The Sunshine Coast is made up of diverse areas and at only 139 km (87 miles) long, each area is easily accessible creating endless possibilities just waiting to be discovered. Coast lifestyle embraces the love of the great outdoors so whether you love the water, land or both, there is never a shortage of things to do…There is truly something for everyone!
Sailing & Boating the Sunshine Coast is absolutely breathtaking … it is one of the most enjoyable aspects of coast lifestyle. There is endless shoreline, bays, coves and inlets to explore. The most popular areas are the Sechelt Inlet with the Skookumchuck Rapids, a natural wonder with currents reaching up to 16 knots; the Princess Louisa Inlet with steep granite walls and majestic snow capped peaks creating 60 waterfalls during summer melt; and BC’s oldest and largest marine park, Desolation Sound, has 60 km (37 miles) of shoreline, several offshore islands, numerous protected bays and is simply picturesque!
Sea Kayaking the Sunshine Coast is exceptional with plenty of protected and exposed areas. From day trips and overnight stays in Porpoise Bay Provincial Park and Sechelt Inlet, to the peace and tranquility of marine parks, to exploring the nooks and crannies of countless beaches and coves, to island hopping up and down the coast, to the open waters of Desolation Sound, you will not find a better paddling experience.
White Water Kayakers from around the world come to play in the challenging Skookumchuck Rapids with powerful currents, standing waves and whirlpools – experience a must!
Canoeists will enjoy the protected waters of the Sechelt Inlet. For a challenging adventure, canoe the chain of lakes forming the Powell Forest Canoe Route. This renowned circuit has become recognized as one of the more significant paddle routes, right up there with Bowron Lakes in the Cariboos. It winds through 8 lakes, rivers and creeks with well maintained portage trails covering 79.7 km (49.5 miles) of waterways and 10.7 km (6.6 miles) of portaging taking 5-7 days to complete.
Scuba Diving allows you to access the Sunshine Coasts most spectacular views. Scuba Diving Magazine rates the Sunshine Coast as some of the world’s best cold water diving and it rates the Sechelt Inlet as one of the world’s top 20 recreational dives. The Upper Sunshine Coast is ‘Canada’s Dive Capital’…in fact, Jacques Cousteau claimed Powell River’s emerald green waters were “second only to the Red Sea”. With over 100 unique sites attracting divers from around the world, it deserves being known as the premiere dive site of North America’s West Coast. Year round access offers all levels of diving.
Fishing is a popular past time on the coast combining the best of salt and fresh water worlds. Mild climate and protected waters provide anglers year round fishing. The Sechelt Inlet has Coho, Pink, Chum and Chinook salmon.
Wind Surfing has become very popular at Douglas Bay, south of Powell River.
Golf enthusiasts love the Sunshine Coast for its year round greens. Play 18 holes surrounded by a coastal rainforest at Sunshine Coast Golf & Country Club – the oldest course on the coast is as beautiful as it is challenging. The Sechelt Golf & Country Club offers views of the Sechelt Inlet and mountains around its 18 holes – the longest on the coast at over 6,550 yards. The Pender Harbour Golf Course is nestled amongst the mountains with 9 holes magnificently groomed and located next to some of the areas prettiest lakes.
Hiking trails of all abilities cover the Sunshine Coast and offer exploration of shorelines, coastal rainforests, cedar forests and alpine peaks and valleys. The infamous Sunshine Coast Trail rivals The West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island and is a ‘hike of a lifetime’ stretching 180 km (112 miles) through some of the most beautiful scenery from Saltery Bay to the world famous Desolation Sound Marine Park. Numerous access points and choice of levels and duration offer something for everyone.
Mountain Biking trails cater to both the casual rider and the challenged full suspension rider. The Lower Sunshine Coast has 100 plus trails stretching from Langdale to Halfmoon Bay. The Upper Sunshine Coast is known for some of the best mountain biking in BC. Both areas have well marked trails for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders. For those looking, there are plenty of drops, teeter totters, jumps, skinnies and A-frames.
Road Cyclers can cycle from ferry to ferry and make it all the way to Lund – enjoying fabulous scenery the entire way! are plenty of bike friendly routes other than the busy highway...many of which have coffee shops, local artisans and unique landscapes.
Rock Climbing is quietly evolving into a climbing mecca in the Eldred River Valley, near Powell River. There is a range of challenging climbs (smallest 900 meters/2,952 feet) with a variety of difficulty.
Sea Walks along the beach, pier or marina, offer a casual way to explore any time of day and it never fails to reward you with spectacular ocean views, sunrises or sunsets! Watch marine life, collect shells, treasure hunt or simply chill on the beach.
Horseback Riding is popular and you can get up to elevations of 548 meters (1,800 feet).
Bird Watchers must visit Ruby Lake as its home to over 82 species of bird.
Camping is available year round. You can pitch your tent in the wilderness or hook your RV up to sites filled with amenities. Many sites are located on shorelines close to recreation access.
Artisans calling the Sunshine Coast home have made it one of Canada’s most densely populated artist areas. Plenty of studios and galleries feature blown glass, stained glass, pottery, metal works, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography, wood carvings, jewellery and textiles. The Coast is home to several festivals throughout the year so there is usually something going on every weekend involving writers, plays, concerts, film festivals, dance recitals, art exhibits or local musicians of all genera’s. Sechelt’s summer months offer night markets and some of the largest craft fairs in the province.
Culture is displayed in many Sunshine Coast Galleries. The House of Hewhiwus (House of Chiefs) Gallery showcases a collection of artifacts providing a rich history of the Shishalh First Nations. They sell indigenous art from carvings to paintings and they have periodic local native art exhibits, events and performances.
Dining possibilities are endless in eclectic restaurants, cafes and pubs that dot the coast…most of them sit on the water’s edge with a one of a kind experience watching seals, floatplanes, fisherman, yachts and whatever else floats by. You can find some of the best fish and chips, oysters, crab and prawns, or set your taste buds on other worldly flavors like Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, East Indian, Mediterranean…to name just a few.
Shopping is plentiful with lots of funky and eclectic shops scattered all over the Sunshine Coast featuring local artwork and numerous other treasures. Sechelt’s Trail Bay Centre has a fine grocery store, gift shops, clothing, electronics, photography and a whole lot more as it holds over 50 shops! And there is still more to be found at the Tsain-Ko Village Shopping Centre.
Coast Winters offer plenty to do as many bike trails and fishing spots remain open and golfing is year round. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing is available up Dakota Ridge and Knuckleheads Recreation Park. Skating and hockey is found at the local rink. If all else fails, cozy up with a good book and watch the stormy waves.