Britannia Beach-Porteau Cove is a series of small communities and parks strung along the foot of the Coast Mountains on the eastern shore of Howe Sound. The drive along the coast -- with tall forested mountains rising from steel blue waters -- is one of the most spectacular drives in Canada. Although most travellers will move quickly through en route to Vancouver or Whistler, the area provides a handful of attractions beyond the scenery for those who want to stop and take their time.
The Howe Sound area covers the southern part of the Sea to Sky region. It begins north of Lions Bay and extends up the coast to Shannon Falls Provincial Park, near Sqaumish. The area includes the unincorporated communities of Porteau Cove, Furry Creek and Britannia Beach.
Historically, the area was important for its logging and mineral resources, but its ruggedness prevented dense settlement. With the growth of Vancouver, Whistler and Squamish however, regional authorities have identified pockets of the region for growth (mainly Britannia Beach and Porteau Cove).
Highway 99 (Sea-to-Sky Highway) runs the length of the area, connecting it to Squamish in the north and Vancouver's north shore to the south. A car or bike is required since buses run directly from Vancouver to Squamish without stopping in between.
A car is the easiest way to get around. People also cycle the highway (the shoulder is paved most of the way) but the road is windy and traffic moves quickly.
- British Columbia Museum of Mining (Britannia Mine Museum), Britannia Beach, ☎ +1 604 896-2233 (toll free: 1-800-896-4044), . 9AM-4:30PM daily. Once the largest copper producer in the British Empire, this mine turned museum offers outstanding insight into how mining worked a hundred years ago. Ride the train into the old tunnels, pan for gold, look at ore samples and view exhibits on mining and the the history of the Britannia Mine. $13.50/$16/$21.50 (child/students and seniors/adult). Family pass $72. (49.62349,-123.20469) edit
- Furry Creek Golf & Country Club, 150 Country Club Road, Furry Creek, ☎ +1 604 896-2224 (toll free: 1-888-922-9462), . Open mid-March to mid-Oct. 18 hole par 72 golf course with abundant scenery and wildlife. $99 July-Sept with discounted rates at other times of the year and for matinee/twilight tee times (fee includes golf cart). edit
- Murrin Provincial Park, Hwy 99 (2 km north of Britannia Beach and 9 km south of Squamish), . Open year round. A small day-use park with a good lake for swimming (it's small enough to get warm in summer), some short hiking trails and a range of rock climbing routes. Free. edit
- Porteau Cove Provincial Park, Hwy 99 (38 km north of Vancouver and 20 km south of Squamish), . Open year round. A small provincial park on Howe Sound with a beach and artificial reef for diving. Day use is free. (49.55935,-123.23515) edit
- There are a few hiking trails in the area. These include:
Britannia Beach has a couple of shops where souvenirs can be purchased.
There are a couple of small restaurants/coffee shops in Britannia Beach. Otherwise, food options are further afield in Squamish and West Vancouver.
- Galileo Coffee, 173 Highway 99, Britannia Beach, ☎ +1 604.896.0272, . 6AM-3PM M-F, 7AM-3PM Sa-Su. Local coffee shop that roasts their own beans. The selection includes the usual mix of coffee, expresso-based and coffee alternative drinks. Their specialty is the "Canadiano" -- an Americano with a hint of maple syrup (very sweet, no sugar required). The muffins are a good mix with some different flavours and savoury options. $1.50-5 for coffee, $2-6 for baked goods and sandwiches. (49.61971,-123.20533) edit
- Porteau Cove Campground, Hwy 99 - Porteau Cove PP (see directions above). There are 44 drive-in sites with electrical hook-up and 16 walk-in sites. Showers and flush toilets are available. Not all facilities may be available during the low season (Nov - Feb). Drive-in sites $30 (+ $8 for electrical hook-up) outside of low season, $16 otherwise. Walk-in sites $16 year-round.
- Porteau Cove Legacy Cabins, Hwy 99 - Porteau Cove PP (see directions above). Log cabins that were built for the 2010 Winter Olympics and now available for the public to use. The cabins are one bedroom with a loft and can handle up to four occupants. Other amenities include a stove, mini-fridge, microwave and three piece bathroom. $139 mid-Oct - mid-May, $179-$219 at other times. Minimum stay of three nights is required Mar-Oct.
|Routes through Britannia Beach
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