Pender Harbour is located on the traditional territory of the shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation. Currently the population of Pender Harbour is fewer than 3,000 people.
If you want to visit a true water-centric community, Pender Harbour is a must. Located north of Sechelt along Highway 101, Pender Harbour is the name of a harbour and also the larger area around the harbour, which is surrounded by small communities such as Madeira Park (salalus), Kleindale, and Garden Bay. These small communities form a horseshoe around the ocean coastline and are interspersed with freshwater lakes. There are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had in and around Pender Harbour, and like many parts of the Sunshine Coast, the area is also home to a substantial artist population which makes it a great place to find live music, galleries, and artist studios.
The Pender Harbour Visitor Information Booth in Madeira Park is open seasonally from Friday to Sunday and on holiday Mondays. Here you’ll find amenities like public washroom access, free Wi-Fi, and free parking. The staff at the Visitor Information Booth can help you with activity and event suggestions, as well as things like finding accommodation or transportation if needed.
Things to Do
There are many ways to enjoy the natural surroundings of Pender Harbour. Kayak or stand-up paddleboard in the calm waters of the many lakes in the area (including Katherine Lake, Hotel Lake, and more), or along the intricate coastline of Pender Harbour’s many bays. There are various paddle sport rental companies and tours available in the area.
Fishing is also a popular activity in Pender Harbour, where anglers cast their rods to catch salmon, lingcod, and more. If you’re into scuba diving, bring your gear and check out world-class diving spots like the Agamemnon Channel, which is the piece of water between Pender Harbour and Nelson Island.
Hikers can head up Pender Hill or Mount Daniel, both of which feature amazing views of the waters below. And Francis Point Provincial Park is a great hike for almost all skills and fitness levels—just take extra care on wet days as there are smooth, rocky areas that can be quite slippery. Keep an eye out for arbutus trees, local birds, and a small lighthouse in this park.
Mountain bikers can jump onto the Suncoaster Trail which goes from Homesite Campground to the beginning of Egmont Road, or they can try some of the trails criss-crossing through Kleindale and Middlepoint. If you’d prefer to hit the links, golfing is available at the Pender Harbour Golf Club.
You can also explore the local arts scene (and do some shopping) at places such as the Harbour Gallery or FibreWorks Studio & Gallery. Looking for some relaxation? Indulge in some spa services at places such as the Painted Boat Resort followed by a relaxing lounge in their Spa Serenity Garden.
Where to Stay
Pender Harbour is home to resorts, hotels, and B&Bs of all kinds, ranging from cabins in the forest to suites with marina views. Due to the idyllic scenery and all that Pender Harbour has to offer, many of these options can fill up far in advance, so it’s best to reserve accommodations in advance.
There is also camping available for both tents and vehicles, and boaters can make use of the various marinas and sheltered areas for anchorage.
Food + Drink
Restaurants, cafes, and bakeries can be found throughout Pender Harbour. Madeira Park is where you’ll find the most options, but several resorts in Pender Harbour offer dining opportunities.
Looking for groceries? You can pick up some essentials in Madeira Park.
Pender Harbour has plenty of coastline, and many community celebrations are held on or near the water. Annual events like the April Tools Wooden Boat Challenge, Malaspina Regatta, and the Pender Harbour Days Boat Parade are perfect examples of this. And the Garden Bay Sailing Club holds weekly Harbour Races which are visible from the shore.
There are also some great music events to check out in Pender Harbour. These include the Pender Harbour Blues Festival (June) and the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival (August).
If you’re interested in local food and crafts (accompanied by some live music), be sure to visit the Madeira Park Farmers Market, which runs weekly from April to September.