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We actually lived in Vancouver for a while and visited Whistler on many occasions for both day trips and weekend getaways. We managed to do a lot of tours and activities during our time there and completely fell in love with the area.
Since we know the journey and all the good stop-offs along the way, we have narrowed down the four best Whistler tours from Vancouver. This way you don’t have to waste your time or money on a tour that’s just not worth it!
If you are interested in sticking around in Whistler, we also have some recommendations on shuttles and private transport to get you from Vancouver to Whistler, so keep reading!
Our TOP Tour of Whistler From Vancouver
When you’re visiting Whistler, what could be better than hopping on the scenic Sea to Sky Gondola? We have a soft spot for gondola rides with epic views, and we’re sure you’ll love this full-day Whistler and Sea to Sky Gondola tour as much as we did.
At almost 12 hours long, this experience is jam-packed with so many fun activities and places to visit – at $193 CAD per person, we think it’s incredible value too! You can check availability and secure your spot online here.
Why book a tour to Whistler from Vancouver?
If you are wondering why you should book a tour to Whistler from Vancouver, here are a few reasons! Whistler is one of those must-visit places in BC, but if you’re short on time, a day trip tour gets you there and back quickly, while giving you a taste of what makes Whistler special.
For one, it’s a lot easier than attempting to make your own way there. If you are exploring the area on vacation, booking a tour takes the stress away from you. Unfortunately, renting a car in Vancouver is expensive so while it’s convenient to drive yourself, it’s pretty pricey!
Of course, I always suggest staying in Whistler for a few days because it’s the best way to see the area. There are some great shuttle options if you go that route so you can stay in Whistler as long as you like, but not have to worry about how you’re getting there … or navigate winter driving.
However, if a day trip from Vancouver is the only thing that makes sense for your travel plans, then it’s still a fantastic way to see Canada’s most famous mountain village.
Tours to Whistler from Vancouver
1. Whistler and Sea to Sky Gondola tour
This group tour of Whistler is the perfect day trip from Vancouver! Meet at Canada Place and hop on your tour bus ready to ride along the Sea to Sky Highway where you can see, you guessed it, sea-to-sky views and incredible sights with every turn!
The first stop-off on the tour is at Shannon Falls Park where you can stretch your legs and walk through the towering rainforest along the boardwalk to the base of Shannon Falls.
Hop back on the bus and enjoy the ride to the Sea to Sky Gondola where you’ll witness mesmerizing views over Howe Sound and the coastal rainforest below before arriving at Summit Lodge. This is one of my favorite parts! From here you will have time to explore, go for a quick hike or even walk over the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge (a must).
The Sea to Sky Gondola is only a short ride from Whistler where you can enjoy some free time in Whistler village. You will not be short on things to do in Whistler as it has so much to offer, all year around! With three hours of free time to explore everything Whistler has to offer, it is a great taster and we are positive you will leave wanting to book a week-long vacation there!
You can expect this tour to take roughly 10 hours from start to finish, costing around $199 CAD per person. With an enthusiastic tour guide the whole way along and so much to see and do, we think this is an ideal day trip from Vancouver, suitable for the whole family!
Related Read: If you are based in Vancouver, read up on the best hotels and hostels in Vancouver before you book a room!
2. Whistler and Sea to Sky Gondola tour (including Squamish)
The Sea to Sky Gondola is one of our all-time favorite things to do in British Columbia, and this tour combines a gondola ride with a day trip to Whistler!
The tour includes hotel pick-up in Vancouver and from here you will travel down the famous Sea to Sky Highway all the way to Shannon Falls Provincial Park. Shannon Falls is the third of BC’s tallest waterfalls at a whopping 1,105 feet (336 meters)!
Next, you will arrive in Squamish where you will ride the incredible Sea to Sky Gondola, starting at sea level and rising up to 2,900 feet (885 meters) providing unbeatable views of the Howe Sound and the coastal mountains. Don’t think this is only an activity for good weather, in the winter the view looks like something from a Christmas postcard!
The last leg of the journey drops you in Whistler where you will have four hours to explore on your own time. Wander around the village, visit the Olympic Plaza, and sample some of the town’s finest restaurants. Whistler has so much to offer you won’t struggle to fill your time.
Then just hop back on the coach and relax on the journey back to Vancouver, you should arrive back between 8:30 and 9 pm!
