Tofino Treasures: A Bucket List of 15 Amazing Activities for Your Coastal Escape

Archana KumariAnanya Sreen
Archana Kumari Ananya Sreen Things to Do
22 Min Read
Amazing Activities for Your Coastal Escape

Tofino is the first place that comes to mind when people think of either “tropical” or “Canada.”

One of the westernmost towns in Canada, it is known for having some of the most incredible surfing in the nation. It is situated in the Pacific Ocean.

Moreover, Tofino, in the province of British Columbia, is well-known for its breathtaking sunsets.

1. Kayak Around the Clayoquot Sound

A lovely way to discover the adjacent Clayoquot Sound is via sea kayak. Meares Island is one of the most well-liked places to go kayaking.

The protected seas provide a haven for a wide variety of marine life, some of which include bald eagles, sea lions, seals, sea lions, sea otters, and orcas.

An aerial shot of Tofino and Clayoquot Sound, Vancouver Island, BC Canada
From DepositPhotos

Sea kayaking tours are provided by a wide range of tour operators in Clayoquot Sound. Most trips will take you to Meares Island or Vargas Island, where you may paddle through protected bays and enjoy the old-growth jungle.

You can go on hikes and stroll along the boardwalk of the Big Tree Trail in this region of old-growth forest. Many outfitters offer guided tours for people who are new to the sport.

2. Pacific Rim National Park

Tofino’s Pacific Rim National Park is widely regarded as one of Canada’s most breathtaking parks and is often considered one of the best attractions in the entire town.

The 16-kilometer Long Beach is the main draw of Pacific Rim National Park and the surrounding city of Tofino. This lovely stretch of sand is ideal for strolling, and thanks to the hard-packed sand, a stroller may even be pushed on it.

You may reach the breathtaking shoreline by taking numerous hiking trails that go through the verdant emerald rainforest.

A path through lush rainforest in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island, Canada.
From DepositPhotos

When the tide is out, Long Beach is flat, immensely vast, and appears to go on forever as you look into the distance through the sea spray hanging in the air. 

It’s a beautiful and peaceful spot with a wide-open feeling that’s hard to find anywhere else on Vancouver Island.

2.1 Where is it Located?

The Pacific Rim National Park is between Ucluelet and Tofino, approximately a three-hour journey from the Nanaimo Ferry Terminal.

3. Take up Surfing

Tofino is the top surfing destination in Canada due to its miles of unending beaches and constant waves. It is possible to surf here throughout the year; however, large wetsuits are required.

3.1. When Should You Go Surfing?

The most significant months for surfing in Tofino for experienced surfers are September through November. However, any season suits families and beginners, even though summer is the busiest.

Tofino Vancouver Island Pacific rim coast, surfers with board during sunset at the beach, surfers silhouette Canada Vancouver Island Tofino Vancouver Island
From DepositPhotos

3.2. Where is this Well-known Surfing Area?

Long Beach is a well-known surfing spot in the Pacific Rim National Park, especially around Incinerator Rock. In the parking area near the beach, there are restrooms and showers.

Long Beach is a well-known surfing spot in the Pacific Rim National Park, especially around Incinerator Rock. In the parking area near the beach, there are restrooms and showers.

Wickaninnish Beach and Florencia Bay near Long Beach are usually crowded with surfers.

Tofino’s Cox Bay is often considered the town’s most famous surfing spot. There are also some Tofino resorts and a campground beside the water. There will be a large number of surfers hoping to catch a wave at Cox Bay Beach.

Volleyball on the beach is another very well-liked activity, and nets are built up on a number of the beaches so that people may participate.

Even the Surf Sister Surf Shack at the Pacific Sands Beach Resort in Cox Bay offers rentals, lessons, and a shop for surfing gear. The Long Beach Lodge Resort, the brand-new Surf Grove Campground, and Cox Bay Beach Resort are nearby.

