Vancouver to Sunshine Coast

Discover the majestic forests, mountains and shoreline of the Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast stretches along the shores of the Strait of Georgia from Howe Sound to Desolation Sound on Vancouver Island, and is home to the Squamish (Skwxwú7mesh), Sechelt (Shíshálh), and Sliammon (Tla’Amin) First Nations.

The area boasts beautiful mountain ranges surrounded by old growth forests. Surrounded by the ocean, the Sunshine Coast is also a perfect destination for marine activities like canoeing, scuba diving and fishing.

If leaving from Vancouver, book a floatplane or flight to the Nanaimo airport or rent a car or RV and travel by ferry from Tsawwassen to Duke Point.

Nanaimo is a harbour town with amazing historical sites. Take a water taxi ride across the Nanaimo harbour to Newcastle Island, a place of significance to the Snuneymuxw Coast Salish people, and hike its 22 km trail system. For deep water enthusiasts, the ocean floor just outside Nanaimo Harbour has a number of popular scuba diving spots. The area is home to three artificial diving reefs made from sunken ships.

From Nanaimo, travel north along Highway #19 to Comox, a seaside town surrounded by mountains and farmland. Visit the nearby Strathcona Provincial Park, the oldest and largest provincial park on Vancouver Island. Visit the I-HOS Gallery, which has an extensive collection of traditional and contemporary northwest coast artwork and crafts. Suggested accommodation is the Puntledge RV Campground.

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The Little River ferry terminal in Comox offers daily service to Powell River. After arriving in Powell River, visit the Saltery Bay Provincial Park south of the city. At low tide, the shoreline has visible starfish, small fish, crabs and sea urchins. The area is also a popular scuba diving location because of its abundant marine life.

Follow Highway 101 east to Saltery Bay and take a ferry to Sechelt, a scenic town that is home to many artists. The House of Héwhíwus showcases the culture of the Sechelt Nation with exhibits such as weaving and salmon-smoking and live performances in the adjacent Raven’s Cry theatre. Talaysay Tours offers kayaking, seagoing canoe and hiking tours.

First Nations guides share the history, legends and stories of the Shíshálh people with their guests.

Gibsons is a short drive east along Highway 101. The ocean around Gibsons is great for salmon fishing, kayaking and canoeing. Visit the Sunshine Coast Museum in historic Gibson’s Landing to learn more about the local maritime history.