Four of my favourite outdoor spaces on the Sunshine Coast to enjoy with your family and friends. All are perfect spots to bring a picnic lunch and stay for awhile. The scenery is amazing - sunsets and the sea. Wildlife is plentiful - starfish, sea snakes and seals. Swimming is cold and sunbathing is hot.
Smuggler Cove Provincial Park
Yes, Smuggler Cove is one of the more visited parks in the Sunshine Coast and I was curious to see how busy it would be. When we arrived the parking lot was full. It turns out that between 1 pm to 4 pm is the busiest time to hike here. I suggest going before or after this time. When we left the park at 4pm the parking lot was already empty and we essentially had the place to ourselves.
There was a park warden at the trailhead reminding us all to be respectful of other hikers and keep to the 2 metres apart rule. Fellow hikers were mindful of each other and walking this trail was enjoyable.
The bridges were a bit of a worry being narrow and one bridge for both directions. It turned out that at each end of the bridges hikers would wait for the bridge to clear before starting off. It made the trek fabulous for all!
This is a well marked trail with lots of information along the way. Supposedly there are beavers here, but we were not lucky enough to see any.
Water lilies were abundant, big, bold and full of colour. Great for photographing!
There are signs explaining the history of Smuggler Cove. A couple of notable and fun facts - smugglers would use this cove to hideout in while trying to get Chinese workers into the United States in the 1800's. It was also used during prohibition hiding the alcohol smugglers from the authorities. Hence the name.
A round trip trail of 4 kms, it is an easy hike with or without children.
We used the SEEK app to identify flora and fauna along the way. It was great fun, especially with the grandchildren identifying plants and insects. I love that we got to see the Indian Pipe Plant!
We went on the Smuggler Cove hike with the intention of finding a spot to enjoy our packed lunch. We found it above!
Bring sunscreen and bug spray with you. The sun was hot and the mosquitos were fierce!
Find out more about Smuggler Cove here.
Sandy Hook Park
A great park to watch the evening sunset from!
A small park found in the Sandy Hook subdivision is the perfect spot to enjoy the evening sunset!
Bring your kayak, canoe or paddle-board and float out onto the sea. We took off our shoes and waded in the water looking for starfish and sea snakes. Both of which we found!
A boat launch is also located here. Boats stored along the road make for great photos. There is also a picnic table and a bench seat available.
The playground is located just above the beach near the public parking. I think we loved the big trees more than the swings!
More information on Sandy Hook Park here.
Located along the Sechelt waterfront, overlooking the Strait of Georgia with Vancouver Island in the distance, this is by far one of my favourite local gems.
The giant rocks for sitting on - or having a nap in the sun - the rock beaches for swimming and storm glass gathering - a place for a bonfire and supper - and star gazing make this park fabulous.
The entrance to the Snickett Park is located on 5440 Shornecliffe Ave in Sechelt.
Pedals & Paddles - Kayaking | Marine Camps | Tours
We rented 3 kayaks and a canoe from Pedals & Paddles for a three hour paddle up the coast to Tuwanek Beach. This was a fantastic way to spend the day with the family.
We packed a lunch and headed for Tuwanek Beach. Recommended by the staff, this was the perfect distance for us to paddle.
Tuwanek Beach was beautiful and easy for us to land our kayaks. There is also a campground accessible only by kayak or canoe. Camp sites are set back from the beach, in the trees and made us wish we had come to stay overnight.
The staff at Pedals and Paddles made our family kayak trip the best. They supplied maps of the area and helped us plot a course that wasn't too long for our ability. It was great fun!
Found at 7425 Sechelt Inlet Road, Sechelt. For information and to book your paddle adventure click here.
Photo credits: Chandi O'Brien
For early morning walks or early evening strolls, this is the spot! A rocky beach full of driftwood, little creeks and views of Vancouver island in the distance - this is a great place to bring a coffee and just walk.
I love strolling along the beach listening to the waves breaking on the rocks. It is peaceful and soul cleansing.
Windsurfing and fishing are popular pastimes and with good water shoes so is swimming.
This beach is also home to Bonniebrook Lodge and Chasters Restaurant, one the longest running Lodges on the Coast for nearly a century. There is public parking at the beginning of the beach access.
Chaster Park and Bonniebrook Beach is located on Ocean Beach Esplanade in Gibsons.
Getting to the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver
Via Sunshine Coast Air: https://www.sunshinecoastair.com
Need a place to stay in Vancouver? Check out our post on The Sylvia Hotel!