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Porteau Cove Park Camping

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Porteau Cove Park - Kyla Duhamel
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Campgrounds

Campgrounds in Porteau Cove Park

Porteau Cove - Sites 01-09 and 23-30

Porteau Cove Park

Porteau Cove - Sites 10-22

Porteau Cove Park

Porteau Cove - Sites 31 - 44

Porteau Cove Park

Porteau Cove - Walk In Sites W1 - W16

Porteau Cove Park

Overview

A brief introduction to Porteau Cove Park

Just a 40-minute drive from Vancouver, Porteau Cove Provincial Park boasts remarkable oceanfront camping and stargazing. It’s also a popular favourite among divers.

Camping at Porteau Cove Park

Given its proximity to ~2.5 million people in Greater Vancouver, Porteau Cove Park is very busy—especially during peak season. The park features 44 vehicle-accessible sites (5 double sites; 2 pull-through) that are somewhat closely spaced. Many of these are waterfront campsites.

16 walk-in campsites are within 5 minutes of the parking lot. Most of these are small, ocean-front sites. As such, no more than 4 people can occupy any one of these sites at a time. 2 Olympic Legacy Cabins (max. 4 people per cabin) are available for rent but are commonly sold out.

There’s also a day-use area with picnic sites and a grassy area near the shore. A mooring float at the park’s south end allows water access to the park. Porteau Cove Park remains open year-round; however, in the winter months services (and fees) are reduced.

Park amenities

The campground has electrical hookups. Cold water can be found in the campground and day-use area. An outdoor shower is available, as are flush and pit toilets. Although it may be shut off due to weather conditions, the park also has a year-round sani-station/dump.

This park doesn’t have dedicated sites for those with disabilities. That said, the light gravel found in these sites does accommodate wheelchairs.

There are 2 double-wide boat launches in the park. BC Ferries maintains an emergency pier on-site, in case of obstruction on the adjacent highway. Mostly, this provides a sightseeing opportunity for park visitors.

Firewood is available for sale on the grounds, or you can bring your own. Just be sure to keep your campfire within your designated fire ring. You can also rent a portable propane campfire from park attendants.

Activities at Porteau Cove Park

Porteau Cove Provincial Park is most renowned for its scuba diving (more on that in a moment). Other water-based activities at the park include swimming, paddling (canoeing and kayaking), windsurfing, and boating. You can also fish in the area (outside the park’s boundary), however, you must hold a licence and adhere to the park’s fishing regulations.

On dry land, you can walk the park’s short trail (~300m) and take in the view from the pier. Or, you might ride your bike on the park’s paths and trails (no e-Bikes on trails). Many stop for a picnic in the park. There are also many other outdoor sports and recreation activities to be within driving distance.

Location, geography, and history

You’ll find Porteau Cove Provincial Park on the eastern shore of Howe Sound. This park is accessed via the Sea-to-Sky Highway, a short ~44 kilometers from the city of Vancouver. Other notable communities in the region include Brackendale, Britannia Beach, Lions Bay, Squamish, and Whistler.

Situated on one of North America’s most southerly fjords, Porteau Cove Provincial Park measures 56 hectares. The park is found the land of indigenous inhabitants: the Squamish people. BC Parks is undertaking efforts to better reflect this population’s culture, history, and connection to this place.

Porteau Cove translates from French to “Water’s Gate”. The name dates back to 1908, At that time, John Deeks started to mine gravel and sand for use in Vancouver. A community of employees lived in the area, which necessitated housing, a school, and a ferry service. The park was established in the summer of 1981.

Features, wildlife, and vegetation

Porteau Cove Park is one of the easiest to access marine-oriented parks in British Columbia. Its gently-sloped beaches are made up of pebble, rock, and sand. These make for nice for ocean swimming. (On low-tide summer days, this water can get quite warm.)

Divers flock to Porteau Cove for the diversity of marine life attracted to the area’s constructed reefs. These artificial reefs are made up of tire chains, concrete piles and blocks, steel beams, and 2 sunken vessels. These waters reach depths of 6 – 18 meters (20' – 60').

Many animals and plants can be found on the shore and underwater. During your stay, you might spot harbour seals/porpoises, marine waterfowl, or river otters. Between spring and fall, orcas and whales (gray and humpback) are seen in these waters.

The park’s mixed forest cover is comprised of Sitka Spruce trees and Stunted Shore Pine trees. Coyotes, mink, and some raccoons are also found in this area.

Risks, cautions, and notes

Take care in and on the water. The Howe Sound sees changing tides and strong winds (inflow and outflow). There are no lifeguards on duty. Although Porteau Cove is close to Vancouver, it still sees bears, cougars, and wolves. Be prepared and take adequate measures to avoid risk.

Porteau Cove is a sensitive environment that’s visited by many people. This makes it essential that you leave no trace. Do not handle or collect marine life within the park’s boundary. Do not gather or burn driftwood (no beach fires). Avoid stepping off trails, in order to prevent damage to plants and soil. Read park signs and obey the rules. Use biodegradable soap. Be sure to keep your pets leashed and away from the beach—where they are not permitted.

