If you've never been to Tofino, what are you waiting for? This little Vancouver Island oasis is truly heavenly and must be explored!
Destination British Columbia states that "the stunning beauty and ecological diversity of Tofino's location in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is the source of all activities," and it's completely true. Whether you wish to walk along one of the beaches; hike; go fishing, bird-watching, bear-watching or whale-watching; or learn to surf (which is hugely popular), it's all available to you in Tofino. Pair that with incredible eateries and resorts, why wouldn't you want to visit this West Coast treasure?
Here is our mini guide to Tofino:
There are several fantastic places to rest your head while visiting Tofino; Our top choice is the Pacific Sands Beach Resort. The welcoming home-away-from-home destination has been delighting guests for the past 40 years with its first-class accommodations and incredible location — the resort hugs the Cox Bay beachfront .
The only all-suite resort in Tofino, you'll appreciate the modern, fully-equipped kitchens, cozy gas fireplaces, super-comfy beds, stunning views (every room at Pacific Sands is oceanfront or offers an ocean view), and the fabulous yellow rain slickers that will keep you dry as you march along the beach, to name just a few of the amenities.
Choose from a variety of accommodation types that range from 520 to 1,400-square-feet, and can sleep 2 to 8 people — they are all amazing. Oh, and we shouldn't forget to mention that your four-legged fur buddy is encouraged to stay with you, too.
Though you may wish to take advantage of your fabulous kitchen at Pacific Sands, we definitely suggest that you explore Tofino's culinary attractions, of which there are several.
Wolf in the Fog is the newbie of the eatery pack, having opened downtown in June of this year. Led by über-talented chef Nick Nutting (previously of world renown The Pointe Restaurant at The Wickaninnish Inn), he and his team transform Tofino’s finest fresh produce into simple and uncomplicated dishes that are served in a laid-back and casual setting. With a menu that is constantly changing, you may wonder what are the signature dishes. Go for any of the locally-caught fish plates — you definitely won't be disappointed.
Featured on the hit foodie show, You've Gotta Eat Here is The Woodside Grill. Found on the side of the highway (in the Live to Surf plaza) as you're driving into downtown Tofino, commercial fisherman Jeff Mikus and chef Jesse Blake offer the best fish and chips on the coast. Choose from panko-battered salmon, ling cod or halibut, served with fresh-cut Kennebec fries, house made tartar sauce and coleslaw. Yum! Once you've got your plate in hand, dine al fresco at one of their picnic tables.
That's exactly what most people want to do when they come to Tofino. It's the perfect place to unwind and get away from your technology-driven life. Note: the internet can be a little hit or miss, so we suggest that you just put away that iPhone or tablet and enjoy the great outdoors or reading a good book.
Tofino is the surfing capital of Canada and people visit from all over North America (and even further afield) to experience this one-of-a-kind surfing destination. Don't worry if you've never surfed, there are several surf schools in the area that will be happy to get you riding waves like a pro by the end of your stay. Surf Sister Surf School is a terrific choice, and highly-rated on TripAdvisor. They offer 2-3 hour lessons with friendly BCASI certified instructors, and have the skills and technique to take you from beginner to surfer in a safe and supportive environment.
If you don't feel like being very active, strolling along one of the nearby beaches is extremely therapeutic. Even if it's stormy, pull on those rain boots and Pacific Sands slicker and breathe in the fresh air and watch the waves crash onto the sand.
For more activity suggestions, visit the Tourism Tofino website.
Expect to take half a day to reach beautiful Tofino. We recommend that you take the scenic route: ferry and driving.
BC Ferries depart from Tsawwassen (South of Vancouver) and Horseshoe Bay (North of Vancouver) multiple times each day — check their site for sailing schedules (or even to book a Tofino vacation package through BC Ferries Vacations). Once you arrive in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, you're driving travel time to Tofino is around 3 hours (Tourism Tofino provides a driving route online).
[Photos: Vancouver Tourism Board / Shutterstock.com]