Camp at Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Squamish-Lillooet D, British Columbia

Description

Added by Anna Shevchenko

A stunning provincial park where most campgrounds come with an ocean view located only a 40-minute drive outside of Vancouver, BC.

Porteau Cove Provincial Park is located 38 km outside of Vancouver just off the Sea-to-Sky highway between Lion’s Bay and Squamish. The park is open year-round for day visits and camping.

Porteau Cove Provincial Park is located in the most southerly fjord in North America. The park overlooks Howe Sound with the peaks of the Anvil island and the Coast Mountains. In April, the mountains still had a significant amount of snow on them. The campsites are perched on the rocks over a rocky beach with barren tree trunks, ancient stumps, and loose pieces of driftwood. The water is clear and the cove is infamous with local divers. We watched the sunset and a group of sea lions playing in the cove very close to the shore. The sea lions stayed around all night because I could hear their barks occasionally while cocooned in my sleeping bag in the tent. We woke up early to a high tide which brought the water feet away from our tent.

There is an old pier with the boat launch right next to the park. A part of the coastline is open to day visitors, but the rest of it is reserved for campers. There is a short trail just past the walk-in campsites that takes one up on a hill with a lookout over the ocean. We visited in early spring when it was rather cold. I can imagine that Porteau Cove is paradise in the summer when you can swim in the ocean and lounge on the beach all day. It would be a great location to bring your kayak or SUP to as well. It was cloudy during our visit, but I can imagine that the night sky is spectacular on a clear day.

There are 44 frontcountry campsites with electrical hook up that can be accessed by a car or a trailer. There are also 16 walk-in campsites that you can walk to from a shared parking space which is located no more than 500 metres away. The walk-in campsites are smaller and do not have electricity.

You must book your campsite ahead of time using BCParks online reservation system. The booking dates are released two months in advance at 7 am in the morning. For example, if you’re looking to enter the park on June 10th, you will be able to make your reservation starting at 7 am on April 10th.

For the best camping experience, check out the campsite map ahead of time to ensure you pick a spot that’s right on the ocean. The following campsites are in the second row and as such are further away from the water: 6, 8, 12, 15/16, 20, 23-30, 44. There is one large bathroom with showers that’s close to sites 1-37. Campsites 38-44 and the 16 walk-in campsites are further away along the coast and you will have to walk about 5 minutes to get to the main bathroom facility. All campsites have access to outhouses and drinking water taps.

Porteau Cove Provincial Park is fairly small and does not have a large general store. Come prepared with your own supplies or drive to a nearby town to access a store. You can purchase firewood at the gatehouse or bring your own. The gate house was open from 10 am to 6 pm when we stayed at the park. If you’re checking in outside of those hours, plan to bring your own firewood.

We visited Porteau Cove in early April when the temperatures dipped below freezing at night. To prevent damage to the pipes, the park turned off most of the taps with drinking water overnight. You could still access drinking water at a deep ground tap located next to the main washroom.

A set of tracks runs along the park and a couple of freight trains went by at night. The noise was so infrequent that it did not really bother us. The sound of the cars on the nearby highway, however, is something you want to prepare for by bringing a pair of earplugs. The traffic calmed down overnight but got progressively louder in the morning.

Porteau Cove does not have numerous trails or rentals for you to enjoy. It’s a lovely place to visit if you’re okay with being on the ocean for most of the day. Bring along a book or good company. If you get bored inside the park, you’re only a short drive away from Squamish where there are numerous shops, restaurants, breweries, trails, and outdoor adventures to have.

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Features

Camping
Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildlife

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