The trip is part of the adventure.
The Sunshine Coast is located in southwest British Columbia, Canada and stretches 180 km (110 mi) along the Salish Sea from Howe Sound to Desolation Sound. Overall, it lies just northwest of Vancouver. Although it is part of BC’s mainland, access to the region is by air or by water due to the mountainous terrain. There are no bridges connecting the Sunshine Coast to Vancouver or Vancouver Island regions.
If you’re bringing a car:
To bring your vehicle to the Sunshine Coast, you must take a car ferry via BC Ferries’ scheduled service for vehicles and pedestrians from either Vancouver (to Gibsons) and Vancouver Island (to Powell River). These ferries take all vehicles (including bicycles) as well as foot passengers, and pets are welcome too. Check the BC Ferries website for information on fares, schedules and ships’ amenities and services. Extra sailings are added during peak periods. Review schedules closely for your travel dates.
Reservations are available, but not required, on most Sunshine Coast sailings to and from Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Part of the ship is always available on a first come first served basis. Reservations can be very helpful during summer and holidays when you want to sail at a specific time and to avoid long waits at the terminal.
BC Ferries also provides transportation to Texada Island, Keats Island, Gambier Island and between the two halves of the Sunshine Coast (Earl’s Cove/Saltery Bay).
If you’re travelling by bus, bike, or on foot:
As mentioned above, you can utilize BC Ferries’ scheduled service as a walk on passenger (pedestrian) and bring a bike as well. There are also many other transit options available to you, including the new Pacific Ferries service from downtown Vancouver (Coal Harbour), and the Sunshine Coast Connector – a convenient bus service between downtown Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast through to Powell River via select BC Ferry sailings. Translink also provides ample service allowing travellers to easily connect from metro Vancouver via the SkyTrain & public bus connections to get to the ferry terminal, Coal Harbour, or the float plane terminals. Translink between Vancouver and Horseshoe Bay via the 257 Horseshoe Bay Express or 250 Horseshoe Bay routes will be your go-to options – just be sure to check ahead for ferry departure times to ensure you make your connection, and take into account that buses may not always be exactly on time.
Never travelled with your bike on the ferry? Not to worry! This short video will tell you all you need to know about loading and unloading, as well as where to store your bike during the ride.
Cyclists buy their tickets at the foot passenger ticket office in Horseshoe Bay – be sure to let them know you are a cyclist. You should then be given directions to the security gate across the street from the ticket office. Walk your bike to the gate and follow signs to the berth. There is a small waiting area for cyclists.
Bikes are loaded before the vehicles. Watch for directions from staff. You will be asked to walk your bike across the loading ramp, and can mount the bike in a rack once you’re on the main ferry deck.
The bike will add an extra $2 to your foot passenger cost.
If you don’t plan to bring a car, skip the boat altogether with a short flight. From the Vancouver International Airport (YVR), you can fly direct to Powell River via Pacific Coastal Airlines, and to Sechelt via Harbour Air or Fly! Coastal. From Vancouver Island, both Sunshine Coast Air and Harbour Air operate regular flights from Victoria and Nanaimo to Sechelt. Come straight from Downtown Vancouver with Harbour Air as they operate a direct service from March to October. Not only is this quick and convenient, but it is a beautiful way to experience more the Sunshine Coast’s landscape.