21 Things To See On The Sea To Sky Highway – Road Trip From Vancouver To Whistler

The Sea to Sky Highway is one of Canada’s most scenic drives. Highway 99 follows the inlet of Howe Sound and spans from Vancouver all the way through the towns of Squamish, Whistler and through to Lillooet. If you’re driving from Vancouver to Whistler you’ll be passing through this very highway. The drive to Whistler takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, and you can easily enjoy the picturesque drive from the window of your car, but why not stop to experience all this route has to offer? 

Aptly named, the Sea to Sky Highway quite literally takes you from sea (Pacific Ocean/Howe Sound) to Sky (Peak of Whistler).  I first experienced this drive on my third day in Canada when I headed North to Whistler from Vancouver. It was by far one of the prettiest places I’ve been lucky enough to witness. I’ve since done this drive so many times, in rain, snow, fog and sunshine. 

Where To Stop On The Sea To Sky Highway

Some of these suggestions may need a few hours, others are just pit stops while some will require an overnight stay. This Sea to Sky Highway itinerary will take you through one of the most scenic routes in BC. 

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The drive from Vancouver to Whistler is definitely one you won’t forget. Most people will whizz on past as Whistler will be their final destination, but you can easily make this into into a road trip spanning anywhere from 2 days to a week! There is an abundance of things to see and do along the sea to sky highway. In this guide I’ll document how long you’ll need for each activity, so you can plan your drive accordingly. If you want to do the drive in a day and just see the scenic stuff – you can! If you have some more time and want to stay overnight in several places – you can! It’s completely amendable. This guide features some of the best Sea to Sky attractions – let’s go!

Whytecliff Park

Situated in West Vancouver, Whytecliff park is one of the first stops you should visit on the Sea to Sky Highway. The park sits on the coastline of Howe Sound, surrounded by cliffside mansions. This would be a perfect place to bring kids or just chill on the beach for a few hours in the sunshine. When the tide is out, you can brave the rocky walk to Whytecliff islet, but make sure you have grippy shoes as it can get slippery! (I tried this in heeled boots – I did okay!)

Check out the West Vancouver website for more details.

Duraition: 20 – 30 Minutes

Price: Free

Dogs Permitted? Yes

Camping Available? No

Whytecliff Park - West Vancouver, British Columbia
Whytecliff Park, Vancouver

Porteau Cove

Porteau Cove is great for a place to stretch your legs or take a washroom break – complete with amazing views of Howe Sound and Mountains in the distance. It’s a relatively small provincial park but the views make it worth it! There’s a lot of activities on offer at Porteau Cove including swimming, scuba diving, canoeing, cycling, hiking and windsurfing.

Check out the BC Parks website for more details.

Duration: 20mins – 2 Hours

Price: Free

Dogs Permitted? Yes

Camping Available? Yes

Porteau Cove, British Columbia
Amazing views in Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Britannia Beach

Britannia Beach is famous for it’s mining history. With a population of around 300 people, Britannia Beach was first developed between 1900 and 1904 as a residential area for workers of the Britannia Mining and Smelting Company. The town is now host to the Britannia Mine Museum, which is a great way to learn a little about the history and background of British Columbia.

Duration: 20mins – Several Hours

Price: Tickets to Britannia Mine Museum are $34.95 CAD

Britannia Beach & Mine Museum, along the Sea to Sky Highway
Britannia Beach Mine Museum

Murrin Provinicial Park

Murrin Provincial Park is visible from the highway and the perfect place to come during the summer months. Visible from the highway, the beautiful Browning Lake inside Murrin Park is a great way to cool off in the warmer weather. This is a relatively small provincial park but it’s a stunning area to take a stroll. The Murrin Park Loop Trail is an easy hike that is suitable for families. It takes around 1 to 2 hours and is what I refer to as “The mini Chief”. At the peak of this hike you’ll find breath-taking views of Howe Sound. This provincial park is also a great place for rock climbing.

For more information visit the BC Parks website.

Duration: 1 – 2 Hours

Price: Free

Dogs Permitted? Yes

Camping Available? Yes

Murrin Provincial Park along the Sea to Sky Highway
View of How Sound From Murrin Park on a foggy day

Squamish

Squamish is one of my favourite places in British Columbia. A lot of people bypass this town on their way through to Whistler, but it really is worthy of your time. If you have a few extra days, I’d highly recommend staying a few nights here. Squamish is cheaper than Whistler and is home to an abundance of stunning hikes!

