The Sunshine Coast is a vibrant area in southern British Columbia, along the mainland coast separated from Vancouver Island by the Salish Sea (Georgia Strait), accessible only by ferry, boat, or plane. Travellers along the Sunshine Coast highway will enjoy discovering great communities, stunning natural vistas, and a laid-back vibe. Whether you're looking for a quiet cottage, camping, hiking, biking, boating, fishing, SCUBA diving, artisan communities, or beach life the Sunshine Coast has it all but feels a million miles away from the urban bustle.
The Sunshine Coastal area is separated from the Lower Mainland of BC by Jervis Inlet. BC Ferries provide services to/from different communities along the coast on Vancouver Island and the surrounding islands, as well as from the Horseshoe Bay terminal in West Vancouver. Boat Rentals and Water Taxi Service is available. Pacific Coastal Airlines and Harbour Air also offer flights along the coast.
The vast majority of travellers will cross using the BC Ferries route from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale in the southern section of the Sunshine Coast. Charming communities such as Gibsons, Sechelt and Pender Harbour line the 80km route ending at Earl's Cove. From Earl's cove, another ferry crosses to Saltery Bay and leads into the northern region and the town of Powell River. The ferry rides are spectacular.
Growing up, I knew this coast well as we spent time on my father's sailboat and visited my uncle on one of the islands but it had been many years. A dear friend had moved to Powell River during the pandemic and I decided to take some time to meander my way to see her and get a feel for the area for future explorations.
Checking out various campsites online, I decided that Robert's Creek Provincial Park would be ideal for a couple of days while I checked out the southern stretch of the Sunshine Coast. Robert's Creek is located along the Sunshine Coast highway about halfway between Gibsons and Sechelt and I knew there were some good trails and beaches in the area.
The Provincial Park camping grounds offer a no-frills $20 per night site with pit toilets, water and a dump station. There are no powered sites or hook-ups. All sites are very shaded...great for escaping the heat but too shaded for good solar charging. No reservations are accepted with all sites available on a first-come, first-serve basis. It was a holiday weekend and I knew I would need to arrive right about 11 am to ensure getting a site. The picnic and beach area is located about 10 minutes drive (30-minute walk along the highway) south of the campgrounds. I got a step-up site... not my favourite style but it wasn't occupied...
The little village of Robert's Creek is tucked just off the highway. This area is the traditional lands of the Coast Salish First Nations, with the creek being the original boundary between the shíshálh (Sechelt) and skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) people. Over the past 60 years, Roberts Creek has become known as a haven for artisans, crafters, and artists who open their home studios to visitors. Many summer cottages have been turned into year-round homes. There are many cottages and bed & breakfast places offering comfortable stays for visitors.
I enjoyed a walk around the community garden.
I enjoyed several sets from local musicians as part of their "Slow Sundays" in the park.
...and I had a delicious lunch at The Gumboot Café.
The Provincial Park Picnic area is at the end of Flume Road. There is a small grassy area with some picnic benches and, like most of the coast, a rocky beach. Water shoes make it much easier to walk along the beach.
The water is quite shallow for 50 meters or so and is warmed by the rocky bottom. Check near the biggest boulders to find areas with fewer rocks. In the winter, whales often come here at low tide to rub their bellies against the rock bottom.
My favourite activity in Roberts Creek was a visit to Cliff Gilker Park. I walked from the campsite (about 2.5 km) and then spent almost a full day exploring the beautiful trails.
This is a great place, lots of little waterfalls, bridges, huge trees, and shade...
These bridges are only 2 planks wide...
Tucked under one of the bridges was the Pool of Happiness!
It truly was a pool of happiness.... so refreshing!