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Best time to visit Vancouver and Whistler for sun or snow

Score on hotel deals while still experiencing everything Vancouver and Whistler have to offer.

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Vancouver and Whistler are both hot spots on the west coast of Canada for adventure and outdoor activities. To experience incredible nature and city sights, we’ve found the best time to visit Vancouver and Whistler for an outdoor holiday.

Best time to visit Vancouver and Whistler

April to June and September.

Why?

Temperatures are mild (5°C-19°C) in Vancouver with smaller crowds as locals are in school and summer holidays have yet to begin. April to June in Vancouver is filled with flowers while September brings autumn foliage. June and September in Whistler are the shoulder months before tourism picks up or starts to die down, but the weather is still comfortable with mild temperatures. Whistler acts as a perfect base for camping and hiking. In June, Blackcomb Mountain is open for glacier skiing.


Overview

Vancouver and Whistler are both great destinations to visit year round. The winters are mild compared to the rest of Canada and they offer outdoor activities any time of the year. Summer, from June to August, is the peak tourist season as locals take to the water in Vancouver and Whistler has activities such as hiking available. Temperatures range from 10°C-21°C.

Autumn, from September to November, is when tourists head back home and temperatures fall to anywhere from 1°C-20°C. Outdoor activities are still plentiful this time of year. December to February is peak season for Whistler as the mountains open for downhill sports, while Vancouver is quiet as temperatures drop further to around 0°C-8°C. During March to May, prices drop slightly in Whistler and you can still find bargains in Vancouver. Temperatures reach 1°C-17°C.


Weather and prices

Best time to visit Vancouver and Whistler, weatherwise. May to June and September offer warm temperatures with plenty of outdoor activities.

Cheapest time to visit Vancouver and Whistler. September to November have bargain hotel prices as locals go back to work or school and temperatures begin to dip. The snow has yet to fall in Whistler, so it is the sweet spot before the skiers and snowboarders start arriving and drive the prices up.


Best time to visit Vancouver and Whistler for...

  • The Rockies. The beginning of autumn (mid-September to mid-October) is best for airfare and accommodation deals. The weather is still mild and is perfect for hiking without having to deal with the crowds. December to mid-April is best for winter activities like skiing and snowshoeing.
  • Skiing. December to March is when winter activities, like skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and tubing, are abundant. It is also peak season so be sure to book in advance. March is the best month to find travel sales although the warmer temperatures can affect skiing and snowboarding conditions.
  • Whale watching off Vancouver Island. April to November is the most consistent time of year for spotting killer whales. You can see humpback whales almost any time of the year but are most popular through August to December.
  • Fishing. You can go on a fishing trip from Vancouver at anytime of the year. Winter (December to March) is the least popular, while summer (June to August) is great for saltwater and pink salmon and is the most popular season. Autumn (September to November) is great for fly fishing and catching king salmon. Spring (March to May) brings back sturgeon fishing after the winter months.
  • Wildlife. September to November is the best time for viewing wildlife. Bear viewing tours continue and eagle tours begin for the season. You can find salmon in the rivers and animals will be active as they prepare to hibernate for the winter.
  • Vancouver Gardens. April to June is when the gardens showcase a variety of plants. In April, rhododendrons, azaleas and dogwood start to show. May is when tulips bloom and June is when most of the plants are in full bloom. The early morning, around 9am, is best when crowds are the smallest.
  • Cruise trips to Alaska. Mid-June to mid-July is the sweet spot in Alaska with long days filled with sunlight. May and September are the shoulder seasons when you can find discounts on tours and accommodation. The weather is extremely unpredictable but from mid-June to mid-July, the weather should permit hiking and sightseeing outdoors with temperatures from 15°C-26°C. Canada is often used as a base to enter Alaska with numerous cruise sailings between Vancouver and Alaska annually.

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