Also: This park is noisy at times. It’s adjacent to a highway and active train tracks. Prepare for an early wake-up call—that’ll rattle your bones—when the train passes by. 😳

Tips

This part of British Columbia is breathtakingly beautiful, so, plan to spend a little extra time in the region. Drive the winding Sea-to-Sky Highway and stop at viewpoints to take in the dramatic vistas that span the ocean and towering mountains.

You might consider taking in the Britannia Mine Museum (a short 10-minute drive from the park). Also, check the park’s gatehouse for schedules and information on events and interpretive demonstrations.

FACTSHEET

Information about Porteau Cove

Location

Address

Porteau Cove Provincial Park, Highway 99, Squamish, BC V0N

Coordinates

49.5596° N, 123.2355° W

Directions

Porteau Cove Marine Park is situated on the Sea-to-Sky Highway. From Vancouver, travel north on Highway 99) for approximately 38 km. At this point you’ll see signs for Porteau Cove Campground. Turn left to leave the highway and enter the park. Once in the park take a right followed by another right, to access the campground area.

Elevation

1 m (3 ft)

Terrain

  • Beach

  • Forest

  • Mountains

Contact

Phone

(604) 986-9371

Website

Porteau Cove (BC Parks)

Email

info@seatoskyparks.com

Operator

Sea to Sky Parks

Links

Facebook

Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Twitter

BC Parks Foundation

Instagram

Photos from Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Resources

Maps

Videos

Reservations

Reservations available

Up to 2 months in advance of arrival date

Fees

  • Walk-in campsites: $20 per night

  • Walk-in campsites (winter): $18 per night

  • Standard campsites: $35 per night

  • Standard campsites (winter) $18 per night

Online booking

Porteau Cove Provincial Park Reservations at Discover Camping

Phone reservations

1-800-689-9025 (between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.); $5 surcharge applies

Sold-out?

Scan Porteau Cove Provincial Park for cancellations

Campground

Season

Open year-round

Access

  • Drive in

  • Walk in

Number of sites

60

Site types

  • Serviced campsites

  • Serviced Double campsites

  • RV campsites

  • Walk-in campsites

Check-in time

1:00 p.m.

Check-out time

11:00 a.m.

Pets

Pets are allowed but must be on a leash at all times

Campfires

Permitted in designated fire rings (fire bans may apply); no beach fires

Group camping

No

Campsites

Max. site occupants

  • Standard: 8

  • Walk-in: 4

Vehicles per site

2

Maximum vehicle length

Varies based on site (the longest pad is 60')

Pad type

Small crushed gravel

Campsite features

Picnic table, fire ring, some sites with electric hook-ups

Accessibility

Number of accessible sites

None specifically designated

Accessible campsites

None specifically designated

Accommodations

  • Flush and pit toilets

  • Pads with crushed gravel allows for wheelchair mobility

  • Paved walkway with viewing opportunities of Howe Sound

  • Disabled parking stalls

  • Some picnic tables on paved table pads

Amenities

Facilities

  • Hot showers

  • Pit and flush toilets

  • Day-use / picnic area

  • Boat launch

  • Porteau Cove Olympic Legacy Cabins

  • Amphitheatre

  • Parking (limited availability)

Hookups

  • 30 amp

  • 15 amp

Conveniences

  • Portable propane campfire rentals (can be used during fire bans)

  • Gatehouse (firewood, ice cream, snacks)

On site

  • Potable water (taps shut off in low season)

  • Firewood (may vary by season)

  • Propane buy-in and exchange 

  • Picnic tables

Support

Campground host

Waste

Sani-dump station (can close due to freezing temperatures)

Activities

Sports

  • Bicycling

  • Canoeing

  • Hiking

  • Kayaking

  • Swimming

  • Windsurfing

Nature

  • Aurora Borealis viewing

  • Interpretive programs

  • Scuba diving

  • Stargazing

Recreation

  • Beachcombing (driftwood collection is prohibited)

  • Boating (non-motorized)

  • Photography

  • Picnicking

  • Snorkeling (do not handle wildlife)

Service

Wifi

No

Carriers

  • Bell

  • Rogers

  • Telus

Nearby

Attractions

Campgrounds

To come

Members say

Pros

  • Close proximity to Vancouver

  • Ocean-front camping with amazing sunsets

  • Campsites near beach

  • Excellent hiking and mountain biking trails in area 

Cons

  • Limited privacy

  • Some small campsites

  • Close to highway

  • Loud trains pass in early morning

  • Abundant racoons in the area

Tips

  • Some park amenities are limited in the winter

  • Treat the park as a basecamp and explore the area

  • Bring earplugs for when the train passes

  • Ensure children are supervised on the ferry pier and beach

Best campsites

13, 17, 18/19, 21, 22, 23, 32, 36, 41/42

ARE Porteau Cove Park campsites SOLD OUT?

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Map

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