Tofino Guide

Getting there

It’s a 4-5 hour drive from Victoria with probably 2 hours of that pretty interesting, scenery wise. There are flight options, but they run around $200 one way http://www.tofinoair.ca/schedule.asp and you really need a car in Tofino since the park is huge (and it’s pretty much THE reason to go). You can, however, rent cars up there and there are now direct flights from Seattle to Tofino ( http://www.my-tofino.com/flights/seattle.htm ). From Seattle it’s close to a full days drive. Note, BC Ferries take reservations so make them. Going from Anacortes is significantly slower.

The ancient cedar forests you pass before the pass on the way to Tofino are a good place to get out and take a 5 minute walk… very pretty. http://www.vancouverislandaccommodations.com/parks/cathedralgrove/park.html

Lodging

The best hotel, bar none, is the Wick but it’s ridiculously expensive and you need to plan ahead. http://www.wickinn.com/ It’s also got one of the top restaurants in Canada: The Point http://www.wickinn.com/restaurant.html The Wick is also a spa – but Kat and I don’t do the spa thing so no first hand recommendations but, I’m sure it’s perfect – like everything else at the wick. The best rooms are in the main lodge since they over look the ocean and waves break on cliffs below them.

Kat and I usually go up for a week and stay in condos on Chesterman Beach (same beach the Wick is on). There are a bunch of options – here’s one http://tofinovr.com/site/properties/all/beach/south_chesterman_04.html

Other places that look nice (but we haven’t staid there):
http://www.longbeachlodgeresort.com/
http://www.pacificsands.com/gallery.html

The cheap places up there are like motel 6 or worse… there are a bunch of those type of places in town for < $100/night. Restaurants

  • The Point – mentioned above. The setting is spectacular. We love their brunch. It’s a fun place to just stop by for a drink and desert if you want the atmosphere sans the enormous bill.
  • The two other hotels mentioned above both have nice looking restaurants but we’ve never tried them.
  • Shelter http://www.shelterrestaurant.com/ was always great but they just redid their restaurant and now it’s really really nice while remaining low key. This is a not miss place while you’re up there.
  • Raincoast Cafe http://www.raincoastcafe.com/ is a really cute, really small (like 8 tables or less) cafe that has great food at great prices.
  • What to do

    • #1 is beach walks. The beaches up there are huge, rugged, gorgeous… the worse the weather the more spectacular.
    • Surfing – brrrrr but looks consistently good… for the chick theme try http://www.surfsister.com/
    • Hiking – there are some truly incredible hikes (more like walks) you can do http://www.gotofino.com/tofinohikingtrailsbeaches.html our favorites are:
      • The Wickaninnish Trail – very easy, very spectacular, has a friggin’ bar/restaurant/shop at the start/finish, el perfecto.
      • Radar Hill for sunrise/sunset (better) – really just a drive it’s like a 2 minute “hike” – looks over Tofino and the Islands in the sound
      • Walking Chesterman Beach – a daily thing for us since we usually stay on Chesterman
      • The Wild Pacific Trail in Ecluelet http://www.wildpacifictrail.com/ – winds along cliffs… you can do a loop by parking at the lighthouse, hiking long the cliffs, taking the board walk to the beach “that’s good to land a canoe at” (which is what Ecluelet means) and walking up the road a few feet and following a trail back to the lighthouse… takes an hour or so but is really pretty.
    • Kayaking They really promote this there but it’s pretty scary (strong currents) if you’re not really comfortable in a kayak
    • Whale watching – I’ve never done this but it involves donning a survival suit and getting in an absolutely sick coast-guard’esque interceptor type boat that hauls ass out into some usually very rough seas… I’ve seen a ton of whales sailing – so not really my thing … example: http://www.jamies.com/site/adventure_tours/whale-watching/tofino_Whale_Watching_Zodiac.html
    • Hot Springs – aren’t really my scene but if they’re yours this could be a fun day trip from Tofino… across the sound there are some hot springs that they run tour boats to http://www.britishcolumbia.com/hotsprings/?id=16
    • Kites – it’s a great place to fly a kite when it’s windy – the beaches are huge and open.

    But – really – the best thing to do in Tofino is to just veg our to the sound of the ocean while having a drink.

    Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wiseleyb/tags/tofino/