Sunny Chibas Fried Chicken Mexican Cantina

This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning some food places! Sunny Chibas is almost like something from an 80s California skate movie, the interior is full of wacky graffiti, brightly coloured and complete with a galactic floor. This place offers fried chicken and tacos. Two of my favourite things! The fried chicken is a-mazing! (KFC eat your heart out) The food is freshly made so you will have a bit of a wait, but it’s totally worth it! Located directly on the Sea to Sky Highway, and a bright blue exterior, it’s hard to miss it! 

Duration: 30mins – 1 Hour

Price: $10 – $20 CAD

Sunny Chibas Fried Chicken & Mexican Cantina - Squamish, British Columbia
Sunny Chibas makes THE best fried chicken…

Wigan Pier Fish & Chips

The Wigan Pier is a British fish & chips shop, one of the few you’ll find for miles. This is the best fish and chip shop you’ll find this side of the Atlantic. The portions are huge (a large is big enough for two people!) and prices are on average around $16 (large) You can also opt for take out.  They have an array of British beers on tap too if you’re missing Ol’ Blighty.

Duration: 30mins – 1 Hour

Price: $10 – $20 CAD

Wigan Pier fish & chip shop, Squamish, British Columbia
Best fish & chips this side of the Atlantic

Shannon Falls

Shannon Falls sits at 335 metres high and on a clear day is visible from the highway! You’ll definitely hear the falls and feel them before you see them. This little area is great to visit on a summers day as the trails are perfectly groomed and shaded – making it the perfect place for a picnic! (I’m English – I love a picnic) And being in Squamish means the perfect place to pick up any groceries (I.E cheaper than Whistler) or snacks for the remainder of your journey. If you decide not to picnic at Shannon Falls, there are plenty of other places further afield to do so! 

For more information visit the BC Parks website.

Duration: 30mins – 1 Hour

Price: Entry is free

Dogs Permitted? Yes

Camping Available? Yes

Shannon Falls in Squamish, British Columbia, off the Sea to Sky Highway
Shannon Falls, Squamish

Sea To Sky Gondola

The Sea to Sky Gondola is the easy way to achieve hiking the Chief. If you’re low on time or not really into hiking, this would be a great alternative for those iconic Howe Sound views. Although it will save you 5 hours and some exhaustion, it will cost you $35 to do so. At the top are several hiking trails suitable for all abilities, a suspension bridge spanning 100-metres, a cafe, and a few lookout points.

If this is your first time visiting British Columbia and your first time driving the Sea to Sky, I’d personally recommend biting the bullet and buying a ticket. This could be the only time you do it! I was lucky enough to experience the Gondola for free a few years back with my Vancouver Tourism Passport but if I hadn’t I would have paid. It really is a one time thing – and if visiting on a sunny day, the views are priceless. (However if it’s foggy, raining or cloudy, I would skip it!)

Duration: 1-2 Hours Minimum

Price: $35 CAD

Dogs Permitted? No

Camping Available? No

Sea to Sky Gondola suspension bridge, Squamish, British Columbia
Sea to Sky Gondola Suspension Bridge

Stawamus Chief Provincial Park

The Chief is one of the best and most popular hikes in the Sea To Sky corridor. You’ll notice this big rock immediately as you enter the town of Squamish. There are 3 peaks on the chief, varying in difficulty. The first peak is the most popular and it’s also the shortest. I’ve only ever done the third peak which is the longest in distance and does require climbing up lots of big rocks. Whichever peak you choose you’ll be able to see the incredible landscape and views of Howe Sound.

For more information check out the BC Parks website.

Duration: 5-8 Hours

Price: Free

Dogs Permitted? Yes

Camping Available? Yes

View of Howe Sound and Sea to Sky Highway from the third peak of the Stawamus Chief.
Top of the third peak of the Stawamus Chief Hike, Squamish

Brackendale Eagle Run

During the winter months Bald Eagles flock to November and December. However, you may be lucky enough to spot them right through to February. We ventured into Brackendale one February and saw over 40 Bald Eagles in around 2-hours. If you’ve got a good eye for wildlife, you’ll also spot them in the trees or flying above you on the drive through to Whistler! 

