The Sunshine Coast of BC is a serene getaway that feels like it is a world away from the city. Located in the southern coast of BC, it is only about an hour from Vancouver including a 40 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay. Although the Sunshine Coast can only be reached by boat or plane, it is not an island but is actually part of the BC mainland. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature.
The South Coast consists of the communities of Gibsons, Roberts Creek, Sechelt, Halfmoon Bay, Pender Harbour, and Egmont. The North Coast is accessible via another ferry from Earl’s Cove on the South Coast to Saltery Bay. From Saltery Bay, you can also visit the communities of Powell River and Lund.
How to Get There:
There are currently no roads or bridges connecting Vancouver with the Sunshine Coast. The easiest way to get there is by taking the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to the town of Gibsons. The ferry schedule is available on the BC Ferries website by checking the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale route.
Harbour Air Seaplanes offers services between Downtown Vancouver and Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast. Flights are also available from YVR Airport to Powell River.
The ferry at Horseshoe Bay is accessible by public transit (Bus #257 – Horseshoe Bay Express) via Downtown Vancouver. BC Transit also provides services between the Langdale Ferry Terminal and Halfmoon Bay. The Sunshine Coast Connector also provides bus service between the Langdale Ferry Terminal and Powell River.
Things to See and Do:
We based ourselves in Davis Bay which is just outside of the town of Sechelt. It is a beautiful area with a long beach to walk along and a pier to jump in the water. There are also a few restaurants and shops located just across the water from the beach at Davis Bay including a small farmer’s market where we bought some fresh local berries.
Gibsons is the first town you will encounter after getting off the ferry at the Langdale Ferry Terminal. There are lots of great restaurants and cute shops to explore as well as a short walkway along the water. It is also known for the Canadian TV show, The Beachcombers. We explored this area on our last day on the Sunshine Coast and had lunch in town before jumping on the ferry back to Vancouver. Unfortunately, as it was a Sunday, many of the shops and restaurants were closed.
Smuggler’s Cove is part of Smuggler’s Cove Provincial Park which has a short hike through forested trails and spectacular views of the cove. We saw many boats moored in the cove and swimmers enjoying the calm waters. Smuggler’s Cove gets its name from a “pirate” named Larry Kelly that smuggled unemployed Chinese workers into the US after the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway. During prohibition, the cove was also reportedly used by smugglers transporting alcohol to the US. This park offered a short pleasant hike (4km) with a chance to view the clear blue waters of the cove.
It was a long drive (over an hour) from Davis Bay to Skookumchuck Narrows, but we ventured out on this journey because we had heard this was a must see. The Skookumchuck Narrows are tidal rapids between the Sechelt and Jervis Inlets. The rapids form twice daily when the tide switches and large amounts of seawater is forced through the narrow channel resulting in whirlpools and white water. If you time it right, you should be able to see kayakers riding the rapids. Be sure to check the tide tables before venturing out to avoid disappointment. Keep in mind there is a 4km (1 hour) easy hike from the parking area to the rapids. We viewed the kayakers riding the rapids from Roland Point Viewing area but we also stopped by the North Point Viewing Area to see some whirlpools.
We made a quick stop in Roberts Creek to take a quick walk by the beach and down to the end of the pier. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful.
Sechelt is a seaside community that sits in a narrow piece of land between Sechelt Inlet and the Straight of Georgia. Sechelt also takes its name from the First Nations people that settled the area thousands of years ago. It is the perfect central location to base your stay and has a plethora of activities available such as kayaking, camping, hiking, mountain biking in the summer and snowshoeing and skiing in the winter.
Sunshine Coast Trail
We didn’t have time to do any part of the Sunshine Coast Trail on this trip. We would have needed a lot more time given the Sunshine Coast Trail is Canada’s longest hut to hut hiking trail. It is 180km long in total and spans from Saltery Bay to Desolation Sound.
Other Places we Didn’t Have Time to Visit:
- Katherine Lake
- Soames Hill Park
- Cliff Gilker Park
- North Coast of the Sunshine Coast
Where to Eat/Drink:
The patio and the Wobbly Canoe was the perfect place to start our mini vacation. The beer was cold and refreshing on a warm summer day and the burger was delicious. It is also the perfect location just across the water from the beach at Davis Bay.
In need of sustenance after our day spent in Smuggler’s Cove, this small cafe offered a tasty meal of eggs on a home cooked biscuit.
Sunshine Coast Olive Oil Company
This little shop in Gibsons provided us with the perfect souvenir from our time in the Sunshine Coast. After trying countless varieties of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, we went home with the Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil and Fig Balsamic Vinegar which paired perfectly together.
Other Restaurants We Didn’t Have Time to Try:
- Persephone Brewing Company
- The Bricker Cider Company
- Sushi Bar Nagomi
- Smoke on the Water
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