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16 Things to KNOW Before Visiting the Sea to Sky Gondola

16 Things to KNOW Before Visiting the Sea to Sky Gondola

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Towering high above the beautiful Howe Sound and Squamish Valley, the Sea to Sky Gondola offers some seriously epic views and is one of our favorite things to do in BC. Whether you’re a Vancouver local, like we used to be, or a tourist looking to explore some of the best activities in Squamish, you can’t miss out on a visit here.

You’ll find the gondola about halfway on the route from Vancouver to Whistler, making it the perfect stop-off point for a road trip between the two cities, or as an epic day trip from Vancouver. It’s also a great year-round destination, open during the winter as well as in the summer!

We absolutely love driving the Sea to Sky Highway, and always make a point to stop at the gondola for a thrilling ride up to Summit Lodge. So, to help you have the best trip here (and discover some awesome activities), we’ve put together this complete blog with all you need to know about the Sea to Sky Gondola – let’s dive right in!

Don’t have time to read the full article? The Sea to Sky Gondola is easily one of the best day trips from Vancouver, with some of the most incredible views around and fun activities like Via Ferrata! It can get quite crowded in the summer, though, which is why it’s important to book your tickets ahead of time.

Table Of Contents

1. About the Sea to Sky Gondola

The Sea to Sky Gondola travels up to the top
Up we go!
Bailey sits inside the Sea to Sky Gondola in British Columbia, Canada
We made it!

Completed back in 2014, the Sea to Sky Gondola has quickly become the most popular tourist attraction in Squamish, and it’s easy to see why.

Transporting visitors on a magical journey up 885 meters (2,903 feet) to the summit of Mt. Habrich (aka Summit Lodge), a one-way trip takes about 10 minutes and rewards adventure-seekers with some truly epic views!

From the beautiful Sky Pilot and Diamond Head Mountains looming in the distance to the lush coastal rainforest wrapping itself around the valley, you’ll definitely want your camera for this one.

When we first visited, we were happy to learn that the gondola was carefully built to respect both the natural environment and its spiritual significance to the First Nations people of Squamish. They also used local labor and materials when building the gondola – sustainable travel spots like this are so cool!

Before the gondola was built, the highest accessible viewpoint over the Howe Sound was actually the top of Stawamus Chief, which is about 200 meters (656 feet) lower than the Summit Lodge. Climbing The Chief is one of the best hikes near Vancouver if you’re in a hiking mood!

Nowadays, the Lodge has been totally transformed, with awesome activities to enjoy like this Via Ferrata experience and the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge (more on these later!).

2. Where is the Sea to Sky Gondola?

Spirit Viewing Platform on the Sea to Sky Gondola, BC
The gorgeous views from the Spirit Viewing Platform

The Sea to Sky Gondola is located about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) south of the beautiful town of Squamish, which just so happens to also have the nickname “the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada”!

Taking a closer look, it’s not hard to see why Squamish deserves the title. The town has a ton of amazing scenery and great trails (like the Sea to Sky trail), and what better way to take all this in than with panoramic views from a gondola?

You’ll find the Sea to Sky Gondola right next to the Sea to Sky Highway (also known as Highway 99), which is around a 45-minute journey from downtown Vancouver. I always love making this drive, as the road is flanked by waterfalls, forests, snow-capped mountains, and bright blue water for the entire way – and you bet we like to take photos!

Related Read: Garibaldi Lake is another amazing stop on the way from Vancouver to Whistler with amazing trails. Hikers rejoice!

3. How much does the Sea to Sky Gondola cost to ride?

Bailey stands on a viewing platform at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola with a mountain backdrop in Squamish, BC
Just admiring the view from the Sea to Sky Gondola!
Bailey stands on a viewpoint at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola, BC
This is such a great viewpoint!

