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Vancouver to Whistler: a 3-day itinerary

Tantalus Lookout

Vancouver to Whistler: a 3-day itinerary

Cap off a visit to Vancouver with a jaunt along the winding Sea-to-Sky HighwayExternal Link Title. Drawing travellers from around the world for decades, this ocean-forest-and-mountain-lined route underwent a $600-million upgrade prior to the Vancouver 2010 Winter OlympicsExternal 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 VancouverExternal 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 65-kilometre drive north to the industry-turned-outdoorsy town of Squamish — worth an overnight stop all in itself.
  • Onwards to the bustling alpine village of WhistlerExternal 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 awardsExternal 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, VancouverExternal Link Title's numerous attractions make for one giant holiday playground. Here are just a few to help kick-start a day of discovery in British Columbia's biggest city.



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

  • St. LawrenceExternal Link Title: Find out what all the fuss is about at this homey Quebecois bistro (it won Restaurant of the YearExternal Link Title in Vancouver magazine's Restaurant Awards 2018, and ranked fourth among enRoute magazine's Canada's Best New Restaurants 2018). Here, haute country cooking -- fried pork rinds in maple syrup or braised lamb shoulder with ratatouille, pistou and rosemary lamb jus - meets teal-blue walls, family photographs, and softly glowing brass lamps.
  • Pepino's Spaghetti HouseExternal Link Title: Located in East Vancouver's colourful Commercial Drive neighbourhood, Pepino's serves up Italian comfort food like chicken piccata and porchetta ravioli.
  • Vancouver Food TrucksExternal 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.


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 VancouverExternal Link Title: Choose from two luxury hotels at this casino resort downtown. Bask in ocean, mountain, and city views from your softy hued room at the waterfront JW MarriottExternal Link Title, or connect with B.C.'s forestry roots from your wood-panelled perch in the DouglasExternal Link Title overlooking Parq's 2,800-square-metre sixth-floor rooftop garden.
  • Skwach?ys LodgeExternal 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 HotelExternal 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

Must-stops along the way

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 bikingExternal Link Title and rock climbingExternal Link Title (the 700-metre-high Stawamus Chief towers over the townsite), SquamishExternal Link Title and its surroundings also promise pursuits of the more leisurely kind.

  • Britannia Mine MuseumExternal 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 ParkExternal 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 (335 metres).
  • Sea to Sky GondolaExternal 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 ParkExternal Link Title: Climb your way through a 17-metre-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.


End your day

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

  • Howe Sound InnExternal Link Title: After settling into your room with mountain views, soft-shoe on down to the onsite breweryExternal Link Title for house-made cod tacos, ale and cheddar soup, or a Brewpub burger -- washed down with a rich Pothole Filler Imperial Stout or tropical Hazy Daze Northeast IPA.
  • Squamish Highlands B&BExternal 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.
  • SunwolfExternal Link Title: Check into cosy cabins with vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, and gas fireplaces at this riverside resort just under 15 kilometres north of Squamish in the community of Brackendale. Relax riverside at Fergie's Caf?External Link Title and enjoy fabulous views while feasting on fresh, locally sourced and lovingly prepared food. Sunwolf also offers rafting and eagle float tours
Whistler Blackcomb’s Peak2Peak Gondola

Day 3: Whistler

Total drive time: 45 minutes

Must-stops along the way

Just a few snowball-throws up the road, WhistlerExternal 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 BlackcombExternal Link Title: Reach this resort's 200-plus runs and 8,150 acres of terrain via the world's first three-gondola connection. The 10-person Blackcomb Gondola joins the Peak2Peak and Village gondolas to form a nearly 13.5-kilometre loop. Which means less time waiting and more time schussing.
  • Cloudraker SkybridgeExternal Link Title: Spanning 130 metres from Whistler Peak to the West Ridge, this seriously high walkway above the resort's Whistler Bowl joins up with the Raven's Eye Cliff Walk platform - which means unreal views for summer sightseers.
  • Ziptrek EcotoursExternal Link Title: Appreciate the slopeside scenery on the Falcon tour as you soar over the Fitzsimmons Valley between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Featuring 3 ziplines and 4 treetop bridge, this tour is full of heart-pounding adventure and spectacular panoramic views.



You don't have to go far in the village area to find a spot to nosh or apr?s-ski. Proven winners include AraxiExternal Link Title for farm-to-table fare, the Garibaldi Lift Co.External Link Title for elevated pub grub, and Hunter GatherExternal 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 LodgeExternal 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 & PerformanceExternal Link Title: Bite into baked bannock, alder smoked and slow roasted bison brisket, cedar roasted salmon, and other Indigenous-inspired dishes at this twice weekly winter dinner (returning winter 2020) - traditional dance on the side - at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre.
  • The Blue RoomExternal 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 private five-course luncheon, prepared by an executive sous chef. The experience also includes a private interpretive tour of the natural ice sculptures and ice flows by a wilderness expert You only live once, right?


End your day

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

  • Nita Lake LodgeExternal 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 HotelExternal 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. Savour 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 BCExternal Link Title website.