Authentic West Coast Camping – Minutes from Downtown Vancouver


Night Sky Porteau Cove Provincial Park Photo: Flickr, Damon West

On a daily basis, I awaken to hear the mountains and ocean calling.  There is something deep inside me that craves to be outside.  I am confident that those closest to me would agree that without my regular dose of Nature, I can be extremely difficult to live with.  Often, when time is tight, and I can’t find my way to the back country, I look closer to home, to one of Vancouver’s best seaside attractions – Porteau Cove Provincial Park!    Located on North America’s most southerly fjords, Porteau Cove is famous for views of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains, scuba diving, waterfront campsites, beachcombing, star gazing and Aurora Borealis viewing.  All this, and only 38 km north of Vancouver on Highway 99.  Unbelievable.


Walk-in campsites at Porteau Cove Provincial Park Photo: Rob Weiss

The walk-in/wilderness campsites are without question my favourites.  A short, five-minute walk along the trail and voila, waterfront campsites await!  During my most recent visit, I arrived late in the day.  To my great delight, the sun was setting as I erected my tent.  Spectacular pinks, reds and oranges were painted across the sky.  As I admired the skyline, I could hear the ocean lapping at the rocks below.  Sounds I found both soothing and welcoming.  There was a stillness to the campsite and I was appreciative of the other campers around me.  They too appeared to be interested in the natural beauty of the area.  Visitors were quiet, and respectful of each other.  As the sky darkened, almost on cue, campers extinguished their lights in anticipation of the upcoming light show.  We were not disappointed and the amateur astronomer in all of us looked up in awe at the vast starscape.


Waterfront Campsites, Porteau Cove Provincial Park Photo: Rob Weiss

During the night the wind began to howl and I was reminded of the ever changing weather conditions that Howe Sound is known for.  Gazing at the ocean, from the vestibule of my tent, it was easy to forget that I wasn’t in the back country.  Just as I was dozing back to sleep a train thundered by the campsite, a stark reminder of how close to civilization I was.  Morning came all too quickly and it was time to think about moving on.  As I sat by the ocean, savouring my morning coffee, I watched the sunlight begin to dance across the mountain peaks.  Good morning Porteau Cove!

Interested in “Glamping”?


Olympic Legacy Cabins, Porteau Cove Provincial Park Photo: Rob Weiss

Granted, snuggling up in a two-man tent might not be for everyone, especially during the cooler fall and winter months.  For those more interested in luxury log cabin “glamping”, Porteau Cove features two Olympic Legacy cabins.  These gorgeous log homes were constructed for BC Parks for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and are available for rent on a daily or weekly basis.  Visit the Sea to Sky Parks website for booking information.

Getting There:

Porteau Cove is a destination in itself, but for those seeking adventure it serves as an excellent gateway to the Sea to Sky corridor.  This little park is extremely popular, arrive early and carpool whenever possible.  To reach the park, travel north of Vancouver on Highway 99.  Porteau Cove is located 38 km north of Vancouver and 20 km south of Squamish.

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