You can purchase your Sea to Sky Gondola tickets either online ahead of your trip, or at the gondola station – we like to book ours ahead of time so that we can skip the lines! Tickets here are valid for one round-trip and can be broken down into four age groups:

  • Adults – $71 CAD
  • Seniors (65-99) – $64 CAD
  • Youths (13-18) – $42 CAD
  • Kids (6-12) – $28 CAD

The ride up is so scenic that we think it’s well worth the money, and there are also a ton of amazing viewpoints to explore at the top! Your ticket also includes access to the super fun (if a little scary!) Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, as well as all of the hiking trails at the top.

4. Do you need to purchase tickets in advance? 

View of the mountains from the Sea to Sky Gondola
View of the mountains from the Sea to Sky Gondola

If you’re going during the summer, then you definitely should arrange your tickets in advance, as the Sea to Sky Gondola gets very busy!

Fortunately, when you book your admission tickets with Viator you get to change or cancel your tickets up to 24 hours beforehand, so you can keep an eye on the weather and reschedule for free if it’s not looking so good. You get a much better experience when you go on a bright, clear day, as you can see for miles around.

In the off-season, it’s less essential to book in advance, as the gondola is not as busy. But that’s not to say it’s not just as beautiful as it is in summer.

For the best peace of mind, you can book your tickets in advance here.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

5. When is the best time to visit the Sea to Sky Gondola?

Sea to Sky Gondola view of Howe Sound
Howe Sound!

The Sea to Sky Gondola is always best on a clear day, which is why we like to book gondola tickets through Viator, as we can reschedule our tickets if necessary. 

Your ticket is valid for the entire day, so you’re not restricted to a certain time slot, but we think it’s best to head up in the morning. This way, you can avoid the crowds (especially in summer) and enjoy more peace and quiet as you soak in the beautiful views at the top. 

If you can’t make it in the morning, then we recommend going around 3 pm, which is when the midday crowds are starting to leave. This will still give you a couple of hours to explore before the last gondola of the day at 6 pm.

6. When is the Sea to Sky Gondola open?

Views looking down while on the Sea to Sky Gondola
Imagine ziplining back down!
The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge and restaurant at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge and restaurant at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola

The Sea to Sky Gondola is open from 9 am until 5 pm, and the last gondola goes down at 6 pm. The hours used to change throughout the year, but now they stay the same every day! 

If you’re traveling around November, then you’ll want to double-check if the gondola is open, as it usually closes for annual maintenance for around 10 days during this time. Some years the gondola has closed in early November, while in 2022 it closed at the very end of the month, so it can be a bit tricky to predict!

The gondola sometimes also closes in extreme weather, but in general, Squamish is known for its (relatively) mild climate, so this probably won’t be an issue, but don’t forget to check the forecast.

7. Is there parking at the Sea to Sky Gondola?

View of the parking lot at the Sea to Sky Gondola
The parking lot at the Sea to Sky Gondola!

Yes, there is!

Open from 8 am until 6 pm daily, there’s plenty of space to park at the base of the Sea to Sky Gondola, and the parking is free for up to 3 hours. The short-stay parking lot can be found at the base of the gondola, right opposite the Basecamp building, so you really can’t miss it.

8. What are the best tours that visit the Sea to Sky Gondola from Vancouver?

Mountain view through the trees at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola
There are views like this in every direction!
Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish
Soaring up above!

If a visit to the Sea to Sky Gondola is on your Vancouver itinerary, you can easily get here – even if you don’t have your own wheels or a rental car. There are some fantastic Whistler tours from Vancouver that stop here and even some cool experiences like snowshoeing at the top of the mountain after your gondola ride.

Here are the tour options we’ve handpicked that you don’t want to miss out on:

Whistler and Sea to Sky Gondola tour

This full-day tour to Whistler and Sea to Sky Gondola is the perfect opportunity to take some incredible photos of the charming town of Whistler, ride the Sea to Sky Gondola, and peer up at the thundering Shannon Falls! We loved the entertaining commentary from our guide, Andy, who pointed out some impressive points of interest as we cruised along the Sea to Sky Highway.

