The spread of lung cancer cells to distant sites represents a common event associated with poor prognosis. A fraction of tumor cells named cancer stem cells (CSCs) have the ability to overcome therapeutic stress and remain quiescent. However, whether these CSCs have also the capacity to initiate and sustain metastasis remains unclear. Here, we used tumor sphere cultures (TSC) isolated from mouse and human lung cancer models to enrich for CSCs, and assessed their metastatic potential as compared to non-CSCs. As expected, TSC overexpressed a variety of stem cell markers and displayed chemoresistance. The CSC phenotype of TSC was confirmed by their higher growth ability in soft agar and tumorigenic potential in vivo, despite their reduced in vitro cell growth kinetics. Surprisingly, the appearance of spontaneous lung metastases was strongly delayed in mice injected with TSC as compared to non-TSC cells. Similarly, this finding was confirmed in several other models of metastasis, an effect associated with a retarded colonization activity. Interestingly, such delay correlated with a quiescent phenotype whose underlined mechanisms included an increase in p27 protein and lower phospho-ERK1/2 levels. Thus, these data suggest that cells enriched for CSC properties display an impaired metastatic activity, a finding with potential clinical implications.