The Sunshine Coast BC, is an ideal place for recreation and relaxation. Its variety of natural settings, outdoor activities, and services all within a few hours driving distance makes it easy to get a fulfilling visitor experience on a compact schedule. All of this is delivered in a rural setting that is both picturesque and endowed with unique communities dispersed along a primarily single lane highway that winds through rich, green temperate rainforest. The moderate west coast climate offers year-round aquatic, forest, and alpine pursuits. While the proximity of everything makes it an ideal location for a satisfying weekend getaway, the broad range of activities and the unimaginably expansive network of trails, fresh and saltwater routes, and breathtaking locations means that you could spend a lifetime here and still not see everything the Sunshine Coast has to offer. We can guide you or point your way to viewscapes of the towering coastal mountains, nearby islands, or beach-fringed coastline. Enjoy 3 - 4 day getaways up to a challenging 180 km hut-to-hut adventure along the Sunshine Coast Trail. All hiking, paddling and recreation levels welcome.
Why book with Tours of Exploration?
- We specialize in customized outdoor adventures that can suit your travel dates, length, style and pace.
- This is Tours of Exploration's very own backyard! We can book a package on either or both the Upper or Lower Sunshine Coast.
- We will curate your trip's every detail to ensure you have the getaway you have been dreaming of.
- We choose to work with local partners, not only to guarantee an immersive authentic experience; but also to economically support the area's local population.
- We ensure that you can book risk-free and with confidence.
2021 - 2022 DATES & RATES
Daily departures once travel restrictions lift.
Prices vary with package selected.
Travel planning with Tours of Exploration
Our experience and expertise can remove the stress of planning so that you can maximize your time on the Sunshine Coast. We can package your holiday with us, or we can connect you to the most ideal sites that suit your desired visit on a customized or referral basis. All of this allows you flexibility and freedom on whether to have us take care of the decisions on your accommodation and recreational activities or to leave that to you. We are adept at matching your needs and budget to available offerings.
Best time to visit: Outdoor recreation takes place in almost every corner of the Sunshine Coast year-round. Each season is delightful and offers its own unique experiences.
Recommended length of stay: 4 days – one week. Think about coming in the shoulder season (September to May) to avoid the summer surge in visitors and seasonal residents.
Activities: Active travellers of any age can enjoy easy access to a wide range of marine, and land recreation, including:
- Power or sailboat trips to the marine accessed areas of Jervis Inlet, Princess Louisa Inlet, Sechelt Inlet, and Desolation Sound
- Swimming, scuba diving, and fishing
- Forest, coastal, and alpine trails of every length and experience level
- Canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding
- X-country skiing, and snowshoeing
- Mountain biking on trails among the best in the world, as well as at Coast Gravity Park, a low elevation downhill mountain biking park open year round, or cycling
- First Nations experiences
- Connecting to the land and its history
Appropriate outer wear, equipment and preparation is needed. We provide details for any bookings we service.
Upper Sunshine Coast (Powell River, Lund, Sunshine Coast Trail)
The Sunshine Coast Trail is the longest, and one of the only, hut-to-hut hiking trail systems in Canada, and the only one that is free to use. The public-use huts are strung along a 180 km trail network that runs through dense forest, over top of mountains, next to stunning lakes and creeks, and along the coastal shoreline. It has sections for all levels of trekkers, from beginners to advanced. *This trail and these huts have been built through grants, donations, and volunteer work.* Hikers can do day walks along a portion of the trail by starting from one of its many access points, enjoy overnight sections of the trail for any duration, or attempt the full 180 km over one to two weeks. Hiking the Sunshine Coat Trail is a brilliant way to immerse yourself in a timeless land of temperate rainforest, hidden lakes and rivers, and across mountain ridges with panoramic views of ocean and island.
Day 1: Arrive Powell River
Arrive at Powell River and settle in. Enjoy the historic townsite before heading to your overnight accommodation.
Day 2: Sunshine Coast Trail
Enjoy one of the many suggested day walks. Use this day as a reconnaissance day to check conditions, your gear, and your abilities before embarking on a more ambitious section of the trail system. All hiker levels can be accommodated. Supported hiking services (shuttles, food and equipment supply drop offs, and limited guided hikes) are available through request. Bookings for these services must be done well in advance of arrival.
