During the summer months, a day trip to the beach on the weekend or after work may be your top priority. For dog owners, it’s especially important – but often tricky – to map out all the dog friendly and designated off-leash beaches in your area. After all, for many pups, a dip in the ocean or a refreshing lake swim is just what they need to cool off on a hot day. Thankfully, we’ve assembled our top 5 favourite lakefront and oceanside spots in Whistler, BC that allow you – and your pooch – all the beach freedom you need.
**It’s important to note that aside from designated off-leash areas, dogs are not permitted on public beaches or playgrounds in Whistler, and must be leashed at all times while in the vicinity of those locations.**
1. Blueberry Park
Blueberry Park may be one of Whistler’s best hidden gems, located on Alta Lake and accessed via the Blueberry Trail, which extends from one end of the forest to the other. Three public piers are accessible at the edge of the park, and have become a landing stop (or launching pad) for many dogs and their owners. Because this park is very remote – some locals are even unaware of it – dogs can run wild through the natural terrain. Owners can lounge on the pier in the afternoon sun or swim with their four-legged companions. Unlike many other “dog-friendly” beaches and parks in the area, your dog will truly have free range of the entire park.
- Blueberry Trail can begin at either the North or South end of Blueberry Beach Park. From the North end, the trail can be reached from Crabapple Drive – which is slightly more difficult to find. It is located only an 8 minute drive from downtown Whistler, off of Lorimer Road to the North, and onto Crabapple Drive to the left.
- Visitors can find easier entry from the Alta Vista side of the park at the end of St. Anton Way – which tends to be the popular option, since this side of Alta Lake is home to the three public piers. This is accessed from the Sea-to-Sky Highway, and is only a 5 minute drive from downtown Whistler.
2. Alpha “Arfa” Lake Park
For dog owners looking to mingle with locals and their pups, Alpha Lake Park – or “Arfa” as it is widely known in the area – may be your best bet. Created as an extension to Alpha Lake Park’s designated off-leash area, Arfa Park is separate from the Valley Trail (though this is also dog-friendly) that runs through the rest of the park, and provides dogs with plenty of open space in a large field, as well as their very own dock. Owners will also be pleased to have quick access to the main park’s amenities, which include washrooms, water fountains, picnic tables, a pier and a children’s area.
- This large, grassy dog-friendly space is located in between the tennis courts and the lake at Alpha Lake Park. It is located in the Whistler Creek region, and is only 5km from the town centre. Take the Sea-to-Sky Highway southbound, turn right onto Taylor Way, and another right on Lake Placid Road where you can find free daytime parking.
3. Barking Bay at Rainbow Park
Rainbow Park offers not only an incredible (and easily accessible) beachfront for visitors and locals, but dogs too have their own designated off-leash area. The main park itself is one of Whistler’s most popular swimming beaches, as well as one of the best southern-facing spots to soak in the sun. Dog owners are definitely not excluded from the fun, and in addition to a small grassy off-leash lawn, are provided with a dedicated swimming dock for dogs. This park is called “Barking Bay,” and can be accessed from the main beach – although owners should be aware that all dogs must be leashed as they pass through Rainbow Park between 10am and 8pm.
- About a 15 minute drive from Whistler Village, Barking Bay is located off both ends of the Sea-to-Sky Highway. If heading from the North, take a left on Alpine Way and another left onto Rainbow Drive. This will turn into Alta Lake Road, where the park entrance will be on your left.
4. Brohm Lake
Not technically in Whistler but a notable dog-friendly beach option in the area is Brohm Lake in nearby Squamish, BC. About a 30 minutes drive out from the Village, Brohm Lake is a perfect stopover for visitors travelling from Vancouver on their way north up the mountain (or on the return trip back south). The lake is located at the centre of a number of lush green trails that can be spotted from the Sea-to-Sky Highway. You can choose to take different loops around the water for a heftier hike, or settle in along the rocky waterfront. Your dog is free to explore, swim or float with you as you enjoy the surrounding mountain views.
- From Squamish townsite, head north onto the Sea-to-Sky Highway for approximately 15km. Turn left and you will find the Brohm Lake Recreational Site with parking and washrooms. From here, follow the trail signs (and mind your step) as you make your way down the rocky slope to the water.
5. Canine Cove at Lost Lake Park
Lost Lake is only an 8 minute drive from Whistler Village to the northeast, and is a prime beach location for locals and visitors due to its busy concession stand, BBQ stand, washrooms and docks. Unfortunately, at Lost Lake Beach overall, dogs are not permitted. Thankfully, “Canine Cove” has become the designated off-leash area only 400m north of the beach, and here they can roam free. The park is easily accessed from the Valley Trail, only 15 minutes walking distance from town, and free shuttles runs there from the Village. Because of this, there is no parking available, and during the winter months the park is closed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
- Turn right onto Blackcomb Way from the Village and follow the road north until you reach Lost Lake Road. Take a left here, and continue for 550m until you reach the lake entry on your left. Keep in mind that there is no parking available, so you may wish to be dropped off, take the free summer shuttle, or walk along the Valley Trail.
PLANNING a Trip to Whistler?
If you’re interested in visiting any of these dog-friendly beaches in Whistler, we can help you with all your accommodation needs. Call our Destination Experts at 1.877.902.1616, or browse our selection of Whistler rentals for more information. If you’re planning to stay in nearby Squamish, we’ve also got you covered!