Porteau Cove – 7 Amazing Tips For The Best Campsite!

Porteau Cove Provincial Park – Squamish, BC

WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!!! That is really the best way to describe this campground. I can see why it is near impossible to get a reservation here!!!! We stayed at Porteau Cove Provincial Park for the first time in mid August 2017. Somehow my sister managed to get a double ocean front site and she invited us to share it. All I can say is LUCKY US. This is, without a doubt, the most amazing campground.

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We were booked into double site 41 & 42. This is a medium sized site and offers power. We were able to position our trailers so that we both had views, access to power and privacy from the road. This end of the street is near the walk-in sites and the park so the location was perfect. The ocean front sites are just steps from the water and offer incredible views. I really cannot say enough about the views and my pictures really capture it best.

Campground update: We made a second trip to this campground in December 2020. Our first attempt at winter camping. On this trip we stayed in double site 1/2. This site is very large and is the first site you see when you arrive. The site appears to be great when you first set up but after spending some time at the trailer we realized it had some downfalls. We were right next to the gate house so it was much busier as people came and went. We also had several trailer trapsters. It seems our site was a short cut from the beach to the campground. This site also did not get any direct sun which would have been nice at the end of December. If I could avoid booking this site again I would but the fact is that the campground is amazing and if this is all I could get, I would take it in a heartbeat.

Campground Details

It is important to note that all sites are very close to the train track and the noise is very, very loud as the trains rumble through. That said, I still feel like this is an amazing campground but I have never stayed here in a tent.

The campground is not large and is divided into 3 areas. The first camping loop has a mix of sites, some ocean front, some double, and several off the ocean but still very close. It is busier because it is the check in point, has the main bathroom as well as the sani dump area. Most of the center area site back onto one another. If you are camping with other families I can see that this would be a benefit. If you are camping alone, these sites reduce your privacy. There is also 2 cabins you can rent through Porteau Cove Olympic Legacy Cabins. These cabins are not booked through Discover Camping but the photo has the contact info. They are located in the first loop and it is close to the boat launch and tie ups.

The second area is east of the entrance along the park road. This is the area we stayed in on our first visit. The sites here are spread out and all have ocean views and access. Some of these sites are small so the larger RV’s would have a difficult time.

The sites do get very small along the ocean strip so be sure to follow the size rules.

The third area is the park and walk in tent sites. If we tented this would be a great place to stay. It was away from traffic, close to the beach, offers a covered picnic areas and has power for your use. The tent sites were graveled, level and nicely spaced but offer limited privacy. There is a communal fire pit shared between 3 sites each. The sites are also close to the park, grass area and walking trails. This is where we went to play boccie and take evening walks to the look out.

7 Amazing Tips

  1. Any ocean front site is great as long as it fits your rv.
  2. Double sites 41/42 are really the best double sites but they are not that big.
  3. Double site 15/16 is the largest double site and gets lots of sunshine but is not ocean front.
  4. Double site 1/2 is a large site but it is right at the gate and people tend to walk through it to get off the beach as well you get a lot of check in noise and traffic. It is not very private.
  5. Site 22 and 23 would be my first choice for single sites. They are a bit larger, have great views and are private.
  6. Site 36 is a pull through site and if your unit can fit is would offer great views but not shade or privacy.
  7. Walk in sites are good but 3 sites share a common fire pit. Might be a great way to meet new people.

Campground Pro’s

  • The views and access to the ocean
  • Level, well maintained sites
  • Electrical hook ups
  • Sani dump on site
  • Cabin rental option
  • Boat launch and mooring pins
  • Park area on site for everyone’s use
  • Beautiful walking area on site
  • Walk in campsites
  • Close to excellent hiking and biking trails but you would need to drive because it is across the highway.

Campground Cons

  • Very difficult to get a reservation.
  • Some sites are very small or narrow giving very limited privacy.
  • A vehicle is needed to access the nearby hikes and other activities.
  • Walk in sites offer only communal fire pits.
  • Trains, you are very close to the train track and they run often and at all hours.

