How to Spend 7 Days on the Sunshine Coast in your RV or 5th Wheel
The best times of year for RV travel on the West Coast of BC are May/June and September/October. Summer months are very busy for BC Ferries, and there are only a finite number of spaces on each crossing for large vehicles like RVs and semi-trailers. If you plan to travel in the summer, allow for a one-sailing wait and try to travel by ferry mid-week.
BC FERRIES SCHEDULES: http://www.bcferries.com/schedules/mainland/vasc-current.html
RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED: https://www.bcferries.com/bcftravelcentre
For reservations by phone, call toll-free in North America: 1-888-223-3779.
Or punch in *BCF (*223) on Rogers or Telus Mobility networks. From outside North America, call (250) 386-3431.
If you have to wait in the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal, bring walking shoes, put your boarding pass in your pocket for your re-entry into the terminal and head into Horseshoe Bay to enjoy the waterfront park, terrific fish & chips at Troll's Restaurant (or oysters on the half shell at Ya Ya's Pub just down the block). There's a few great gift shops in Horseshoe Bay as well.
Mean temperatures for May/June - 59 degrees fahrenheit
Mean temperatures for September/October - 65 in Sept. can sometimes stay T-shirts and shorts weather into late October
Summer highs last year on the Coast reached up to 90 degrees, with a fair amount of humidity. It's beautiful and green here from early March to mid-November.
September and October are rated pretty highly for RV Travel on the West Coast. All the kids are back in school, the fall colours are beautiful, the salmon are running in the inlet and spawning grounds, and there's a couple of great festivals happening on the coast in September
For information about events, please visit
The Bigpacific Calendar of Events
Day One - Arrival: Camp Along Howe Sound in Langdale
After a stroll through Horseshoe Bay, you drive on to the BC Ferry to Langdale/Sunshine Coast. Be sure to visit the Travel Ambassador booth on the ferry, located in behind the newstand/coffee bar. You can pick up brochures, maps and great information from a trained SuperHost knowledgeable about the area.
Driving off of the ferry, turn right at the lights and head out towards Port Mellon. Follow the signs for Langdale Heights RV & Golf (http://www.langdaleheights.com). There you'll find a place perfect for RV travellers, with roomy spaces, great surroundings, a 9-hole par 3 course overlooking Howe Sound, marquee tent and campfire area for large group get-togethers. Langdale specializes in "Wagon Wheels" for RV travellers, and they also have an on-site store and movie-screening room as well. They're within 10 minutes of Gibsons restaurants, museums and shopping.
Once you're all settled in with your gear, either hit the links or head into Gibsons for a bit of shopping and a meal.
- Molly's Lane and the main street of Lower Gibsons have unique shops and galleries to browse through, with specialty food items, gifts, and art.
- Restaurants in the Lower Gibsons area are many and varied, from casual bistros to formal sit-down meals, from basic westcoast cuisine to a range of ethnic offerings.
Day Two: Gibsons and Gibsons Landing
There are quite a few art galleries and studios in Gibsons, and eclectic shopping. For information about each of the studios, and for walking tours based on interests, please visit http://www.suncoastarts.com, and the shopping section on Bigpacific.com
Other members of your party may wish to explore the following activities in the Gibsons area:
- Government dock, marina, yacht club and boat harbour - but fresh fish and prawns right off the dock!
- Molly's Reach Restaurant, part of the famous Beachcombers television series film set
- The Sunshine Coast Museum, with a great many objects and items from the Coast's early days, along with archive images and diaries - again staffed by people who are really into history.
- Great parks for hikes or strolls include Soames Hill, Armour's Beach Park in Lower Gibsons, Mt. Elphinstone, and the old Pioneer Cemetery just off North Road on - what else - Cemetery Road in Upper Gibsons.
Upper Gibsons has the two shopping malls, more restaurants, a public swimming pool and bowling alley. It's also home to the beautiful "Gift of the Eagle Gallery" with an extensive collection of Native artwork, books, and paintings and collectibles by local artists.
Finish up with a golf tournament and campfire at Langdale Heights.
Day Three: Roberts Creek and Wilson Creek
Head up the Coast to Roberts Creek. There is a beautiful Provincial Park in the Creek (Roberts Creek Provincial Park) with camping sites, water and firewood, and pit toilets. No electrical hookup at any provincial park. There's also another beautiful beachfront park at the bottom of Flume Road in the Creek for day use only - it's a great picnic spot.
If you want a really unique meal on the Coast in a parallel universe, drop in to the Gumboot Cafe in the heart of the Nation of Roberts Creek (also known as the Gumboot Nation). The Gumboot Restaurant has the best salads (Thai Chicken Salad rates a half hour drive for me once a week), vegetarian fare, omelets, cookies and cakes. They're also licensed. While you're in there you'll get a glimpse into the unique lifestyle of the Creek - it's the Coast mecca for displaced hippies, the granola crowd, environmentalists, and people who enjoy an alternative way of life to the hustle-bustle of Gibsons and Sechelt communities. By the way, this is a compliment - Creekers are mellow, fun-loving, have fabulous family values and are very creative as a lot.
Roberts Creek is also home to the stunningly beautiful Cliff Gilker Park, with great trails taking you in to gorgeous waterfalls, hidden pools and lush forests. Golfers can ditch the hike for the Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club right next to the park and grab a quick 9-18 holes.
