British Columbia is worth visiting for its scenery alone. However, tucked away in Northern British Columbia, away from the bustle of Vancouver, lies The Sunshine Coast. This regional district sits across Vancouver Island, close to Squamish and Whistler. The name stems from early efforts to promote the region as an ideal resort destination during the warmer months, though the area is home to the Squamish, Sechelt, Sliammon, and Klahoose First Nations. Though it’s known for its robust participation in the forestry industry, it has attracted tourist attention over recent years due to its breathtaking beauty. Here are some interesting facts about British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast and why travelers should check out this region in the Western Canadian province!

10 The Region Has Various Islands

The Sunshine Coast is teeming with islands of variable sizes, with some being more popular than others. Each island is unique, offering visitors something different. Although islands like Texada and Savary are popular destinations for summer vacations and water sports (like kayaking), some of their islands remain uninhabited or occupied by smaller communities. Though Texada Island can be accessed by the province’s public ferry services and air, other islands are accessible through other means, including private boats and water taxis. That means travelers should do their research before embarking on each island and plan accordingly.

9 There Are White Sand Beaches

Known as a slice of paradise within the Sunshine Coast, Savary Island is home to beautiful white-sand beaches with the warmest waters anywhere north of Mexico. The beaches at Savary Island (like South Beach) are also home to sand cliffs and forest dunes, making it a pretty sight while taking a dip in the comfortable waters. To get to Savary, visitors will need to take a water taxi from the town of Lund, located at the end of Highway 101, otherwise known as the Sunshine Coast Highway.

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8 There Are Plenty Of Spa Resorts

Need a break from the busy city life or in need of a quiet retreat amongst the tranquility of nature? While it’s not exactly the Spa Capital of the World, there are numerous retreats for a relaxing getaway within BC’s gorgeous forests on the Sunshine Coast. What’s more, resorts like Backed Resort & Marina are located along the shores of the area, offering beautiful coastal views to guests. Some resorts even offer private decks (such as Beach Gardens Resort & Marina) or unique accommodations, including geodesic domes and clamping-style stays.

7 It’s The Only Place To See The Skookumchuck Narrows

Also known as “Skook” or the Sechelt Rapids, the Skookumchuck (meaning “strong water”) Narrows are a special sight that can only be found around British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. Approximately 200 billion gallons of water pass through the Skookumchuck Narrows, sometimes creating captivating whirlpools, standing waves, and white caps. Though there’s no Aero Car to see the whirlpool, visitors can still view this incredible natural phenomenon at the Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park, particularly within Roland and North Points.

6 Rejuvenate And Relax At Spa Retreats

What could be more relaxing than a spa day away from honking cars, city lights, and crowds of people? The Sunshine Coast is equipped with eco-lodges and spa retreats to soothe aching bones and restless minds, especially after a long day of hiking and physical activities. So take a dip in a hot tub or get a deep-tissue massage in the heart of the Sunshine Coast, all while being surrounded by BC’s incredible natural landscapes.

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5 Water Activities Galore!

Its proximity to the coast makes the Sunshine Coast an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and adventurous travelers. Enjoy a range of water activities from kayaking to paddling, or take a simple swim on the beach. Fishing and boating are other popular activities to enjoy in the area, which is another way to relax and unwind on the Sunshine Coast. Alternatively, hidden gems like the Desolation Sound Marine Park are great for those who fancy scuba diving.

4 The Area Is Teeming With Wildlife

This West coast province is known for its rich wildlife, home to various animals, from orcas to grizzly bears. Though it’s important to remain at a safe distance from these wild animals, visitors can still view these majestic creatures from a safe distance through tours. Tours, like that from Klahoose Wilderness Resort, offer visitors experiences to view grizzly bears in Toba Inlet in the summer months. Alternatively, visitors can book boating tours, and they may come across a couple of birds or a family of orcas!

3 Visitors Can Take Unique Tours

Visitors who are curious about the history of the Sunshine Coast and Indigenous communities who inhabit the area can book interactive and eco-friendly cultural tours. Talaysay Tours offers visitors an ecotourism experience to learn about the history, legends, and the Aboriginal ways of life around the Sunshine Coast (and Vancouver). Moreover, the Klahoose Wilderness Resort offers stays and experiences inspired by the traditional ways of the Klahoose people. The Sunshine Coast is not only blessed with beautiful, rugged landscapes but a rich and storied Indigenous history.

2 There Are Many Art Galleries And Museums

The Sunshine Coast has the highest population of artists and crafters in Canada. That means tourists have plenty of opportunities to admire the natural landscapes and local artists! There are no shortages of art galleries, museums, and studios on the Sunshine Coast for the artist-loving traveler. Head on over to the Sunshine Coast Museum & Archives to explore the area's history through artworks. Otherwise, visit art galleries to view unique art, such as Kimberley Francis’ Cedar Carvings.

1 Follow The BC Ale Trail!

The Sunshine Coast is not only home to some of the most beautiful rugged cliffs and coastal sights in all of BC; many breweries also call this region home. Visitors looking for a unique tour should embark on the Sunshine Coast Ale Trail and explore the Brewer’s Coast! Wet some whistles and visit local, small-batch breweries like Batch 44 Brewery & Kitchen, Tapworks Brewing Company, The 101 Brewhouse & Distillery, and Townsite Brewing. Unlike the hiking challenge found at the West Coast Trail, this particular trail requires no hiking boots!