Wondering how to get a from Vancouver to Whistler? Do not worry, there are not a million options, so it is not actually very difficult. In this post I have provided all of the options when it comes to getting from Vancouver to Whistler. Each type of transport then has further information on how to book or how to travel to Whistler from Vancouver.
What are the options to get from Vancouver to Whistler?
There are several ways to get to Whistler from Vancouver at any time during the year. They are pretty stright forward. Below you will see the following transportation options:
- Bus from Vancouver to Whistler
- Train from Vancouver to Whistler
- Tour from Vancouver to Whistler
- Flights from Vancouver to Whistler
- Driving from Vancouver to Whistler
- Tours from Vancouver to Whistler
- Taxis from Vancouver to Whistler
- Uber / Lyft from Vancouver to Whistler
How far is it from Vancouver to Whistler?
Depending where you are in the city, it is about 120 kilometers from Vancouver to Whistler. The average car trip takes a little under 2 hours.
Bus from Vancouver to Whistler
There are several companies that offer shuttle and coach service to get guests from Vancouver to whistler by bus. They need to be booked in advance.
Shuttle Service from YVR to Whistler
There is s shuttle bus service from Vancouver International Airport to Whistler. This bus to Whistler from Vancouver is based on your flight arrival and can be as early as 7:30am and runs until 10:00pm in the winter and 8:00 pm in the Spring and Fall. The size of the vehicle depends on the volume of guests who have booked this service.
This service has several drop off points at the major hotels and condos in Whistler. If you are off the beaten track, there may be a dropoff surchare.
Whistler Sky Linx
Whistler Sky Linx offers coach service with free wifi and charging ports. It picks up at Vancouver Airport and outside the Hyatt Regency downtown Vancouver. Kids under 6 ride free.
Whistler Ski Bus
Whistler Ski Bus offers pickup from Richmond Airport hotels, Vancouver Airport and Vancouver City Stops. It takes around 2.5 hours depending on where you get on and whether or not you want to get off in Whistler Creekside or the Whistler Bus Station in the Village
Epic Rides Whistler bus from Vancouver
Epic rides offers a quick way to travel to whistler by bus. Pickup is from Burrard Station in Vancouver to the Whistler bus loop. Epic allows unlimited luggage and gear (including bikes in the summer months).
Private Car & Limo Service from Vancouver to Whistler
These private transfers offer a luxurious ride along the Sea to Sky Highway and are a hassle-free way to get all of your gear and your group to the mountains. Choose from either a private car for up to three guests a private SUV that seats as many as 6, or a Mercedes Sprinter Van equipped with a gear bay, providing enough ceiling height for skis to stand upright and protected. You can also get a stretch limo if you are looking to travel in style. Whatever option you choose, just sit back and enjoy the ride without worrying about taxi meters.
Road Trip from Vancouver to Whistler
Driving from Vancouver to Whistler is quite easy and takes a little under 2 hours. As long as your are a confident driver, once you are out of the city, the Sea to Sky highway offers stunning scenery and one of the most beautiful drives in British Columbia.
Driving to Whistler from Vancouver in winter can be more of a challenge, but overall it is still safe. If there is snow in Vancouver (which is unlikely) then you will have a snowy drive the whole way. If there is no snow in the city you may still encounter snow along North Vancouver and the Sea to Sky. You will definitely see snow once you get close to Whistler.
If you are planning on renting a car on your trip to British Columbia, you can get a quote on renting a car here.
The actual route to Whistler is straightforward. You will need to cross the Fraser into either North Vancouver or West Vancouver. If you cross at Stanly Park you are already on Highway 99 and will just stay on that highway all the way to Whistler. If you get onto Highway 1 and cross the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge you will then travel through North Vancouver on Highway 1 until it meets Highway 99 in West Vancouver.
Vancouver Whistler Train
While there is a train that goes from Vancouver to Whistler, it is part of a larger three day journey on the Rocky Mountaineer. You cannot book just part of the journey, unfortunately.
Taxi Service to Whistler
Resort Cabs offers service from Vancouver Airport to Whistler and from Whistler to Vancouver. Book ahead!
