Vancouver getaway


The picturesque mountain village of Whistler BC has become a world renowned international vacation destination. Nestled in the mountains of British Columbia about 120 km (75 miles) north of Vancouver, this ski and snowboard town is one of BC’s top destinations. Out of all the great things to do in Vancouver, one of the best is taking a trip to nearby Whistler, BC nestled in the mountains of Fitzsimmons Range. For those visiting BC for the first time, visiting Whistler is one of our highest recommendations.

Whistler has so much to offer to its visitors no matter what season you visit. Home to the 2010 Winter Olympics, it has built up quite the reputation for being the best ski mountain in BC and Canada. In the summer, the area turns into a mountain biking heaven offering beautiful lakes and hiking trails to be explored in addition to its world renowned downhill mountain biking.

There are two points of entry to Whistler. The most popular one is from Vancouver via the Sea-to-Sky Highway. The less popular way to get to Whistler is from the north through Lillooet (a small town in BC’s interior). Either way you get there, Whistler is the ultimate destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts.

If you’re curious about all the best ways to get to Whistler, we’ve got you covered. Below are all your Whistler transportation options. Regardless of how you choose to get there, you can count on an unforgettable experience delivering breathtaking views.

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Table of Contents

How to get from Vancouver to Whistler?

Getting from Vancouver to Whistler takes about 2 hours, depending on your route and how many stops you make (there are so many to choose from!). Your options for getting to Whistler are extensive – you can drive, bus, fly, or book a day tour. No matter how you choose to get to Whistler, the important thing is you go! Trust me, Whistler is a must see when you travel to Vancouver.

How to drive from Vancouver to Whistler?

By far, the most popular method of getting to Whistler is to enjoy the scenic drive to Whistler via a beautiful British Columbia highway. The mountain town of Whistler is about 120km (75 miles) north of downtown Vancouver and should take just under 2 hours along the Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99).

This is one of the most beautiful drives in BC and will take you up the Howe Sound. You’ll see spectacular views of islands, mountains, and ferries along the way. The drive will turn into lush forests with tons of Forest Service Roads (FSRs) where you can find some great free campsites in the summer.

If you’re renting a car, you will be able to enjoy freedom with your time being able to stop to check out the many sights in between Vancouver and Whistler. Being able to drive around Whistler is the best way to see the city and the surrounding area. Keep in mind that the majority of the parking in Whistler is paid and can get quite pricey. It is worth checking if your hotel has free parking.

Whether you are driving your car or renting a car you will want to make sure that your vehicle has winter tires between October and April. This is a BC law and you can face significant fines if you do not follow this rule for the safety of everyone on the road.

While this is certainly a beautiful drive in BC, it is important to take precautions on this road. As you make your way up to the mountain, you will weave through mountains on this alpine road, and weather conditions can change quickly. I highly recommend checking road conditions before you go, especially in the winter. Much of the road is single lane and windy making congestion, especially closer to Vancouver, a big possibility.

Road to Whistler in the Winter on a calm day

What are the best stops to Whistler from Vancouver?

If you’re looking to break up your drive, there are a lot of great stops to take along the way.

  • If you want to explore waterfalls, Shannon Falls is a great stop.
  • There are lots of beaches including Porteau Cove that you can stop at to take in the ocean views.
  • Looking to take in some unbeatable views? Consider taking a ride up the Sea to Sky Gondola for stunning aerial views of the whole area.
  • If you’d like to stretch your legs, the Stawamus Chief Trail is one of the best hikes in Vancouver.
  • When you get low on gas, Squamish will be the biggest town you drive through and has a few restaurants and takeout places to fuel up.
  • There are a lot of great lakes and river pull offs you can take to enjoy the outdoors. Alice Lake Provincial Park is a beautiful place to stop.

Is there a Shuttle Bus from Vancouver to Whistler?

Yes! Taking a Vancouver to Whistler shuttle is another excellent option for those looking for a more laid back experience. This will allow you to soak in the sights and not have to keep your eyes on the road while you drive.

One of the best options is to take the Skylynx shuttle bus to Whistler from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). This shuttle costs $79 CAD ($ USD) for one person or $47 CAD ($36 USD) each way per person if booking for two people. Sometimes you can get it for a lower price depending on the time of year.

Pro Tip: Sit on the left side of the bus from Vancouver to Whistler and the right side of the bus from Whistler to Vancouver for the best views!

Being able to sit back, relax and enjoy the view along the way makes the money completely worth it. You might even be able to snap a photo out of the window. This shuttle bus makes it so you don’t need to get lost in Vancouver before heading to Whistler. Skylynx offers transportation to and from Whistler from both downtown Vancouver and YVR.

