Head for Tofino and Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island for a surfing adventure. Ride big (or little) Pacific swells, see grey whales in the wild, hike the Wild Pacific Trail, or just stroll along a wave-tossed beach. In winter, cozy up in a seaside inn to watch dramatic storms play out against the shore.
Catch the perfect wave in the west coast village of Tofino, named “Best Surf Town in North... Read more America” in Outside Magazine's 2010 Editors' Choice Awards. Step into a wetsuit and paddle out to meet the swells – this is cold-water surfing at its finest. Pacific Surf School or Surf Sister Surf School can have you geared up and catching waves in no time. After a day at the beach head to SoBo Restaurant for fish tacos and other tasty treats. Be sure to check out the Eagle Aerie Gallery featuring the artwork of acclaimed First Nations artist Roy Henry Vickers or Storm Surf Shop for funky local art and clothing.
For the feel of the West Coast Trail without the multi-day commitment, try some short hikes... Read more around Tofino and Ucluelet. The Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet winds through rainforest and around rugged headlands, offering an easy and accessible taste of the area’s magnificent coastal scenery. Near Tofino, the trails in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve include the lovely Schooner Cove Trail, a 2-km/1.2-mi round trip that leads to a secluded sandy beach. Or hike Long Beach; its forest-backed, driftwood-strewn sand is the ultimate beach walk.
For the feel of the West Coast Trail, without the multi-day commitment, try some short hikes around Tofino and Ucluelet. Hike around rugged headlands and through coastal rainforest on the Wild Pacific Trail. This shoreside path in and around the village of Ucluelet, offers an easy and accessible taste of the area’s magnificent coastal scenery.
Up to 20,000 grey whales migrate along the coast here each spring. Join the people of Tofino and... Read more Ucluelet in welcoming them at the Pacific Rim Whale Festival held every March in both towns. Can't make it March? You can spot grey whales, humpbacks and Orcas (killer whales) in the area all summer long.
Spend a serene day at Hot Springs Cove. These rustic geothermal springs, about 80 minutes by sea from Tofino in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, are accessible year-round by boat or floatplane. Several water taxis and tour operators offer trips to the park. After gliding past forested islands, spotting marine mammals and birdlife on the way, you stroll along a forested boardwalk to the springs. Here, a steaming waterfall cascades into a series of pools carved into the shoreline and cooled by ocean swells, making it an idyllic setting for a relaxing soak.
Tofino, tucked on a peninsula on Vancouver Island’s wild west coast, is a funky little... Read more beach town attracting well over half a million visitors annually with its compelling mix of wilderness, creature comforts, and laid back surf-haven vibe. Join the locals for a coffee at the Common Loaf Bake Shop, pick up some handmade treats at Chocolate Tofino, and enjoy the serenity at Eagle Aerie Gallery, where the works of Tsimshian artist Roy Henry Vickers hang in a long house setting. Just south of town, spot indigenous plants, art, and local history along the pathways of Tofino Botanical Gardens.
Tofino revels in its beaches, laid-back vibe and outdoor lifestyle and a journey through the Tofino Botanical Gardens like a small slice of outdoor paradise. This 5 ha/12 ac plot of waterfront, gardens and shoreline celebrates the coastal rainforest ecosystem with a network of trails that wind through gardens, ponds, funky art displays, homestead buildings, waterfront mudflats (great for birdwatching) and lush forest. After exploring the grounds visit the Darwin Café and enjoy the cozy ambiance and healthy snacks or dine al Fresco in the colourful gardens.
The tiny fishing village of Ucluelet, just 40 km/25 mi south of Tofino, is a destination in its... Read more own right thanks to its stunning coastal scenery and some great dining and lodging options. Tucked between two sections of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, the village is a great base for halibut and salmon fishing, and for diving and kayaking in nearby Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands. Head out with Archipelago Wildlife Cruises to see whales, bears, sea lions, and more, then enjoy a stroll along the Wild Pacific Trail, an accessible route offering stunning views over crashing surf and rugged headlands.
For a small town, Tofino boasts a wealth of fabulous restaurants – most tending toward... Read more local and organic with seafood fresh from the docks. Start the day with breakfast at the Common Loaf Bake Shop, Tofino’s original coffee and muffin hang out, or Matterson House, serving Ucluelet's best breakfast in a charming historic cottage. Lunch? Grab a fish taco at SoBo where the chef takes inspiration from local ingredients and global street food. Dinner? Head to Ucluelet to experience the award-winning Norwoods Restaurant, or dine with a view of the crashing surf at Fetch in Ucluelet's Black Rock Oceanfront Resort.
BC Ferries sail every few hours from Horseshoe Bay, just north of Vancouver, to Nanaimo on... Read more Vancouver Island. From there, it’s a three to four hour drive through Vancouver Island’s mountain scenery to the coast. Travelling car-free? Tofino Bus Island Express runs daily service from Nanaimo to Tofino and Ucluelet. Orca Airways fly to Tofino from Vancouver International Airport.
The airport is situated approximately 25KM (15.5...
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