Tofino is a charming small town located on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Known for its stunning natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere, Tofino is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and beach lovers alike. Surrounded by lush forests and the Pacific Ocean, Tofino offers a wide range of activities such as surfing, hiking, whale watching, kayaking, and more.
Visitors can also enjoy delicious local cuisine and browse unique shops and galleries in the town center. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, Tofino is a must-visit destination that will leave you in awe of its breathtaking scenery and welcoming community.
Tofino Travel Guide: A Brief History Of Tofino, BC
In the early 1900s, the area’s resources, particularly timber, led to an influx of settlers and the development of the logging industry. Tofino also became a popular destination for sports fishing and hunting, with visitors traveling to the area from around the world.
In the mid-1900s, Tofino’s economy shifted to tourism, and the town became a popular destination for surfers, nature enthusiasts, and anyone looking to escape city life. Today, Tofino is known for its beautiful beaches, rugged coastline, and stunning natural beauty.
source: Tourism Tofino on YouTube
Tofino Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino is a popular tourist destination on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, known for its rugged beauty, wildlife, and outdoor activities. One of the top attractions in Tofino is Long Beach, a scenic stretch of sandy beach that’s perfect for surfing, beachcombing, and enjoying the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can also explore the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, which includes Long Beach as well as other beaches, rainforests, and hiking trails.
Another popular activity in Tofino is whale watching, with several companies offering tours to see the majestic creatures in their natural habitat. The Tofino Botanical Gardens is another must-visit attraction, featuring 12 acres of gardens, boardwalks, and art installations that showcase the region’s natural beauty.
Other notable attractions in Tofino include the Tonquin Trail, a scenic hiking trail that leads to a picturesque viewpoint overlooking the town, and the Tofino Brewing Company, which offers tours and tastings of their locally brewed beer. With so much to see and do, Tofino is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the beauty of Canada’s west coast.
source: ADVENTURE CAMPitelli on YouTube
Top 10 Things To Do in Tofino, Vancouver Island For Visitors
Tofino is a popular tourist destination on the west coast of Vancouver Island, known for its stunning natural beauty, outdoor activities, and relaxed atmosphere. If you’re planning a visit to Tofino, here are 10 things you won’t want to miss:
- Surfing – Tofino is a mecca for surfers, with waves that attract surfers from all over the world. You can take a lesson or rent a board from one of the many surf shops in town.
- Beaches – Tofino has several beautiful beaches to explore, including Long Beach, Chesterman Beach, and Cox Bay. Take a walk, go for a swim, or simply relax and enjoy the view.
- Whale Watching – Tofino is a prime location for whale watching, with opportunities to see gray whales, humpback whales, and orcas. Take a tour with a local operator to get up close to these magnificent creatures.
- Hot Springs Cove – Take a boat tour to Hot Springs Cove, a natural hot spring located in Maquinna Provincial Park. Soak in the hot pools surrounded by old-growth forest and stunning coastal scenery.
- Kayaking – Explore the calm waters of Clayoquot Sound by kayak. Paddle through the fjords and channels, spot wildlife, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
- Hiking – Tofino has many hiking trails to explore, ranging from easy walks to challenging hikes. Check out the trails at Pacific Rim National Park, or venture out to the nearby islands.
- Fishing – Tofino is a great spot for fishing, with opportunities to catch salmon, halibut, and other species. Book a fishing charter with a local guide and try your luck.
- Wildlife Viewing – Tofino is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, bald eagles, and sea otters. Take a tour with a local guide to get a close-up view of these fascinating animals.
- Storm Watching – Tofino’s stormy winter weather can be dramatic and awe-inspiring. Take a walk on the beach or watch the waves from a cozy cafe.
- Dining – Tofino has a thriving food scene, with many restaurants and cafes offering fresh, locally sourced cuisine. From seafood to sushi to burgers, there’s something for everyone.
What To Eat and Drink at Restaurants in Tofino, Canada
Tofino is known for its excellent restaurants that feature fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients. Here are some of the best restaurants to check out in Tofino:
- Wolf in the Fog: This restaurant offers a cozy and elegant atmosphere and is known for its creative dishes that use locally sourced ingredients. The menu features seafood dishes, as well as meat and vegetarian options.
- The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn: This restaurant is situated in a beautiful location overlooking the ocean and features a menu that highlights Pacific Northwest cuisine. The dishes are made with local and seasonal ingredients and the wine list offers an excellent selection of British Columbia wines.
