Located a short ferry ride from Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast is an easy destination to get to and explore. With quaint towns, scenic coastlines, and numerous parks to discover, this area makes for the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. The 40 minute ferry trip from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast, is just enough time to walk around the deck, enjoy some water views, and let the wind blow away any cares you may have.
When you dock in Langdale you are only minutes away from the town of Gibsons. This seaside town has cafes and restaurants to grab a bite to eat, a public market that is open Tuesday to Sunday, and a waterside park with views of the boats in the marina. It is also the home of Molly’s Reach, a restaurant that for almost twenty years served as the main backdrop and meeting place on the long-running show The Beachcombers.
We based ourselves about 30 minutes north of Gibsons in the village of Sechelt. Staying just outside of town we found a place overlooking the Sechelt Inlet, providing us with views of the tidal shoreline, as well as float planes landing and taking off. The name Sechelt comes from the word Shishalh, which is the name of the First Nations people that first settled here. The meaning of the word is “land between two waters”… and with Sechelt Inlet on one side of the city and the coastline of the Strait of Georgia on the other side, the name is perfect.
The Sunshine Coast is blessed with an abundance of parks, both in the lush forests that cover the mountains here, as well as along the coastline. There are beach access pathways, picnic areas, wooded and shoreline trails, and a variety of outdoor activities such as kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, golfing, boating, and snowshoeing. Although we only spent a couple of days here we had a few hikes we wanted to do. The first was called Smuggler Cove. This provincial park is close to Sechelt and provides both forest and coastal views. You can check out more about the hike here.
We also went to Francis Point Provincial Park and hiked along the cliffs admiring scenic viewpoints over the Strait of Georgia and across to Texada Island. This trail did have some steeper sections and because of the rocky areas, and the proximity to the cliff edges, you do need to watch your footing. Both Smuggler Cove and Francis Point are located fairly close to one another and can be done in one day.
Another hike that we did is the Skookumchuck Narrows Hike. This park is located on the northern end of the Sunshine Coast, near Egmont, which is about an hour north of Sechelt. You need to plan your hike here around the tides to best enjoy the views offered at the end of the trail. For more about this hike check out my blog here.
If you prefer to stick close to Sechelt then I would suggest you check out Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. This park has a large campsite area for tents and RVs, a fantastic long stretch of beach to relax on, and short pathways through the forest surrounding the park. It would definitely be a great place for families to spend some time.
Within walking distance of downtown Sechelt is the Sechelt Marsh. This marsh combines both freshwater that flows from a park close by, as well as saltwater that reaches the marsh during high tide from the Sechelt Inlet. The combination of these two types of water means a unique collection of plants can grow here, and a variety of birds and waterfowl can nest and feed here. This is a short walk and is easily accessible with a wide path and benches to rest on.
The Sunshine Coast is definitely worth a trip of a few days or even longer if you have the time. With beaches, forests, and parks to explore, there is certainly lots to fill your days. I can’t wait to return and discover more of this gorgeous location!