It was also great to have some free time on our own to explore Whistler, taking in all of the beautiful mountains in the background! There were also lots of great shops to check out here, like Cool As A Moose, as well as cozy cafés with AMAZING hot chocolate – check out Blenz Coffee!

We decided to meet our guide outside the Gray Line Welcome Kiosk by Canada Place, but you can also request pickup from the hotel where you’re staying in Vancouver.

Tickets for this sightseeing tour cost $214 CAD for adults – but don’t delay, secure your spot online here.

Whistler and Sea to Sky Gondola tour (including Squamish)

Experience the beautiful towns of Whistler and Squamish at your own pace with this all-day Sea to Sky Gondola tour! With pickup from your hotel in Vancouver on a luxury bus, you can snap up all kinds of photos of the coastal peaks, forests, and the Squamish River on the way.

Our first stop was at Shannon Falls Provincial Park, which is home to the very impressive Shannon Falls, the third-highest falls in BC at 335 meters (1,100 feet). Spending about an hour here, we relaxed on the handy picnic benches that are scattered around the park, taking in the sights before moving on to the gondola!

This tour includes a ticket to the gondola too, so there was no hassle of having to arrange it beforehand. Dan and I hopped aboard with two other couples on the tour, and from then on, it was all about the views.

With about an hour of free time to explore Squamish and 4 hours to explore Whistler, we found ourselves immersed, getting to see so much of these beautiful alpine towns! The tour itself is about 11 hours long, which we think is the perfect length for a relaxing full-day tour – we didn’t feel rushed at any point along the way.

While there is a maximum of 50 people per tour, there’s plenty of space on the bus and the guides did a great job of answering any questions that we had. You can get tickets for this tour for $199 CAD per person. Get ready to explore this incredibly scenic region and book your tour online here!

Snowshoeing at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola 

If you’re visiting Vancouver during the winter and want to stop by the Sea to Sky Gondola, this guided snowshoeing tour is a great (and safe) way to explore the trails at the top of the mountain. You’ll be picked up in Vancouver and head up to the top of the gondola before strapping on your snowshoes and having a blast in the snow! 

The tour costs $185 CAD per person and includes your transport, gondola ticket, and snowshoeing equipment. You’ll be in a group of no more than 8 people, so it’s a nice, close-knit experience and since the mountaintop is much quieter during winter, it will feel like you have the entire Howe Sound to yourself! You can grab tickets for this tour here on Viator.

Related Read: If you’re feeling hungry after your day out, why not try some of the best Vancouver food tours on offer?

9. What are the best things to do at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola?

The view of Squamish from the Sea to Sky Gondola
What a view!

Go for a walk

Sometimes it’s nice just to take it easy and go for a wander! One of the things that makes this among the best gondolas near Vancouver is that you can go for a walk around and visit all of the different viewing platforms, as well as cross the Sky Pilot Bridge. 

There are a couple of great, easy walking trails at the top, including the 400-meter (1,312-foot) Spirit Trail, which takes you to the Spirit Viewing Platform. As well as enjoying the beautiful views of the Howe Sound, you can also dive deeper into the history of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation, who have lived in this area since before records began.

For a longer walk, the Wonderland Lake nature trail is about 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) long and will take you through pretty meadows and around the lake. The Panorama Trail is the same in terms of length, but it instead takes you through the forest, over granite outcroppings, and past lots of viewpoints to stop and grab a pic! Both trails are easy and family-friendly and should take about 30 minutes to complete.

If you’re visiting the Sea to Sky Gondola in the winter, you can still enjoy a fair bit of walking! You’ll be pleased to know that the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, Summit Lodge Viewing Deck, and Spirit Trail are regularly cleared of snow, just remember to wrap up warm!

