Camping and Paddling at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park


Quick Facts:
  • BC Provincial Parks website: https://bcparks.ca/porpoise-bay-park/
  • Access to water: slightly long but walkable distance of 200-300m from campsite to beach, water not visible from campsite
  • Deluxe amenities
  • Activities: playground at the day use area, water sports, beach-combing
  • Beach type: rocky
  • Outdoor Fam rating: 9 out of 10

Sunshine Coast is a quick 40 min ferry ride away from Metro Vancouver, but it has a very nice laid-back Island vibe. Taking the ferry also somehow makes the trip feel more like a vacation on a psychological level.

With easing COVID 19 restrictions in BC, we went on a 3-night camping trip with our good friends Johnny and Alison and their lovely girls.

Porpoise Bay Provincial Park is very tiny for a provincial park, being basically just the campground. The campground features hot showers, flush toilets, and cellular signal. No campfires allowed at the campsites, but there are 3 shared fire pits (we didn’t use them).

Very spacious shower, big enough to fit our whole family.

With rain in the forecast we set up our campsite for rain.

We had a very relaxed 2nd day at camp, listening to the rain and chilling. Johnny and I flipped through an old book he brought on knot tying and practiced.

During some sunny breaks, we went down to explore the rocky beach. It’s a very easy 300m walk to the beach from the campground through a day use parking lot.

The rain let up by the end of our 2nd day, so we got the paddleboards ready. Being so close to the beach means we could walk down to launch the boards whenever we feel like it!

The mornings in Sechelt Inlet are very calm. Porpoise Bay is basically at the end of the inlet, so going south basically hits a dead end right away. The view in the north is far superior anyway.

It’s also a take-off and landing area for commercial sea planes, so I would definitely recommend going north from Porpoise Bay.

In the afternoon, a strong southerly wind picked up and the water was choppy.

We took over a picnic table by the beach, and stayed from lunch to dinner at this little “day camp” for most of the day.

The day camp allowed us lots of flexibility to enjoy different combinations of activities, taking turns on the paddleboards, exploring the beach, catching/releasing crabs, napping, cooking, playground, etc.

On the last morning of our trip, we took an early paddle north from Porpoise Bay. After rounding the corner at Four Mile Point, the view opened up and the full glory of Sechelt Inlet came into stunning display.

The beauty of this fjord was so inviting, we immediately started dreaming about doing a week-long paddle trip to fully explore Sechelt Inlet.

We didn’t get very far this day though, because we were absolutely mesmerized by a spectacular jellyfish boom.

The pristine water was crystal clear at the shallower parts, we could see lots of flounder fish swimming and some crabs walking on the ocean floor. I even saw a seal that dived as I approached, but the water is too clear to conceal it as it swam away.

We reluctantly returned to our campsite and started preparing for taking down the campsite. The downside of having ferry reservations is that it takes away the spontaneity of travelling on our own time, as we have to be at the terminal 30-60 minutes before the scheduled departure.

Porpoise Bay Provincial Park is definitely one of the top choices for family-friendly camping near Vancouver. Being separated from Metro Vancouver by a ferry ride, the added cost and inconvenience keeps this campsite comparatively less busy than any other campsite within a 2-hour radius of Vancouver. The beach is ripe for exploring, the campground facility is top-notch, and the paddle is just phenomenal.

Bye for now, Sunshine Coast. We’ll be back!

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