Another large beach that is popular for surfing is Chesterman Beach, which is located close to Cox Bay. Cox Bay is our preferred surfing spot for children. The beach is excellent, especially if you are a guest at Pacific Sands Resort.

Surfer at sundown at Chesterman Beach in Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
From DepositPhotos

4. Whale-Watching Tour

A whale-watching tour is necessary if you want to get out on the water and take in the sights and sounds of marine life.

As you stroll around the town, you’ll come across several tour companies that provide excursions on broad boats designed like Zodiacs, boats with partial covers, or vessels with full covers.

These tours offer a fantastic opportunity to view the surroundings and terrain, including the picturesque Clayoquot Sound.

3.3 What is the Most Suitable Time for Whale Watching?

April through October is the ideal period for whale watching. Orcas, grey whales, and humpback whales can all be seen occasionally in the waters of Tofino.

Going on an open-ocean adventure cruise between March and April is better if you want to encounter grey whales.

The humpback whales can occasionally be seen in the waters of Clayoquot Sound if you’re on vacation in Tofino in the summer.

Humback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) breaching.
From DepositPhotos

5. Go Deep-Sea Fishing

Tofino is a fantastic location for deep-sea fishing, as you might expect. Salmon, halibut, and ling-cod are just a few of the fish that are readily accessible. These fish can get huge.

Consider booking a full- or half-day fishing charter with one of the Tofino outfitters for a true adventure out on the open ocean.

You can be sure that the stunning natural beauty around you, particularly the Clayoquot Sound Mountains that provide the most breathtaking backdrop, will inspire you whether or not you catch the catch of the day.

5.1 When is the Best Time to Visit there?

The summer months of June through September are ideal for deep-sea fishing in Tofino.

6. Storm Watching

Tofino is busiest in the summer, but in the winter, storm watchers are flocking in growing numbers. The waves generated by storms in this region of the world during the storm-watching season can be as high as 20 feet.

One of the greatest locations for this is the Pacific Sands Beach Resort, which has access to places where you can watch storms and views of the beach.

Because it is located right on the edge of Cox Bay Beach, the Great Room restaurant is also a well-liked spot to observe storms. You can find a more affordable option by going to the visitor center in Pacific Rim National Park, which has a view of the storms coming onto Wickaninnish Beach.

Storm Watching in Tofino BC - The Wickaninnish Inn

7. Go on a Bear-Watching Tour

If you’re from Canada, you’ve probably seen black bears a lot, but seeing them in their native environment while they hunt for crabs rather than rummaging through trash cans is a very other experience.

There are lots of black bears in Tofino, one of Canada’s most recognizable wildlife. They frequently search for food along the coasts while the tide is low.

Visitors who take bear-viewing trips can observe these majestic creatures in the wild at a respectful distance.

A bear-watching tour will drive you to their location and provide the finest opportunity to get a close-up view of them. You can pick from various tour operators, each offering a distinctive experience.

Most trips will transport you by boat or floatplane to Hot Springs Cove, where you can observe bears feasting on salmon in their native habitat.

7.1 When Should You Go?

The start of April through the end of October sees the operation of tours, which have varying operating times based on the tides. Furthermore, bear cubs can be spotted at this time.

Black bear roaming low tide shores, looking for crabs,in the natural habitat, Vancouver Island,  Canada
From DepositPhotos

8. Go to Hot Springs Cove

Hot Springs Cove Tofino is the place to go if you’re seeking a distinctive hot springs experience.

8.1. Where is this Hot Spring Cove?

These naturally occurring hot springs are found in Clayoquot Sound, and the only way to get there is by floatplane or boat. The geothermal activity provides the hot springs’ cove water, which is a comfortable 50°C all year round.

You might not like the smell of natural sulfur, but it won’t bother you as much after a while. And once the warm waters have relaxed your muscles, you won’t mind if you have a strange fragrance.

Due to the limited size of the pools, you will be expected to share them. You can change after traversing the rainforest to reach the rock pools because there are two restrooms on-site. Gray whales, eagles, sea lions, sea otters, and harbor seals might all be visible along the trip!

