Provincial parks are a quintessential BC experience, and on the Sunshine Coast you're spoiled for choice. There are dozens of parks here, all of which deliver unparalleled access to nature. Year-round, you can camp, fish, boat, hike, swim, kayak, and more.

Below, we've featured seven must-visit provincial parks—but remember, there are plenty more to explore on the Sunshine Coast! Click here to view the BC Parks interactive map (best viewed on a desktop computer).

Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park, Lund

Desolation Sound ranks among the most bucket list-worthy trips in Canada and for good reason: it's an aquatic paradise, with over 60-kilometres of pristine shoreline to explore and some of the warmest waters north of Mexico. For boaters, there are endless secluded bays, coves, and inlets to anchor in. Kayakers are treated to protected waterways teeming with wildlife (plus onshore beaches and backcountry campsites where you can relax post-paddle). In the summer, there's good snorkelling, thanks to the area's unique geography which sees less tidal movement than in other parts of BC and much higher-than-average seasonal temperatures. For wildlife enthusiasts, orcas, dolphins, seals, eagles, and a whole array of other marine life inhabit these waters.

While you can day trip in Desolation Sound (boat and kayak tours are offered from Lund), a multi-day trip will let you make the most of the area. For kayakers and those with small watercraft, there are 47 marine-accessible campsites spread throughout the park. Boaters will find three major destination anchorages: Prideaux Haven, Tenedo’s Bay, and Grace Harbour.

A camping pad in Desolation Sound
A tent pad in Desolation Sounds. Photo: Sunshine Coast Tourism/Dolf Vermeulen

Inland Lake Provincial Park, qathet Regional District

Inland Lake is a peaceful oasis located near Powell River. It's centered around a crystal-clear lake, offering good swimming and fishing, and is one of a few provincial parks that is truly accessible-friendly. There are several barrier-free campsites and amenities, including accessible washrooms and showers, along with a 13-kilometre, wheelchair-friendly boardwalk that circles the lake and offers views at every roll and turn.

The park has 22 drive-in campsites, including three walk-in sites and three boat-access sites, plus a day area for easy picnicking too. There's lush forest, trailed woodland, spectacular scenery, and plenty of space for lounging by the water. From the park, bikers can link up to the area's network of trails, or you can launch a canoe or kayak and paddle Inland's quiet waters, looking for fish or wildlife. The park's family-friendly and inclusive atmosphere makes this a particularly great destination.

Please note: The bridge at the wetland 500 meters to the right of the campground was damaged by winter storms and is currently closed. BC Parks is developing a detour trail while planning the construction of a new bridge. Inland Lake Trail is no longer fully accessible and the trail will not be a loop until the re-routing is complete. Visit the BC Parks website for updates.

Plumper Cove Provincial Park, Keats Island

Plumper Cove stands apart as a marine provincial park that's relatively easy to access. Located on Keats Island just across the harbour from Gibsons, this snug park packs plenty into its 66 hectares. There's a west-facing pebble beach that’s ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and sunset spotting. Forested trails wind throughout the park and connect with paths that lead to other parts of Keats. And in the summer, you'll want to make the short trek to Barnabas Landing General Store for a mid-day ice cream.

You don't need a boat to get to Plumper Cove, either. For those without a watercraft, you can access the park via the BC Ferries Langdale Terminal (walk-on only), followed by a short two-kilometre hike. Or you can hail a water taxi from Gibsons Harbour directly into Plumper Cove. Marine facilities at the park include buoys and a mooring dock. The campground itself includes 20 sites, a handful of picnic tables, and basic amenities, including outhouses and potable water. The park is open year-round, but has minimal servicing in winter months.

View from the dock looking towards Plumper Cove Provincial Park.
A view from the dock looking towards Plumper Cove. Photo: Lauren Stanton

Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, Sechelt

It’s all family-friendly fun at this provincial park situated along Sechelt Inlet. Located just a 10-minute drive outside of Sechelt, Porpoise Bay offers prime access to the water, with a long stretch of sandy beach and shallow waters for swimming. The park's location, reservable campsites, playground, and generous grassy area makes it ideal for families with campers of all ages.

Porpoise Bay also tends to be popular with cyclists. The park features a walk-in camping area dedicated specifically for bikers and backpackers travelling without a car. The park's proximity to nearby amenities, including the mountain bike trails at Coast Gravity Park and the family-friendly hiking routes in Hidden Grove, means you don't need to stray far to find activities that will fill your time. Prefer to rest and relax instead? Porpoise Bay's shaded campsites, picnic tables, and beachfront are ideal zones for chilling out.

Saltery Bay, qathet Regional District

While Saltery Bay is often treated as a quick stopover en route to and from the ferry terminal—it's located a mere two kilometres away—there's more to it than just easy camping access. First, there are 42 campsites in a treed and tranquil setting, plus great amenities like a boat ramp, playground, and picnic area. Then there's the sheltered bay, ideal for swimming and kayaking.

Mermaid Cove offers another compelling reason to stay more than just one night. This is the site of one of BC’s most famous dive attractions, the Emerald Princess, a bronze statue measuring nine feet tall. Divers have access to some of the northern Sunshine Coast's best dive spots at this provincial park. And at low tide, the rocky shoreline is the perfect place to look for starfish, sea urchins, crabs, and other small marine life. For hikers, there's access to the 180-kilometre hut-to-hut Sunshine Coast Trail. The campground is open year-round, although facilities like the washrooms are only open from May to October.

Scuba Diving
Scuba diving in Saltery Bay Provincial Park. Photo: Sean Percy

Copeland Islands Marine Provincial Park, Lund

The Copeland Islands are often treated as a stopover for kayakers en route to Desolation Sound, but they're worthy of their own trip. Forming a small chain of islands, islets, and rocks in Thulin Passage, this area is home to nutrient-rich waters teeming with colourful and interesting marine life. Given the park’s marine access and remote location, your neighbours at this park won’t be crowds of other campers but instead flocks of birds or sea lions. The area’s rocky islets house all manner of sea and shorebirds, including ducks, oystercatchers, sandpipers, gulls, and cormorants.

From Lund, you can reach the Copeland Islands by paddle within a few hours, pending weather conditions. There are only a handful of wilderness campsites located on the Copeland Islands, thanks to the area's rocky geography and relatively exposed location. You'll also find no other facilities, apart from two pit toilets. Make sure to bring everything you need to stay overnight, including drinking water and a first aid kit, and pack out what you pack in.

Sargeant Bay, Halfmoon Bay

Sargeant Bay is home to one of the Sunshine Coast's best swimming areas. Located just north of Sechelt near Halfmoon Bay, Sargeant Bay is a day-use only park that offers a good stretch of rocky beachfront, paths through a wetland and lagoon, shallow waters ideal for splashing about, and nearby trails for hiking and biking. Boaters can find safe anchorage here, too.

While it can be tempting to head straight for the beach and wile away the afternoon, we suggest checking out the park's wetland and adjacent hiking trails first. Curious kids will love exploring Colvin Creek, a salmon-bearing stream that has a fish ladder to better allow fish access to the lake. And the lagoon offers birders the chance to spot a variety of species. For those needing to stretch their legs, Triangle Lake Trail offers a 7-kilometre loop with multi-use access. Have your furry friend with you? Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.

Learn more about parks on the Sunshine Coast here.