Another option would be to use a company called Epic Rides. At $43 CAD ($32 USD) for a roundtrip transfer from downtown Vancouver to Whistler and back this ride option comes in at a steal. They even allow you to bring along any luggage and gear (even bikes) included in that price.

Are there any private cars to Whistler from Vancouver?

Yes. This private transfer from Whistler to either Vancouver Airport or downtown Vancouver is perfect for those traveling in a group. Whether you are traveling alone or in a group of up to 11 people, this shuttle will accommodate you.

Prices vary on the type of vehicle and group size but can be a great way to get to Whistler Village. These private transfers work out to be quite affordable, especially with a large group, and allow you the freedom to move at your own pace.

Can you fly to Whistler from Vancouver?

Yes. Even though there is no airport in Whistler you can fly from Vancouver to Whistler. If you’re wanting an epic way to experience your trip to Whistler you could start your adventure in Whistler with a float plane.

These seaplanes are offered between late spring and early fall when you can safely land on the alpine lakes. You will depart from Vancouver’s Coal Harbour and fly up the Georgia Strait landing in Green Lake in Whistler.

In total, you will spend an incredibly scenic 35 – 40 minutes in the air flying over ocean, city, and mountains with amazing views along your way. You will then take a complimentary shuttle bus from Green Lake to Whistler Village. Costing $222 CAD ($170 USD), this is a great way to take in all the best sites of Vancouver.

Don’t forget to book your return float plane from Whistler to Vancouver.

Whistler for the day

If you’re looking to see Whistler for the day, you can book this round trip seaplane sightseeing tour for $500 CAD ($382 USD). This tour is perfect for those who want to maximize the amount of time they get to spend in Whistler while taking in stunning aerial views on a seaplane to and from Whistler.

You will leave Vancouver at 9 am taking a 35 minute flight up to Green Lake where you can choose between a shuttle or a bicycle rental to get you to Whistler Village. You will have the day to explore through Whistler at your own pace until your plane leaves at 6 pm from Green Lake back to Vancouver.

Don't want to plan it? Book a day tour.

If you’re short on time but still want to get a taste of Whistler, you can take a day tour from Vancouver to Whistler. No matter what time of year you are visiting, a trip to Whistler is one of the best things to do in Vancouver.

Booking a full day tour to Whistler from Vancouver will include the shuttle to Whistler Village. This tour allows 4 hours of free exploration of Whistler Village where you can take in all the sights of this quaint mountain town.

You‘ll also stop at two of the best sights along the way including a scenic ride up the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish as well as a walk to the base of Shannon Falls. This tour with round trip transfer costs $220 CAD ($170 USD) and is guaranteed to be a memory you will never forget.

How to get to Whistler from Seattle?

Seattle is located about a 3 hour drive south of Vancouver, Canada. The 231 km (144 miles) drive will have you crossing the USA – Canada border. This takes some time and requires a passport for entry for both Canadians and Americans.

In total with the border crossing, you should expect the drive from Seattle to Whistler to take about 5 hours, depending on traffic, border lines, and weather.

From Seattle, you’ll start by traveling north through Washington State on the I-5 until you get to the border crossing between Blaine, WA, and White Rock, BC.

Once in Canada, you will drive through Vancouver suburbs towards West Vancouver. Once on Highway 1, it will transition into Highway 99 which will take you into Whistler Village.

Is Whistler Safe To Travel?

Yes, Whistler is safe to travel to. Whistler is a popular mountain town which receives over 2 million tourists every year from all around the world. As with most other areas in Canada, Whistler is perfectly safe to travel to, whether you are traveling with a family or as a solo traveler.

Is it worth driving from Vancouver to Whistler?

Yes. It is definitely worth driving from Vancouver to Whistler. Getting to Whistler with a private car is the best option. The drive on the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler is absolutely beautiful and there are lots of spots to stop along the way.

When you get to Whistler with a private car, you’ll be able to access many lakes and trailheads in the area which are worth exploring. The only downfall is that parking can get expensive so check to see if your Whistler Hotel includes free parking.

Can you do a day trip to Whistler from Vancouver?

Yes. The drive from Vancouver to Whistler is only an hour and 45 minutes. If you only have a single day to spare, I’d highly recommend exploring Whistler. Take to the slopes or explore Whistler Village, either way, any time spent in Whistler will impress you.

If you want an exhilarating day trip you can catch a flight to and from Whistler.

Final Thoughts

No matter what time of year you visit, Whistler has something to offer. One of my favorite vacation destinations in BC, exploring Whistler Village should be on everyone’s travel bucket list when visiting British Columbia.

  • The summer months invite epic wilderness adventures with many lakes, hiking, and biking trails throughout.
  • In winter, this mountain town is in its prime transforming into a postcard worthy winter wonderland.

I hope this article has made you confident with the many different ways you can get to Whistler from Vancouver.

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