Thursday, April 6, 2017

Travel Diary:Weekend Getaway from Vancouver to Sunshine Coast


I recently took a weekend trip to the Sunshine Coast and wanted to share some tips and ideas for things to do. Now that the weather is getting nicer, it's time to explore your own back yard with weekend trips from Vancouver!


Where is Sunshine Coast?
Sunshine Coast is a large coastal region to the north west of Greater Vancouver! It actually stretches about 100km from north to south. But for purposes of our weekend trip and where most people will visit, I will define it as from Gibsons to Sechelt. There are other amazing parts to sunshine coast but the northern portion will require multiple ferry trips from Vancouver.

How to get in?
Take the BC Ferry from Horseshoe Bay terminal. A return trip with one vehicle and two adults will be approximately $85. The good thing is that there's a ferry leaving almost every hour. We left downtown at 5pm on Friday, got to Horseshoe Bay at 5:30pm but just missed the 5:50pm ferry cut off.



How much time to spend?
We went on a Friday night and left Sunday early afternoon. I would say you could get on a Saturday morning ferry and leave late Sunday afternoon. One and a half days is probably the perfect amount of time!

How much to budget?
Accommodation: $150-$200 is the average nightly rate of a hotel/cabin. We found ours on AirBnB for about $100 and it was such an awesome experience (see more below)

Food: The price is pretty comparable to Vancouver with lunches around $15 and dinners around $20.

Activities: We didn't spend any additional money on activities but you some things that would cost extra might be kayak rentals, fishing tours, and other water sports.

Accommodation

I have to rave about where we stayed! We found this AirBnB listing which is a loft on top of a barn! The place was huge and was beautifully furnished. The best part however, is the cute animals inside the barn. AirBnB is all about finding unique experiences and this is definitely one of my favorite stays.


The location was in Roberts Creek which is a very small town with not much to do. However, it's right in the middle of Gibsons and Sechelt which made it convenient to drive back and forth. The road (Sunshine Coast Hwy) was a bit hard to drive on as on Friday night when we went, it was dark and rainy. However, during day light I was able to see that the road condition is well kept and is actually quite an easy drive.


If you have a bigger budget, you should definitely give the tenthouse suites from Rock Water Secretcove Resort. Another really nice resort is the Painted Boat Resort which is a bit more of a drive away. There's definitely a lot of options for accommodation, but it just depends on your preference and budget.

If you don't have an AirBnB account yet, right now you can get a $50 travel credit if you sign up through my link! I thought my stay at the loft was such a deal and if you are worried about animal sounds or smells, neither were apparent at all! Look at these cute goats! There were also two horses, llamas, rabbits, and other barn animals!


Food

Weekend trips are all about relaxation and what's better than exploring new restaurants!

Brunch: I'd definitely recommend the Basted Baker in Sechelt. It's one of the highest rated restaurants and for good reason. I had a delicious eggs benedict and they have quite a few unique flavoring choices. The restaurant only had 6 tables so you may need to wait in line when it gets more busy in the summer. Or you can also order some of their pastries to go and bring it to the beach/hike.


Dinner: On the first night, we went to Nova Kitchen in Gibsons. It's a very small restaurant with only about 8 tables inside. There is a large patio space that was closed but would be so nice in the summer time! The menu was also small but everything was delicious and the service staff was extremely friendly. If you go, you must order the Soda Bread, it's dense and fluffy at the same time! I would recommend this place!


On the second night, we went to Smitty's in Gibsons. This is a sister restaurant to Rodney's Oyster House in Vancouver. It's more of an upscale restaurant but like the reviews say, the servers seem incompetent, with the bartender running the show. But the Bartender was giving off big city attitude which doesn't really mesh with the small town getaway feel I was looking for at Gibsons. I wouldn't recommend going here.


Activities

I would recommend to take your time and have a loose schedule when you visit. The island has a quiet, calm lifestyle and it's nice to just take your time and randomly wander around and enjoy the view and nature. Here are a couple things we did that I would recommend!

-Stroll the rocky Sechelt Beach: Just a couple blocks away from downtown Sechelt is the beach. Although it's very rocky, it offers a gorgeous view and quite a nice path along the waters. The deserted beach also made for some good photo ops.


-Viewpoint at Davis Bay Pier: A bit further north on the Sunshine Coast Hwy is a beautiful view point by Davis Bay. The pier extends out into the water and it's gorgeous to just look at all the islands surrounding you.

- Hike Soames Hill: This hike is located in Gibsons quite close to the ferry terminal. Even if you aren't into hiking, this could be a great activity for you. It only took about 20 mins to the peak. The trail was a combination of stairs and dirt ground. The panoramic view at the top is totally worth the almost non-existent sweat.


-Enjoy a beer and pizza at Persephone: I love craft beer so Persephone was definitely on my list of to dos for this trip! The brewery was even better than I imagined because it was on a huge lot with lots of outdoor seating. And there's a food vendor onsite that sells delicious wood oven baked pizzas! The Persephone beers are not the best tasting but overall the experience was still a highlight!



There are a couple of places that I thought would be fun but actually turned out to be a bit of a let down. I thought the Sechelt Marina would be quite interesting but there isn't too much there to do unless you actually have a boat. Porpoise Bay Provincial Park was highly rated and was suppose to have a sandy beach. But the beach was maybe 1 meter wide and wasn't that nice of a picnic area either. We only stayed for about 15 minutes.

I pinned all the spots I talked about in this post in the map below so you can get a sense of where everything is! You'll definitely need a car for this trip but the drive is easy with virtually no traffic.



What weekend trips do you usually take from Vancouver or your city? If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment below!

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