Silver Linings: How to pick the right beach in Whistler

What’s a beleaguered senior to do with the influx of summer relatives and guests?

Going up the mountain is pricey, biking is sometimes an attractive option, but can be problematic where there are a variety of ages and abilities, poking about in the Village is hot, thirsty work and not for the faint of heart. So the solution? Take them to the beach!

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Whistler has a variety of beautiful beaches. But you can’t necessarily just drag your guests off to your favourite beach. You need to match the crowd to the appropriate beach, and to consider their ages and interests. Having spent years pursuing in-depth, woman-on-the-beach research, I am eminently qualified to pass on beach advice.

Whistler has several beautiful lakes all within minutes of the Village and Creekside. Beautiful glacier-fed Green Lake is just too damn cold for swimming. Nita Lake has a small gravel beach close to the Valley Trail, so it’s not a great swimming beach. So that leaves Alpha, Lost and Alta lakes.   

Alta Lake has several beaches. Lakeside, Rainbow, and Wayside are the largest and most popular, attracting lots of families and children. They are accessible from the road and have parking lots, which can get pretty busy past mid-day. They all have sandy beaches, grassy areas, docks, picnic areas, barbecues and washrooms. Most have concessions and canoe, kayak and paddleboard rentals. Wayside is a bit quieter and has lots of shade, making it a great place for families with wee ones and the sun averse.

Blueberry Beach, also on Alta, is at the end of St. Anton’s Way in Alta Vista. Opposite Rainbow Park, it’s a wilderness beach and requires a bit of a hike to access. It isn’t really a beach, but a lovely little bay with 3 or 4 public swimming docks — a great place to wile away a couple of hours in the sun.

Lost Lake, is close to the Village, but feels isolated as it is in a forested park. It has a beach in front of a large grassy area, and most of the amenities found at the Alta Lake beaches. It tends to attract the young and lovely, but don’t let that stop you — you’re old and lovely.

If your entourage includes children, your best bets are Alpha Lake Park, Lost Lake Park, and Rainbow and Lakeside Parks on Alta Lake. All have children’s playgrounds and lots of grassy running about space. Rainbow has sand volleyball courts, and Alpha has two tennis courts. If you have dogs in tow, you should consider the off-leash beaches: Canine Cove on Lost Lake, Barking Bay at Rainbow and Arfa Park on Alpha.

Most of the beaches get pretty busy by mid-afternoon. If you want to get there before the rush, haul your guests out of bed and head to the beach while there is still beach to be had. If you plan an evening picnic or barbecue, you should get it underway early if you want to use a picnic table, or send one member of your party on ahead to stake a claim.

It’s a good idea to have a stash of beach paraphernalia on hand for your family and friends. Extra hats, sunscreen and towels will be appreciated. In the case of children, be prepared with sand toys, Frisbees and squirt guns.

If you want more details or information on locations and parking check out the following website:

Have fun at the beach!

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