Flying to Whistler
Float Plane service is available from downtown Vancouver and Vancouver Airport to Whistler. The floatplane lands on Green Lake just 3km from Whistler City Centre.
Between May and September, fly from Vancouver airport or downtown Victoria to Whistler on Harbour Air. A free shuttle will take you from Green Lake to the village.
If you only have time for the day, you can take a float plane for a round trip to Whistler.
Helicopter Service to Whistler
Did you know you can take a helicopter from Vancouver to Whistler? You can fly from either south terminal at Vancouver airport or downtown Vancouver. It lands at Whistler Heliport. The rate is $3375 plus taxes for up to 5 people.
Vancouver to Whistler on a Tour
One of the popular options to see whistler on a day trip is on a tour. Here are a few tour options for those looking to see Whistler.
FULL DAY PRIVATE TOUR: This tour picks up at at your hotel or cruise terminal. It offers stops at Britannia Mine (entrance fee not included), Sea-To-Sky gondola (entrance fee not included) and a short hike Brandywine Falls. Enjoy about 4 hours of free time at the village in Whistler before heading back to Vancouver.
FULL DAY GROUP TOUR: This tour is a small group in a couch bus. It picks up from Vancouver and Richmond Hotels. Enjoy ample time in Whistler to shop, dine, or take in optional excursions such as ziplining (entrance fee not included), The Squamish Lliouete Cultural Centre (entrance fees not included), or other winter or summer activities. On the drive home, see Shannon Falls, British Columbia’s third-highest waterfall. Your excursion concludes back at your departure point in the evening.
FAQ about Travel from Vancouver to Whistler
Yes, you can do a day trip from Vancouver to Whistler. Depending where you are in the city, it is a little under 2 hours driving time. There are also float plane options in the summer. Note that if you are not driving, you will have to stick to a schedule of the planes or busses. Th best way to do a daytrip from Vancouver to Whistler is to drive yourself.
The Sea to Sky highway, which is the main road from North Vancouver to Squamish and Whistler has claimed many lives over the years. Most of them have been drivers who have crossed the center line or drivers who have left the road and hit the mountain. The biggest factor in most of the crashes on the Sea to Ski highway is speed. It is a beautiful drive with windy roads. Drivers need to pay attention to the road and pay attention to the speed limits. Safety improvements have been made over the last decade and most of the highway now has a centre barrier which has almost eliminated head on collisions on the highway.
Yes there is a train.
The drive from Vancouver to Whistler shows some of the most stunning West Coast scenery. There are plenty of options for stops along the way including Squamish, Britannia Mine, Hiking the Chief and Shannon Falls, the Sea to Sky Gondola, the Train Wreck Whistler Hike and more.
More British Columbia Travel Resources
Packing Tips for Whistler
If you are planning to visit Whistler in the winter, you are going to want to pack for snow! Bring good waterproof ski gloves, a touque, a winter coat and some good lip balm/chap stick. Read more in this extensive Whistler Packing List
If you are visiting Whistler in the summer, bring a bathing suit, comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat!
Holiday Travel to Whistler
Are you planning on visiting Whistler over Christmas? Read this guide to Whistler at Christmas.
Skiing in Whistler
If you are a BC or Washington resident and plan on skiing in Whistler, you can save money with their epic passes. If you are bringing your kids along, kids who are in K-5 can ski for 5 days for free. But you need to register early. Find more details here.
Renting a Car in British Columbia
Rental Cars are very popular in British Columbia. There is just so much to see and there is not a train or bus network outside of Metro Vancouver or Victoria. If you plan on leaving Vancouver and want to see even the local ski hills, I suggest a rental car. You can get a rental car before you arrive.
Travel Insurance for Canada
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to international travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel everyday. Canada is a very expensive country for medical care and a doctors visit in an Emergency Room is over $800 to just see the doctor.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.
Header Photo Credit: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane
Lindsay Nieminen is the creator of UncoveringBC.com. She grew up and still lives in the suburbs of Vancouver with her family. She aims to inspire inform, and educate others about traveling in her home province of British Columbia. She is also the creator of carpediemourway.com which aims to show parents how to seek out adventure at home or abroad, with their children in tow!