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Three-Day Getaway: BC's Sunshine Coast

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Sechelt

If you’re looking for a relaxing seaside getaway, the Sunshine Coast checks all the boxes: long stretches of beach, expansive ocean vistas, and nautical-themed cottages. But there’s more to experience than just quintessentially West Coast scenery. Venture through these coastal towns and you’ll uncover a budding food and drink scene, quaint boutiques, a vibrant arts community, and incredible outdoor adventures along the way.

The area is made up of a north and south coast, connected by a fifty-minute BC Ferries trip from Earls Cove to Saltery Bay. Depending on your preferred style of travel, three days is enough time to explore one, the other, or both. Just keep in mind that the Sunshine Coast is all about slowing down and relaxing, so plan a mid-week excursion to make the most of your time there. Here are a few three-day getaway ideas on the Sunshine Coast, so you can choose how you’d like to explore.

Riding the mountain bike trail system in Gibsons | Stirl and Rae Photo
Persephone Brewing Company in Gibsons | BC Ale Trail
Gibsons Marina | @folkfotos

Gibsons, Roberts Creek, and Sechelt

From the Langdale Ferry Terminal, your first stop is Persephone Brewing Company. Here you can taste award-winning craft beer—some of it made with hops grown on-site. Gibsons also boasts two more breweries: Gibsons Tapworks and The 101 Brewhouse and Distillery, as well as the new Sunday Cider (July 2020: open for pick-up and delivery). Head to nearby Gibsons Landing to browse the local shops— including the Gibsons Public Market—and check out Molly’s Reach, famous for being the star location on CBC’s longest running Canadian drama, The Beachcombers. Lower Gibsons has a growing list of culinary gems including: The Drift Café and Bistro, Buono Osteria, Smitty’s Oyster House, and Lunitas Mexican Eatery.

Head up the coast to Roberts Creek for a gentle stroll along the pier, or on the trails in Cliff Gilker Park or Mount Elphinstone Provincial Park. If you brought your mountain bike, this is a great place to hit the local trails. The fast, flowy Mach Chicken trail is one of the area’s most well-known and sought after rides. Post-hike (or bike), settle into The Gumboot Restaurant for a locally sourced meal on their sunny garden patio.

 

Further north, Sechelt is home to great beaches for relaxation. There are a number of beach access points along the oceanside roads around town, and Porpoise Bay Provincial Park boasts views up the Sechelt Inlet. The Coast Gravity Park—a nearby shuttle-serviced bike park—is the perfect adrenaline fix for gravity junkies. If you don’t have your own bike, rentals are available from Off The Edge Adventure Sports in Sechelt. The Sunshine Coast has some of BC’s best year-round mountain biking, with more than 300 trails to explore.

For an elevated adventure, try craft brews and sky-high views when you explore the FLIGHTS to FLIGHTS Ale and Air Tour, a partnership between Sunshine Coast Air and Sunshine Coast Art Tours. While you’re in town, you’ll definitely want to sample Sechelt’s burgeoning culinary scene with a visit to Batch 44 Brewery and Kitchen, ElSegundo Restaurant, or The Bricker Cider Company.

Pender Harbour | Albert Normandin

Halfmoon Bay, Pender Harbour, and Egmont

Continue up the coast and make a detour from Highway 101 onto Redroofs Road for a scenic drive. Stop at the historic Halfmoon Bay General Store and Halfmoon Bay Café  to fuel up on coffee and baked goods before a short walk in Smuggler’s Cove Marine Provincial Park. For an adventure, head to Secret Cove and take the water taxi to Thormanby Island, where you can spend the day exploring beaches and trails.

As you head towards Pender Harbour and Egmont, tackle the 10 Lake Challenge and swim in all the region’s lakes in one day. In Egmont, hike the four kilometres to the Skookumchuck Narrows and watch whirlpool activity during the daily ebb and flood tides. If you’re lucky, you’ll see kayakers riding the surf. Be sure to check out the Skookumchuck Bakery— tucked in the woods near the entrance to the park—for a pre- or post-walk snack. From Egmont, jump on a boat and cruise up the Princess Louisa Inlet with Sunshine Coast Tours. This five-hour tour takes you through a steep fjord, surrounded by cascading waterfalls. The highlight is mesmerizing Chatterbox Falls. Finish the day with a sunset dinner from the spectacular patio at West Coast Wilderness Lodge.

View from Tin Hat Hut along the Sunshine Coast Trail | Andrew Strain

Powell River and Lund

Make your way north and take the BC Ferries route from Earl’s Cove to Saltry Bay, making your way on to Powell River. While there, spend some time exploring the unique historic Townsite. Check out The Patricia Theatre—Canada’s longest continuously running movie theatre—sip on local beer at Townsite Brewing, get caffeinated at 32 Lakes Coffee, and book at stay at The Old Courthouse Inn. In the town’s downtown waterfront area, Costa Del Sol Latin Cuisine and Coastal Cookery area great places to grab a bite.

Take a ferry to Texada Island and take a walk down Shingle Beach or Shelter Point (also great for beach camping). Or, cruise to the sandy beaches and warm waters of Savary Island by way of the Lund Water Taxi. You can also book a boat or kayaking tour into Desolation Sound with Terracentric Adventures or Powell River Sea Kayak, who offer glamping in the wilderness at Cabana Desolation Eco Resort.

Prefer to stay on land? Explore Canada’s longest free hut-to-hut hiking network along the Sunshine Coast Trail (July 2020: the huts are temporarily closed). Opt for a day trip with Footprint Nature Explorations and get inspired to plan your next trip, when you come back and tackle the full 180-kilometre route.

