Located on a bay on Vancouver Island’s west coast, this resort town offers forest hikes, surfing beaches and whale-watching tours.
Once a tiny Vancouver Island fishing village, the town of Tofino is now a beachside resort town. Its wild surroundings within the Clayoquot Sound provide plenty of room to find peace. Surfing, whale watching and storm chasing are just a few of the ways to explore Tofino’s landscape.
During the summer, relax on Tofino’s beaches. Chesterman Beach is the closest to the village of Tofino. Explore the tide pools or head to Frank Island, accessible only at low tide. Trek into Pacific Rim National Park to find the aptly named Long Beach, where huge waves attract surfers. Sign up for surf school to build your skills.
Pacific Rim National Park also features excellent hikes. Beginners can take Big Tree Trail, lined with redwoods up to 1,500 years old. See the Hanging Garden Tree, which is a whopping 60 feet (18.3 meters) wide. If you are an experienced hiker, attempt the near-vertical Lone Cone Trail. From the peak of Lone Cone, enjoy a fantastic view of the hills and countless islands of Clayoquot Sound.
Get close to Tofino’s incredible wildlife on a boat tour. An estimated 20,000 whales pass along the west coast of Vancouver Island each year, so you are likely to see a gray, humpback or orca whale on a whale-watching tour. Bear-watching boat tours are available as well; safely watch black bears feeding along the coastline at low tide.
Explore Clayoquot Sound on your own in a kayak. Paddle 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) west to reach a beautiful, remote beach on Vargas Island. Fish in the sound to catch delicious salmon.
While outdoor activities are Tofino’s main attractions, another great way to enjoy the area is to relax in a cozy waterfront cabin during winter and watch heavy storms roll in. Visit between November and March, when Tofino receives more than 10 storms per month.
From Vancouver, take a ferry to Vancouver Island, then make the 3-hour drive to Tofino. Beach resort meets remote mountain village in this Pacific paradise.