20 BEST Stops on the Vancouver To Whistler Drive (Sea to Sky Highway)


There is only one road that will take you from Vancouver to Whistler, and that is Highway 99, or otherwise called the Sea to Sky Highway. The views are simply stunning from almost the second you leave Vancouver and on a clear day you can see Mount Garibaldi, Black Tusk, and the Howe Sound. There are a few ways to get between Vancouver and Whistler, and even though it’s a relatively short distance, there are tons of sights to stop at if you have the time!

Mountain biking in Whistler

How Long Does it Take to Get From Vancouver to Whistler?

Depending on where you start in Vancouver, the distance by car from Downtown Vancouver to Whistler spans 121 kilometers (75 miles), with an estimated travel time of around 2 hours under normal driving conditions.

Buses From Vancouver to Whistler

Skylynx , Whistler Shuttle , Epic Rides , and the Squamish Connector (to Squamish) , are all bus companies that operate daily, with frequent shuttle transportation from Vancouver Airport and Downtown Vancouver to Whistler.

Public Transport from Vancouver to Whistler

There is no public transportation to get from Vancouver to Whistler, but the many bus companies keeps prices competitive.

Are There Tours Between Vancouver and Whistler?

If you don’t have a vehicle but would still love to stop at the sights along the Sea to Sky Highway, this private tour stop at Shannon Falls, the third-tallest waterfall in British Columbia, as well as Britannia Beach, Squamish and the Aboriginal Cultural Centre before continuing onto Whistler!

This 10 hour tour option stops at Stanley Park, Horseshoe Bay, Shannon Falls, and spends four hours touring around Whistler. If you only have a day, this is a great option to get acquainted with the area and see as much as possible on a tight schedule.

Is There a Train to Whistler?

There is a railway that links Vancouver and Whistler, and while there used to be daily trips connecting the two this is no longer. While you can still visit Whistler by train as part of the Rocky Mountaineer Rainforest to Gold Rush Route, which goes from Vancouver to Jasper, there are no options to catch a train just from Vancouver to Whistler.

What is the Closest Airport to Whistler?

Vancouver International (YVR) is the closest major airport, which is approximately a 2-2.5-hour drive to Whistler. If coming from the states Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) is a 4.45 to 5 hour drive away and Bellingham International Airport is just 3 hours away (plus a border crossing).

Best Stops on the Dirve From Vancouver To Whistler

1. lighthouse park.

 Lighthouse Park

Point Atkinson Lighthouse is a great first stop on your trip from Vancouver to Whistler. It’s right outside of Vancouver, has a historic lighthouse that goes back more than 100 years, and has miles and miles of hiking trails. 

If the beautiful landscape and trees aren’t your thing and you’re just interested in seeing the lighthouse, it’s less than a mile’s walk from where you park your car. Parking does tend to be full though, since Point Atkinson Lighthouse is a popular spot even among the locals, so try to reach it as early as you can. 

2. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

British Columbia is known for its lush green forestry and the incredible views that come with it. One of the most popular spots for these incredible views is the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park . 

The suspension bridge, after which the Park is named, stretches an impressive 450 feet while dangling almost 250 feet above the Capilano River. Suffice to say, the Bridge, and the views it offers, are simply incredible. 

It’s only 15 minutes outside of Vancouver and there are other activities including a treetop walk, a cliff walk, and wildlife watching, especially birds of prey like eagles and owls.

3. Lions Bay 

Lions Bay Beach Vancouver

If you’re looking for charming small-town vibes, then Lions Bay will not disappoint. This could be your first stop during your road trip, especially if you’re looking to get some decent food while enjoying views of Howe Sound and the surrounding beaches. 

Parking can be a challenge, so be prepared to cruise around looking for a spot. Expert tip: a good place to start is the Lions Bay Marina. There are picnic tables as well as a playground if you’re in the mood to stop for a picnic lunch with the family.

4. Horseshoe Bay and Bowen Island

Horseshoe Bay and Bowen Island

A picturesque little village, Horseshoe Bay is a great place to stop and explore. The experience is quite charming, and the village has a nice collection of boutiques and artisanal stores. 

You can also head over to the harbor and enjoy a meal or a coffee while enjoying views of the blue-green water. You can also take a ferry ride to Bowen Island, a small island community with a variety of shops, restaurants, chocolatiers, wellness spas, and much more. 

If you take your car on the ferry, you’ll need to wait longer, and it’s a lot easier to park in Horseshoe Bay and take the ferry on foot.

5. Porteau Cove

Porteau Cove

This beautiful beach offers incredible views even if you just stop at its parking lot for a few minutes during your drive to Whistler. However, if you feel like being up to more, head to the underwater park on the north side of the parking area for some diving lessons or to the beach for tidepooling (only during low tide though). 

Regardless of how you spend your time, Porteau Cove has some incredible views, with many locals even congregating at Porteau Cove in the evenings to enjoy the sunsets. The experience does get sullied because of cloudy weather, so make sure you’re heading there on a sunny day.

6. Tunnel Bluffs Hike  

Tunnel Bluffs Hike  

Outdoors and hiking enthusiasts will find a great stop in Tunnel Bluffs Hike. This hiking trail is considered one of the best in British Columbia, and this means a lot since British Columbia itself is known for its incredible natural beauty and hiking. 

The hike is a bit challenging, considering the whole round trip is about 7 miles and there’s a total elevation gain of 1500 feet, so amateurs or first-time hikers beware. 

If you do decide to stop, try to get there as early as possible, because the nearby parking lot gets full and you’ll need to park another half-mile down the road. Try to avoid this, since it’ll add more distance to your hike and it’s a very steep walk.

7. Furry Creek Golf Course 

Furry Creek Golf Course 

Golfers also have a cannot-miss experience on the way from Vancouver To Whistler. The Furry Creek Golf Course has been dubbed “British Columbia’s Most Scenic Golf Course”, with astounding views of snowcapped mountains and the Howe Sound Bay. 

Depending on what time of year you visit, you can pay as little as $90 for a round of golf. The on-site restaurant is also well-liked by visitors and serves a variety of seafood and Western cuisine.

8. Britannia Mine 

 Britannia Mine 

You might get rich if you stop here, and that’s not an exaggeration or a lie. Britannia Mine was a community of 60,000 people, all involved in looking for one thing; gold. A great opportunity for family fun and for children to learn some history, you can take guided tours and pan for gold. 

The rules are that if you find something while panning, then you get to keep it, so carry a good luck charm if you decide to stop here. Tickets cost $40 per adult and $21.95 per child.

9. Shannon Falls


If visiting during Spring or Summer, Shannon Falls can be an ideal stop if you’re looking for the natural beauty British Columbia is so renowned for. 

This 1000-foot waterfall in BC is easily accessible via a paved trail and in addition to incredible views of the Falls and the surrounding mountain scenery, you can also stop here for a picnic. 

Just make sure you’re visiting early because the spot is popular with tourists and locals alike, so there will be a lot of foot traffic, especially in the peak seasons.

10. Murrin Provincial Park

Murrin Provincial Park

Located just 10 minutes south of Squamish, beside the Sea-to-Sky Highway, Murrin Provincial Park is another ideal spot for those who like the outdoors, with a lake, swimming, fishing, hiking, and even rock climbing. 

Anglers can look forward to catching rainbow trout, albeit with a permit, while hikers can enjoy the Petgill Lake Trail, which offers scenic views of Howe Sound and Stawamus Chief. Rock climbers can enjoy more than 250 rock climbing routes with varying difficulty levels.

11. Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Everyone enjoys a gondola ride, and if you’re in a place like British Columbia, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity. The Sea to Sky Gondola , also located close to Squamish, gives breathtaking views and access is just off the highway, making it much more convenient. 

You shouldn’t rush the experience in any way though, because while the ride up to the mountain is enjoyable, the experience of exploring at the top is also just as fun. There are hiking trails, viewing spots, shops, and a restaurant as well, so be sure to take your time and enjoy to the fullest.

12. Stawamus Chief Hiking Trail

Stawamus Chief

One of the largest granite monoliths in the world, Stawamus Chief Mountain, or known locally as the Squamish Chief, is steeped in local spiritual history and mythology. 

The Mountain’s presence is imposing, but the hiking trail it offers has some of the most incredible views you’ll ever see. The trail is a challenge though and involves climbing steep stairs and ladders, so everyone should be extremely careful and, preferably, be in the presence of an experienced hiker. 

There are different routes you can take and, depending on which one you take, the hike could be anywhere between 2 and 6 hours.

13. Squamish  


If you decide to stop at Stawamus Chief, you could also stop at Squamish and, maybe, spend a day or two. Squamish might be a small city, but it has a lot to offer, especially to outdoorsmen. 

In addition to Stawamus Chief and the Sea to Sky Gondola, you can also go sailing, rock climbing, and enjoy a variety of other outdoor activities. Even if you’re not an outdoorsy type, you can learn about the local culture and history at the Railway Museum of British Columbia, or visit some incredible eateries like the Zephyr Café or the Howe Sound Brewery. 

With so much to do, many people even make a stop at Squamish for a few days while they’re traveling from Vancouver to Whistler.

14. Squamish Estuary

The Squamish Estuary is a wildlife enthusiasts’ paradise, with opportunities to look at bears, beavers, deers, bobcats, and more than 200 species of birds. In addition to exploring the salt marshes, mudflats, and reeds, you can also go kayaking or canoeing. 

However, since the area is so rich in wildlife, you should be cautious, stay aware of your surroundings, and keep your distance from any animals. 

The area is also popular for windsurfing and kiteboarding since the estuary and its surrounding areas are the first piece of land in Squamish that is struck by wind, making it ideal for wind sports.

15. Alice Lake Provincial Park

Alice Lake Provincial Park

Even though it’s named after Alice Lake, this Park is home to 4 different scenic lakes, with mountain views and lush greenery. 

Alice Lake Provincial Park is a preferred spot for many campers, since the camping amenities are some of the best in British Columbia, including powered sites which are not commonly found in provincial parks. 

Since the spot is popular, it’s best to book ahead if you decide to go camping here.

16. Tantalus Lookout  

Tantalus Lookout

This particular stop isn’t as time-demanding as the other entries on this list, but it is no less significant considering the incredible views that it offers. 

Tantalus Lookout sits at an elevation of 1000 feet and gives spectacular views of the surrounding areas. Many people stop here to take a few pictures, maybe enjoy the views for a little while, and then drive on, having experienced some of the most majestic views you’ll ever see.

17. Garibaldi Lake 

 Garibaldi Lake 

Another hiking spot, Garibaldi is a six-hour plus trek, stretching nearly 20 km. Located just outside of Whistler and accessible from the Rubble Creek parking lot, the trail leads to Garibaldi Lake, a turquoise-colored slice of heaven and one of the most beautiful lakes in BC .

You’ll encounter meadows and lush trees along the way as well, making it one of the most picturesque hikes you’ll ever experience. 

There are also campsites for those wanting to spend the night in the picturesque setting, but since it’s a popular spot, it would be a good idea to book your campsite in advance.

18. Brandywine Falls 

 Brandywine Falls 

There is something about waterfalls that you simply can’t get enough of. Seeing the water cascading down a steep cliff is just an overwhelming feeling and if you thought Shannon Falls was amazing, Brandywine Falls won’t disappoint either. 

You don’t need to walk long either to get a view of Brandywine Falls, as the first viewpoint is just a 10-minute walk from the parking lot. However, the view of the Falls gets better as you move on to other viewpoints, so it might well be worth it to walk ahead and spend some time lining up the best photo shot.

19. The Train Graveyard 


As you approach the small BC town of Whistler, stop by the quirky Whistler Train Wreck. This will be just a quick stop to stretch your legs and appreciate some BC artwork! 

This spot, out in the middle of the forest, has a few old derailed train cars that have been transformed into works of art by local graffiti artists. The easiest way to get to the train wreck is from a pull-over bay right alongside the highway. 

Park your car and head into the woods on the marked trail that will soon lead you to a suspension bridge hanging above the Cheakamus River. Cross the bridge and you will find the first five carriages with a couple more further up the trail.

20. Whistler

best things to do in whistler

Your epic road trip has finished, but your final destination is just as amazing as all the locations you stopped at to get here. 

Whistler is home to world-class ski resorts, one of the world’s longest gondolas, and many lakes including Nita Lake, Alpha Lake, Green Lakes, Lost Lake, and Alta Lake.

The adventure and thrills don’t stop in Whistler and there are a plethora of restaurants, bars, clubs, and coffee shops to choose from for all you foodies out there! You will also find luxury ski in/ski out accommodations here and plenty of scenic hiking trails that take you through pine forests, mountains, and lakes. Honestly, we spent an entire six months living in Whistler and barely even scratched the surface of all that there is to do.

Sea to Sky Highway (Vancouver to Whistler Drive) FAQ


Is the Sea to Sky Highway an Easy Drive?

The Sea to Sky is full of twists and turns with sharp turns and hills, but it’s completely paved and is very pleasant in good weather. If traveling in the winter pay attention to driving conditions on Drive BC, as it’s a rough drive in winter weather. A two hour drive may turn into a 4+ hour drive in the snow, and even longer if there is an accident on the road.

Are Winter Tires Required for the Sea to Sky Highway.

Winter tires are required on most roads in British Columbia between October 1 to April 30, on the Sea to Sky winter tires are required from October 1 to March 31st. Legal winter tires must have a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm, and police do engage in random checks.

The tire must be labeled with either the letters “M” and “S” for all-season suitability or feature the 3-peaked mountain/snowflake symbol indicating enhanced winter performance. Some manufacturers may use both symbols for comprehensive labeling.

How Long Does it Take to Drive the Sea to Sky Highway?

If you drive straight from Vancouver to Whistler you can expect the drive to take you two hours, however, if you want to enjoy most of the stops on the list we recommend taking an entire day.

' src=

About Natasha

Natasha calls Canmore, Alberta home. After traveling across seven continents and 90 countries with Cameron, she settled down in the stunning Canadian Rockies. She loves to help others travel and make their planning easier. She is a winter enthusiast and loves to snowboard, ice skate, and snowshoe and enjoy all the fantastic summer opportunities in Banff like hiking, scrambling, and biking. You can find her in the mountains or enjoying a coffee by the river. Learn more on the about us page! If you have found the content on this site helpful to your trip planning please consider supporting The Banff Blog. You can say thanks directly by buying us a coffee . All support is much appreciated!

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Related Posts

canoeing on Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake Canoe Rental: Everything You NEED to Know (2024)

Marble Canyon

15 Things to Know BEFORE You Hike Marble Canyon Trail (Kootenay)

14 breathtaking things to do in yoho national park, b.c..

Greta's Travels

Road Trip To Whistler: Vancouver To Whistler Drive On The Sea To Sky Highway

Posted on Last updated: October 8, 2023

If you’re planning on driving from Vancouver to Whistler you will most likely find yourself driving on the Sea to Sky Highway.

The Vancouver to Whistler drive is only 120km and takes around one hour and a half, but the surrounding landscape is so beautiful you will want to do some stops along the way.

In this post I’ve listed everything you need to know about doing a road trip to Whistler from Vancouver, including information about the drive and all the best things to do and places to see along the Sea to Sky Highway.

  • 1 About the Sea to Sky Highway
  • 2 Do I need travel insurance to visit Vancouver & Whistler?
  • 3.1 Vancouver beaches
  • 3.2 Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
  • 4.1 Porteau Cove Provincial Park
  • 4.2 Shannon Falls
  • 4.3 Sea to Sky Gondola
  • 4.4.1 First Peak hike
  • 4.4.2 Second Peak hike
  • 5.1 Brandywine Falls
  • 5.2 Garibaldi Lake
  • 6 Road trip to Whistler essentials
  • 7.1 In Vancouver
  • 7.2 In Whistler

Driving from Vancouver to Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway

Driving from Vancouver to Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway

About the Sea to Sky Highway

The British Coumbia Highway 99, also known as the Sea to Sky Highway is the major north-south road that connects the US border all the way up to Cache Creek.

It goes through Vancouver, Howe Sound, Whistler and Lillooet. It gets its highway number from the old US Route 99, to which it was originally connected.

The Sea to Sky Highway section of the route is the one that connects Vancouver to Pemberton (just north of Whistler) and is called like this for two reasons; firstly because it really does connect the sea (Vancouver) to the sky (the mountains of Pemberton) and for its stunning views.

The drive from Vancouver to Whistler is beautiful, with the sea on one side and the steep mountainsides on the other. It’s considered one of the best Canadian road trips , and it’s easy to see why.

Wherever you decide to stop along the drive, it’s guaranteed to be a great experience. Going on a road trip to Whistler is without a doubt one of the best weekend getaways from Vancouver .

Don’t know how to drive? No problem! Click here to book a Sea to Sky Highway tour

The view from the First Peak of Stawamus Chief, along the Sea to Sky Highway in Canada

The view from the First Peak of Stawamus Chief, along the Sea to Sky Highway

Do I need travel insurance to visit Vancouver & Whistler?

After my personal experience spending two nights in a private hospital in Tenerife, and having to pay for it out of pocket (it wasn’t cheap), I always recommend getting travel insurance.

You might not end up needing it, but for a small fee you can travel without worries. Personally, I suggest getting your travel insurance with  Heymondo .

Heymondo offers tailor made travel insurance, providing the best value for money for your specific trip. You can also buy it once you’re already abroad and have forgotten about it before flying (which, if you’re anything like me, is quite likely).

As a Greta’s Travels reader, you also get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance !

Click here to get your 5% off Heymondo travel insurance!

Enjoying the views from Stanley Park in Vancouver

Enjoying the views from Stanley Park in Vancouver

Where to stop on the Vancouver to Whistler drive (closer to Vancouver)

There are awesome things to do on the road to Whistler from Vancouver all along the Sea to Sky Highway.

In this guide I’ve grouped them in three categories; those closer to Downtown Vancouver , those in the middle around the half way mark, and those closer to Whistler, so that you can break up the drive accordingly.                  

Vancouver beaches

“Can you beat a big city with beaches? I think not! Before you hit the highs of this road trip be sure to dip your toes in the sea at Vancouver’s beaches, one of the many fun things to do in Vancouver .

For a central beach, head to English Bay at Stanley Park.

Play volleyball at Kitsilano Beach or tennis at Jericho. Locarno is known as the ‘quiet beach’ and Second Beach has an outdoor pool which makes is always lively.

Road tripping with your pooch? Spanish Banks and Trout Lake Beach had ‘off-leash’ areas so your dog can roam free. 

The majority of Vancouver’s beaches have toilets, changing rooms, a restaurant close by and lifeguards on hand during the summer season.”

– by Gemma, author of Two Scots Abroad

Kitsilano Beach Vancouver, photo by Two Scots Abroad

Kitsilano Beach Vancouver, photo by Two Scots Abroad

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

“The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is, in my opinion, a must-see when you’re in the Vancouver area.

The attraction takes about 2 to 3 hours to see, depending on how quickly you walk and how many of the paths you decide to go down.

The feature of the park is a long suspension bridge that’s 70 meters high. It’s a bit daunting if you’re afraid of heights, but it’s worth it to see the incredible views!

Once you’re across the bridge, you can also go on a treetop walk, where they have build a series of connecting bridges along the tree canopy.

There are also exhibits about the indigenous population that originally inhabited these lands.”

– by Renee, author of Renee the Wanderess

Capilano suspension bridge, photo by Renee the Wanderess

Capilano suspension bridge, photo by Renee the Wanderess

Where to stop on the Sea to Sky Highway (half way)

Porteau cove provincial park.

“My favourite place to stop on a drive from Vancouver to Whistler is Porteau Cove Provincial Park. Porteau Cove  is about 45 minutes from Vancouver and an hour from Whistler, so near the halfway point.

The best reason to stop here? The views! Porteau Cove is home to some of the most stunning views of Howe Sound and the mountains across the water.

You can park at Porteau Cove and go for a walk along the beach or a quick hike up the little hill.

If you have more time, you can also camp at Porteau Cove and enjoy all of that scenery for even longer. It’s my favourite place to camp and I highly recommend it as a stop on your way to Whistler.”

– by Riana, author of Teaspoon of Adventure

Porteau Cove, photo by Teaspoon of Adventure

Porteau Cove, photo by Teaspoon of Adventure

Porteau Cove, photo by Teaspoon of Adventure

Shannon Falls

With its 335 metres of height Shannon Falls is British Columbia’s third tallest waterfall, and one of the most popular stops on the drive to Whistler from Vancouver. It’s one of the most beautiful waterfalls near Vancouver .

Shannon Falls is located just off the Sea to Sky Highway, it’s well marked and easy to find, with a big parking area right next to it where you can leave your car.

At the base of the falls there is a well-maintained wooden boardwalk from which you can admire the falls. All around it there is also a network of short trails from which you can explore the area.

Shannon Falls is also home to some fantastic rock climbs , mostly in the rock slabs to the south of the falls, but we didn’t get an opportunity to try them out during our road trip.

Visiting Shannon Falls will be a short break in your Whistler road trip, taking into account the time to walk to the falls, take photos and checking out the falls won’t take you more than 30 minutes.

Taking a break from driving from Vancouver to Whistler and admiring Shannon Falls

Admiring Shannon Falls

Sea to Sky Gondola

“Located just outside the town of Squamish, just 50 minutes from downtown Vancouver and an hour from Whistler, the Sea to Sky Gondola is a great place to stop along the Sea to Sky Highway.

The cable car started running in 2014 and changed an area that was once only accessible to only the hardiest of mountain folk to a place that’s accessible to all.

The 10-minute gondola ride takes visitors up to Summit Lodge where they’re greeted with beautiful views of the bright blue waters of Howe Sound, the mountains of the Coast Range, the mighty Stawamus Chief and a bird’s eye view of the town of Squamish.

There are three main viewing platforms at the summit as well as the wonderfully bouncy Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge.

You’ll also find eight main hiking trails of varying length and difficulty and a number of backcountry trails open to experienced hikers.

Other summit activities include rock climbing and the Via Ferrata, a “vertical adventure” where you climb and walk assisted by metal rungs and a specialised cable system.

You can just as easily spend an hour at the summit as you can a enjoying all that the Sea to Sky Gondola has to offer. Either way, you should definitely add it to your Sea to Sky Highway itinerary.”

– by Katja, author of globetotting

Book your Sea to Sky gondola ticket here

View from the the Sea to Sky gondola, photo by globetotting

View from the the Sea to Sky gondola, photo by globetotting

Stawamus Chief Provincial Park

Stawamus Chief is a 700m high granite dome that towers over the nearby network of fjords, called Howe Sound.

Stawamus Chief is divided in three distinct summits, known as First Peak, Second Peak and Third Peak, all with epic views over the surrounding landscapes.

If you want to break up your drive from Vancouver to Whistler and stretch your legs a bit, hiking the Stawamus Chief is the perfect way to do so! Stawamus Chief offers some of the best hikes near Vancouver .

Hiking up the First Peak at Stawamus Chief Provincial Park

Hiking up the First Peak at Stawamus Chief Provincial Park

Taking a break while hiking Stawamus Chief during our Whistler road trip

Taking a break while hiking Stawamus Chief during our Whistler road trip

The start of the trail is right next to Shannon Falls, so you can pair visiting the waterfall with this hike. The three peaks are actually three different hikes with varying degrees of difficulty and length.

They have the initial section from the parking lot along the Sea to Sky Highway in common, but after hiking for about 20 minutes you will reach signs and you can decide which hike to do.

We decided to do the First Peak since it’s the shortest one and with the best views.

Taking a break while hiking Stawamus Chief during our Whistler road trip

First Peak hike

The hike to First Peak is a 4km round trip, but with some very steep sections and parts where the trail isn’t well beaten and you have to climb over ladders and holding on to ropes.

