Sandy beaches and world-class surf are just the beginning of a long list of reasons to visit Tofino, British Columbia. This tiny surf town on the west coast of Vancouver Island has become a global destination for its natural beauty, eclectic culture, and mouthwatering local cuisine.
A few days spent in Tofino will make you want to come back for more. If you’re planning a trip soon, here are some basics to make your trip to ‘Tuff City’ a memorable one.
Get there fast with Harbour Air
Beat the ferry lineup and hop on a Harbour Air flight for a speedy flight from Vancouver to Tofino. Not only will you get to the Island in under an hour, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the stunning views of Beautiful British Columbia while soaring high above the clouds.
Book the perfect stay at the Pacific Sands Beach Resort
Booking a place to stay is integral to any trip. When it comes to Tofino, the Pacific Sands Beach Resort has everything to make your stay a perfect one. The beachside resort boasts picturesque views of Cox Bay and just completed a $10-million upgrade that includes 43 new suites.
The new suites offer a relaxed and roomy feel with West Coast vibes. Each suite is equipped with a full kitchen, private balcony, a cozy fireplace, a spacious bathroom, and luxurious bedroom. Life gets a bit better when you’re living comfortably by the beach.
Wander outside and you’ll find relaxing hammocks, firepits (perfect for roasting S’mores with the family), all overlooking the beauty of the resort’s private beach.
The Pacific coastal paradise is known as one of the best surf destinations in the world, so taking advantage of the waves is a must.
Guests staying at Pacific Sands can head down to the Surf Shack where they will be able to rent gear and boards. Lessons from Surf Sister Surf School are also available onsite. Of course, there are plenty more surf shacks located around town, so you’re definitely covered when it comes to catching those waves.
Tofino is known to be a surf town all year round. If you’re planning to hit the water in fall or winter, just make sure to stay warm with a thicker wetsuit.
Tofino is a town that is great to explore on bike. There is one main bike path that runs in and out of town so the chances of getting lost are pretty slim.
Grab a rental and get ready to ride! Be sure to check if your accommodation offers bike rentals. And keep in mind that many of the bikes are also made to ride on sand — so you’ll be good to go on the beach as well.
The most breathtaking thing about Tofino is its beauty, as it’s nestled right next to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The park consists of 511 km2 of land and ocean. Take along the pristine sandy shores of Long Beach — the largest and longest beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
As you drive along Pacific Rim Highway, you’ll spot multiple turnoffs leading to trails and hikes. A personal favourite is a trailhead leading to Florencia Bay. This hike is a moderately easy one and it will lead you to one of the most pristine and jaw-dropping parts of the park.
Tofino is a small town but there is no shortage of shops and galleries with unique finds that showcase the work of local makers and artisans.
Drink and Feast
Of course, a trip to Tofino wouldn’t be complete without exploring the local foodie scene. This town is packed with eateries serving up bold and delicious flavours that highlight the bounty of the Pacific Northwest.
Start your morning at the Tofitian. This trendy cafe serves up a some of the best coffee in town and you can’t leave without trying a freshly baked pastry.
For casual bites head to Picnic Charcuterie, which specializes in fine cured meats, preserves and cheeses. Using primarily local ingredients, owner and operator Tina Windsor has mastered the elements of creating a perfect picnic. Order a platter and enjoy on the beach. Don’t forget to grab a bottle of Picnic’s zesty hot sauce for the road.
A few doors down from Picnic is Tofino Brewing Co. This spot serves up some serious west coast brews with a side of west coast vibes. With everything brewed on site, this craft beer is as local as it gets. From the light, breezy Tofino Lager to the rich and full-bodied Kelp Stout, there is a full range of beers on tap to try. Not sure what to start with? The good news is you can ask for samples.
Keep in mind, Tofino Brewing Co. doesn’t serve full meals — just snacks — so head to Kuma for a satisfying post-boozy meal. This modern Japanese eatery serves up giant bowls of ramen and udon noodles making for some seriously good comfort food.
For some fancier fare, make your way to the Wolf in the Fog. Chef Nick Nutting has carefully curated a beautiful seasonal west coast menu. Whether it’s the fresh catch of the day or produce from a nearby garden, each dish makes sure local ingredients are the stars of the show. You’ll leave with a craving to come back for more and that’s a good reason in itself to book another trip to Tuff City.
Disclaimer: Travel, accommodation, and meals were made possible by Pacific Sands Beach Resort and Destination BC. All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the author.