With just 4 days, head straight to the Lower Sunshine Coast for some relaxation and outdoor adventure before returning to Vancouver for a day to explore the city. Waking up next to the Pacific Ocean, you'll have easy access to sheltered coves and inlets, driftwood-strewn beaches, and quaint seaside villages with surprisingly great restaurants and breweries.

Highlights

  • Escape to an idyllic stretch of coastline less than two hours from Vancouver
  • Explore over 100 miles of protected coves, inlets, and driftwood-strewn beaches
  • Hike, kayak, and paddle-board at some of the best spots in British Columbia
  • End your days at great local breweries and local sea-to-table restaurants

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Vancouver, Drive to Sechelt (3 hours) Sechelt
Day 2 Explore the Lower Sunshine Coast Sechelt
Day 3 Sechelt to Vancouver (2 h 30 min) Vancouver
Day 4 Depart Vancouver  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Vancouver, Drive to Sechelt (3 hours)

Sechelt Beach
Sechelt Beach

Welcome to Vancouver! Instead of spending the night in the city, hit the road right away and head north to Horseshoe Bay where you'll catch the ferry to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. This 112-mile (180 km) stretch of coastline—from Howe Sound in the south to Desolation Sound in the north—holds countless bays and inlets, driftwood-strewn beaches, lush fir forests, and rugged headlands backed by snowcapped mountains.

Arriving in Langdale, head to Gibsons, a historic fishing village named the world’s most liveable small town by the International Awards for Liveable Communities in 2009. You'll find shops, cafes, and local artisans' galleries overlooking Howe Sound where it's easy to drift away the afternoon. Check out the Gibsons Public Market for a fresh cup of coffee and baked goods or head to the Sunshine Coast Museum to learn about the local history. For great seafood, head to Smitty’s Oyster House overlooking the harbor. Don't forget to also sample the great local craft beer at Tapworks Brewing or Persephone Brewing; both are highlights on British Columbia's popular Ale Trail.

Continuing up the coast, stop in the village of Roberts Creek, where 1930s-era cottages meet an enduring 1960s vibe. Walk along the driftwood-strewn beach at Roberts Creek Provincial Park, or, if you didn't grab lunch in Gibsons, head to the Gumboot Café which serves excellent farm-to-table meals and is just a short walk from the beach. 

Sechelt, the coast’s biggest town, is rich with craft shops and cultural attractions. Check out the Arts Centre which features works by local artists as well as live music and literary events or the Tems Swiya Museum which documents the culture of the shíshálh Nation, who have lived along the coast for thousands of years. For dinner, head to the Lighthouse Pub perched scenically over the Sechelt Inlet for great seafood and local craft beer. 

Driving time (Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay): 30 minutes (12 miles / 12 km)
Ferry time (Horseshoe Bay to Langdale): 40 minutes
Driving time (Langdale to Sechelt): 30 minutes (16 miles / 26 km)

Day 2: Explore the Lower Sunshine Coast

Smuggler Cove, just off the Sunshine Coast
Smuggler Cove, just off the Sunshine Coast

The Lower Sunshine Coast stretches from Gibsons in the south to Egmont in the north and offers a bit of everything—mountains, lakes, and long stretches of coastline to explore. Spend the day in the outdoors, hiking a number of great trails, paddling and relaxing along the coast, or renting a boat and exploring Pender Harbor. In the afternoon and evening, hit up a couple of the great local breweries and restaurants around Gibsons and Sechelt. 

Day 3: Sechelt to Vancouver (2 h 30 min)

Sunset over Vancouver
Sunset over Vancouver

It's a 30-minute drive to Langdale where you'll catch the ferry to Horseshoe Bay on the mainland. Take your time to enjoy the stops along the way. From Horseshoe Bay, it's only a 30-minute drive to Vancouver. 

Before catching the ferry, consider grabbing lunch in nearby Gibsons, a small town in southern Sunshine Coast. The town has two sections: the original 100-year-old fishing village around the harbor, and a commercial corridor along the highway. Around the harbor, Gower Point Road is a charming strip of seafaring businesses, antique dealers, arty shops, and cafés. 

Driving time (Sechelt to Langdale): 30 minutes (16 miles / 26 km)
Ferry time (Langdale to Horseshoe Bay): 40 minutes
Driving time (Horseshoe Bay to Vancouver): 30 minutes (12 miles / 20 km)

Day 4: Depart Vancouver

Sunset over Vancouver from Kits Beach
Sunset over Vancouver from Kits Beach

Head to The Naam (open 24/7) for an early morning breakfast before making your way to the airport. If you're feeling indulgent, splurge on a seaplane harbor tour to take in the magnificent scenery of the mountain-and-sea-dominated city from a new perspective. Alternatively, enjoy some more time at Stanley Park, paying a visit to Klahowya Village via the Spirit Catcher miniature train to watch cultural performances. Here you can also purchase souvenirs and gifts of traditional First Nations arts and crafts from the Artisan Marketplace and Métis Trading Post.

It usually takes 30 minutes to travel from downtown Vancouver to Vancouver International Airport but allow extra time in case of traffic. Best to arrive at least two hours prior to your international departure while allowing extra time to drop off your rental car.