It’s advertised online as an “intermediate” hike that fast parties can do in 90 minutes. That’s when I realised the average Canadian must be in much better shape than me.

It took us 2-3 hours to do the round trip hike, including a break at the top to have lunch and enjoy the view. Once you get to the top you’ll be glad you did.

Enjoying the view from the top of the First Peak of Stawamus Chief in Canada

Enjoying the view from the top of the First Peak of Stawamus Chief in Canada

It’s without a doubt one of the best Sea to Sky Highway lookout points. The toughest part is actually at the beginning of the hike, since the trail goes up 400m in the first 100m.

This part of the trail is made all of steep wooden steps, which can even get quite slippery due to the nearby Shannon Falls. It’s challenging both going up as it’s very tiring, but also going down as it can be quiet tough on the knees.

The hiking is much smoother later and the view from the top of First Peak is well worth the effort and interrupting your drive to Whistler for.

Another popular hike that will give you epic Howe Sound views is Tunnel Bluffs hike .

View over Howe Sound from Stawamus Chief

View over Howe Sound from Stawamus Chief

Second Peak hike

“It all started with a few locals recommending The Chief as a day activity when I unexpectedly decided to stay in BC a bit longer… “It’s easy!” they said. Oh, my, how wrong they were!

While The Chief is by no means easy at all, it is certainly worth it, every single step, jagged rock and uphill groan, you have to make it up to the top!

Thinking this hike would easy, I planned on visiting all three peaks. Only about 30 minutes later, I knew this was not going to happen and I had to make the quick decision to follow the trails to one of the three peaks.

I just didn’t start early enough. Tip: Start early!

Hiking up Stawamus Chief during a Vancouver to Whistler road trip

Hiking up Stawamus Chief during a Vancouver to Whistler road trip

I decided to make it to the second one as it was in the middle and seemed like the perfect compromise. It was a good choice!

You can see viewpoint #1 and #3 from here so you can get a good idea as to what their views look like so I didn’t feel like I was missing out on much. Views over Squamish and the Howe Sound were gorgeous and rewarding.

Heading down, I took the loop route down that lead to the third viewpoint which required a bit of crab walk down craggy rocks.

There’s a lot of scrambling over rock and using some chains to leverage yourself over boulders getting to the top of the second viewpoint, so definitely be careful and be prepared.

Wear good hiking shoes and bring a lot of water.”

– by Nina, author of Where In The World Is Nina?

View from the top of the Second Peak, photo by Where In The World Is Nina?

View from the top of the Second Peak, photo by Where In The World Is Nina?

Must see stops on the road from Vancouver to Whistler (closer to Whistler)

Brandywine falls.

Brandywine Falls is a 70-metre waterfall located in Brandywine Creek, along the Sea to Sky Highway between Garibaldi and Whistler.

I found the falls particularly impressive since there is a clean 70m drop, unlike Shannon Falls where the water tumbles down a multitude of rocks before reaching the base.

It’s roughly a 15-minute walk from the parking area to the waterfall, all along a wooden boardwalk that takes you over the river and through the forest all the way to the viewing platform.

The platform has an epic view of the falls on one side and the surrounding mountains on the other.

It’s a short sightseeing stop that you can do on your Vancouver to Whistler road trip without disrupting your drive too much, including time for photos it won’t take you more than 45 minutes to see the falls.

If you can’t get enough of this Canadian road trip, from here you can easily continue on an epic Vancouver to Banff drive , or even from Banff to Jasper , and see more of the great Canadian outdoors!

Brandywine Falls on the drive from Vancouver to Whistler, Canada

Brandywine Falls on the drive from Vancouver to Whistler

Garibaldi Lake

“If you love hiking, turquoise blue lakes, and stunning mountains, Garibaldi Lake is a must stop on your Vancouver to Whistler Trip.

The hike is long and strenuous  (18km roundtrip total) with next to no views, takes 5-6 hours to complete and the elevation gain is about 810 m. But, the scene at the end is beautiful.

You will be rewarded with a stunning blue lake surrounded by tall, white, snow-covered mountains. I recommend getting to the trailhead early in the morning so you have a few hours to enjoy the lake.

Swimming in it might be too cold for most people, but there always seems to be a couple adventurous people taking a dip.”

  – by Michelle, author of The Wandering Queen

Lake Garibaldi, photo by The Wandering Queen

Lake Garibaldi, photo by The Wandering Queen

Road trip to Whistler essentials

Now you know all the most beautiful places and coolest things to do along the road on the drive from Vancouver to Whistler.

Before ending this Sea to Sky Highway guide I wanted to include some road trip travel essentials that you might need while on the road.

Power bank : While it would be very hard to get lost on the way from Vancouver to Whistler you don’t want to get stuck somewhere with Google Maps. You will also want a charged phone to take photos of all the epic things you’re seeing on the road right?

AUX / USB chord : No road trip is a proper road trip without music, even if it’s as short as the Vancouver to Whistler drive you don’t want to do it in silence!

Reusable water bottle : There are lots of places along the road where you can top up on water, especially if you’re planning on doing any of the hikes! Do your bank account and the environment a favour and get a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles every time.

Vancouver to Whistler road trip on the Sea to Sky Highway

Vancouver to Whistler road trip on the Sea to Sky Highway

Where to stay for a Vancouver – Whistler road trip

In vancouver.

There are lots of cool places to stay in Vancouver, from which you can then easily go on your Sea to Sky road trip. I’ve listed below some accommodation options for every budget.

Luxury: EXchange Vancouver Hotel   is one of the fancier hotels in Downtown Vancouver. It’s perfect for those looking for a little luxury to spice up their holiday.

Click here to book your stay at EXchange Vancouver Hotel!

Mid-range: O Canada House Bed & Breakfast   is the perfect accommodation option for those looking for a  home away from home . The rooms are elegantly decorated and have stunning views of the city.

Check out the latest prices and availability at O Canada House Bed & Breakfast!

Budget: Cambie Hostel Gastown   is located in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. It has spacious dorms with a cool interior decor, as well as big communal spaces to socialise with other travellers.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability at Cambie Hostel Gastown!

The Vancouver city skyline and beach - Photo by Shaylen Anita on Scopio

The Vancouver city skyline and beach – Photo by Shaylen Anita on Scopio

In Whistler

If at the end of your road trip you decide to sleep in Whistler, here are some accommodation options for every budget. You can find also lots of great Airbnbs in Whistler .

Luxury: The Westin Resort & Spa   is a luxury hotel with beautiful mountain views. It’s the perfect place if you want to treat yourself after a long road trip.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability at the Westin Resort & Spa!

Mid-range: Pinnacle Hotel has cosy rooms and a pool where you can relax at the end of your Sea to Sky road trip. It’s a great option for those who don’t want a hostel dorm but don’t want to break the bank.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability at the Pinnacle Hotel Whistler! 

Budget: Pangea Pod Hostel   is a quirky hostel in the heart of Whistler, with spacious dorms and plenty of space to store also your ski and cycling gear.

Click here to book your stay at Pangea Pod Hostel!

Shannon Falls on the Sea to Sky Highway, Canada

Final thoughts on doing a Sea to Sky Highway road trip

Have you been on a road trip on the Sea to Sky Highway? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

The drive from Vancouver to Whistler isn’t particularly long, but the drive along the Sea to Sky Highway is so beautiful and there are so many amazing things to do you will want to stop along the way.

I hope you find this guide useful in planning your own Vancouver to Whistler road trip.

If you want to know more about Banff, check out this Banff in the summer bucket list .

If you’re looking for more Canada inspiration, check out these 150 awesome things to do in Canada , these 11 things to know before a Canadian Rockies road trip , or this guide about whale watching tours in Vancouver .

Enjoyed reading about the best things to do on the Vancouver to Whistler drive? Pin it!

Girl looking out over Howe Sound from the First Peak of Stawamus Chief with text overlay saying

Uncovering British Columbia

Vancouver to Whistler: Get there by Bus, Plane, Train, or Car

Wondering how to get a from Vancouver to Whistler? Do not worry, there are not a million options, so it is not actually very difficult. In this post I have provided all of the options when it comes to getting from Vancouver to Whistler. Each type of transport then has further information on how to book or how to travel to Whistler from Vancouver.

What are the options to get from Vancouver to Whistler?

There are several ways to get to Whistler from Vancouver at any time during the year. They are pretty stright forward. Below you will see the following transportation options:

Bus from Vancouver to Whistler

  • Train from Vancouver to Whistler
  • Tour from Vancouver to Whistler
  • Flights from Vancouver to Whistler
  • Driving from Vancouver to Whistler
  • Tours from Vancouver to Whistler
  • Taxis from Vancouver to Whistler
  • Uber / Lyft from Vancouver to Whistler

How far is it from Vancouver to Whistler?

Depending where you are in the city, it is about 120 kilometers from Vancouver to Whistler. The average car trip takes a little under 2 hours. Most of the trip is highway-style driving. It is a coastal, mountain route with lots of hill and turns.

There are several companies that offer shuttle and coach services to get guests from Vancouver to Whistler by bus. They need to be booked in advance.

Shuttle Service from YVR to Whistler

There is s shuttle bus service from Vancouver International Airport to Whistler. This bus to Whistler from Vancouver is based on your flight arrival and can be as early as 7:30am and runs until 10:00pm in the winter and 8:00 pm in the Spring and Fall. The size of the vehicle depends on the volume of guests who have booked this service.

This service has several drop-off points at the major hotels and condos in Whistler. If you are off the beaten track, there may be a dropoff surcharge.

Vancouver Airport to Whistler by Bus

If you are coming into Vancouver Airport you do not need to go into the city to get to Whistler. You can take an airport pickup from Whistler Sky linx here . It also stops in Squamish if you do not need to go all the way to Whistler!

BOOK HERE: YVR to Whistler Shuttle Bus

Whistler Sky Linx

Whistler Sky Linx offers coach service with free wifi and charging ports. It picks up at Vancouver Airport and outside the Hyatt Regency in downtown Vancouver. Kids under 6 ride free.


Whistler Ski Bus

Whistler Ski Bus offers pickup from Richmond Airport hotels, Vancouver Airport and Vancouver City Stops. It takes around 2.5 hours depending on where you get on and whether or not you want to get off in Whistler Creekside or the Whistler Bus Station in the Village

Epic Rides Whistler bus from Vancouver

Epic Rides offers a quick way to travel to Whistler by bus. Pickup is from Burrard Station in Vancouver to the Whistler bus loop. Epic allows unlimited luggage and gear (including bikes in the summer months).

Private Car and limo Service from Vancouver to Whistler

These private transfers offer a luxurious ride along the Sea to Sky Highway and are a hassle-free way to get all of your gear and your group to the mountains. Choose from either a private car for up to three guests a private SUV that seats as many as 6, or a Mercedes Sprinter Van equipped with a gear bay, providing enough ceiling height for skis to stand upright and protected. You can also get a stretch limo if you are looking to travel in style. Whatever option you choose, just sit back and enjoy the ride without worrying about taxi meters.


Road Trip from Vancouver to Whistler

When I get asked how to get to Whistler from Vancouver my answer is always that it is quite easy and takes a little under 2 hours. As long as you are a confident driver, once you are out of the city, the Sea to Sky highway offers stunning scenery and one of the most beautiful drives in British Columbia.

Driving to Whistler from Vancouver in winter can be more of a challenge, but overall it is still safe. If there is snow in Vancouver (which is unlikely) then you will have a snowy drive the whole way. If there is no snow in the city you may still encounter snow along North Vancouver and the Sea to Sky. You will definitely see snow once you get close to Whistler. Note that you must have winter tires or carry chains from Oct 1st to March 31st on the Sea to Sky Highway.

If you are planning on renting a car on your trip to British Columbia, you can get a quote on renting a car here.

From Vancouver to Whistler route map

The actual route to Whistler is straightforward. You will need to cross the Fraser into either North Vancouver or West Vancouver. If you cross at Stanly Park you are already on Highway 99 and will just stay on that highway all the way to Whistler. If you get onto Highway 1 and cross the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge you will then travel through North Vancouver on Highway 1 until it meets Highway 99 in West Vancouver.

trip vancouver to whistler

Vancouver Whistler Train

One of the most popular searches for getting to Whistler is by train. However, since 2015 this service has been suspended. However, there is a train that goes from Vancouver to Whistler, it is part of a larger three-day journey on the Rocky Mountaineer. It is called the Rainforest to Gold Rush Classic Route. You cannot book just part of the journey, unfortunately. It starts in Vancouver and makes stops in Whistler, Quesnel, and ends in Jasper, Alberta.

Rocky Mountaineer train in the station in Vancouver

Taxi Service to Whistler

Resort Cabs offers service from Vancouver Airport to Whistler and from Whistler to Vancouver. Book ahead!

Flying to Whistler

Float Plane service is available from downtown Vancouver and Vancouver Airport to Whistler. The floatplane lands on Green Lake just 3km from Whistler City Centre. Between May and September, fly from Vancouver Airport or downtown Victoria to Whistler on Harbour Air. A free shuttle will take you from Green Lake to the village.

If you only have time for the day, you can take a float plane for a round trip to Whistler.


Helicopter Service to Whistler

Did you know you can take a helicopter from Vancouver to Whistler? You can fly from either the south terminal at Vancouver Airport or downtown Vancouver. It lands at Whistler Heliport. The rate is $3375 plus taxes for up to 5 people.

Vancouver to Whistler on a Tour

One of the popular options to see Whistler on a day trip is on a tour. Here are a few tour options for those looking to see Whistler.

FULL-DAY PRIVATE TOUR: This tour picks up at your hotel or cruise terminal. It offers stops at Britannia Mine (entrance fee not included), Sea-To-Sky gondola (entrance fee not included), and a short hike to Brandywine Falls. Enjoy about 4 hours of free time at the village in Whistler before heading back to Vancouver.

FULL-DAY GROUP TOUR: This tour is a small group in a coach bus. It picks up from Vancouver and Richmond Hotels. Enjoy ample time in Whistler to shop, dine, or take in optional excursions such as ziplining (entrance fee not included), The Squamish Lil-wat Cultural Centre (entrance fees not included), or other winter or summer activities. On the drive home, see Shannon Falls, British Columbia’s third-highest waterfall. Your excursion concludes back at your departure point in the evening.

FAQ about How to get to Whistler from Vancouver

Yes, you can do a day trip from Vancouver to Whistler. Depending where you are in the city, it is a little under 2 hours driving time. There are also float plane options in the summer. Note that if you are not driving, you will have to stick to a schedule of the planes or busses. Th best way to do a daytrip from Vancouver to Whistler is to drive yourself.

The Sea to Sky highway, which is the main road from North Vancouver to Squamish and Whistler has claimed many lives over the years. Most of them have been drivers who have crossed the center line or drivers who have left the road and hit the mountain. The biggest factor in most of the crashes on the Sea to Ski highway is speed. It is a beautiful drive with windy roads. Drivers need to pay attention to the road and pay attention to the speed limits. Safety improvements have been made over the last decade and most of the highway now has a centre barrier which has almost eliminated head on collisions on the highway.

Yes, there is a train but it is part of a larger journey to Alberta. It stops in Whistler and then continues on to Quesnel and Jasper.

The drive from Vancouver to Whistler shows some of the most stunning West Coast scenery. There are plenty of options for stops along the way including Squamish, Britannia Mine, hiking the Chief and Shannon Falls, the Sea to Sky Gondola, the Train Wreck Whistler Hike, and more.

More British Columbia Travel Resources

Where to Stay in Whistler

LUXURY: Four Seasons Whistler

MIDRANGE: Delta Hotel Whistler or Aava Hotel Whistler  

BUDGET:  Pangea Pod Hotel  

Packing Tips for Whistler

If you are planning to visit Whistler in the winter, you are going to want to pack for snow! Bring good waterproof ski gloves, a toque, a winter coat and some good lip balm/chap stick. Read more in this extensive Whistler Packing List

If you are visiting Whistler in the summer, bring a bathing suit, comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat!

Holiday Travel to Whistler

Are you planning on visiting Whistler over Christmas? Read this guide to Whistler at Christmas.

Renting a Car in British Columbia

Rental Cars are very popular in British Columbia. There is just so much to see and there is not a train or bus network outside of Metro Vancouver or Victoria. If you plan on leaving Vancouver and want to see even the local ski hills, I suggest a rental car. You can get a rental car before you arrive.

Click here to get a quote on renting a car.

From Vancouver to Whistler

Header Photo Credit: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane


Lindsay Nieminen is the creator of UncoveringBC.com. She grew up and still lives in the suburbs of Vancouver with her family. She aims to inspire inform, and educate others about traveling in her home province of British Columbia. She is also the creator of carpediemourway.com  which aims to show parents how to seek out adventure at home or abroad, with their children in tow!

2 thoughts on “Vancouver to Whistler: Get there by Bus, Plane, Train, or Car”

Do these transport links apply on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

I would check directly with the bus companies. Anytime there is a holiday, there is always a chance of a change!

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.


From Vancouver to Whistler: 7 Best Ways to Get There

Written by Magee Walker and Michael Law Updated May 3, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

It couldn't be easier to go from the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver to the snowy slopes of Whistler — and it will typically take you less than two hours to make the pilgrimage.

Whether you're looking to swap the rain for some snow, or you simply want to explore more of British Columbia's beautiful landscapes , there are several ways to get from Whistler to Vancouver. From once-in-a-lifetime, scenic adventures to private tours that let you customize your trip, we've summarized our favorite transportation methods below.

On This Page:

  • From Vancouver to Whistler by Seaplane
  • From Vancouver to Whistler with a Small-Group Tour
  • From Vancouver to Whistler by Bus
  • From Vancouver to Whistler with a Private Tour
  • From Vancouver to Whistler by Car
  • From Vancouver to Whistler by Taxi
  • From Vancouver to Whistler by Helicopter

1. From Vancouver to Whistler by Seaplane

Seaplane on Green Lake in Whistler

Without a doubt, the most dramatic way to experience a trip from Vancouver to Whistler is to fly in by seaplane with Harbour Air or Whistler Air. The excitement starts the moment you board the small plane from Vancouver Harbour and doesn't stop until you come to a floating stop in Whistler's Green Lake .

A seaplane flight offers the opportunity to take in the Coastal Mountains from above, revealing mountain peaks, glaciers, lush high meadows, and alpine lakes that you wouldn't get to see any other way. At about 35 minutes each way , the journey is short — but the memories will last a lifetime.

Whistler Air and Harbour Air floatplane trips from Vancouver are only offered from late spring to mid-autumn , so if you're heading up for a ski trip, then unfortunately this option isn't for you. Of the transportation methods on this list, flying in by seaplane is among the most expensive — but also the most breathtaking. In this case, the journey is just as epic as the destination itself.

The short travel times mean that you can easily make a trip out to Whistler and back to Vancouver in a single day, while still having plenty of time to explore Whistler's attractions . Transport from most downtown Vancouver area hotels to Vancouver Harbour is included, as is the shuttle from the seaplane base to Whistler.

2. From Vancouver to Whistler with a Small-Group Tour

Snowcapped mountains outside of Vancouver

When you're short on time but eager to experience as much as possible, consider booking a guided small-group day trip up to Whistler . This is a good option for those who would rather leave the planning and logistics to the pros.

The small-group day trips include the trip up and down the Sea to Sky Highway on a comfortable coach bus, but they're more than just a way of getting from the city to the mountains. Trips include an experienced guide who will fill you in on what to look out for on the journey. The coach stops at the most picturesque spots along the route, and you have the opportunity to sign up for optional excursions and activities to enjoy while you're in Whistler.

If you've only got a day to spare but you want to see what Whistler is all about, consider booking a small-group day tour to make the most of your time.

3. From Vancouver to Whistler by Bus

Aerial view of the Sea to Sky Highway

The Sea to Sky Highway , extending from West Vancouver to Whistler, is one of the most scenic trips to take in Canada . When you opt to ride the bus up to Whistler, you don't have to worry about navigating the twisting highway or possibly snowy conditions yourself — you simply get to sit back, relax, and take in the sights.

Whether you're starting from the Vancouver International Airport or downtown Vancouver, the bus is a low-stress and easy way to get to Whistler. Roomy and comfortable, buses offer Wi-Fi access — though you're definitely going to want to put down your phone to take in the scenery on the way up.

It's generally a good idea to book your bus trip in advance to guarantee a spot, especially if you're traveling during the busy winter and summer seasons. If you can, try to board the bus early and grab a seat on the left side (or, if you're coming down from Whistler to Vancouver, on the right side), as this will offer the best views of Howe Sound along the way.

If you are traveling to Whistler directly upon your arrival by air, a shuttle right from the airport will be more convenient than the downtown pickup points of the regular bus service. Whistler Shuttle leaves from Vancouver International Airport, maintaining a regular schedule or offering meet-and-greet service from the airport, with arrival directly to your hotel in Whistler.

4. From Vancouver to Whistler with a Private Tour

View of Howe Sound and the road from Vancouver to Whistler

If you prefer to do things at your own speed but still want to sit back and enjoy the ride, a private tour from Vancouver to Whistler might be just what you're after.

A private tour allows you the opportunity to create a trip customized to your interests, with the convenience and benefits of having a local guide to show you the way. No need to worry about traffic, weather, or navigating the route — the driver of your private car or van will take care of that while offering you the insider info you can only get on a guided tour.

The tour passes through Stanley Park as you leave Vancouver over the Lion's Gate Bridge. At stops along the way, your guide explains the history of a copper mine at Britannia Beach, leads you up the trails to 335-meter (1,105-foot) Shannon Falls, and walks you to horseshoe-shaped Brandywine Falls (summer only) . Admission to these parks is included, although a ride on the Peak2Peak Gondola at Whistler is not.

The tour provides ample time to take a ride to the top and soak in the awe-inspiring views. The tour also stops in Squamish where you'll be able to see climbers testing their skills on the imposing Stawamus Chief.

A private tour is another great way to experience Whistler in a day. It costs more than a small-group day tour, but if you value flexibility and individual attention, this might be your preferred way to get from Vancouver to Whistler and back.

5. From Vancouver to Whistler by Car

Alta Lake, Whistler

There's nothing like a good old-fashioned road trip, and many people opt to rent a car from the city to drive themselves up to Whistler along Highway 99 .

The obvious advantage here is that you can do exactly what you want when you want: you can leave when you want, make stops and detours as you see fit, and hop in your car at any time once you're in Whistler to make side trips.

However, there are some drawbacks to consider. First, if you're going to be traveling from October to April , make sure your rental car has winter tires — it's the law, and you definitely won't want to be caught without them in winter conditions.

Second, parking in Whistler can get pricey. Free parking in peak season is virtually non-existent, and finding an available spot on the weekends can be a challenge.

Finally, a lot of people find that once they're in Whistler, they don't actually need a car, especially if they are staying in Whistler Village . Everything in and around the Village is very walkable, including access to the gondolas up Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains . Most attractions that take place outside the village offer easy transportation options, so you probably won't need a car for those either.

6. From Vancouver to Whistler by Taxi

Lions Gate Bridge en route to Whistler from downtown Vancouver

Whistler's taxi companies are generally happy to pick you up in Vancouver and take you up to Whistler, as long as you book your trip well in advance . This is a good option if your flight arrives at an unusual time that doesn't fit with the regular bus timetable, or if you're leaving from somewhere in Vancouver that isn't downtown and would prefer not to take multiple modes of transportation. If you're lugging lots of gear, the convenience of getting in a car at Point A and having someone drive you to Point B is unparalleled.

The con? Taxis can get pricey — so be prepared to pay a little extra for the convenience.

7. From Vancouver to Whistler by Helicopter

Aerial view of Whistler, BC

For dramatic views from the air and the convenience of flying straight from Vancouver Harbor, you can opt for a Whistler Helicopter Charter with Blackcomb Helicopters .

