Holidays in Tofino, British Columbia
Nestled between pounding Pacific surf and lush, forested hills, Tofino is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife fans who come for the dramatic landscapes, migratory whales and coastal black bears. Paddling out onto the serene waters of the Clayoquot Sound you can observe these mighty creatures fishing at the edge of the shore, while humpback whales can be spotted out to sea.
Tucked away on Vancouver Island's rugged western shore, Tofino is a gem. It's not just the Pacific surf spots that draw people in, although they're undeniably world-class. The vast, dreamy landscapes and abundant wildlife create an almost magical backdrop for countless adventures. So, what are some things to do in Tofino? Well, you could catch a wave in the morning, wander secluded beaches by afternoon, and then, as the sun sets, spot eagles or even the occasional whale. Every visit offers a different story, a new memory.
Things to See and Do in Tofino
Tofino offers diverse activities, from surfing its legendary waves to exploring the ancient rainforests surrounding this coastal gem. With so many things to do in Tofino, it can be challenging to determine which ones to book. But we have you covered. Here are some of the best things to do in Tofino.
Hot Springs Cove
Wondering what to do in Tofino? Hot Springs Cove in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park---about one and a half hours north of Tofino in the heart of Clayoquot Sound---is among the best things to do in Tofino. Whether you take a seaplane or a boat ride, anticipate picturesque coastline views and potential wildlife encounters with whales and sea otters. Once there, a 1.5-kilometer boardwalk through an old-growth forest leads to seven inviting geothermal rock pools. The waters cool as they near the ocean, offering a refreshing experience. With roughly six hours needed for a complete visit, this destination stands out among things to do in Tofino, Canada. Remember to pack essentials like lunch and a towel, and get ready to be enchanted by one of BC's coastal gems.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Pacific Rim National Park effortlessly stands out when considering what to do in Tofino. Why? Well, it's not just any park; it's a mosaic of natural wonders broken into three sections: Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands, and the West Coast Trail.
Long Beach first catches your attention. It's more than just sand and waves. It's a vast expanse where you can ride the surf, hunt for unique beach finds, or simply relax and watch the day end with a golden sunset. It's a nature enthusiast's dream.
Then there's the Broken Group Islands, a haven for kayakers. Comprising over 100 islands off Vancouver Island's west coast, it promises exploration and adventure in every paddle stroke.
Last but by no means least, the West Coast Trail beckons. Recognised as a legendary backpacking route, it challenges even the seasoned hiker. This isn't just a trail; it's a rite of passage. Hikers navigate over 100 taxing ladders, slog through sticky mud, cross rapid rivers, and battle the unpredictable moods of the West Coast weather—often facing fierce winds and relentless rain. However, the sense of accomplishment and tales of endurance they collect along the 75-kilometre journey make every challenge worthwhile.
A peek into history reveals the significance of this trail. The West Coast Trail is woven from the ancient pathways used by the Huuay-at, Ditidaht, and Pacheedaht first nations for trade and travel. These villages and their ancestors have journeyed these lands long before it became a sought-after hiking trail.
This variety of options makes it one of our top things to do in Tofino, BC.
Whale watching is a standout activity and definitely among the best things to do in Tofino. For your trip, you'll be kitted out in a Mustang floater suit with a built-in life jacket, ensuring you're safe and snug at sea. And don't worry; we've got you covered with additional essentials like hats and gloves.
Board one of our four specialised vessels, whether a Zodiac or a covered boat like the Sun Raven or Night Eagle. With the capacity to hold 10-12 passengers, these boats can zip through the waters at speeds of 25-30 knots. The entire experience lasts about 2.5 to 3 hours, giving you plenty of time to immerse in wildlife watching.
Recognised as one of the world's top beaches, Chesterman Beach is a 3-kilometre stretch located just south of Tofino and a haven for sunbathing, surfing, and wildlife watching.
The beach's vibe changes with the seasons. Summers are perfect for relaxed beach activities, while winter draws adrenaline seekers with its powerful waves. Surfing here is year-round, suitable for both beginners and experts. Beyond surfing, kite flying, paddle boarding, and even kayaking tours offer views of the Pacific Rim National Park.
Wildlife lovers will be thrilled too. The tide pools are bustling with marine life, and birdwatchers can spot migratory birds and local predators. Occasionally, the majestic sight of a migrating whale can be observed. For the adventurous, winter foraging offers barnacles and mussels - just check with local fisheries first. All in all, Chesterman Beach is a must when considering the best things to do in Tofino.
When to Go to Tofino
Throughout the year, Tofino shifts and changes, always showing a new side of its beauty. Dreaming of summer warmth? July and August have got you covered. Imagine sun-soaked beaches with temperatures cosying up around 19°C. It's pure summer bliss.
Then, as leaves turn, autumn brings its own rainy touch to Tofino. The West Coast's moods differ from the calmer East Coast vibes. Sometimes, Tofino can get pretty stormy, especially with those big frontal systems rolling in. But here's a tip: September is a gem. It's warm, sunny, and brimming with wildlife moments.
