Sunshine Coast, BC: Things to Do and See

Smugglers Cove | Sunshine Coast BC

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Lakes, skiing, hikes, and bike rides! It really is a wonder how the Sunshine Coast, BC, is unknown to many Canadians! We (Gemma and Craig) had the privilege of living here – exploring the waters, watching the sunsets, eating the local food, and mingling with the friendly locals.

Here’s our guide on things to do, see, and eat on Canada’s Sunshine Coast, not to be confused with Australia. 

Where is the Sunshine Coast, BC?

The Sunshine Coast, BC (British Columbia) is situated on the West Coast of Canada.

It is a mere forty-minute ferry ride from Vancouver; the ride alone is worth the trip.

The Sunshine Coast’s natural wonders are on Sunshine Coast Highway 101.

Gibsons Marina at dusk in winter on the Sunshine Coast Canada

How to Get to the Sunshine Coast

Take a bus from Vancouver to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. 

For times, see the TransLink planner.

The ferry journey is beautiful; sit on the top deck if you get the weather.

The ride takes forty minutes and accepts foot passengers and cars.

See BC Ferries schedule for times.

Foot passengers can take a bus to many of the small towns on the coast, although a road trip by car is the ideal option for first-time visitors; we did this with my parents, and it was a dream.

Now, let’s explore things to do on the Sunshine Coast.

Horseshoe Bay Terminal entrance in British Columbia

Sunshine Coast Locations


Gibsons is a big town in comparison to others along the coast.

It has a gorgeous waterfront and many dining and drinking opportunities such as Smitty Oyster House.

The town is famous for hosting the set of the ’70s TV programme Beachcombers.

There is also a nice hike up Soames Hill, which offers beautiful views.

Next to Soames is a brewery called Persephone, so you congratulate yourself on tackling those stairs!

This Sunshine Coast BC town is home to many music and art events throughout the year.

Couple sitting with back to camera at Soames Hill with views over Gibsons BC Sunshine Coast

Roberts Creek

Home for the summer for us Two Scots, Roberts Creek, like many towns on the coast, has an accessible stony beach.

This is a community-based location with events like the impressive mandala art piece painted every July.

Roberts Creek has one large restaurant (Gumboot), one cafe (Gumboot), a fish and chip shop (Sharkey’s), Curry in the Creek (Indian food) and a general store.

Stretch the body and relax the mind at a Yoga By the Sea class, a lovely wellness centre that allowed me volunteer in exchange for class access.

Cliff Gilker Park in the Creek has four treks catering to every ability.

It takes 30 minutes to cycle to Gibsons and fifteen minutes to drive by bus and car.

We lived and worked at Up The Creek, which offers dorm beds and private rooms.

Roberts Creek | Sunshine Coast BC

Davis Bay

Blink and you’ll miss Davis Bay BC.

This small town has a vast sea to get lost in.

The pier is well-used by fishermen and local kids.

If the sea air makes you hungry, grab some food from the waterfront shops. 

Watch out for whales making a splash.

Davis Bay | Sunshine Coast BC


The big town of the Sunshine Coast!

Sechelt BC has a variety of bars, cafes, restaurants and spas.

It even has a cinema called the Raven’s Cry Theatre.

If you’re craving junk food there is a Mcdonald’s and other well-known haunts but don’t waste your money on the American Embassies, go local at the likes of Shift Kitchen and Lighthouse Marine Pub.

Look out for Clamatos on the menu: tomato juice concentrate, sugar, spices, dried clam broth (!) and vodka.

Not for me. You? 

Watersports such as kayaking and paddleboarding are accessible at Sechelt Inlet; you can rent boards from the friendly staff at Pedals & Paddles.

Hit the trails at Coast Gravity Park.

Don’t miss Porpoise Bay to see the seaplanes take off.

Sechelt Inlet | Sunshine Coast BC

Halfmoon Bay

Another stony beach, with a tree swing, just north of Sechelt.

The area offers lots of hiking opportunities, and there is a local shop where you can purchase picnic essentials.

Close by Sargeant Bay, which has a sandy beach.

Halfmoon Bay | Sunshine Coast BC

Garden Bay

This is where you will find my favourite lake, the sandy Katherine Lake.

Family-friendly with some rocks to jump off!

Plenty of food opportunity around Garden Bay such as Dan’s Grill & Greens.

Katherine Lake | Sunshine Coast BC

Secret Cove and Smugglers Cove

Secret Cove is home to Buccaneer Marina for boats, and Smugglers Cove is a delight for those with feet!

Locals always highly recommend this spot for the easy hike with stunning views.

You might see some beaver dens as you walk!

Smugglers Cove | Sunshine Coast BC

Madeira Park/Pender Harbour

Pender Harbour has lots of little islands, bays and nature.

Best discovered by boat by organising a tour with Slocat Harbour Tours, where your captain points out local wildlife and the stories behind the fancy houses!

Slocat Harbour Tours Pender Harbour

Ruby Lake

The name, Ruby Lake, comes from the lake’s ability to turn pink with the reflection of the sunset. Beautiful!

Smaller than Katherine Lake and also family-friendly.

A still Ruby Lake on the Sunshine Coast BC

Skookumchuck Narrows/Sechelt Rapids

Skookumchuck is Chinook Jargon for strong rapids; you’ll soon see why!

You reach the rapids after an easy fifty-minute walk through a shaded forest.

Check out the tide times here before you set off to see Sechelt Rapids at their best two/three times per day.

Note: Although they share the same name, Sechelt and Sechelt Rapids are an hour’s drive apart.

Skookumchuck Narrows | Sunshine Coast BC

Powell River

The cute Patricia Theatre has been standing for decades in its various forms.

Cheap night is Monday night.

The Hulks are bulky ship carcases used to manipulate the water flow; now they sit in the water as a historical landmark.  

Every weekend, local produce is sold at Powell River Farmers Market. 

Hike or bike the Inland Lake Provincial Park trails which connects around the entire lake and camp in nature.

If you love hiking, consider the 180km Sunshine Coast Trail from Sarah Point on the Desolation Sound to the BC Ferries terminal at Saltery Bay on Jervis Inlet.

Soames Hill viewpoint in Gibsons with views of river and island in Canada

Sunshine Coast Video

Enjoy our terribly amateur video documenting our time on the Sunshine Coast, BC.

Many thanks to all Sunshine Coast businesses who worked with us: Slocat Harbour Tours, Shift Kitchen, Pedals & Paddles, and The Gumboot. Our own opinion, as always.

Where would you like to visit on the Sunshine Coast?

30 thoughts on “Sunshine Coast, BC: Things to Do and See

  1. Alex says:

    Lived here in British Columbia for 30 years and may have missed it but found all the gems you have listed- thank you!

  2. Evan Kristine says:

    Sunshine coast looks so much fun! Especially in summer time where you can enjoy most of the nature without freezing your ass off. I can see laods of similarities with the nature between Canada and Finland. Very beautiful and inviting!

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