Travel time is only 30 minutes , and unlike seaplanes, the helicopter service operates year-round (weather permitting), making it the only air service for skiers in the winter. Or, If you're planning a fly-in, fly-out vacation, you can leave directly from Landmark South Terminal at the airport.

instagram logo

More on Canada

Canada Travel Guide

How to Travel From Vancouver to Whistler by Bus, Car, and Plane

trip vancouver to whistler

Karin Slade / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Whistler is one of the premier ski resorts not just in Canada, but in all of North America. It's located just 75 miles away from Vancouver , so it's also easily accessible from a major city with an international airport. If you have a car, driving is one of the easiest—and most scenic—ways to get there, but plenty of buses and shuttle services will bring visitors to the mountain from downtown Vancouver or the airport. For the quickest and most luxurious journey, you can go by seaplane or helicopter right to the summit.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Vancouver to Whistler?

If you are on your own, the cheapest way to get to Whistler is by bus or shuttle. There is no public transportation option for getting to Whistler, but the variety of bus companies keeps prices low. Single one-way fares for adults start from around $27–$75, depending on the company you choose and where you get picked up from.

Several companies offer scheduled bus service from the Vancouver International Airport  (YVR) and make multiple stops in Vancouver itself. Some even offer day lift passes plus return transportation at reasonable rates. Rides usually take between two and two and a half hours.

  • YVR-Whistler SkyLynx :  Want to book a ride upon arrival? YVR-Whister SkyLynx is the only bus transportation company with ticket counters located at the airport. The SkyLynx also stops in downtown Vancouver, so you can catch the bus from the city center if you prefer. Tickets start at $27 one-way.
  • Snowbus : This shuttle service offers transportation between Whistler and Richmond, Vancouver, and West Vancouver during the ski season, with one-way journeys starting at $32. You can get bus/lift ticket packages through Snowbus, too, so you can hit the slopes the moment you arrive.
  • Epic Rides : Epic Rides keeps it simple and affordable, offering one direct bus for Whistler in the morning and one return ride per day during the busy season. Tickets start at $28 for a one-way journey or $39 round trip.
  • Whistler Shuttle : This one requires you to book in advance, as it runs on a schedule that matches incoming and outgoing flights from Vancouver International Airport. If your inbound flight is delayed, there's no reason to sweat—staff monitors the air traffic and will wait for you if your plane is late. It is the most expensive shuttle option, starting at $75 for a one-way journey.

Tip: All of the Whistler bus and shuttle companies offer discounts if you buy a round-trip ticket. Save money by planning ahead and booking both trips together.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Vancouver to Whistler?

Even though Whistler is only 75 miles from Vancouver, you can get there in 40 minutes via seaplane or chartered helicopter. Harbour Air provides seaplanes from Vancouver Harbour directly to Whistler Blackcomb, with seats starting at about $174. With one-way flights starting at $3,375, Blackcomb Helicopters is more of a luxury transit for a private chartered ride, but it's the ultimate way to splurge on your vacation.

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

There is one major route to Whistler—straight up Highway 99, better known as the Sea to Sky Highway. Note that in winter, driving conditions can be challenging, so it's best to have an experienced driver at the wheel. If you aren't taking your own car, several car rental companies operate out of Vancouver Airport.

Taxis are available outside the Vancouver Airport and throughout the city and will cost about $180 to get to Whistler, so it's not a cheap option. You can often get discounts by booking ahead with companies like Whistler Taxi . Whistler Taxi has the advantage of vehicles that are equipped to take up to six passengers and their ski gear, so if you're traveling with a group, taking a cab and splitting the fare might be a convenient and affordable option.

There's a website called Poparide where drivers across Canada can offer up extra seats in their car to travelers for a modest price (often around $17–$20). Riders simply need to put in their pick-up and drop-off locations, in addition to their dates of travel (this is optional if you have a flexible schedule). The site will then list drivers who are making the journey on a variety of dates. Riders can also request specific routes at specific times to be matched with drivers. There are often a number of drivers traveling between Vancouver and Whistler, so it shouldn't be too hard to find a ride.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Whistler?

Whistler is best known for its ski resorts, and winter is the most popular time to visit these Olympic-grade slopes. If you're traveling by bus or shuttle, the ski season is the best time to travel to Whistler. These companies mostly cater to skiers and snowboarders and offer fewer services in the summer—assuming they don't shut down completely.

Even though you may have fewer bus options when summer arrives, the shuttles that do continue running are usually cheaper than in the high season of winter. If you have your own vehicle, driving in the summer or fall also means you don't have to worry about icy roads or tire chains.

What's the Most Scenic Route to Whistler?

Apart from taking a chartered plane ride through the mountains, the drive from Vancouver to Whistler—whether you drive yourself or take a shuttle—is one of Canada's most scenic drives . Nicknamed the Sea to Sky Highway, it's a breathtaking journey through mountains, temperate rainforests, and coastline, and it will leave you wishing for more time in the car.

What Is There to Do in Whistler?

The largest ski resort in North America, Whistler Blackcomb boasts 8,000-plus acres of skiable terrain, with enough bowls, chutes, groomers, and steeps to keep snow bunnies occupied throughout the duration of their trip. Vancouver's relatively temperate climate means top-notch snow with even better weather, so you can ski or snowboard on cloudless days with bright blue skies. In addition to riding the slopes, you can try snowshoeing, tubing, and dog sledding.

But Whistler doesn't shut down when the snow melts. On the contrary, summertime is filled with activities like alpine hiking, ziplining, mountain biking, and using the Peak-2-Peak gondola for unbeatable views.

If you're not into sports, you can still have fun any time of year. Scandinave Spa offers Scandinavian-style baths, hot tubs, and massages, while Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Center is a great way to learn about the local Squamish and Lil'wat peoples. For art lovers, you have your pick of galleries, including the Whistler Contemporary Gallery , the Audain Art Gallery , and the Fathom Stone Art Gallery .

You used to be able to take the Rocky Mountaineer between the two cities, but the rail-tour company stopped operating that particular line in 2015. You can, however, book its "Rainforest to Gold Rush" journey, which travels from Vancouver to Jasper via Whistler.

It can be; if you're driving or taking the bus, you can get to Whistler in 1.5 to two hours.

If you don't have a car, the easiest way to get to Whistler is to fly into Vancouver International Airport and from there, take a shuttle bus the rest of the way.

How to Plan the Ultimate Ski Vacation to Whistler, British Columbia

How to Travel From San Francisco to Lake Tahoe By Train, Bus, Car, and Plane

How to Travel From Newark Airport to Manhattan by Train, Bus, Car, and Shuttle

5 Reasons You Should Stay in Downtown Vancouver

How to Travel From BWI Airport to Washington, DC, by Train, Taxi, and Shuttle

Attractions and Hotels Near UBC in Vancouver, BC

Your Trip to Vancouver: The Complete Guide

Vancouver International Airport : Getting To and From YVR

How to Travel from Phoenix to Sedona by Bus, Shuttle, and Car

Planning a Trip to Fiji

Complete Guide to Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, BC

Where to Take the Kids in October

How to Travel From Cancun to Cozumel by Bus, Car, Ferry, and Plane

The Best Vancouver Day Trips

Skiing and Snowboarding Near Vancouver

How to Travel From Seattle to Vancouver by Train, Bus, Car, and Plane

Vancouver to Whistler: a 3-day itinerary

Tantalus Lookout

Things to do

Cap off a visit to Vancouver with a jaunt along the winding Sea-to-Sky Highway External Link Title . Drawing travelers from around the world for decades, this ocean-forest-and-mountain-lined route underwent a $600-million upgrade prior to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics External Link Title . Scenic as ever, it's no wonder so many car commercials are filmed here.

What does the drive look like?

  • Start by immersing yourself in Vancouver External Link Title 's laid back lifestyle for a day (think inner-city biking, paddling, and craft brewery hopping).
  • Then hit the Sea-to-Sky section of Hwy 99 for a 40-mile drive north to the industry-turned-outdoorsy town of Squamish — worth an overnight stop all in itself.
  • Onwards to the bustling alpine village of Whistler External Link Title and its plethora of activities, attractions, and all-you-can-want amenities. Indeed, there are good reasons why this four-season destination scoops up armfuls of awards External Link Title each year.

Experience big city lights and mountain town heights on this leisurely three-day road trip, passing island-dotted Howe Sound and waterfall-flushed peaks along the way.

People walking the Seawall in Vancouver

Day 1: Vancouver

Your starting point

Must-stops along the way

Whether indoor or outdoor, manmade or natural, Vancouver External Link Title 's numerous attractions make for one giant vacation playground. Here are just a few to help kick-start a day of discovery in British Columbia's biggest city.

  • Cycle the Seawall External Link Title : Pedal a section of this 17-mile waterfront path - the world's longest - or the entire thing. Either way you'll get to see the best of the city at your own pace. Cruise underneath the Lions Gate Bridge on your ride around Stanley Park External Link Title , then push past moored yachts in False Creek and sandy beaches in English Bay. Didn't pack a bike? Rent one External Link Title or even book a tour.
  • Granville Island External Link Title : Peruse fresh produce and craft stalls before nibbling lunch on the dock at the Granville Island Public Market External Link Title . Then scope out the city from another angle by kayak or stand-up paddleboard External Link Title .
  • Vancouver Brewery Tours External Link Title : Get a taste of B.C.'s burgeoning craft beer scene on a three-hour tour of three breweries. Sample award-winning suds like Brassneck Brewery External Link Title 's Klutz or East Van Brewing External Link Title 's Humble Hive Brown Ale.

From award-winning eateries to down-home local favorites -- and eclectic street vendors in between -- Vancouver has your stomach covered.

  • St. Lawrence External Link Title : Find out what all the fuss is about at this homey Quebecois bistro (it won Restaurant of the Year External Link Title in Vancouver magazine's Restaurant Awards 2018, and ranked fourth among enRoute magazine's Canada's Best New Restaurants 2018 External Link Title ). Here, haute country cooking -- fried pork rinds in maple syrup or venison meat pies - meets teal-blue walls, family photographs, and softly glowing brass lamps.
  • Pepino's Spaghetti House External Link Title : Newly opened in East Vancouver's colorful Commercial Drive neighborhood, Pepino's serves up Italian comfort food like chicken piccata and Nick's Style Meat Ravioli - the latter a nod to its locally loved predecessor, Nick's Spaghetti House, opened in 1955.
  • Vancouver Food Trucks External Link Title : Feel like gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches? Fully loaded Japanese-style hot dogs? Or spicy Bombay street food? More than 100 licensed vendors on wheels now roam the streets of Vancouver, offering a culturally diverse mix of choices. Catch a whole lot of them at a Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival External Link Title !

End your day

Hang your hat in some place new, true, or behind the scenes. You'll want to rest up for the high road tomorrow.

  • Parq Vancouver External Link Title : Choose from two luxury hotels at this new casino resort downtown. Bask in ocean, mountain, and city views from your softy hued room at the waterfront JW Marriott External Link Title , or connect with B.C.'s forestry roots from your wood-paneled perch in the Douglas External Link Title overlooking Parq's 30,000-square-foot sixth-floor rooftop garden.
  • Skwach?ys Lodge External Link Title : Gaping at gorgeous works of art could keep you up all night at Canada's first Indigenous arts hotel, on the edge of Chinatown. After perusing the gallery lobby, settle into one of 18 themed suites like the Hummingbird, Forest Spirits, or Longhouse.
  • Granville Island Hotel External Link Title : Tuck into quiet ambience at one of Vancouver's best-kept secrets. Enjoy wrap-around False Creek views in a Boardwalk suite or floor-to-ceiling windows in a Penthouse suite.

Two people explore the Squamish Britannia mine

Day 2: Squamish

Total drive time: 1 hour

Leave the city behind by heading north along the Sea-to-Sky corridor (Hwy 99). Known as the Adventure Capital of Canada for its hiking, mountain biking External Link Title and rock climbing External Link Title (the 2,300-foot-high Stawamus Chief towers over the townsite), Squamish External Link Title and its surroundings also promise pursuits of the more leisurely kind.

  • Britannia Mine Museum External Link Title : Make like a miner in 1914 and embark on an underground train ride through an early haulage tunnel. A popular movie set location, this National Historic Site is also home to a gold panning pavilion and several heritage buildings - take a peek inside cavernous Mill 3, where ore was once processed.
  • Shannon Falls Provincial Park External Link Title : A short, easy walk through a forest of hemlock, fir, and red cedar takes you to the viewing platform of B.C.'s third highest falls (1,100 feet).
  • Sea to Sky Gondola External Link Title : Amp up those Howe Sound vistas on a 10-minute gondola ride to lookouts, a suspension bridge, interpretive walking trail loops, and hiking trailheads .
  • Rope Runner Aerial Adventure Park External Link Title : Climb your way through a 56-foot-high outdoor maze of steel, wood, ropes, and wire . Surrounding Sea-to-Sky mountain views: priceless.

Once just a pit stop for gas and fast food, Squamish now halts weekend warriors in their SUV tracks with its expanding culinary offerings.

  • Backcountry Brewing External Link Title : Not yet two years old, this newcomer to the B.C. craft beer scene has already scored mugfuls of accolades - including first place in the 2018 B.C. Beer Awards External Link Title for its Suck It Trebek pale ale. Pair their brews with pizza in the '70s-ski-cabin-styled tasting room, complete with lanterns and trail-map-lined tabletops.
  • The Salted Vine External Link Title : A contender for Canada's Best New Restaurants 2017 External Link Title in enRoute magazine, this country-farmhouse-themed room serves up Pacific Northwest-inspired fare like fresh oysters, grilled Wagyu beef, and lingcod in dashi broth.
  • The Joinery External Link Title : Mix, match, and share locally-sourced meat and veggie plates inside an up-cycled glass-roofed greenhouse with wooden bar.

Fall asleep dreaming about mountain life in a warm and comfy inn, B&B, or cabin.

  • Howe Sound Inn External Link Title : After settling into your room with mountain views, soft-shoe on down to the onsite brewery External Link Title for house-made crab cakes, ale and cheddar soup, or a Garibaldi burger -- washed down with a rich Diamond Head Oatmeal Stout or tropical Hazy Daze Northeast IPA.
  • Squamish Highlands B&B External Link Title : Take in ocean and mountain scenery from one of two tastefully adorned rooms, best enjoyed while digesting the house veggie omelette , French toast, or eggs benedict.
  • Sunwolf External Link Title : Check into cozy cabins with vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, and gas fireplaces at this riverside resort just under nine miles north of Squamish in the community of Brackendale . Slated to reopen in mid 2019 after a fire destroyed its much-loved Fergie's Caf? External Link Title , Sunwolf also offers rafting and eagle float tours.

Whistler Blackcomb’s Peak2Peak Gondola

Day 3: Whistler

Total drive time: 45 minutes

Just a few snowball-throws up the road, Whistler External Link Title hums with skiers and boarders in winter and hikers and mountain bikers in summer. A compact pedestrian-friendly village at the base of two lift-accessed mountains, it makes for the perfect jumping-off point for adventure near and far.

  • Whistler Blackcomb External Link Title : Reach this resort's 200-plus runs and 8,150 acres of terrain via the world's first three-gondola connection. New for the 2018-2019 season, the 10-person Blackcomb Gondola will join the Peak2Peak and Village gondolas to form a nearly 8.5-mile loop. Which means less time waiting and more time schussing.
  • Cloudraker Skybridge External Link Title : Spanning 426 feet from Whistler Peak to the West Ridge, this seriously high walkway above the resort's Whistler Bowl joins up with the also-new Raven's Eye Cliff Walk platform - which means unreal views for summer sightseers.
  • Ziptrek Ecotours External Link Title : Hang in there for the one-and-a-quarter-mile Sasquatch Tour, the longest in North America. Or break things up across five shorter ziplines on the Bear Tour, ideal for first-time zippers. Either way, you'll appreciate the slopeside scenery below.

You don't have to go far in the village area to find a spot to nosh or apr?s-ski . Proven winners include Araxi External Link Title for farm-to-table fare, the Garibaldi Lift Co. External Link Title for elevated pub grub, and Hunter Gather External Link Title for craft beer and house-smoked goodness. But don't miss the newer one-of-a-kind players at the table too.

  • Umbrella Bar at the Roundhouse Lodge External Link Title : Amp up the mountain views by stepping out onto this popular lodge's latest addition - a round, wood-lined space serving cold brews and hot chocolate under a retractable roof.
  • First Nations Winter Feast & Performance External Link Title : Bite into baked bannock, cedar plank salmon, braised bison short ribs, and other Indigenous-inspired dishes at this twice weekly winter dinner - traditional dance on the side - at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre .
  • The Blue Room External Link Title : For a mere $20,000 CAD, you and your bestie could be whisked by helicopter to a secret cathedral-like ice cave for a five-course dinner, prepared by no less than Four Seasons Resort Whistler External Link Title executive sous chef David Baarschers . You only live once, right?

Rest your weary toque-topped head in a luxury hotel, townhome, chalet or condo External Link Title . Looking for something a little different? Whistler has those too.

  • Nita Lake Lodge External Link Title : Take a break from the bustling village and retreat to Whistler's only lakeside hotel. Kick back in rooms with heated floors and basalt-rock fireplaces, then ogle lake views over French plates - served up in the recently renovated Aura Restaurant's open-concept kitchen.
  • Pangea Pod Hotel External Link Title : Not your typical Japanese pod hotel, this new, hip and surprisingly comfortable accommodation boasts memory-foam mattresses, wood-lined walls, and storage spaces in its private sleeping spaces. Savor snacks and cocktails in the communal living room while people-watching from the ample windows.

Plan your Sea-to-Sky escape today. Visit the Hello BC External Link Title website.

Get inspired

Other articles you might enjoy

Fall Colours in Canada

Where to see fall colors in Canada

trip vancouver to whistler

The best spots in Canada for a romantic getaway

Tyax Wilderness Resort in Gold Bridge, BC

5 New Year’s resolutions to check off in Canada

person walking their bike down a cobblestone street

The best of Canada’s vibrant cities from coast to coast to coast

english bay

Five of Canada’s best beaches near the city

CN Tower EdgeWalk

8 urban adventures to try in Canada

trip vancouver to whistler

Cherry blossoms across Canada

trip vancouver to whistler

Experience Indigenous culture in the heart of the city

trip vancouver to whistler

Your Getaway Guide to Vancouver and Beyond

  • Whistler Bus Schedule
  • Pick Up Locations
  • Bus to Whistler from Vancouver
  • Private bus
  • Bus to Whistler from UBC
  • Bring Bikes for Free!
  • Multi-passes
  • Bus to Whistler FAQ
  • Cancellations and Changes

Your Express Bus to Whistler

$44 Round Trip

$33½ One Way

Affordable and Direct

The Epic Rides express Bus to Whistler from Vancouver is hassle-free, direct and affordable. We are the only bus company offering direct, non-stop service between Vancouver and Whistler Village on every trip with an average trip time of 1:45 from downtown.

We transport more than 200,000 passengers per year between Vancouver and Whistler and are the #1 recommended company by Vancouver and Whistler locals as well as proud Tourism Whistler and Tourism Vancouver members!

Click here to see our schedules.  Or if you’re ready to ride, you can  Book now.

Why EpicRides is the #1 Recommended company for Whistler transportation:

All inclusive fares guaranteed.

We guarantee our fares all year round, no hidden cost.

Most Affordable!

We have the best rates for bus rides in town!

Safety Measures

Overall safety in-vehicle tracking to ensure a safe, smooth ride.


We keep our departures on time no matter what the weather.

Customer service support

Our office hours are 9am-7:30pm, 7 days a week. 604-349-1234

Bring Luggage and gear for free

We do not limit luggage and you can bring a bike and skis for free.

Most Departures

We offer the most departure between the 2 cities.

Vancouver Downtown Direct Service

1:45 from downtown Vancouver and Whistler Village.

Free changes for account holders

Tickets booked through your account can make changes for free.

Discount for Groups

Call us to book groups of 6 or more passengers.

Multi Pass From $25/Round trip

Introducing Multi pass for our frequent traveller, learn more

Quick, Easy, Affordable!

  • $44 Round Trip between Vancouver downtown and Whistler.
  • $33.50 One Way between Vancouver downtown and Whistler.
  • Multi Trip Pass – Vancouver downtown and Whistler. ( click for more )
  • Discounts for groups of 6 or more and children under 12 (call the office).
  • $0 for Luggage, Skis or Bikes.
  • No maximum luggage allowance (within reason)
  • Express, non-Stop Service Between Vancouver and Whistler on every trip with an average trip time of 1:45.
  • Affordable, Private Bus Service Available. ( click for more )
  • Epic Rides is the ONLY company that DOES NOT cancel buses during temporary road closures.
  • The only company with  no hidden fees or extra charges . $44 round trip from downtown guaranteed!

trip vancouver to whistler

Vancouver to Whistler

Start your trip now..

The Epic Rides Express Bus to Whistler is hassle free and affordable. Book your transportation between Vancouver and Whistler online with our easy to use booking engine, or call our office 7 days a week to assist in the booking process.

Did you know?

EpicRides is the only true direct, non-stop service between Vancouver and Whistler.

EpicRides is a Locally owned and operated company since 2012.

You can take all luggage, skis, bike for free on an EpicRides shuttle.

EpicRides only company that offers an all-inclusive fare, no hidden fees.

Your trip between Vancouver and Whistler is only 1:45 minutes.

EpicRides has the newest luxury shuttles on the Sea to Sky corridor.

EpicRides is paperless, no need to print your ticket to check in.

EpicRides uses Canadian made, non-chemical disinfectants on all our buses.

EpicRides offers multi passes for our frequent travellers starting as low as $25 per round trip.

EpicRides is the #1 Recommended company by Vancouver and Whistler Locals.

EpicRides offers an on-time service.

EpicRides never cancels a departure due to road closure.

EpicRides offers most flexible cancellation and change policy.

Before EpicRides started, the average bus fare to Whistler was over $100.

EpicRides offers the most departure times from each city.

What people say about us

Excellent service from Scott and Epic Rides. Fast, efficient, friendly and unreal value for money. Most other options were gonna be at least $100. Perfect pick up location downtown and straight to Whistler village. Highly recommended!

The ride with Scott and epic rides was great! The value was by far the best option we were able to find for getting to Whistler. The ride was punctual and we made great time getting to our destination. It was wonderful to be dropped off at the front door four hotel! Would use this again if returning to Whistler.

Couldn't make my return trip on time, email Scott and the situation was easily resolved, no Greyhound politics here! Thanks Epic Rides and Scott :)


Bus to Whistler from Vancouver and back with Epic Rides, affordable Vancouver-to-Whistler shuttle with a year-round Whistler bus schedule.

Quick Links

  • Book Downtown

Get In Touch

  • 604 349 1234
  • [email protected]
  • 522 Moberly Rd Vancouver, BC V5Z 4G4
  • © 2024 Epic Rides
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Cancellation & Change Policy

2 Day Itinerary For A Super Scenic Drive From Vancouver To Whistler

This site uses affiliate links and we may earn a small commission when you use our links and make a purchase without incurring additional fee yourself. Many thanks for supporting this website. Please see our disclosure page for more details.

Looking to do a weekend trip from Vancouver ? A quick and easy one is the drive from Vancouver to Whistler along the Sea to Sky Highway . Also known as BC Highway 99, the scenic route hugs the shore of Howe Sound, with many awe-inspiring sights along the way. This 2-day itinerary encompasses exciting things to see and do on your Vancouver road trip to Whistler!

trip vancouver to whistler

Whistler Lost Lake / Photo Credit: Jasmine Chen

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!).

Weekend Trip from Vancouver: Seeing Whistler in the Summer

Morning:   Plan to depart Vancouver early (ideally at around 7 am) as we have a lot to cover on the first day!