If you want power hookups, check out the Creekside Campground in Wilson Creek. Right next to shopping and restaurants, and across the street from beach access at Port Stalashen. You are right next to the highway, but you're also next to a beautiful winding creek, and close to the Chapman Creek Fish Hatchery, where you can get a tour. It's also right near the access up into the Dakota Ridge Winter Recreation Area.
Day Four: Sechelt and Halfmoon Bay
A must is the Sechelt Indian Government District Museum and gift store. The museum is housed in a gorgeous building incorporating Salish art, totems and carvings.
Head out on East Porpoise Bay Road for a picnic at beautiful Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, or stay overnight at least one night. There are no electrical hookups, but there is a sani-station and water available. Towering trees, a sandy beach, covered barbecue area for large parties and ampitheatre with hiking trails make this park a popular spot for vacationers.
Also in Sechelt: beautiful Davis Bay, with sandy beach on a low tide, pier, and Mosaic Market - paninis, salads, coffees, outdoor seating area, upper floor pier. There are many unique retailers in the Sechelt area, including antique sales, arts and crafts, collectibles, clothing and art supplies. Again there is a wide range of restaurants to choose from, from high end waterfront and chef-prepared meals to casual eateries and bistros. Sechelt is also home to kayak companies, boat tours, seaplane terminal and the Sechelt Airport - be sure to check with Fly! Coastal Air for air tours of the Desolation Sound and Whistler recreation areas and sightseeing trips to Victoria Harbour.
Good parks in the Sechelt area include: Snickett Park and Ocean Esplanade walkway along the beach, Kinnickinick Park up by the Sechelt Golf & Country Club, with forested trails (off-leash for well-behaved dogs), Hackett Park in downtown Sechelt for a great small-town green spot.
Halfmoon Bay has Cooper's Green Regional Park, Sargeant Bay oceanfront park and hiking trails, and Trout Lake, a great spot for trout fishing (electric motors or human-powered boats only). Just past Halfmoon Bay is beautiful Smuggler's Cove Provincial Park, with an easy walking trail in to Smuggler's Cove and then a more advanced hilly hike out to the ocean. These parks have parking for campers and mini-motorhomes but challenging for finding parking space for full-size motorhomes.
Day Five and Six: Pender Harbour and Garden Bay
The Pender Harbour area is referred to as the Sunshine Coast's playground, and for good reason. Pender Harbour Resort caters to RV and camping travellers, with hookups, water, firewood, boat rentals, fishing gear, and great places for large crowds to relax and enjoy each others' company in a beautiful environment.
If you've got a large crowd (over 20 people), split up over a couple of days to take advantage of some fabulous sightseeing at this end of the Coast. Half can go on a boat tour up to Princess Louisa Inlet - not to be missed!! - for the day while the other half spelunk around Pender Harbour in the Harbour Hopper for hiking, excellent pub meals and walking tours of the main communities that make up Pender Harbour/Garden Bay - or they can relax at the resort, take out a boat rental or put in their own and try their hand at fishing. Then the next day, switch so everyone gets a chance to see the unforgettable Chatterbox Falls, Malibu Rapids and Camp Malibu tour at Princess Louisa Inlet.
Day Seven: Ruby Lake, Skookumchuck and Egmont
Pack up mid-morning and head up the Coast for lunch at Ruby Lake Resort. Aldo Cogrossi and his family run a fine resort just across from the beautiful Ruby Lake, and have spent a great deal of time and effort building a waterfowl sanctuary for migrating birds passing through the area. Food is terrific Italian food in the Milan tradition, served up with old world charm in a great setting.
After lunch drive up to Egmont and take the turnoff for the Skookumchuck Provincial Park. Park your RVs and take a leisurely 45 minute hike in through forests and past picturesque lakes to get to the top of Agamemmnon Channel and the world-famous Skookumchuck Rapids. Only 3 places in the world boast a tidal variation of this range (about 11 feet) and the current can get up to 16 knots, with eddies and whirpools easily visible from shore. You may even luck out and get to see kayakers test their mettle against the rapids. Pick up the 2013 Best Viewing Times here.
Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls
If you're looking for a cruise to Princess Louisa Inlet, the best way to go is via Sunshine Coast Tours.
After your hike head to the West Coast Wilderness Lodge in Egmont for libation fine dinning with one of the most beautiful views to be had on the planet (reservations and hours 1-877-988-3838), and then hop in your RVs for a 6 minute drive to the terminal for the Earl's Cove ferry to head up to Powell River.
We'll be sorry to see you go!
Powell River and Lund
Saltery Bay Provincial Campground is a great one-day stop on your way up to Powell River, with 42 vehicle-accessible campsites. There are two double sites but no pull-through sites, and a sani-dump station is available. The Park offers a good range of activities: swimming, fishing, diving (a 9ft bronze mermaid awaits the adventurous in - what else - mermaid cove), hiking, cycling, and wildlife viewing. Reserve through Discover Camping.
There are a number of private campgrounds on the way into Powell River, some of which I'm not familiar with but look intriguing. The most notable would have to be the Kents Beach Resort (1-604 487-9386), with its monster water wheel visible from the highway. Seabreeze (1-604-487-9534), Seaside Villa RV, Garnet Rock Oceanside (1-604-487-9535), and smack dab in the middle of everything Willingdon Beach Campsite (1-604-485-2242)... if you drop in or contact them, could you let them know you'd like to see their information on this site? (They can call Laurie McConnell at 604-885-5913).
Heading up to Lund, Sunlund by the Sea (1-604-483-9220) and Okeover Arm Provincial Park are the destinations to look for. Okeover offers 14 vehicle-accessible campsites but there are no power hook-ups or san-station facility.