The Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler village is one of the most scenic routes in North America. Whether you self-drive or take shared transportation, the journey is spectacular. However, you might be wondering about the best ways on how to get to Whistler. Read on for my travel tips.
How to Get to Whistler
Having your own car or getting a rental is one of the easiest ways to road trip to Whistler.
The drive time from Vancouver International Airport to Whistler is about 2 and a half hours and from downtown Vancouver, you’ll want to give yourself about 2 hours. Whistler is a year-round destination however winter weekends are definitely the peak times to visit this resort town so you’ll want to adjust your travel time around this.
When travelling between November 1 and April 30, you must ensure your car has winter tires as it is required by law (not all car rentals have them).
If you are driving your own vehicle, enjoy the views of the mountain ranges as you cross Lions Gate Bridge and make your way up the scenic highway along the Coast Mountains. You’ll pass Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, Porteau Cove Provincial Park at Howe Sound, Britannia Mine Museum, and then Stawamus Chief and Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. If free time allows, a great place to stop and stretch your legs is Britannia Beach or Shannon Falls Provincial Park.
From here, the elevation gain increases and you’ll start to see mountain peaks as you get closer to Whistler Blackcomb, one of the best ski resorts in western Canada.
Whistler day trips are popular but 1 day in Whistler is not enough. Take time to explore all the best things to do such as an easy hike like Train Wreck and its suspension bridge or the Peak 2 Peak Gondola connecting the top of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Or go for a short walk around Lost Lake or Green Lake. Visit the Whistler Host kiosks around the village for recommendations for the best places to go.
If you’re travelling with a private vehicle, the Daylots is the best parking area as it is central and a good place to access all areas of Whistler village.
How Do I get to Whistler Without a Car?
Shuttle Service to Whistler
If you don’t have experience driving in winter weather conditions, the best way to get to Whistler is with one of the bus services. Epic Rides offers shuttle service directly from downtown Vancouver to Whistler. They offer 7-8 trips each day and prices range from $32 to $43. Skylynx provides daily service from Vancouver International Airport and city center to Whistler, with a stop in Squamish. This is the best way to get from the Vancouver airport to Whistler. They have between 6-8 trips daily. Skylynx shuttle service from Vancouver to Whistler ranges from $30 to $105. Ski equipment can be taken on Epic Rides and Skylynx for no extra charge.
In the summer months, one of the great options to get to Whistler is with Harbour Air seaplanes. Harbour Air flies between Vancouver Harbour and Whistler or Victoria Harbour and Whistler. The Whistler “airstrip” is on Green Lake, just a short walk from the Nicklaus North Clubhouse. It costs around $200 to take a seaplane to Vancouver from Whistler with Harbour Air.
People often wonder “Can you do a day trip to Whistler by train?” There is currently not a way to take a day service train from Vancouver to Whistler. However you can take a trip to Whistler by train as part of a longer journey. The Rocky Mountaineer train experience, Rainforest to Gold Rush, is a great option. Following your Whistler stay, you’ll make your way through British Columbia to Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies. You can either end your trip here or continue to one of Canada’s most recognized national parks, Banff National Park. Here you can experience amazing places like the iconic Lake Louise and the historical town of Banff.
Getting Around Whistler
There is no Uber or Lyft in Whistler but there is Whistle, a local company that offers a similar service. Public transit is very good and Whistler buses are free on certain routes in the summer.
Whistler was designed as a pedestrian only village so you don’t really need a car to get around. If you drive and leave your car in a parking lot, you’ll likely have do to a bit of walking anyways. In the summer months, you can bike or take a leisurely walk to one of the many lakes. Most of the major hotels have a shuttle or private car that will get you to areas outside of the walking areas.
See my list of the best attractions and things to do and see in Whistler HERE.
There are so many great ways to get to Whistler. Whichever one you choose is sure to be incredible!