10 Best Things To Do In Gibsons, BC

What to do in Gibsons, BC?

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Are you planning a trip to the Sunshine Coast? Lucky you! This somewhat isolated, idyllic coastal region, backed up by rugged mountains, is a real treat for water lovers. And Gibsons is a great place to start exploring it.

Located at the southern end of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, this pretty little coastal town is a gateway to this beautiful land of beaches, tiny islands, inlets, bays, hills and coastal forests. Oh, and waterfalls – of course, we’re in British Columbia, after all. Historically, Gibsons is a fishing town, but it has been a shelter for people who dream about living a quiet coastal life.

This post is your guide to Gibsons: what to see and do, what else to explore nearby, where to eat and where to stay when visiting Gibsons.

What to do in Gibsons?

Let’s see the best things to do in Gibsons and its surroundings.

Explore Gibsons Landing

Gibsons Landing is the waterfront harbor area of Gibsons and the heart of this coastal community. It offers shopping and dining opportunities, or simply a scenic stroll with views of the boats, Howe Sound, Keats Island and the coastal mountains.

You can stroll on the pier, have a picnic in Winegarden Waterfront Park, browse the local shops or marvel at the most wonderful pink winter sunsets.

Kayak to Keats Island

Gibsons Landing is also a great place to rent a kayak and paddle to Keats Island. The Sunshine Coast offers ideal locations for sea kayaking, anyway, with plenty of sheltered bays and inlets.

Keats Island or Gambier Island are exciting destinations from Gibsons, and you can easily make day trips out of them. If you’re not confident paddling out on your own, join a guided kayaking tour.

Gibsons, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and bring a dry bag to keep your phone and other personal items dry.

Eat burgers at Molly’s Reach

Gibsons is famous because of Molly’s Reach. It’s not only a restaurant that serves burgers, fish and chips, local beers and cocktails, but it’s the shooting location of The Beachcombers. It was one of the longest-running TV shows in Canada (with 387 episodes, running for about 20 years), and Molly’s Reach was converted into a restaurant after the show ended.

Chill out on Armours Beach

Armours Beach, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

Armours Beach is a perfectly sandy beach with crystal clear water, views of Keats Island and the surrounding coastal mountains. A waterfront walkway leads there from Gibsons Landing, and there’s a designated swimming zone at the beach in the summer.

Water never gets too warm, but no one can complain about the scenery. Go paddleboarding if you find the ocean too cold for swimming. The average water temperature in summer is 12.5°C.

Visit the Sunshine Coast Museum & Archives

Did you know that Gibsons got its name after George William Gibson who pre-empted this land in 1886 and became an active leader of the community that developed here? The settlement was named Gibson’s Landing in 1907 in his honor.

Learn about the life of early European settlers, foresters and fishermen and the history of the First Nations on the Sunshine Coast in this museum. One of the collections is dedicated to The Beachcombers, the long-running TV series that was filmed in Gibsons.

Gibsons, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

Be part of the community at Gibsons Public Market

Gibsons Public Market overlooks the harbor and marina and is open all year, 6 days a week. You’ll find a traditional market here, with local fresh produce, baked goods and flowers, but it’s also home to live music, community events and Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre. This aquarium features local marine life, collected from nearby harbors and bays of Howe Sound.

Hike to the top of Soames Hill

Soames Hill, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

Our absolute favorite activity in Gibsons is a hike! Not surprised, hah? British Columbia spoils hikers, and the Sunshine Coast is no exception. In fact, the views of the coastline from different hills are what we think of when thinking of this region. Soames Hill offers one of these iconic views, with islands, bays and mountains.

Soames Hill Park has about 5 km of hiking trails, winding through second-growth forest and leading up to the summit. This hike might be short, and the summit is at 250 meters, but the majority of the trail is steep and involves climbing 400+ steps.

Soames Hill, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

But these steps lead to heavenly views of Gibsons Harbour, Howe Sound, the surrounding islands and coastal mountains. While it takes about an hour to hike there and back, we recommend leaving more time to enjoy the views at the top. You’ll find nice picnic spots on the large rocky plateau there.

You can access Soames Hill Park from four different entry points (see them here), but getting there is the most convenient by car.

Go waterfall hunting

You can find several waterfalls only a short drive away from Gibsons.

Langdale Falls

Langdale Falls, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

Langdale Falls is a short hike that starts from less than a 10 minute drive from Gibsons’ center. It might be short, but it surprised us with unexpectedly steep sections. To get down to the bottom of Langdale Falls at the end (to get a good view of the waterfall) we had to climb down while supported by ropes.

