With the Sunshine Coast just a short 40-minute ferry ride away, it’s tempting to get away for a regular weekend. Here are 5 ideas of what to do once you get to that serene coastline.
The Sunshine Coast is characterized by mild, moist winters and warm, dry summers. Temperatures rarely fall below 0℃, making it a perfect fall destination within your backyard. It’s easy to enjoy a wide variety of activities, regardless of the time of year. Here are some of my favourites.
1) Artsy Crawls & Purple Banner Tours
Photo Credit: Sunshine Coast Art Crawl
The Coast is home to the highest per capita population of artists, artisans and crafters in Canada. Everywhere you turn, it seems, there are artist studios scattered along the way, many designated by purple banners. If you see one of these during your trip, stop by for a peek and chat during open hours.
For one special weekend in October, the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl (Oct 17-19) sees over 20,000 studio visits throughout 141 artist venues for a bustling arts extravaganza.
2) Water & Mountain Activities
Like the Lower Mainland, The Coast remains sheltered from the Pacific Ocean. Winters are mild enough to snowshoe in the morning and golf in the afternoon. Whatever your fancy, you’ll find a community of outdoor enthusiasts and services ready to provide directions, gear, and guided tours of the area.
3) Hike Your Heart Out
One of my favourite ways of getting to know a place is to take a nice, satisfying hike. Hence, I have great memories of my stroll out to the Skookumchuck Narrows. The 4km hike loops you through some beautiful coastal forest before getting to a cliff overlooking the rapids. The currents can get up to 30 km/hr – while an awesome sight at any time, you might also want to check Sunshine Coast Tourism for best viewing times.
Other hikes are plentiful throughout the region; two of the most famous are the Inland Provincial Trail and the Suncoaster Trail. The latter ends in Halfmoon Bay, home to the coast’s most famous artist, Joni Mitchell. For ambitious, overnight hikers, the Sunshine Coast Trail is an 180 km beast of a hike with multiple entry points.
4) Biking + Beer
Photo Credit: Persephone Brewing Company
It’s just like us westcoasters to dream up of an afternoon like this one – an invigorating ride, followed by some craft beer at the end of it. For $2 more, take your bike on the ferry and cycle up to the Persephone Brewery, not far away from Gibsons Landing.
Try arriving on a Friday afternoon, where they brew a special limited batch for their loyal clientele to try. Persephone Brewing Company runs an impressive operation, remaining focused on keeping beer cold at all times during the delivery process, and partnering with community organizations to plant vegetables and their own organic hops on the land. While the beer itself still needs time to find its own (maybe some of their upcoming hops will help), the journey and the nostalgic, welcoming feel of the place are well worth the trip.
5) Pick a Cute Place to Stay
When you’re only there for a weekend, making the most of your stay is important. With such a surplus of bright and cheerful B&Bs and self-catered cottages, the Coast boasts a range of affordable, self-catering options. I stayed at Cedar Grove Cottage, which has the distinction of being one of the most affordable cottages around.
Basic, sure, but definitely not without charm. The cottage was well-equipped and private, and hosts Bruno and Elizabeth are genuinely welcoming. Since you’ll be out and about most of the day, it’s the perfect setup for a couple (queen bed only) to enjoy a weekend away.
If Cedar Grove Cottage is booked, consider Marian’s On The Coast, run by my kayaking tour guide Ian Winn. It’s family-friendly and dog-friendly, and the photos look amazing. There are many others on Sunshine Coast’s B&B website, as well as AirBNB.
Fall season means some great off-season deals and a quieter stay – not that anyone could mistake the Sunshine Coast for being overly busy.
Disclosure: Stay generously sponsored by Cedar Grove Cottage, tour and tasting by Persephone Brewing Company. This review was neither paid for nor expected, and consists of the writer’s own thoughts of the experience.