This article was published on November 8th, 2020
Hidden in the Southwest corner of mainland British Columbia is a little slice of heaven known as the Sunshine Coast. If you hear sunshine, you’re almost guaranteed a healthy dose of fun and adventure.
As far as getaway destinations go, the Sunshine Coast ranks with the best of them. It’s 180km (110 miles) of pristine beaches, forest, rivers, lake, mountain, hiking trails, and the ocean.
The communities, too, Powell River and Lund on the Northern Sunshine Coast, and Gibsons and Sechelt on the southern side have all the laid-back charm of island-living without the fuss. There’s a whole lot to do and experience while there.
Take Powell River, for example. It offers a stimulating blend of outdoor adventures including sea kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and a wide array of cultural experiences.
Powell River was originally founded as a natural resource extraction center – once hosting the world’s largest pulp and paper mill. Times have changed. Today, Powell River offers incredible adventures and opportunities to kayak, canoe, rock climb, golf, boat, hike, fish, and scuba-dive.
The area is also home to world-renowned art galleries, sublime dining opportunities, and unforgettable events and festivals.
Here are some of the highlights and suggestions of exciting activities to take in while exploring the northern Sunshine Coast:
Kayaking and hiking
Take to the waters with a kayak with Footprint Explorations who offer professionally-guided and unique kayak tours to small groups. Kayaking is the perfect way to explore Desolation Sound Marine Park and the Copeland Islands Marine Park – two of British Columbia’s most distinctive and stunning kaya destinations.
It’s also a great way to connect with nature. You may often encounter playful otters, get followed by curious seals, or even come face to face with a sea lion. Additionally, you may get lucky while kayaking and stumble across a pod of killer whales or a humpback whale in Desolation Sound or the Salish Sea.
The area is also a haven for many bird species that choose it as breeding grounds or forage. With some luck, keen bird watchers may sight bald eagles, gulls, and various ducks and shorebirds.
Townsite Heritage Society
Walking is one of the best ways to learn about a place. For instance, you can learn a lot from the buildings, art on the streets (or lack thereof), the people you meet, etc. The Townsite Heritage Society offers some of the best walking tours in Powell River. It also organizes community events and workshops to educate children, adults, and tourists.
The society was founded in 1992 to “protect, enhance, maintain and promote the historical character and integrity of the traditional neighborhood and business section of the Powell River Townsite.”
Gibsons Public Market
Gibson Public Market is located right in the heart of Gibsons Landing with fabulous views of the harbor and marina. It’s a community hub where residents and visitors to the Southern Coast can learn about and enjoy local food, fresh produce, art, and entertainment. Open year-round, six days a week; the market provides a meeting point and space for community activities, gatherings, workshops, a community kitchen, and a bistro. Gibsons Market also plays host to the Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre.
Townsite Market is another excellent place to visit, shop, and relax while touring the Southern Coast, specifically, Powell River. It opened its doors in Dec 2018. It hosts an eclectic mix of community-focused and artisan-based businesses, all local to the town.
Here you’ll find a produce market, fine art shops, children’s clothing, reimagined furniture and decor, Base Camp coffee for a jolt of caffeine to reinvigorate your adventures. It’s also home to a Powell River climbing co-op.
No trip would be complete without a taste of the local fare and beer. Townsite Brewing Inc offers some of the best. How do we know? Because it’s the only BC brewer with a Belgian Brewmaster at the helm. Swing by for a taste as you tour their brewery, located in the historic district of Powell River. Stay for a visit, too; you’re guaranteed to leave with a few stories from this award-winning craft brewery on Sunshine Coast.
Persephone Brewing Company
Persephone Brewing Company is a microbrewery that also operates an 11-acre farm in the community of Gibsons on BC’s Sunshine Coast. They have perfectly merged the two, creating a company that supports local agriculture, social interactions, and community connectedness. PBC produces some of the finest quality craft beer with some ingredients such as hops coming straight from their farm. Quality guaranteed.
Traveling to/from the Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast is accessible by air or by BC Ferries service at its north and south ends. Take BC Ferries – Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. Drive to Earls Cove, take the ferry to Saltery Bay. Take the reverse course while getting back home. You only pay to take the ferry to Langdale; the ferry back to Horseshoe Bay is free. The ferry to Saltery Bay is also free, but you pay to come back to Earls Cove.
Visit www.sunshinecoastcanada.com to learn more about what the Sunshine Coast offers as you plan your next grand adventure.