B.C.’s Southern Sunshine Coast

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By Nancy Mueller

British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast stretches 112 miles on Highway 101 from Howe Sound to Desolation Sound, connecting quiet coastal communities, sandy beaches, scenic vistas and cathedral-like cedar groves. Despite its mainland location and ease of access—it’s a 40-minute ferry ride across Howe Sound just north of Vancouver—the Sunshine Coast remains relatively uncrowded. No worries about clogged roads here as you begin your scenic drive; as locals say, “Traffic means the ferry just came in.”

From Vancouver, float in by plane or hop a ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale, your Southern Sunshine Coast gateway for exploring the area’s laid-back lifestyle and easy-going charm.

Stop by the sleepy seaside village of Gibsons Landing (Lower Gibsons) to stroll through art galleries, artisan food shops and beachwear clothing boutiques. Take in a panoramic view of Gibsons Wharf alongside iconic Molly’s Reach restaurant, once a filming site of Canada’s hit TV series, The Beachcombers. And don’t miss the new community hub, Gibsons Public Market, for artisan food products and a bite to eat at their café (gibsonspublicmarket.com).

At Gibsons, Bonniebrook Lodge Oceanfront Inn is in a central location allowing an easy exploration of the Southern Sunshine Coast. It offers a tranquil respite in spacious suites with luxury amenities (bonniebrook.com).

Beyond Gibsons, continue on the winding forested road to Roberts Creek. The “Gumboot Capitol of the World,” Roberts Creek offers recreation rain or shine; golfers can tee up on cedar-framed fairways with ocean views at Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club. A quick check of the supersized map board outside Pier 17 Market in Davis Bay points ahead to Sechelt, “the land between two waters” (Sechelt Inlet and the Strait of Georgia), offering discoveries in aboriginal art, history and culture.

Continue your tour of the Southern Sunshine Coast with a visit to Egmont at the north end of the peninsula. Enjoy a deckside cocktail or waterfront dining at Inlets Restaurant at the West Coast Wilderness Lodge while waiting for a colorful coastal sunset. For underwater color, book a guided bioluminescence kayaking tour, where each stroke of your oar sprays glowing lights from organisms teeming below the surface.

On your final day, take a Zodiac boat tour via Jervis Inlet through a glacier-carved granite canyon to Princess Louisa Inlet. It’s a short hike to Chatterbox Falls, the spectacle of which amply repays the scant effort. Afterwards, break for a shoreside picnic lunch, a farewell to the Sunshine Coast capped with snow-clad coastal peaks.

It’s a full weekend, and the only thing unrushed about it is the traffic. If time allows, ferry across to Northern Sunshine Coast, but that’s another story.

For more information on exploring B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, visit sunshinecoastcanada.com.