BC Ferries vessel Island Sky approaches the terminal at Earl’s Cove | Andrew Strain

Getting There

There are plenty of ways to get to the Sunshine Coast. Beat the summer traffic (and take in stunning views while you’re at it) by flying with Harbour Air—they offer numerous flights from Richmond (YVR), Victoria, Nanaimo, Comox, and downtown Vancouver.  Sunshine Coast Air and Pacific Coastal Airlines also offer service to the Sunshine Coast. Take the BC Ferries route from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale to get to Gibsons (reservations are highly recommended if you’re driving). In addition to the Earl’s Cove to Saltry Bay route, you can also get to Powell River from Vancouver Island via the Comox to Lund route—this is part of the Coastal Circle Route from Vancouver Island.

Featured Image: Strolling the beach in Sechelt | Chris Thorn Photography

This story was originally published in 2018 and has been updated.

WRITTEN BY: Leah Adams-Chute

From: Vancouver
Leah Adams-Chute likes to pedal bikes, wander trails, and chase snow. She spends her weekends exploring BC and all her other free time searching for cheap flights to places she's never been to.

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MENTIONED IN THIS STORY

Cabins & Cottages, Resorts & Wilderness Lodges

Cabana Desolation Eco Resort

Cabana Desolation Eco Resort is a comfortably designed, exclusive eco resort located on an uninhabited island in the heart of Desolation Sound,...

Phone: (604) 483-2160

View Listing

Biking, Hiking, Paddling, Spas & Wellness, Resorts & Wilderness Lodges

West Coast Wilderness Lodge

New for 2019, your nightly accommodations rate includes both dinner and breakfast, West Coast Wilderness Lodge resort brings first-class...

Phone: (778) 280-8610

View Listing

Bed & Breakfasts, Hotels

The Old Courthouse Inn

Hotel guests can enjoy the unique charm and character of each of the 7 rooms. An eclectic mix of antiques and collectibles adorn the rooms and...

Phone: (604) 483-4000

View Listing

Hiking, Paddling, Sightseeing

Footprint Nature Explorations

Professionally guided, all inclusive, day- and multi-day kayak adventures in Desolation Sound, the Copeland Islands and Okeover Inlet. Sea...

Phone: (604) 414-6884

View Listing

Boating, Sightseeing

Sunshine Coast Tours

Scheduled tours take you to our most poplular destinations. The operator's commentary illustrates high points along the way. We'll touch on a...

Phone: (604) 883-2280

View Listing

Airlines

Sunshine Coast Air

The Plane is waiting to take you on a spectacular Flightseeing Tour adventure. Soar over stunning coastline, islands and the Sechelt Inlet...

Phone: (604) 740-8889

View Listing

Sightseeing, Airlines

Harbour Air Seaplanes

Connect between Comox Marina and downtown Vancouver by seaplane in less than an hour with direct daily flights from March through November....

Phone: (800) 665-0212

View Listing

Airlines

Pacific Coastal Airlines

Phone: (604) 214-2366

View Listing

Cabins & Cottages, Resorts & Wilderness Lodges

Cabana Desolation Eco Resort

Cabana Desolation Eco Resort is a comfortably designed, exclusive eco resort located on an uninhabited island in the heart of Desolation Sound,...

Phone: (604) 483-2160

View Listing

Biking, Hiking, Paddling, Spas & Wellness, Resorts & Wilderness Lodges

West Coast Wilderness Lodge

New for 2019, your nightly accommodations rate includes both dinner and breakfast, West Coast Wilderness Lodge resort brings first-class...

Phone: (778) 280-8610

View Listing

Bed & Breakfasts, Hotels

The Old Courthouse Inn

Hotel guests can enjoy the unique charm and character of each of the 7 rooms. An eclectic mix of antiques and collectibles adorn the rooms and...

Phone: (604) 483-4000

View Listing

Hiking, Paddling, Sightseeing

Footprint Nature Explorations

Professionally guided, all inclusive, day- and multi-day kayak adventures in Desolation Sound, the Copeland Islands and Okeover Inlet. Sea...

Phone: (604) 414-6884

View Listing

Boating, Sightseeing

Sunshine Coast Tours

Scheduled tours take you to our most poplular destinations. The operator's commentary illustrates high points along the way. We'll touch on a...

Phone: (604) 883-2280

View Listing

Airlines

Sunshine Coast Air

The Plane is waiting to take you on a spectacular Flightseeing Tour adventure. Soar over stunning coastline, islands and the Sechelt Inlet...

Phone: (604) 740-8889

View Listing

Sightseeing, Airlines

Harbour Air Seaplanes

Connect between Comox Marina and downtown Vancouver by seaplane in less than an hour with direct daily flights from March through November....

Phone: (800) 665-0212

View Listing

Airlines

Pacific Coastal Airlines

Phone: (604) 214-2366

View Listing

Start Planning

Know Before You Travel

What's open and how to travel in BC.

Travel Updates
BOOK YOUR TRIP

Find accommodations, experience providers, and special offers.

Book Now
BC Parks

Check provincial campgrounds and park closures.

Check for Updates
Adventure Smart

Always check trail conditions before you head out, and no matter what outdoor activity you are planning, be prepared.

Plan Your Route
Road Trip Travel

BCAA tips and everything you need before you set off on a BC road trip.

Learn More
Ways to Save

Partner offers and travel deals to save on your next BC getaway.

Learn more