Looking for things to do in Gibsons, BC? In this post, we share our favourite activities in Gibsons, from high-adrenalin to deeply relaxing. Each one has the power to take your trip from typical to transformational. Read on to plan your Gibsons adventure!
- Climb a Stairway to Heavenly Views
- Change Your Perspective on the Sea
- Take to the Trails on Your Bike
- Go Anywhere with the Wind in Your Hair
- Do a Craft Beer Crawl
- People Peep at the Gumboot Cafe
- Sustain Yourself at Molly’s Reach
- Get Steeped in Gibsons History
- Experience a True Canadian Market
- How to Get to Gibsons, BC
- Getting Around Gibsons
- Final Thoughts About Gibsons, BC
As the gateway to the Sunshine Coast and the famous setting for Canada’s most popular TV show of all time, The Beachcombers, charming Gibsons might just steal your heart away.
Historically a fishing community, Gibsons has for years attracted artists, artisans, and people who wanted a quieter life than Vancouver can offer. Perched on a hillside at the edge of Howe Sound, Gibsons has a huge variety of activities for landlubbers and hardy seafarers alike.
Just a short ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay, Gibsons makes a great place for a day trip from Vancouver or the perfect first stop on your adventure on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.
Day trippers can wander the historic town, poking their noses into unique boutiques, charming cafes, and trio of craft breweries.
In the hills surrounding Gibsons, there are lots of hiking and mountain biking trails to be explored. Howe Sound is the perfect place to meander by kayak, plus there are plenty of places for a summer salt-water swim.
From cultural immersion, to self-reflection, and comfort-zone disruption, read on for your guide to Transformational Things to do in Gibsons, BC.
Climb a Stairway to Heavenly Views
If you’re looking for a short hike with an extreme payoff, then start your Gibsons visit with a hike up Soames Hill. The steep trail takes about an hour (round trip) depending on how fast you can climb hundreds of stairs!
The walk starts in a cool forest but soon you’ll be treated to glimpses of Howe Sound and Keats Island in the distance. At the summit, the trail takes hikers out of the forest and onto a rocky slope revealing an expansive view of Gibsons clinging to the shore.
Starting your day on Soames Hill will get your blood pumping and your body moving while clearing your head of any city cobwebs.
Change Your Perspective on the Sea
Once you’ve seen the spectacular expanse of Gibsons Marina, you’ll probably be aching to get out on the water. Gibsons is an ideal kayaking launch point, with nearby Keats Island providing the perfect paddling destination.
Floating slowly around Keats Island, you’ll have time to observe wildlife, both on land and under the sea. Head to Plumpers Cove Marine Park for a lunch break and an island hike, or plan to circumnavigate the island for a full-day paddle in mostly protected waters.
For a truly transformational paddle, take time to observe yourself, too. How do you react to being on the water? How does your body feel while paddling? What do you see that makes your heart beat a little faster?
Take to the Trails on Your Bike
For an adventurous day trip to Gibsons, bring your mountain bike over on the ferry from Horseshoe Bay and hit up the trails at Sprockids Bike Park. It’s just a short ride from the ferry dock, so you can spend minimal time on the road and more time on the trails.
There are more than 25 trails at Sprockids ranging from beginner to advanced, with most of them falling into the intermediate category. With your mind completely focussed on the bike and the trail in front of you, mountain biking can be a thrilling form of meditation!
After your mountain biking session, make sure to leave time to stop off at Persephone Brewing, also on the road to Langdale, for a tasting flight of some of the best craft beer on the coast.
Go Anywhere with the Wind in Your Hair
Though we had a great time cycling the Sunshine Coast on our touring bicycles, I have to admit, the hills are a challenge. The slope from Gibsons to Gibsons Landing is more than a little terrifying on the way down — and just sheer torture on the way up!
Instead of punishing your machine on Gibsons’ steep, sweaty hills, let a motor scooter do the work for you. No, not those little stand-up scooters that kids love. I’m talking about the scooters that belong in classic Italian films or busy Asian cities.
Rent a scooter in Gibsons from Scotty’s Scooters and you’ll get to explore the coast’s beautiful landscapes with the wind in your hair (metaphorically — helmets are required) and have the freedom to go anywhere!
Don’t worry if you’ve never driven a scooter before: learning is easy and you can rent one on your regular drivers license. After years of avoiding it, we recently learned to ride scooters in Vancouver and can’t believe we waited so long. We’re now polishing our skills on the crazy roads of Bali!
Learning a new skill is a great way to boost your confidence and feel like a kid again — plus riding a scooter is just plain fun!
Do a Craft Beer Crawl
Though Gibsons is relatively tiny, with fewer than 5,000 permanent residents, it has three (count ’em, three!) craft breweries. Start your Gibsons craft beer crawl at Persephone Brewing, which is conveniently located near the Langdale Ferry.
Persephone is housed in a farmhouse on the site of an old flower farm. They’ve maintained much of the flowery landscaping around the beer garden, making a beautiful spot for a summer tasting.
Much of the rest of Persephone’s land is given over to a small multi-crop farm which produces fruits, veggies, eggs, and honey. The brewery produces beers ranging from a Dry Irish Stout to Belgian Wit to a Sour Session Ale, as well as seasonal beers based on the available produce.
After Persephone, stop in at Tapworks Brewing Company for brews with the best views — their upstairs deck looks over the sprawling Gibsons Marina. Finally, visit The 101 Brewhouse for your third flight of the day (you have a designated driver, right?).
