Vancouverites travel along the Sea to Sky Corridor (Highway 99), running from Vancouver to the north of Whistler year round.
Those who seek outdoor adventure, forest beaches, pristine lakes use the road in summer, while in the winter months the desire to ski and snowboard in Whistler have people zipping up and down the highway as often as they can.
While there can be no denying the importance of the destination, it must also be said so to is the journey and the stops that made along the way.
As the city disappears Highway 99’s winding roads boast breathtaking ocean vistas, soaring mountains, small towns and access to a range of independent eateries and retailers.
So, the next time you’re driving from Vancouver to Whistler or vice versa and fancy a pit stop here’s a list of fun things to do along the Sea to Sky Corridor.
Photo Credit: Sea to Sky Gondola
Located in Squamish, just off Highway 99, the Sea to Sky Gondola offers striking views above the waters of nearby Howe Sound.
From the ocean, in just under 12 minutes the gondola ascends 2800 feet to the summit, where not only jaw-dropping scenery of luscious coastal forest and the surrounding mountains await but also a wide range of outdoor experiences.
Once at the top visitors have access to the Summit Lodge, restaurant, suspension bridge and viewing deck, as well as a handful of outdoor activities including snowshoeing, tubing, hiking, rock climbing and for the experienced backcountry skiing.
The Sea to Sky Gondola’s winter season runs from November to the end of April and operates from Thursday through to Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for one adult costs $34.95. For more information visit www.seatoskygondola.com.
Photo Credit: Jess Fleming
Encircled by snow-capped mountains, observe the largest concentration of bald eagles in North America in their winter habitat in Brackendale, south of Whistler.
You don’t have to be a bird watcher enthusiast to appreciate the enormous bald eagles soaring overhead, as knowledgeable guides gently steer floats along the Checkamus River and share tales about the life cycles of the bald eagle, the salmon they depend upon, and the incredible flora and fauna of the surrounding environment.
Sunwolf’s Eagle Viewing Floats run from mid November through to the end of February, so don’t miss the opportunity to see these magnificent creatures in the wild!
Trips depart daily from Sunwolf at 10am and costs $100 per person. For further information visit www.sunwolf.net.
Photo Credit: Jess Fleming
With its newly renovated and expanded kitchen, Fergie’s Café is no longer just a favourite local haunt but a must visit food destination offering home-style cooking at its best!
Enjoy a range of wholesome breakfast and lunch plates at this quaint riverside eatery, where Chef Tom and his team lovingly prepare hearty meals, with fresh, local produce that will leave your belly full and truly satisfied.
Fergie’s Café is the perfect spot to stop, stretch your legs and enjoy a tasty meal on your way up to or back from Whistler. Do yourself a favour and grab a homemade brownie for the road.
Photo Credit: Squamish Farmers Market
Between November 8 and April 18 The Squamish Farmer’s Market takes place on alternative Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Squamish Elementary and connects Sea to Sky with farmers, local produce, arts and whole lot of community spirit.
The market is host to an array of stalls, selling all manner of food fare as well as an array of arts and crafts.
So, if you find yourself driving along Highway 99 on a participating Saturday, make sure you drop by to browse and pick up some locally grown veggies, baked goods and artisan wares.
For more information visit www.squamishfarmersmarket.com.
Photo credit: Galileo Coffee Company
Craving a caffeine hit? Whether you’re heading north or south on the Sea to Sky Corridor be sure to swing by Galileo Coffee Company located at Britannia Beach.
Known by locals and visitors alike to pour great tasting espresso drinks, this independent café and roaster is sure to provide you with your daily coffee fix. Coffee is not the only thing they serve; the café also offers a selection of homemade pastries, scones and other baked goods.
After tasting Galileo’s blends and watching the beans being roasted on site, be sure to grab a bag of fresh beans to take home and a scone for a mid-drive snack.
Photo Credit: Squamish Adventure Centre
For those seeking adventure along the Sea to Sky Corridor the Squamish Adventure Centre should be your first port of call.
40 minutes from downtown Vancouver and 30 minutes from Whistler, The Squamish Adventure Centre houses: visitor information, a ticket sales kiosk, an activity booking desk, bike and paddleboard rental, Caffe Garibaldi, The Squamish Store and more.
For families travelling with younger kids the centre is a well suited stop thanks to the centre’s fantastic on-site play area. For more information visit www.adventurecentre.ca.
Photo Credit: Scandinave Spa Whistler
Ok, so the Scandinave Spa is perhaps more of a destination in its own right rather than a quick pit stop along Highway 99, but nevertheless it should not be overlooked as a spot to revive the senses.
Shrouded by cedar forest, the Scandinave Spa features Scandinavian baths, waterfalls and saunas intended to cleanse, energise and relax.
Soaking in soothing outdoor warm and cold baths will melt away any stress acquired on the trip up. Add a Swedish massage to complete the rejuvenation process.
With stunning views, a boutique and an on site café, the Scandinave Spa is an incredibly calming and restful place to pause for a few hours before returning to reality and the drive ahead.
For more information visit www.scandinave.com.
Feature Image: Sea to Sky Gondola