Head north on Hwy 99 towards Squamish and Whistler. Approximately halfway through the drive (~1 hour), watch for signs to Shannon Falls . This impressive sight stands at 335 meters as the third highest waterfall in British Columbia . With the cooling waters and soothing sounds of the waterfall, you can find a little zen in this natural wonder.

Shannon Falls Vancouver Sea to Sky Highway

Shannon Falls

The hike to Shannon Falls is an easy walk from the parking lot, with multiple viewpoint platforms for photos.

Pro tip: For a more up-close view of Shannon Falls, tackle the Upper Shannon Falls Hiking Trail. The 7 km route is one of the popular hikes in Squamish and represents the bottom section of the larger Sea to Summit Trail. If you choose to do this, make sure you wear hiking boots and leave at least 4 hours for the activity.

[irp posts=”7620″ name=”Planning A Canadian Rockies Road Trip: What To Do In Banff In Fall”]

Next stop: Sea to Sky Gondola .  A short 10-min gondola ride takes you 849 meters above sea level .

At the summit, you will have access to the 100 m-long Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge and numerous hiking trails  with views that will leave you awe-struck.

Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge at Sea to Sky Gondola

Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge / Photo Credit: Jasmine Chen

A walking trail that is relatively easy is the 1.6 km-long Panorama Trail . It winds through the lush forest and at the halfway point, it leads to the Chief Overlook Platform where you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Howe Sound fjord, Mamquam Valley, Mt. Atwell and the mighty Stawamus Chief. The walk will take no longer than 20 mins. Click here for the trail map at Sea to Sky Gondola.

Chief Lookout Platform at Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish

Chief Lookout Platform

Hop back in the car and continue onward. Make a quick stop at Brandywine Falls – another iconic landmark along the Sea to Sky Highway. Compared to Shannon Falls, it is tiny, dropping from a 70 m-tall cliff into the valley below. Nonetheless, it is a spectacular sight and one of the most photographed waterfalls near Whistler.

Brandywine Falls, Squamish

Brandywine Falls

Adventurous hikers can take on the challenge to find the unofficial, unmarked trail down to the base of the falls. We attempted to do so but gave up midway for fear of getting lost – and also it just seemed too dangerous as it required us to climb down a pile of boulders.

Brandywine Falls

view on the unmarked trail to the base of Brandywine Falls

Noon: You are fairly close to Whistler. From Brandywine Falls, you will arrive at the world famous Whistler Village  in just 15 mins.

Relax and have lunch at Table Nineteen . This lakeside eatery is located at Nicklaus North Golf Course, overlooking the glacier-fed Green Lake. In warm weather months, their outdoor patio is the perfect place to enjoy the sunshine and indulge in the mountain surroundings as you sip on some cocktails!

Table Nineteen Whistler

Table Nineteen

Afternoon: Want to explore Whistler from the air? Then, you must go on a seaplane tour with Whistler Air ! Imagine flying beyond the Whistler Valley, traveling deep into the mountains, and soaring above the majestic glaciers. It’s one of the top things to do in Whistler in the summer and will leave you the memory of a lifetime!

The tour company offers different tours of varying duration and prices, all departing from their base on the Green Lake. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind experience!

Whistler Air seaplane tours

Whistler seaplane

[irp posts=”10590″ name=”10 Fun Weekend Getaways From Vancouver For Couples”]

Spend the rest of your afternoon at Scandinave Spa Whistler for a complete relaxation. Unlike other spas in Whistler Village, this Nordic-inspired day spa offers a traditional Scandinavian baths experience that uses hydrotherapy to cleanse the body and improve circulation. On top of that, its peaceful environment allows you to disconnect from the busy daily life and escape from all the worries!

Scandinave Spa Whistler

Scandinave Spa Whistler / Photo taken by Jasmine Chen

So what exactly are Scandinavian baths? It’s quite simple. It  consists of  the following 3 stages  to help you refresh and rejuvenate:

  • First, heat the body in hot baths, eucalyptus steam bath, sauna, or thermal waterfalls for 10-15 mins
  • Immediately after, cool the body in Nordic waterfall, cold baths, or cold shower for 5-20 secs
  • Finally, relax in a solarium, by an outdoor fireplace, or in a hammock for 10-15 mins
  • Repeat the hot-cold-relax cycle 3-4 times to release the tensions in the mind and body

Scandinave Spa Whistler is the proud recipient of several awards including Best Whistler Spa and Top 50 Spas in Canada . You are guaranteed to look and feel your best after your visit!

Scandinave Spa Whistler

Scandinave Spa Whistler

trip vancouver to whistler

After your spa visit, check in at your hotel and stroll the charming Whistler Village . The Village is full of shops, boutiques and galleries to keep you busy.

Note:   Most places are within walking distance. I personally find the town a bit difficult to navigate compared to Banff. So I strongly advise familiarizing yourself with the area with this map of Whistler Village .

Dinner: There are plenty of places to eat in Whistler Village. For a memorable dinner in Whistler, we recommend Araxi Restaurant & Oyster Bar . Their menu features the freshest seafood and farm-fresh fare that offer unforgettable tastes.

Araxi Restaurant & Oyster Bar Whistler

Araxi Restaurant & Oyster Bar

This popular Whistler Village restaurant does not disappoint, earning a place in this year’s 100 Best Restaurants in Canada and  Best Whistler Restaurant by Georgia Straight!

[irp posts=”7658″ name=”Planning A Canadian Rockies Road Trip: What To Do In Jasper In Fall”]

Evening:  Whistler has a buzzing nightlife with many bars, lounges and nightclubs spring into life after dark. If partying is not up your alley, check out Whistler’s newest attraction – the  Vallea Lumina  experience .

At sundown, join other adventurers on a multimedia night walk  into the enchanted forest of Cougar Mountain. The spectacular evening of lights and sound brings the forest to life as you set off a journey into finding two missing hikers in a hidden valley.

vallea lumina Whistler

Vallea Lumina / Photo Credit: Jasmine Chen

It was a mind-blowing experience for us. We just had one piece of advice – be prepared to be dazzled by the dancing lights, captivating sounds, and high-tech special effects!

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Want to explore Whistler in the summer? This 2-day itinerary details all the exciting things to see and do along the drive from Vancouver to Whistler.” quote=”Maximize your next Whistler trip with these incredibly fun activities!” theme=”style3″]

Morning:   Wake up early to catch the sunrise! A sunrise paddle on one of Whistler’s lakes would be a wonderful way to start your day in this natural paradise.

Rainbow Park on Atla Lake  is reportedly one of the best sunrise viewpoints in Whistler.  Lost Lake also offers gorgeous mountain views in the early morning, but be warned that this is a nudist dock.

Lost Lake sunrise Whistler

Lost Lake sunrise

Treat yourself to a hearty breakfast at The Wildflower at Fairmont Chateau Whistler   after the beautiful Whistler sunrise . At their bounteous buffet ($35 pp), you will find a wide selection of breakfast delights such as egg benedict, omelette, and smoked fish, ensuring you are full of energy to start the day. Of course, you can also opt for an a-la-carte breakfast.

breakfast buffet at Fairmont chateau Whistler Wildflower

breakfast at The Wildflower

Now that you are all fueled up, it’s time to get some action going! Whistler offers an exciting collection of things to do in the summer.

Looking for something adventurous? Ride the Whistler Gondola (aka Peak 2 Peak Gondola). The horizontal lift connects two mountaintops at the record-breaking distance of 3.024 km apart.

Peak 2 Peak Gondola Whistler

Peak 2 Peak Gondola / Photo Credit: Destination BC (Blake Jorgenson)

For the thrill seekers and daredevils out there, the Whistler Peak Suspension Bridge (officially known as the Cloudraker Skybridge) will sure get your adrenaline pumping. The 130 m-long wobbling bridge hovers 2000 meters above sea level with exhilarating views of the surrounding mountains.

Whistler Suspension Bridge Cloudraker Skybridge

Cloudraker Skybridge / Photo Credit: Tourism Whistler (Justa Jeskova)

Note:  In addition to the gondola and chairlift, Peak 2 Peak 360 Experience Summer Ticket will give you access to the new Cloudraker Skybridge and Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk. More details here .

Other summer activities for adventure-loving travelers in Whistler include ziplining, helicopter tours, whitewater-rafting, canoe or kayak, bungee jumping, and ATV tours.

[irp posts=”10896″ name=”8 Best Places To Spend Christmas In Canada For A Romantic Winter Escape”]

Lunch:   Grab a quick bite at Peaked Pies .  Whether you like sweet pies or savoury pies, this bakery cafe has got your covered. All pies are made fresh daily and everything is handmade in store to ensure the best taste possible!

Peaked Pies in Whistler

Peaked Pies / Photo Credit: Peaked Pies

Afternoon:   It’s time to hit the road and  drive back to Vancouver , but our journey does not end here.

[irp posts=”8802″ name=”3 Days In Vancouver: A Delicious Itinerary For Foodies”]

On the way back, stop by Whytecliff Park by Horseshoe Bay. The oceanside park boasts beautiful scenery of the rugged coastline, stunning mountain range and passing ships.

The Lighthouse Park is another must-see in the West Vancouver district. Besides the lighthouse, there are several easy trails along the shores of Burrard Inlet offering spectacular coastal views.

Point Atkinson Lighthouse in West Vancouver

Point Atkinson Lighthouse / Photo Credit: Tourism Vancouver

[irp posts=”8756″ name=”Vancouver Date Ideas: 10 Romantic Things To Do In The Summer”]

Other attractions to Consider If You Have Extra Time

In Squamish, there are endless hiking trails and mountains to explore. Alice Lake Provincial Park , comprised of 4 lakes, has a relatively easy trail (6.5 km) that runs around them all. Stawamus Chief Hiking Trail (11 km) is a bit more challenging yet rewarding. It leads you to 3 different summits with magnificent views from each.

Garibaldi Provincial Park is a popular park in between Squamish and Whistler. A short and easy trail (3.5 km) worth checking out is the one to the turquoise Cheakamus Lake.

Cheakamus Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Hiking on Whistler’s High Note trail, above Cheakamus Lake and Garibaldi Provincial Park / Photo Credit: Destination BC (Andrew Strain)

In Whistler, go chasing waterfalls! Rainbow Falls, Nairn Falls, and Alexander Falls are some of the best ones to add to your list.

Accommodations in Whistler

Looking for a high-quality place to stay? Fairmont Chateau Whistler and Four Seasons Resort Whistler  are top places to consider in the luxury category. Both are a walkable distance away from the Whistler Village.

Nita Lake Lodge is also considered one of the best hotels in Whistler. It is a short ride away from the Village and locates on the shores of Nita Lake (hence the name!).

Not sure which hotel to book? Click here to compare prices on TripAdvisor!

Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish

Photo taken by Jasmine Chen

A summer road trip to Whistler is a lot of fun – especially with the addition of new attractions like Vallea Lumina and Whistler Peak Suspension Bridge! If you’re looking for a different getaway from Vancouver, consider Richmond for a romantic couples weekend.

To give you a chance to explore Whistler this summer, we have partnered up with The Adventure Group to give away a pair of tickets to the Vallea Lumina experience!

Vallea Lumina Giveaway – CLOSED

Enter to  win 2 tickets to Vallea Lumina.  This is a fantastic opportunity for you to experience the immersive, multimedia night walk this summer in Whistler’s forests!! This season runs till October 15th, 2018. If you are unable to use them this year, an arrangement can be made to extend to next year.

The contest ends on Sept 11th, 2018 . 1 lucky winners will be announced on the very next day.

Try your luck now by entering the contest with the widget below:

Road Trip Guide to Sea to Sky Highway


Whistler Itinerary

Disclaimer: This post is written in partnership with Tourism Vancouver, The Adventure Group, and Scandinave Spa Whistler. As always, all opinions on For Two, Please are our own and we only recommend brands that we 100% stand behind.

Need inspiration for your next couple's escape? Then, you're at the right place. Sign up to receive the latest travel inspiration and a FREE travel bucket list with 140 ideas for your next couple's getaway!

Awesome! We're almost done. Now check your inbox to get your copy of the Ultimate Travel Bucket List for Couples.

There was an error submitting your subscription. Please try again.

You May Also Like:

one of the rooms at villa eyrie resort near victoria bc

Indulge in Luxury: Top 10 Unique Places to Stay in Victoria BC

cherry blossom in victoria beacon hill park

The Ultimate Guide to Victoria’s Cherry Blossom Season: Best Places and Time to Go

horseshoe canyon drumheller alberta canada

25 Unique Things to Do in Southern Alberta

28 comments leave a comment ».

Shannon Falls looks absolutely amazing, but I’m not so sure about that suspension bridge. I’m terrified of heights, and your beautiful photo alone has my stomach down in my shoes! What savoury pie did you try at Peaked Pies?

Wow. Thats surely is one of the best trips. At least that’s what I felt reading through! Especially loved the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. Amazing variety too!

I remember driving this route on a family trip when I was a kid (I wasn’t the one driving, of course!) and I really want to go back to share it with my husband. Thanks so much for the tips for a weekend itinerary, taking in some stunning viewpoints along the way. The Scandinavian Spa in Whistler looks lovely.

Your drive from Vancouver to Whistler looks perfect with full of nature views with pampering yourself in between. I loved the Shannon falls and Brandywine falls and they are very photogenic. I can imagine that my camera’s memory would surely drain off on this road trip. Also pampering myself at Scandinavian spa would be a great idea because they have some unique hot and cold baths.

Reading your vacation story is very enjoyable. You look amazing in the photo when you are in suspension bridge. I will feel dizzy if I do that 🙂

My friend moved to Vancouver last year. I don’t know if he has been to Whistler. I’m gonna send this to him. Hiking to Shannon Falls sounds like the typical activity I’d enjoy. 4hrs doesn’t seem like a difficult trek as well. Cloudraker Sky Bridge sounds too good. I’d love to walk on it as well!

Wow! What a picturesque place! I love the sound of Whistler and now that I have images to put with the name, and an itinerary to make planning a trip so simple, I am definitely going to plan a visit there soon! But I should start getting my nerve up to cross the suspension bridge right now because my legs are going to water just looking at the picture.

I have done this drive, but we didn’t get to stop, get out and experience it. It was a gorgeous drive so I’d love to go back and do some of these things you suggest such as Shannon Falls and Brandywine Falls. I love waterfall and these are beautiful, especially that rainbow at Brandywine! That seaplane adventure also looks amazing! Vancouver and BC in general are so beautiful to me! After all of this, the Scandinavia Spa Whistler would most definitely happen. And the Vallea Lumina…oh my gosh, YES!!! Unique and amazing! It kind of reminds me of the Rain Room I visited in LA just with lights instead of rain. Is this a permanent thing to do or an exhibition? We did the Whistler Gondola and it was beautiful. Also glad to know there’s a Fairmont there, I love them!

I have been to Vancouver and expected to see the epic mountains and fabulous foods. The multimedia night walk and Valle Lumania really surprised me. I love night hikes and light shows. This is like peanut butter and jelly go together goodness. What a terrific idea.

This honestly sounds like my dream trip… all my favorite things (hiking, views, nature, spas, brunch, art) rolled into one trip. I entered your contest and if I win… maybe I will be making some last minute October travel plans haha!

I typically don’t like using other people’s itineraries when I travel, but this is one I am going to have to save on my Pinterest board! Shannon Falls is BEAUTIFUL!! I’m obsessed with waterfalls, and the adrenalin rush from the suspension bridge looks like it is right up my alley 🙂

Wow…Such a detailed itinerary. I loved each photo posted in the article. Everything looks so breathtaking. The 100 m-long Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge looks amazing. The nature at its best. This is the perfect itinerary for scenic drive from Vancouver to whistler summer. The Whistler Peak Suspension Bridge and Rainbow Park on Atla Lake are my favorite 🙂 Great read

I did this drive myself a couple years ago and had a blast, I mean the views are spectacular on their own. I stopped by Shannon falls as well. But that suspension bridge looks just amazing, and I have always wanted to stay at a scandinave spa! so cool

Yay for cocktails at Table Nineteen, haha! We really need to do more road trips — they’re perfect for summer and fall. Shannon Falls is beautiful 🙂 Will have to check out the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge too. Maybe a Canadian road trip is in our future in 2019!

First of all, I WANT A PEAKED PIE! Darn, do those look good! All you recent Western Canada posts make me want to go on a giant road trip there, it is such a beautiful area!

Wow, what exciting travel Itinerary you have, and such gorgeous destinations as well.

All The images are very beautiful and eye-catching. I hope I would travel to this place once a day and turn my visuals into reality.

What extraordinary scenery! Whistler in the summer may even be prettier than it is during ski season. The itinerary from Vancouver is well-thought out, and a combination of hiking, flightseeing with the float planes, and spa relaxation look like a great mix.

Okay the night walk looks absolutely amazing! I wish I was closer and I’d totally enter to win those tickets. Also, why aren’t suspension bridges a thing everywhere? I love them! I used to live in Washington and I’m kicking myself for not exploring more North.

Hi, that’s a great list of to-do things 🙂 If I were to choose just one of them, I’d go for Whistler Peak Suspension Bridge. It looks awesome!

Pingback: Canada Travel tip: Peak 2 Peak or Sea to Sky Gondola - we12travel blog

Pingback: Seattle to Whistler: 7-Day Itinerary | Campfires & Concierges

Pingback: 10 Fun Weekend Getaways From Vancouver For Couples | For Two, Please

just wondering if nay of these activities are doable for a 80 year old or more for the young.

Hi! Shannon Falls and the lakes in Whistler are pretty easy to get to from the parking lot.

We are planning our first trip to BC combined with an alaska passage cruise, your guide to Whistler is perfect and really useful for us to start planning this part of the trip. Thanks for sharing all you excellent tips.

Hope you have a great time in Whistler!!

Amazing photos ! love to go anytime soon. wonderful places to visit.Thanks for sharing

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cat & Kev of For Two, Please, taken in Calgary, Canada

Hi, we are Cat + Kev , an adventure-loving couple committed to help young couples find daring adventures, food encounters, and luxury escapes unique to a destination. Let us show you how to eat like a local, travel like a pro!

more about us » 認識我們

let us help you plan a dream trip to Banff

Looking For Something?

SIGN UP to get 100+ bucket list ideas for your next couple's getaway:

Soft Adventure Travel For Two Please Couples Travel Blog

Do You Need To Rent A Car?

Find Your Rental Car

For Two, Please is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

  • Back to Top
  • Work With Us
  • Write For Us
  • Privacy Policy

©2024 For Two, Please . All Rights Reserved. Design by Purr .

Garibaldi Provincial Park, Canada taken at sunset with a rocky landscape in the foreground, a lake and mountains in the distance.

Road Trip from Vancouver to Whistler

If you're looking for a short but impossibly scenic adventure, then the epic road trip from Vancouver to Whistler is right up there with the best of them. Witness incredible scenery along the way, while passing through some charming towns.

The 120km road trip from Vancouver to Whistler takes 1 hour 30 minutes to drive. Key stops include Lions Bay Beach Park, Shannon Falls, Squamish, Cypress Provincial Park and Brunswick Beach, as well as Alice Lake Provincial Park and Brandywine Falls.

There are loads of great places to visit on this simple but stunning route, so be sure to read on until the end to find out more about them - as well as where to stay, what to see, and the best time of year to make your road trip from Vancouver to Whistler.

How far is Whistler from Vancouver and how long will the road trip take?

The road trip between Vancouver and Whistler spans a distance of 120km.

Typically, it would take about 1 hour and 30 minutes of non-stop driving to get between the two destinations. So you could easily complete a return trip in a single day.

However, with so many fantastic national parks and other places of interest dotted throughout the route, a better option would be to plan in an overnight stop which would then allow you to see them all in more detail.

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada with a view of the Alta Lake in the foreground and trees lining the shore with snow-capped mountains in the distance on a sunny day.

Best road trip route from Vancouver to Whistler

You can get from Vancouver to Whistler via a number of different highways and back roads. However the most popular route, and the one we recommend, will take you along the wonderfully named Sea to Sky Highway.

Also known as the British Columbia Highway 99, this is a major thoroughfare that will take you from the US Border all the way north to Cache Creek.

Essentially, as this is one straight road, the journey is a fairly uncomplicated one to drive.

Road trip route from Vancouver to Whistler

From Vancouver, take the British Columbia Highway 99 north across the Lions Gate Bridge. This section of road is known as the Sea to Sky Highway, as it literally takes you from the sea at Vancouver, to the gorgeous big sky country of Pemberton, which lies just north of Whistler.

Follow the road past Cypress Falls Park, you could take an optional detour to visit Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, or continue following the coast past Charles Creek, alongside the stunning Cypress Provincial Park.

Continue north and pass Lions Bay, Brunswick Beach, Porteau and Britannia Beach.

A little further north and you will arrive at Shannon Falls Provincial Park - a worthy stop - before taking the exit to Squamish, a town surrounded by mountains and great attractions. Stop here for the night if time allows, before continuing back on the Sea to Sky Highway.

From here you will leave the sea behind and continue through Canada's stunning mountains. Pass Alice Lake Provincial Park, and continue north to the town of Garibaldi.

As you drive alongside Daisy Lake, you will pass Brandywine Falls Provincial Park before driving a short distance further to Whistler.

Best places to stop between Vancouver and Whistler

While you could complete this trip in a single day, a much better option is to include one overnight stop en route.

There are a number of great hotels available, but of all the places you'll pass en route, these are the ones you'll want to look out for:

Explore the mountains at Squamish

Located at the northern tip of the Howe Sound and halfway to Whistler, Squamish is a great base for visiting the Sea to Sky Gondola, Shannon Falls, Stawamus Chief Park and Alice Lake Provincial Park.

Squamish, British Columbia, Canada taken as a panoramic aerial view of the town, surrounded by boats and mountains with a dense forest on a clear sunny day.

Framed by craggy mountains, Squamish is also a haven for those who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, wind surfing and rock climbing.

There are a few fantastic options for a comfortable stay in this pretty town, but one of the best places is Executive Suites Hotel and Resort, Squamish . Located just near Sea to Sky Gondola and offering free parking, it's conveniently situated with an incredibly scenic mountain backdrop.

After spending the day in your car or hiking in the nearby landscape, the hotel's indoor swimming pool and hot tub are the ideal way to relax. The hotel also features an on-site bar, perfect for refreshments after a long day enjoying the great outdoors.

A luxury stay at Whistler

After arriving in Whistler, why not plan a few nights to explore all that this fantastic town has to offer?

Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, Canada taken in winter with snow covering the tress in the foreground and the valley and mountains in the distance, taken on a sunny day.

Home to Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America, it's an incredibly popular place for winter sports fans. Besides skiing and snowboarding, the area offers snowshoeing, tobogganing and ski jumping at an Olympic Park.

You don't have to ski however, to appreciate this lovely town. Take a walk to Pika's Traverse to see giant ice walls, or walk from one gondola to the other. It's a great base if you like hiking or visiting stunning parks, there's also great restaurants and shops to explore.

As for overnight accommodation, the resort's popularity means there's plenty of hotel options. One of our favorite resorts here is the 5-star Westin Resort & Spa . Just 150 meters from the Whistler Blackcomb gondola, this place provides sky-to-door access, setting you up to maximize your time in the mountains.

The luxury hotel comes with an outdoor swimming pool and two hot tubs, as well as a world class spa and wellness center onsite. As you would expect, rooms here are beautifully presented, making the most of its stunning setting with breathtaking views.

After packing in a full day exploring, guests here can relax by the stone fireplace in the lounge, eat at the hotel's onsite restaurant or simply watch the sun set against the mountains. For location and luxury, this one is hard to beat!

Things to see on a road trip from Vancouver to Whistler

The road trip from Vancouver to Whistler offers some fantastic places to visit and things to do on the way. You could easily spend a couple of weeks, or more, seeing them all.

