Sunshine Coast, BC.
The Sunshine Coast is one of BC's best kept secrets. Stretching along 180 km of coast you'll find quaint oceanside villages, quirky shops, friendly people and breathtaking views.
This was our first trip to the Sunshine Coast. Dennis and I like to head to the coast at least once during the summer to escape the Okanagan heat. We usually head to Tofino but since we didn't look at booking anything until June everything was full! I looked at lots of different places on the island and up the coast but everything was fully booked!
I was lucky enough to stumble upon the Sunshine Coast Resort Hotel & Marina and it just so happened that they had one room left for the exact dates that we wanted and it was pet friendly! I called them right away and booked it!
So a month later, at the end of July, we packed up the car and the dog and headed west.
We stayed at the Sunshine Coast Resort in one of their ocean view suites which had a beautiful view over looking the marina. The room was pet friendly which was great so we were able to bring our chocolate lab Rypien! However, there were a few deficiencies.... Our room did not have air conditioning! And it was very hot, so you had to keep the windows open to cool off. I normally wouldn't have a problem with this except there were no screens on the windows, so if you left the windows open for too long the room would fill up with bugs and mosquitos. The room was nice and clean but was showing some signs of wear and tear and could definitely benefit from a little updating.
The resort itself was nice, great location and views and had some great activities on offer - from kayaking to ping pong and boat rentals (all of which I would highly recommend). There were also lots of great hiking trails nearby to explore. However, if you have trouble with stairs be wary as there are a lot of stairs throughout the resort.
The Sunshine Coast is by no means a culinary destination but there are a few good restaurants that are worth checking out....
We were on the Sunshine Coast for a total of 5 nights and ate breakfast every morning at Emmelle's Bistro in Madeira Park. I loved the casual atmosphere, full of light and colour with some cool funky art. The staff were laid back and super friendly, the food was delicious, the coffee was great and their fresh baked sconces were superb. A great little eatery!
Although there is a nice view from the restaurant and the resort is in a lovely location, the restaurant lacked some serious ambiance. I felt as though it had more of a group dining room in a budget hotel vibe rather than one (in what they refer to themselves) as a luxury resort. The service and the quality of the food was good and our dinner here was probably one of the best we had on the Sunshine Coast, but I just felt like the ambiance did not reflect the prices.
We found out that the chef at this restaurant was actually form Italy and had been told that this was the best restaurant on the Sunshine Coast. Unfortunately, it did not live up to our expectations. The service was fine but the food was a bit disappointing. I ordered "Aldo's Special Farfalle al Salmone" which, as I was told by our server is the dish "they're known for", unfortunately the pasta was bland and the salmon was a bit 'fishy'.
Francis Point Provincial Park
Francis Point is a beautiful Provincial Park with great trails along the beach. This isn't a long hike (about 30 mins to 1 hour max), but it is one of the most beautiful. It winds its way along a wooded and rocky trail and there are some fantastic views over to Vancouver Island. When you get to the end of the trail you can explore the rocky outcroppings or sit back, relax and take in the view! It's also a great spot for a picnic!
The views from Mount Daniel are to die for and well worth the climb! This small mountain is about 440 meters (1443 feet) high and takes roughly 40 minutes to an hour to climb (depending on your fitness level). The hike doesn't require much direction as there is one trail and it is well marked.
Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park
The Skookumchuck Narrows is an unusual geological feature. It consists of a narrow opening between the open waters of the Georgia Strait and the Sechelt Inlet. As the tide comes in and out, water pours through the opening, creating the rapids. Experienced kayakers can often be seen riding the rapids.
You have to hike into see the rapids. But it's an easy 4 km hike along a well marked trail. Be sure to check the Skookumchuck Tides Brochure which lists the best viewing times for each day of the year.