Year after year a growing number of tourists make the long windy drive from Nanaimo to Tofino. They come to gaze at the natural wonder of the temperate rainforest that Tofino relishes in. From beautiful sandy beaches to lush old growth cedar forests Tofino will truly take your breath away. But what do you do in such a small town? Well the real question is where should I begin! There is so much to see and do it is impossible to do it all in one trip. We hope our list of local Tofino hits will guide you on your journey.
Beaches: Tofino is surrounded by breathtaking sandy beaches with kilometers of silky smooth golden sand that will entice all ages to ditch their shoes and their worries! There are plenty of beaches to choose from depending on your mood. Tonquin Beach Park, Mackenzie Beach, North Chestermans, South Chestermans and Cox Bay have to be the highlights and closest to Tofino.
Cycling: Tofino has made a big push to become a cycling friendly community. Join in with many locals, grab your surfboard and bike to the beach. There is a multi use path that winds itself from the heart of Tofino out to Centerman’s beach. Rent a laid-back beach cruiser bike and explore the local beaches in style. Currently there is an addition of this 6-kilometer multi use path that will bridge the gap from Tofino all the way to Ucluelet. The new addition will add over 40 kilometers of paved multi use path. For the more adventurous check out the Tuff City Bike Park, complete with dirt jumps, ladder bridges and a pump track!
Fishing: Tofino is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and therefore, seafood plays a vital role in the community as a food supply and an economic contributor. What better way to learn about this diverse ecosystem then to get out on the water and try your luck angling with a Tofino fishing adventure. Best part of all you may come home with dinner! Deep sea ocean fishing for species such as Lingcod, Halibut and Salmon are generally the most sought-after fish. There are many different fishing charter options available and generally include either a full ten-hour day excursion or a half day, 5 or 6 hour excursion. Shoreline saltwater fly fishing and spin casting is also very popular and a easy way to try a new saltwater sport. On hightide Coho Salmon move in close to rocky outcroppings along beaches such as Tonquin Park giving you the best chance to make a catch!
Tofino Botanical Gardens: The Tofino Botanical Gardens boast a 12-acre inspiring, “not your typical” garden experience. The gardens are full of cultivated plant beds, sculptures, culture, access to the Tofino Mudflats and old growth forest. Take a closer look at the plant life that thrives in the lush temperate rainforest and take your time to ponder how you interact with the nature around you. The Tofino Botanical Gardens also include a Ecolodge and the Darwin’s Café. If visiting Tofino in the winter make sure to check out the spectacular Tofino Winterlights Festival that is presented by the Tofino Botanical Gardens.
Golfing: Golfing may not be in the forefront of your mind when you are considering a trip to Tofino but the Long Beach Golf Course might change your mind. Take a break from the sand and waves and enjoy a round of 9-hole championship golf at the Long Beach Golf Course. Looking for something fun to do with the whole family? Long Beach Golf Course also has a great mini put course and driving range. Finish your afternoon of fun with lunch at the Caddyshacked Restaurant. Long Beach Golf Course is located right beside the Tofino Airport and minutes from you guessed it, Long Beach!
Health and Wellness: The quiet picturesque landscape of Tofino creates the perfect atmosphere for a health and wellness retreat. Relax and unwind in one of the many beachside resorts and spas. Fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves and enjoy the ample oxygen produced by the ancient rainforest. There are many wellness services offered and something for everyone to enjoy. Wake up to beach side yoga, release tension with a massage or replenishes ski moisture with a facial. Whatever you choose we guarantee you will leave Tofino with less stress and a new sense of mindfulness.
Kayaking: Sea Kayaking in Tofino is one of the most peaceful ways to connect yourself to nature. Get in tune with the local currents and see the local tertial and aquatic wildlife from the sea. Dip your feet in the water and book a single day tour kayaking around Meares Island. Or book a multi-day overnight kayaking trip to the famous Broken Group Islands in the Barkley Sound, or Vargas Island and Florez Island in the heart of the Clayoquot Sound. Many tour groups such as Black Bear Kayaking and Tofino Sea Kayaking offer affordable trips that suit all ability levels. Check out the Tofino Kayak Webcam and see for yourself! Remote passages, paddlewest, black bear kayaking Tofino, kayaking around meares island, Tofino kayak webcam.