If you don't have that length of time at your disposal, then this list includes some of the best things you won't want to miss:

Cypress Hill Provincial Park, SK, Canada taken at summer at dawn with grass and shrubs in the foreground and looking beyond to hills in mist in the distance.

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – 70-meter high suspension bridge that leads to a stunning treetop walk, where a series of bridges are connected along the tree canopy. This park also showcases some fascinating indigenous exhibits.
  • Cypress Provincial Park – Situated on the North Shore Mountains, this picturesque park is very popular amongst hiking and skiing enthusiasts. Enjoy great trails and stunning views of the surrounding area.
  • Lions Bay Beach Park – Located on the eastern shore of the Howe Sound, this well maintained park has a lovely grassy area and a pretty beach that has a protected swimming area.
  • Brunswick Beach – Discover a gravel beach that is set against the backdrop of a beautiful forest and accessed via a number of hiking trails.
  • Tunnel Bluffs Hike – Moderate hike to a viewpoint that showcases staggering views that look out towards Bowen Island, the Sunshine Coast and Horseshoe Bay.
  • Porteau Cove Lookout – This lovely park and campground is a popular spot for deep-sea divers. It also has a dock that conveys stunning views of the nearby islands.
  • Furry Creek Golf Course – Play a round at what is widely regarded as ‘British Columbia's most scenic golf course'. This 18-hole course is surrounded by snow peaked mountains, towering pine trees and the gorgeous Howe Sound Bay.
  • Britannia Mine – A former copper mine that operated for 70-years until 1974 and once held over 60,000 people – making it the largest copper mine in the British Empire. Today it's a heritage site, with a great museum that showcases the history of the mine and the area.
  • Shannon Falls – Visit this gorgeous 335 meter waterfall with an impressive cascade and featuring a well looked after wooden boardwalk with excellent rock climbing opportunities.
  • Sea to Sky Gondola – 10-minute gondola ride that will transport you to Summit Lodge, where the views of the Howe Sound, the Coast Range mountains, the Stawamus Chief and the town of Squamish are absolutely magnificent.
  • Stawamus Chief Park – An imposing 700m high granite dome that soars imperiously above a collection of fjords known as the Howe Sound. Divided in three separate summits, they all have sensational panoramic views of the area.
  • Squamish – Surrounded by mountains and nestled at the northern tip of the Howe Sound, this lovely town is a great spot for hiking, wind surfing and rock climbing. It is also a convenient overnight stop to visit a number of other nearby attractions.
  • Alice Lake Provincial Park – A picturesque area known for its surrounding mountain views, bosky alpine forest, verdant grassy areas and four freshwater lakes. It's also a great spot for fishing, camping, swimming, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding.
  • Tantalus Lookout – Sitting up on a 320-meter elevation, the views from this lookout are epic. Enabling you see inside the magnificent Diamond Head Crater, as well as the whole of Waikiki, and all the way to the ocean horizon.
  • Garibaldi Lake – A stunning turquoise lake accessed by a long hiking trail that takes you past meadows of pretty alpine flowers. The lake lies within Garibaldi Provincial Park, a wildlife protected area that features mountains, glaciers, forests and waterfalls.
  • Brandywine Falls – Spectacular 70-meter waterfall contained within a park that provides excellent opportunities for hiking and mountain biking. The park also has fabulous views of Daisy Lake and the surrounding mountains.
  • Train Wreck – One of the quirkier attractions along the route, discover the sight of where a train derailed in a forest in 1956. Subsequently graffitied, it is now a fascinating outdoor art exhibition.

Shannon Falls, Canada with a beautiful waterfall surrounded by tall green trees.

Best time to go on a road trip from Vancouver to Whistler

The road trip between Vancouver and Whistler can be undertaken all year round. That said, if you are hoping to ski, the best time to visit is between January to March. Visiting in winter means you will get fantastic scenery of snow covered mountains too.

Due to Whistler's coastal proximity, you will find temperatures in the winter months fairly moderate, averaging 12 degrees Fahrenheit. One draw back of travelling during this time however, is that hotel prices and visitor numbers will also be at their highest too.

You will also need to plan ahead and ensure you are prepared for driving through potentially snow-covered terrain - think snow chains, extra layers and plenty of supplies.

During April and May, with temperatures averaging between 22 and 37 degrees, Whistler emerges as an ideal destination for hiking. There's also stunning spring flowers to discover and the benefit of travelling during a quieter tourist season, means smaller crowds too.

You could also visit between June and July. The warmer weather, highs of 75 degrees, mean that you can make more of the coast on this road trip and spend some time on a beach or two.

Or if you'd rather avoid the summer crowds, this road trip can also be enjoyed during the fall, when the scenery is turning color and temperatures aren't yet too cold.

Finally, for those looking to combine the trip with a festival, as well as hosting a huge Pride and Ski Festival in January, Whistler is also known for its Beer Festival in September - a week of festivities that are sure to make your trip finish on a high.

Join our email list!

By joining our email list, you give LazyTrips permission to use your email for sending you newsletters, emails and updates including for marketing purposes. Your email will not be provided to third parties.

Related posts

Mt Ranier is a perfect road trip from Seattle

Whistler Adventures

Driving the Sea to Sky | A Vancouver to Whistler Itinerary

There are few road names as evocative as the Sea to Sky Highway, which spans the journey from Whistler to Vancouver. Stirring up images of dramatic coastlines, soaring peaks and endless panoramic views, it just begs to be explored. And luckily, this stunning drive from Vancouver to Whistler is right there for the taking. Any visitor to Whistler gets to experience the world-class views of the Sea to Sky Highway on their short trip from Vancouver.

While it’s possible to complete this day trip in less than 2 hours, it’s worth slowing down and really making the most of it. There’s tons to do and see along the beautiful highway, and Whistler will be waiting for you whenever you arrive. It would be impossible for us to list every great activity, attraction and viewpoint to fit into a day trip from Vancouver to Whistler. But we’ve picked a few of our favourites to give you the inspiration you’ll need to plan your own unforgettable road trip.

An Overview of the Trip: Vancouver to Whistler

First things first, there some basic things to know about driving the Sea to Sky Highway. Also known as Highway 99, the road from Whistler to Vancouver is around a 120km (75 mile) drive. If you drive it all in one go, it normally takes just under 2 hours from downtown Vancouver. Bear in mind, if you’re coming from Vancouver Airport it will take a little time to cross the city before you reach the highway. If you want to plan in detail, check out our guide to how to get to Whistler from anywhere in the world.

The Sea to Sky Highway: What to Expect  

trip vancouver to whistler

A taste of your journey on the sea to sky highway

From downtown Vancouver, Highway 99 takes you through Stanley Park, over the Lions Gate bridge and through Horseshoe Bay. From there, you’ll follow the winding coastal road along the Howe Sound to Squamish. The mighty granite face of the famous Squamish Chief towers over you as you pass through this small town – a world-famous mecca for rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking.

From there the Sea to Sky starts quickly climbing skyward. From sea level you’ll meander your way up to 650m elevation at Whistler. You’ll be treated to increasingly dramatic views of glacier-capped mountains, imposing ridgelines and roaring rivers. And before you know it, you’ll find yourself in the heart of Whistler, gazing up at the Peak to Peak gondola high above the valley.

Be Prepared: Road Conditions from Vancouver to Whistler

The Sea to Sky Highway quickly takes you from urban sprawl to mountain wilderness. With that in mind, it’s always worth checking the road conditions before you set off. The weather can be dramatically different between Whistler and Vancouver – rain at sea level can mean 30cm of snow in Whistler. Don’t be afraid to take it slow if snow or rain is forecast. In fact, it’s a good excuse to take a few more stops along the way and soak in the unique vibes of this part of the world.

One really important thing to know is that winter tires are required on all cars driving on the Sea to Sky Highway between October 1 and March 31. Summer tires simply don’t cut it on the ice and snow often found on this road. Check your vehicle before you leave to avoid hassle and any sketchy moments.

Road Trip: Driving from Vancouver to Whistler in Summer

Okay, with the practical details out of the way, it’s time for the fun stuff. We’ve chosen some of our favourite stops for a day trip from Vancouver to Whistler. If you have the time, stretch the trip out for a full day and discover some of these gems of the Sea to Sky. It’s a very different experience in summer and winter, so even if you’ve been before, you’re likely to find something new.

Explore Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Nestled right off the Highway, Porteau Cove offers truly unique views over the Howe Sound, taking in the ocean, distant islands and towering mountains in the distance. Stop for a picnic by the shore and keep an eye out for native seals, porpoises and sometimes even whales. There’s even scuba diving on offer here for those who want to explore the Howe Sound from a very different perspective.

Hike the Stawamus Chief

One of the most iconic rock formations in the world, the Stawamus Chief just begs to be climbed. The hike is short but steep, involving steep steps and pretty much constant uphill to reach the peak at over 700m. But the 360-degree views from the Pacific ocean to the deep mountains will make the pain so worthwhile. And it’s much easier on the way down. 

trip vancouver to whistler

Backcountry Brewing has arguably some of the best beer on Highway 99.

Grab a Bite at Backcountry Brewing

After all that exertion it’s time to stop of lunch. Squamish offers loads of great local restaurants and cafes, but our favourite has to be Backcountry Brewing. While the passengers can sample their locally brewed craft beers, even the designated driver will be satisified after wolfing down one of their home-made, wood-fired pizzas.

Be Awestruck by Brandywine Falls

Back on the road towards Whistler, you’ll find it hard to tear your eyes away from the views. But don’t miss the pull-out for Brandywine Falls just south of Whistler. These awe-inspiring falls thunder over a 70m drop, making the perfect backdrop for a family photo. And they’re easily accessible by a short, well-signposted walk from the parking lot.

Soar Over Whistler with Superfly Ziplines

You’ve reached Whistler and you’re looking for the perfect end to the day. Shake off the cobwebs and get the adrenaline pumping with a flight over Whistler valley with Superfly Ziplines . As you fly 600m above the ground at up to 100km/h, remember to take a moment to appreciate the views. It’s not often you get to fly like an eagle, and you might think it’s all over far too soon!

Road Trip: Driving from Vancouver to Whistler in Winter

We’re not sure whether the Sea to Sky is more beautiful in summer or winter. Certainly, there’s something to be said for the contrast between the snow-capped peaks and the bright blue water of the Howe Sound in winter. What’s certain is that there’s still plenty to explore, even if it looks a little chilly outside.

Dig Into History at the Britannia Mining Museum

A family favourite that’s not just for the kids, the Britannia Mining Museum has plenty to keep you entertained. The fascinating museum offers a glimpse into the history of the Sea to Sky, when you were more likely to find miners than skiers exploring these hills. You’ll find the museum just south of Squamish, halfway from Vancouver to Whistler. 

trip vancouver to whistler

Head to the top of the Chief in Squamish for a view of the highway below.

Get A Birds Eye View from the Sea to Sky Gondola 

The winter months make hiking in Squamish considerably more challenging. But there’s a more leisurely way to take in the views: the Sea to Sky Gondola. As you rise to 885m above sea level, you can take in the views of the Howe Sound stretching out into the Pacific. Once you arrive, enjoy fondue in the cozy lodge, or head outside for fun in the snow. Snowshoeing, hiking and tubing are all on offer at the peak.

Take in the Jaw-dropping Tantalus Mountains

When you’re back on solid ground and heading towards Whistler, there’s one view you simply can’t miss. Keep an eye out for the pullout for the Tantalus Lookout a few minutes north of Squamish. This view is quite something every day of the year. But the serrated ridges and ice-blue glaciers come into their own on a sunny winter’s day. You won’t regret stopping.

Touch the Sky with a Helicopter Tour

You’ve driven from Sea to Sky, but you’re yearning for more. The ultimate way to truly see Whistler at it’s best is to head up high on a helicopter tour . Soar above dramatic peaks and frozen lakes, swoop over ridges and get up close and personal with ancient glaciers. As your guide shows you the sights, you might have to pinch yourself to believe you’re really here.

Taste Local Beer at Coast Mountain Brewing

With all that adventure packed into one day, it’s time to take a deep breath and relax. To get a feel for the casual Whistler vibes, head to Coast Mountain Brewing in Function Junction. This funky, local craft brewery serves a rotating cast of top-quality craft beers. Besides tasting great, there’s a story behind the name of every drink that will give you a little insight into this town we love.

Epic Excursions from Vancouver to Whistler

That may sound like enough to keep you occupied for days. But in truth we’ve barely touched on what the epic drive from Vancouver to Whistler has to offer. If you’re looking for even more adventure, here’s a few other ideas to explore.

There are tons of campsites between Vancouver and Whistler, whether you fancy bedding down on the beach, cozying up by a lake or roughing it in the high alpine. Spending a night in the great outdoors gives you a true feel for this special part of the world. 

trip vancouver to whistler

Jaw dropping landscapes at Garibaldi Provincial Park

From short family-friendly round trips to multi-day backpacking adventures, the Sea to Sky is a hikers paradise. Garibaldi Provincial Park , which stretches from Squamish to Whistler, offers some of the best accessible hikes in the province, and rewards you with unforgettable views and true wilderness.

Mountain biking

Whistler and Squamish have earned their place in the history books of mountain biking. Read up on some of the famous local trails and head out to explore for yourselves. You can easily rent first-class bikes that will make the climbs easier and the downhill oh-so-much fun.

Vancouver to Whistler: An Adventure in Itself

You might be itching to arrive in Whistler, but we hope you’ve realized that it’s worth taking your time on this one-of-a-kind road trip. There’s so much to explore on the Sea to Sky, it would be a shame to rush through. And if you don’t fit it all in this time? Well, you’ll just have to come back to visit again soon.

  • Travel Guides

Swing and swoop through the air with Whistler’s most popular ziplining experience: Superfly Ziplines.

In Love With BC

Drive From Vancouver To Whistler: Sea To Sky Highway Road Trip Guide

Beata Urmos

Drive From Vancouver To Whistler: Sea To Sky Highway Road Trip Guide

This website contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

The views I saw on the drive from Vancouver to Whistler are how I imagined Canada in my dreams: towering cliffs and evergreen pine forests, foggy bays and snowy peaks in the distance. Rain or shine, summer or winter, the Sea to Sky Highway enchants with stunning views!

We’ve done this road trip to Whistler (or a part of it) about 15 times already since we moved to Vancouver, and many of our favorite hiking trails and waterfalls in the area are along the way. Driving to Whistler from Vancouver is a highlight for any nature lover who travels to Vancouver, and it’s one of the best scenic drives in North America (we dare say, and we’ve done a few…) . In this post we’ve listed all the best places to see and useful information to know before you.

british columbia road trip guide ebook

Do you find planning your British Columbia road trip a bit overwhelming?

What if I told you that someone has ALL the planning done: get our compact, easy BC Road Trip Guide! Read it, then go and enjoy.


Discover Cars is one of the world’s largest online car rental platforms with vehicles in 10,000+ locations. Compare the best rates here.

How long is the drive from Vancouver to Whistler?

Sea to Sky Gondola, British Columbia, Canada

British Columbia Highway 99, affectionately nicknamed as the Sea to Sky Highway, is 163.13 km (101.36 miles) long and connects Vancouver to Pemberton (a bit north of Whistler). It truly earns the name as it connects the sea, Vancouver and Howe Sound, to the sky, the mountains of Whistler and Pemberton. And it offers stunning ocean and mountain views all the way!

The Vancouver – Whistler road trip driving time is about two hours one-way , in light traffic and good weather, but that’s without any stops. The minimum we recommend is a day trip from Vancouver, but even better if you have 2-3 days to include some of the longer, spectacular hikes along the way, as well.

Being about halfway between Vancouver and Whistler, Squamish is great for an overnight stay, especially that it’s not called the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada” for nothing. Whistler Village offers lovely rooms and cabins, and there’s plenty of playgrounds in the area. So break up your road trip into several days, stop for beach walks and scenic hikes, we’re sharing countless to choose from. You can also find sample itineraries for 1-3 days (scroll further).

Sea to Sky Highway on a map

First of all, we created a map where we marked all the attractions – viewpoints, hikes, sights and places to stay –  along this stunning drive.

Sea to Sky Highway: Vancouver to Shistler drive stops - trails, viewpoints, places to stay

Click here to open the Sea to Sky Highway interactive map!

Best stops between Vancouver and Whistler

So the Sea to Sky Highway starts from Vancouver. Highway 99 crosses Downtown Vancouver, and takes you out of the city through Lions Gate Bridge. It connects with Canada 1 through North and West Vancouver, then continues along Howe Sound towards the north. But let’s not hurry too much, because both North Vancouver and West Vancouver offer plenty of pretty detours from your main route. And as you scroll further, I’m listing all the stops that come after as you drive towards the north.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, North Vancouver

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

This park is one of the most popular attractions in Vancouver. You can see spectacular rainforests at other places in North Vancouver, but the connecting treetop walks and suspension bridges make Capilano Suspension Bridge Park truly one of a kind , with the 70 meters high giant suspension bridge above Capilano Canyon as the highlight.

Buy your ticket in advance. Plan about 2-3 hours to visit the park, depending on how quickly you walk (and how many photos you take). If you have the time, North Vancouver easily deserves a full day though. You can hike in Lynn Canyon and the Lynn Valley, and we have a confession to share: we like that even more than the famous suspension bridge park.

Address : 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver Time needed : about 2-3 hours

Cypress Mountain Lookout, West Vancouver

Cypress Mountain Lookout, BC, Canada

For the best bird’s eye view over Vancouver, take exit 8 for the Cypress Bowl Road from the highway. This lookout is right on the second switchback of Cypress Bowl Road, an easy stop which could be your gorgeous farewell to Vancouver.

Cypress Bowl Road takes you up to Cypress Provincial Park and its many beautiful mountain trails, but to return to the Sea to Sky Highway, you head back down the way you came.

Address : Cypress Bowl Rd, West Vancouver Time needed : about 15 minutes

Cypress Falls Park, West Vancouver

Cypress Falls Park, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Cypress Falls Park is a short detour from the highway, and it’s a small park that spoils you with two waterfalls, three waterfall viewpoints and all that in a charming, lush green rainforest setting . The Lower Cypress Falls viewpoint is really only a short walk from the parking, but it’s worth continuing up to the first and the second viewpoints of Upper Cypress Falls. Views of the small canyon are lovely as you hike up, and the upper falls are even more impressive than the lower one.

Address : Woodgreen Pl, West Vancouver Time needed : about 1-1.5 hour

Cypress Falls Park, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver

Despite being right by the ocean, Vancouver doesn’t have many coastal trails. The coast is either a series of beaches and oceanfront promenades (which are quite captivating, by the way, but mostly on the rare sunny days), or it’s not accessible. Lighthouse Park is one of the prettiest places to go for coastal hikes, and it’s only a 10 minute drive detour from the Sea to Sky Highway.

Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver,British Columbia, Canada

Take exit 4 for Caulfeild Drive/Woodgreen Drive, and leave your car in the parking on Beacon Lane. The park has about 6 km of trails altogether, so you can get to the most spectacular viewpoints quickly. But which are those?

Juniper Point is the first one, then there are several viewpoints along Shore Pine Trail . You can climb onto the rocky plateaus to find a scenic picnic spot. Keep an eye out for seals. We saw them from the shore each time we visited this park!

Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver,British Columbia, Canada

For the most photographed viewpoint, the one with the lighthouse, you need to take the short, steep trail down to West Beach. Don’t hike all the way to the beach though, rather find a suitable spot on the rocky plateau above it for the best lighthouse views. (You can’t visit or access the lighthouse itself. It’s fenced, and this is the only spot in Lighthouse Park where you can have a view of it.) Then you can return to the parking lot on Beacon Lane Trail or any of the parallel trails that run in the forest and join Beacon Lane at some point.

Address : 4902 Beacon Ln, West Vancouver Time needed : about 1.5 hour

Whytecliff Park, West Vancouver

Whytecliff Park, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Whytecliff Park is another oceanside park in West Vancouver. Unlike Lighthouse Park, it doesn’t have hiking trails, just a short coastal walk that connects the beach with a few lookout points, picnic benches and a playground. At low tide you can scramble across the rocks to Whyte Islet from the beach, and it’s a great place to spot seals.

Even though it’s a quick stop, and there’s no hiking to do here, plan for about an hour to enjoy the beach, have a picnic and explore Whyte Islet.

Which one to choose: Lighthouse Park or Whytecliff Park? (Wherever you find available parking. It’s no joke, both are extremely busy on a prime summer day.) It depends on your preference: if you’d like to hike on the coast, go to Lighthouse Park, if you want direct access to a nice beach, go to Whytecliff Park.

Address : 7102 Marine Dr, West Vancouver Time needed : about an hour

  • Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Porteau Cove Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

Once you leave the spectacular rainforests and coastal parks of North and West Vancouver, enjoy the views of Howe Sound as you drive directly on its shore. Your next stop can be Porteau Cove, a tiny provincial park wedged between Howe Sound and the Sea to Sky Highway. Walk out on the pier for the best views, and watch seabirds as you walk on the rocky beach. There’s also a campground in the park, but no hiking trails, so it’s really just a scenic stop to stretch your legs a bit.

It’s a beloved scuba diving site, too, because of the shipwrecks that are home to rich marine life, like octopus, lingcod or starfish.

Porteau Cove Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

You can save this stop for your drive back to Vancouver, and plan to arrive here around sunset. We didn’t make such plans, it just turned out that way, and we enjoyed one of the most colorful sunsets we’ve ever seen.

Address : Porteau Cove Provincial Park turnout Time needed : about half an hour

Furry Creek Beach and Lookout

Furry Creek Beach lookout, British Columbia, Canada

Furry Creek Beach is only 10 minutes further from Porteau Cove on the highway, and they offer quite similar views, so you can definitely choose one of them if you don’t have an endless time (or you don’t drive this route several times like we did.)

Furry Creek Beach is backed up by nice oceanfront villas, and you have to leave your car in one of the parking lots on Waterfront Drive, then walk to the beach on a pedestrian pathway. There’s a lookout point and a picnic bench.

Address : 23 Beach Dr, Furry Creek (parking is on Waterfront Drive, there are two smaller parking lots) Time needed : about half an hour

Murrin Provincial Park

Drive another 10 minutes from Furry Creek, and you get to the next scenic picnic spot along the road. Browning Lake is surrounded by pine forests, and it’s a popular swimming spot in the summer – and a popular barbecue spot almost any time during the year.

Jurassic Ridge, British Columbia, Canada

But we like this stop for something else: here you find one of the best short hikes along the Sea to Sky Highway, with jaw-dropping views over Howe Sound! Short doesn’t mean easy though. The Jurassic Ridge Trail is a series of very steep ups and downs, including some rope-assisted sections – and some wonderful vista points.

Is it a family-friendly hike? It depends on the age of the kids. Older kids will enjoy the challenge, we carried our toddler almost all the way. It’s not the ideal trail for baby carrying, but it can be done, and the views were surely worth it.

Address : Murrin Provincial Park turnout Time needed : 15 minutes to walk around Browning Lake, but 2-3 hours are needed to do the Jurassic Ridge hike

Shannon Falls Provincial Park

Shannon Falls, Shannon Falls Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

335 meters high Shannon Falls is the third tallest waterfall in British Columbia. It’s also one of the best short stops along the drive from Vancouver to Whistler.

Two viewpoints below the falls are just a short walk away from the parking lot, and you get two slightly different views of Shannon Falls from a distance. Accessing it is somewhat more tricky. You need to conquer a very steep 1.1 km long trail, supported by ropes, that starts from Darrel Bay Road (not accessible from the same parking lot, but only a short drive away). It takes you up to the pools under Shannon Falls. Most people visit only the two viewpoints, because they offer stunning views for very little work.