Please see https://sunshinecoast-trail.com/plan-your-hike/great-day-hikes/ for more information.
DAY 3 - 4: Sunshine Coast Trail
Shuttle to the trail head to begin your trek. Make sure to double check that you have packed all your supplies before beginning on your chosen section of the trail. Any overnight hiking needs preparation. This area sustains healthy populations of wildlife. Advance preparation for wildlife encounters is suggested and will be provided in our detailed trip packages.
Please see https://sunshinecoast-trail.com/plan-your-hike/multi-day-routes/ for more information.
You should reach your hut well before nightfall to give yourself time to set up and get a wood-pellet fire going. After your night(s) camping, there will be a shuttle ride back to Powell River.
Stay longer: Extend your stay with a visit to historic Lund, an ocean or lake paddle, or to explore offshore islands like Savory or Texada.
Lower Sunshine Coast (Pender Harbour Resort area)
Day 1. Arrive Pender Harbour
Arrive at Pender Harbour and settle in. Enjoy the oceanside and surrounding forests. Overnight.
Day 2. Marine tour to Princess Louisa Inlet
Enjoy a marine sightseeing trip to iconic Princess Louisa Inlet. Travel through the wilderness areas of Jervis Inlet, past granite walls and forested shorelines to reach the Malibu Rapids. Enter the narrow channel to reach Princess Louisa Provincial Park right beside the world famous Chatterbox Falls. Look for seals, birds, and other wildlife en-route. Your boat guide will provide commentary on the history and heritage of the area.
Day 3. Mt Daniel
Option 1. Mount Daniel is a steep hike on the Sunshine Coast that provides incredible views of the Pender Harbour region. Located in Garden Bay Marine Provincial Park, the trail climbs through the forest to the first peak before descending slightly and heading up to an area near the second peak with several viewpoints. Allow 3 hours hiking time roundtrip, including time for a snack on the top.
Option 2. Francis Point Provincial Park is a beautiful park located in the area. It is a relatively easy 3 km roundtrip walk along the Sunshine Coast. The trail is short but follows a rocky route along the coastline providing scenic views of the Strait of Georgia, looking across towards Texada Island. Trail time is approximately 1 1/2 hours.
Stay longer: Extend your stay with an arts & culture crawl, a day of kayaking, or a day of bird-watching.
Lower Sunshine Coast (Gibsons area)
Day 1. Arrive Gibsons
Arrive in Gibsons and settle in. Enjoy the oceanside and historic townsite. Overnight.
Day 2. On the water
Option 1. Island hopping between Gambier, Keats and Gibsons via power boat or sailboat. Both Islands boast scenic trails and parks to explore.
Option 2. A day of kayaking to Keats Island. Kayaking allows you to get up close and personal with Keats Island’s scenic coastline. Stop for a picnic at Plumper Cove Marine Provincial Park or pull up at one of the secluded beaches often used by shoreside campers. Head to the western end of Keats to check out the marine life near Salmon Rock and Home Island, where you can often see the kelp forests below you at low tide and the seals that frequently sunbathe on the rocks.
Option 3. A day on the beach at Davis Bay. As you drive along the Sunshine Coast Highway, the forest scenery will suddenly give way to a panoramic view of the Strait of Georgia and the distant mountains of Vancouver Island. This beach is a wonderful place to stop and enjoy your day. Lounge and swim along the sandy southern end of beach. Fish off the Davis Bay Pier (so long as you have the appropriate fishing permit). Relax as you stroll down the scenic beach walk and perhaps browse the nearby stores and galleries, such as Coast Raven Design Studios. If a picnic lunch interests you, then Mission Point Park offers a grassy and sheltered place to lay down a blanket.
Day 3. Mt Elphinstone Summit trail.