Shannon Falls – An Easy And Popular Hike For The Entire Family

Shannon Falls Provincial Park – Squamish, BC

Hiking has become one of our favorite activities while camping and Squamish is the perfect destination. We recently camped at Porteau Cove Provincial Park and while there, we took a morning hike to Shannon Falls Provincial Park. This is a very popular park in part due to it convenient location, 60 km north of Vancouver and right off of Highway 99, and because of the number of hikes that can be accessed from this park. There is a public parking lot but it fills up fast. If you are planning on visiting on the weekend you are best to arrive early.

Shannon Falls is the center piece of this park and the trails provide spectacular views from a variety of levels. The trails are in great shape and very well maintained but each year climbers irresponsibly venture off the trail to get closer access to the Falls. Unfortunately many do not appreciate the danger of the falls and the results are sometimes fatal.

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Paradise Valley – Camp In This Piece Of Paradise!

Paradise Valley Campground – Squamish, BC

Paradise Valley Campground in Squamish BC was our last stop on our July 2015 Sea-to-Sky Tour, without kids or dogs.   Our first night was at Nairn Falls in Pemberton, from there we headed to Whistler for 3 nights at Riverside Resort and Campground with our last 2 nights at Paradise Valley Campground. When we were planning to camp in Squamish we immediately looked into Alice Lake Provincial Park but not surprisingly, that was booked solid. After a few internet searches we found Paradise Valley. We had never heard of this campground but we needed 3 sites and they had 3 left so it was a perfect match. Having to take the last 3 available sites put our expectations at a low level; from their map it appeared our sites were right off the main road near the office so we were anticipating a noisy night.

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Let me say we were PLEASANTLY surprised by this campground. Right from the drive in on a very picturesque country road, the entire campground experience was pleasing. The road is very rural (so much so that our GPS thought the address was a mile or two shy of the actual location) meaning traffic noise was not an issue. There is a train track running down the other side of the campground and it did generated noise about 5 times per day, but sleeping in a trailer allowed us to mute the sound a bit


The sites at this campground are large, some so big we all could have set-up on one site in particular. They are all well treed and offer ample space between sites. Only low lying bush separates the sites meaning you can see your neighbors but because the sites are so large it wasn’t a concern. There web site does have RV size limitation due to all it’s trees but for our party this was not an issue. They have 14 sites that offer hook ups but the sewer was not positioned near the electrical & water.  Two of us have side drain connections and could not utilize the sewer hole. Only our motorhome friends have sewer at the back allowing them to drain.  We noticed this placement design on all the sites we saw.
The sites offer a level RV spot (unless noted on their web site) but the ground cover is dirt making for a dusty stay. A load of gravel would do this campground well but I guess with the size of these sites it would cost a small fortune.   They did say they normally water more, but there were restrictions at the time.

Sites I would recommend (Site Map)

  • We were in sites 4, 6 &11 and I would stay in any of these again.
  • From walking around I would say 9 &13 would be my top choice, but really they are all good choices.
  • Our trip was cut short due to a family emergency so I didn’t get a chance to check out the non-serviced sites. We will try to get back so that I can update those in the future.

Campground Highlights

  • IMG_2009 (2)The bathrooms: these were the nicest camp bathrooms I have ever seen. The tiling and detail are really a surprise at a campground, and they were always kept clean.
  • Site size: all the sites were very large and some were huge.
  • Hook up options: you have the choice of hook ups or not.
  • Trails: the campground contains several short hiking trails
  • Coffee shop: a small store/cafe is offered on site.
  • Green space: they have 2 large geen spaces for activities
  • Group campsite: not often offered in a private campground.
  • Bike Rental: available on site

Campground lowlights

  • IMG_2019Sewer location: not near mid trailer hook ups making use of sewer difficult
  • Campsite ground cover: the dirt ground cover made for a dusty stay
  • Train tracks: there is no way to avoid the sound of a passing train
  • No music or radio at all: this could be a positive or negative but we did miss listening to music, although not enough to avoid the campground

Things To Do

  • IMG_2004Hiking the many trails on site.
  • Visit the Salmon Hatchery
  • Biking
  • Alice Lake
  • Fishing

Links

Nairn Falls – This Campground Is An Amazing Hidden Gem!

