Download GPX file for this article
49.6833-124.1833Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Sunshine Coast, named for its 2,400 hours of annual sunshine, is north-west of Vancouver. Although located on the mainland, vehicles cannot access this region without taking ferries. Further, a ferry is needed to travel between the lower and upper coast sections of the Sunshine Coast. It is a 180-km (110-mi) stretch of rainforest, seashore and mountains. This is the secret destination of many individuals, where the island life is found on the mainland. Here is a slower pace of life, where those who appreciate the beauty of outstanding marine parks and marshland bird sanctuaries, old growth forest and alpine peaks will find the perfect destination.


Map of Sunshine Coast (British Columbia)

Lower Coast[edit]

  • 1 Gibsons — setting of the 1970s TV show The Beachcombers
  • 2 Pender Harbour and Egmont — a mostly rural area with a number of small communities on the coast. It includes Skookumchuck Narrows, a tidal rapid that is popular with kayakers
  • 3 Sechelt — a popular destination for outdoor activities that include kayaking, diving, snowshoeing and skiing, hiking and backpacking, camping and mountain biking

Upper Coast[edit]

  • 4 Lund — outdoor opportunities at the north end of the Sunshine Coast highway and gateway to Desolation Sound and Savary Island
  • 5 Powell River — the largest town in the region, and a centre for ecotourism

Other destinations[edit]

  • 1 Savary Island — An island with a tropical feel, typically accessed by boat from Lund.
  • 2 Texada Island Texada Island on Wikipedia — the largest island in the group, with a population of about 1,000 people


The southern portion of the sunshine coast is almost a bedroom community of Vancouver. There are a number of people who commute to Vancouver on a regular basis, in this area.

Get in[edit]

Ferry from Horseshoe Bay

Given the lack of road access to reach the Sunshine Coast, your choice are to go by plane or by boat.

By plane[edit]

If you are traveling to the Sunshine Coast, you are flying a short flight to Powell River or Sechelt. See listings for those cities for details. Expect the flight to be expensive.

By boat[edit]

BC Ferries, toll-free: +1-888-223-3779. Operates ferries connecting coastal communities. BC Ferries (Q795723) on Wikidata BC Ferries on Wikipedia BC Ferries is the main way to reach the Sunshine Coast, and the options to reach this area are either from the Vancouver area or from Vancouver Island.

BC Ferries for getting to the Sunshine Coast[edit]

  • 1 Sunshine Coast (Langdale) Langdale, British Columbia on Wikipedianear GibsonsVancouver (Horseshoe Bay) in West Vancouver: 40 minute vehicle ferry crossing and the main point of entry into the Sunshine Coast.
  • 2 Powell River (Westview)Comox (Little River): 1 hour 25 minutes vehicle ferry crossing connecting with Vancouver Island.
Gibsons waterfront

Get around[edit]

By car[edit]

The automobile is the easiest way of getting around the Sunshine Coast. Car rentals are available at a number of locations on the Sunshine Coast, but it is generally considerably cheaper in Vancouver. The Sunshine Coast only has one main road, Highway 101, which runs north and south along the coast.

By public transit[edit]

BC Transit operates regular bus service connecting the Sunshine Coast (Langdale) ferry terminal, Gibsons, and Sechelt. BC Transit does not offer service between Half Moon Bay (10-15 minutes drive north of Sechelt) and the Sunshine Coast (Earls Cove) ferry terminal.

BC Transit also operates regular bus service in Powell River, including BC Ferries' Powell River (Westview) ferry terminal. More limited bus service is available to the BC Ferries' Powell River (Saltery Bay) ferry terminal and to Lund.

By boat[edit]

  • BC Ferries, toll-free: +1-888-223-3779. Operates ferries connecting coastal communities. BC Ferries (Q795723) on Wikidata BC Ferries on Wikipedia Ferries traveling within the Sunshine Coast:
    • 3 Sunshine Coast (Earls Cove) Earls Cove, British Columbia on Wikipedia4 Powell River (Saltery Bay) Saltery Bay on Wikipedia: 50 minute vehicle ferry crossing Jervis Inlet, which divides the Lower (South) and the Upper (North) Sunshine Coast. Sunshine Coast (Earls Cove) is located near Egmont.
    • Sunshine Coast (Langdale)Gambier (New Brighton), Keats (Keats Island), and Keats (Eastbourne): 10 to 30 minutes foot passenger ferry crossing, depending on stops made, connecting with Gambier Island and Keats Island.
    • Powell River (Westview)Texada Island (Blubber Bay): 40 minutes vehicle ferry crossing
  • Lund Water Taxi (at Lund Marina, at the north end of the Sunshine Coast Highway), +1 604-483-9749. Provides transport to various islands near Lund. Also offers a bicycle and kayak transfer service. Advance reservation required for trips to Savary Island.

When traveling between the lower coast and upper coast of the Sunshine Coast, the fare is a return rate, meaning that a fare is only paid when heading from Saltery Bay to Earls Cove.

