Vancouver To Sunshine Coast: A Definitive Travel Guide
Known as the Coast for short, Sunshine Coast is a dreamy summer paradise tucked in the southwest of British Columbia. With a short ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay, Sunshine Coast tops the bucket list of the best day trips from Vancouver.
The Coast is shaded with the sun-drenched beaches hugged by the thriving forests. Sheltered waters and scenic fjords veining through the provincial parks provide a perfect hideout for water sport enthusiasts. Thanks to the prosperous food scene and artsy vibe, Sunshine Coast will be your favorite year-round destination. Check out our handy guide below and buckle up for the best coastal vacation of your life!
Where Is Sunshine Coast?
Spanning 180 kilometers along the Salish Sea from Howe Sound to Desolation Sound, Sunshine Coast is one of the most popular day trips from Vancouver. This sunny nautical strip is located in the southwest of British Columbia, bordering the northwest of Vancouver.
Filled with sandy beaches and expansive ocean vistas, Sunshine Coast is a dreamy getaway for those wishing to forest bathe, laze around on the sunny seaside and immerse into the thriving outdoor adventures.
How to Travel from Vancouver to Sunshine Coast?
2 Best Ways to Get to the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver
The only ways to reach the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver are by ferry and air. To get on the ferry, drive to Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal in the north of Vancouver and embark on the BC Ferries route to Langdale and arrive at Gibsons. Bring your camera along and capture this scenic 40-minute ferry ride!
The other way to get to Sunshine Coast from Vancouver is flying. Air travel from Vancouver International Airport and Vancouver Harbor to Sunshine Coast is provided on a daily basis. Other than Harbour Air, Sunshine Coast Air is another option to fly you from Vancouver Harbor to Sunshine Coast in just 15 minutes.
How Much is the Ferry from Vancouver to Sunshine Coast?
Your ferry fare starts from $75.65 including for one adult and one passenger vehicle under 2.13 meters (7 feet) in height and 6.10 meters (20 feet) in length. Advanced reservation is highly recommended even though the fare is higher than the amount you pay directly at the terminal. Online reservation ensures your slot is reserved while direct payment at the terminal is based on deck space availability.
Can You Drive to the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver?
A direct car ride from Vancouver to Sunshine Coast is impossible, unless you drive to the Horseshoe Bay which is located just 20 minutes north of Vancouver and get the car with you on the ferry.
Things to Do in Sunshine Coast: Best Places to Stop along the Sunshine Coast
Located at the end of Sunshine Coast, Gibsons is a big town compared to other towns in the area. You can easily reach Gibsons by taking the ferry from Horseshoe Bay. This quaint town is home to the artist and fishing communities.
Perched on a hillside, Gibsons offers a mesmerizing nautical view over the harbor surrounded by the thriving islands. Gibsons is a big hit if you plan a hideout somewhere close to the waters with a wealth of dining and drinking opportunities.
Speaking of dining out, you cannot go without the Public Market. This community hub is nestled in the heart of Gibsons. Opening out to the marina, Gibsons Public Market is filled with local gourmet, art, and recreation activities. Spend at least one day in Gibsons, hike up Soames Hill before browsing through the locals’ favorite taprooms for some beers. Persephone and Tapwork Brewing Company are some of the top calls to quench your thirst after the hike.
2. Roberts Creek
Sandwiched between Gibsons and Sechelt, the rural town of Roberts Creek is a summer paradise. This beautiful canvas is colored with the stony beaches cuddling the lush forests, making it a perfect choice for outdoor enthusiasts.
If the regional art scene is what you’re after, then the Community Mandala will surely win you over. The community hosts some of the most talented artists all over the Sunshine Coast. Every year in July, they gather and repaint the mandala art piece in the parking lot by the beach.
The budding food scene has contributed greatly to the identity of Roberts Creek. Gumboot Café and its adjacent restaurant has been the locals’ best friend for over 20 years. If vegetarian cuisine is where your heart is, then you’ll surely be hooked by the ample meals and stunning goodies Gumboot has to offer!
Drive further afield up the southern Sunshine Coast from Roberts Creek and you will end up at Sechelt. This is one of the top-visited towns along the Sunshine Coastline. If you were in Vancouver, don’t be surprised by its small-town and all-inclusive vibe!
Walk along the coastline and you will fall in love with these beachfront houses surrounded by the rugged mountains. This laid-back and scenic setting snuggles a dynamic variety of bars, cafes, restaurants, and spas. Its central location amid the Sunshine Coast is favored by many travelers who base themselves around this area and travel further afield to the neighboring towns for a day trip.