Come winter, Tofino gets a bit damp. Yet, compared to the rest of Canada, it's a walk in the park. But hey, if you're heading that way, keep an eye on the road situation. The stretch between Port Alberni and Tofino closes up when the weather gets feisty.
As for spring, it's like Tofino wakes up all over again. There's a mix of soft rain and shy sun, and you can feel the buzz in the air. By March, it's all about whales and watching them glide by. So, if you're in for some West Coast charm, spring in Tofino is your ticket.
Where to Stay In Tofino
In Tofino, rugged beauty and untamed wildlife reign supreme. Yet, when the sun sets on your day of adventure, luxury awaits. Our recommended Tofino accommodations promise comfort amidst nature's grandeur. Dive into our top accommodations in Tofino below and discover the elegant sanctuaries. With the premier hotels Tofino, Vancouver Island offers, you'll find the perfect blend of wild days and luxurious nights. It's truly the ideal way to cap off a day in the wild.
Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge
Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Part of the Baillie Lodges collection, Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge is set in a breathtaking location in the heart of the forest, within a stone's throw of spectacular wildlife viewing, superb walking and a host of unforgettable outdoor experiences.
Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Balanced on rocks at one end of stunning Chesterman beach in the heart of the Pacific Rim National Park, the Wickaninnish Inn offers one of the most dramatic outlooks across the Pacific Ocean, breathtaking in the summer sunshine or in winter storms.
Long Beach Lodge
Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
A relaxed family friendly lodge perched on a stunning surf beach at Cox Bay, just 10 minutes South of Tofino. Long Beach Lodge offers a fantastic base for beachcombing, whale and bear watching, surfing and exploring the Pacific Rim National Park
Middle Beach Lodge
Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Set on the edge of Tofino's wild coast, Middle Beach Lodge is perfectly hidden amongst towering cedar trees whilst boasting spectacular ocean views. Rustic and cosy in style, the lodge is the ideal retreat after a day of island adventures.
Limitless Italy, La Dolce Vita!
Portofino, Lake Como, Amalfi Coast, Rome
Jet-set on a carefully curated journey designed for only the most discerning travellers. Experience the glamorous coastal haven of Portofino, the tranquil beauty of Lake Como, the iconic landscape of the Amalfi Coast and the timeless allure of Rome. Every moment on this luxury Italy tour is designed for those seeking the height of exclusivity.
Ultimate Lake Como to the Riviera Road Trip
Lake Como, Portofino, Cinque Terre, Monaco, Nice, Cannes
Embark on the ultimate self-driving journey with this tour of the Italian and French Rivieras. Take in the serenity of Lake Como and the beauty of Portofino before experiencing the elegance of Monaco and Cannes. Indulge in luxurious accommodation and discover charming, hidden gems as you take the journey at your own pace.
GBP £9,500 pp
Perfect Pairings: Lake Como & Portofino
Dive into the abundant beauty of Lake Como and Portofino on this breathtaking tour of Italy. Combining the tranquillity of Lake Como with the glitz and glamour of Portofino, this idyllic break takes you to new levels of R&R. Stay in the epitome of luxury and partake in private experiences, indulge in gourmet cuisine and marvel at glorious views.
GBP £12,800 pp
Family Fun in Canada
Vancouver, Victoria, Tofino, Whistler & Sonora Island
From the vibrant city of Vancouver to the stunning mountain scenery of Whistler, through to the tranquil inlets of the Sunshine Coast and dramatic beaches and wildlife of Vancouver Island, this itinerary brings together the very best of BC in one trip.
GBP £8,100 pp
Ultimate French & Italian Riviera Road Trip
Cannes, Côte D'Azur, Monaco, Cap-Martin, Portofino, Lake Como, France, Italy
Embark on the Ultimate French & Italian Riviera Road Trip, a bespoke self-drive itinerary that takes you on a journey through the most glamorous destinations of the Riviera. Over the course of 12 nights, you'll experience the iconic charm of Cannes, the elegance of Monaco, the beauty of Portofino, and the serenity of Lake Como.
GBP £9,500 pp
Ultimate Canada - Orcas, Dolphins & Bears
Vancouver, Tofino & Great Bear Rainforest
Explore Canada’s ultimate wilderness in British Columbia, staying in the most luxurious accommodation and spending a day with a helicopter at your disposal to reach untouched glaciers, waterfalls and mountains for an exclusive experience with nature.
GBP £12,400 pp
Ultimate Western Canada and Montana
Vancouver, Clayoquot Sound, Seattle & Montana
This ultimate summer family adventure is the perfect antidote to the modern world. Venture into the Canadian wilderness with a stay on the Clayoquot Sound before heading out to Montana for a luxury Wild West experience. Perfectly combining wildlife viewing and ranch activities, families will love the sense of adventure.
GBP £19,400 pp
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