Skiing. It's not for everyone. Many families feel like they shouldn't head up to the mountains just because they aren't into downhill sports. But there are plenty of winter destinations that can keep you entertained, even if you don't strap a board onto your feet. Whistler, B.C., known as a great summer and winter destination, serves up four star food, cultural events, spa experiences, and winter fun that everyone in the family can enjoy. All you have to do is pack your snow boots and warm layers, and you will be good to go.
If you prefer luxury accommodations, there is only one place to stay when you visit Whistler, B.C. with your kids - the Fairmont Whistler. This hotel line has been setting the standard of excellence all across Canada (and around the world) for years. From the moment you pull up in your, car you will be pampered. Rooms are beautifully appointed, beds are comfy, and the service never stops. The indoor/outdoor pool is a hit with kids who love to splash around while mom and dad soak their weary bones in either the indoor or outdoor hot tubs. Life vests and pool toys are available at the counter in the indoor pool area.
Splurge on a Gold Level room for the whole gang. You will get a full continental breakfast, snacks, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate throughout the day, and hors d'oeuvres in the evening. The price difference between the regular rooms and Gold Level rooms will even out after all the money you save on meals for the entire family each day.
If the Fairmont is not in your budget, there are plenty of ski-in/ski-out hotels along the mountains. The Aspens has nice suites and 2-bedroom condos for rent that can fit most families' needs with a full kitchen to make meals during your stay.
Whistler is home to more than one spa, but the Scandinavia Spa is easy on the budget and offers a variety of packages to fit your needs. You can buy a day pass to use the pools and facility or add on a massage to really work out the knots you've been holding onto all winter. If you are looking for a bit more luxury and options, check out the Fairmont, Four Seasons, Pan Pacific, or Westin Spas. You can never go wrong at any of them.
Just because you don't ski doesn't mean you can't have some fun in the snow. Whistler offers ice skating and tobogganing at Whistler Olympic Plaza, and tubing on the mountain. Even the tiniest traveler will love sitting on mom or dad's lap and sledding down a mini hill in the plaza. These hills are easy to walk up and down, and great for pregnant women who feel left out of the fun while their husbands are on the slopes enjoying the fresh powder.
The Fire and Ice Show is the perfect way to end the day after a big family meal. Festivities start at 6:30 pm in Skiers Plaza. This is when the ski and snowboard instructors get to show off why you pay them the big bucks for lessons. More flips than you can count, including a few through a fiery ring, will wow your little ones as fire twirlers dance to music on the sides.
Whistler is home to more than 100 restaurants that can satisfy any craving your family has or budget you need to stick with during your visit. Crepe Montagne is a favorite for families looking for a cozy breakfast or lunch. Sachi Sushi is a local and frequent visitor favorite for fresh sushi and tasty beef teriyaki. Pasta Lupine is great for take out dishes to eat back at your condo. Tables fill up fast, but it is possible to sit if necessary. 21 Steps may look too fancy to bring your kids, but get there early and you will feel right at home with the other families. The food is worth the splurge and the wait for a table.
No matter where you eat, remember one thing, Whistler is a family destination. There are few places you should feel uncomfortable bringing your kids (a bar might be one of them). Restaurants know children will be walking through their doors. When in doubt, go early while the party crowd is sill enjoying après–ski. Wait times will be minimal and you can still get your little ones to bed on time.
Have you been to Whistler? What was your favorite activity?
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Keryn is an East Coast native living life as a freelance writer in Seattle surrounded by her two little boys and one incredible husband. When not dragging the men in her life across the globe you can find Keryn writing on her blog Walking On Travels, a site that gives hope to today's modern parent that doesn't see kids as a roadblock to travel, but an excuse to get out the door and explore. Keryn has laughed at the naysayers by bringing her boys to far off lands like China, Hong Kong, Japan, Hawaii, back and forth across the USA, Mexico, Canada, and even across Europe. Keryn loves to encourage families to take that first step out the door, the hardest step of all. Follow Keryn on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Plus.
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