikes easy because it actually goes into your mouth instead of down your shirt.
- Kinfield bug repellent: you can get this amazing, natural bug spray on Thrive Market. If you join via this link, you’ll get $80 worth of free groceries!
- Back Country sun hat: this is the hiking hat that I’m obsessed with and wear on literally every hiking trip.
Best restaurants in Whistler
- Araxi: the chef is one of the first farm to table pioneers and also a James Beard award winning chef. It’s pricey but it’s the single best dinner I’ve had in a long time. The menu is large and goes from oysters and chilled seafood to small and large plates with local and sustainably sourced ingredients. Make sure to finish with dessert!
- Alta Bistro: this restaurant also had amazing farm to table fare with really interesting and elevated menu items. It’s another place to go for a nice night out.
- purebread_canada for pastries (get the avalanche bar!)
Best restaurants in Squamish
- Fox and Oak Coffee and Donuts: Come for the specialty coffee, stay for the melt-in-your-mouth, naturally-levened donuts. Check out their crazy line-up of healthy-ish donuts (and vegan options) with seasonal frostings and glazes.
- Fergies Cafe: the best brunch in Squamish is here–complete with the boujiest of brunch in the mountain vibes. Imagine: sipping coffee while sitting next to a wood-burning fire and overlooking a rushing river. There’ll likely be a long wait to get a table, but I’d say it’s worth it.
- Locavore Bar and Grill: this is the spot for casual, healthy meals on a large, outdoor patio (there’s inside options, too). Their menu is made up of dishes that are off the farm, out of the sea, or off the bone. They have gluten free options and a kids menu, too!
- The Watershed Grill: this gorgeous, riverside restaurant that looks like a scene from Virgin River had the best fries I’ve ever had. They’re “yam fries” which are lightly battered yam wedges with a chipotle aioli. It’s got a gorgeous patio right on the river for the ultimate Squamish vibes. They also use local and organic meats in their menu items (lots of comfort food with healthy options) and serve up local craft beers.
- Alice and Brohm: head here for the prettiest and tastiest fruit ice cream. They also have gluten free, dairy free, and vegan options! If you visit in the colder months, go here for delicious hot chocolate.
Which town should I stay in?
Each of these gorgeous British Columbia destinations have so much to offer in their own ways. We recommend staying in Squamish if you want to take day trips to Vancouver. Or, stay in Whistler if you’d like to be closer to the hiking trails I mentioned in this travel guide. Both places have pros and cons, but it just depends on what you want to do more of.
If you’re interested in exploring Vancouver, check out my Tofino Travel Guide for amazing recommendations on where to eat, stay, and play!