The reasons to gear up and explore the Sunshine Coast are endless. There’s a rider-designed mountain bike park where fast and flowy trails zip you through lush forest with peek-a-boo ocean views. You’ll find endless waterways to paddle, from the warm waters of Desolation Sound to an eight-lake, five-day canoe portage journey through Powell River’s spectacular backcountry. And beneath those surfaces are shipwrecks and a plethora of cold-water marine life.
There’s no need to weigh the car down with gear either. It’s possible to travel light and rent as you go. Below is a list of places where you can suit up, get wheels, or grab paddles. No matter where or how you explore the Sunshine Coast, it will leave you wanting more.
The Sunshine Coast rewards those who explore on two wheels—hit singletrack through lush forest or cruise along the water’s edge. You can also hit the links or explore incredible backcountry areas in the winter.
Hit the Trails at Coast Gravity Mountain Bike Park
The trails at Coast Gravity Park are beloved by mountain bikers of all levels and rider abilities. Designed by professional builders and riders (and Sunshine Coast locals), these trails are fast and flowy with slick berms, fun step-ups and an array of jumps and other technical features. You’ll want a full suspension bike to make the most of your day in the park. Rent one from the bike park, just make sure to pre-book ahead of time as they can’t guarantee day-of stock is available.
Rent an E-Bike and Cruise Around Gibsons
There’s no denying it: the Sunshine Coast is hilly. This is where e-bikes and scooters come in handy. They allow you to explore the Sunshine Coast in a safe, fun, and—most importantly—easy way. Scotty’s Scooters, located at the Gibsons Harbour Marina, rents both. Grab an e-bike and still enjoy the benefits of exercise while you cruise around Gibsons, or hop on a scooter and explore farther afield.
Rent Golf Clubs
Want to hit the links? Most golf courses on the Sunshine Coast rent clubs. Play a round at the Sunshine Coast Golf & Country Club, Blue Ocean Golf Club, Pender Harbour Golf Club or Myrtle Point Golf Club.
Snowshoes & Skis
The Sunshine Coast is home to incredible backcountry terrain, and you don’t need to venture very far to find it either. Dakota Ridge, located halfway between Roberts Creek and Sechelt, and the Knuckleheads Winter Recreation Area in Powell River both offer exceptional access to snowshoe and cross-country ski trails. Rent gear from Alpha Adventures and Powell River Outdoors and explore these winter wonderlands.
One of the best ways to experience the Sunshine Coast? From the water. There’s 180-kilometres of coastline, plus even more waterways, sheltered inlets and bays, and backcountry lakes to explore.
For canoeing enthusiasts, the Powell Forest Canoe Route is a must. There are eight quiet lakes and five portgages to make along 57-kilometres of spectacular coastal scenery. There’s no need to worry about bringing your own canoe either. Mitchells’ in Powell River has everything you need to outfit you for the journey. They’ll get you sorted with a sturdy canoe, plus two personal flotation devices, bow line, throw bail, bailer with spine, and a spare paddle. They also rent overnight gear, including sleeping bags and cook sets.
Kayaks allow you to navigate the Sunshine Coast’s ocean playground. Popular paddling destinations include Sechelt Inlet, Desolation Sound, Lund, Pender Harbour, and Howe Sound (via Gibsons).
On the Southern Sunshine Coast, rent a sea kayak or book a tour from Pedals and Paddles, the Egmont Adventure Centre, Metta Eco Experiences, Alpha Adventures, Halfmoon Sea Kayaks or Talaysay Tours. In qathet, head out on the water outfitted by Powell River Sea Kayaks, Footprint Nature Explorations, and Terracentric Coastal Adventures.
SUPs (stand-up paddleboards) are a great option for those who want the flexibility of exploring both ocean and freshwater. Depending on the day and conditions, you can paddle quiet freshwater lakes in Pender Harbour or cruise close to the shoreline in Gibsons, Sechelt, and Powell River (and make beach stops in between). They’re also great if you’re short on time and are looking for a quick way to exercise the body and soul.
In Powell River, head to Willingdon Beach, where you can rent SUPs by the hour, half-day or full day from Stillwater Paddles. Rentals are available on a first come, first served basis unless a prepaid reservation is made. Don’t have a car? Not to worry. Palli Paddles is a mobile paddleboard rental delivery company that operates in Powell River, Lund, Madeira Park and Sechelt. They’ll bring paddleboards straight to the water’s edge and help you discover the spectacular waterways of the Sunshine Coast, hassle-free. The best part? There’s no need to return the gear. They’ll pick it up so you can be on your way.
Jet Ski Rentals
Looking to switch pace? Hop on a jet ski and surf the waves of Jervis Inlet and Hotham Sound near Egmont. Power your way to Freil Falls, one of the longest free-standing waterfalls in the area, scoot around Harmony Islands, or drift (at a safe distance) in view of a sea lion colony—all in an afternoon. Egmont Adventure Centre will get you acquainted with jet skis and the area. But as they say, “A map and directions are provided, but the adventure is all yours.”
Rent a jet ski from Egmont Adventure Centre.
Scuba Gear Rentals
There’s plenty to see below the water, too. On the Sunshine Coast, our deep-water fjords and sheltered inlets offer pristine, cold-water diving with plenty of shipwrecks, marine life and artificial reefs to explore.
Skookumchuck Narrows is highly rated by the Cousteau Society while the Iron Mines dive site in Lund features a plethora of marine life clinging to the vertical walls that drop into an abyss. Mermaid Cove in Saltery Bay is a popular shore dive and where Canada’s first underwater statue rests serenely. Easy, beginner-friendly dive spots can be found in Sechelt Inlet, accessed via the small cabin community of Tuwanek.
Seadog Diver’s Den in Sechelt is the only dive shop located on the Southern Sunshine Coast. They’ll get you outfitted with dive gear and plenty of local advice and knowledge. (They also offer night dives, courses and other intro classes to get you started on your cold-water diving journey.) Also located in Sechelt is the Scuba Shack, a vacation rental meets dive shop. They will be renting gear again starting this November, and you can book a room for easy access to diving. On the Northern Sunshine Coast, Salish Sea Dive offers gear, courses, plus the option to get out on shore dives and to deeper dive spots via a boat charter.
Boat & Rod Rentals
Pender Harbour is one of the most popular boating destinations on the Sunshine Coast. The area’s protected waters make it an easy (and safe) place for boaters of all levels to navigate. These same waterways are home to productive fisheries and anglers can drop lines for salmon, lingcod and halibut year-round.
Rent a boat right off the dock from Pender Harbour Resort and spend an afternoon cruising along the shore, finding sheltered bays where you can drift and swim, and places where you can drop a line and lazily cast for fish. The resort has two, 19-foot motorboats that seat six available, plus fishing rods and downriggers for rent.