Hidden Beach

copeland islands
                                                                                               Copeland Bird Observatory/AP

Hidden Beach: The Copeland Islands

July 13, 2009
by Sarah Amandolare
The Copeland Islands, part of British Columbia’s unspoiled Sunshine Coast, are reachable only by kayak or ferry boat, and feature a colorful mix of water activities and wildlife. A secluded and uninhabited retreat, when you arrive you may feel like the only one who knows they exist. Enjoy the marine park for a day, but know that you’ll have to return to nearby Lund or Sechelt to find a bed.

About the Copeland Islands

The Copeland Islands are actually a national park in British Columbia, Canada. The small chain of islands is located northwest of the town of Lund and are only accessible via water transport. According to the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, the islands were named after Joe Copeland, an American Civil War veteran, and were established as Copeland Islands Marine Provincial Park in 1971.

Activities available to those visiting the islands are kayaking, fishing, canoeing, scuba diving and wildlife viewing (sea lions, killer whales and bald eagles are among the animals that can be seen in or near the park).

Although there are not any permanent camping structures, visitors are allowed to bring in their own camping gear and stay overnight at the park.

Soaking in the Sunshine Coast

Each year, residents of the Sunshine Coast enjoy 2,400 hours of sunshine, savoring the area’s petite villages, secret inlets, wildlife sanctuaries and panoramic views after long hikes. Judi Lees of The Globe and Mail explains that a trip to the Sunshine Coast is “the epitome of R&R: a mix of outdoor activities with some gallery hopping, seafood savouring and stays in comfy B&Bs.”

Where to Stay Near the Copeland Islands

If you’d like to visit the Copeland Islands but aren’t up for packing in your own camping gear, consider staying in one of the nearby towns and traveling to the Island for a day visit.

Look for tent suites at Rockwater Secret Cover Resort in Sechelt, advises The New York Times, which previously named the Sunshine Coast one of the 30 places to go in summer, praising the region’s “marine life galore, including phosphorescent plankton that glow during moonlight paddles.”

Or, try staying in Lund, the closest community to the Copeland Islands Marine Park, just a short Kayak ride away. This town of 800 marks the end of the more than 9000 mile long Pan-American Highway. VancouverIsland.com recommends that if you plan to Kayak from Lund to the Copeland Islands you should set out early in the day, as boat traffic midday can make paddling difficult.

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