8.2. When Should You Go?

Early morning is the ideal time to go because fewer people are there. You will have to share the little pools.

Low tide is the perfect time to come because high tides can flood the lower pools, making them much colder.

Despite being challenging to get, this location can become highly crowded during the busiest travel seasons.


9. Botanical Garden and Visit the Little Costa Rica Cafe

Any lover of nature must go to the Tofino Botanical Gardens. The Tofino Botanical Gardens are a place where art and nature come together.

Art installations ranging from small, simple wood carvings to great, quirky works of art are scattered across lovely gardens and woodland regions.

Some of these installations stand out, while others blend so well into their environment that you might miss them if you aren’t paying close attention.

Some trails go through the forest, a mudflat on the coast, and past sites with exquisitely crafted art. You must, of course, stop by the Little Costa Rica Café while you’re here.

The Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica, which encourages sustainable development and conservation in South America, served as the original inspiration for the gardens, hence the name. The food is superb, and the coffee is brewed with fresh, regional ingredients.

9.1. Where is the Location of this Botanical Garden?

The gardens are 12 hectares in size and are situated on the outskirts of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

9.2. When Should You Go?

When the flowers bloom, April to October is the finest time. However, the gardens are lovely throughout the year and provide a peaceful retreat from the busyness of daily life.

If you suffer from severe allergies,  don’t forget to take your medication before you come! Early in the spring, the pollen is quite potent.


10. Radar Hill

In the general vicinity of Tofino is a prominent elevation that is straightforward to reach, known as Radar Hill. The vantage point at the summit offers views of the mountains and the ocean in both directions while flying over the trees.

As a spot to go in the case of a tsunami, Radar Hill is also a location that local lodges and bed-and-breakfasts advise their customers about.

Although there are just a few foundations left from the hill’s past as a radar station at the outset of the Cold War, you won’t find many other signs of it now.

You may be curious as to how this hill gained its name. In fact, during World War II, this hill was home to a radar station. It was a component of a network of radar equipment designed to alert people in case of impending airstrikes in North America.

Now, it’s the ideal walk for people who don’t wish to take on challenging and lengthy climbs or are just pressed for time.

11. Enjoy Some Amazing Food in Tofino

Tofino has a wide variety of food alternatives for such a small town. Visit the Wickaninnish Inn’s Pointe Restaurant for fine dining, where you can take in the scenery from their cliffside setting, or the more relaxed Driftwood Café, which has windows that look down into the beach.

The Long Beach Lodge’s Great Room is challenging to beat for ambiance. This picturesque location overlooks Cox Bay and has enormous windows that look out into the beach during the sunset. Watching the sunset over Cox Bay is among the most remarkable things in Tofino.

The Wolf in the Fog is an additional option for a fine dining experience in Tofino. The Shelter, another restaurant in Tofino, offers indoor and outdoor eating with a view of Clayoquot Sound.

The Rhino Coffee House in Tofino is the place to go if you only want a decent cup of coffee and a tasty pastry.

12. Take a Scenic Flight

An aerial view of Cox Bay, Tofino, Vancouver Island, BC Canada
From DepositPhotos

The landscape of Tofino is breathtaking when viewed from the ground, but can you fathom the splendor of what it must look like when viewed from above? Float planes or helicopters are the most effective means of experiencing a magnificent flight over Tofino.

Tofino’s airport and the harbor are the two places to board a float plane or a helicopter trip, respectively.

13. Explore Downtown Tofino

Strolling downtown Tofino and perusing the shops and eateries after an exciting day is enjoyable. Downtown Tofino offers various unique stores that sell apparel, jewelry, and local works of art.

If you’re searching for casual fare or exquisite dining, there are many options for where to grab a bite. Tofino Public Market is a must-visit location to purchase locally crafted crafts, baked delicacies, and fresh food.

The market is the ideal place to buy gifts for friends and family back home and is open from May to October.