This tour costs $193 CAD per person including your hotel pick-up and drop-off as well as your ticket to Shannon Falls and the Sea to Sky Gondola. It also spends slightly longer in Whistler than other tours on this list, so is perfect for first-timers who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Whistler before!
If you’re looking for an unforgettable trip to Whistler, make sure to book this tour before it sells out!
3. Whistler day trip by seaplane
The journey between Vancouver and Whistler is absolutely stunning no matter your method of travel, but the incredible lakes and mountainous regions are really best seen from the air!
Seaplanes are exactly what they sound like – a small plane that is able to land and take off from the water. If you haven’t had the pleasure of going on one before, you really should!
This tour combines a beautiful seaplane ride, with a day trip to Whistler from Vancouver! Not only do you save on travel time than if you went by road, but you also get to enjoy the unbeatable views along the way.
Just meet at the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre in the morning and enjoy your 35-minute flight and land at Green Lake in Whistler. From here you can either hop on the free shuttle into the village or make use of the free bike rental and make your own way there. This tour is only offered from May-September, so it’s a great way to take in all of Whistler’s best summer activities!
You then have until 6:40 pm to enjoy all Whistler has to offer before you need to be back at the seaplane terminal to fly back to Vancouver.
This tour starts at $473 CAD and can’t be completed in bad weather. This is why we really like booking the seaplane flight with Viator because you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance if the weather looks dicey. But don’t worry if your trip does get canceled due to weather you can transfer to a different day!
While we did find taking off from the water scary at first, once you are in the air, all the fear goes away and it truly was one of our favorite tours we did! We loved it so much, we also did a sightseeing seaplane tour from Vancouver!
If you’re interested in traveling in style to Whistler and getting epic scenery along the way, make sure you book a seat on this seaplane flight 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.
- 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!
4. Private tour: Whistler day trip from Vancouver
Take away all the hassle of organizing your own trip to Whistler and book this private day tour from Vancouver. We understand that large group tours aren’t for everyone and sometimes you just want to go solo or enjoy the trip as a family, so a private shuttle tour with a guide is the way to go!
You will be picked up from your hotel or the port by your guide and they will take you right through Stanley Park and along the Sea to Sky Highway where you can sit back and absorb the breathtaking landscapes.
The first stop is Shannon Falls where you can stretch your legs and stroll along to the viewing platform watching the water cascading down the cliff front.
Shannon Falls is only a short drive away from Whistler where you will have four hours to explore at your own leisure! Your guide will be able to recommend some spots but we would personally recommend going for a bike ride, enjoying a beer at Whistler Brewery, or relaxing at one of Whistler’s beautiful lakes!
There are tons of spots in Whistler to grab a bite to eat so make sure you enjoy a nice dinner out before riding back to Vancouver in your shuttle.
You can book your private tour online here starting from $416 CAD. It can accommodate up to 14 people per booking and runs for around 10 hours.
Related Read: The autumn colors in Whistler are spectacular, so I highly recommend visiting Whistler in the fall!
Transport to Whistler from Vancouver
If you do want to stick around in Whistler a little longer (and I don’t blame you!), then there are plenty of other transportation options for you.
I really like booking something in advance so I know exactly how I’m getting to Whistler from Vancouver. These are the best shuttle and bus options, including private transport if you’re traveling in a group or with family.
Vancouver Airport to Whistler
If you are heading to the gorgeous town of Whistler straight from the Vancouver Airport, save yourself the stress of aimlessly trying to find the taxi rank at the airport by booking this shuttle bus service.
Their airport stop is located at the international airport arrivals on Level 2. From here you can put your luggage on board and enjoy a relaxing 3-hour drive to Whistler. They stop off at Squamish on the way and then will take you directly to either Creekside Village or right next to the Whistler Visitor Center.
At only $72 CAD, this is one of the most affordable methods of transport to Whistler from Vancouver airport. It often sells out during busier times of the year, so make sure to book your travel dates online ASAP.
Vancouver to Whistler
Save yourself the hassle of renting your own vehicle in Vancouver and get from the city center to either Whistler or Squamish by coach! This service has frequent departure times and leaves from Melville Street in the center of Vancouver.
