Tofino, BCTofino, BC, Canada
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Tofino is one of our favorite places in Canada, whether you walk along the beach in the evening to see some of Canada’s most spectacular sunsets or hike along the coastline in the beautiful lush rainforest. With lush primeval forests, endless beaches on the Pacific Ocean and first-class cuisine, it is a sought-after destination. Plenty of surfers flock to the city every year to ride the enormous waves that crashing on many beaches along the west coast of the Vancouver Islands.
The beaches in the Tofino area are windswept and a bit wild, adding to their appeal. You can watch people surfing any time of the year, but the most popular spots to see the pros are Cox Bay and Long Beach.
Exploring the beach is one of the best activities in Tofino, so start your day with a walk along the beach. Popular hiking trails include Schooner Cove Trail, South Beach Trail, Wild Pacific Trail and the Rainforest Trail. The Pacific Sands Resort also has a trail that is open to the public.
Long Beach is worth a visit, as it represents the origins of surfing culture in the area. In the Pacific Rim National Park and Reserve, it is one of the best beaches in the region.
The Big Tree Trail, on Meares Island, requires a water taxi service from Tofinos to start the hike and costs $30 per person. A more adventurous option is the Lone Cove Trail on the Meares Islands and a 15-minute water taxi from Tofino. You climb a large rock to get to the start of the hike, but you can access it at low tide when the hike starts from the beach.
If you are an avid surfer, or just want to try your hand at surfing, you can surf at several beaches – Cox Bay, North Chesterman, McKenzie Beach and Long Beach being the best. Enjoy a relaxing visit to the sea at Mackenzie Beach in the middle of the beach (rented throughout the city) or paddle or surf in calm, sheltered waters on the east side of the peninsula. Apart from the most popular beaches, the city has a lot to offer no matter where you are.
Another popular hike in Tofino is a visit to the hot springs and bays of the Maquinna Provincial Park. It takes about 30-minutes each way.
Other holiday activities include shopping, romantic walks in the surrounding villages, hiking, sailing, whale watching, kayaking and fishing.
You will find plenty of options for dining in specialty restaurants and cafes throughout the village, and many of the hotels also have excellent dining options.
Tofino has many hotel options. Hostels, luxury suites, beach cabins and Vancouver Island Camping are all options for budget travelers. Another great thing about Tofino is that there are many lodge options for inexpensive camping and luxurious suites.
Hastings House is a country house hotel with picturesque views of the island, 18 unique rooms and suites, a restaurant and spa.
On the shores of MacKenzie Beach, in the city’s heart, the Ocean Village Resort has a charming array of cabins that exude a vintage 1970s vibe.
Pacific Sands Beach Resort is perfect for a Tofino getaway and offers surfboard and paddle board rentals and surf lessons. Take courses at Pacific Surf Co. or Tofino Surf School and Surf Sisters. As part of the Tofino Inner Harbour Tour, they also offer surfing courses in the calm waters of Mackenzie Beach.
Wickaninnish Inn is one of the few boutique seafront hotels in Tofino, with all the facilities for a luxurious stay.
Getting to Tofino from the BC mainland requires about a 1.5 hour ferry ride on BC Ferries, followed by a scenic 4 hour drive from the east coast to the west coast of Vancouver Island. For a quicker, albeit more expensive, trip you can book a flight from Vancouver Airport with Pacific Coastal Airlines or from Vancouver Harbour (downtown) with Harbour Air. These flights book up far in advance, so planning well ahead is a must.