Ski Northern BC this Winter
For a dusting of powder and charm.
The Sunshine Coast 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. Here are a few ideas for a three-day getaway, so you can choose how you’d like to explore.
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—and enjoy wood-fired creations from the Farm to Feast food truck. Gibsons also boasts two more breweries: Gibsons Tapworks and The 101 Brewhouse and Distillery. 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.
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 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. Talasay Tours offers kayaking trips and rentals directly from the park. 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.
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 Cafe 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 4-km (2.4-mi) trail 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 Louise 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.
While in Powell River, 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 to explore the green waters of Quarry Lake, 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. 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-km (112-mi) route.
Accessible by BC Ferries service at its north and south ends, the Sunshine Coast is part of the BC mainland, but has all the laid-back charm of island living. From Vancouver, you can access the south coast via Horseshoe Bay. From Vancouver Island, the ferry leaves from Comox to Powell River. Alternatively, you can floatplane with Harbour Air Seaplanes directly into Sechelt from Vancouver and Nanaimo and with Sunshine Coast Air from Vancouver, Nanaimo, and Victoria. Pacific Coastal Airlines also flies into Powell River from the Vancouver International Airport’s South Terminal.
For more information or to plan your trip, check out sunshinecoastcanada.com.
Opening image Albert Normandin
Updated from original publication April 27, 2017
Skiing & Snowboarding
10 days / 1300 km (808 mi)
Visit eight ski resorts on this road trip through the Kootenay Rockies.
10 days / 3000 km (1864 mi)
A new rider's journey on iconic BC highways.