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Top destinations for family fun in the Sunshine Coast

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The Sunshine Coast deserves to be explored, and while you’ll probably need to take a ferry to get there, there’s good news: your car can come along for the ride. That means you can take your Volkswagen Tiguan with you, and with it, the bikes, picnic baskets, and playlists that will take your family trip up a notch.

The coast covers a lot of land—over 3,700 square kilometres—but it’s worth the road tripping. Filled with artists, culture, history, and not a lot of people (it’s sparsely populated given its size), the Sunshine Coast has something at every turn. Whether it’s a quick climb up the Coast Mountains, a hike through the forest, or a day at the beach, there’s plenty to do for families on almost any budget.

Rainy Day Art Crawl

On the rare occasion that the sunshine coast doesn’t live up to its name, why not visit a few of the Sunshine Coast’s many museums and artist studios? While the region’s official art crawl doesn’t happen until fall, its artist-filled communities are always open for business. Map out a route for the Volkswagen Tiguan’s available Discover Media 8″ Touchscreen that takes you from the Powell River Historical Museum and Archives, which documents the rich history of the Sliammon First Nations, to the Kube, which is an art gallery and boutique space showcasing and selling the work from nearly a dozen working modern artists. The three-hour trip will take you up the coastline, passing through Spipiyus Provincial Park and past multiple beaches; you know, just in case the rain stops.

Take the Purple Banner Tour

Like we said, the Sunshine Coast is an absolute haven for artists, and lucky for you, they’re usually keen on showing you what they’re up to. Throughout the region, crafters, makers and artists will often hang purple banners outside their studios, which is their way of saying that their studio space and gallery is up and running, the artist is working, and you’re probably welcome to come in for a tour. Just double check—some (but not all) spaces do require an appointment.

Go to a hockey game

The Powell River Kings return to the ice in September, and by all accounts, it’s a great, affordable bit of family fun. Seats at centre ice, right against the boards, will only run you $15 for adults, $10 for teens, and $5 for children. The hockey’s not bad, either—Junior A playoff regulars the Kings have had more than a few NHL alumni wear their colours.

Dive like Cousteau

Famed explorer Jacques Cousteau reportedly loved diving in Powell River, which he rated as one of the top spots in the world thanks to its varied and bright marine life. So if you’re feeling like living The Life Aquatic, why not head to Saltery Bay’s Mermaid Cove, where you and your family can look for the nine-foot statue known as the Emerald Princess, which rests roughly 50 feet underwater. And while you’re act it, be on the lookout for eels and octopuses.

Pack a picnic

Take a drive to Valentine Mountain, and be sure to pack a picnic basket. Considered to be a relatively family-friendly hike, an hour or so trip up the hill leaves you with stunning views of the surrounding islands and a perfect place to sit down with the family for a little lunch.

Learn about Marine Life at Gibsons Landing

Gibsons Landing is full of family fun, from sailing lessons to lunch at the Public Market, but we’d recommend you head first for the Marine Education Centre, which is filled with interactive exhibits that will teach your kids (and you—let’s be honest!) about the incredible world we live in, and some sustainable tips to keep it that way.

Sail through Secret Cove

Take a tour on the water through Secret Cove, which is a stone’s throw from Smuggler Cove Marine Park, and you’ll get an all-sides view of the islands, and the chance to see some incredible marine life. You might not see Free Willy, but you can probably bet on a whale or two. With the Volkswagen Tiguan’s Optional 3rd Row Seating, you can take a private charter and bring the whole family along.

Visit the farm

The appointment-only Farm Ventures is worth the extra phone call. While there, your kids and you can visit a petting zoo, meet the goats, hang out with the pigs, and take a trail ride on a pony or horse. This is a great way for the family to learn and have fun at the same time.

Bike through Inland Lake Provincial Park

The Volkswagen Tiguan makes it easy to install a bike rack, meaning you can bring some extra wheels with you when you drive onto the car ferry. And when you see the trails at Inland Lake, you’ll be glad you did. Pack a few fishing rods, some worms, and a picnic basket, and you can turn a looping bike trail into a full day with the family.