Scenic Flights: Soar like a local Bald Eagle and view Tofino and Clayoquot Sound from the air. Gain a whole new perspective on the abundance that the UNESCO Biosphere Region has to offer as you see it from the air. Taking off from Tofino’s Harbour in a seaplane is an adventure all on its own. Seaplane and Helicopter tours are available for scenic flights as well as overnight camping trips to remote beaches in the area can be arranged.
Storm Watching: Tofino should not just be enjoyed in the summer. In fact due to Tofino’s temperate climate many of the amazing activities can be enjoyed year round. Tofino in the winter provides for a very intimate experience known as storm watching. Powerful winter storms that are generated out deep in the Pacific Ocean travel hundreds of kilometers until they come crashing to the shores of Tofino’s beaches. Enjoy the beauty and power of the heavy rains, rushing winds, powerful waves and surprise sunshine from the comforts of your cozy accommodation. As an added bonus most resorts have winter getaway deals so you can enjoy luxury accommodation and spa treatments on a budget!
Surfing: Nothing is more synonymous with Tofino then surfing. Every year thousands of people come to Tofino and test their athletic abilities as they learn how to surf. Surfing in the cool Pacific Ocean requires a 5 mm neoprene wetsuit, booties and gloves. There are a number of surf shops and surf schools in Tofino offering surf lessons, surf rentals and learn to surf camps. Tofino is the perfect place to learn how to surf thanks to the long gentle sloped sandy beaches that make perfect beginner white-water waves. As you improve you can move out deeper and deeper until you are catching curl rides and riding green faces. Check out the surf report HERE
Hot Springs Cove: One and a half hours north of Tofino by boat or plane there is a hidden gem that is Hot Springs Cove. This natural Hot Spring produces warm water deep inside the earth that then flows freely from the ground to the surface and into natural rocky pools. Upon arrival to the Hot Springs Cove you will walk through the natural temperate rainforest along a boardwalk. Climb into the hot springs for a natural refreshing experience unlike any other. Trips to Hot Springs Cove run daily, year round and if you are lucky you will see plenty of wildlife on your boat trip to and from the Hot Springs, such as Sea Lions, Eagles, Whales, Dolphins and maybe even a Black Bear!
Whale Watching: Whale Watching trips are best described as a ocean safari! The best time of the year to see whales in Tofino is March through to October. There are 3 main species of whales that can be seen. Gray Whales travel along the coast from Mexico up to the Bering Straight of Alaska each year and often stay around the shores of Tofino for most of the summer. Humpback whales are also common in Tofino and are easily identified as they leap out of the water causing a huge splash! Transient Orca Whales, better known as Killer Whales are less common in the area and you are very lucky if you get the chance to view a pod of Killer Whales stalking their prey. But whales are not the only aquatic life you will see on these excursions. Expert guides will take you to see colonies of Sea Lions, Eagles in their nests and Harbour Seals. A truly exceptional west coast experience!
Art Galleries: When you live so close to nature it is easy to get inspired! Tofino is home to many fantastic artists, from wildlife photography to first nations carvings and painting. Some noteworthy and recognizable artist include Roy Henry Vickers, Mark Hobson and Jeremy Koreski. Pick yourself up a copy of The Tofino Art Gallery Walk Map and visit a number of individually owned artist studios within a 5-minute walk of each other!
Food and Beverage: With so many exciting activities to enjoy in Tofino it is important to keep your energy levels up. Thankfully that is an easy in Tofino because of all the amazing restaurants, cafes and bars. The Tofino Brewing Company has become the #1 stop in Tofino when it comes to grabbing a pint with your friends! Stop in to fill up a Growler to take home and try one of the many local inspired craft beers such as the Spruce Tip Ale. An afternoon would not be complete in Tofino without a Fish Taco from Tacofino and a coffee for that caffeine kick from Tofitian. As the evening wares on, stop into Schooner Restaurant or Shelter Restaurant for a fine dining experience inspired by local cuisine such as fresh seafood and wild mushrooms.