You’ve heard a lot about Whistler. You’re ready to experience to snowy winters, the sun-soaked summers, the epic mountains, and the stunning golf courses.
But first, you need to get here.
It’s not quite as simple as booking a flight directly to Whistler. The closest major airport, Vancouver International Airport, is a couple of hours south of our mountain resort town. Here’s how to make your way to Whistler from the tarmac of YVR.
Hop on a Shuttle
You’ve already spent hours waiting in busy airport terminals, flying in a cramped airplane seat, and looking for your luggage around a crowded carousel. You want to sit back, relax, and get to Whistler as soon – and as easily – as possible.
Solution: book a seat on a shuttle. These busses will drive you directly from the airport into town. For a small extra fee, they’ll even drop you right at the door of your hotel. You won’t have to worry about navigating unfamiliar roads or staying awake after a long day of travel.
The downside? You’ll be at the mercy of the shuttle schedule, which may or may not coincide with your flight times. Plus, it can become costly if you’re moving an entire family.
Drive the Sea to Sky Highway
If you don’t want to wait around at the airport, simply book a rental car and drive yourself to Whistler. This way, you’ll get to ogle at the views on the infamous Sea to Sky Highway, potentially stopping at some noteworthy destinations along the way, like Horseshoe Bay and Squamish. Plus, you’ll have access to a car while you’re in Whistler, meaning it’ll be easier to make trips away from the Village.
If you’re visiting in the winter months, be sure to request winter tires on your car – it’s required to drive on the Sea to Sky Highway, and you’ll want them if the weather gets dicey. Plan your route carefully, as you’ll have to navigate through downtown Vancouver before making your way onto the highway. Finally, don’t forget to budget for parking in Whistler if you’re staying in a hotel.
Take a Float Plane
There’s no need to wait until you get to Whistler for the adventure to begin! From May to mid-September, you can catch a float plane from Vancouver Harbour that will take you to Green Lake, right in Whistler. In this case, the journey is just as amazing as the destination. You’ll catch incredible mountain and glacier views along the way, something you simply won’t see from a highway.
You’ll have to do a little planning – and a little budgeting – to make this option work. You’ll either have to cab or take the SkyTrain from the airport to downtown (luckily, this is pretty easy – there is a direct line from the airport that takes you quite close to the harbour). Secondly, you’ll have to arrange for a taxi from Green Lake to wherever your accommodations are located, though this is a pretty straightforward process and the cab ride is quite short. One last consideration: you’re limited to only two departure times per day, and you’re out of luck if you’re coming in the winter.
All Aboard the Rocky Mountaineer
Another unique summer mode of transportation is to catch the train from Vancouver to Whistler. The Rocky Mountaineer runs from April through October, and it will allow you to experience the Sea to Sky in a completely different way. The train is a good bet for somebody who wants to take it slow and enjoy the ride.
The caveats are similar to those of taking a float plane: you’ll need to arrange transportation to the train (though it, too, is along the SkyTrain line and is easy to get to from the airport) and from the Whistler station in Creekside to your accommodation. Also, you’ll be limited to the train’s schedule.
Just Cab It
It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s relatively inexpensive if you’re splitting it between a larger group. Arranging for a private taxi or limousine offers the best of all words: your driver will arrive whenever you want, you’ll get to kick back and enjoy the ride, and you won’t have to worry about a thing. Book your ride ahead of time, and be sure to ask about price – it can be a little costly if you’re travelling solo, but it’s not a bad deal if you’ve got 4 or more people.