Activities for all Seasons on the Sunshine Coast
Tropical Paradise is the ideal location from which to explore the Sunshine Coast, a region with a well deserved reputation for its four season activities and attractions. Choose the serenity of strolling wind swept beaches, biking or hiking a vast network of forested trails, or kayaking protected waterways to fulfill your getaway cravings.
The Sunshine Coast is an easy and affordable option for anyone needing a few days away from the pressure packed daily grind. Imagine taking a stunning ferry ride to another world where the pace is slow, the scenery is breathtaking and the people are friendly. The Sunshine Coast is on Vancouver’s doorstep, and it’s only a scenic 40 minutes away, waiting to welcome you to BC’s best kept secret.
Spring Activities on the Sunshine Coast
Spark your spirit of adventure by arranging a date with mother nature. Spring is a time of re-awakening and arrives early on the Sunshine Coast. Spring offers long-awaited opportunities to be out doors where you can experience a full range of activities in this natural paradise.
Summer Activities on the Sunshine Coast
Known for its 2,400 hours of sunshine each year, the Sunshine Coast is an obvious choice for vacationers looking for weather-proof plans. But, as the days get longer and the mercury rises, so do the variety of summer activities and the hardest part is deciding where to begin.
Fall Activities on the Sunshine Coast
Summer slides imperceptibly into the fall on the Sunshine Coast, with little apparent difference in sunshine and temperature. To the careful observer, however, there are changes - a less-crowded pace, the gradual emergence of brilliant fall colours, and a full schedule of small community fall festivals. If summer slipped by and you missed out on holiday time, the fall is a great season.
Winter Activities on the Sunshine Coast
With its mild, maritime climate, the Sunshine Coast is a year-round sea-to-mountain playground with no crowds in sight. While coastal regions remain snow-free, the inland winter parks of Dakota Ridge and Tetrahedron see snow falls that parallel those of the Coast Mountains, and offer the timeless bragging opportunity of both skiing and golfing on the same day.
During your stay we suggest...
The Blue Heron - Recommended by Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest. Reservations are strongly suggested. (Sechelt)
The Lighthouse Pub - Casual food, with an outside patio offering spectacular views of Sechelt Inlet, complete with float planes and boats coming and going. (Sechelt)
The Old Boot Eatery- This is an easy and relaxing dining experience ... the food is good, the servings plentiful, and the prices reasonable. The menu is just the right size with a selection of pastas, steak, ribs and seafood. (Sechelt)
Pebbles Restaurant - Call ahead to make your reservation and ask for a window seat looking out on to the ocean - you may see some cruise ships heading up to Alaska. If you want to stretch your legs before or after dinner, we suggest a stroll along the Sechelt seawall.
Sushi Bar 5517 - if you are a sushi aficionado you will not be disappointed. The menu offers a very broad and creative selection of sushi – a favourite is the Alaska roll with salmon, crab and avocado. Be sure to order the gomaae, a wilted spinach salad with sesame-peanut dressing. (Sechelt)
Feastro the Rolling Bistro - Recently featured on the Food Network as one of Canada's best food stands. Pick up your order and sit on the beach - it doesn't get any better. (Davis Bay)
The Gumboot Restaurant - Order the Buddha Bowl… it’s an appropriate choice for the day. You’ll get a large mounded plate, piled high with steamed greens, shredded raw carrots and beets, baked tofu slices, and brown rice with a rich and flavourful peanut sauce. (Roberts Creek)
Smitty's Oyster House - The freshest of seafood and you’ll be seated at a communal table just a few feet from the salty brine. After lunch, walk along the boardwalk or head out onto the wharf to look at all the boats. There’s even a floating garden. (Gibsons)
Mike’s Gelato - Recently named by Vancouver blogger 604 Pulse, as one of the Ten Best Places to get Gelato in the Lower Mainland. (Gibsons)
The Restaurant at Painted Boat - This casually elegant restaurant has a distinctly modern, coastal feel. The team is focused on highlighting the abundance of fresh ingredients available on the Sunshine Coast – creating a vibrant and approachable regional menu. If the weather allows, ask to be seated on the deck – the restaurant literally hangs over the water and the view is an extra bonus. (Madeira Park)
Coffee & Bakeries/Bistro
The Halfmoon Bay General Store - Great panini and baked sweets. Next door you’ll find the Upper Crust Bakery with a good selection of paninis and baked sweets. Between the two stores you can put together a pretty good picnic lunch. Then carry on down to the end of this little one-lane road to the Government Wharf for the best “restaurant” view you can imagine. (Halfmoon Bay)
Strait Coffee - Visit for lunch and a truly fabulous coffee. (Sechelt)
Ty's Fine Foods and Bistro - Enjoy a tapas-style lunch at Ty's in their bright new location on Trail Ave in downtown Sechelt.
You might want to pick up a few supplies before-hand so that you can fully relax on our waterside deck after you’ve checked-in. There’s an IGA store in Wilson Creek (25 minutes from terminal), and a good wine selection at the Lighthouse Wine & Cold Beer store, just as you come into Sechelt.
The Sechelt Farmers & Artisans Market is the largest on the Sunshine Coast and takes place between 8am & 1pm. It is always a very popular activity for locals and visitors looking for fresh produce or something special as a keepsake reminder of the Sunshine Coast.
Mosaic Market in Davis Bay houses a great selection of collectables.
