The town of Tofino sits at the south end of Clayoquot Sound on the western coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It’s a destination for tourists throughout the year, with many storm-watchers visiting during the fall and winter and even more nature lovers arriving in the spring and summer.
Each March brings the Pacific Rim Whale Festival, which celebrates the annual gray whale migration. Other outdoor activities include surfing, camping and fishing, Several national and provincial parks are nearby, and a local natural hot springs draws its share of tourists.
By car, Tofino is about seven hours from Bellingham. Take a ferry from Horseshoe Bay/Departure Bay in West Vancouver, B.C., to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. From there, take BC-19 North to Memorial Avenue/BC-4 West, then follow BC-4 West to Tofino.
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Bus and shuttle services also are available. Charter flights are available via Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Vancouver International Airport.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
Pacific Rim Whale Festival: In March, coastal towns and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve celebrate the migration of nearly 20,000 gray whales with marine life education, First Nations workshops and interpretive walks. Distinctive food and fun for children are part of the festivities as well.
Tofino Botanical Gardens: Twelve acres of forest, garden and shore illustrate the many connections between nature and culture. Paths and boardwalks lead you through the garden and duck pond into the forest, where art installations and garden structures have been created in clearings.
1084 Pacific Rim Highway
Hot Springs Cove: Natural springs are a short seaplane or boat trip from Tofino, at Maquinna Provincial Park, 27 nautical miles northwest of Tofino. A boardwalk takes you to seven geothermal pools, with spectacular ocean views and a waterfall, too.
WHERE TO STAY
Blue Heron House: This vacation rental overlooks Jensens Bay and bird-watching on the inlet side of Tofino. On the other side of the road, Chesterman Beach offers surfing and stunning sunsets.
925 Sandpiper Place
Hummingbird House B&B: Only a couple of miles from Tofino, this bed-and-breakfast sits in rainforest just outside the Pacific Rim Highway. It’s minutes away from Tofino Botanical Gardens and MacKenzie Beach.
640 MacKenzie Beach Road
Gordo’s Beach House: Travelers on a budget will like the private rooms in this hostel-style house. The kitchen is among the common areas shared with other guests and the on-site caretaker.
1318 Lynn Road
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
Wolf in the Fog: Influenced by the local produce and people, the fine dining restaurant features seasonal ingredients harvested from the bounty of the land and sea surrounding Tofino. Enjoy a beer or cocktail in the lounge.
150 Fourth St.
Big Daddy’s Fish Fry: For halibut, cod, prawns or just a plain old burger, check out Big Daddy’s. It’s cash-only, but with four meals for kids to choose from, and ice cream too, it’s the place to go with the family.
411 Campbell St.
Driftwood Café on Chesterman Beach: For a meal on the beach, this café offers meals to go from its Beach Walk menu, which features tuna and pulled-pork sandwiches. Or take some of the establishment’s house-made bread back to your room with you. The café also has a bar and lounge, so you can relax with a drink near the beach
500 Osprey Lane
Tofino Brewing Co.: The brewery serves five craft beers produced in a sustainable and locally conscious way, with an emphasis on water conservation and grain recycling.
681 Industrial Way
Tofino Tea Bar: Tea connoisseurs will want to experience the artisan loose-leaf teas and locally crafted gifts at the Tofino Tea Bar, which hosts tea education opportunities open to the public and corporate retreats
381 Main St.