Nairn Falls Provincial Park is located 5 minutes outside Pemberton and 25 minutes north of Whistler making it a great home base for those wanting to enjoy the many outdoor activities in the area. We recently camped a night there before heading into Whistler.

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We decided to only stay one night mostly because of the limited facilities. Nairn Falls has no hook ups, which is the case with most provincial parks, but it also only has pit toilets and well water making it a bit more primitive than the camping we normally do (aka, I like my showers). We were planning a Monday night stay, so after checking the Discover Camping Reservation System which indicated the chance of getting a first come first serve site was high, we headed there without a site reserved.

Now this doesn’t sound like a big deal to most people but I am someone who likes to plan things down to the smallest detail so this was a risky move for me and even riskier for my husband who had to deal with my heightened stress.The drive from Vancouver to Nairn Falls is spectacular and worth the trip on its own. We arrived around noon and after cruising around the campground we settled on a site. We were meeting another couple so it was an added bonus that we could get double site 8/9. The camp sites at this park are large so there really isn’t a bad site to be had but all the sites along the cliffs edge have spectacular views and are worth reserving ahead of time if you can get one. Not surprising those sites were gone but a site across the road from the view was the next best thing. It was also close to the washrooms and far enough off the road to distance the traffic noise.

The main reason we decided to stay at Nairn Falls was for the local hiking so after we set up we headed out to complete the Joffre Lake hike. This has to be one of the most spectacular hikes in the area and it only took around 2 hours to complete. That evening we enjoyed the views of the campground and drinks with friends.

The next morning was check out so we only had time for a short hike. We saved the Nairn Falls hike for that morning because it can be completed in under and hour. It was an easy hike and worth the view at the end.

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Berry picking with a view!

Once packed up we were ready to head out but it was too early to check into our Whistler campground so we decided to explore Pemberton. We had passed North Arm Farm the day before and wanted to go back to find some fresh berries. The views from this farm were amazing and after buying a “hand pie” we sat on the swings and took in the sites. I had never berry picked before so myself and one of our friends headed into the fields, bucket in hand. It didn’t take us long to realize why they can never hire berry pickers. In our short 15 minute pick we were both covered in mosquito bites. After gather enough berries for sangria and cereal we called it a day and headed back to the safety of our vehicles. On to Whistler it was but not before declaring Pemberton and Joffre Lakes a successful stay.

Here are my thoughts on the campground.

View Site
View Site

Recommended Sites

  1. Sites 2,4,6,7,11,13/14,16 are prime view sites. Get them if you can, they are worth it.
  2. Avoid sites that back onto highway 99, although there is a lot of bush to dampen the noise, the highway is right there so they are the noisiest

Campground Highlights

  1. The mountain views and area hikes.
  2. Large, easily accessible sites.
  3. Great privacy between sites.
  4. Clean and well maintained.
IMG_1924
What the view sites look like from the trail.

Campground Lowlights

  1. Pit toilets
  2. No hook ups
  3. Only 2 water spots in the park.

Things to do

Other Links

Alice Lake Provincial Park – Squamish, BC.

www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/alice_lk/

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Alice Lake Provincial Park.

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This park is located about 10 km outside of Squamish making it easy weekend access for Lower Mainland campers. Alice Lake is located just off the famous Sea to Sky Highway and right in the heart of some of the best hiking trails in the country. ย There are 2 lakes with swimming beaches in this park and both have stunning views of the mountains. The campground has just under 100 campsites with about half of them offering electrical hook ups. This is unusual for a provincial park so if you can get a site with power grab it. The park offers all the privacy of a typical provincial campground and with its location to Vancouver it is very difficult to get into. Be sure to book 90 days in advance in order to secure a site. Continue reading