A mild-weathered stretch of sandy beaches, rugged headlands and quiet lagoons running northwest of Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast offers some of western Canada’s best diving, boating and fishing. The only tract of accessible coastline on mainland British Columbia, it’s a possible springboard to Vancouver Island: ferries depart from Powell River, the coast’s largest town, to Comox (on the Island). Most people on short trips make the run to Powell River and then turn tail for Vancouver – there is no alternative route back to the city and no onward road after the village of Lund and the end of Hwy-101 beyond Powell River. If you are just coming out from Vancouver for the day, note that you will need to make ferry crossings en route: the first is from Horseshoe Bay at the western extreme of West Vancouver to Langdale. From there, it’s a short drive to Gibsons where you pick up Hwy-101 for the 79km run along the coast to Earl’s Cove, and the beautiful (and slightly longer) crossing to Saltery Bay, where the boat provides views of some fine maritime landscapes. The road continues 35km to Powell River before coming to an abrupt conclusion 23km later at the picturesque village of Lund.
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