- 1909 Kitchen: This restaurant is located in the Tofino Resort and Marina and offers a menu that showcases the best of the Pacific Northwest. The dishes are made with fresh ingredients and the restaurant also features a raw bar.
- Sobo: This popular restaurant features a casual and comfortable atmosphere and serves up dishes that use fresh and local ingredients. The menu features a variety of seafood dishes, as well as vegetarian and vegan options.
- Shelter Restaurant: This restaurant offers a cozy and relaxed atmosphere and is known for its delicious seafood dishes. The menu features a variety of dishes made with locally sourced ingredients and the wine list features a selection of wines from British Columbia.
- Kuma Tofino: This restaurant features a unique blend of Japanese and Canadian cuisine and is known for its fresh seafood and sushi dishes. The restaurant also features a selection of craft beers and sake.
- Tacofino: This popular food truck turned restaurant offers a casual and fun atmosphere and serves up delicious tacos, burritos, and other Mexican-inspired dishes. The menu also features vegetarian and gluten-free options.
- The Hatch Waterfront Pub: This restaurant is situated on the water and features a menu that showcases local and sustainable ingredients. The restaurant also features a selection of craft beers and ciders from British Columbia.
- Bravocados: This restaurant features a cozy and intimate atmosphere and serves up delicious brunch dishes made with fresh and local ingredients. The menu features a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options.
- The Shed at Tofino Brewing Company: This casual eatery features a menu that showcases dishes made with locally sourced ingredients and beer from the Tofino Brewing Company. The menu features a variety of sandwiches, salads, and other pub-style dishes.
Tours For Visitors To Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino is a great place to take part in a variety of tours that showcase the area’s natural beauty and wildlife. Here are some popular tour options:
- Whale watching tours: Tofino is home to a variety of whale species, including gray whales, humpback whales, and orcas. Whale watching tours offer the chance to see these majestic creatures up close in their natural habitat.
- Hot Springs Cove tour: Take a boat ride to Maquinna Provincial Park and soak in the natural hot springs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
- Kayaking tours: Kayak through the calm waters of Clayoquot Sound and explore the rugged coastline, hidden coves, and rainforest islands.
- Bear watching tours: Head out on a guided tour to see bears in their natural habitat.
- Surfing lessons: Tofino is known for its excellent surf, and there are plenty of surfing schools that offer lessons for all skill levels.
- Fishing charters: Take a fishing charter and try your hand at catching salmon, halibut, and other fish.
- Tofino Botanical Gardens tour: Visit the Tofino Botanical Gardens, which feature 12 acres of gardens, a pond, and a rainforest trail.
- Tofino Food Tours: Sample some of the best local cuisine and beverages while learning about the area’s culinary scene.
- Zodiac boat tours: Hop on a zodiac boat for a thrilling ride through the waves while exploring the surrounding islands and coastline.
- Helicopter tours: See Tofino from a bird’s-eye view with a scenic helicopter tour of the area, which includes stunning views of the coastline, mountains, and forests.
Tofino Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels
Tofino offers a range of accommodations for visitors, from camping and RV parks to hotels and resorts. Here’s a guide to the different types of accommodations available in Tofino:
- Hotels and Resorts: Tofino has a number of luxury hotels and resorts, many of which offer stunning views of the ocean. These accommodations typically come with amenities like spas, restaurants, and fitness centers.
- Vacation Rentals: Visitors can rent private homes, cabins, and condos in Tofino. These properties are often equipped with full kitchens and other amenities to make guests feel at home.
- Bed and Breakfasts: Tofino has a number of cozy bed and breakfasts, which offer a more intimate lodging experience. These accommodations usually come with a complimentary breakfast and personalized service.
- Camping and RV Parks: For those who want to experience the great outdoors, Tofino has several campgrounds and RV parks. These accommodations offer a range of amenities, including fire pits, picnic tables, and electrical hookups.
- Hostels: Tofino also has a few hostels for budget-conscious travelers. These accommodations offer shared dormitory-style rooms and often have communal kitchens and lounges.
Regardless of the type of accommodation you choose, it’s important to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Tofino is a popular destination, and accommodations can fill up quickly.
Day Trips From Tofino, Vancouver Island
There are several day trips you can take from Tofino to explore the surrounding area. Here are some options:
- Hot Springs Cove: Take a boat or seaplane tour to Hot Springs Cove, located about 1.5 hours away from Tofino. The natural hot springs are a must-see attraction, with a boardwalk leading through the rainforest to the pools.
- Pacific Rim National Park: Explore the stunning beaches and rainforests of the nearby Pacific Rim National Park. The park offers hiking trails, beaches, and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities.
