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
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
Destination BC/Tom Ryan

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
Destination BC/Alex Guiry

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 
Destination BC/Heath Moffatt

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
Destination BC/Hubert Kang

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
Destination Vancouver/Sea to Sky Gondola/Paul Bride

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.

Keep in mind that day passes are required at Garibaldi Provincial Park

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.

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!

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