Mount Elphinstone is an iconic landmark for the Lower Sunshine Coast. It welcomes residents and visitors alike as they pull into its base at the Langdale ferry terminal. It is home to a vast network of hiking and biking trails, logging roads, and parks. One of the best hikes it offers is the summit trail; a 13km moderate level hike that has an approximately 1000m elevation gain from Sprockids Park. For those that want to climb the full 1232m from sea level to the top, the hike can be started at Langdale ferry terminal then heading to a nearby trail head at the end of Wharf Road. The trail begins with a trek through the lush, green rainforest that BC is iconic for. You will pass by mountain biking trails, rivers and creeks, long forgotten logging roads, and changes in plant life as you move to a more alpine setting. Eventually, as you near the summit you will be rewarded with sweeping views of Gibsons, Howe Sound, Keats and Bowen Islands, and, if it’s clear enough, Vancouver and even into the United States. On a summer day and in good weather, this hike takes about 6 hours, though you may want to extend this time by taking a more relaxed pace and really taking in all the sights, sounds, and experiences this trail has to offer.
Stay longer: Extend your stay with an arts & cultural crawl.
Small community stories
The chain of small communities that extend the length of this distinct region not only offer an alternate relaxed pace of lifestyle, but a diverse selection of culture, arts, festivals, and events. A green banner tour of local farms, markets, and craft breweries can be part of your experience. Many local ingredients and soft and hard beverages are included in local dining. We can easily be a scenic and romantic getaway destination, minus over-commercialization.
At night, choose from a rural inn to a small coastal resort, from a waterfront or town bed and breakfasts to a lake or oceanside camp-ground. Whether you enjoy being in a pampered or rugged setting, there is a broad range of accommodations and experiences to suit your needs.
Marine & aquatic recreation
The extensive coastline that includes inlets and islands is the ideal habitat for the marine visitor. Kayakers, from beginners to experienced, can enjoy the 360-degree views of mountains, forest, and rugged shoreline. Seals, otters, and seabirds are often seen closeup, and the mild climate extends the viewing season. There are many well traveled kayak routes designed for multi-day excursions. Find pleasure in waking up on a beachside campsite in breathtaking wilderness.
Canoe enthusiasts can experience the variety of lakes up and down the Sunshine Coast. This pastime offers a great family outing, launching from the many beaches or docks along the coast. For the adventurous canoer, a multi-day trip can be planned along a portion of or the whole 57km long Powell Forest Canoe Route. Adventure tours and excursions are a great way to access some of the more isolated and pristine wilderness areas. Water taxi service, marine sightseeing tours, and charters are offered. On any day of any season a sail can be seen on the ocean with a backdrop of the towering coastal mountains and ever-changing island views. Sailing and yachting are enjoyed year-round by locals and many visitors. Gibsons Landing, Pender Harbour, Princess Louisa Inlet, and Desolation Sound are renowned destinations. Sheltered moorage and public berths are available in many areas of the coast, from Gibsons to Egmont to Lund. The unique and colorful "working wharfs" and waterfront pubs/restaurants are a welcome stop over and close to shops, galleries, and tourism services.
Nature in abundance
Our oceans and forests are teaming with life. Opportunities abound for guided and self discovery exploration and educational programs. Spring and fall visits to the area creeks and hatcheries can reward visitors with viewing of fish spawning. In the spring we have herring spawning. In late August and early September, it is the Pink Salmon who spawn, and the Chum and Coho Salmon in October and November. Many animals, such as bears, bobcat, eagles, ravens, herons, and many varieties of ducks are attracted by easy meals. The Sunshine Coast is an excellent area for birding due to its variety of marine and land habitats, such as: forests, estuaries, intertidal mudflats, marshes, wave washed rocks, sandy spits, rocky beaches, and islets. Inland there are old growth, coniferous and deciduous forests, and sub alpine to alpine wilderness with peaks to 2,500 metres (8,000ft). 80 - 100 bird species can be seen in winter, with 125 - 135 possible in May and September, and 200 recorded in any one year. Although the Lower Mainland and Victoria area are generally blessed with a greater variety of birds, you tend not to have to cover as much ground to see a fair number of birds on the coast. Bird lists are available through the Sunshine Coast Natural History Society
What to bring
A list of recommended personal gear and clothing, accommodation and travel information, hints and suggestions, will be sent when we book multi-day trips.