Before my family and I moved to Vancouver more than a decade ago, I’d never heard of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. This beautiful coastal region within weekending distance of Vancouver is not well known outside of western Canada, but with its secluded beaches, dramatic fjords and inlets, and growing number of food and drink destinations, it deserves more attention.
Exploring the Sunshine Coast
My daughter Michaela and I explored the lower Sunshine Coast earlier this summer, hiking to see the unusual tides at Skookumchuck Narrows (with a stop at the trailside Skookumchuck Bakery for massive cinnamon buns), checking out a fascinating archeological exhibit at the First Nations-run Tems Swiya Museum, doing a cider tasting at newly-opened Bricker Cider Company, and digging into plates of pasta and wild boar at Ruby Lake Resort.
Our base for this mother-daughter getaway was John Henry’s Resort and Marina on Garden Bay. Here’s the scoop on this recently revamped cottage resort:
Colorful Cottages, Water Views
John Henry’s Resort has four brightly painted seaside cottages. We stayed in the vibrant turquoise “Oyster Catcher,” which shares its deck with the adjacent prawn-colored “Prawn Palace.” Both of these simply furnished cottages are one-bedroom units with a sleep sofa in the living room and views across the bay from both the interior and the deck.
All the cottages have kitchens, with cooktops, microwaves, coffeemakers, and a fridge, as well as dishes, pots and pans, and cooking utensils.
If you plan to do your own cooking, bring your groceries with you, or stock up before you get to the resort; the nearest supermarket is in Madeira Park, about 20 minutes to the south. John Henry’s does have a small market on-site where you can pick up snacks and other essentials.
Wi-Fi is available in all the cottages, included in the rates. The beds were comfortable, and the bathrooms, while small, have been updated.
The other two cottages, the purple “Herring Row” and the orange “Mussel Beach,” back onto the parking lot, but on the ocean side, they have large patios with water views.
One minor complaint is that the cottages are not extremely private. Voices carry between adjacent units, and the marina is busy with boaters coming and going. As long as you’re not expecting a secluded romantic escape, though, the waterfront setting is lovely. And if you want to get out on the water yourself, John Henry’s rents kayaks and stand-up paddle boards that you can launch right from the property.
John Henry’s Cafe
A small waterfront cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We enjoyed our lunch of a mixed green salad topped with grilled salmon and the “Hospital Bay burger,” layered with bacon and slathered with barbecue sauce. The French fries were excellent, too.
Sitting on the deck one evening, looking out to the water as the sun began to set, my daughter turned to me and said, “Mom, it’s really nice here.”
“Yes, it is,” I agreed, happy that we’d found this relatively undiscovered corner of British Columbia’s beautiful coast.
Double rates for John Henry’s cottages range from CAD$180-205/night in the summer high season, when a two-night minimum stay is required.