British Columbia’s tranquil and picturesque Sunshine Coast is a mere 40-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver. The lower Sunshine coast extends from Langdale to Earls Cove, where BC Ferries connects you to the upper coast by way of Saltry Bay. Blessed with 2,400 hours of annual sunshine this pristine coastline is sprinkled with quaint towns, hidden coves and sandy beaches – providing the ideal setting for a romantic weekend getaway.
Gibsons is the first town after Langdale, and the perfect place to stretch your legs and explore the newly refurbished waterfront. After spending the afternoon meandering hand-in-hand through family owned artisan shops and galleries, take in the Marina views at Smitty’s Oyster House.
Owner and restaurateur Stanford, one of the original partners in Yaletown’s Rodney’s Oyster House, opened this hidden seafood gem in 2007. The oversized windows that open to the patio and funky loft-style architecture of this restored historic Marine building create a casually sophisticated atmosphere for indulging in freshly shucked oysters washed down with micro-brewed beer. Sunny days call for feasting on New England Clam Chowda, Ahi Tuna Tartar and Rock Crab Cakes with house-made red pepper jelly, family-style at the 27-foot spruce harvest patio table. Work off the generously sized portions with a hike in Soames Hill Regional Park (off Boyle Road) and take in the sweeping views of Gibsons’ Harbour and the surrounding coastal islands.
Sechelt, coined as the Heart of the Sunshine Coast, is a few kilometres North of Gibsons. This small, laid-back community offers a vibrant town centre, beautiful beaches and abundance of eco-activities including kayaking. Pedals and Paddles in Tilicum Bay offers a variety of tours through the sheltered inlets of Sechelt, Narrows and Salmon.
The protected coves and calm winds in this area allow for a relaxed tandem paddle to enjoy the stunning west-coast scenery and secluded beaches for picnicking. A favourite swimming beach among locals and visitors alike is Davis Bay, where in the summer months the sandy beach and shallow waters are warmed to Mediterranean-like temperatures. For those who prefer a more luxurious tour of the scenic coastline, book a boat cruise with A Place By The Sea. Departing from Porpoise Bay, these three-hour roundtrip tours sail to the 40 hectare Kunechin Point Marine Park before returning back to the bay. While taking in the marine life and spectacular waterfront homes you’ll dine on gourmet appetizers, fresh fruit and home baked goods.Pender Harbour
Often referred to as the Venice of the North, due to its temperate climate and intricate maze of waterways, Pender Harbour is located on the northern tip of the Lower Coast. Madeira Park, Garden Bay and Irvines Landing are the three charming ocean-side villages that make-up the Pender Harbour community. A romantic afternoon trip from this area is to take the water taxi to Jedediah Island Marine Provincial Park and explore the walking trails, old growth forest and rich marine ecosystem. For oceanfront dining in a contemporary west-coast atmosphere visit The Restaurant at Painted Boat in Madeira Park. Dedicated to procuring regional ingredients, The Restaurant’s Vancouver Iron Chef winner Spencer Watts has designed a seasonal menu of creative dishes including Boneless Braised Lamb Shank with Yam Puree, Savoy Cabbage Strudel and Five Spice Jus and the succulent Fraser Valley Duck Breast with Beluga Lentils, Parsnip Puree and Cherry Brown Butter.
CELEBRATE YOUR LOVE UNDER A BLANKET OF STARS
One of the most serene and romantic places on the Lower Coast is the Rockwater Secret Cove Resort in Half Moon Bay.
Perfectly situated between Langdale and Saltry Bay, this critically acclaimed resort marries rustic with luxury in a boutique collection of lavish waterfront Tenthouse Suites. Each luxurious tent features deluxe furnishings, private veranda and hydro-therapy tub overlooking the sparkling waters of Secret Cove. Lovebirds from around the globe have exchanged vows, celebrated an anniversary or become betrothed at this idyllic resort. For anyone looking for the perfect proposal, Rockwater offers a stress-free ‘Just Bring the Rock’ package for $599. Included in this life-changing offer is a one-night Tenthouse stay, Bliss couples massage, three-course in-suite candlelight dinner, rose petal turndown, chilled sparkling wine and breakfast in bed the following morning.