The coach has onboard WiFi and toilet facilities so if you are traveling as a family you won’t need to make frequent stop-offs for those with small bladders!
For a one-way coach journey, prices start at $58 CAD, with its drop-off locations in Whistler being the Whistler Visitor Center or at Creekside Village. This is a popular way to get to Whistler, so make sure to book your seats on the coach in advance.
Vancouver Airport to-or-from Whistler by Express Shuttle
If you would rather opt for a smaller vehicle over a large coach, why not book this express shuttle service from the Vancouver airport to Whistler.
The shuttle goes from Vancouver International Airport Arrivals on Level 2 and will take you through the stunning landscapes for three hours. You’ll travel all the way to Whistler Gateway Loop which is conveniently located right next to the Visitor Center.
The shuttle starts at $93 CAD which includes a baggage allowance of one large piece, one hand luggage, and either a set of skis or a snowboard per person with a $15 CAD charge for any extras. Grab a seat on this hassle-free shuttle by booking online here.
Private charter bus service from Vancouver to Whistler
If you’re traveling to Whistler from Vancouver in a group or as a family, this private bus service is the way to go. Not only does it save you the hassle of trying to navigate around public transport routes, but it also saves you the cost of renting your own vehicle.
As it’s a private shuttle, you can arrange for it to pick you up in Vancouver and drop you off in Whistler, wherever is more convenient for you. It is also ideal if you have extra luggage or skis that you might have to pay an additional fee for on a coach.
The shuttle cost is $499 CAD with a maximum of four people, which is pretty affordable when you consider that on other methods of transport, you will have to pay per head. You can book this private charter online here!
Vancouver to Whistler scenic flight
Travel to Whistler from Vancouver in style aboard this scenic flight! For only $221 CAD, you can skip out on all the on-road time and see the beautiful landscapes from a bird’s eye view!
Meet at Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre at 8:30 am, hop on your seaplane, and enjoy 40 minutes in the air before landing at Whistler’s Green Lake where you can take the free shuttle into Whistler village.
If you have heaps of luggage and ski equipment, this might not be the transport method for you but they do allow a guaranteed 25 lbs with an additional 25 lbs at no extra cost, providing they have the space.
Where to Stay in Whistler
As you can imagine, Whistler is a mountain town filled with great hotels. Whether you’re looking for a place to stay while you go skiing or want to soak up the incredible summer activities, there are plenty of choices. These are our favs!
Our go-to hotel in Whistler is the Adara Hotel. For us, it is the perfect mix of luxury and affordability with everything you need for a comfortable stay. They offer underground parking and are only a one-minute walk from the Whistler Stroll, so you can park your car and leave it while you explore Whistler Village. They also have a beautiful outdoor pool and hot tub offering mountain views – perfect for relaxing on a Fall evening. The loft rooms are our favorites and most also offer mountain views from the upstairs patio.
For budget travelers, Pangea Pod Hotel is a great option. It’s a basic hotel with pod-style rooms with clean, well looked after facilities. The location is also really good right in the heart of Whistler Village. One thing to note is this is not your typical hotel and it does lack privacy due to the style of rooms. However, for location and price, it’s the best low-cost option. It’s also convenient to book on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.com.
For luxury travelers, I obviously love the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, but another option slightly cheaper is the Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre. Its location is perfect for luxury travelers because it’s only 250 meters (820 feet) from the closest gondola/chairlift. On top of that, it has all the luxury facilities you’d expect such as a heated, outdoor pool and two hot tubs with mountain views, a fitness center, a spa and wellness center, as well as an included breakfast. Oh, and all suites have a full kitchen!
Those are just a few of the many amazing places to stay in Whistler – read our blog for more info!
Related Read: If you are based in Whistler for a bit during the summer, don’t miss the epic ATV tours in Whistler!
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Renting a Car in British Columbia
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.
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!
Whistler is a gem of a mountain town that’s totally worth exploring while you’re in British Columbia. Because it’s SO close to Vancouver, you can easily book a great tour that will take you there and back in a day to see the highlights. Or grab a shuttle from Vancouver and stay as long as you like!
Hopefully, this guide to the best tours from Vancouver to Whistler has given you lots of options for your trip. If you are planning to travel across the country, make sure to check out my other blogs about Canada here. Or if you’re sticking around Vancouver and Whistler, here are a few blogs I think you might like!