British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway runs from Vancouver to Whistler and is brimming with scenic ocean views, gushing waterfalls, lofty mountains, and photogenic suspension bridges. During the month of July, I took five days to explore this area of British Columbia and I’ve put together this guide for roadtrippers looking to do the same.
British Columbia Sea to Sky Highway Road Trip Tips
As someone who hates driving long distances alone, I couldn’t help but love that the entire route is only about 2 hours each way without any stops. The best part about road trips — in my opinion — is stopping along the way for hikes, photo shoots, and leisurely meals. And believe me, the views from this route will be begging you to pull over for a photo.
Recommended Stops Along Sea to Sky Highway
Brandywine is a stunning 230-foot waterfall located in Whistler. It’s an easy 10 to 20 minute walk from the parking lot to viewing platform. The parking lot is easy to miss right off the highway, so make sure to watch for signs.
Lynn Canyon Park & Suspension Bridge
After a quick weekend on North Vancouver Island to kayak with whales, I began my solo road trip at the Vancouver Airport, where I picked up my rental car. From there, I headed to North Vancouver to see the Instagram famous Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. I was prepared for a hike to the bridge, but found it sits right near the entrance to the park. If you visit during the summer months, you may have a tough time getting the bridge all to yourself for that perfect shot.
Shannon Falls in Squamish is the third tallest waterfall in British Columbia. My time here was a little comical. In a dress and flip flops, I was determined to get up close to this waterfall. Mind you, there is a spot that overlooks the falls that does not require much of a hike, but I decided to go rock climbing up the creek bed to the base of the falls so I could take this photo. Was it worth it? Definitely!
Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish
The Sea to Sky Gondola opened in May of 2014 and instantly became a popular stop along this route. At the top of the gondola, you’ll find the 100-meter Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge which connects the Spirit trail and Spirit Viewing Platform. Eight different hiking trails can be accessed from the top, so make sure to give yourself enough time at this stop!
Peak 2 Peak Gondola in Whistler
I took the Peak 2 Peak Gondola on a cloudy summer day, so the low hanging clouds made this a magical ride. There’s 360-degree views of Whistler Village on the way up and stunning mountain peaks at the top. During the summer months, the mountain trails are filled with downhill mountain bikers so you might even catch a few doing tricks off the jumps.
Scandinave Spa Whistler
After a day of hiking, my favorite thing to do is relax in a jacuzzi — or better yet, one of the soaking pools at Scandinave. If you want the full Scandinavian baths experience, it consists of a cycle in which you start with heat, plunge into cold, and finish off with relaxation in order reach an increased state of well-being. This Nordic tradition helps with the elimination of toxins, decreases inflammation, and stimulates circulation.
Whistler Seaplane Tour
When I visit stunning locations, I’m always looking for a way to view them from the air as well as from the ground. Harbour Air offers multiple seaplane tours of the Whistler area. My personal favorite is the 40-minute Ultimate Glacier tour which flies over the turquoise waters of Garibaldi Lake and gives an up close look at Black Tusk.
Where to Stay Along Sea to Sky Highway
Lonsdale Quay Hotel
I spent my first night in North Vancouver at Lonsdale Quay Hotel, which is located right inside Lonsdale Quay Market. Lonsdale Quay Hotel sits beside the Vancouver Harbor in the perfect location for experiencing the up-and-coming foodie culture in this area and it’s only a 10 to 15 minute drive to Lynn Canyon Park.
Nita Lake Lodge
With so many stops along the Sea to Sky Highway between North Vancouver and Whistler, you may want to book a hotel somewhere in Squamish for a night, but I chose to pick a home base in Whistler instead. There’s plenty to do in Whistler — for foodies and outdoor enthusiasts — and since I had never been to this mountain town, it turned out to be a wise decision.
Nita Lake Lodge’s lakeside property and numerous nearby walking trails did make it difficult for me to want to leave, but luckily the village is just a short drive away (or you can take the lodge’s complimentary shuttle). I highly recommend leaving some time to paddle one of their canoes out on Nita Lake — or if you are looking for a longer paddle, it’s very close to the River of Golden Dreams.
Where to Eat Along Sea to Sky Highway
Pier 7 Restaurant & Bar in North Vancouver
Not only does Pier 7 have one of the best views in North Vancouver, but the food is delicious too! I highly recommend the Fresh Shucked Oysters, Truffle Frites, and the Shortrib Tagliatelle.
StonesEdge Kitchen in Whistler Village
StonesEdge Kitchen in Whistler describes their menu as Wholesome Comfort Food Fusion. I’m still dreaming about their Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and Chicken Meatball Bowl with thai coconut curry broth. This is not a place you want to miss when you come to Whistler!
La Cantina Urban Taco Bar in Whistler Village
When I think of the best tacos, I think of street tacos from Mexico. You won’t find those here, but I actually like La Cantina’s tacos better than Mexican tacos! The tacos are small and a little overpriced, but you can get the same ingredients in a HUGE burrito and get way more for your money. The meat is slow cooked and melts in your mouth. I wish this place was a chain so they would open one in San Diego.