If you’d like to explore the Wonderland Lake or Panorama trails, we recommend renting poles, crampons, and over-boots for $5 CAD for 2 hours, or snowshoes for $20 CAD per day. This can help reduce the chance of slipping and ending up with a bruise or two!

Hiking

One of our favorite things about the Sea to Sky Gondola is that it’s a gateway to some truly spectacular hiking trails. Before the gondola was built, you’d have to make the difficult trek up the mountain first, even though lots of the trails at the top are actually pretty easy. 

You can hike right underneath the gondola along Sparky’s Spin, a 1.8-kilometer (1.2-mile) frontcountry trail, or walk one of the easy trails we talked about above. However, for keen hikers, the backcountry trails are the real draw at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola.

Al’s Habrich Trail is one of the most famous trails in the area, and we must say, it is pretty epic. It offers awesome views of Howe Sound, Sky Pilot, and Mount Habrich, as well as numerous creeks, waterfalls, and swimming holes along the way.

The trail itself is 8.4 kilometers (5.2 miles) long as a round-trip, with an elevation gain of 340 meters (1,115 feet). There’s quite a lot of scrambling involved, so you should ideally have a few trails under your belt before you tackle this one! 

If you’re not quite ready for the Habrich Trail, then the Sky Pilot Valley Trail is a great alternative, since this is more of an intermediate rather than an advanced route. It’s 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) out and back, and it should take you between 3 – 4 hours to complete. The trail runs along the valley below Mount Habrich and takes you close to the base of Sky Pilot Mountain. 

Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge 

Bailey walks across the The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola
The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge at the Sea to Sky Gondola, BC

The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge is about 100 meters (328 feet) long and hangs thousands of feet in the air. You’ll quickly see why it’s called the Sea to Sky Gondola as you walk across, taking in the views of the Howe Sound below and the mountain vistas lumbering in the distance.

Entrance to the bridge is also included in your gondola ticket, but a fair warning – you might find yourself feeling just a little bit giddy! 

Via Ferrata 

We love a good Via Ferrata experience, and it has to be said that the Sea to Sky Corridor is one of the most beautiful places in the world to tackle an iron pathway. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, Via Ferrata translates to “iron path” and is essentially a safer alternative to rock climbing using steel cables, ladders, and metal rings to secure you to the rock wall.

Clad in your safety gear, you’ll go on a short hike through the forest and then hike across catwalks, suspension bridges, and up granite slabs for just over an hour until you reach the Summit Lodge viewing deck, where you’ll finish on a high note!

If you’ve never done a Via Ferrata before, it can feel a bit scary at first, but it’s actually super safe, and a great alternative to free climbing. The views on this route are spectacular, and you’ll be in a small group of no more than 8 people, with an experienced guide to keep you safe and coach you through any nerves. 

The experience costs $130 CAD per adult, but note that this price doesn’t include your Sea to Sky Gondola ticket, even though the Via Ferrata does start at the top. You can either purchase your ticket separately or choose the bundle option on Viator to buy them both together.

Snowshoeing

There’s something special about snowshoeing on a mountaintop, especially when that mountaintop is as beautiful as this one! Plus, there’s a big variety of terrain up here, so you can find a suitable trail whether this is your first time or you’re already a total pro. 

The best trails to snowshoe at the top of the mountain include Wonderland Lake, the Panorama Trail, and Al’s Habrich Trail. The first two are easy and mostly flat, while Al’s Habrich is a lot more challenging. 

You can rent snowshoes at the gondola for $20 CAD per day, or you can join a snowshoeing tour like this one that lasts around 6 hours and includes all of your transport and equipment. We think that this is a good idea if you have never snowshoed before, as you’ll have a professional guide showing you where to go and what to do. 

Tickets for the tour cost $185 CAD per person and can be reserved online here.

Snow tubing

Snow tubing is a TON of fun. There’s really no age limit on enjoying a wholesome session sliding along the snow, but we think that this activity is especially great for families to do together. The Tube Park at the top of the gondola is open 7 days per week during the winter, and it only costs $5 CAD for unlimited day access. 

