You are currently viewing 16 Issues to Do in Tofino, Vancouver Island

16 Issues to Do in Tofino, Vancouver Island


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In case you haven’t heard of Tofino but, when you go to you gained’t be capable to cease speaking about it. Situated on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Tofino sits proper within the Clayoquot Sound, within the Conventional Territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.

Tofino is a  small coastal village surrounded by rocky swimming pools, lovely coves, and rainforest trails by old-growth forests. Tofino can be whales and bears, unbeatable browsing, and epic storms. Regardless that Tofino is fairly small, there are many issues to do in Tofino to maintain you occupied for a couple of days, and we extremely suggest it!

Fishing boats in Tofino harbor

The harbor of Tofino sits by unimaginable inexperienced rainforests

To begin with, how are you attending to Tofino? From Vancouver, you possibly can take a ferry to Nanaimo after which drive for 3hours to Tofino. Or you possibly can take a floatplane from Vancouver! You’re solely allowed a 25lb bag, however this scenic flight takes one hour. You may get your floatplane ticket right here.

Floatplane at a harbour

Floatplane at Tofino harbour

We’ve put collectively an inventory of the very best issues to do in Tofino, based mostly on our go to there. 

1.    Kayak the Damaged Group Islands

In case you are an skilled kayaker, paddle across the Damaged Group Islands, part of the Pacific Rim Nationwide Park Reserve, the place a couple of primitive campsites present lodging alongside the paddle path. Majestic Ocean Kayaking affords half a day and multi-day journeys within the space.

Kayakers around Broken Islands

Kayaking round Damaged Islands

2. Go Whale Watching

Tofino is likely one of the finest locations to go whale watching in North America and to go wildlife watching typically.

Whale watching in Tofino is a should once you go to the world. After we visited we did a whale-watching boat tour with The Whale Middle. Different outfitters will take you whale watching, like Jamie’s Whaling Station, Ocean Outfitters, and Journey Tofino Wildlife Excursions. Most of them additionally supply excursions to Sizzling Springs Cove and round Clayoquot Sound. You’ll be able to take an everyday tour or a non-public one.

A zodiac with passengers wearing red vests.

Non-public whale watching tour group.

A gray whale dives down to feed off the coast of Vancouver Island

A grey whale dives all the way down to feed off the coast of Vancouver Island

Other than gray whales, you’ll get an opportunity to see black bears foraging across the islands, like this one within the photograph. We watched him for a very long time as he was flipping rocks searching for tasty morsels. We had been informed that one of many excursions noticed a wolf every week earlier than we obtained there, however we weren’t so fortunate! 

By the way in which, if you’re not sure if what you might be seeing is a grey whale, take a look at our publish on  establish a grey whale.

A gray whale showing the "knuckles" behind the dorsal hump. Whale watch with The Whale Centre in Tofino, BC

Grey Whales lack a dorsal fin. As an alternative they’ve a dorsal bump adopted by a collection of ridges or “knuckles”.

Black bear on a rocky beach

Black bear foraging on a seashore

However…we had been additional fortunate to identify this cute sea otter! It wasn’t a raft of sea otters, however we had been tremendous comfortable to see this man chilling. You’ll be able to see all of the wildlife was throughout our go to to Tofino right here

Sea otter on its back

Sea otter floating on the ocean

3.    Go to a Native Artwork Gallery

The work of Roy Henry Vickers is likely one of the most interesting examples of Northwest Pacific First Nations artwork. His prints and carvings are admired around the globe. Via his private and distinctive artwork, Vickers’s work displays the soul of the west coast of Canada and its native wildlife. A not-to-be-missed cease in your travels round Vancouver Island, Eagle Aerie Gallery in Tofino has a bit store the place you should buy prints and playing cards.

4. Take a stroll on Lengthy Seaside

Part of the Pacific Rim Nationwide Park Reserve, you possibly can’t miss the Lengthy Seaside unit. There are a couple of parking areas obtainable alongside the Pacific Rim Freeway with direct entry to the seashore. The Combers Seaside Trailhead, the Wickaninnish Seaside entry, and the GreenPoint Campground are some.

Beach on Vancouver Island

Uncover the seashores round

Whenever you stroll alongside Lengthy Seaside could be very simple to  really feel like you might be alone, regardless that it’s a well-liked seashore. Take your binoculars and your digital camera as you would possibly see some wildlife alongside the way in which like bald eagles.

Bald eagle on top of a tree

You would possibly get fortunate and see a bald eagle hunt

5. Storm Watch 

Storm watching is critical enterprise in Tofino. These are the storms that make for an ideal spectacle, and storm chasers come to Tofino to only watch. 

For a profitable Storm Watch journey, it’s essential to e-book your lodging overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A spot with large home windows the place, even once you don’t really feel like going outdoors, the storming occasion remains to be with you. 

If you wish to do some storm watch, the time of 12 months you go to is crucial. Storm season is from October by April. 

