Sunshine Coast beaches do not fit with what you see on tv. They’re almost never crowded, yet full of life. Our coastline is rugged and rocky, but there are still some great areas to wiggle your toes and play in the sand and feel the cool waves lap over. Tidal pools are waiting to be explored to open the imagination of a child. The beach is a wide open treasure of starfish, bull kelp, hermit crabs, clam shells, funky shaped pieces of driftwood and stones in all shapes and sizes to stack or even paint. Of course, there can be major waves to splash in or very calm waters perfect for swimming.
Here are just a few of what is really an endless stretch of Sunshine Coast beaches you can explore on your next visit.
Armours Beach, Gibsons
Central and convenient, just as you enter Gibsons, this has been a favourite swimming beach for kids for more than 100 years. The Armours family, early European settlers, established a swim float and row boat rental business here in 1912. It’s the beginning (or the end) of the seawalk that will take you the length of Gibsons Landing. Bathroom facilities and picnic tables are available.
BONNIEBROOK BEACH, Gibsons
A favourite for sunsets, this beach is home to the famous Bonniebrook Lodge and elegant Chasters Restaurant – the oldest longest-running accommodation on the Coast for nearly a century. Imagine your grand stay there as you arrived in the early 1900’s by steamship, greeted by one of the lodge staff in a rowboat!
Ocean Beach Esplanade features more walkers and cyclists than cars and is a favourite for morning walks and sunset strolls. On one visit, we managed to catch three kite boarders in mid-flight riding epic waves, harnessed in and in full control rising six to seven feet in the air when they got lift. They were zooming so fast along the shoreline that their definition soon became a small dot on the horizon as their lofty sails swept upward and zipped them further out into the gusts and towering waves.
The summer highlight at the Roberts Creek Pier is the annual community painting of the mandala.
DAVIS BAY, Sechelt
You know you’ve reached Davis Bay when you’ve been driving up the Sunshine Coast Highway for a bit, come around a curve and, “Wow, there is the Pacific Ocean!”. On a clear sunny day when the tide is out, you can sprint along the beach and fly your kite, play in the waves, skim board and even build sandcastles. It is a popular expansive beach with plenty of room at picnic tables and large driftwood logs, whichever suits you. Venture across the street for some snacks (ice cream!) and souvenirs or visit the Lighthouse food truck on location. Every evening, you are sure to catch a cruise ship on its way to Alaska (May-October). The newly refurbished pier is also a favourite spot to catch the sunset.
What a great place to walk your dog, chill out with your latest tunes or simply watch the wind whip on the waves just one block from downtown. The Rotary club established a great little park and playground for picnics and kids love to jump off the pier at high tide. There is a paved walkway the length of downtown Sechelt making it easy for anyone to stroll and enjoy the sea air. Park yourself on the large granite boulders in Snickett Park and lose yourself in a summer novel. At the end of the day, dine seaside in Pebbles Restaurant at the Driftwood Inn.
Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, Sechelt
As beautiful as the oceanfront is, there are long stretches of coastline along our inland lakes and expansive inlets. Porpoise Bay features sandy beaches with more open grassy areas, all with a backdrop of second-growth forests and mountain vistas along Sechelt Inlet. Whether you want to swim or paddle, this beach gives you more of the feel of being on a large lake, calmer than the ocean waves. There is plenty of parking, public washrooms, picnic areas and a marked swimming area for the kids. There are reservable camping sites in the park and a private campground just across the road.
*A few other excellent kid-friendly beach options include Katherine Lake in Pender Harbour, and Ruby Lake at Dan Bosch Park in Pender Harbour. There is also Baker Beach in Pender Harbour that has a wheelchair accessible trail leading to a small swimming beach and picnic area.
Sargeant Bay Provincial Park, Halfmoon Bay
Located just off of Redrooffs Road in Halfmoon Bay. The park has washrooms and a rocky beach. A great place for a stroll, it is peaceful and quiet. Sun is mid morning to mid afternoon. If you feel like sticking around the Halfmoon Bay area, take a quick five minute drive north on Redrooffs road and discover the beauty of Welcome Beach.
Willingdon Beach, Powell River
Located on Marine Drive this is one of the best Powell River area Sunshine Coast Beaches. Sand for those castle builders and swimmers is great here. You will also frequently find kite flyers. There are washrooms, picnic tables, a concession stand and some camping sites. Gorgeous views of the islands, and sun throughout most of the day right into the evening.
Palm Beach, Powell River
Located to the South of Powell River, watch for the signs off Hwy 101. A long sandy beach awaits you! The waters are quickly warmed here and it is a great swimming beach. There is a large park and ample parking. The annual Sunshine Music Festival is held here annually on Labour Day weekend.
Gillies Bay, Texada Island
Located in Gilles Bay, this is a sandy beach and home to the Texada Island Sand Castle Weekend every year. On a low tide, the sand goes out for what seems like miles! On an incoming tide, the water is just like a bath. The views are east to Vancouver Island and sun can be enjoyed all day. There are no washroom facilities, but you are within walking distance to amenities.
Shelter Point Park, Texada Island
A beautiful Sunshine Coast beach! There are a few sandy spots to the south of the park for those wishing to do a little exploring, or wait for a low tide. There are washrooms, picnic tables, volleyball and camping sites at this location. Oysters can be picked right from the rocks on a low tide, and clamming is great here as well.