Travelling the Sea-to Sky Highway

Travelling the Sea-to-Sky Highway
(The Vancouver-Whistler-Lillooet Route)

Jan's Lee Travellin' News

Taking in the music and sun at
Jericho Beach.
Photo by Finn Larson


Curious about the activities and accommodations that are available to travellers in the Whistler-Pemberton area, my husband and I decided recently to take the Sea-to-Sky highway (Highway 99 north) back home to Lytton from Vancouver. Our trips to "the Big City" have always taken us along the Fraser Canyon route (Highway 1 south), which is shorter and more direct. This time however, we decided to investigate the stretch of campsites that run through Garibaldi Provincial Park and along Cayoosh Creek, just north of Pemberton. Like the Fraser Canyon, this area provides an endless assortment of activities for the traveller, and a wide range of camping and hotel accommodations. The Vancouver-Whistler stretch also offers a number of festivals and other activities during the months of July and August. Activities in both locations kick off with parades and parties on Canada Day (July 1) and are followed by several months of music festivals and sporting events.

For Vancouver Festival Info contact:
Vancouver Folk Music Festival
Jericho Beach Park.
Phone: 604-602-9798
Vancouver International Comedy Festival
various venues
Phone: 604-683-0883
Benson and Hedges Symphony of Fire
English Bay
Phone: 604-738-4304

If you love folk music, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival is a must. The festival takes place in mid July at its usual venue in Jericho Beach Park. The festival is always popular and crowded, and well worth the trip. Tickets can be purchased from a variety of locations throughout the city.

Vancouver's International Comedy Festival takes place in late July to early August at various locations around town. Daytime events are free, but you will need to purchase tickets for evening performances. Festival events coincide with another popular Vancouver tradition: watching the fireworks display from the Benson and Hedges Symphony of Fire at English Bay. The best viewing location is the reserved seating at English Bay, but if you can't get in, or prefer not to join the crowds, you can always find your own romantic spot on a hillside above English Bay. Many locals lay out a blanket and turn on their car stereos so they can enjoy the music that accompanies the production. The Symphony of Fire takes place on selected evenings, in late July and early August.

Windsurfers on Atla Lake.


A less known location for summer festivals, Squamish (approximately 60 km/37 miles from Vancouver) has several events taking place this summer. Thunder in the Streets (mid July) is a grass roots motor sports that is based on the Solo 2 car competition. For the uninitiated viewer, Solo 2 events involve a miniature road course that is designed to test the agility and skill of amateur drivers. Squamish has taken the idea one step further by turning it into a spectator sport in the middle of town. The proceeds that are raised from the drivers' entry fees go to local charities. Squamish Days Logger Sports Festivals follow during the BC Day weekend (August 1st) and are also worth attending.

Whistler Resort (120 km/74 miles from Vancouver) is known throughout the world for its winter activities. Recently however, it has gained just as much notoriety for its summer attractions which range from golfing to hiking, swimming and formal dining.

For Squamish & Whistler Festival Info:
Thunder in the Streets
Cleveland Avenue (downtown)
Phone: 604-892-9877
Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival
Loggers Sports Grounds
Phone: 604-892-9244
Whistler - "A Little Night Music"
various locations
Phone: 604-932-3928
Whistler Roots Weekend
Cultural music from around the world
Whistler Village - downtown
Phone: 604-932-2394

Canada Day celebrations at Whistler will be followed by several musical events. They take place throughout the summer and feature music from all over the world.

There is a variety of accommodations available at the Resort, from bed and breakfast establishments to condominiums that can be rented by the day. Whistler is renown for its dining facilities, which range from pubs to elegant restaurants.

If you are into golfing, be sure to check out Whistler's four golf courses. Golf pros from all over the world come to play on Whistler's grounds, which include a private golf school and a child care facility for our younger golf enthusiasts.

Squamish and Whistler are surrounded by a number of excellent camping facilities, most of which are part of Garibaldi Provincial Park. Be sure to reserve your campsite ahead of time. Also remember that some of the provincial sites in this area are closed to domesticated animals. We attempted to take our german shepherd into a wilderness campsite in Garibaldi and were greeted with signs prohibiting pets. If you are concerned about lodging for you and your four legged friend, inquire first.

We found great camping facilities at Nairn Falls, 5 km/3 miles south of Pemberton. The campsites offer the standard amenities of water and pit toilets and are well maintained. Pets are allowed in the park.

Be sure to read Jan Lee's article - Vacationing at BC's Famed Whistler Resort

One of the many enchanting waterfalls just outside of Pemberton.
Photo by John Lee-Thiem

Pemberton is a sleepy little town at the base of Mt. Currie (32 km/20 miles from Whistler). There are a number of bed and breakfast facilities in the Pemberton area. You will also find a wide selection of Forestry Service sites between Pemberton and Lillooet. Most of the sites are secluded on the banks of Cayoosh Creek.

I am always fascinated by how quickly the terrain in these parts of the province can change. Like the Logan Lake-Ashcroft area, the stretch from Pemberton to Lillooet is full of surprising vistas and subtle transformations. The descent into Lillooet includes several breathtaking views of canyons and snow capped mountain ranges. One can almost imagine what it was like for pioneers in this area (Lillooet was called "Mile 0" by ambitious gold prospectors). Travelling the windy mountain roads almost seem like a luxury when one considers the hardship that must have been involved in forging these mountain passes.

Breathtaking canyon vistas are a regular part of the trip from Whistler to Lillooet.
Photo by Jan Lee

The Seton Lake Recreation Area lies just outside of Lillooet and offers scenic picnic areas. The Seton salmon hatchery is less than 3 minutes from the lake on Highway 99 and provides an interesting look at one of the area's productive spawning channels.

The Lillooet museum includes an impressive display of photographs and artifacts from the gold rush era as well as the original printing equipment of Lillooet's famous publishers, George and Ma Murray. The Bridge River-Lillooet News still runs and is a testament to Lillooet's success as one of the Cariboo's longest-thriving communities.

Be sure to read our review of the BC Coastal Tour, featuring Vancouver Island, Sechelt and Powell River.

Copyright Jan Lee

Jan Lee

Be sure to read other articles by Jan Lee in the BC Adventure Network

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Travelling the Sea-to Sky Highway