Check out the BC Parks website for more details.

Duration: 30mins – 1 Hour

Price: Free

Dogs Permitted? Yes

Camping Available? No

Brackendale Eagle Run - Squamish, British columbia
Bald Eagles at Brackendale Eagle Run – Squamish, British Columbia

Tantalus Range Lookout

The Tantalus lookout point is one of the most breath-taking views you’ll experience on this drive. If you have time to pull over you should definitely do so! On a clear sunny day you’ll see tons of snow-capped mountains in the distance.

Duration: 15 – 20mins

Price: Free

Dogs Permitted? Yes

Camping available? No

The Tantalus Mountain Range Lookout Point Along The Sea To Sky Highway
The stunning Tantalus Mountain Range

Brandywine Falls Provincial Park

Brandywine Falls sits at 70 metres high and is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Sea to Sky. The entrance is situated on the highway and is easily signposted so you can’t miss it. There are several viewing decks just a 10-minute walk from the parking lot, as well plenty of picnic tables. The parking lot is only open during peak seasons. If visiting in Winter, Brandywine Falls is a great place for beginner snowshoeing. 

Check out the BC Parks website for more details

Duration: 20mins

Price: Free

Dogs Permitted? Yes

Camping Available? Yes

Brandywine Provincial Park - accessible via the Sea to Sky Highway
Brandywine Falls: Beautiful from every angle

Alexander Falls

If you hadn’t noticed already, I really like waterfalls. Alexander Falls is an easy stop off on the way to Whistler, and is accessible via the road leading up to the Whistler Olympic Village. There is no hike necessary here as the falls are visible straight from the parking lot!

Duration: 10 – 20mins

Price: Free

Dogs Permitted? Yes

Camping Available? No

Alexander Falls in Whistler is accessible from the Sea to Sky Highway
The impressive Alexander Falls

Whistler

You’ve arrived in Whistler! If this is your last stop, there is plenty to see and do here. Whether it be rain or shine, a few days in Whistler is definitely a must. Skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the winter, and the best hiking trails in the summer.

The peak of Whistler Mountain with Black Tusk in the background
Peak of Whistler Mountain

For more info, check out these other posts:

9 Ways To Visit Whistler On a Budget

25 Things To Do In Whistler For Non Skiers

Summer In Whistler: 4-Day Itinerary From A Local

Where To Find The Best Coffee In Whistler

Want To Go Further?

The road trip from Vancouver to Whistler is just as beautiful as it sounds, but that doesn’t mean it has to end here. If you’re looking to spend even more time in British Columbia there are just as many must-see sights further afield. Here are some more ideas for your trip!

Nairn Falls Provincial Park

Nairn Falls is about a 30-minute drive north of Whistler, just before you get to Pemberton. The hike into Nairn falls is a really nice easy one with views of the Green River to one side. Although a fairly flat trail, hiking shoes are still recommended.

For more information check out the BC Parks website.

Duration: 1 Hour

Price: Free

Dogs Permitted? Yes

Camping Available? Yes

Nairn Falls, Pemberton, British Columbia
Watching Nairn Falls from the viewing platform

North Arm Farm

North Arm Farm is nestled at the base of Mount Currie and great for a fun pit stop to stretch your legs or grab breakfast. The onsite restaurant boasts a far-to-table experience. One of the best breakfasts I’ve had here in BC was at North Arm Farm, freshly poached eggs, sourdough bread and some of the freshest lettuce you’ll try! You can also purchase produce from the farm and the shelves are stocked with hand-made preserves – the strawberry jam is amazing. While the farm itself is free to visit, any donations are greatly appreciated! 

Duration: 1 – 2 Hours

Price: Entry To Farm By Donation

Dogs Permitted? No

Camping available? No

North Arm Farm in Pemberton, British Columbia, with Mount Currie in the background
North Arm Farm – Pemberton

Barn Nork

If you’re looking for somewhere near Pemberton for dinner – Barn Nork is the place to go. Located in Mount Currie, Barn Nork sits right on the Highway 99. Featuring a Thai menu, it’s some of the best food I’ve had. You don’t necessarily need a reservation but it is very popular with locals and if you don’t have one you may encounter long waits, or have to try another night since their dining room is on the small side. I’ve tried a lot of restaurants in Pemberton and Whistler and this place gets a 10/10 from me. You won’t regret it! 