It’s still a fun adventure, but note that it’s not an easy waterfall walk, and small kids or people with mobility problems will find it a struggle. We hiked with our 3-year-old and had to carry him during the steepest portions.

Proper hiking boots are a must for this hike.

Burnett Falls, Sechelt

Burnett Falls, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

Burnett Falls is just a trickle at the end of summer

Burnett Falls is half an hour drive from Gibsons, and this is your easy waterfall stroll. A gentle forest trail starts at the end of Burnett Road in Sechelt, and soon you find yourself at a bench facing Burnett Falls. It’s not a very large waterfall, but surrounded by lush greenery. (And it requires almost no effort to visit it, anyway.)

Go kayaking or paddleboarding in the calm waters of Porpoise Bay afterwards.

Roberts Creek Falls, Roberts Creek

Roberts Creek Falls, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

Just 20 minutes drive from Gibsons, this lovely forest trail leads you to a twin waterfall, then further along Roberts Creek. It’s an easy hike, but trail marking is not that straightforward.

Gentle note: all of these waterfalls are the most spectacular in spring or after heavy rains. A late summer or early fall visit might cause some disappointment if you got used to the powerful waterfalls of British Columbia.

Take a walk in Cliff Gilker Park

Cliff Gilker Park, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

Cliff Gilker Park is only 10 minutes drive from Gibsons, and is loved by locals for a good reason. It takes you through nice forest and over a scenic bridge along Clack Creek, with several small waterfalls. None of the waterfalls are a highlight in itself, but with all the crystal clear water flowing as you hike, this trail is pretty and relaxing.

We did the Red Trail loop which is the most ideal for water lovers.

Stroll Davis Bay Beach in Sechelt at sunset

Davis Bay Beach, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

The Sunshine Coast has some idyllic, perfectly sandy beaches. Davis Bay Beach is one of them, and it has a scenic waterfront promenade behind the beach, as well. It’s a perfect beach for sunset strolls, for playing in the sand with kids, and even for a swim in the summer.

Where to stay in Gibsons, BC?

Luxurious stay: Oceanfront Suite

Up for a pampering stay at a wonderful location? Oceanfront Suite is in a log home villa that overlooks the ocean, has access to a garden with ocean views, a picnic area and a beach. Trails up to Soames Hill start from here. They even offer kayaks and canoes (if you have experience in using them).

It’s a quiet neighborhood, still it’s only a few minutes drive from the ferry and Gibsons Landing.

Mid-range: Bonniebrook Lodge

Davis Bay Beach, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

This beautiful, historic lodge overlooks the Strait of Georgia and offers a private beach area. All the suites have their private entrance, and there’s a balcony and whirlpool tub for guests. Gibsons Landing is only 10 minutes drive away.

Budget stay: Gibsons Garden Hotel

If you’re on a stricter budget, stay a bit further away from the coast. This hotel is just off of the Sunshine Coast Highway and at a great location to explore Gibsons, and be close to the ferry. They offer a range of rooms, from the simplest to an executive suite (that’s not the budget option :)).

How to get to Gibsons from Vancouver?

Cliff Gilker Park, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

The Sunshine Coast is an isolated, stunning coastal region, and dramatic mountains cut it off from direct road connections. It lies north of Vancouver, along the Strait of Georgia, and it can be accessed by taking a ferry (or helicopter, or plane). We took the ferry – BC Ferries operate daily ferry services between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale. It’s a 40 minute ferry ride, available both for foot passengers and cars.

Gibsons is about a 5 minutes drive from Langdale. Since public transport is not a convenient option on the Sunshine Coast (it’s almost non-existent), definitely rent a car for this trip.

Can you visit Gibsons on a day trip from Vancouver?

It’s not ideal, but you can. Pick an early morning ferry, and return late in the day. If you’re willing to have an action-packed itinerary, you can see quite a lot in a day.

This small-group day tour starts either in Langdale or Sechelt, and it takes you to some of the highlights of the region on a day tour: Gibsons Landing, Roberts Creek, Sechelt and Smuggler Cove Marine Provincial Park.

More things to do on the Sunshine Coast?

Pender Hill, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada

Pender Hill and Mount Daniel offer some of the best ocean vistas not only on the Sunshine Coast, but in all of British Columbia.

Porpoise Bay has calm waters, so it’s ideal for kayaking or paddleboarding. Porpoise Bay Provincial Park also has a lovely campground.

Francis Point Lighthouse and Smuggler Cove offer short, scenic coastal trails.

Skookumchuck Narrows is a true “whitewater wonder”, reachable on trail or on water from the small town of Egmont.