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Van Island / South Coast - Multi Month Winter Stay

July 7, 2020, 8:43 a.m.
Posts: 1351
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

Hey guys,

We just had a baby so I'm planning to use my parental leave to take a 2-3 month extended vacation this winter (to somewhere warm, or at least warmer than Alberta). Original plan was to spend the entire winter in Arizona (we'd already booked a sweet pad right by South Mountain in Phoenix). But with Coronavirus out of control, anywhere in the states is sadly looking unlikely.

Figured the next best option for a semi-warm winter would be somewhere along the coast. While I grew up in Burnaby, I don't know too much about the South Coast (other than metro Vancouver itself), so hoping for some expert help. We'll be looking to rent a 3-bedroom place for 2-3 months. Originally thinking Cumberland or Sunshine Coast, but we just don't know enough about the area to know what other options there are.


- Somewhere not too busy. No metro Vancouver. Probably not Victoria, Nanaimo, or Squamish, unless someone can sell me on a quiet suburb. But not too small either, don't want to drive too far to go grocery shopping etc.

- Warm (and not too rainy) winter weather. Want to be outside as much as possible. Figure anywhere on the East side of Vancouver Island would fit this criteria? Is Sunshine Coast wetter, being right up against mountains?

- Riding - must be within riding distance of a decent trail network. Ideally somewhere with a mix of blue/black trails, at least 200-300m of vert (or more). I'm a pedaller, so somewhere with a quiet up-track that doesn't have a million shuttlers whizzing by.

- Pump-track / skills-park nearby would be ideal (for our 2-yr old)

- Within 20 mins drive of ocean/beaches would be sweet (just for the kid to muck about, don't need fishing or surfing)

- Bonus points to anywhere that has decent options to take the 2-yr old on the super wet days. Indoor pool, libraries, kids play-place etc

- Need to be able to find a 3- bedroom house for several months rental, in a location that meets all these criteria

Thanks for the feedback guys!

 Last edited by: superman_4 on July 7, 2020, 8:44 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
July 7, 2020, 2:49 p.m.
Posts: 1731
Joined: July 11, 2014

What time of year exactly? Not an island expert by any means (I live in Van), but in my experience, the farther north on the island the more risk of snow, so even though Cumberland isn't high elevation it might see snow more than Victoria area. Also less rain down south in general it seems? I haven't ridden much in Victoria but if you are Nov-Jan timeline somewhere near a trail network there might be the call, you can also drive up to Duncan to ride Tzouhalem. Sunshine coast near Roberts Creek would be another option.

July 7, 2020, 6:36 p.m.
Posts: 1387
Joined: Nov. 6, 2006

Sunshine Coast gets it’s name because it is in a rain shadow and gets less precipitation then surrounding areas.

A few months on the coast and you won’t want to go back to Alberta.

July 7, 2020, 7:11 p.m.
Posts: 2029
Joined: May 2, 2004

Maybe the Sunshine coast, lots of spots that could work, depending how quiet you want but I lived up in West Sechelt for a bit, super quiet and some riding right there and tons a short drive away. I dont think there's a pump track there but kinnickinnik park has some pretty sweet basic trails for a little kid, and some other spots around the coast too. Sechelt also has couple different beaches+other things you're looking for, neat hikes around like smugglers cove. Gibson's, Roberts Creek or even some of the smaller areas like half moon bay would work too.

There might be some options for rentals, lots of things that may get used differently as vacation homes in summers etc. 

I'm from Victoria originally and it ticks all the boxes except a big red X for being busy. 'Colwood Crawl' (rush hour towards the western communities) gets worse every time I go back to visit haha, I mean some areas are quiet like highlands, metchosin, parts of Sooke etc but you'll still venture into town for things and be amongst it.

July 7, 2020, 10:24 p.m.
Posts: 979
Joined: March 15, 2013

I'll toss another vote in for Sunshine coast. If we had work out there I would have moved in a heartbeat.

Amazing trails, beautiful small towns, great year round mild weather, beaches, it's fucking amazing.

July 8, 2020, 4:11 a.m.
Posts: 1387
Joined: Nov. 6, 2006

Posted by: thaaad

I'll toss another vote in for Sunshine coast. If we had work out there I would have moved in a heartbeat.

Amazing trails, beautiful small towns, great year round mild weather, beaches, it's fucking amazing.

Grew up there, leaving is one of my largest regrets in life.

July 9, 2020, 6:21 a.m.
Posts: 4902
Joined: July 9, 2004

I’d say Sunshine Coast as well. If your there in the fall/winter though you’ll still get way more rain than Alberta gets all year! Still better than the Lower mainland though. 

I grew up in west Sechelt and it’s been a few years since I’ve been there but you can’t go wrong with the riding there. Probably pretty easy to get a short term, off season, vacation rental in Roberts creek and be a short ride up to some great riding. 

You’ll probably never leave.

July 9, 2020, 8:09 a.m.
Posts: 1781
Joined: Feb. 26, 2015

Also this.

Due to pandemic only currently open on the weekends but they do go year round.

People always ask me what's the phenomenon
Yo what's up? Yo what's goin' on- Adam Yauch

March 5, 2021, 9:13 a.m.
Posts: 1351
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

Just want to follow up and say thanks to everybody for the great advice! 

We're staying in Roberts Creek and it's been fantastic!  Trails are amazing, beach is awesome, quiet laid-back vibe, basically perfect in every way.  My only regret is that Coast Gravity is closed and won't open until after we leave - oh well, we'll have to come back another time. The local trails have been more than enough to keep me entertained anyways...

You guys are right, we don't want to leave haha.  If only I could convince my boss to let me work-from-home indefinitely.  Plus a huge raise - cost of living out here is insane, especially when compared to Calgary (although that's probably a discussion for a different thread).


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