The Sunshine Coast, named for its 2,400 hours of annual sunshine, is north-west of Vancouver, a 40 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in the North Shore. It is a 180 km (110mi) 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.
Access from Vancouver to Sunshine Coast is primarily by BC Ferries. The ferry out of Horseshoe Bay leaves every 2 hours and it is a 40 minute ferry ride to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast (Sechelt Peninsula). First ferry leaves Horseshoe Bay at 7:20AM and the last ferry leaves Langdale at 8:20PM. Cost is $12.85/$6.45(adult/child) in peak season; cars are $43.20. The fare to Langdale is return, so you do not have to pay to leave.
Malaspina Coach Lines operates a twice daily bus service from Vancouver to Powell River that includes stops in all the major communities of the Sunshine Coast.
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.
There is local bus service, which runs from the Langdale ferry terminal up to Sechelt and slightly beyond, Halfmoon Bay. There is sometimes seasonal service as far north as Pender Harbour in the summertime. Buses meet most ferries.
The Sunshine Coast only has one main highway, BC-101 which runs along the coast. There is bike path adjoining some sections of the highway, notably near Roberts Creek, north of Gibsons. An ongoing project is creating more bike path. The road from Langdale terminal to lower Gibsons (the original harbour area) is a nice walk, with great ocean views. Turn left as you leave the ferry terminal.
Skookumchuk Narrows Provincial Park is the site of some of the strongest and most spectacular currents in western North America. These narrows occurs where the water enters into the Sechelt Inlet. There can be as much as a 2m 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 1.5m and whirlpools. Access to the best place to view the narrows is about a 1.5 hour hike from the parking lot. This is in the fishing village of Egmont.
Princess Louisa Inlet. One of B.C.'s most beautiful natural locations. The wide opening of Jervis Inlet narrows to become a forty-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 Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park. Beside Chatterbox Falls, there is a dock with water, but no electricity, for boaters. There is also moorage available for at least twenty boats. Board walks 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.edit
View of Garden Bay from AC Canyon trail (aka AC/DC trail)
Trails, . While visiting the lower Sunshine Coast (Langdale to Earl's Cove and Egmont) be sure to check out the 100's 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 atv's. However, the majority of users are hikers and bikers. edit
There is also great hiking on Gambier Island, in Howe Sound. Gambier is accessible from the Langdale ferry terminal, via the small foot-ferry, the Stormaway. Catch it at the small dock you see to your right as you walk off the Horseshoe Bay-Langdale ferry. This ferry/water taxi is run by Kona Winds Charters under contract from BC Ferries.
Take the Stormaway to New Brighton on Gambier Island. Walk up the dock, and take the second road to your left, just past the mailboxes. Walk about 1 km (past the settled part of the community) to access the start of a trail network throughout the north end of the island, which is mostly Crown land. Please respect signage and locals' privacy.
The Backeddy Marine Pub is known for its gigantic "Skookum Burger". - 604.883.3614 - Backeddy Road, take the Egmont exit off Hwy. 101 just south of the ferry terminal for the boat to Powell River
West Coast Wilderness Lodge, (The village of Egmont), ☎ 604-883-3667, . The fine dining at the Lodge is all about the view. It has floor-to-ceiling windows that span the entire dining room, and was built high up on a bluff overlooking Sutton Islands and the Sechelt Inlet. 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.