Whistler lies about 80 miles north of Vancouver, British Columbia. From the Vancouver airport, drive or take a bus to the resort. You don't need a car in the main village, but you'll want to reserve one before you arrive (either at the airport or in Whistler) for at least a day so you can road-trip to the north. All prices listed here are in U.S. dollars.
Dress like a local
Sporty designs from the Canadian company Roots are sold all over town. Cargo pants, T-shirts, hiking boots, and fleeces are the order of the day. Pick up a Vancouver 2010 cap, and you're good to go.
Where to stay
Whistler Central Reservations ( www.tourismwhistler.com or 800/944-7853) lists lodging options and packages for the resort. For bargain family trips, ask about condominium packages both in the main village and outside town (rent bikes if you stay farther away).
Summit Lodge & Spa. Friendly spot in the north village conveniently close to a supermarket. Well-appointed rooms at an excellent price. 81 suites with kitchenettes from $129. 4359 Main St.; www.summitlodge.com or 888/913-8811.
Sundial Boutique Hotel. An all-suite boutique hotel overlooking Whistler Mountain Bike Park ($32 per day). 49 suites with kitchenettes from $175. 4340 Sundial Crescent; www.sundialhotel.com or 800/661-2321.
Where to eat
Alpine Café & Catering Co. A don't-miss spot just outside town. Try mushroom soup with whole-wheat bread and a side of fresh corn salad. $. 8104 McKeevers Place; 604/905-4663.
Araxi Restaurant. Local institution's highlights include B.C. salmon and oysters, and the wine list is top-notch. $$$$. 4222 Village Square; 604/932-4540.
What to do
Bear-viewing tour. Late summer is prime season for the mountain's black bears. Three-hour tours are offered up to four times a day―pricey, but unforgettable. $143 per person. 800/766-0449 or 604/932-3434.
Hike on Whistler Mountain. Take a gondola ride up 6,000 feet to see wildflowers at Harmony Lake. $20 per person. Purchase at the Whistler Activities Centre, 4010 Whistler Way; 604/938-2769.
Road-trip north of Whistler. Follow Provincial Hwy. 99 north to flower and berry picking at North Arm Farm, and hiking at Joffre Lakes and Nairn Falls provincial parks. North Arm Farm,1888 Hwy. 99, Pemberton; www.northarmfarm.com or 604/894-5379. Go to www.bcparks.ca for provincial parks information.
Swim in local lakes. Whistler's Alta Lake Park, Rainbow Park, and Lost Lake Park each have sandy beaches where families can relax. Contact the Whistler Activities Centre (see above) for maps and directions.