A few weeks ago, I set out to explore more of British Columbia. The Canadian province is spread across nearly 1 million kilometres squared. As you can imagine, there’s a lot to see. One of the most popular places to visit outside of Vancouver is the Sunshine Coast. Beautifully (and aptly) named, the Sunshine Coast spans 110 miles from Howe Sound up to Desolation Sound on its north coast. It’s a fairly extensive area so in this post, I’ll cover the South Sunshine Coast first. It’s just a short ferry journey from Vancouver, so we thought why not? I wanted to visit and tick another Vancouver box off.
The Journey to the South Sunshine Coast
The easiest way to reach the South Sunshine Coast is to catch the ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Langdale. We rose early to try and get on the first of the day but unfortunately got there too late. That teaches us for grabbing coffee beforehand! Nevermind – Horseshoe Bay itself is quite a treat, so we took our coffees and walked around to explore.
Almost two hours later, we made it on to the next ferry at last. I really love travelling by ferry here – the views are beautiful. The ride is also very comfortable. There’s so much space, cafes, and opportunity to walk around or simply relax and enjoy the scenery. The ferry itself took around forty minutes to reach Langdale on the South Sunshine Coast.
Gibsons, South Sunshine Coast
It’s certainly true that once you reach any BC ‘island’, time slows down. Technically, the Sunshine Coast is part of the BC mainland, but it certainly boasts a relaxed lifestyle. The South Sunshine Coast has a few key communities: Gibsons, Roberts Creek, and Sechelt. As we were roadtripping, we decided to drive through and stop wherever we wanted.
Gibsons is the first community you’ll reach from the ferry at Langdale. It has a population of just under 5,000 people, and is a small town of artists and fishermen. As it’s on a hill, it has beautiful views across the harbour and the islands of Howe Sound. We drove through the town and saw plenty of quaint and adorable shops and cafes, a truly idyllic retreat. We found some friends along the way.
Sechelt, South Sunshine Coast
Bypassing the Sunshine Coast Highway to take the more scenic route along the coast, we passed tons of scenery. There are so many coastal views and gorgeous properties to be enjoyed en route. Having worked up quite the appetite, we stopped off in the adorable town of Sechelt. If you’re in the area, check out the Basted Baker. We both had a delicious salmon Eggs Benedict which went down a treat.
Sechelt is a laidback seaside town that’s surrounded by beautiful mountains. It’s settled on a sandbar that separates the Sechelt Inlet from the Salish Sea, and is named by the First Nations people of the area. It’s an adorable place for exploring the nearby towns of the south Sunshine Coast and its many beaches.
We spotted a local market selling all kinds of wonderful goods, from samosas to flavoured honeys. There was even a stall dedicated to handmade British cooking. It reminded me a lot of the quirky market stalls I saw on Salt Spring Island in the Gulf Islands.
After exploring the market, we set off to see the seaside and beach area. It’s beautiful, peaceful, and very relaxing. When we visited on a Saturday afternoon, there was hardly anyone around.
The Beaches of the South Sunshine Coast
Determined to continue our journey through the south Sunshine Coast in order to reach the north of the Sunshine Coast at a reasonable hour, we set off again. We followed the winding road on the sunny day to reach whichever beaches we wanted to stop off at. The first of which was Sargeant Bay.
Sargeant Bay is a gorgeous cove like beach. It’s pebbly and again also very quiet, which makes it perfect for exploring. There’s tons of driftwood washed up which is fun for walking on while watching the boats bob out at sea. Around the cove, there are plenty of beautiful houses with views across the water. It would be a wonderful place to live one day.
We got back in the car and drove to our next beach, Halfmoon Bay. It was just a short drive from Sargeant Bay. Conveniently, there’s a coffee shop and a general store next to the parking area. We grabbed a latte and then went for a walk.
Halfmoon Bay is gorgeous, and pretty secluded. Once again, we were the only ones there. This makes it such a great retreat for a little exploring in a relaxing environment. We spotted the houses we’d like to live in, and also wondered what life must be like for those living there. Imagine waking up and getting to enjoy those gorgeous views each day.
Francis Point Provincial Park
The final destination on our whistle stop tour of the South Sunshine Coast was Francis Point Provincial Park. It’s actually a very handy place to relax as it’s not far from Earls Cove for the ferry point. It’s also extremely beautiful and has a lake with water that’s crystal clear.
When we visited, it was a lovely sunny May day, and just warm enough to paddle in. With picnic benches and a beach area, it’s perfect for visiting in the summer or bringing a kayak along.
The views are wonderful, and you can see across to islands in the lake. With such awesome scenery, it’s well worth a wander around, and is perfect for relaxing in the sun.
We stayed for a while before driving along the Sunshine Coast Highway to Earls Cove. Here, we awaited our next ferry to the North Sunshine Coast in earnest. It’s also good to know that you can use your ferry ticket getting onto the South Sunshine Coast for reaching the North for free. The South Sunshine Coast is a wonderful place for vacationing and exploring, and there’s so much to see.
Have you visited the South Sunshine Coast? If so, which towns did you stop off at? Did you relax on any of the beaches?