Ski touring

If you’re an experienced backcountry skier, going off-piste and exploring some of the more remote surroundings at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola during winter is a fantastic way to explore the area. It’s challenging but fun terrain to explore with friends, and the views are just breathtaking.

Just make sure to check avalanche warnings before you go, as you won’t be allowed to board the gondola with your gear if the advisory is “high” or “extreme” (and nor should you – that would be super dangerous!).

Nordic skiing

Nordic skiing is actually the original version of skiing. Nowadays, most people ski downhill for fun, but Nordic skiing started out as a practical means of transportation (although it can be a lot of fun, too). It differs from alpine skiing in that only the toe of the boot is attached to the ski, which allows you to traverse flat or uphill terrain much more easily.

With regular ski touring, the boot detaches from the ski for uphill hikes, but with Nordic skiing, you can actually ski uphill – how fun is that!?

You can Nordic ski through the 2.2 kilometers (1.3 miles) of groomed backcountry trails and can rent skis at the Summit Lodge.

10. How long is the Sea to Sky Gondola ride?

Bailey relaxes inside the Sea to Sky Gondola near Vancouver, BC
Bailey relaxes inside the Sea to Sky Gondola near Vancouver, BC

The ride takes about 10 minutes each way. For us, that 10 minutes went by way too fast, as we couldn’t get enough of the spectacular views from the gondola pod!

Once you’re at the top, you’ll want at least a few hours to explore, or longer if you’re doing something like snowshoeing, a long hike, or going skiing. 

Related Read: If you’re heading over to Alberta, we highly recommend giving the four Banff gondolas a go!

11. Can you hike to the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola?

Sky Pilot Suspension bridge with views of the Mountains from the Sea to Sky summit
So much green!

Yes, but be warned: it’s not an easy hike!

Sea to Summit is an advanced trail that will take you right up the mountain at 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) each way and has 918 meters (3,011 feet) of elevation gain. It’s definitely no walk in the park, as there are some very steep sections, although you will have absolutely incredible views, especially during the second half of the hike. 

The Sea to Summit trail starts at the parking lot for the Sea to Sky Gondola, opposite the Basecamp building. It’s well-marked and for some sections, you’ll even be right underneath the gondola. It’s definitely a fun and exhilarating trail, but you should only take it on if you’ve got a high fitness level and know what you’re doing when it comes to hiking. 

If you hike up the Sea to Summit Trail, you can also buy a one-way ticket down for the gondola for $20 CAD – perfect if your legs are feeling a bit tired! You can either buy your ticket at the base before you head up or purchase it at the summit.

12. What are the facilities at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola?

View from inside the Marketplace Eatery on the Sea to Sky Gondola
View from inside the Marketplace Eatery on the Sea to Sky Gondola

The Summit Lodge

The Summit Lodge is basically the facilities’ hub at the top of the mountain. It’s home to a cute café, a restaurant, a bar, and a gift shop too! You can also find toilets and guest services here. Plus, thanks to its outdoor deck and floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s a fantastic place to enjoy some beautiful views while you relax.

Restaurants

If you’re feeling hungry, you’re in luck! There are two different dining options at the top of the summit, as well as one bar that’s perfect for a cold beer.

  • Co-Pilot Cafe – This is a great spot to pick up snacks or a drink. They sell sandwiches and hot drinks, as well as delicious sweet treats like cookies and muffins! 
  • Sky Pilot Eatery – Serves comforting classics like tomato soup, poutine, pot pie, and chili. Also known as the Sky Pilot Eatery, the restaurant’s outdoor deck is right next to where the famous suspension bridge begins, so you’ve got a first-class view of it here. 
  • Edge Bar – If you’re looking for a craft beer at the top of the mountain (which, obviously, we were) the Edge Bar has beer from every single local brewery in Squamish, as well as gorgeous mountain views.