14. Explore Hiking Trails

There are many hiking paths in Tofino where you may get fresh air, ranging from strolls around the park to ankle-breakingly rough terrain like the Lone Cone Trail.

At Pacific Rim National Park, you can spend the day getting “lost” among the numerous inlets on the easy-going trails that meander across the landscape.

The Cox Bay Lookout trek is one of Tofino’s most picturesque excursions. The walk is usually quite an easy hike up to the overlook over the ocean and begins at the end of Cox Bay.

The hike is generally somewhat muddy throughout the year, and there are a few spots where you will need to struggle over boulders.

In Ucluelet, a longer trail travels through a rougher area called the Wild Pacific Trail.

The Ancient Cedars route is a short outing that is also a part of the Wild Pacific Trail but can be taken alone. Walking beneath the enormous trees is a beautiful way to take in the splendor of the rainforest in this location.

14.1 What are some of the most well-liked Hikes?

Schooner Cove Trail, Tofino, Ucluelet, British Columbia
From DepositPhotos

The Schooner Cove Trail, South Beach Trail, and Wild Pacific Trail are well-liked hiking routes. These all offer a mix of coastal areas and forested areas.

Tofino has the remarkable feature of not experiencing as much snow and ice as most of Canada. As a result, you can visit any time of year; however, if you want to avoid crowds, winter is often a fantastic time to go.

Visit the Big Tree Trail if you want to see something remarkable. Some of British Columbia‘s most significant trees with the same name can be found along the trail.

15. Relax and Have Fun at The Beaches

The beaches at Tofino are well-known throughout the world. The beaches in this area are great for surfing and provide beachcombing, picnics, and sandcastle-building opportunities.

15.1. Long Beach

One of Vancouver Island’s most well-known beaches, Long Beach, is known for its spectacular sunsets.

With a name like Long Beach, it should be no surprise that this 10-mile-long strip of sand is the island’s longest beach (16 km). The best sandy beach is located in Long Beach.

Visit Long Beach, which offers breathtaking 360-degree ocean views and is inside the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Best For: This beach is perfect for jogging, surfing, walking, and even storm-watching.

15.2. Chesterman Beach

You should visit Chesterman Beach if you’re traveling to Tofino for its renowned surfing conditions. Low tide and beach strolls are ideal at Chesterman Beach.

This beach, easily accessible from the Pacific Rim Highway, is quite popular with residents and frequently gets overcrowded.

Best For: You may hike, surf, and explore marine caves on this beach.

15.3. Cox Bay

The beach of Cox Bay on Vancouver Island, Canada. Photographed at sunset.
From DepositPhotos

Cox Bay, north of Long Beach and south of Chesterman Beach, is the site of numerous surfing championships because of its favorable conditions.

Sunset vistas and boardwalks through the forest are spectacular at Cox Bay.

Best For: This beach is best for surfing.

15.4. MacKenzie Beach

MacKenzie Beach, situated north of Chesterman Beach, is ideal for swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding since its seas are much calmer than other beaches.

Best For This Mackenzie Beach is an excellent choice for a peaceful environment because it is a little more remote.

15.5. Wickaninnish Beach

This beach is an excellent example of a postcard; it is south of Long Beach and named for the legendary Chief Wickaninnish.

Best For Wickaninnish Beach‘s setting and beauty make it the perfect place to explore the beach and take pictures for Instagram.

Tofino – A Coastal Beauty

Tofino is a charming little town with many interesting sights and activities. It is a destination with plenty of unspoiled natural beauty to discover, waves to surf, and a tranquil atmosphere you won’t find in other cities.

Traveling from Vancouver to Tofino, you must factor in the 2-hour ferry voyage from Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay. However, it is worth the effort to get there, and you might not want to leave even after you’ve been there.

So, it is the ideal haven to visit when you wish to vanish and detach from the outside world. You can unwind and discover why it’s so simple to fall in love with this location by relaxing at one of the many coastal Tofino hideaways.

Last Updated on by Ananya Sreen

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *