The rugged British Columbia coastline offers some of the most spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. And one of the best places to experience it is the village of Tofino on Vancouver Island.
At first glance, it is a sleepy seaside town but when you look a bit closer you’ll find endless adventure, incredible cuisine that wouldn’t look out of place in a big city, and quirky shops. If your British Columbia adventure includes a stop on Vancouver Island, we highly recommend booking an overnight stay in Tofino. Here’s just a selection of what you can get up to in this rustic town.
Tofino is one of Canada’s premier surf destinations. Middle Beach, Chesterman Bay, Schooner Cove, and Cox Bay are considered the best beaches for a day of surfing. If you’re new to surfing, you can book in some lessons at a beginner-friendly surf school.
2. Whale watching
The waters along the British Columbia coastline are populated with several species of whale, including orca and humpback. There are multiple tours on offer – many of which you can book with us in advance.
3. Look for black bears
Clayoquot Sound is one of Vancouver Island’s top bear watching spots. Book a boat tour along the coastline, where you’ll spot them at low tide foraging for rock crab, starfish and even a bit of kelp. It’s also not unusual to spot eagle aerie, harbour porpoises, seals, river otters, and blue herons.
4. Meander through Meares Island
This place is one of Tofino’s hidden gems. It is home to some of the oldest (800 and 1,300 years!) trees in British Columbia and boasts two easy hiking trails. It’s a 10-minute boat ride away, and so off the beaten track, you might even get the place to yourself. You can also book a kayaking tour to the island!
5. Hike at Cox Bay Landing
For a lovely view of the Pacific Ocean, head to Cox Bay Landing. At the far left-hand side of the beach (when looking towards the ocean) you’ll notice a gap in the trees. This leads onto an unmarked hike that will take you up to the top of a hill that provides beautiful views of the ocean. It’s not long but it is steep, so we recommend you wear sturdy shoes.
6. Tofino Hot Springs
You’ll need to travel for this one, but it is well worth it. Located 27 nautical miles northwest of Tofino (you can travel by seaplane or boat), you’ll be treated to one of Canada’s most luxurious hot springs and some incredible landscapes. Pick from seven natural geothermal rock pools that successively cool as you approach the ocean. It’s also not unusual to spot bears and whales nearby.
7. Do some independent shopping
Tofino village itself is full of rustic shops that sell little knickknacks created by local designers and First Nation tribes. You’ll find most of the shops located on Campbell Street and Main Street.
8. Delight your taste buds with award-winning food
Tofino is home to some delicious independent cafés and restaurants. Such as Wolf in the Fog, which was awarded Canada’s number one new restaurant in 2016. And make sure you visit Tacofino, the original food truck that started Vancouver’s famous restaurant chain.
9. Sample a local beverage
Tofino is also home to both the Tofino Brewing Company, and Tofino Distillery. Both allow you to sit in, or you can buy a few pre-packed brews and take them on a hike!
10. Watch the sunset
Tofino is famed for its beaches that look out onto the Pacific Ocean. The beaches here stretch for miles so you won’t have a problem finding a quiet space to watch the sun dip into the ocean.