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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 the city of Vancouver, the ferry ride alone is worth the trip.
All of the Sunshine Coast’s natural wonders are found off the Sunshine Coast Highway 101.
How to get to the Sunshine Coast
Take a bus from Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. For times see the TransLink planner.
The ferry journey is beautiful, be sure to 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.
Now that you are on the Sunshine Coast you will want to explore what it has to offer. Foot passengers can take a bus to many of the small towns on the coast for $2.25 per person although a road trip would be ideal.
Gibsons BC is a big town in comparison to others.
It has a gorgeous waterfront and many dining and drinking opportunities.
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.
- More information: Gibsons: Not just a Film Set
Home for the summer for us Two Scots. Roberts Creek, like many towns on the coast, has an accessible stony beach.
The town also has an impressive mandala art piece which is painted by the community every July.
Cliff Gilker Park in the Creek has four different treks catering for every ability.
Roberts Creek has one large restaurant (Gumboot), one cafe (Gumboot), a fish and chip shop (Sharkey’s), a Soul Kitchen in Creek (Korean food) and a general store.
It takes 30 minutes to cycle to Gibsons or fifteen minutes to drive by bus and car.
- More information: Roberts Creek – the quirky town’s travel guide
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 is making you hungry be sure to grab some food from the waterfront shops. Watch out for whales making a splash.
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, The Golden Arches and other well-known haunts but don’t waste your money on the American Embassies, go local!
There are lots of lovely houses on the beachfront and a pier.
Watersports such as kayaking and paddleboarding are accessible at Sechelt Inlet.
Don’t miss Porpoise Bay to see the seaplanes take off.
- More information: Two Celts in Sechelt, on the Sea Shore
Another stony beach, with a tree swing, just north of Sechelt.
The area offers lots of hiking opportunities and there is a local shop to purchase picnic essentials. Close by Sargeant Bay which has a sandy beach.
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.
Secret Cove and Smugglers Cove
Secret Cove is home to Buccaneer Marina for those with boats and Smugglers Cove is a delight for those with feet! This spot always comes highly recommended by locals for the easy hike with stunning views.
Madeira Park/Pender Harbour
Pender Harbour has lots of little islands, bays and nature. Best discovered by boat.
- More information: Whale of a Time at Pender Harbour
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.
Excuse me? I know, a hard word to get your mouth around, the area is also known as Sechelt Rapids.
After an easy fifty minute walk through a shaded forest, you reach the rapids. Check out the tide times here before you set off to see the rapids at their best (two/three times per day.)
Enjoy our terribly amateur video
Fancy a trip to the Sunshine Coast B.C?
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Where would you like to visit on the Sunshine Coast?
» Read next: the Sunshine Coast, BC’s bucket list
28 thoughts on “Sunshine Coast, BC: Things to Do and See”
Magic, Loved the video footage, handstands were nearly as good as mine Craig!!!
Must take after his Dad!
No way did Craig put that ball in the top left, twice! It’s gotta be photo-shopped!
He may have put a ‘rewind’ edit on it. It’s his favourite part of the video!
I haven’t been to the Sunshine Coast, but I have been to Vancouver and to Vancouver Island (which is also incredibly beautiful and amazing). The world-famous Butchart Gardens are also on Vancouver Island. It is a gorgous area. I miss the days when I lived in Seattle and could easily drive up to visit! You’ve shown us some more worthy sights to see as well!
I am the world’s worst preacher when I adore somewhere! We will be heading down to Seattle in January for a few nights. Any tips appreciated!
Wow, when I think Sunshine Coast, Canada has never sprung to mind!
Some beautiful places.
That ferry system, do you know if it’s integrated with the Alaskan water highway as well?
I didn’t but I have met quite a few tourists who are spending a night in Van to then get back on the cruise to Alaska the next day. I’m back to Horseshoe Bay tomorrow to get the ferry to Bowen Island tomorrow – a first! Photos on Facebook as usual.
Another awesome Canada post guys. We’ve been desperate to do a Canadian road trip for ages and these posts aren’t helping it in the slightest 😉
Loved the video. This place looks so fun with so much to see and do.
Where’s been your favourite place in Canada so far?
I think Vancouver is the best city in the world! The Rockies trip was ridiculously fun and the views are just incredible – Emerald Lake or Two Jacks Lake were my favourite spots. On the Coast it has to be Katherine Lake – rocks to jump off (seen in video) and it has grass so I don’t have to lie in damn sand (pet hate!)
Hey this is some serious guide you guys put together. I didn’t know much about the sunshine coast but now I feel like i know everything i need. I will bookmark this for when I head to that part of Canada
I did a hike on another island today (Bowen) and nothing compares to the Sunshine Coast – we’ve been spoiled!
Well done on the video. I like the music. I would love to visit this part of the world. It looks fantastic.
Thanks Elizabeth, i’ll pass that on to Craig. He is now making his own music, reincarnated an old skill!
Wow! I certainly want to go there! Absolutely amazingly gorgeous!
We were spoiled this summer!
We’ve been super spoiled this summer too! Scotland, USA (not by choice 🙁 ) & Croatia. We also to 8 other countries & we are going to London next month! 🙂
We’ll be following you to the States and Croatia then the inevitable trip home to Scotland next August!
There are so many great places to go! Smugglers Cove and Gibsons look particularly appealing.
I adored Smugglers Cove! I did a hike to Bowen Island which has a small marina but does not compare to Gibsons!
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!
I can imagine! Finland looks beautiful too, like Scotland 😉
Gemma, I spent a lot of time looking/experimenting in that map of yours! Thanks for sharing such useful plugins and of course, your photos really reflect “Sunshine Coast.”
The map is lovely eh?
Great video and post! I am glad you enjoyed your time on the Sunshine Coast of BC. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Paul! The Sunshine Coast has made fans and friends for life out of us Two Scots.
Lived here in British Columbia for 30 years and may have missed it but found all the gems you have listed- thank you!
Cheers Alex! We hope to live here again in the future.