In a place as notoriously rainy and overcast as Vancouver, residents must surely crave warm and sunny getaways. So it should be no surprise that one of British Columbia’s most popular day trips is called the Sunshine Coast. This 180-kilometre stretch from Langdale to Lund is filled with rugged hiking trails, relaxing spas and all manner of coastal fun in the sun.
Outdoorsy types flock to the Sunshine Coast and its Powell River Canoe Route, a five-day trip across eight lakes. Fishing, sailing and kayaking are also quite popular. Landlubbers might stick to hiking the Sunshine Coast Trail, the longest hut-to-hut hiking trail in Canada. Breathtaking forest, mountain and shoreside views stretch along the full length of the Sunshine Coast from the trail’s start at Sarah Point in Desolation Sound to its end in Saltery Bay. World-class spas and wellness centres populate the cities of Powell River and Halfmoon Bay, along with ample shopping and dining.
The BC-101 is also known as the Sunshine Coast Highway and a drive from Vancouver to Powell River takes about four and a half hours. Powell River also has its own airport. Pacific Coastal Airlines operates multiple flights a day between the two cities, with the journey lasting little more than 30 minutes.
The history of the area owes much to the First Nations. Long admired for their cedar canoes and totem poles, the Sechelt, Sliammon and Squamish peoples have used the Sunshine Coast as their base for hunting, fishing and trade since before anyone kept historic records. Traditional art demonstrations are a popular tourist attraction in many Sunshine Coast towns today.