Duration: 1 – 2 Hours

Price: $20 – $30 CAD

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Joffre Lakes is a very popular and well-known hike in BC, and it’s no wonder why. Three stunning crystal blue lakes make up Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. The hike to the third lake is approximately 6 hours there and back. The parking lot fills up fast in the Summer – the earlier you arrive, the better!

Make sure if hiking Joffre Lakes that you come prepared with the correct hiking equipment (first aid kits!) and enough drinking water (as with any hike!). There is no cell signal in the area so it’s always best to be prepared. We did witness a few elderly tourists on the way up who were struggling – so just ensure that you are physically fit before attempting any hike.

For more information visit the BC Parks website.

Duration: 3 – 6 Hours

Price: Free

Dogs Permitted? No

Camping Available? Yes

Hiking Joffre Lakes in British Columbia along the Sea to Sky Highway
Middle Joffre Lake – British Columbia

Seton Lake

The Seton Lake area offers multiple hiking trails, picnic areas and a beach. The Seton Lake lookout is one the shorter and most popular hikes in this area. This area was first inhabited by the interior Salish St’at’imc (STAH-tleum) people, and their underground homes can still be seen from the viewpoint.

Duration: As long as you like!

Price: Free

Dogs Permitted? Yes, but not on Seton Beach between April -October

Camping Available? Yes

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Fort Berens Estate Winery

Fort Berens is Lillooet’s first winery, opening in 2009. The winery and vineyard sit on 65 acres, complete with an onsite restaurant. Take time to stretch your legs on a self-guided tour of the vineyard, then sample some of BC’s very own wine. Fort Berens wines are available to purchase across BC liquor stores – the perfect souvenir!

Duration: As long as you like

Price: Entry to the vineyards is free

Tips For Driving The Sea To Sky Highway

It’s always best to to check the driving conditions before you leave on your epic road trip. You can check the Sea to Sky Highway conditions by visiting the web cam here in advance.

Slow down to smell the roses. This drive for a lot of people is a means to an end. A lot of locals will be speeding down this highway to get home (or maybe they’re just careless? I’ve seen it a lot) Either way, don’t feel the pressure to join them and enjoy your Sea to Sky Highway road trip! It also makes the drive sweeter because you can savour the fantastic views. The road does get narrow and windy in places, and if you’re not used to those type of roads it’s always best to be safe than sorry!

Keep in mind that during the winter between the months of October – March it will be mandatory to have winter tyres on your vehicle. If you’re planning to spend some time seeing all the Sea to Sky Highway offers, leave early in the morning! The earlier you leave the less people there will be at each stop off. Plus, who wants to drive this amazing route at night? (the answer is no one lol) If you’re doing this drive over several nights you shouldn’t have a problem, plus watching the sunset over Howe Sound is pretty spectacular.

Camping On The Sea to Sky Highway

Camping is a great option if wanting to spend a bit of time exploring the Sea to Sky Highway, especially during the summer. Camping also allows you to spend longer exploring the provincial parks – and you’ll wake up to some incredible views. This will be the most cost-efficient option, which means you can save some cash (which is always a good thing!) Here are some options for campgrounds along the Sea to Sky Highway

Camping is available to reserve through the BC Parks website for these Provincial parks:

  • Porteau Cove Provincial Park
  • Alice Lake Provincial Park
  • Stawamus Chief Provincial Park
  • Shannon Falls Provincial Park
  • Brandywine Falls Provincial Park
  • Graibaldi Lake Provincial Park

Non Provincial Park Campgrounds:

Where To Stay Along The Sea to Sky Highway

While camping will definitely be the best option since most provincial parks offer camping onsite, it might not be for everyone. Hotels & hostels may be scarce in some areas along the Sea to Sky Highway, but here are some ideas should you wish to choose this option.

Hotels Closer To Vancouver

Squamish Hotels

Whistler Hotels

You won’t have trouble finding a hotel in Whistler. There are a good variety of luxury to budget friendly and hostels here in Whistler. If you’ve spent the road trip camping – you might want to indulge in a luxury hotel for the night (I know I would!) A few nights here is definitely recommended if Whistler isn’t your final destination.

Pemberton Hotels

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