Oystercatchers silhouettes during a stormy evening

Oystercatchers in entrance of the Wickanninish on a stormy night

Pacific Sands Seaside Resort has a Storm Package deal the place it can save you as much as 25%! The bundle consists of your ocean-front lodging, each day sizzling chocolate, a bottle of wine praise of the resort, and rain slickers that you may borrow on your walks on Cox Bay seashore.

One other excellent place to remain on your Storm Watch journey is The Wickaninnish Inn in Chesterman Seaside. This Relais & Chateaux property has all you want for storm watching. Seaside views, direct entry to Chesterman Seaside, and a restaurant with unimaginable ocean views. Fairly a spot to look at the storm from! 

6. Go to the Tide Swimming pools

Go to the pure aquarium that this space of Vancouver Island is legendary for. At low tide, go to the numerous tide swimming pools and seek for the colourful anemones, ochre stars, and different marine invertebrates of their pure habitat. 

Ochre sea stars at low tide

Marvel at Ochre sea stars throughout low tide

7. Eating Out in Tofino

Tofino is perhaps a small village, but it surely has an enormous culinary scene.

Hit downtown Tofino and go to a meals truck, just like the well-known Tacofino, sit on their picnic tables and check out their fish tacos, pattern native beer on the Tofino Brewing Co., or attempt different seafood on the informal Massive Daddy’s Fish Fry or at Schooner’s

Don’t overlook your post-surf donuts on the now-famous Rhino Espresso Home!

Don’t go away this small city with out getting some candies or some gelato (they’ve vegan choices!) from Chocolate Tofino.

In case you are searching for a advantageous eating expertise, head out to The Pointe Restaurant on the Wickaninnish Inn, the place you possibly can have dinner with panoramic views of the ocean.

A restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean

The Pointe Restauran affords unmatched views of the ocean

8. Stroll the Rainforest Path

Not removed from the Pacific Rim Nationwide Park Reserve of Canada administration constructing, on the Pacific Rim Freeway, there’s a brief path the place a boardwalk will take you deep into the forest. 

There’s a small parking zone for about 10 vehicles and tenting shouldn’t be allowed. Simply deliver your digital camera, binoculars, and even when it’s a brief hike, take some water.

9. Hike the Massive Tree Path

Take a water taxi to the Massive Tree Trailhead and go to the traditional timber of Meares Island. The brief stroll on the boardwalk is simply lower than a mile whereas it meanders by the old-growth forest. The forest has Spruce, Hemlock, and Big Cedar timber, a few of them are about 20′ throughout and roughly 1,500-2,000! Oh, the issues these timber have seen! Jamie’s Whaling Station will take you there! 

The Big Tree informational panel

10.    Ucluelet Aquarium

That is the very best place to be taught extra concerning the space’s ample marine life. The Ucluelet Aquarium solely homes native species and has no marine mammals. What’s most uncommon concerning the aquarium, and what we imagine is an impressive moral apply, is that on the finish of every season (early December) all of the animals are returned to the ocean! Launch days are additionally an enormous neighborhood occasion as locals are invited to be concerned on this magical expertise.

Whereas Ucluelet Aquarium shouldn’t be in Tofino however in neighboring Ucluelet, we really feel this could make the checklist! 

Ucluelet Aquarium , things to do in Tofino

Study starfish and anemones on the Ucluelet Aquarium

Study colourful anemones, sea stars, and wolf eels. Don’t miss feeding time for the Big Pacific Octopus. It is going to make your jaw drop!

Giant Pacific Octopus eye

The Big Pacific Octopus steals the present on the aquarium

In case you determine you like Ucluelet (spoiler alert: you’ll!) prolong your keep in Vancouver Island and keep at considered one of these Ucluelet Cabins

11. Go to the Sizzling Springs Cove

Sizzling Springs Cove is situated in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, round 30 miles northwest of Tofino. You’ll be able to’t drive to Sizzling Springs Cove, the one solution to get there’s both by floatplane or boat/water taxi. When you arrive, there’s a mile stroll on a boardwalk by old-growth forest to get to the springs. As soon as there you possibly can select from seven pure geothermal rock swimming pools. 

There are many outfitters in Tofino that may fortunately take you there. Make this outing an entire day outing! Observe that  Sizzling Springs Cove is closed on account of COVID. Maquinna Marine Provincial Park shall be closed till additional discover. Right here’s a number of the Tofino outfitters providing Sizzling Spring Cove excursions, as soon as the park is open once more: 

The Whale Middle

Ocean Outfitters

Journey Tofino

12.    Go to Mark Hobson’s Artwork Gallery

A current addition to Tofino, Mark Hobson’s excellent art work may be considered and purchased in his gallery. In case you are searching for unique work, restricted version reproductions, and notice playing cards, cease in. Giclee reproductions will also be bought on his web site.

Proper on Campbell and some doorways down from fellow artist Roy Henry Vickers Gallery, don’t miss this cease.

