Just a 40 minute ferry ride from West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal is the Sunshine Coast. You may feel like you’re on an island and hundreds of miles away from Vancouver but you’re not, you’re connected to the mainland but there is no road.
In this post, we share tips and information to help you plan a long weekend to the Sunshine Coast to get awaw from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver!
The most common way to get to the Sunshine Coast is by taking a ferry; BC Ferries has numerous departures per day between West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal and Sunshine Coast Langdale Ferry Terminal. The sailing takes about 40 minutes and it recommend to reserve in advance, as it is a very busy sailing that is often sold out.
If you are in Vancouver (downtown and YVR Airport), Nanaimo and Victoria, you can also take a float plane to the Sunshine Coast on Harbour Air, Fly Coastal Air Taxi, and Sunshine Coast Air. Check the airlines for their schedule are some routes are seasonal.
We took our car on the ferry but it is possible to visit the Sunshine Coast without a car; it is easy to get around by bike and even on foot depending on what you are planning to do. There is also BC Transit Service on the island if you want to take the bus but it might be difficult to get to certain spots.
Tip: It is 5kms from Langdale ferry terminal to Gibsons town and so you can walk but you can also take the bus to save time.
Where to Stay:
Like other places in British Columbia, there aren’t any chain hotels on the Sunshine Coast; there are just small hotels/inns, AirBnBs, bed and breakfasts, and other accommodations (cottages, farm stays, etc.). We decided to split up our stay in 2 spots; one near Gibsons and one near Sechelt to get a different experience. We will share the two places we stayed and one that we are very interested.
Tin Can Ranch, a renovated 70’s airstream located on a ranch just a few minutes away from Gibsons. In addition to getting to stay in an expertly designed airstream trailer, you also have lots of outdoor amenities, like access to your own sauna, outdoor tub, outdoor shower, fire pit, seating, barbecue and outdoor dining table. If you love horses, you will enjoy seeing Sonny and Friday, who live near the airstream and are quite friendly. You can find out more about Tin Can Ranch in our detailed review.
Secret Cove Treehouse is located a 20 minute drive north of Sechelt in Halfmoon Bay. We stayed in the Tree House Suite which had a full kitchen and a bedroom area with a large comfortable bed, a nice deck with a view of the water, and the bathroom had a large luxurious shower. As far as onsite amenities, you have access to canoes to explore the water and a hot tub shared with the other suite.
The Bed and Beachcomber is a 600 foot industrial loft located above Beachbcomber Coffee and is conveniently located in Gibsons. We really like the esthetic of the suite and being right in Gibsons. We have not stayed here but it is on our list of places to stay.
What to Do/ Where to Eat and Drink:
We enjoyed relaxing at Tin Can Ranch and Secret Cove Treehouse and exploring the area and took pit stops to enjoy food, drinks, and the scenery. Unfortunately, we visited during the forest fire smoke and so we did not get to see and do as much as we wanted.
- Persephone Brewing: Persephone Brewing has good beers and a really nice farm setting, making it a great place to have a beer on a warm sunny day. The only disappointing aspect was the service but maybe someone was just having a bad day.
- Molly’s Reach: Fans of Canada’s longest running TV show, “The Beach Comber’s” will want to visit Molly’s Reach as a sort of pilgrimage. Even if you aren’t a fan, we recommend visiting to experience a quaint small town diner. You can also find out more about The Beachcombers nearby due to some of the memorabilia installed nearby.
- Tap Works Brewing: Tap Works Brewing has good beers and nice views.
- Smoke on the Water: Smoke on the Water makes really good barbecue sandwiches.
- Gibsons Public Market: The Gibsons Public Market is a great spot to buy groceries and things to grill on the barbecue.
- Beachcomber Coffee: Beachcomber Coffee has really good cold brew and donuts.
- Sharkey’s Fish Locker: Sharkey’s makes some amazing fish and chips, and it doesn’t get soggy! We would give Sharkey’s the award of the best fish and chips based on all we have tried this summer.
- The 101 Brewhouse: The 101 Brewhouse has a great happy hour and often, Salt & Swine food truck is there making tacos.
- Brickers Cider: Brickers Cider is one of two cider places. The setting is nice and they also have a food truck onsite, making it a great place for lunch.
- Batch 44 Brewery: Batch 44 is a brewery in Sechelt. We had lunch here and quite enjoyed the beers and the donair.
- PKLS Burgers: PKLS Burgers is a burger restaurant in Sechelt. We got takeout from here and enjoyed it on the beach. We recommend getting the garlic fries, they’re delicious!
- Sechelt Farmer’s Market: The Sechelt Farmer’s Market is a must visit; they have produce and prepared foods as well as other goods to purchase. Other than the Portland Oregon Farmer’s Market, we have never seen such amazing organic produce anywhere in North America!
- Lone Wolf Provisions: If you are in the area, visit Lone Wolf for bread, granola and coffee!
- Aqui es Mexico: Aqui es Mexico is a small Mexican restaurant in Madeira Park that offers up a wide variety of food; some more common (burritos and chimichangas) and some less common (torta ahogada and ixtapa ceviche). We enjoyed our steak tacos and Ixtapa ceviche. It is a little pricey but to be expected since it’s a small place located in a small town.
- Oak Tree Market: The Oak Tree Market is a small supermarket in Madeira Park. They have a great selection of produce and meats, including their own house smoked meats. Thank you for the recommendation Christina; their pepperoni sticks are amazing!
- Hikes: There are lots of hiking options but unfortunately, we visited when there was so much forest fire smoke, we didn’t get to do any other than Smuggler Cove.
As you can see, the Sunshine Coast communities offer lots of things to do in a small town setting, making it a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver. We look forward to going back this summer to canoe, hike, and visit the other places we enjoyed on our last trip!