You’ll find magical Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
The present day town and nearby islands have been inhabited for close to 5000 years by the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations People. Nowadays you’re more likely to see a tourist – 750,000 people visit annually.
Dreadlock sporting hippies are just as common as the well heeled five star types. Here’s why:
- Tofino is famous for surfing. Outside Magazine called it North America’s best surf town for 2010. Cold Pacific water can be held at bay by a wet suit.
- The beachcombing is excellent. 16 kms of sandy beaches can be found just outside of Tofino. Long Beach, Chesterman Beach and Mackenzie Beach are all good.
- Sea kayaking is first class. How about a day trip to Meares Island where you can hike the 3 km trail to see The Hanging Garden Tree – more than 2000 years old and 60 feet in circumference? Or, try a multi day trip to the wildly scenic west coast islands.
- Wildlife viewing is amazing. In March, Tofino celebrates the Pacific Rim Whale Festival as 20,000 grey whales pass nearby on their migration to Alaska’s Bering Strait. Outside of March, you can expect to see humpback whales, orcas, black bears, porpoises, sea otters, sea lions and loads of bald eagles.
- Salmon and halibut fishing are excellent. Be prepared for early starts and forgive the rough seas as the waves have probably come through from Japan.
- A trip to Hot Springs Cove by boat or float plane is great fun. Walk the 2 km trail on a board walk decorated by passing sailors. Soak in the natural hot springs, situated right beside the ocean.
- Visit Cougar Annie’s garden. It endures after close to 100 years in a remote location accessible by boat or plane only. There are trails through the gardens and a Rainforest Study Center.
- Treat yourself to a spa in a wondrous location. Try the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort or the Ancient Cedars Spa at the Wickaninnish if money is no object.
- Fine dining in magical settings. Great fresh food for all budgets can be found in and around Tofino. Many restaurants have outstanding water views.
Written and contributed by HikeBikeTravel