Sunshine Coast - A Day Trip
Activity:When my husband suggested we take a trip to the Sunshine Coast, I have to admit I thought he meant somewhere exotic like Hawaii. The Sunshine Coast, in fact, refers to a peninsula of land just north of Vancouver, which you get to by taking a BC Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. It stretches from Gibsons Landing, through Roberts Creek, Sechelt, Half Moon Bay, and all the way up to Pender Harbour.
There's something for everyone on the Sunshine Coast. The kids enjoyed swimming and beach combing at Roberts Creek and Davis Bay. I found the perfect cup of coffee (very important to me, especially in the morning) at the Daily Grind in Sechelt, and my husband was content to watch the people fishing off the pier at Davis Bay, and daydream about how he could make a million dollars.
While a trip to the Sunshine Coast is definitely do-able in a day trip, we actually stayed overnight in a motel at Davis Bay. You can also stay in bed and breakfasts, and privately owned condos if you want.
Age group:All ages
Expense rating:More than $10 per person. The ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale cost us about $45 dollars (car and four people). This cost includes return fare.
:A quick 40 minute ferry ride and you've left the city. Even though the Sunshine coast is technically on the mainland it feels like you're on Vancouver Island or one of the Gulf islands. Our family loves the relaxed "let's leave it until tomorrow" feeling of the Sunshine coast.
:The Ferry. I find even though 99% of the time we catch a ferry I'm always worrying about whether we're going to make the ferry, or miss it.
Details:Although no one could confirm whether the Sunshine Coast actually gets more sunshine than Vancouver, we had great weather on both our July day trips and it was apparently cloudy in Vancouver. Here's how our first trip went:
We took the 11:20 am ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. The ferry trip is only 40 minutes long so before we knew it we were at Langdale. Nathan hardly had time to play his favourite car racing video game on the ferry. A short 3 km trip from the ferry landing is the picturesque seaside community called Gibsons Landing. Gibsons Landing sits on a hillside overlooking the ocean, and there's plenty of shops to browse in and places to eat. We went down to the wharf to see if anybody caught a fish. Our family likes wandering out on a wharf whenever we get a chance, just to look at the boats, or people fixing up their boats.
We ate lunch at Molly's Reach, a restaurant made famous by the classic Canadian TV show "the Beachcombers". The kids had pizza with double cheese on it. Dad had fish and chips. I had a muffin which I brought with me. If you were around in the '70s you probably saw the television show called the Beachcombers. It was a big hit in Canada and shown all around the world. Dad says he even saw the show in Japan when he was traveling there in the early 80's.
After snooping around the town, we hopped back in the Mazda and headed up past Roberts Creek to Davis Bay, which is just before the town of Sechelt. We checked into a motel at Davis Bay, and then hit the beach. There's a sandy section of beach towards the south end of Davis Bay. The kids built a huge dam on the beach to keep the tide back, but the tide eventually won out. There's also a fishing pier at Davis Bay, and we saw people catching salmon from the pier.
That night we had dinner in Sechelt. Dad had a pizza with weird tasting mushrooms on it which the kids couldn't stop talking about. After dinner we went back to Davis Bay to build a "Scouts" campfire, and roast marshmallows on the beach.
The next morning we drove up to the Pender Harbour area. There's a lot of quaint resorts and marinas on the drive up. We stopped at Half Moon Bay, just in time to take in their kids' fishing derby. Don't miss the quaint general store, and the pier if you go there. There's also a place at Half Moon Bay where you can rent kayaks. The Sunshine Coast is perfect for kayaking. The water is relatively calm and it has hundreds of little bays, inlets and islands to explore.
Our last stop was Madeira Park. It's a small fishing village which marks the start of the area known as Pender Harbour. We didn't go any further then Madeira as our daughter Jenavieve was complaining about the road being so windy.
(On our second trip to the Sunshine Coast: we went swimming in Ruby Lake and hiked to the Skookumchuck Rapids. The kids enjoyed taking our rubber dinghy out for its maiden voyage in Ruby Lake. Nobody complained about the water being too cold, so it must have been agreeable. The hike to Skookumchuck Rapids is beautiful, but it takes about an hour to get there. Our five year old was pretty miserable by the time we got there. Unfortunately we were about an hour early and didn't see the rapids at their peak, but it was still impressive.)
We drove back down towards the direction of Gibsons Landing, back through Sechelt, and Davis Bay. We stopped at the small community of Roberts Creek. There's a very nice beach (south side of breakwater) at Roberts Creek, and the kids had a nice swim and build more dams. After a couple of hours on the beach, we drove back down to Langdale, and caught the ferry back to Horseshoe Bay, and then home.
The Ferry details: You need a car for your trip unless you're just going to Gibsons Landing, then you can take the public bus from Langdale to Gibsons Landing. In the summer, the Ferry leaves Horseshoe Bay at 7:20 am, 9:20, 11:20, 1:20 pm, 3:30 pm, 5:30, 7:25, 9:15, 11:00 pm (Sundays and holiday Mondays only). Ferry leaves Langdale at 6:20 am, 8:20, 10:20, 12:20 pm, 2:30, 3:00 (Sundays and holiday Mondays only), 4:30, 6:30, 8:20, 10:10 (Sundays and holiday Mondays only). Schedule subject to change without notice, please contact 1-888-223-3779 for exact ferry schedule or contact www.bcferries.bc.ca. Website: www.sunshinecoastcanada.com.
Area:West Vancouver (the Sunshine Coast is not part of West Vancouver, but West Vancouver is the closest Greater Vancouver community.)
Educational highlights:George Gibson settled the Gibsons Landing area in 1886 after his sail boat was blown off course from Vancouver Island in a gale. George liked the area so much he stayed.
Fun for the adult?:Note from dad: the best part of the Sunshine Coast is the relaxed feeling that you get there. The problems you had the office just seem to disappear. I like spending the weekend with my family where all you want to do is just have fun.