BC Sunshine Coast Circle Tour, British Columbia, Canada. Sunshine Coast, BC

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British Columbia Circle Tours & Driving Tours

3 to 6 days

To begin your tour of BC's Sunshine Coast, take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langsdale Terminal.

Highway 101 takes you to Gibsons Landing, 5 km/3 miles northwest of the terminal. There you can dine on BC seafood, browse the town's small shops and galleries or take in a restful stroll along Gibson's waterfront.

Travelling north on Highway 101, you will come to Roberts Creek and nearby Cliff Giller Regional Park, with its rustic log bridges and tranquil forest trails. Roberts Creek Provincial Park nearby, is a popular campground with access to local beaches.

Sechelt (21 km/13 miles from Gibsons) is the home of the House of Hewhiwus (House of Chiefs), a cultural centre that houses a gallery, theatre and museum, as well as the band offices for the Sechelt Nation. Sechelt is also well known for its Festival of the Written Arts. Camp in Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, or enjoy one of the coast's many bed and breakfast accommodations.

Halfmoon Bay is just north of Sechelt, a scenic cove that is popular among boaters. Smuggler's Cove Provincial Marine Park offers scenic marine trails for day use. Just north of Halfmoon Bay is Pender Harbour, home of some of the best sports fishing on the coast.

Fishing the Coast off Powell River
Photo Courtesy of Sean Percy

Heading north on Highway 101, you come to Earls Cove, the ferry connector to Saltery Bay and Powell River. Powell River is 31 km/19 miles from Saltery Bay. Check out Powell River's great diving sites or simply sit back and enjoy the best sunsets British Columbia's Sunshine Coast has to offer.

24 km/14 miles north of Powell River is Lund, a tiny hamlet on the edge of a land spit. There are any number of excursions to take in the Powell River/Lund area, accessible either by chartered motor boat, kayak, canoe or back road. BC Forest Service Recreation Sites dot the Powell Forest all around the area. RV parks are situated closer to town.

Sunsets are Spectacular at Powell River
Photo: Powell River Chamber of Commerce

Your drive now turns southwest, as you board the ferry for Courtenay, on Vancouver Island. Once on the Island, your main highway will be Highway 19 south and will take you through the towns and historic sites of Comox, Qualicum Beach, Parksville and Nanaimo.

Filberg Lodge and Park in Comox (6 km/4 miles east of Courtenay), is a 1930's heritage estate and home of the famous Filberg Festival. Further south, anglers will enjoy Parksville (72 km/45 miles from Comox), renown for both its fresh and saltwater fishing.

Walking the West Coast Trail
Photo Courtesy of Carolyn Dunnington

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is just off Highway 4, your connector to the Central West Coast of Vancouver Island, and some of BC's most unique parks. At the end of Highway 4 lies the hamlets of Tofino and Ucluelet. In Ucluelet (116 km/73 miles east of Parksville), you can charter a boat that will take you to the Broken Group Islands, south of Highway 4. Tofino, (42 km/26 miles north of Ucluelet) hosts the Pacific Rim Whale festival in the Spring, a great way to learn about West Vancouver Island's ecology and culture.

Some of the small coastal and inland towns just off of Highway 4 are accessible by gravel roads from Port Alberni (50 km/31 miles from Parksville). The town of Bamfield can be reached by a two-day mini cruise from Port Alberni as well as by back road.

Victoria's Old World Charm
Photo Courtesy of Tourism BC

Returning to Highway 19 south, you arrive at Nanaimo, the third oldest city in BC. Scuba dive off Nanaimo's coast, or check out the self-guided walking tour of some of the city's 350 heritage buildings.

To conclude your tour, head to Victoria for some old world hospitality (113 km/70 miles from Nanaimo). Stay in one of the many historic bed and breakfast accommodations located in the city.

Return to Vancouver via ferry at Swartz Bay.

Be sure to browse the Sunshine Coast Points of Interest

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BC Sunshine Coast Circle Tour, British Columbia, Canada. Sunshine Coast, BC