By bus[edit]

  • Sunshine Coast Connector, toll-free: +1-844-613-8222, . Operates a bus service four days per week between the Sunshine Coast (Langdale) ferry terminal and the Sunshine Coast (Earls Cove) ferry terminal, including stops in all the major communities lower Sunshine Coast, such as Gibsons and Sechelt. The Sunshine Coast Connector is coordinated with BC Transit's bus route 12 service, which connects between Powell River (Saltery Bay) ferry terminal and Powell River, to allow travelers to ride ferries and buses to travel between the upper Sunshine Coast, lower Sunshine Coast, and the Vancouver area. TransLink provides transit service in the Vancouver area including to Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) ferry terminal. As of 2022, $60 per person between Langdale and Earls Cove ferry terminals.


Princess Louisa Inlet is one of BC's most beautiful natural locations. The wide opening of Jervis Inlet narrows to become a 64-km (40-mile) long fjord ending in Princess Louisa Inlet. Accessible only by boat. On the journey up, your boat will navigate past dozens of waterfalls that trickle down from steep, craggy granite bluffs that loom over you on both sides. Once past the geological constriction called Malibu Rapids, Princess Louisa Inlet opens up -- revealing the glacier-fed Chatterbox Falls, the highlight of this sheltered inlet. This region is protected and preserved within the 65-hectare 1 Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park on Wikipedia. Beside Chatterbox Falls, there is a dock with water, but no electricity, for boaters. There is also moorage available for at least twenty boats. Boardwalks will take you along trails to the falls, where the air is so moist that the trees are covered with thick moss and ferns. Tours leave for Princess Louisa from Egmont on a scheduled basis all summer long.

The Sunshine Coast is home to more artists per capita than any other Canadian region. Purple flags along the Sunshine Coast Highway and local streets indicate artists's studios where the public is welcome, and which feature many disciplines including painting, pottery and glassblowing. Held each autumn, the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl features over 200 artists' galleries and studios. Free illustrated programs are available, and there is no charge to visit the participating venues.

The Coast's wildlife includes cougars, black bears, wolves, marbled murrelet, orcas, great blue herons, seals, sea lions and bald eagles. There are also abundant tide pools with a variety of molluscs, sea anemones and fish. At certain times of the year, seal pups may be encountered on the Coast's beaches. They should not be approached, as the mother may abandon them. All wildlife on the Coast should be viewed from a safe and respectful distance.


Skookumchuk Narrows Provincial Park is adjacent in the village of Egmont and is the site of some of the strongest and most spectacular currents in western North America. These narrows occur where the water enters into the Sechelt Inlet. There can be as much as a 2-m difference in sea level between Sechelt Inlet and the Jervis inlet. The water can be moving at speeds of up to 16 knots and creates standing waves up to 1.5 m and whirlpools. Access to the best place to view the narrows is about a 1½-hour hike from the parking lot.

On the lower Sunshine Coast (Langdale to Earl's Cove and Egmont), there are hundreds of trails for hiking and biking. Many of the trails have been built by members of the very active mountain bike community and most are multi-use - meaning you may encounter hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and sometimes ATVs. However, the majority of users are hikers and bikers.

The 180-kilometre (110 mi) Sunshine Coast Trail is Canada's longest hut-to-hut hiking trail, and travels from mountains to shorelines and lakes. Beginning at Sarah Point in Desolation Sound and ending at Saltery Bay, it is free to everyone, and hikers can enter and leave it at multiple points.

The Powell Forest Canoe Route is a 57-km, 8-lake, 5-portage journey that takes about 5 days. Portages range from 0.7-2.8 km, and paddling from 1–28.5 km. The best time to travel it is June to October.

There are several mountain bike parks: Coast Gravity Park, 10 km from Sechelt, has trails for all riding levels, and a shuttle system to the trails. Sprockids Mountain Bike Park, in Langdale, has 14 km of downhill, ramps, jumps and teeter-bars, and is perfect for younger riders. Powell River Bike and Skate Park has a beginner pump track, slope-style dirt jump trails, downhill flow trails, and a beginner flow line. It is open to the public year round and admission is free.

The Sunshine Coast-Vancouver Island Circle Tour, a road trip involving ferries. The trip involves travel between Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast, and eastern Vancouver Island between Comox and Victoria in circuit that does not involve backtracking.


There many options for restaurants in Gibsons, Sechelt, Powell River, and a few in between.


The Sunshine Coast has several breweries, including:

  • Gibsons: Persephone Brewing Company, Gibsons Tapworks, 101 Brewhouse + Distillery
  • Sechelt: Bricker Cider Company

Stay safe[edit]

The Sunshine Coast is an extremely safe place. Although growing rapidly, it still maintains a "small town" feel, noted especially in the Roberts Creek and Pender Harbour areas. Crime is minimal, and there are no particular areas to avoid.

Go next[edit]

Rent a kayak or use your own to explore Desolation Sound.

This region travel guide to Sunshine Coast is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.