Thanks to the scenic rural nautical ambiance, watersports have become such a huge deal in Sechelt. We’re talking about boating, paddleboarding, and kayaking to explore the surrounding fjords.
4. Halfmoon Bay
Bordering the north of Sechelt, Halfmoon Bay is the next stop you should not miss when driving the Sunshine Coast. Warm and inviting, Halfmoon Bay is a great call to slide in your bucket list of British Columbia’s lesser-known destinations.
Looking over to Vancouver Island, Halfmoon Bay is blessed with the most gorgeous coastline and beach access points to satisfy all the beachy moods. Its sheltered water is a big hit for passionate boaters on a summer day. Pick between Coopers Green and Welcome Beach for a motorboat ride, kayak, or paddle boat.
Cap off your itinerary with a visit to Egmont, located at the northern end of the Sechelt Peninsula. Featuring the quiet Egmont Village at its heart, Egmont will have you on the edge of your seat with its plethora of outdoor adventures.
Pop into the Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park and enjoy mind-blowing rides of surfers and kayakers bracing the standing waves and bottomless whirlpools during large high tides. Other than this eye-pleasing experience, history also comes into play that reveals an interesting side of Egmont. A stroll around the Egmont Heritage Center and upgrade your knowledge about the First Nations with a torch on the logging and fishing history of the area.
Egmont also comes in handy as an alternative to linger your boating hobby. Drop by Princess Louisa and Jervis Inlets to immerse into this scenic natural anchorage. There’s a wealth of local marinas to gear you up for the voyage. Make your way to the cascading waterfalls of Freil and Chatterbox and bring a lens along to capture these marvelous natural wonders!
5 Best Restaurants to Try in Sunshine Coast
1.Shift Kitchen and Bar, Sechelt
Shift’s extensive menu is curated to offer diverse and creative choices for moderate and advanced palates. The owners’ Mediterranean descent turns Shift Kitchen into a big hook for those craving various interpretations dripping in the liquid gold of olive oil.
Its cozy ambiance greatly invites a casual dining experience. Make sure to order their cabbage rolls with lemon sauce and blue cheeseburgers to wake up your taste buds!
When it comes to locals’ favorite watering hole in Sechelt, The Lighthouse Pub tops the list! This waterfront establishment lets you dine out with a view as the float planes arrive and depart on the inlet outback.
The Lighthouse Pub brings you an extensive menu of hearty pub grub and regional craft beers. Its wild salmon burger is the best seller while Codfish batter is another great pick if you’re craving a crunchy dish with nice flaky fish for a light brunch. Gluten-free and dairy-free food is available.
Nestled in a vibrant neighborhood of Gibsons, Smoke on the Water BBQ is a must-visit eating establishment. Browse through their fresh gourmet with locally sourced meats and vegetables. Every dish comes in a generous portion to fill your stomach after a long drive. Specializing in traditional Southern BBQ fare, its pulled pork and BBQ brisket is a game-changer that can outrival even the biggest guy from Texas!
Another top call brought to you by Gibsons, you definitely want to pop into 101 if you’re coming with friends for a weekend night out! Take your pick amongst its unique cocktails, small-batch spirits, pins, and fresh local fares. The 101 Brewhouse and Distillery offers a casual and inviting dining experience with good food, authentic beers, and live music. No matter what dish you choose, the balance of texture and depth of flavor surely wins you over!
We can’t stress this hard enough! Your trip to the Sunshine Coast is not complete without a meal with Gumboot! Located in the heart of the Creeks, Gumboot offers a fine-dining experience in a cozy, open-concept house. The atmosphere is so relaxing where you surround yourself with the thriving, sun-drenched greenery.
Each of their mouthwatering cuisines is worth a try but you should not forget the chicken burgers and Buddha bowls! We won’t forget to mention the “made-from-scratch” Hollandaise sauce for breakfast. If you’re into this gooey, flavorful blend, make sure to give it a go! The Gumboot is usually packed on weekends so reservation will come in handy!
Address: 1041 Roberts Creek Rd, Roberts Creek, BC V0N 2W2.
With a huge assortment of activities and attractions, Sunshine Coast is no short of decent accommodations to spend your nights. We love this summer paradise as much as you do and that’s why we compiled a list of the ten coolest Airbnbs in Sunshine Coast so you don’t have to look further yourself. Check them out!