On the western coast of Vancouver Island lies Tofino; a hidden gem offering some of the best spots to enjoy the sights of the majestic Pacific Ocean. The region, Clayoquot Sound, is bordered by over 500 square kilometers of national park on one side and beaches up to 16km long on the other. With the countless inlets and hiking trails, there is no better destination to enjoy nature.
From Vancouver, the journey to Tofino is an imposing six hours, which may deter some of the less motivated travelers. However, the trip is fairly relaxing and can be divided into several smaller legs. By the time you have reached Vancouver Island, you would have spent two hours admiring the Strait of Georgia, perhaps even sighting some dolphins or seals that are common to the area. A quick drive along Highway 19 out of Nanaimo leads to the scenic and curvy one-lane Pacific Rim Highway (Highway 4). The highway brings you past the small fishing and lumber town of Port Alberni, a great place to stop for lunch, a leisurely stroll or some donuts before embarking on the last stretch of road.
The wilderness surrounding Tofino has inspired many creative minds, leading glassblowers, painters and wood carvers alike to open up galleries and individual workshops. A town with a rich Aboriginal heritage, Tofino also treasures its resources, and encourages visitors to get outside and explore its offerings. One of the best and most common ways of doing so is surfing. As the sole surfing spot in nearly all of BC, Tofino draws in hundreds of wetsuit-clad locals and tourists alike who take to the ocean like a group of shiny, black seals. Though the waves are strongest in the winter, it's a year-round activity that can be enjoyed with the right gear, which Pacific Surf School has available even when you don't. With experiencing the waters of the Pacific one of the top things to do in Tofino, an eco-friendly and experienced boat excursion company, The Whale Centre , is also a great choice. The Hot Springs Soak Tour takes is a half-day adventure involving whale watching, pristine hot springs, and local wildlife. If you're looking for a more up-close-and-personal approach, kayaking is another endeavor you can take on. Clayoquot Sound and the surrounding areas offer enough marvels for a lifetime of exploration; we won't blame you if you opt to extend your stay.
As a small, seaside town, Tofino is well-known for its fresh seafood and cozy restaurants. Every traveler will delight in top quality local food, and two of the best spots to do so are SoBo and Tacofino . If seafood is what you crave, SoBo is hands-down the best place to experience fresh fish, shellfish, and Canada's finest produce. With a wood-burning outdoor fireplace and spacious indoor seating, the cozy atmosphere offers the ideal place to tuck in with a bowl of clam chowder or fresh fish entrée. On the other hand, Tacofino, which originated as an oceanside food cart, serves up tantalizing tacos that are positively addicting.
There are a number of quaint oceanside accommodations in Tofino and the nearby town of Ucluelet. One of the more notable venues, located just a short drive from the town, Pacific Rim Park and Long Beach, is Pacific Sands Beach Resort . Sporting beautiful beachfront views of the Pacific Ocean, hot tubs, social BBQ areas and panoramic views, it's nothing short of paradise. For a more unconventional type of accomodation, Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet offers waterfront cabins nestled in the middle of Pacific Rim National Park. Sure, it's about a 30 minute drive from Tofino, but the unfettered access to the cliffs and beaches of the shared coastline make this resort a desirable spot for travelers.