Address : Shannon Falls Road (parking lot is at the end of the road) Time needed : about half an hour for the two viewpoints, extra 2 hours to complete the trail to the pools

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, British Columbia, Canada

It’s a relatively new attraction, with the cable car opened in 2014, and it offers astonishing views over Howe Sound, Squamish and the Chief Mountain. Actually, any direction you look you’ll see mountains! And it’s accessible to everyone. The cable car literally takes you from the sea to the sky, from the highway up past giant granite cliffs to the Summit Lodge. There you can enjoy the panoramic views from the platform, stroll across the Sky Pilot suspension bridge and choose from several shorter and longer hiking trails.

Panorama Trail is very short, almost flat, and, surprise, has some panoramic viewpoints along the way. Our favorite though? Al’s Habrich Ridge Trail. It’s about 7 km there and back, requires some effort and offers wonderful vistas all the way. Best of all, you can complete it in any season. In summer it’s a wildflower wonderland with lush greenery. In winter and early spring it takes you through a magical winter wonderland, with views of the countless surrounding snowy peaks. It’s a well-beaten track, we didn’t even need snowshoes, just a pair of microspikes .

Al's Habrich Trail, British Columbia, Canada

We’ve done several scenic hikes with views of Howe Sound in the area, but the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola is hard to beat, especially if you combine it with the Al’s Habrich Ridge Trail. The downside? The tickets are expensive. It made us think twice about it, since we surely enjoyed nice views of Howe Sound from other places. But we are so happy we took the gondola, it’s worth the price.

Al's Habrich Trail, British Columbia, Canada

Would you hike up to the top instead of using the gondola? The Sea to Summit Trail climbs about 900 meters over 7 km, saves you money and burns many calories. 🙂 You can still choose to take the gondola down. This option was out of question for us, carrying a 20+ kg toddler. In our couple adventure days I’m sure we would have chosen this option.

Address : 36800 Highway 99, Squamish Time needed : any time between a few hours and a full day

  • Stawamus Chief Provincial Park

First Peak, Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

Stawamus Chief First Peak

The 700 meters tall granite dome of Stawamus Chief towers above the highway, and it’s an impressive sight. But for adventure seekers it offers much more! The hikes to the Chief peaks are challenging and end with stunning panoramic views.

We enjoyed the mixture of a steep forest trail, rock scrambling and ladder climbing as we conquered the First Peak and the Second Peaks. You’ll have about 600 meters elevation gain in 2.5 km! Both peaks have incredible views, and we honestly couldn’t choose which is better. The third peak is less visited, the trail there is also much less maintained, so we didn’t do that section. (They say it’s not that impressive after the first two peaks either. We believed that.)

Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

However, this is one hike we wouldn’t recommend with small kids or a baby carrier. We did it without Tomi, and it would have been too risky to scramble among the large rocks with him in the carrier. Small kids will also have trouble stepping big enough to climb up certain sections. I’d say it would be suitable for hikers age 5+.

Seeking for an even more adrenaline rushing activity? Sign up for a guided rock climbing tour!

If you don’t want to hike or climb, at least pull over for a quick look . Use the roadside parking lot after the pedestrian overpass.

Second Peak, Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

Stawamus Chief Second Peak

Please note that Stawamus Chief Provincial Park can require a free day pass during peak visit periods. More info here !

Address : Stawamus Chief Provincial Park turnout Time needed : a few minutes for the roadside viewpoint, a few hours for the Chief peaks hike

Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia, Canada

Services are limited on the Vancouver – Whistler drive. If you’d stop at a gas station, eat in a restaurant, taste some beer or find a place to spend the night (in case you do the scenic drive in multiple days), you can make a stop in Squamish. There’s hardly any other reason to stop there. As nice as Squamish is, there’s not much to see, and what makes it amazing are the places surrounding it and turning it into a paradise for outdoor lovers.

Best accommodations in Squamish:

  • Luxury: Executive Suites Hotel and Resort (wonderful location, outdoor and indoor pool)
  • Mid-range: Sandman Hotel and Suites Squamish (family-friendly, indoor pool with water slide)
  • Budget: Squamish Adventure Inn (waterside location)

Downtown Squamish

Here’s where you can find some cafes and restaurants. Mags 99 Fried Chicken and Mexican Cantina is famous for its delicious burritos and enormous portions. Howe Sound Inn & Brewing offers local beer, wood-fired pizzas and rooms to spend the night.

Railway Museum of British Columbia

Truth to be told, I’m not that into trains, but in case you are (or you have a train-obsessed kid) you’ll find the Railway Museum of British Columbia an exciting place to visit. It’s located in Squamish and has all kinds of vintage train cars, engines, and parts. Some of them are more than a hundred years old.

Address : 39645 Government Rd, Squamish

Squamish Estuary and Spit

You can get nice views of the Stawamus Chief from Squamish. Drive to the Spit Road, then walk the paths of the Squamish Estuary and the Spit Flat.

Address : Spit Road, Squamish

  • Alice Lake Provincial Park

Four Lakes Trail, Alice Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

Alice Lake Provincial Park is not a must-see stop on a Vancouver – Whistler road trip, but it offers some easy hiking and lovely mountain lakes, and it also has a campground and picnic area on the shore of Alice Lake. The lake doesn’t get too pleasant for swimming, it’s better with a kayak or paddleboard in the summer.

The Four Lakes Trail is an easy 6 km loop that passes four lakes , as expected: Alice Lake, Edith Lake, Fawn Lake and Stump Lake. None of them are like Garibaldi Lake or any of those magical baby blue glacial-fed alpine lakes, but you don’t have to climb for them either. The trail has barely any elevation change, and it’s accessible all year.

Address : Alice Lake Road Time needed : half an hour, or a few hours if you do the Four Lakes Trail

Brohm Lake Interpretive Forest

Brohm Lake Interpretive Forest, British Columbia, Canada

Brohm Lake doesn’t look like much from the road. It’s also not the hike to choose if you can only choose one trail on your way from Vancouver to Whistler. But it turned out to be a pleasant surprise for us. Brohm Lake is nice, the path in the forest meanders through small bridges, but the real highlights are the peak views on the western side of the loop. Tantalus View Trail was our favorite, the following ones couldn’t beat that, but they were still quite pretty!

We recommend doing this trail if you visit in spring, because at that time the surrounding peaks are snowy and look magical, and higher elevation trails are not yet accessible. This is a perfect shoulder season hike in the Squamish – Whistler area.

Brohm Lake Interpretive Forest, British Columbia, Canada

Address : Brohm Lake turnout (there’s a small left-hand turn lane) Time needed : about 3 hours

Tantalus Lookout

Tantalus viewpoint on the drive from Vancouver to Whistler

An easy roadside viewpoint stop. Well, actually, you can only access it when you are driving southbound from Whistler to Vancouver , because left turn is forbidden on the northbound route. So save it for your trip back, and don’t forget to pull over, because the Tantalus Range is a breathtaking mountain range west of Squamish, with snow-capped peaks for most of the year.

Address : Tantalus Lookout (access from the southbound route) Time needed : a few minutes

Garibaldi Provincial Park & Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake, BC, Canada

The Garibaldi Lake hike is one of the most popular trails in all British Columbia. Granted, Garibaldi Lake is also one of the most beautiful alpine lakes we’ve set our eyes upon. But it’s not a quick roadside stop, it’s a full day hike. We’ve written a detailed guide about visiting Garibaldi Lake, possible extensions of the hike and other amazing alpine lake trails in Garibaldi Provincial Park – read it here!

Address : Daisy Lake Road (Rubble Creek Trailhead parking) Time needed : a full day

Read this, too: Garibaldi Lake Hike, British Columbia: Is It Worth The Hype?

Brandywine Falls Provincial Park

Brandywine Falls, Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, Whistler, BC, Canada

Our favorite waterfall on the Sea to Sky road trip? Brandywine Falls! With 70 meters, it’s not nearly as tall as Shannon Falls, but it’s powerful and it’s a single drop, flowing over lava columns. It takes about a 300-400 meters walk to reach the viewing platform from the parking lot.

Please note that the parking lot is closed in the winter season. You can hike to Brandywine Falls on a much longer route (like from the Cal-Cheak Recreation Site). People often still park in front of the closed gate, but beware that it’s not allowed, and your car can be towed.

I surely vote for it as the best waterfall along this highway. Oh, well, except there’s another one close by…

Address : Brandywine Falls Provincial Park turnout Time needed : about half an hour

Alexander Falls viewpoint

Alexander Falls, British Columbia, Canada

Here’s another roadside beauty that competes with Brandywine Falls. The viewing platform of Alexander Falls is right by the parking lot at the Alexander Falls Recreation Site which can be accessed on a 10 minute drive on Callaghan Road. This section of Callaghan Road is paved, no worries, any car can access it, only the last few hundred meters to the parking lot is a dirt road, but you can choose to walk it if you’re unsure about driving.

Alexander Falls is 43 meters tall and drops down in several tiers. It’s so graceful and so captivating any time of the year, yet much less crowded than Brandywine Falls. Winter access is not a problem either. You likely won’t be able to drive the last few hundred meters on the dirt road to the parking lot, so just park along Callaghan Road and walk the rest.

Address : Alexander Falls Recreation Site along Callaghan Road Time needed : about half an hour

Whistler Village

Whistler Village and Squamish have one thing in common: it’s their location that makes them tempting. Whistler could be your next gas stop and restaurant stop. Otherwise, it offers world-class skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing in winter, and tons of hiking and mountain biking trails in the summer .

The Valley Trail is the best attraction in the village , but again, it’s not your typical sightseeing attraction. It’s a car-free, paved path that connects Whistler’s neighborhoods, lakes and viewpoints. Altogether, it’s more than 46 km, and walking, running, cycling or rollerblading certain sections of it is just as popular among locals as among visitors.

Lost Lake, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Lost Lake is our favorite of the Whistler Lakes as it’s the quietest one. It takes about half an hour to walk around it, and it’s particularly pretty in late fall or late spring when you can see all the snow-capped mountain peaks surrounding it in the distance. From December to March it’s a maintained snowshoeing trail, so you need to buy a ticket to access Lost Lake.

Green Lake, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Green Lake is right by the Sea to Sky Highway. You can find limited parking at the end of Golden Bear Place, then walk on the lakeshore all the way to secluded Fitzsimmons Park. Our favorite time for this walk is also winter, the snowy peaks around the lake are jaw-dropping! No need to hike for a dreamy winter mountain panorama.

Both Lost Lake and Green Lake are accessible from the Valley Trail, but you can access them directly by car, too.

Best accommodations in Whistler:

  • Luxury: The Westin Resort & Spa (top location)
  • Mid-range: The Listel Hotel
  • Budget: Pangea Pod Hotel (capsule hotel at excellent location)

Sea to Sky Highway sample itineraries

Now that we’ve finished the long list of roadside attractions, you might say that this all sounds good, but you only have a day or two to do this drive, so what should you include? While I encourage you to plan at least 2-3 days to get the most out of your Sea to Sky Highway road trip, I’m doing my best to select the best of the best sights for you. I put together some sample itineraries, and while most of the attractions can be visited all year, these itineraries are planned for the long summer days. You simply won’t have enough daylight to enjoy all the attractions on a much shorter winter day.

Want help planning your BC road trip?

  • Get the BC Road Trip Guide eBook.
  • Use the easy-to-follow itineraries.
  • Go and enjoy your trip.

Buy it here.

British Columbia Road Trip Guide ebook

Last note: times in the itineraries are indicative. They are there to help you estimate how much time you need for a certain stop, not to set a timer, of course. 🙂

1 day itinerary for the Vancouver to Whistler drive

One day is a short time for this route, so if that’s all you have, focus on the short stops and panoramic viewpoints. Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Lynn Canyon on another day. Drive through Lions Gate Bridge early in the morning, then:

View of Lions Gate Bridge, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

  • do the short hike to the waterfalls in Cypress Falls Park (8:30 – 10:00)
  • stop for a morning picnic in Whytecliff Park (10:00 – 11:00)
  • 30 mins drive to Shannon Falls Provincial Park (11:00 – 11:30)
  • walk to the two viewpoints of Shannon Falls (11:30 – 12:30)
  • take the Sea to Sky Gondola, walk the Sky Pilot suspension bridge and the Panorama Trail, have lunch in the Summit Lodge (12:30 – 16:00)
  • Stawamus Chief viewpoint by the highway
  • drive about an hour to Brandywine Falls Provincial Park (16:00 – 17:00)
  • walk to the Brandywine Falls viewing platform (17:00 – 17:30)
  • drive to Alexander Falls, enjoy the waterfall lookout (17:30 – 18:00)
  • take a walk at Green Lake or Lost Lake in Whistler (18:00 – 19:00 )

Whistler to Vancouver drive at the end of the day:

  • quick stop at Tantalus Lookout
  • take a walk on the pier at Porteau Cove, ideally around sunset (which is ~9 pm in the summer)

2 days itinerary for the Vancouver to Whistler drive

If you have 2 days, I definitely recommend including some of the longer hikes. You have two choices: either you choose the hike to Garibaldi Lake which takes a full day, or you choose several shorter hiking trails. In the first case, use the 1 day itinerary for Day 1, spend the night in Whistler Village, then hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park on Day 2.

Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia, Canada

If you want to enjoy several shorter panoramic hikes, here’s my idea of how to spread them along the drive:

  • start from Lions Gate Bridge early in the morning
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge Park (8:30 – 11:00)
  • drive up to Cypress Mountain Lookout (11:00 – 11:30)
  • hike in Lighthouse Park: Juniper Point, Shore Pine Trail, West Beach Trail lookout (11:30 – 13:00)
  • 30 mins drive to the Sea to Sky Gondola (13:00 – 13:30)
  • take the Sea to Sky Gondola, walk the Sky Pilot suspension bridge, have lunch in the Summit Lodge and hike the Al’s Habrich Ridge Trail (13:00 – 18:00) – the time of the last down ride varies through the year, please check it here before you go
  • drive to Shannon Falls Provincial Park, walk to the two viewpoints of Shannon Falls (18:00 – 19:00) – this stop is before the gondola if you drive northbound, but it’s only a few minutes drive back, and this park is open until dusk, so it’s more convenient to do it after the gondola ride
  • spend the night in Squamish

Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia, Canada

  • start your day in Squamish
  • conquer the First and Second Peaks in Stawamus Chief Provincial Park (8:00 – 12:00)
  • drive about an hour to Brandywine Falls Provincial Park (12:00 – 13:00)
  • walk to the Brandywine Falls viewing platform (13:00 – 13:30)
  • drive to Alexander Falls, enjoy the waterfall lookout (13:30 – 14:00)
  • take a walk at Green Lake or Lost Lake in Whistler (14:00 – 15:00)
  • then start your drive back to Vancouver
  • quick stop at Tantalus Lookout, half an hour drive from Whistler (~15:30)
  • 30 mins drive to Murrin Provincial Park (15:30 – 16:00)
  • hike the Jurassic Ridge Trail from Browning Lake (16:00 – 19:00)
  • drive to Porteau Cove and take a walk on the pier (19:00 – 20:00) – you can wait until sunset, or…
  • drive to Whytecliff Park and enjoy the sunset on the beach (20:00 – 21:00)
  • spend the night in Vancouver

3 days itinerary for the Vancouver to Whistler drive

This is the ideal minimum time to fit in all the most beautiful roadside stops, waterfalls and hiking trails. Here you go:

Day 1 can be exactly the same as in the 2 days itinerary , but when you start Day 2 in Squamish, you drive northbound to Rubble Creek Trailhead (about 30 mins drive) to hike to Garibaldi Lake. This is a full day hike, and if you reach the lake early, you can extend your hike to Black Tusk or the Panorama Ridge. Either way, use all the daylight hours for Garibaldi Provincial Park, then spend the night in Whistler .

Porteau Cove Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

  • start your day in Whistler
  • take a walk at Green Lake or Lost Lake in Whistler (8:30 – 9:30)
  • drive to Alexander Falls, enjoy the waterfall lookout (9:30 – 10:30)
  • drive to Brandywine Falls Provincial Park and walk to the viewing platform (10:30 – 11:30); then start your drive back to Vancouver
  • quick stop at Tantalus Lookout, half an hour drive from Whistler (~12:00)
  • 30 mins drive to Stawamus Chief Provincial Park (12:00 – 12:30)
  • conquer the First and Second Peaks of Stawamus Chief (12:30 – 16:30)
  • drive to Porteau Cove and take a walk on the pier (16:30 – 17:30)
  • drive to Whytecliff Park, chill on the beach until sunset (17:30 – 19:00)

Where to stay along the Sea to Sky Highway

Squamish and Whistler Village are the straightforward towns to spend the night somewhere with four walls during your road trip. There’s also plenty of campgrounds and RV parks.

Squamish accommodation

Squamish, BC, Canada

Executive Suites Hotel and Resort offers a pampering luxurious stay in Squamish. It already impresses with its location: reflecting into Squamish River and being surrounded by lush green parklands and mountain views. You can choose from studios, one-bedroom and two-bedrooms suites, and all come with a kitchen. It’s one of the few Squamish hotels with a pool, both an indoor and outdoor pool. There’s also a gym and a pub on-site.

Sandman Hotel and Suites is a 3-star hotel in Squamish, just off the Sea to Sky Highway. This makes it a convenient base to explore the mountains surrounding Squamish, and also a great place to spend the night on your way to Whistler.

Squamish Adventure Inn is the best budget-friendly hotel in Squamish. It has a great location, just off the Sea to Sky Highway, still walking distance from downtown and right beside the water. It’s a hostel, but it offers both dorm rooms (mixed or female only) with shared baths and private rooms.

Whistler accommodation

Whistler, BC, Canada

The Westin Resort & Spa is a truly luxurious hotel in Whistler Village. It offers an outdoor pool, two hot tubs, an on-site spa and wellness center, and it’s located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain.

The Listel Hotel is a mid-range hotel choice in Whistler Village , still at an excellent central location, close to plenty of shopping and dining opportunities. If you’re on a tighter budget,  Pangea Pod Hotel could be a good option. It’s a capsule hotel in the center of Whistler Village, offering pods that are grouped in suites, and all suites come with a bathroom. You’ll have your cozy bed at a great location.

But if you’re looking for less luxurious and more affordable places, stay outside of Whistler Village. Choose a room in one of the lodges in the Upper Whistler, North Whistler, Creekside or Alta Vista neighborhoods. If you visit in the summer and for one night only, you don’t need to consider access to ski lifts, so it doesn’t really matter which area you choose. Pick the best price-value offer.

Lost Lake Lodge is 6 minutes walk from the Lost Lake beach (yes, you can swim there in the summer) and offers different types of suites and apartments. Guests can also use the outdoor heated pool, the gym and the hot tub.

Lake Placid Lodge is in the Creekside area, 10 minutes drive away from Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. It offers condos with a full kitchen and a balcony. There’s also an outdoor pool and a hot tub.

Campgrounds and RV parks

Cypress Falls Park, West Vancouver, BC, Canada

Camping is definitely the cheapest option for accommodation, and British Columbia has campsites in incredibly wonderful natural settings. The downside? You need camping equipment. But in case you’re doing this trip as part of a longer road trip or RV trip, you can easily take advantage of the countless campgrounds this area offers.

Provincial parks usually offer the most affordable and simplest sites. Some require reservation, some are first-come, first served. Please check them in advance – and book as much in advance as possible, especially for the summer. Camping is popular in Canada.

Provincial park campgrounds are in:

Other campgrounds near Squamish:

  • Klahanie Campground: a family-owned campground with over 100 camping sites, suitable for RVs, truck campers, tent trailers and tents
  • Squamish Municipal Campground
  • Mamquam River Campground: run by a non-profit organization (the Mamquam River Access Society), affordable and quite basic, offers no electric or water services
  • MTN Fun Basecamp: a private campground that offers tent sites, RV sites and hotel rooms; there’s free wifi and hot showers
  • Paradise Valley Campground: a music free family campground; they also offer a luxury cabin suitable for 12 people
  • Cat Lake Recreation Site: walk-in campsites around the lake

Other campgrounds near Whistler:

  • Whistler RV Park and Campground: it offers full hook ups (sewer, water and electricity) for all RV sites and tent camping with washroom and hot showers
  • Cal-Cheak Recreation Site: it has 55 basic drive-in sites, with water and pit toilets
  • Riverside Camping & RV Resort: it offers RV sites and walk-in tent sites, but also log cabin and yurt rentals

Sea to Sky Highway road trip FAQ

Can you drive from vancouver to whistler in the winter.

Cypress Mountain, British Columbia, Canada

Yes, you can drive the Sea to Sky Highway all year. Whistler is a popular skiing destination, the snow is plowed on the highway. However, between October 1 st and March 31 st winter tires are mandatory. Also, you can get caught in a snowstorm, and road conditions can be snowy or icy, despite regular plowing. On that note, heavy rain or dense fog can occur any time of the year, but it’s very common between November and March. Here you can check the webcams.

Another thing to consider is that high altitude hiking destinations (like Garibaldi Lake) are accessible only from July to mid-October. 

Which are the best stops along the Sea to Sky Highway in winter?

Green Lake, Whistler, BC, Canada

First of all, let’s see which stops are not accessible: Garibaldi Lake and Brandywine Falls Provincial Park parking lot (the waterfall is accessible on a longer hiking trail from the Cal-Cheak Recreation Site). The Jurassic Ridge Trail and the Chief Peaks are snow-free for most of the year, but there could be a short period in late December or January when you face winter conditions there. Coastal trails and parks are usually snow-free.

The Sea to Sky Gondola operates all year, however, it could be shut down for bad weather days (mainly because of stormy winds).

But then which places are magical to visit on a winter road trip? Capilano Suspension Bridge Park gets wrapped in Christmas lights from late November until late January, which makes this already special park even more memorable. Whistler Village is also illuminated with Christmas lights during winter, and the Valley Trail is the most spectacular when everything is buried in snow.

Whistler Village, British Columbia, Canada

Is there a best time for this scenic drive?

We enjoyed the Sea to Sky Highway in every season. However, it’s easier to enjoy it on a clear day, and your best chance for clear days is between May and September – which happens to be the busiest and most expensive season for visiting, as well.

Since we live here, we can wait for clear days in the fall and winter months, too, but we often had to wait a week or two to finally have a clear day – or just a day when it’s not pouring all day long.

Sea to Sky Gondola viewing platform, BC, Canada

Which provincial parks along the way require day use passes?

To limit visitor number in order to prevent crowded facilities and impact on wildlife and local communities, day use passes are required to visit some provincial parks during peak periods. In 2022 Garibaldi Provincial Park requires visitors to have a day pass , starting June 17. Stawamus Chief Provincial Park required a day pass in the 2021 summer season, but it looks like it won’t be in effect for 2022.

You can check the most up to date info on which parks require day passes on the BC parks website – where you can also reserve the day pass if needed. Day passes are free and can be booked only shortly before your intended visit.

Bea is a travel writer and the co-founder of In Love With BC, a blog about British Columbia travel, hiking and outdoor adventures. She’s been traveling for more than 10 years, and she’s passionate about sharing all she has learned along the way. North America is one of her favorite destinations, and she spent a year living in Vancouver and traveling all over BC with her family.

Which are the best lesser-known hikes in North America?

Get our free ebook and join the community to get more BC travel inspiration and tips here!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Privacy Overview

trip vancouver to whistler

Highway 99 from Vancouver to Whistler

Plan Your Trip  

  • Whistler by Road

The first part of your trip from Vancouver to Whistler is an incredible experience all on its own. Travel the stunning Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) with multiple transportation options to fit every budget and group size, including express shuttle bus service and private limousine. Take in the amazing views of Howe Sound and the Tantalus Range, and arrive refreshed and relaxed to start your vacation.

