What is it about this best-kept secret of Canada that makes it the best getaway? Could it be the long stretch of white sand and clear water embraced by green ranges? Or maybe it’s the many awesome things you can do in Tofino, or the perfect weather that make you want to camp by the beaches to get away from the hustle and bustle. Read on to find out more about things to do in Tofino and when the best time to visit this heaven on earth!
Overview About Tofino
Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the small town of Tofino on the west coast of Canada was once the site of a native Clayoquot village. It was one of the first points in Canada to be visited by Captain Cook in 1792, and was named after Don de Vincent Tofino, a hydrographer with a Spanish expedition. Aside from contact with fur traders and whalers, the entire district remained basically unchanged for almost 100 years. Fishing has always been the mainstay of the local economy, but Tofino is also a supply center for the several hundred hermits living along the secluded shores of nearby Clayoquot Sound.
The area is also known as Tough City because of the physically demanding nature of the primary jobs in the logging and fishing industries. Moreover, the land is very wild and rugged, which reflects the tough character of the people who live here. Overall, Tofino is home to some of the best surfing in Canada, as well as whale watching, hiking, and paddling.
Top 10 Things You Have To Do In Tofino At Least Once
Tofino is an amazing place with so much to see and do – you won’t be bored for a second! Here are 10 great activities to enjoy in Tofino, whether you’re by yourself or with friends and family:
Ride The Tofino Waves
No trip to Tofino, the surfer’s paradise, is complete without riding some waves. Enjoy the fresh ocean air and the strong waves as you let your adrenaline take over. According to locals, Chesterman Beach and Cox Bay are the best Tofino surfing beaches. Female travelers can learn how to surf in advance with Surf Sister, an all-female surf school.
Watch The Bears
Tofino, Canada, is one of the best places in the world to watch black bears in their natural habitat. You can see them going about their lives in the scenic rainforests from an open boat or cabin cruiser. Aside from these magnificent bears, you might also spot harbor seals, bald eagles, great blue herons, and occasionally coastal grey wolves during bear-watching tours in Tofino.
View The Whales
If bears aren’t your thing, you might appreciate watching the stunning gray whales instead. But gray whales are just one of the many wonderful things you can see on a cruise – you can also enjoy the majestic ocean views and, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of orcas and humpback whales during the summer months.
Stroll Through Tofino Botanical Gardens
The Tofino Botanical Gardens are a must-see for anyone visiting the area. Not only will you get to experience the beautiful flora that Tofino has to offer, but you’ll also get to learn about the different plant species that call this place home. One garden is devoted to showcasing the native plants in the adjacent national park. At the same time, another is filled with edible plants (although you obviously can’t sample any of them). And as if that wasn’t enough, this is also the only botanical garden with a colorfully painted camper van from the 1970s on display. So whether you’re a plant enthusiast or just looking for a unique and educational experience, this is the place!
Watch The Storm
When in Tofino, you don’t shelter away from storms. One of the most spectacular displays of nature that you can witness in Tofino is during storm season. This is when huge waves can reach up to six meters (20 feet). This is an amazing display of the power of the ocean and something that you won’t want to miss while you’re in the area.
Overlook Tofino With Scenic Flight
Experience this town like never before – from a bird’s eye view! See the hustle and bustle of everyday life unfold before you. Also, don’t forget to take in stunning views of the mountains and sea. With a helicopter tour, you’ll get an omniscient perspective of the area that will leave you in awe.
Try Deep Sea Fishing
The local economy’s main source of income comes from fishing, making this the ideal spot for you to drop a line and see what you can reel in. The fish here are known to be size monsters compared to other areas. Here, salmon, halibut, and ling cod are some of the more popular catches. The best time to fish is usually from June-September, although, halibut fishing is especially bountiful during herring season near the full moon in March or April.
Float Around With Kayaking
Clayoquot Sound is a popular destination for kayakers because of its gentle current and picturesque scenery. When kayaking in Clayoquot Sound, you’ll have the opportunity to explore many different water bodies and get up close and personal with nature.
Browse The City
Tofino’s beaches might be the main attraction for visitors, but there’s plenty more to see and do in this charming city of only 3,000 full-time residents. You can find interesting shops and ways to spend your day, especially if you’re an art lover. The Eagle Aerie Gallery features the colorful works of artist Roy Henry Vickers and you can purchase his art in card or poster form. The gallery is built on the theme of a west coast native longhouse, with a carved and painted exterior and interior totem poles.
Go Hiking And Camping
Tofino is a nature lover’s paradise with plenty of beaches and woods to explore. So come prepared with your hiking gear and camping gear because you won’t want to miss it. Tofino’s camping grounds are mostly located on beaches south of town. Although it’s worth mentioning that some of the more popular Tofino camping options can cost more than $50 per night. For one, Bella Pacifica Campground is one of the best options on MacKenzie Beach. Along the same stretch of sand, Crystal Cove Beach Resort is another great camping ground option in Tofino. Plus, there are many more camping sites located in heavily wooded areas that offer privacy in Tofino.
Now that you’ve settled at your camping site, it’s time to explore the best hiking trails Tofino offers. The Rainforest Trail is one of the best short hikes if you want to be surrounded by natural beauty. You’ll walk on raised boardwalks below giant trees and experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the rainforest. The Nuu-chah-nulth Trail to Florencia Bay Trail is a unique blend of forest, beaches, and culture in Tofino. This trail lets you visit Vancouver Island’s west coast and learn about First Nations culture. You’ll see a totem pole and information plaques along the route explaining the traditions of the Nuu-chah-nulth culture. This trail opens onto both Wackaninnish Beach and Florencia Bay, which are worth a visit.
Best Time To Visit Tofino
Tofino weather is ideal for visiting all year round, but depending on your needs and other factors, there might be certain times of year that are more ideal for visiting than others. For example, if you’re looking for a more relaxed and quiet atmosphere, you might want to avoid peak tourist season. However, if you’re looking to take advantage of Tofino’s many outdoor activities, you’ll want to plan your trip for a time when the weather is warm and sunny.
That being said, Tofino’s sunny weather and waves make it a popular tourist destination in the summer. However, if you’re looking to avoid crowds, late fall to early spring is the best time to visit. Keep in mind that even during the off-season, Tofino still has plenty to offer tourists. If you don’t mind the crowds and are more interested in the warmer weather in Tofino, plan your visit for June or July instead. Surfing enthusiasts will love Tofino’s waves and cool weather in July and August.