Take A Ferry From Horseshoe Bay
When visiting Vancouver, take the scenic road north of Vancouver. Taking the road through Stanley Park you can cross at the Lions Gate Bridge and head along the Sea to Sky Highway to Horseshoe Bay! You can spend the day enjoying Horseshoe Bay or from there you can catch a BC Ferry to Vancouver Island or grab a smaller ferry to hop over to visit Gibsons Landing or Bowen Island.
The ferry to Langdale will put you down with a short drive to Gibsons Landing. Once there you can start your drive up the Sunshine Coast to Powell River, where you could catch another ferry to get you to Vancouver Island at Comox. Once in Comox you can continue north and eventually take a ferry back to the mainland and head for Prince Rupert or turn around south and catch a ferry in Nanaimo or Victoria to get back to Vancouver. These are longer loops that we will leave for another day.
Given that this is a major transportation route going north, the ferry operating to Langdale was a big ferry. We had debated taking the car over or just our bicycles and in the end decided that for this quick trip, our bicycles would be fine. There is a large parking lot if you want to leave the car and walk on or take your bike. You can also get a bus from Vancouver that drops you off at the ferry terminal.
We walked our bicycles right down to the car boarding area, waiting with several other people walking on with dogs.
As we watched the cars, trucks, campers and trailers come off the ferry, it felt a bit like a clown car. We were not sure where all the vehicles had been stored in the ferry. On the ferry back, we even saw a small house come off the ferry!
It was an uneventful quick 30+ minute ferry ride. We stayed on deck watching Horseshoe Bay fall behind us.
We watched the interesting river traffic for awhile. You never knew what you would see being ferried about!
For awhile, we kept an eye out for any signs of whales but we saw nothing going either way. Maybe we would be more successful when we went whale watching from Stevenston the next day! We did however see a lot of floating logs. We now understood why it may be dangerous in a small boat around Vancouver!
Gibsons Landing Is A Canadian Icon To Explore By Bike
When you land in Langdale by foot or by bike, it is a short walk to find the town bus waiting.
Since the route into Gibsons Landing was unknown, we decided to put our bikes on the front of the bus and explore the town of Gibsons Landing first. The first objective was to find lunch. After a quick stop at the Visitors Centre and a short discussion about wanting seafood, we were off to the “small hole in the wall” CodFathers for fish and chips.
No trip to Gibsons Landing is complete without exploring the iconic Molly’s Reach building with the Persephone boat by its side. If you are old enough – and Canadian enough – you would recognize both of these from the Canadian tv show The Beachcombers. It was not a favourite show of mine but David (who grew up with the show’s main star as a neighbour) immediately recognized the sites.
Wandering along the shore paths you can see that this is a real fishing port and be amazed with the very artistic locked gates at the Gibsons Marina.
Even though slight drizzle had started we headed out of town along the coast road in the direction of Chester Park. Riding on the coast road, clearly marked with a sign that said “High Crash Location”, did not feel particularly smart as the skies darkened and the rain increased. Cutting short our bike ride at Secret Beach, we headed back into town. But when we just missed the bus back to the ferry terminal, we nonchalantly decided we would ride our bikes back to the ferry.
It was a wet 30 minute bike ride, even with the rain ponchos we had been smart enough to carry in our backpack. The roads were up and down and a few times we needed to get off and walk the bikes up hill. If you are in pretty good shape, or smart enough to travel with an eBike, you can easily ride your bike back and forth. But make sure to wear something bright. The roads generally have no shoulders and the cars seemed to forget they were sharing the road with bikes!
Arriving back at the ferry terminal as one ferry was just pulling away, we had almost 2 hours to wait for the next ferry to arrive. Make sure to check the schedules as they do reduce service after Labour Day. David picked up a piping hot mocha at the Fandango concession stand in the ferry parking lot and we settled down with free BC Ferries wifi to review and upload pics. We had almost warmed up by the time we got on the ferry.
It had been a quick day visiting Gibsons Landing. We would certainly go back when the weather was nice and head north along the Sunshine Coast.
Have you visited Gibsons Landing? Did you recognize Molly’s Reach? If we head north up the Sunshine Coast, what should be on our plans?