Shuttle Bus from Vancouver to Whistler

Bus or Shuttle Transfers to Whistler

Book transfers from nearby airports including YVR, downtown Vancouver, or Vancouver Island to Whistler.

Private Vehicle Hire

Limo, SUV & Mini Bus Private Charters

Arrive in style - hire a vehicle and driver to get you to Whistler so you can relax and enjoy the views.

Sea to Sky Highway

Vancouver / Whistler Car Rentals

Rent a car for a one-way / return trip to or from Whistler and Vancouver. Save on parking and go sightseeing on the way!

Map of the Sea to Sky Highway

Driving Directions to Whistler

Navigate to Whistler with these handy driving directions from Vancouver, Vancouver airport and Seattle.

People biking on the Valley Trail in Whistler

8 Reasons to Ditch the Car On Your Whistler Trip

Leaving the car behind on vacation can mean (among other things) having a better vacation. The Whistler Insider reveals why.

Summer Lodging Deals

Summer Lodging Deals Free $100 Activity Voucher

Book by June 30, 2024 and save up to 25% on lodging. Plus, you’ll receive a free $100 Activity Voucher on stays of 3 or more nights.

Summer in Whistler

Summer in Whistler: Feel It All

Book a summer getaway that lets you slow down, consider your impact, explore the lesser known, and make connections with people that value what you do.

This website uses cookies. For more information, click here .

Use Google Translate

Or visit our region specific pages.

  • French Canadian

Ask Whistler Live Chat Service

  • Facebook Messenger @GoWhistler
  • WhatsApp 1-604-265-9600
  • SMS 1-604-265-9600

Live agents are available 8 AM to 6 PM PST daily. For SMS text, your mobile provider's standard rates apply.

  • Accommodation
  • Activities & Events
  • Transportation
  • Packages & Deals
  • While in Whistler
  • Weather & Cams
  • Discover Whistler
  • Discover Summer
  • Discover Fall
  • Discover Winter
  • Discover Spring
  • Itineraries
  • About Whistler
  • Sustainability
  • Whistler FAQ
  • Insider Blog
  • Whistler for Families
  • All Accommodation
  • Vacation Rentals
  • Work Remotely
  • A-Z Listings
  • Whistler Rewards
  • Lodging Deals
  • Pet-Friendly
  • All Activities & Events
  • Summer Activities
  • Fall Activities
  • Winter Activities
  • Spring Activities
  • Kids Activities
  • Health & Wellness
  • Arts & Culture
  • All Transportation
  • Getting Around Whistler
  • Know Before You Go
  • All Packages & Deals
  • Early Season Deals
  • Spring Deals
  • Summer 2024
  • Winter 2024/25 – On Sale Now!
  • Last Minute Deals
  • Activity Combos & Deals
  • Gift Certificates
  • Why Whistler.com?
  • Ask Whistler Live Chat
  • Free Public WiFi
  • Self-Guided Tours
  • Maps & Directions
  • What's On This Week
  • Whistler Visitor Centre
  • Accessibility Resources
  • Weather & Webcams
  • Whistler Weather & Webcams
  • Weather Conditions
  • Road Conditions
  • Avalanche Advisory
  • Weather History & Stats
  • About Whistler BC
  • Stats and Facts
  • Hours of Operation
  • Whistler Village
  • Whistler Creekside
  • Whistler Insider Newsletter
  • Sustainability in Whistler
  • Responsible Travel
  • Family-Friendly Whistler
  • Childcare in Whistler
  • All Summer Activities
  • Stay & Play Packages
  • PEAK 2 PEAK Sightseeing
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Lakes, Beaches & Parks
  • Side by Side Tours
  • Bear Viewing
  • All Fall Activities
  • Indoor Activities
  • All Winter Activities
  • Skiing & Snowboarding
  • Lift Tickets
  • Snow School
  • Ski & Snowboard Rentals
  • Heli-Skiing
  • Snowmobile Tours
  • All Spring Activities
  • Events in Whistler
  • Events Calendar
  • Signature Events
  • Bus/Shuttle
  • Limo/Charters
  • Car Rentals
  • Driving Directions
  • Whistler by Air
  • Helicopter Charters
  • Floatplane Service
  • Local Transportation
  • Public Transit
  • Taxis & Rideshare
  • Whistler Valley Trail

trip vancouver to whistler

Travel Made Easy: How To Get From Vancouver To Whistler

  • Team Whistler
  • December, 2023

Nestled amidst the towering peaks of British Columbia, Whistler is a dazzling gem that draws visitors from around the world with its stunning landscapes, pristine ski slopes, and vibrant village life. Just a stone’s throw away from Vancouver, this mountain oasis offers an enticing escape from the city’s hustle and bustle and serves as a gateway to the sublime wilderness of Canada’s west coast.

Whistler’s proximity to Vancouver makes it conveniently accessible, whether you’re planning a day trip or a week-long retreat.

The journey itself, through sweeping valleys and along crystal-clear waters, is nothing short of breathtaking. But how do you get from the coastal metropolis of Vancouver to the alpine wonderland of Whistler?

Traveling By Seaplane

Now, let’s kick things off with a bit of flair, shall we? Imagine soaring through the sky, gazing down at the breathtaking vistas of snow-capped peaks, shimmering lakes, and dense forests. Sounds like a dream, right?

Well, that’s exactly what you’ll get if you choose to travel from Vancouver to Whistler via seaplane!

This isn’t just a mode of transport, it’s an experience in itself. Picture yourself gliding above the clouds, feeling the thrill of takeoff and the gentle bounce as you land on water. It’s a touch of luxury that adds an extra sprinkle of magic to your Whistler adventure.

But before you get too carried away, let’s talk logistics.

The seaplane option is available from late spring to early autumn, ensuring you have clear skies for those jaw-dropping views. As for cost, it’s definitely on the pricier side, but hey, can you really put a price on such an unforgettable experience?

Click here to find out more!

Taking The Bus

If the seaplane sounds a bit too extravagant for your taste, don’t worry, there are plenty of other options. Perhaps the most budget-friendly way to reach Whistler is good old-fashioned bus travel.

I know what you’re thinking: “A bus ride? Really?” But hear me out!

The buses that run between Vancouver and Whistler aren’t your average city buses. They’re comfortable, and spacious, and even offer Wi-Fi so you can share your travel updates with friends or catch up on your favorite Netflix show during the journey.

The bus ride takes about two hours, which flies by when you’re engrossed in the stunning scenery outside your window. Just remember to book your seat in advance, especially during peak seasons, because these rides are popular.

Bus Cost Vancouver to Whistler

Driving By Car

Now, if you’re the type who enjoys the freedom of setting your own pace, then driving to Whistler might be right up your alley.

There’s something truly liberating about hitting the open road with your favorite tunes playing and the stunning Canadian landscape unfurling before you.

One of the best parts about driving is the flexibility it offers. Want to pull over for a picnic with a view? Go for it! Spot a viewpoint that’s too good to pass up? No problem, you’re in control! Plus, there’s no need to worry about missing the bus or catching a flight; you’re on your own schedule.

But, as with any road trip, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you’re traveling between October and April, winter tires are a must to navigate the snowy roads safely. Also, remember that parking in Whistler can come with a fee, so budget accordingly.

For Car Rentals – click here !

Helicopter Charters And Transfers

Ah, traveling by helicopter – now that’s an adventure! This mode of transport offers a unique perspective and an exhilarating experience. Whether you’re heading to a remote location or simply want to skip the traffic, helicopters provide a quick and convenient way to travel.

Imagine soaring over landscapes, enjoying panoramic views that are inaccessible by land. It’s not just about the destination but also the journey. The thrill of takeoff, the excitement of flight, and the awe-inspiring vistas make helicopter travel unforgettable.

However, helicopter travel might not suit everyone. It can be more expensive than other forms of transport, and weather conditions can greatly affect flight schedules. But for those who value speed, convenience, and luxury, it’s certainly an option worth considering.

Hiring A Taxi

If you’re looking for a stress-free, direct route from Vancouver to Whistler, then hopping in a taxi could be your best bet. No need to worry about directions, traffic, or finding a parking spot – you can sit back, relax, and watch the world go by.

Taxis offer door-to-door service, which means you’ll be whisked away from your location in Vancouver and dropped off right at your hotel in Whistler. It’s convenient, it’s comfortable, and it’s direct.

However, keep in mind that this convenience comes with a higher price tag compared to other options. But if comfort and ease are high on your priority list, then a taxi ride might just be worth the extra pennies.

After all, starting your Whistler adventure on a relaxed note? Priceless!

Whether you’re driving, taking a taxi, or riding the bus, you’ll most likely be traveling along the Sea to Sky Highway, also known as Highway 99. This isn’t just any old highway – it’s a journey through some of the most breathtaking scenery in British Columbia.

As you wind your way from sea level in Vancouver to the sky-high peaks of Whistler, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of towering mountains, sparkling waters, and lush forests. It’s the kind of road trip that makes you want to press pause and soak in every moment.

Yes, there are plenty of ways to get from Vancouver to Whistler. As you embark on your journey, remember to take the time to appreciate the stunning landscapes that unfold along the way. After all, getting there is half the fun! Here’s wishing you a safe and enjoyable trip to Whistler. Happy travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can i cycle from vancouver to whistler.

Yes, you certainly can! There’s a route known as the Sea-to-Sky Trail that’s perfect for cycling enthusiasts. However, please note that it’s quite a challenging route and is recommended for experienced cyclists.

Are there any train services from Vancouver to Whistler?

Unfortunately, there are no regular passenger train services between Vancouver and Whistler. The Rocky Mountaineer train does operate a luxury service, but only during the summer months.

Is there a direct flight from Vancouver to Whistler?

There are no direct flights between Vancouver International Airport and Whistler. The quickest way to travel by air is via seaplane, which operates between downtown Vancouver and Whistler’s Green Lake.

Can I rent a car in Vancouver and drop it off in Whistler?

Yes, many car rental companies offer one-way rentals. However, be sure to check the specifics with the rental company, as additional charges may apply.

Are pets allowed on the bus or seaplane?

Policies vary depending on the company. It’s best to check directly with the transport provider to find out their specific rules regarding pets.

Powered by The Website Empire

Terms and Conditions - Privacy Policy

Vancouver Planner

How to Get from Vancouver Airport to Whistler: A Visitors Guide

So you’re wondering how to get from Vancouver Airport to Whistler? Unfortunately, this world-renowned haven for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers is lacking in the airport department.

So, if you’re flying into Vancouver and wondering about the best way to get to Whistler, you’re in the right place.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through various transportation options, ensuring your journey from the Vancouver airport to Whistler is as smooth and enjoyable as the destination itself.

YVR to Whistler: An Overview

Starting your journey at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), you have several transportation options to reach Whistler . To state the obvious, renting a car is the easiest option for those who’d like to explore on their own or prefer the flexibility of having their own vehicle in Whistler.

Just remember the following:

  • A car is not necessary for most visitors to Whistler . So, once you arrive, your car will likely sit idle as it accumulates costly hotel parking fees.
  • If you intended to rent a vehicle, you likely wouldn’t be reading this article in the first place!

With this in mind, there are three main options for your trip from YVR to Whistler outside of driving. Each mode offers unique benefits, whether you’re looking for convenience, affordability, or a scenic route.

  • YVR Whistler SkyLynx : A popular and direct bus service.
  • YVR to Whistler Shuttle : Private transfers that offer door-to-door service.
  • Whistler Float Planes : A scenic and seaplane journey, available in summer only.

Vancouver to Whistler bus in the middle of the highway

YVR to Whistler Bus (SkyLynx): Your Direct Link

Why choose the skylynx whistler.

✅ Recommended for: Students, budget travellers, young families, couples

The only direct Vancouver to Whistler bus leaving from YVR is known as the SkyLynx. This frequent and reliable shuttle service operates directly from the Vancouver Airport . The YVR Skylynx Kiosk is conveniently located beside the escalator outside the international arrivals terminal , so it’s virtually foolproof.

capilano suspension bridge and grouse mountain tour banner for 2024

Consequently, it’s our #1 recommended choice for travellers looking for a cheap, comfortable, and hassle-free transfer from YVR to Whistler.

Here’s why the SkyLynx stands out:

  • Affordability: The YVR Skylynx is the most affordable option on the market.
  • Direct Service : No unnecessary stops, ensuring a quick 2.5 to 3-hour journey.
  • Comfort : Spacious seating and onboard amenities, such as wifi, charging ports, and onboard washrooms.
  • Scen ery: You can enjoy the stunning views along the Sea to Sky corridor.

a Whistler private shuttle for those wondering how to get from Vancouver airport to Whistler.

Vancouver Airport to Whistler Shuttle: Travel in Style

✅ Recommended for: Luxury travellers, large groups or families, special occasions

Luxury and Comfort

For those seeking a more luxurious experience, private car services offer a comfortable and stylish way to travel from YVR to Whistler . You’ll receive airport pick-up from a professional driver outside the arrivals terminal.

At first glance, the prices are much higher, but they come with the benefit of personalized door-to-door service to your Whistler hotel . Not to mention, your travel experience in a premium sedan, luxury SUV, or Sprinter Van will be leagues beyond what you’d experience on the Whistler Skylynx.

vancouver whale tour banner

Surprising Cost Savings

You might think private airport transfers aren’t competitive with the YVR to Whistler bus on a cost basis. Well, for the most part, you’d be correct. But you might be surprised to find out that there are exceptions .

I’d recommend that families or those travelling in groups do their due diligence before booking the Skylynx. The cost of a private YVR to Whistler shuttle may come at a similar price point as six separate tickets on the coach. Click below to compare rates now:

A couple enjoys the Whistler seaplane on a trip from Vancouver.

The Whistler Seaplane: A Scenic Summer Shortcut

✅ Recommended for: Adventurers, couples, special occasions

An Unforgettable Experience

First off, the Vancouver to Whistler seaplane is only available in the summer . Needless to say, the logistics of landing a float plane onto a frozen lake make winter journeys an impossibility.

But, if you find yourself in Whistler from May to October , the floatplane is far and away the fastest, most unique, and most exciting way to travel to Whistler. You’ll glide over the majestic Coast Mountains and serene waters of the Howe Sound as you find your way to your mountain playground. The views are simply unforgettable!

Is the Float Plane worth it?

Naturally, a one-of-a-kind experience like this comes at a cost. The seaplane isn’t exactly easy on the wallet at over $200 per person for a one-way journey. But consider it a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that’ll get you from Vancouver to Whistler in just 45 min. How can you put a cost on that?

*The seaplane now only departs from the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre in Coal Harbour. This location is easily reachable via the Skytrain or rideshare from YVR. Just expect to budget around 30 min.

Vancouver Airport to Whistler FAQs

How far is whistler from vancouver airport.

Whistler is approximately 135 kilometres (about 84 miles) from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). The journey typically takes around 2.5 hours by road, depending on traffic and weather conditions.

What is the best way to get from the Vancouver Airport to Whistler?

The best way to get from Vancouver Airport to Whistler depends on your preferences and needs. For convenience, cost and comfort, we recommend the Whistler SkyLynx if you don’t have a vehicle.

However, larger groups, families, and luxury travellers may prefer to opt to book a private transfer for door-to-door service to their Whistler hotel.

Where does the Skylynx Whistler Depart from?

The Skylynx Whistler departs from just outside the arrivals terminal. We recommend booking your tickets in advance and proceeding to the kiosk at the foot of the escalator outside the international arrivals terminal for more information.

What’s the fastest way to get to Whistler from Vancouver Airport?

The fastest way to get to Whistler from Vancouver Airport is by float plane, which is available in the summer only. Direct shuttle services like SkyLynx and Whistler Private Shuttles follow this.

Is there a Vancouver Airport to Whistler shuttle?

The closest thing to a shuttle would be the YVR Skylynx bus service, which also offers service from Downtown. Otherwise, there are a host of providers offering private shuttles and transfers for groups of all sizes looking to get to Whistler from YVR.

All set for your trip from the Vancouver Airport to Whistler?

Travelling from Vancouver Airport to Whistler offers various options to suit different preferences and budgets.

Whether you choose the convenience of the YVR Skylynx, the freedom of a car rental, or the luxury of a private transfer, your journey to Whistler will surely be as memorable as the destination itself.

So, plan ahead, book your preferred transportation, and get ready to enjoy your trip from the Vancouver Airport to Whistler!

Related posts

trip vancouver to whistler

Vancouver to Whistler Seaplane: Flight Prices, Reviews and Tips

trip vancouver to whistler

Vancouver Airport Transportation (YVR) Cheap, Fast & Easy

A plane takes off in front of the Fairmont Vancouver Airport

14 Epic Vancouver Airport Hotels from $109.00

Leave a reply cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • What's New and Blog
  • Vancouver Airport
  • Airport Transportation
  • Flights to Vancouver
  • Airport Hotels
  • Sightseeing Tips
  • Whistler / Blackcomb
  • Ferry to Victoria BC
  • Gulf Islands
  • Hotels in Vancouver
  • Best Places to Eat
  • Vancouver Weather
  • Vancouver to Seattle
  • Seattle Attractions
  • Privacy / Disclaimer
  • Site Search

Ride the Scenic Train to Whistler 

Information About Riding the Train to Whistler from Vancouver, BC

As of 2015 the train from Vancouver to Whistler has been suspended.

For a nice way to relax and enjoy the scenic journey from Vancouver to Whistler, consider the new Whistler train called the Mountaineer!  The highway to Whistler is a windy and at times narrow road to drive on. So a safe and great way to travel from Vancouver to Whistler is by train. And the Whistler Mountaineer has quickly become one of the best daytrips from Vancouver.

If you don't have the time or money for a full rail tour of the Canadian Rockies, this is a good option. For sightseeing, you'll see the rugged Pacific Coast mountains, fjord-like inlets and bays, waterfalls, and maybe even some Canadian wildlife such as eagles, seals, mountain lions and bears!

Here's some details about the Vancouver to Whistler train journey on the Whistler Mountaineer

Scenic Train to Whistler: Info

Time: 3 hours each way

Distance: 115 km

Where does it depart from: North Vancouver Rail Depot (distance from downtown Vancouver: about 30 minutes by car/taxi. Downtown Vancouver hotel pick-ups are available)

Where does it arrive: Whistler Rail Station, on Lake Placid Drive, Whistler Creekside.

What do you see along the way? Scenic views of Capilano River, West Vancouver, Horseshoe Bay, Howe Sound, Porteau Cove Provincial Park, Cheakamus Canyon.

How much does it cost: regular Coast Classic fare is $129 one way and $219 return. Glacier glass-domed cars: $329 return.

Meals: While there is no dinner served on the train, the mountaineer has a light meal service in Coast Classic. The Glacier Domed cars serve a hot breakfast on the way up to Whistler in the morning, and sandwiches on the trip back to the city.

How do I get tickets: Best Deals on The Rocky Mountaineer Train  or order tickets by phone 604-606-7245, or on the web at rockymountaineer.com .

Disclaimer - Please Note: This page is a general guide only - It is NOT the official Rocky Mountaineer website. Train schedules, fares and services are subject to frequent change. Vancouver Travel Tips.com accepts no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from this information. Please consult rockymountaineer .com before starting any travel.

Whistler Photos

Go here to see our   pictures of Whistler in the Spring and Winter.

Tell us about your favorite story on the train ride to Whistler.

Do you have a favorite story about the train ride to Whistler? Share it!

Enter Your Title

Add a Picture/Graphic Caption (optional)  

Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

Submit Your Contribution

  • Check box to agree to these   submission guidelines .
  • I am at least 16 years of age.
  • I understand and accept the privacy policy .
  • I understand that you will display my submission on your website.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

Our Readers favorite things about the train ride to Whistler.

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Click here to write your own.

Privacy Policy & Disclaimer / Contact Us

trip vancouver to whistler

Places to See

trip vancouver to whistler

Popular on VTT:

1. Airport Parking

2. Airport Transportation

3. Airport Hotels 

4. Vancouver Skytrain

5. Sightseeing Tips

10 fabulous day trips from Vancouver

John Lee

Jan 22, 2024 • 7 min read

trip vancouver to whistler

Just 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Richmond has one of North America’s most exciting Asian-dining scenes © Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

There’s so much to see and do in  Vancouver that you might forget to check out what the surrounding area has to offer.

You shouldn’t. With easy access to the rest of  British Columbia , Vancouver is an ideal jumping-off point for day trips for gourmets, history buffs, outdoor adventurers and more.

Here are our top 10 favorite escapes from the city.

1. Raise a glass to the Port Moody beer train

Travel time: 1 hour

It’s no secret that BC’s craft-ale scene has surged in recent years. And while Vancouver is studded with lip-smacking tasting rooms, you can also take an unofficial “beer train” out to the suburbs for an afternoon of quaffing with the locals. Lining the street – sort of like...a row of beer taps – you’ll find several intriguing breweries, each with its own inviting tasting rooms and friendly bars.

How to get to Port Moody from Vancouver: Hop on the SkyTrain transit service from downtown Vancouver to Moody Centre Station (about 45 minutes), then walk across the bridge to Murray St in the heart of historic Port Moody.

A Seabus ferry on the water against the skyline of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

2. Cruise in Vancouver Harbour

Travel time: variable

If the water is calling your name, there are dozens of ways to leave the shore and hit the waves that surround Vancouver on three sides.  Harbour Cruises ’ one-hour tour meanders alongside the city’s waterfront. And its half-day Indian Arm option is a much deeper excursion: as the city shrinks away, you’ll be slowly enveloped in a forested, sheer-cliffed natural wonderland that feels like a Norwegian fjord.

Look out for the community of Deep Cove on your cruise – and consider returning for a kayak or stand-up paddleboarding adventure.  Deep Cove Kayak Centre offers tranquility-boosting guided tours from here that make you feel like cities were never invented.

How to get to Vancouver Harbour from Vancouver: There are many ways to hit the water in this port town. Harbour Cruises can be found near Devonian Harbour Park, with more options as you head into Stanley Park .

Lower Lonsdale and the Quay, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

3. Enjoy food, art and beer in North Vancouver

Travel time: 15 minutes

This ocean-facing city is home to the food stands and artisan boutiques of  Lonsdale Quay Public Market , plus a once-gritty shipyard that’s been transformed in recent years with boardwalks, restaurants and boutiques (many of them in restored factory sheds). The highlight is the  Polygon Gallery , a dramatic contemporary art space that lures culture fans from around the region. The beer in North Van also entices, with a clutch of microbreweries a 10-minute walk away on East Esplanade. Further inland is one of North Vancouver’s top attractions, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park , easily reached by  shuttle or bus  from downtown. 

How to get to North Vancouver from downtown Vancouver: Hop on the 12-minute SeaBus transit ferry from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay, and you’ll step off in North Van.

A hiker on a hilltop overlooking the water, Bowen Island, British Columbia, Canada

4. Explore Bowen Island

Travel time: 1½ hours

Board a ferry and cruise past towering mountains and tree-covered islands to stunning Bowen Island. Step off in Snug Cove to explore wooden boardwalks, bright-painted storefronts and forest-lined trails where sightings of bald eagles and Bowen’s resident deer are common. Need more? Follow the trail to Opa, a gigantic ancient Douglas fir that’s a highlight for many visitors.

How to get to Bowen Island from Vancouver: Perhaps the best boat trip you can take in this region is the BC Ferries ’ service from West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island. The 250 express bus from downtown Vancouver takes you directly to the ferry dock; from there, it’s a 20-minute hop to Bowen.

Crowds at the Richmond Night Market, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

5. Taste the world in Richmond

Travel time: 20 minutes

Richmond’s pan-Asian flavor reflects a community where many locals have roots in China, Korea, Vietnam and beyond. It’s also revered as the home of what is perhaps North America’s best Asian dining scene.