Mark Hobson Gallery

Vibrant colours are Mark Hobson’s signature. One in every of my favorites, a black bear in yellow mild, seems within the background. @MarkHobson

13.- Browsing in Tofino

Tofino is likely one of the finest locations in Canada to log on. Not solely that, however Tofino is the house of the Canadian Surf Championship. You’ll be able to odor the surf tradition in Tofino! There is no such thing as a place like Tofino to log on! There are many retailers within the space the place you possibly can lease a surf if you happen to didn’t deliver yours.

To make your trip simpler, Pacific Sands Resort has its Surf Shack! With on-site surfboard leases and classes with Surf Sister Surf College (BCASI licensed instructors). They’ll give you contemporary towels and out of doors showers. Really feel chilly? Don’t fear and heat up on the fire-pits. Epic.  Their surf bundle consists of ocean-front lodging and semi-private surf classes.

Staying some other place in Tofino? You’ll be able to nonetheless take classes from Surf Sister, and Tofino Surf Firm.

Hotel building on the beach

One of many Wickaninnish Inn buildings

When you have your browsing gear with you, you can too keep at at cabin on the Ocean Village Resort as they’ve personal patios the place you possibly can go away your stuff to dry. Not solely this Tofino resort has a sizzling tub and on-site indoor pool, however simply in case you didn’t deliver your gear, there’s on-site entry to Pacific Co. SUP Shack and entry to the general public MacKenzie Seaside. It additionally has electrical automobile charging stations. 

14.    Hike the Pacific Rim Nationwide Park Reserve

Sitting alongside the West Coast of Vancouver Island, between Tofino and Ucluelet, this reserve is a conglomeration of various regional parks, the West Coast Path, the Damaged Group Islands, and Lengthy Seaside.

For a full expertise, hike one of many many climbing trails of the Wild Pacific Path, or keep on the Inexperienced Level campground at Lengthy Seaside (open Could 1 to mid-October) the place you possibly can put your tent in the course of a lush, inexperienced, fairy-tale forest. The tent facet of the campground is a rainforest path, and you can not drive to your website.  The camper/rv facet of the campground is on a forested patch nearer to the seashore. 

Camping at the Green Point campground

Tenting at Inexperienced Level campground

One of many issues that stunned me throughout our many hikes on the Pacific Rim was the slugs! These are the Pacific banana slugs (Ariolimax columbianus). They’ll develop as much as 10 inches and are the second-largest terrestrial slug on the earth. You’ll be able to establish them not just for their dimension however for the black spots on its tail. Generally their tails seem fully black due to what number of spots they’ve. 

A banana slug on moss

Pacific banana slug

15.    Bear Watching on the Thornton Creek Hatchery

In late September, this hatchery close to Ucluelet is a busy place for black bears. As salmon swim up the creek to spawn, bears collect in large numbers to feast on them. In case you are a accountable wildlife watcher and observe the foundations of bear-watching, this could be a excellent place. Bears at all times have proper of method, so be sure to have a spot the place you possibly can retreat if a bear approaches down the walkway. Bear in mind that it will get very darkish on the finish of the creek and bears are onerous to listen to as they method the noisy falls. All the time go searching you as they might come into the creek from the patch of forest behind you. Don’t run; if you happen to see a bear approaching, give method.

Boardwalk at the Thornton Creek hatchery

Assembly a bear nose to nose on this little boardwalk is not any enjoyable

By no means method bears carefully to take a photograph. This situation shouldn’t be protected for both the bear or for you. A human-habituated bear is a useless bear. In case you are not skilled round bears we suggest that you don’t go to this hatchery. Take a guided bear-watching tour as a substitute. Do it for the bears.

Watching black bears fish

Watching black bears on the Thornton Creek Fish Hatchery close to Ucluelet, BC


After we visited, someone had introduced their canine and it was barking on the bears from lower than 30 toes away. That is very disruptive for the bears. Do NOT deliver your canine please (leash or no leash). Others approached inside 15 toes to take photographs with their telephones! Please, if you happen to wouldn’t have a zoom or longer lens, don’t endanger animals and other people simply to get a close-up photograph in your telephone.

bear walking by a creek

A black bear strolling by on the Hatchery

16- Go to Cathedral Grove at Cathedral Path

In case you are driving to Tofino, don’t overlook to take a break and go to Cathedral Grove at MacMillan Provincial Park. Stand subsequent to the spectacular 800-year-old cedar timber in your solution to Tofino!

Cathedral trail trailhead

Trailhead at Cathedral Path

Old growth forest and ferns

Stroll alongside historical timber at Cathedral Grove

Biggest tree in Vancouver Island

Go to historical forests in Vancouver Island

As you’ve seen, there are tons to do within the Tofino space. So whether or not you might be on a street journey or you might be planning an extended weekend, isn’t it time you go to the Pacific Northwest?

welcome to Tofino sign



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