Immerse yourself in the Arts - the Sunshine Coast is home to more artists per capita than anywhere else in Canada. Pick up a copy of the Purple Banner Studio & Gallery Guide and choose from over 25 studios to visit on the Sunshine Coast.
Artist galleries that are definitely worth visiting in the Pender Harbour area: Flying Anvil Studio and Fibre Works Gallery.
Hiking, Walking & Parks
Sechelt Marsh is one of our favorite walks, with a winding trail around a small pond with a smaller island in the middle. The pond is fed by both fresh and tidal water, offering a rich habitat, and there’s usually several species of water birds, floating contentedly in the water and looking very relaxed.
Kinnikinnick Park - Offers a well laid out system of interconnecting trails. (Sechelt)
Davis Bay sea walk and wharf with excellent crabability and jumping off the pier fun
Smuggler's Cove - A half-hour drive up the highway, just past Halfmoon Bay. An easy one-hour walk will give you a great introduction to the pristine beauty of the Sunshine Coast. The first half of this well maintained trail system is joined together with a series of boardwalks traversing over and around small marshy lakes, and offering good birding opportunities. Later the trail opens to sweeping views of Welcome Passage and Thormanby Islands. There's usually a sailboat or two moored within the protected confines of the Cove itself.
Sargeant's Bay Park - A perfect horseshoe-shaped cove with piles of driftwood stacked haphazardly along a pebble beach – and most likely you’ll have the whole area completely to yourself. If you’re interested in birding, this is a rich habitat with over 150 species. Spend as much time here as you like – there are benches and lots of logs on the beach, so pull up a seat, relax and soak in this pristine setting.
Thormandby Island - don't forget a taxi ride out to this island with many sandy beach areas - you wont find a better spot to soak in the sun and lay in the water.
Chapman Falls Trail - bike up to the falls or down to the Wilson creek bridge
up over to the Sechelt Airport --15 min trail.
Check out Coast Gravity Park north of the Sechelt Landfill site along Porpoise Bay Road. Its for extreme biking and cost $60/day per person
Yoga by the Sea - Offers a variety of classes every day. The drop-in rate is only $15 for a two-hour class and they’ve got all the gear you need. The instructors always provide a great mix of both mental and physical activity; the classes are small; and you get as much attention and help as you want. So don’t worry about anything – give it a try. (Roberts Creek)
Scuba DivingThe Scuba Shack - If you've always wanted to learn how to scuba dive, discover new adventures or simply see the wondrous world beneath the waves, this is where it starts. The PADI Open Water Diver course is the world's most popular scuba course, and has introduced millions of people to the adventurous diving lifestyle. Located a few minutes up the road from Simply the Best.
The Sunshine Coast has three golf courses - try a round of golf (9 or 18) at the Blue Ocean Golf & Country Club which features generous fairways and large gently sloping greens, with views of the snow capped coastal range and beautiful Porpoise Bay. The Sunshine Coast Golf & Country Club is located in Roberts Creek and offers a challenging layout at par 72 to test all levels of player from the beginner to the seasoned golf professional or The Pender Harbour Golf Club is a public 9 hole course with great views of the surrounding mountains.
Earthly JourneysCatch Our Drift Earthly Journeys - provides unique local experiences for visitors to the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. They partner with inspiring locals to create comfortable off-the-beaten-path "journeys" into our culture - such as Animal Farm Adventure, Wild Edibles, Sketching on the Coast, Farm to Table, Cattail Creations and more.
Skookumchuck Rapids just past Pender Harbor in Edgemont
The Skookumchuck Rapids (the Chuck) is one of the greatest natural spectacles in British Columbia, where the tidal current can reach up to 17 knots. Twice a day, over 200 billion gallons of water flow through the narrow and constricted opening of the Skookumchuck Narrows, creating one of the world’s fastest tidal currents.
When the tide is flowing out of Sechelt Inlet (Ebb Tide) large whirlpools are created, strong enough to suck down a large log and send it popping into the air as it frees itself from the swirling vortex. The best viewing site of the Ebb tide whirlpools is at North Point. On a Flood Tide, the water flows in at a far greater rate than the narrow opening can handle, and this creates a standing wave between the outside and inside waters. The best viewing site for this is at Roland Point.
You want to time your hike so you arrive at the viewpoint when the tidal surge is at its strongest. The hike in takes about an hour from the parking lot and there’s a great little bakery at the trail head to pick up a post-hike treat (try their cinnamon buns.) Try to arrive at the viewing site at least 15-20 minutes beforehand, and then take a seat and watch the Skookum Lady strut her stuff.
Tidal charts are available to determine the best viewing times so use this information to plan the timing of your visit. » view tide table chart
Fortunately the area has a number of interesting diversions to keep us entertained while waiting for the appearance of the Skookumchuk Rapids. Pender Harbour, also known as Venice of the North, was first settled as a fishing community and water continues to link its small communities.
There are over a dozen galleries and studios in the Pender Harbour area, representing a wide variety of styles and disciplines. Some favourites are:
Copper Sky Gallery - located in Madeira Park
Fibre Works Gallery - located along the highway just after Madeira Park
Flying Anvil Studio – at the Garden Bay turn-off
Motoko Gallery - in Garden Bay
You'll be able to create a pretty incredible day – a great outdoor experience; some interesting galleries to explore; and a fabulous restaurant experience.