Start with lunch at  Parker Place , a Hong Kong–style mall with a food court like a hawker market and dishes ranging from juicy pork buns to crispy Vietnamese subs. Then explore the nearby  Aberdeen Centre ’s culturally immersive stores, which stock everything from Chinese teas to quirky Japanese dollar-store trinkets. (Save time for a Taiwanese shaved-ice treat in the upper-floor food court.)

Take the foodie theme further at the clamorous  Richmond Night Market . Running Fridays to Sundays between May and October, it’s lined with over 100 steam-shrouded food stands. Arrive hungry and with a sense of culinary curiosity – and get ready for stinky tofu, dragon’s-beard candy, nori-topped Japanese fries and much, much more.

How to get to Richmond from Vancouver:  Richmond is easy to reach from Vancouver on the Canada Line to Bridgeport Station.

A cable car descends in front of beautiful mountain scenery.

6. Ascend a mountain in 10 minutes in Squamish

The popular Sea to Sky Gondola is a super-scenic cable-car ride that whisks riders up a forested mountainside. The Squamish area ’s other attractions include the family-friendly  Britannia Mine Museum – don’t miss the underground train ride – and the Railway Museum of British Columbia , with a delightful vintage-train collection. Also save time for  Shannon Falls Provincial Park , home to one of BC’s highest waterfalls.

How to get to Squamish from Vancouver: Rent a car for the one-hour drive north of the city. This dramatic cliffside road is one of BC’s most spectacular routes and also home to several great attractions – mostly near the town of Squamish, less than an hour away. If driving is not an option, shuttles will take you from Vancouver to Squamish, including the BC Connector , Skylynx  and the Squamish Connector .

7. Go birding on Iona Beach

Travel time: 45 minutes

If you’ve been meaning to try birding – a pastime that’s surged in popularity in recent years – BC’s Lower Mainland is also a hotbed of easy-access opportunities. Ladner’s  Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary , Delta’s Boundary Bay Regional Park and North Vancouver’s  Maplewood Flats Conservation Area are all justifiably popular. But Richmond’s  Iona Beach Regional Park may be the best of the bunch.

Stretching along the Fraser River shoreline, this relatively compact green space is typically home to a huge diversity of local and visiting birds. Bring binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for eagles, hawks, red-winged blackbirds, Anna’s hummingbirds and many more. It’s the kind of back-to-nature haven that couldn’t feel further from the bustling streets of downtown Vancouver.

How to get to Iona Beach from Vancouver: Travelers can drive to the park, which is located near Vancouver International Airport, or take the Canada Line Skytrain to the airport and a taxi from there.

Freshly caught fish in the harbor of Steveston Village, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

8. Dine on fish, chips and history in Steveston

Travel time: 1 hour 15 minutes

This charming fishing village fringes the wide Fraser River. Yet its bobbing-boat-filled harbor isn’t just about wood-sided stores and great fish and chip joints (we recommend  Pajo’s ): there’s tons of history here, too. Shipbuilding and fish processing made this one of BC’s busiest communities in the late 1800s, and its two National Historic Sites evoke the story perfectly. The  Gulf of Georgia Cannery tells you what working as a “slimer” in a fish plant was like, while exhibits at the  Britannia Heritage Shipyard illuminate everything from prohibition-era rum-running to the internment of Japanese Canadians during WWII.

How to get to Steveston from Vancouver: Take the Canada Line SkyTrain to Richmond-Brighouse Station, then the 407 bus.

People walk along New Westminster Pier Park with the Port Mann Bridge in the background, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada

9. Visit the “Royal City” in New Westminster

Travel time: 25 minutes

New Westminster – aka the “Royal City” – was the region’s main settlement before  Victoria took...the crown in 1866. Start your visit here by window-shopping on historic Columbia St. The landmark  Anvil Centre  is home to two free-entry attractions: the popular  New Westminster Museum and the  New Media Gallery , which mounts avant-garde contemporary exhibitions.

A few steps away, cross the train lines to the other side of the tracks and explore a restored linear park that runs alongside the Fraser River like a grass-fringed boardwalk. Look for public art and grand shoreline views here – herons and cormorant sightings included. Hungry? Check out the food stands at the indoor  River Market nearby.

How to get to New Westminster from Vancouver : It’s a 25-minute SkyTrain ride from downtown to New West.

People on Cloudraker Skybridge, Whistler Mountain, British Columbia, Canada

10. Tackle the slopes in Whistler

Travel time: 2 hours

An hour past Squamish, the Sea to Sky Highway reaches  Whistler . Locals and visiting ski and snowboard fans from around the world flock to this famous winter playground. Yet there are almost as many summer visitors to the area (whose icicle-draped alpine village is beautiful year-round). In town, don’t miss the striking  Audain Art Museum  – but also save time to plunge into the great outdoors.

Hiking and biking routes (rentals are available) appeal to folks of all abilities and energy levels; activities from zip-lining to river rafting are also on offer. Don’t miss a ride on the eye-poppingly scenic  Peak 2 Peak Gondola (glass-bottomed car recommended), then inch across the lofty  Cloudraker Skybridge , a steel suspension span with a see-through deck.

How to get to Whistler from Vancouver:  As with Squamish, a number of shuttle buses including  Epic Rides and Skylynx will get you there. Yet those who rent a car for the nearly two-hour drive will have maximum freedom.

This article was first published Mar 3, 2015 and updated Jan 22, 2024.

Explore related stories

View over the top of Rocky Mountaineer train in the Canadian Rockies.

Jun 14, 2024 • 8 min read

Lonely Planet Destination Editor Melissa Yeager traveled by train through the Canadian Rockies. Here are her tips for anyone planning a similar trip.

Riding through a canyon in Colorado on the Rocky Mountaineer

May 29, 2024 • 9 min read

trip vancouver to whistler

May 15, 2024 • 9 min read

Man and women paddle stand up paddleboards through the Inner Harbour towards the Parliament Buildings. © Aaron Black / Getty Images RFC

May 8, 2024 • 11 min read

trip vancouver to whistler

May 7, 2024 • 8 min read

trip vancouver to whistler

Apr 29, 2024 • 5 min read

trip vancouver to whistler

Apr 26, 2024 • 6 min read

trip vancouver to whistler

Apr 23, 2024 • 7 min read

trip vancouver to whistler

Apr 17, 2024 • 5 min read

trip vancouver to whistler

Apr 16, 2024 • 8 min read

trip vancouver to whistler

10 Best Places To Visit In Canada If You Love Nature And Outdoor Adventures

  • Explore the polar bear capital of the world in Churchill, Manitoba and witness the amazing sights of polar bears during fall. Don't miss the opportunity for whale watching and year-round views of the northern lights.
  • Immerse yourself in the natural paradise of Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Enjoy water sports like fishing and kayaking on the lakes and rivers, while the forests and mountains provide ample opportunities for hiking and biking adventures.
  • Discover Whistler, a ski paradise with trails for all skill levels. In addition to skiing, enjoy hiking, ziplining, and other amazing adventures. Explore the charming town with its restaurants, bars, and shops.

Canada is a massive country with many things to offer. For those who love nature and outdoor adventures, this country is the perfect choice. Here, one will find everything from towering mountains to massive lakes, charming towns, picturesque coastlines, and every other thing needed for an unforgettable adventure.

In all honesty, the list of nature and adventure destinations in Canada is inexhaustible, but these have been carefully selected to save travelers the dilemma of what to choose and also give them an unforgettable experience.

Churchill, Manitoba

Churchill is a unique town in Manitoba, situated by Hudson Bay and renowned as the polar bear capital of the world. During fall, these polar bears come out in huge numbers, offering visitors the opportunity to get on safari rides and take in the amazing sights.

In summer, Beluga Whale migration sightings are a top priority for visitors here. Plus, the northern lights are visible in this town nearly all year round, which makes it an irresistible town for outdoor recreation.

  • Things to enjoy: Whale watching, shopping, aurora borealis, wildlife watching

Related: These Are The Best Things to Do in Churchill Beyond Polar Bear Viewing

Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

The Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario is one of the largest parks in Canada . This park is a nature paradise with different ecosystems and landscapes that offer amazing scenery and plenty of outdoor adventures.

While numerous lakes and rivers set the stage for water sports such as fishing and kayaking, the forests and mountains are perfect for hiking and biking adventures.

The park is also home to diverse wildlife such as mammals, reptiles, birds, and amphibians.

  • More things to enjoy: Skiing, snowboarding, stargazing

For lovers of skiing, Whistler is one of the best destinations for the sport in the world. In winter, this place becomes a ski paradise filled with lots of ski trails for all skill levels and several other amazing attractions including a small charming town that has several facilities like restaurants, bars, and shops.

Besides skiing, Whistler also offers several other amazing adventures like hiking and ziplining.

  • More things to enjoy: Mountain biking, winter sports, gondola rides, mountain climbing, golfing

Related: 10 Reasons To Visit Whistler, Canada This Winter

Okanagan Valley

The Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, is an exciting destination to spend quality outdoor time. The valley is filled with evergreen forests, lush vineyards, and beautiful laid-back villages with pine-forested hills.

It also encompasses the Okanagan Lake, where water sports like kayaking, paddling, and fishing are active in summer. The lake is home to dozens of beaches suited for picnics, sunbathing, sightseeing, and strolling. In the winter, the valley is a hotspot for skiing at the Big White and Crystal Mountain Ski resorts.

  • More things to enjoy: Boating, hiking, train rides, wine tasting,

Big Muddy Badlands, Saskatchewan

The Big Muddy Badlands in Saskatchewan offers the ideal wilderness experience and nature's unspoiled beauty. Here, visitors will find ancient caves, cliffs, peaks, and a 200 feet Castle Butte, made of sandstone and compressed clay that rises to the sky.

The Badland is also a historical site with the famous Buffalo Jumps, a place where buffalos were forced to jump off cliffs. The area also encompasses the Big Muddy Valley, Big Muddy Lake, and the Buffalo Effigy, all iconic sites worth visiting.

Exploring the vast wilderness here on hikes and treks can satiate one's hunger for the outdoors.

  • More things to enjoy: Cave exploration, hiking, train rides

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

The Capilano Suspension Bridge that crosses over the Capilano River in Vancouver is a paradise for outdoor buffs. This iconic bridge passes through a rainforest filled with lush cedar trees and other flourishing giant trees that ooze their scents into the atmosphere.

It features seven suspended footbridges for sweeping views of the entire forest as one takes the glorious walk. There's a cliff walk 300 feet high that offers a bird's eye view of the entire vegetation and river, sending rushes of adrenaline down the body. Crossing this bridge is truly adventurous and unites one with nature.

  • More things to enjoy: Birdwatching, and hiking

Tofino, Vancouver Island

Tofino is a small picturesque resort town in Vancouver Island, British Columbia, that attracts tons of tourists all year round. The coastline of this town is a playing field for outdoor enthusiasts who love water sports activities.

Surfing the ocean, sunbathing, hiking, watching whales, and fishing are the top activities here. For more excitement, one can take a boat to Marquinna Marine Provincial Park, where its natural hot springs are a delight to experience.

The Big Trail on Meares Island, accessible by boat or kayak, is another hotspot for outdoor recreation, with a boardwalk through a lush forest.

  • More things to enjoy: Beach walking, surfing, amazing dining, shopping

Bay Of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick is one of Canada's natural wonders . The Bay is notable for its low and high tides that make its shores a high point of interest.

Here, visitors will find the interesting Hopewell Rocks where visitors can observe the tidal movements, take amazing pictures and feel the wonders of nature. Plus, the beaches and shores of Fundy Bay are home to some interesting fossils.

  • Things to enjoy: Whale watching, kayaking, and hiking

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is perhaps the most famous natural attraction in Canada. When in Canada, visitors can visit the waterfalls from Ontario and enjoy the several amazing adventures and incredible natural scenery the attraction offers.

At Niagara Falls, there are opportunities for exciting activities like zip lining, helicopter riding, and hiking. There are also opportunities for boat tours and visitors can even climb the Skylon Observatory Tower for incredible views of the waterfalls.

  • More things to enjoy: Golfing, relaxation at a spa, amazing dining, wine tasting

Related: Niagara Falls: 10 Differences Between The Canadian & U.S. Sides

Banff National Park

Banff National Park is the oldest in Canada and one of the most thrilling destinations in the country to experience outdoor adventures. Regardless of the season one decides to visit, the park has amazing scenery and plenty of activities to offer .

Everything from glaciers to mountains, valleys, alpines, forests, wildlife, ice fields, and lakes can be found here, and these natural endowments present a long list of amazing experiences for any visitor.

From hiking and swimming to kayaking and paddling, the park is a playground for outdoor adventures and one can also explore the town of Banff before or after visiting the national park.

  • More things to enjoy: Wildlife watching, shopping, gondola rides, hiking

10 Best Places To Visit In Canada If You Love Nature And Outdoor Adventures


Whistler Blackcomb Snow Report

Snow & ski conditions whistler blackcomb, recent snowfall, forecasted snow, first hand report, resort overview.


Plan Your Trip

Nearby resorts & related regions.


  1. How to Get from Vancouver to Whistler +20 EPIC Road Trip Stops

    13. Squamish Spit and Estuary. While in Squamish, make sure to drive out to the Squamish Spit, located at the tip of the Howe Sound near the Squamish Estuary. This long man-made walkway jets out into the water and makes for a nice place to take a stroll and stretch your legs on the road between Vancouver and Whistler.

  2. 6 Best Tours to Whistler from Vancouver: Top Day Tours

    Vancouver to Whistler Day Trip by Seaplane . Departure Point: Coal Harbour | Length: 9 hours | Cost: From $498.65 CAD If you're looking for a Vancouver to Whistler day trip that truly maximizes your time, then here it is.. In fact, this is the only tour from Vancouver to Whistler that guarantees a full day of sightseeing.. T he package includes a round-trip seaplane flight from Vancouver to ...

  3. Vancouver to Whistler

    WHISTLER SNOWBUS operates a bus from Vancouver, BC - Burrard Skytrain to Whistler hourly. Tickets cost $23-33 and the journey takes 2h. Five other operators also service this route. Alternatively, Rocky Mountaineer operates a train from Vancouver, BC - Rocky Mountaineer Station to Whistler, BC on demand, and the journey takes 13d. Airlines.

  4. 20 BEST Stops on the Vancouver To Whistler Drive (Sea to Sky Highway)

    With so much to do, many people even make a stop at Squamish for a few days while they're traveling from Vancouver to Whistler. 14. Squamish Estuary. The Squamish Estuary is a wildlife enthusiasts' paradise, with opportunities to look at bears, beavers, deers, bobcats, and more than 200 species of birds.

  5. Vancouver to Whistler Shuttle Bus

    Vancouver to Whistler by Shuttle Bus Service between Vancouver International Airport, Downtown Vancouver & Whistler. Skylynx, Whistler Shuttle and Epic Rides offer daily, frequent shuttle transportation from Vancouver to Whistler. Comfortable coach rides provide spectacular city, ocean and mountain views as well as free WiFi so you can stay in touch on the go.

  6. Road Trip To Whistler: Vancouver To Whistler Drive On The Sea To Sky

    5 Must see stops on the road from Vancouver to Whistler (closer to Whistler) 5.1 Brandywine Falls. 5.2 Garibaldi Lake. 6 Road trip to Whistler essentials. 7 Where to stay for a Vancouver - Whistler road trip. 7.1 In Vancouver. 7.2 In Whistler. Driving from Vancouver to Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway.

  7. Vancouver to Whistler: Get there by Bus, Plane, Train, or Car

    Between May and September, fly from Vancouver Airport or downtown Victoria to Whistler on Harbour Air. A free shuttle will take you from Green Lake to the village. If you only have time for the day, you can take a float plane for a round trip to Whistler. CHECK PRICES AND SEE MORE DETAILS HERE.

  8. How to Get to Whistler from Vancouver from $30.00

    One way tickets cost $46.67 CAD (about $35.00 USD). With schedules frequently changing, it's best to click the orange booking link below for times: Book My Vancouver to Whistler Bus Now. The Whistler bus from Vancouver airport (YVR) meanwhile costs $78.67 ($57.32 USD): Book My YVR Airport to Whistler Bus Now.

  9. From Vancouver to Whistler: 7 Best Ways to Get There

    1. From Vancouver to Whistler by Seaplane Seaplane on Green Lake in Whistler. Without a doubt, the most dramatic way to experience a trip from Vancouver to Whistler is to fly in by seaplane with Harbour Air or Whistler Air. The excitement starts the moment you board the small plane from Vancouver Harbour and doesn't stop until you come to a floating stop in Whistler's Green Lake.

  10. Vancouver, BC to Whistler

    Whistler Blackcomb (Opens in a new window). Whistler Blackcomb is a major ski resort located 121 km north of Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada. By many measures it is the largest ski resort in North America; it is 50% larger than its nearest competitor in terms of size, has the greatest uphill lift capacity, and until 2009, had the highest vertical skiable distance by a wide margin.

  11. How to Get From Vancouver to Whistler

    Even though Whistler is only 75 miles from Vancouver, you can get there in 40 minutes via seaplane or chartered helicopter. Harbour Air provides seaplanes from Vancouver Harbour directly to Whistler Blackcomb, with seats starting at about $174. With one-way flights starting at $3,375, Blackcomb Helicopters is more of a luxury transit for a ...

  12. Vancouver to Whistler: a 3-day itinerary

    Things to do. Vancouver to Whistler: a 3-day itinerary. Cap off a visit to Vancouver with a jaunt along the winding Sea-to-Sky Highway. Drawing travelers from around the world for decades, this ocean-forest-and-mountain-lined route underwent a $600-million upgrade prior to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

  13. Epic Rides: Bus to Whistler ️ #1 Whistler Shuttle Service

    Quick, Easy, Affordable! $44 Round Trip between Vancouver downtown and Whistler. $33.50 One Way between Vancouver downtown and Whistler. Multi Trip Pass - Vancouver downtown and Whistler. ( click for more) Discounts for groups of 6 or more and children under 12 (call the office). $0 for Luggage, Skis or Bikes.

  14. Weekend Trip from Vancouver: Seeing Whistler in the Summer

    A quick and easy one is the drive from Vancouver to Whistler along the Sea to Sky Highway. Also known as BC Highway 99, the scenic route hugs the shore of Howe Sound, with many awe-inspiring sights along the way. This 2-day itinerary encompasses exciting things to see and do on your Vancouver road trip to Whistler!

  15. Road Trip from Vancouver to Whistler

    The road trip between Vancouver and Whistler spans a distance of 120km. Typically, it would take about 1 hour and 30 minutes of non-stop driving to get between the two destinations. So you could easily complete a return trip in a single day. However, with so many fantastic national parks and other places of interest dotted throughout the route ...

  16. Driving the Sea to Sky

    An Overview of the Trip: Vancouver to Whistler. First things first, there some basic things to know about driving the Sea to Sky Highway. Also known as Highway 99, the road from Whistler to Vancouver is around a 120km (75 mile) drive. If you drive it all in one go, it normally takes just under 2 hours from downtown Vancouver.

  17. Drive From Vancouver To Whistler: Sea To Sky Highway Road Trip Guide

    British Columbia Highway 99, affectionately nicknamed as the Sea to Sky Highway, is 163.13 km (101.36 miles) long and connects Vancouver to Pemberton (a bit north of Whistler). It truly earns the name as it connects the sea, Vancouver and Howe Sound, to the sky, the mountains of Whistler and Pemberton. And it offers stunning ocean and mountain ...

  18. Getting to Whistler

    Travelling to Whistler, British Columbia. Our legendary resort town is just a two-hour drive from Vancouver along the awe-inspiring Sea to Sky Highway. Getting here without a car is a breeze with access to international airports, a range of airport transfers and Whistler-based Travel Consultants ready to coordinate your journey for you.

  19. Getting to Whistler by Road

    Whistler by Road. The first part of your trip from Vancouver to Whistler is an incredible experience all on its own. Travel the stunning Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) with multiple transportation options to fit every budget and group size, including express shuttle bus service and private limousine. Take in the amazing views of Howe Sound and ...

  20. The 4 BEST Whistler Tours from Vancouver

    The Sea to Sky Gondola is one of our all-time favorite things to do in British Columbia, and this tour combines a gondola ride with a day trip to Whistler!. The tour includes hotel pick-up in Vancouver and from here you will travel down the famous Sea to Sky Highway all the way to Shannon Falls Provincial Park. Shannon Falls is the third of BC's tallest waterfalls at a whopping 1,105 feet ...

  21. Travel Made Easy: How To Get From Vancouver To Whistler

    Whether you're driving, taking a taxi, or riding the bus, you'll most likely be traveling along the Sea to Sky Highway, also known as Highway 99. This isn't just any old highway - it's a journey through some of the most breathtaking scenery in British Columbia. As you wind your way from sea level in Vancouver to the sky-high peaks of ...

  22. Vancouver to Whistler Village, BC

    Whistler Blackcomb (Opens in a new window). Whistler Blackcomb is a major ski resort located 121 km north of Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada. By many measures it is the largest ski resort in North America; it is 50% larger than its nearest competitor in terms of size, has the greatest uphill lift capacity, and until 2009, had the highest vertical skiable distance by a wide margin.

  23. How to Get from Vancouver Airport to Whistler: A Visitors Guide

    Vancouver Airport to Whistler Shuttle: Travel in Style. Recommended for: Luxury travellers, large groups or families, special occasions. Luxury and Comfort. For those seeking a more luxurious experience, private car services offer a comfortable and stylish way to travel from YVR to Whistler.You'll receive airport pick-up from a professional driver outside the arrivals terminal.

  24. Riding the Train to Whistler from Vancouver

    VTT Home › Whistler Vacation › Whistler Train . By Darrin Robertson, VTT Editor - Updated: . January 17, 2023. As of 2015 the train from Vancouver to Whistler has been suspended. For a nice way to relax and enjoy the scenic journey from Vancouver to Whistler, consider the new Whistler train called the Mountaineer!

  25. Whistler Shuttle

    Whistler shuttle was a nice and easy experience. They base your trip off your flight times. It seems this was the fastest way to get out to Whistler from Vancouver while being financially reasonable. Driver was super nice and courteous. I would use this again and definitely recommend to anyone who needs a shuttle to and from Whistler.

  26. Best day trips from Vancouver

    There's so much to see and do in Vancouver that you might forget to check out what the surrounding area has to offer.. You shouldn't. With easy access to the rest of British Columbia, Vancouver is an ideal jumping-off point for day trips for gourmets, history buffs, outdoor adventurers and more. Here are our top 10 favorite escapes from the city. 1.

  27. Calgary to Vancouver via Whistler

    I should also clarify, whatever route you take from Calgary to Vancouver/Whistler will have you travelling up and over about 5 different mountain ranges so you'll have mountains, mountains, and more mountains, no matter which route you go. The Kootenays are an area famous for dramatic snow/glacier-capped mountains (the Purcells, the Columbia Mountains, the Cariboo Mountains, the Selkirk ...

  28. 10 Best Places To Visit In Canada If You Love Nature And Outdoor ...

    Whistler . For lovers of skiing, Whistler is one of the best destinations for the sport in the world. In winter, this place becomes a ski paradise filled with lots of ski trails for all skill ...

  29. We went forest bathing in Whistler and here's everything you need to

    The Nourish Whistler Wellness Series runs from June 1 to 23 and features a host of events geared towards nourishing your mind, body and soul in the mountains of Whistler.. For accommodations, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler offers Whistler Experience Guides, a menu of activities ranging from standup paddleboarding to guided bike rides and even pickleball lessons.

  30. Whistler Blackcomb Snow Report

    Whistler was originally conceived as part of a bid to host the 1968 Winter Olympics. Although the bid was ultimately unsuccessful, construction began, and the resort opened in 1966. After years of expansions and a merger with Blackcomb Mountain, Whistler was awarded the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in association with Vancouver.