Toilets

You can find toilets at the Summit Lodge, which is adjacent to the upper gondola station. There are also bathrooms at the base of the gondola in case you need to use them before you ride. Basically, the only time you’ll be far away from a washroom is if you decide to do one of the longer hikes!

Gift shop 

There are gift shops both inside the Summit Lodge at the top and Basecamp at the bottom. At the top of the mountain, you can find outdoor gear from popular brands like The North Face, which you might just need if you didn’t bring a jacket with you!

There are also plenty of locally made artisan goods, like soaps and candles, on offer, so this is a good place to find a gift for your loved ones (or yourself!).

Play area

There’s a kids’ playground on the Summit Plaza where your little ones can let off some steam. It also features a tightrope section and a sandy area. Several of the mountaintop hikes actually finish here, so kids can go and play right after you get back. 

13. How long do you need to visit the Sea to Sky Gondola?

You need at least two hours to visit the Sea to Sky Gondola. If you want to do some activities at the top, such as hiking, skiing, or that Via Ferrata experience, we’d say allow at least half a day. If you want to combine activities, then you might want to stay for the whole day! It’s so beautiful up here, so if you’ve got time to stick around and explore, then why not?

14. Is the Sea to Sky Gondola Wheelchair friendly?

Yes, the gondola pods at the Sea to Sky Gondola can accommodate wheelchairs!

The cabins can actually slow down to make it easier for wheelchair users to get on and off. All of the facilities at the Basecamp and Summit are also wheelchair-friendly, as are the Sky Pilot suspension bridge and the Summit viewing deck. 

15. Tips for visiting the Sea to Sky Gondola

The outdoor deck of the Marketplace Eatery at the Sea to Sky Gondola
What a lovely day!

Wear layers

There’s a reason they sell outdoor gear at the Summit Gift Shop! Lots of people don’t realize that even when it’s warm on the ground, it can be chilly up at the summit. Plus, layers are always a good idea if you’re planning to hike because you can get pretty warm while you’re moving, but you quickly cool down once you stop. 

Purchase your tickets in advance

If you’re traveling in summer, one of the biggest tips I can give is to grab your tickets online in advance! The last thing you want is to waste time waiting in queues, especially when there are so many fun things to explore at the top.

Even if you’re not traveling in the summertime, you can still avoid unexpected queues and enjoy peace of mind by booking in advance. The best part is that you have a 24-hour cancellation window, so you can always change your mind or move the date if the weather isn’t looking so good!

Arrive early or later in the day

The Sea to Sky Gondola is super popular, so arriving early or later in the day can help you avoid the crowds and make the most of your experience. You can’t reserve a certain time slot when booking your ticket, so if you arrive at a busy time, then you’ll end up queuing to get on the gondola.

Plus, we always think it’s much nicer to hike and enjoy viewpoints when there are fewer people around. 

Bring snacks if you don’t want to buy food

To be fair, we don’t think the prices at the eateries here are too bad compared to some other gondolas, but eating out all the time isn’t exactly cheap. If you don’t want to buy food at the top of the gondola, bring some snacks to keep you going. Otherwise, you’ll probably head up with the best of intentions and then get hungry and treat yourself to a burger.

If you plan to hike, bring bear spray

This is Canada, after all! It’s always best to bring bear spray with you when you hike, especially if you’re going early in the morning or in the late afternoon, as this is when bears are most active. Trust us, if you find yourself on the business end of a grizzly bear, you’ll want to be prepared.

16. Is the Sea to Sky Gondola worth it?

Daniel sits inside the Sea to Sky Gondola near Vancouver, Canada
Yes!
Bailey on the The Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge at the Sea to Sky Gondola
Don’t look down!

Yes! Our review of the Sea to Sky Gondola is that it’s absolutely breathtaking. The views alone make it well worth a visit, but it’s even more of a must for people who love hiking and exploring the great outdoors. You can access some really remote terrain at the top of the mountain, and the views along the way are absolutely beautiful. 

