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The Best Things to do in Powell River BC

The Best Things to do in Powell River BC

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The town of Powell River, BC on the northern end of The Sunshine Coast is a great destination for adventurers. If you’re looking for the best things to do in Powell River, you’re sure to find them below. From the great restaurants in Powell River, to where to go camping in Powell River, adventures such as hiking, climbing and more, there are lots of fun Powell River activities to keep you entertained.

How to get to Powell River, BC

To get to Powell River you need to take at least one ferry. BC Ferries to Powell river run regularly from two locations and you can see ferry schedules for Powell River on BCFerries.com.

BC Ferries to Powell River from Vancouver

To get to Powell River from Vancouver, you should take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale (Gibsons) and then drive to Egmont and get a second ferry to Saltery Bay. From Saltery Bay it’s a 20-30 minute drive to Powell River.

Despite this journey taking around 4-5 hours, Powell River is a great destination for a Vancouver weekend getaway!

Powell River Ferry from Vancouver Island

If you’re on Vancouver Island, drive up to Courtenay and catch the ferry to Powell River from there.

Seaplane to Powell River

Are you feeling fancy or short on time? You can also get a seaplane to Powell River! Harbour Air leaves downtown Vancouver Harbour and flies directly to Powell River for around $185.

The Best Things to do in Powell River, BC

Below you’ll find a selection of the best things to do in Powell River. The majority of these are summer activities and summer is the best time to visit Powell River by far. It’s when most of the businesses are open and, with the nicer weather in Powell River, you’ll be able to spend more time outside exploring.

1. Savary Island

savary island camping guide

Though not Powell River itself, Savary Island is well worth visiting if you’re in Powell River. You can take a day trip there by boat as a foot passenger (no vehicles allowed), or make an overnight trip of it with some Savary Island camping!

The sandy beaches, relaxed way of life and the warmest water north of Mexico, make this cute little island a perfect place for relaxing!

2. Townsite Brewing

Townsite Brewing, Powell River is a coastal micro-brewery which focuses on great beer with a Belgian flair. You’ll find classic brews and seasonal favourites.

Not a beer drinker? There’s often some cider or kombucha on tap too.

The building itself is super pretty with red brick and even an old-school arcade machine. If you decide to get drinks for later, you can pick up some cans to take back to your hotel or home too.

3. Eat at the best Powell River restaurants

For such a small town there’s no shortage of great Powell River restaurants. You can find delicious Mexican, flavoursome coastal cuisine and strongly recommended Indian dishes too.

We ended up going back to the same place twice (before and after our kayak trip) because it was just so good!

4. Take a kayak trip to Desolation Sound

desolation sound kayak
spot the tent

This was the main reason we were in Powell River in the first place! Powell River is the perfect place to be before and/or after a kayak trip to Desolation Sound Marine Park.

We rented sea kayaks from Powell River sea kayaks just a little further up the coast and headed out for two nights camping at the Curme Islands. It rained non-stop but we still got some great views.

5. Explore the Copeland Islands

The Copeland Islands are another destination that’s popular with kayakers. It’s on the opposite side of The Sunshine Coast to Desolation Sound and is best accessed from Lund, just a little further north from Powell River.

6. Go Hiking on the Sunshine Coast Trail

tin hat mountain sunshine coast trail
Image via: SunshineCoastCanada.com

The Sunshine Coast Trail is a 180km long hut-to-hut hiking trail that spans the length of the Northern part of The Sunshine Coast. To complete the whole trail takes most people the best part of two weeks.

However, there are many parts of the trail that work great as day hikes, overnighters or shorter multi-day trips. Perhaps the most popular segment is the hike up to Tin Hat Mountain on the Sunshine Coast.

This cabin is in one of the most beautiful locations with a view of the forest and lakes below. However, many of the other Sunshine Coast Trail cabins are stunning too!

7. Hit the backroads and go rock climbing

The Eldred Valley Road is extremely remote and renowned for great climbing and bouldering. There are huge granite walls to scale and the Eldred Camp in the forest makes a great base while you work on your project.

8. View The Hulks of Powell River

The Hulks of Powell River is the name given to a line of ships that are concrete reinforced in order to act as a floating breakwater.

The breakwater was required to make a log pond for the paper and pulp mill in Powell River. Fun fact: this mill was once the largest paper mill in the world!

Usually, these ships would have been sunk but since they were too big they were left floating. This gives you a pretty cool viewpoint – and certainly an unusual one! One of the best places to view the Powell River Hulks is at the Townsite Viewpoint on Marine Avenue.

9. Discover the best things to do in Lund, BC

lund sunshine coast bc

Just 30 minutes north of Powell River is the cute town of Lund. Even smaller than Powell River, Lund is also the end of the road! You can’t get any further north in this area without a boat.

Though it won’t take you long to explore Lund itself, it’s the launch point to Savary Island, the Copeland Islands and, for some, Desolation Sound. You can also take tours out into the ocean to try and spot whales, seals and more.

10. Walk Willingdon Beach Trail

The Willingdon Beach Trail is an easy walk of just over 1 kilometre long on a wide trail. The trail used to be a train line and you can still see bits and pieces from this including an old trestle bridge.

Since you’re walking alongside Willingdon Beach, you’ll get great views and it’s ideal for watching the sunset in Powell River!

11. Go stand-up paddleboarding

There is no shortage of lakes and water near Powell River.

If you don’t have a paddleboard you can rent one from Mitchell’s Canoe, Kayak & Sup. If you’re in the market for a paddleboard then take a look at iRocker. We got ours from there several years ago and have never had any issues!

You can paddle on both the coastline near Willingdon Beach or head inland to lakes such as Inland Lake, Sliammon Lake and others. There’s nothing quite like getting out on the water on a beautiful day.

12. Visit Inland Lake Provincial Park

Inland Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes close to Powell River. It’s ideal for swimming, paddling and hiking, running or cycling around the lake.

The trail around the lake is 13km long and has bridges and boardwalks at various points. Along the way, you’ll enjoy lake views and forest smells and sounds.

13. Spend a Chilled Morning at a Coffee Shop

best things to do in powell river base camp powell river restaurant

Base Camp coffee shop in Powell River is a cute, rustic feeling cafe with great hearty breakfasts and brunches, coffee and cute local gifts. Plus, you’ll feel like part of the community here and if it’s adventure tips you need, the other guests and staff are likely to be able to help!

We also loved 32 Lakes which does delicious coffee and the best pastries!

14. Walk the Seawalk

At the southern end of town is the Seawalk where a gravel path runs alongside the ocean. There are some benches and spots to soak up the views of Texada Island and the Powell River ferry from Vancouver Island.