Directions to Whistler, BC
From Vancouver Airport and downtown Vancouver
Scenic drive to Whistler alternative I, part IV
In this section, you'll visit beautiful Stanley Park in Vancouver, and either end your trip in Whistler or in downtown Vancouver.
If you haven't read Part I, start with it now.
Take Beach Avenue along English Bay into Stanley Park.
Some maps show that it is not possible to enter Stanley Park this way, but you can unless there is a special event. Traffic travels two ways until you reach the Second Beach Pool.
After entering the park, you're now driving along English Bay's Second Beach.
At the large outdoor Second Beach Pool on your left, turn RIGHT onto North Lagoon Drive.
Stanley Park Lost Lagoon
If the weather is good, try to find parking a few moments after getting on North Lagoon Drive, and, then, If not visible from where you parked, have someone point you down a walk to the Lost Lagoon, a very pleasant spot to sit and relax for a few minutes. This is one of the last places I spent time with my father before his death, and I will always remember how very much he enjoyed this peaceful setting.
During the spring and early summer, there's also a beautiful rhododendron garden in bloom adjacent to the southwest corner of Lost Lagoon that you'll want to visit.
Stanley Park parking and safety
HINTS: Use your credit card to buy several hours of parking from one of the blue boxes found near parking spots. You can then use the same parking tag at any spot throughout Stanley Park.
Although Stanley Park is considered an exceptionally, if not totally safe park compared to other urban parks in North America and you'll notice both men and women enjoying even its most isolated walking trails alone, do not leave valuables visible in your car.
Stanley Park Brockton Point
Continue on North Lagoon Drive.
You'll pass through an underpass, and reach a traffic circle.
At this roundabout, follow the signs for Park Drive and Brockton Point.
Along here, you'll enjoy awesome views of the Vancouver waterfront and downtown Vancouver, as you drive along Coal Harbor. This inlet off of Vancouver Harbor is used by scheduled passenger service seaplanes.
During the spring, summer, and autumn, you may see large cruise ships departing for Alaska, if you're driving along here at around 5:00 or 5:30 in the afternoon.
Most leave from Expo ’'86 Vancouver's Canada Place, the uplifting waterfront complex in the distance, which has what appear to be sails.
There’s quite a bit of parking in this area, so find a spot, and let the driver also enjoy the views.
Continue on Park Drive.
Stanley Park seawall
After rounding Brockton Point, you'll look out at the narrow entrance to Vancouver Harbor, also called Burrard Inlet, and the mountains beyond.
Ships pass so close that it almost seems as if you can touch them.
Park, and enjoy a walk along the seawall path toward Prospect Point and Lions Gate Bridge visible in the distance, which passes over the entrance to the harbor. After walking under the bridge, you'll again look out at the Georgia Straight.
This is one of the most uplifting portions of your scenic drive.
You can actually take this path all the way around the parksome seven miles or 11 kilometers of nearly flat walking, which I loved to do year round when I lived in Vancouver.
Also walk along some of the forested paths that lead into the unspoiled interior of the park. The best starting points for these paths come after you drive past Prospect Point below.
Among the Douglas firs, you'll feel as if you’re in a redwood grove. Don’t worry about getting lost; heading downhill eventually takes you back to the seawall path, and you'll always be running into "regulars,” who can guide you.
Head back to your vehicle, and continue on Park Drive.
A choice for you
After Park Drive turns inland from the seawall, you'll reach an onramp for the Lions Gate Bridge.
If you're in a rush now to reach Whistler, take this ramp, and then join “The fastest driving directions to Whistler,” as this group enters the Lions Gate Bridge. Note that this onramp is NOT open in the late afternoon, when the bridge is even more jammed with traffic.
Otherwise, continue past the ramp to enjoy more of Stanley Park on the way to Whistler or to your Vancouver hotel.
Continue a short distance until you notice lots of parking for Prospect Point, and find a space.
The view from Prospect Point is the most famous in Vancouver.
Standing near totem poles, you'll look out at the Lions Gate Bridge below and Vancouver Harbor, Georgia Straight, and the mountains beyond.
This is an awesome must stop regardless of weather.
Continue on Stanley Park Drive around the other side of Stanley Park.
This portion of the drive gives you best access to forested hiking trails.
Stanley Park Drive flows into Beach Avenue.
Exit the park the way you entered on Beach Avenue.
Follow the signs to turn left onto Denman.
The southern portion of Denman has a bit of a Manhattan chic feel about it. This is one of the two most densely populated areas of Vancouver.
Go north on Denman to Georgia Street, where most traffic turns either left or right off of Denman.
Do one of the following:
If continnuing to Whistler at this time, turn left onto Georgia, and proceed on the main road through Stanley Park to the Lions Gate Bridge.
Then follow the directions found in the “Fastest route to Whistler.”
NOTE: Before deciding to go over the Lion’s Gate Bridge, read “Timing your Whistler drive.” That onramp restriction sign mentioned earlier is there for a reason.
If going to a downtown Vancouver hotel or hostel, turn right onto Georgia.
Have a great time in Vancouver and Whistler!