So whether you’re looking for the next highlight of your trip to Vancouver, or are simply looking for the best things to do in BC, then don’t forget to grab your tickets ahead of time here.

Other Things to do in Squamish

view of Squamish town from above with a mountain backdrop
Squamish really is beautiful!

Squamish is an easy one-hour drive from Vancouver on the way towards Whistler, or a 40-minute trip from Whistler, so it’s no wonder that many people choose to spend a day or two here exploring! Here are some of my favorite things to do in Squamish

  • Go white water rafting – Are you an adventure seeker like us? This white-water rafting tour should be on your Squamish to-do list as it includes transportation, a guide, and all the gear you need. You can simply grab a paddle with your group and head out for some outdoor fun on the river!  
  • Visit a local brewery – Dan and I absolutely love visiting breweries wherever we go, and Squamish has some great ones on offer. Howe Sound Brewing set up shop in 1996, and they’re still going strong today, plus there’s Backcountry Brewing, a newcomer on the scene that has a 1970s ski cabin-inspired tasting room – how cool!
  • Try mountain biking – Squamish is envied around the world for its amazing trail system for mountain biking. There are literally hundreds of mountain biking trails here for all levels! If you don’t have your own bike, consider renting a bike in town to explore the cross-country trails. Or you can book this private mountain biking tour with a guide to give you one-on-one instructions.

Where to Stay in Squamish

the outside of Executive Suites Hotel & Resort, Squamish BC at sunset
This is the best place to stay in Squamish! Photo Credit: Executive Suites Hotel & Resort, Squamish BC

Since the Sea to Sky Gondola is SO close to Squamish, it’s worth grabbing a hotel here to stay a night or two. Then you can check out more of the best activities around Squamish!

There are lots of choices when it comes to hotels in Squamish, so here are three of my personal favorites:

Crash Hotel – $

A fantastic budget-friendly option in downtown Squamish is the Crash Hotel. This hotel doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the interior is stylish and cozy, and the rooms are clean. There’s even an on-site bar/restaurant called The Goat Pub. This is definitely geared to a younger crowd and can get quite noisy at night as it sits above 2 bars, but if you’re looking for a fun stay – you know where to go!

If you’re looking for somewhere that’s cheap but still offers great service, then this is well worth checking out. Rooms here start from as little as $123 CAD per night and can be booked online here.

Sandman Hotel and Suites – $$

Just outside downtown Squamish is the 3-star Sandman Hotel and Suites which offers spacious rooms, a gym, and a swimming pool. The staff here are lovely, and breakfast is available at the hotel too, plus all the rooms have their own kitchenette. This hotel is also pet-friendly!

A standard king room here starts from $263 CAD per night, which includes breakfast. You can check which dates are available and book your spot online here.

Executive Suites Hotel and Resort – $$$

At the top end of your budget is the Executive Suites Hotel and Resort which has lovely mountain views and a large outdoor swimming pool. The rooms here are luxurious and spacious and come with a basic kitchen. It’s a 5-minute drive into downtown Squamish, so it’s nice and easy to get into town for a meal or just to explore!

A studio here starts from around $282 CAD per night but can rise to around $600 CAD in the high season, which is why it’s a good idea to book your room ahead of time!

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Read my honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel pose for a photo at the Spirit Viewing Platform on the Sea to Sky Gondola
Thanks for reading!

However you plan to visit the Sea to Sky Gondola, whether on a tour or in your own car, we’re sure you’ll have an absolutely amazing time – we certainly did!

Feel free to leave a comment down below and tell us when you’re planning to visit! If you’re looking for some more things to add to your itinerary, we’ve got you covered. Check out these three helpful blogs below:

22 BEST Places to Visit in BC, Canada – British Columbia Destinations

15 BEST Beaches in Vancouver, Canada

5 BEST Ziplining Tours in Whistler + Pros and Cons of Each Tour