There are certain places on this planet that are good for your soul. Tofino, British Columbia is one of these places. When you drive into town everything slows down, you release all the stress of the day-to-day and you just relax. Here is how to make the most of your time in this little slice on heaven in the PNW.
If you leave Vancouver on the morning ferry (8AM) you'll arrive in Tofino around 1:00 PM that day. As you drive into town you'll be hungry, grab lunch at Tacofino, Canada's most famous food truck (RoS Tip: baja style lingcod tacos). After filling your belly with fish tacos (aka crack tacos) head to your accommodations and get settled before some more activities. Our favorite spot is Tides Inn. If you are into friendly service, spacious rooms, and great views check it out. After dropping off your luggage, we recommend seeing a little bit of what Tofino has to offer. Chesterman Beach is one of the most popular places to check out. Take in all the surfers (many are beginners! Get inspired if you have never surfed before, you can do it!) and enjoy the sandy beach. During low tide you can even hike out to an island just a little ways out on the sand bar for a little adventure.
After spending some time at Chesterman Beach we wouldn't be surprised if you were a little thirsty. Luckily, Tofino Brewing Company is just up the road and offers a variety of craft beer to quench your thirst (RoS Tip: Spruce Tree Ale).
After sampling some flights and walking away with a 4-pack of bottles to enjoy on your own later, head back to your lodging and get cleaned up. It's dinner time! And the eating in Tofino is phenomenal. Spend night one at Shelter Restaurant. They are the pinnacle of local eating and offer up mouth-watering grub at a reasonable price. (RoS Tip: Anything with the locally caught salmon, get at least a few oysters, and try one of their cocktails. It was probably constructed with items from the garden out back!)
After dinner head to one of the local beaches and build a fire, listen to the surf, and crack open a bottle or two (or three or four) of your Tofino Brewery bottles.
Start the day early and head to Ucluelet to hike the Wild Pacific Trail. It will take you around an hour to do the fairly easy hike and the views are spectacular. Then head back to Tofino and spend an hour or so exploring the main street. There is great shopping, including the Roy Henry Vickers Gallery (can't miss!), our favorite clothing shop, Habit Clothing, and tucked away behind the bank, Merge, sells all things local! You can also duck into a number of coffee shops for a hit of caffeine and check out some of the local surf shops.
Probably about time for lunch now, eh? (we are in Canada, therefore you must work "Eh?" into your vernacular). Check out Sobo, you won't be disappointed. Or just go back to Tacofino, because you are probably addicted now and need another dose. No judgement, sometimes street food can be like spring break in Cabo, you forget your good sense and then wake up later feeling ashamed of what you did while under its spell. It happens to the best of us, just blame it on the taco high.
Now you have a wide open, beautiful afternoon available to you. You just have to decide what you want to do. Easier said that done sometimes.
A. Surf? Use Surf Sister if you need lessons or rentals. Surfing is an amazing, freeing experience. Try it out if you haven't before and don't worry, the waves are small so falling is almost enjoyable.
B. Hike? Pacific Rim National Park offers a bazillion trails. Pick one and head out into the wild.
C. Take a tour? Great.Decide what you want to see. Hot spring? Bears? Whales? Seals? Ocean Outfitters has you covered. Great guides who respect the environment they are exploring.
D. Rent a bike and explore some more? Tofino Bike Company has got you covered.
After you return from afternoon adventuring head out for your final dinner, no doubt by now you have earned it. There is no other spot to have your grand finale than Schooner Restaurant. It is one of the oldest spots in town and that means they have had years to perfect their dishes. Get the halibut. We repeat. Get. The. Halibut. (and the calamari.. and maybe a few cocktails too).
Wake up, grab a coffee and a pastry at Tuff Beans Coffee House and head over to our favorite local beach, Tonquin Beach, for an AM picnic. It is a short hike down 100 stairs (isn't as bad as it sounds) to the sand and once you arrive take in all the beauty around you and appreciate the time you've had in this small paradise.
You'll want to leave town around 11AM to catch a ferry back to the mainland. As you drive out of town plan some time to stop at Chocolate Tofino for a bag of goodies to take with you on the road + an ice cream cone -- because you're on vacation and no one can tell you not to have that ice cream cone before lunch. No one!