The Sunshine Coast Ferry – A Travel Writer’s Paradise

The Sunshine Coast Ferry – A Travel Writer’s Paradise

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A ferry trip from Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast opens up an oasis of pristine beaches, cedar forests, summer cottages and year-round recreation – as well as festivals that foster community spirit.

Coastal Rides provides convenient and cost-effective transport along the Sunshine Coast from Gibsons to Langdale and Powell River and beyond.

Getting There

Travel writers know the “getting there” part of any trip can often be half the fun, and this rings especially true with Vancouver’s Sunshine Coast: an area with breathtaking waterfront real estate north of Vancouver that seems more like an island getaway despite only two ferry rides and meandering coastal towns connecting it back to civilization.

BC Ferries operates multiple daily sailings on its Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) to Langdale/Sunshine Coast and Comox (Little River) to Powell River routes, with reservations strongly advised during peak travel periods like summer weekends and holidays.

Public transit options in Tsawwassen and surrounding communities are also abundant, including frequent connections from Tsawwassen ferry terminal to downtown Vancouver via bus lines 250 and 257. Vancouver International Airport and Texada Island also provide short float plane flights between Langdale and Powell River terminals and Vancouver International Airport; alternatively you could charter your own boat and chart your own course through Desolation Sound, Princess Louisa Inlet and beyond for some memorable Sunshine Coast anchorages and marinas.

Getting Around

The Sunshine Coast feels like an island escape despite being part of British Columbia. It offers quiet beaches, cedar forests and outdoor adventures; however, getting there may take more than you expected during summer when ferry service runs more frequently and can fill to capacity quickly.

BC Ferries operates year-round and seasonal ferry routes throughout BC’s coasts, Vancouver Island and Seattle, some requiring reservations while others available first come, first served; some routes accommodate vehicles and foot passengers while some offer pet-friendly sailings.

Public transit can be your best bet when travelling without a vehicle. Ride the bus from Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay and board a ferry bound for Langdale; or hop aboard BC Transit Bus #12 from Powell River Town Center Mall North to Earls Cove before hopping on Sunshine Coast Connector Bus #614 towards Halfmoon Bay – make sure you pay attention to departure times so as not to miss your ferry sailings!


Travel writers know that journeying is half the fun; that maxim rings particularly true with regard to Vancouver’s Sunshine Coast – 180 kilometers of scenic waterfront real estate north of Vancouver that make for an incredible travel experience.

Traveling there requires two ferry rides and an ambling drive through sleepy coastal communities. On your journey, take time out to hone your culinary skills in local eateries, enjoy outdoor scenery on hikes or strolls and learn about indigenous culture on community beaches and trails.

Unless travelling on an open reservation, plan to arrive at the terminal 30-60 minutes prior to departure time for your scheduled sailing. Otherwise, your booking won’t be honored and travel will be determined based on order of arrival at terminal. Don’t forget your BC Ferries booking confirmation number that can be found on an e-ticket or printout and presented as evidence at check-in with an attendant at check-in.

Disembarking at the Terminal

Tucked into the southwest corner of British Columbia lies the Sunshine Coast – a 180 km (110 mile) stretch of paradise where dense rainforest cascades from rugged shorelines to meet the sea. Although it feels like an island, there are ferry services between Horseshoe Bay (West Vancouver) and Langdale and Earls Cove to Saltery Bay and Powell River that connect it.

On most sailings, making a reservation is advised. Otherwise, space will be allocated on a first come/first serve basis.

Horseshoe Bay to Langdale Ferry Terminal is an idyllic 40 minute ferry journey, passing Bowen, Gambier and Galiano Islands as well as Galiano. If flying is more your style, Sunshine Coast Air and Harbour Air provide floatplane flights from Vancouver (both downtown and YVR airport), Nanaimo, Victoria as well as seasonal services from Washington State – perfect whether traveling on business or planning an unforgettable vacation! Regardless of budget constraints or tastes – The Sunshine Coast offers activities suitable for everyone!


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