It’s a warm summer day when I get out of my car to stretch my legs in Roberts Creek, after the two-hour highway and ferry excursion from Vancouver. The sounds of a woman’s raspy voice, a harmonica and a guitar emanate from a trio stationed beside a corner store. I lean against a tree and listen, taking in the glistening Strait of Georgia and the islands beyond, ready to unwind with a few days of exploring along British Columbia’s renowned Sunshine Coast.
From the ferry on the road to BC's Sunshine Coast
Located along the southern mainland across from Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast is filled with busy towns to explore, fresh seafood to devour and activities like kayaking, whale-watching, cycling and hiking to enjoy year-round.
The rich smell of barbecue lures me onto the patio at The Gumboot Restaurant, where I find a spot at a wrought-iron table on a wide manicured lawn. Chatting with people at the next table, I learn that Roberts Creek is an artist community of painters, potters, glass-blowers and more. I make mental notes of which walls in my house need sprucing up with new artwork while lingering over a local IPA and a perfectly grilled burger.
After an hour or two of walking around town, I take a short drive down the hill to check in to Up the Creek Backpacker’s Lodge, a bright and breezy wooden house. The fireplace in the sunken living room quickly becomes my spot for the evening, as the owner reveals more about the jewels of his tiny, easy-going town—the yoga studios and art lessons, the water sports and boating.
The next morning, I walk to the pebbly beach and sit on a washed-up log. After throwing sticks for the many dogs that vie for my attention, I take a quick swim, which proves instantly refreshing. A few seals appear, heads poking out of the water, their heavy breathing and whiskers distinguishing them from the floating logs.
Later, I make the pretty drive north through the forest and along the coast to Sechelt, where the views of the mountains above crystal blue water are mesmerizing. I daydream in the early evening, listening to the frogs and birds, spotting a few seaplanes that appear out of nowhere over the hills.
The next day, an early ferry ride up the coast to the village of Lund proves a true trip highlight—as they say, it’s the journey. The boat manoeuvres between the islands as a thick mist rises from the surrounding forest, unveiling more and more unrivalled beauty.
Lund, famous for its Pollen Sweaters and blackberry cinnamon buns, has the same quaint, cozy charm I’ve been experiencing all weekend. I take my time, walking along the marina, stopping for a glass of wine on the patio at The Boardwalk Restaurant. Watching the activity at the busy inlet, I wonder what it’s like to live here once the summer season ends. I sense that early sunsets and log fires would make this place equally appealing in the off-season.
As I take an evening stroll along Donkersley Beach farther south in the city of Powell River, the receding tide reveals colourful shells and smooth white and grey stones. Twilight is a vivid display of pink and purple that lasts for hours. And as the sun finally disappears, I make silent plans to come back to the Sunshine Coast again soon.