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First Come First Serve Camping- Long Weekend, Sunshine Coast

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Langley, Canada
posts: 3
First Come First Serve Camping- Long Weekend, Sunshine Coast

The subject pretty much says it all. Unfortunately, by the time we got around to making our reservations for this upcoming August long weekend all campsites were fully reserved (both private and provincial). We are considering risking it for first come, first served campsites but I thought some helpful replies could help give me an idea of our chances.

We are planning to leave from the greater Vancouver area first thing Thursday morning (July 31st) and stay 4 nights, returning Monday. Do we have a decent chance on landing a site due to the fact we are arriving early Thursday afternoon? Or are we still running a pretty high risk? I'm open to pretty much any tenting campsite as far up the highway as Earl's Cove.

I understand that due to the fact the Sunshine Coast is essentially 'landlocked', there's a finite amount of sites- if they are full, you are eventually out of additional options further down the road. Based on people's informed feedback, we may decide to try our chances with FCFS by heading to the interior.

I know it's a very subjective question- I appreciate your help. Just trying to get a feel for our chances with a Thursday afternoon availability going into this long weekend. :)

5 replies to this topic
Langley, Canada
posts: 3
1. Re: First Come First Serve Camping- Long Weekend, Sunshine Coast

PS: If changing our arrival to Wednesday/tomorrow evening will significantly help our chances, it's an option.

Sechelt, BC
Destination Expert
for Sunshine Coast
posts: 1,405
2. Re: First Come First Serve Camping- Long Weekend, Sunshine Coast

Hi Rick ~~~~~ sorry this was missed. I was away for the last week myself and I guess many other posters were too.

How did you make out?

Langley, Canada
posts: 3
3. Re: First Come First Serve Camping- Long Weekend, Sunshine Coast

We decided to ensure our best chances of getting a spot and 'beating the rush' so we came out Wednesday evening and got a great spot at Roberts Creek, which was the site we wanted (located between both Gibsons and Sechelt, permitted fires at your campsite unlike Porpoise Bay)! I'll go into detail in case this thread is viewed in the future by others in a similar situation as I was.

When we arrived wednesday night at about 8pm, site occupancy was at about 70%- still good sites to choose from. We stopped by Porpoise Bay shortly afterward out of curiosity, and their FCFS sites were already close to 95% occupancy. I'll admit, the amenities of this site are great (we visited often ourselves), so it was probably a more 'in demand' campsite for the majority (we happen to prefer having our own fire and aren't afraid of using an outhouse).

By Thursday night at Roberts Creek, there were still a couple campsites available. We probably would have made out 'okay' had we left Thursday night but it would have been a toss of the dice for sure.

Friday afternoon is when the chaos started- I had the pleasure of watching it unfold from my hammock ;). People were circling like vultures at checkout time. Some people were even paying off departing campers to leave behind one of their items (like a camping chair) after they left to guarantee a spot. Improvised 'occupied' signs on site posts were seen as well. I'm certain many people found themselves without a spot Friday night, as the cars continued to circle into the night Friday (like clockwork, about 20 minutes after every ferry arrival). I'm not sure where these campers stayed, as all private campsites had 'no vacancy' signs up all weekend.

So, in summary- My advice to anybody going for a 'first come first serve' campsite on the Sunshine Coast for a summer long weekend, tack 2 vacation days onto the early side of the long weekend to beat the crowd and 'guarantee' you get a spot you are happy with.

PS: First time on the Sunshine Coast and we LOVED it. We will be back for sure.

Edited: 1:26 pm, August 06, 2014
Sechelt, BC
Destination Expert
for Sunshine Coast
posts: 1,405
4. Re: First Come First Serve Camping- Long Weekend, Sunshine Coast

Thanks for sharing that great info, especially the view from your hammock. Your information may be useful very soon to visitors coming this weekend as the Sleepy Hollow Rod Run event will be in town. Everything will be expected to be sold out for this weekend too.

Happy to hear you are planning on visiting again.

Nanaimo, Canada
posts: 13,279
reviews: 28
5. Re: First Come First Serve Camping- Long Weekend, Sunshine Coast

We prefer the Roberts Creek campsite as well. I truly disliked the campfire pits at Porpoise Bay. I actually wrote a comment on their card about it. We go away camping to enjoy family time, and don't care to spend an evening with strangers around the fire. Granted, there is also the flip side that you may possibly meet some great people. The other thing I disliked was at the designated hour, the park service people came around and dumped the water on the fire. VERY quickly! No time to gather up your stuff and get out of the way before the smoke and ash went flying.

No alcohol allowed around the fire either. I do enjoy my wine in the evening, but it wasn't allowed. Someone was drinking alcohol at the fire one night, but someone must have reported it, because a staff member came along and told him to leave and come back without the beer.

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