- Ucluelet: Visit the nearby town of Ucluelet, located about 30 minutes from Tofino. It’s a charming fishing village with a picturesque harbor, beaches, and hiking trails.
- Whale watching: Take a whale watching tour from Tofino to see gray whales, humpbacks, and orcas in their natural habitat.
- Meares Island: Take a boat tour to Meares Island, located just off the coast of Tofino. It’s home to the massive old-growth cedar trees and hiking trails, including the popular Big Tree Trail.
- Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve: Take a boat tour of the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO designated reserve featuring old-growth forests, inlets, and an abundance of marine life.
Tofino Transportation Guide
Tofino can be accessed by the Tofino/Long Beach Airport (YAZ), located 6 nautical miles (11 km;) southeast of the town, which accommodates both private and commercial aircraft. Floatplanes can also land on the inlet in town, although the common coastal fog during summer mornings can sometimes hinder air access until the weather clears.
The community of Tofino is situated at the western end of Highway 4, which connects it to Port Alberni and other population centers on the east coast of Vancouver Island. There are no road connections along the west coast of Vancouver Island, except for the nearby community of Ucluelet.
A monument in the city marks Tofino as the western terminus of the Trans-Canada Highway, as declared by local residents during a 1940s campaign; however, the highway actually ends in Victoria at the terminus of Highway 1.
Boat services are also available, connecting Tofino with coastal communities like Ahousat and Hot Springs Cove. Additionally, wildlife-watching tour boats operate in the area.
Where To Visit After Your Trip To Tofino?
After your trip to Tofino, there are many other destinations on Vancouver Island and the surrounding areas that you may want to visit. Here are some suggestions:
- Victoria: The capital city of British Columbia, Victoria is known for its stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and historical landmarks such as the Empress Hotel and the Parliament Buildings.
- Gulf Islands: These picturesque islands are located between Vancouver Island and the mainland and are a popular destination for kayaking, hiking, and exploring the unique arts and crafts scene.
- Nanaimo: Located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is a bustling city with a rich history, scenic parks, and many outdoor activities including hiking, boating, and fishing.
- Campbell River: Known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” Campbell River is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. It also has stunning scenery and opportunities for outdoor recreation such as kayaking, hiking, and wildlife watching.
- Comox Valley: Located north of Nanaimo, the Comox Valley is known for its stunning scenery, hiking trails, and abundance of outdoor activities. It is also home to the Mount Washington Alpine Resort for skiing and snowboarding.
- Port Alberni: Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Port Alberni is surrounded by natural beauty including lakes, rivers, and forests. It is a great destination for outdoor recreation such as hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching.
- Ucluelet: Located near Tofino, Ucluelet is a quieter alternative with its own beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and access to the Wild Pacific Trail.
- Strathcona Provincial Park: Located in the centre of Vancouver Island, Strathcona Provincial Park is the oldest provincial park in British Columbia and is known for its rugged mountain peaks, glacier-fed lakes, and abundant wildlife.
These are just a few suggestions for where to visit after your trip to Tofino. With so much natural beauty and outdoor activities to enjoy on Vancouver Island and the surrounding areas, the options are endless.
Tofino Travel Guide: Final Thoughts
Tofino is truly a remarkable destination for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those seeking relaxation. Its breathtaking natural beauty, stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and diverse wildlife make it a must-visit place in Canada. With so many activities and attractions to explore, Tofino is a perfect destination for families, couples, and solo travelers alike.
Whether you want to hike in the lush rainforests, surf on the crystal-clear waters, go whale watching, or simply relax and take in the scenery, Tofino has something for everyone. Its friendly locals, excellent restaurants, and charming accommodations add to the overall experience.
Visitors can also take day trips to nearby destinations like Ucluelet, Gold River, Zeballos, and Port Alberni to further explore Vancouver Island’s rugged and natural beauty.
In summary, Tofino is a destination that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. With its stunning scenery, unique culture, and endless opportunities for adventure, it is a place that will leave a lasting impression on any traveler.
The waves crash upon the shore A symphony of sound, forevermore Majestic trees stand tall and true The perfect backdrop for your view
Surfing, hiking, and whale watching too Tofino has so much for you to do A magical place, a coastal gem You’ll never want to leave, it’s easy to condemn
Breathe in the salty air, feel the sun on your skin Experience Tofino, let your journey begin Nature’s beauty surrounds you here Embrace it fully, without fear
Take a moment, pause and reflect On this special place, that you won’t forget Tofino, a haven for the soul A destination that makes you whole.