The Powtown Post

Stories and photos from Powell River, BC.

5 Tips on How to Travel the Sunshine Coast so You’ll Want to Come Back Again

Posted by on May 31, 2017

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The views from the ferry are always worth the wait: especially in summer.

Ferries. That’s basically what this article is about.

Powell River is a beautiful place, but it can feel very, very isolated. Of course, that’s part of the charm of the upper Sunshine Coast and a big reason why we love it up here. The coast boasts beautiful, secluded beaches, quiet hikes, and no lines to get outside.

All of that serine, quiet bliss does come with a bit of a journey. But, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Here at the Powtown Post, we thought we’d put together a guide for how to travel up to Powell River efficiently enough that you’ll want to come back. Take it from us: we’re sort of the experts when it comes to ferries, scenic drives and how to kill time when you’re waiting at a terminal for 3 hours (if you read this, that shouldn’t happen to you).

So here you have it: 5 tips on traveling the Sunshine Coast:

1. Book ahead (but only if you need to).

BC Ferries allows you to book sailings ahead of time. This is a great idea if you’re planning to travel on a long weekend or any other busy weekend during the summer. For long weekends, think about checking several months ahead of time to book your sailing. It’s about $15 extra and well worth it.

2. Be on time (a.k.a early).

There will always be a line at most ferries, and if you don’t have a reservation, you’ll want to get there early to avoid getting left behind. BC Ferries usually recommends half an hour to forty-five minutes. Yes, I’ve caught the ferry with 5 minutes to spare, but that was on a small gulf island with special treatment.

A very peaceful commute.

3. Bring a book, snacks and a pillow—and if it’s summer: a cooler.

Waiting is frustrating, we get it. What’s even more frustrating? Spending lots of money you didn’t plan on spending on snacks and entertainment in a ferry line up. Some terminals have wifi, so you can even bring work with you, if you need.

4. Don’t stop (unless you’re a tourist: and then, please, don’t slow down to look at deer).

The locals know what’s up. Get on the ferry and rush to the next, or get left behind. Often, the ferries won’t line up perfectly for your trip, and don’t afford the average driver time to enjoy a leisurely drive up the coast. The whole Sunshine Coast is a beautiful drive: it’s a windy, seaside, mountain-crossing, valley-dipping trip. If you want to spend time seeing places other than Powell River along your drive, plan your ferries accordingly so you have lots of time in between to stop for a hike, a swim, or a lunch in Gibsons, Sechelt, or Roberts Creek.

5. Use the ferry card!

Who doesn’t like savings? The BC Ferries Experience Card let’s you add a minimum balance online or at a terminal location. It saves you about 15% per sailing and is definitely worth it. You can take the money off of it if you’re not going to use it again, but trust us— once you come to the coast, you’ll want to come back.

Happy sailing!

Kamilah Charters-Gabanek

Kamilah Charters-Gabanek

Originally from Texada Island, Kamilah Charters-Gabanek moved to Vancouver in 2009 and now works in higher education. Her best summer job was riding the ferry between Comox and Powell River, letting tourists know the best places to experience on the Sunshine Coast.
Kamilah Charters-Gabanek

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