Located at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast, just north of Vancouver, Gibsons (population: 4,900) is a quaint town of artists and fishing boats. Perched on a hillside, it overlooks a harbour and faces nearby islands in Howe Sound.
As the crow flies, the “Gateway to the Sunshine Coast” is 16km/10mi from Vancouver. Gibsons is accessible via BC Ferries service – a 40 minute ferry ride from West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay terminal – or via Pacific Ferries. This area is home to the traditional territories of both the Squamish and Sechelt First Nations.
Gibsons has earned international recognition: it was recently named the “Most Liveable Community under 20,000” (2009) in a world-wide competition by the UN-backed International Awards for Liveable Communities. But, it’s perhaps most famously known as the location for the longtime hit TV show The Beachcombers, which first aired in 1972 and ran until 1990.
Nowadays, it attracts visitors with its chilled-out blend of water and land activities from scooter to kayak, canoe and SUP rentals, suitable for all ages and ability levels. Choose from kayaking, canoeing, diving, or fishing. Enjoy hiking in the Sunshine Coast’s regional and provincial parks, or play golf. Relax while visiting farmers markets, dining at diverse restaurants, browsing through museums and art galleries, or checking out local festivals and events.
Water Activities in Gibsons
Rent a kayak or canoe and explore the waters off Gibsons Harbour, venturing over to local islands like Keats Island and Gambier Island. Alternatively, kayak up Sechelt Inlet, watching out for dolphins and deer. Wherever travelers go, Sunshine Coast beaches offer great summer swimming. Throughout the year, the ocean around Gibsons offers prime salmon fishing: coho, chinook, chum, pink, and sockeye. Further up the coast, anglers love the trout fishing at Trout Lake, Sakinaw Lake, and Ruby Lake. Fishing charters and equipment rentals are available. Visitors can also stroll along the docks and buy fresh halibut, prawns and crabs at the historic marina in Gibsons Landing.
Land Activities in Gibsons
Hiking up Soames Hill offers a superb view of the region around Gibsons. Check out Sprockids Bike Park conveniently located right up the hill as you drive off the ferry, or stroll around Cliff Gilker Park with its bubbling waterfalls. If you prefer scooting to strolling, head over to Scotty’s Rentals Inc. to explore the community and coastline. While summer is the most popular time of year to visit the Sunshine Coast, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on groomed trails bring winter sports enthusiasts to the Dakota Ridge recreation area on a plateau north of Gibsons and Sechelt.
Food, Culture and More
Gibsons Public Market is a must-visit attraction – grab farm-fresh produce and crafts by local artisans. The Market is also home to the Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre, where you learn all about the local underwater world in Howe Sound. If you are in search of caffeine, the newly opened storefront for Beachcomber Coffee Company is also generating buzz, serving up “coffee in a cone” and selection of sweet & savory treats. Notable local museums include the Sunshine Coast Museum. There are numerous art galleries around Gibsons Landing. Better yet, time your trip to attend one of the annual festivals, including the Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival and the annual Sea Cavalcade, or the Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Festival.