This family friendly tasting room offers a great selection of beers (Stephen loved their IPA and I had my favourite beer of our trip there, The Treetop Summer Ale), plus a large menu that includes vegan poutine — a must for anyone who wants to try this Canadian classic in a plant-based version.
While beer itself probably doesn’t have the power to transform you for the long-term, we love visiting craft breweries because the people who start them are always so passionate about what they do.
Hearing their stories — the risks taken, the challenges overcome, the triumphs big and small — inspires me to be bolder when it comes to my own dreams.
People Peep at the Gumboot Cafe
The Gumboot Cafe is one of those warm and welcoming neighbourhood cafes that are, as far as I’ve been able to discern, unique to Canada. Though it’s actually in neighbouring Robert’s Creek rather than Gibsons, it’s worth the short drive to visit our favourite place for coffee and sweet treats on the Sunshine Coast.
Almost any time you drop in, the cafe hums with the conversations of local Sunshine Coast-ers — you’ll overhear chatter about their latest artworks, yoga retreats, what the fishing’s been like, and recent bear encounters.
We had a very tasty tofu wrap last time we dropped in and have sampled almost all the vegan dessert bars on offer. Plus, the hot drinks, like chai tea lattes, golden milk, and the classic cafe latte, are expertly prepared.
If you want to know what it would be like to live on the southern Sunshine Coast, spend an hour as a fly on the wall at the Gumboot. It will give you a real insight into Canadian culture at its very best.
Sustain Yourself at Molly’s Reach
Possibly the most world-famous restaurant in Canada, Molly’s Reach acted as a meeting place and centre point for the gang on TV’s The Beachcombers. Today, it’s still going strong as the hub of Gibsons Landing and a tourist hot-spot.
Stop into Molly’s for a typical Canadian coastal meal (fish and chips, burgers, sandwiches, and soups) surrounded by Beachcombers paraphernalia.
Get Steeped in Gibsons History
The Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives make a great rainy day stop in Gibsons. And since this is BC, you can expect to get rained on at least once!
The collection spans thousands of years, from the history of the First Nations people, to early European settlers, foresters and fishermen, through to the present day.
And, of course, there is a collection dedicated to The Beachcombers, the long-running TV series which was a staple in Canadian homes (and worldwide) for almost 20 years.
The museum also has a photo archive with thousand of digitized pictures that you can now view online.
Imagining the people and traditions that have come and gone on the coast can create a deeper connection to the world around you. It can also help you remain more stable when things in your own life shift and change.
Experience a True Canadian Market
One of the most popular things to do on the Sunshine Coast is to visit the Gibsons Public Market.
Whether it’s the friendly faces behind the market stalls, the uniquely Canadian buskers entertaining the crowds, or the scent of artisianal products, like hand-made soap, fresh-baked cinnamon buns, and locally made cheese, visiting a local market always fills me with affection and nostalgia for home.
Even if you’re not Canadian, Gibsons Market is the perfect place to become part of the local culture and chat with people who make their living in unique and sustainable ways.
While at the market, stop in at the Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre to learn about the creatures that live under the sea in Howe Sound, the network of fjords upon which Gibsons sits. While we don’t usually love places that have caged animals on display, the centre’s innovative collect-hold-release model ensures that each animal only stays at the centre for a limited time.
How to Get to Gibsons, BC
Getting from Vancouver to Gibsons
The easiest and most eco-friendly way to get to Gibsons from Vancouver is on BC Ferries. From Vancouver, drive or take the 257 Horseshoe Bay/Vancouver Express bus to Horseshoe Bay. The Gibsons ferry leaves Horseshoe Bay every couple of hours on most days and takes 40 minutes to get to Langdale, just a short drive from Gibsons.
You can check the schedule here.
Getting from Vancouver Island to Gibsons
The best way to get to Gibsons from Vancouver Island is also via BC Ferries. Leave from Departure Bay in Nanaimo for the 2-hour ferry to Horseshoe Bay. From there, change to the Langdale ferry, which takes another 40 minutes.
If you’re travelling Vancouver Island, don’t miss our guide to doing a whale watching trip from Nanaimo.
Getting Around Gibsons
By far the easiest way to see the Sunshine Coast is with your own car. However, if you don’t want to drive or don’t have a car, you can still visit Gibsons.
Gibsons bus — The Route 90 bus line will take you into Gibsons from the ferry.
On foot — There’s plenty to be seen walking along Gibsons waterfront where you can enjoy shops and restaurants in the city centre. Be aware that Gibsons is separated in two (the lower portion, Gibsons Landing, and the upper portion, the town of Gibsons) by a very steep hill. Walking this hill is only for those who are up for a challenge!
Final Thoughts About Gibsons, BC
Just a short hop from busy Vancouver, Gibsons offers an ideal place to retreat, restore, and rebalance your life. Whether it’s getting out in nature, spending time with the friendly locals, or eating your fill of Canadian coastal cuisine, a short trip to Gibsons can awaken your senses, give you a new perspective, and possibly even transform you.
We hope you liked our guide to transformational things to do in Gibsons, BC. Every trip has the power to change your perspective and transform your views — and we hope your trip to Gibsons does this for you! If you have any questions about the Sunshine Coast, email us or send us a message on Instagram.
♥ Happy transformational travels, Jane & Stephen
We’re not going to lie, it takes a LOT of work to create travel guides like this. But it’s easy to help us out! If you book or buy something using one of our personal links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Of course, we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! Huge thanks in advance! –S&J
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