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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > The Islands  > Tofino

Tofino
Tofino is located at the northern end of the Pacific Rim Highway 40 km (25 miles) from the District of Ucluelet.

Esowista Peninsula
Tofino is situated on the northern end of Esowista Peninsula just past the Pacific Rim National Park, Long Beach section. To get here by car you need to drive to Port Alberni and take Hwy 4 west to the southern end of Pacific Rim National Park 8 km (5 miles) from Ucluelet.

Exploring and Discovery
This is a beachcomber's paradise with exploring and discovering found everywhere. Tofino is completely surrounded by the Pacific Ocean with islands, inlets, sandy beaches and rocky shoreline in all four directions

Pacific Rim National Park
When you come to Tofino, make sure you visit the Long Beach section of the Pacific Rim National Park. The beach is made up of four sections and is absolutely stunning and, if you enjoy surfing, just excellent. You will need a permit to park anywhere in the park and this can be obtained at the Parks Information Centre near junction point for Port Alberni on Hwy 4, 8 km (5 miles) north of Ucluelet.

Surfing
If you surf Tofino is centrally located to offer you some of British Columbia's best areas. For people who want to try the surfing found at Long Beach, there are a few surf shops available. Some of the surf shops offer board rentals, wetsuits, lessons and surf clinics catering to women only. Shuttle service and tours to the best surf spots can also be arranged.

Cox Bay
As you travel north from Long Beach just outside the boundaries of the Pacific Rim National is Cox Bay. Cox Bay probably has the best surf waves on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The surf is created by the waves breaking off the reef at Lennard Island just off the shoreline. Cox Bay is also home to one of the most popular resorts in Tofino, the Pacific Sands.

Chesterman Beach
Going north and bordering on Cox Bay is Chesterman Beach. Chesterman is a nice sandy beach, has some good waves and is very popular with people enjoying the surf. Try parking at the south end of Chesterman Beach and walking on the beach close by to Frank Island. This way you're at a good point to reach both Chesterman Beach and the north end of Cox Bay. The world-famous Wickaninnish Inn sits at the most western point of Chesterman Beach.

MacKenzie Beach
After Chesterman Beach going farther north-west, just before you reach Tofino, is MacKenzie Beach. MacKenzie Beach has quite a few resorts and camping areas located nearby along the beach. If you're at MacKenzie Beach, commuting into Tofino is very convenient especially if you're biking or walking.

Meares Island
Located directly across the Browning Passage east from Tofino is Meares Island. Easily visible from Tofino and only 10 minutes by boat, Meares Island is a quick introduction to the lush temperate rain forests of Vancouver Island.

Big Cedar Trail
Designated by the First Nations Nuu-chah-nulth tribal council as a park in 1985, Meares Island contains some of the biggest trees on the coast. The Meares Island Big Cedar Trail is 3 km (2 miles) long and will take you through a grove of cedars and hemlock trees up to six metres across and approx. one-thousand-years old.

Vargas Island
Vargas Island is located in Clayoquot Sound directly north-west of Tofino and west of Meares Island. The island is a very popular kayak and wilderness camping destination with a provincial park featuring long sandy beaches, an exposed rocky coastline and a sheltered lagoon.. There are excellent wildlife viewing opportunities especially with the gray whale migration past Ahous Bay and nesting birds at the Cleland Island Ecological Reserve

Ahousat
Located just north-east of Vargas Island is Ahousat, a small, First Nation village situated on Flores Island. To get to Ahousat take the 40-minute trip by water-taxi or the seabus which leaves Tofino every day at 10:30 am and 4:00 pm from the government dock.

Flores Island
Flores Island is one of the more popular destinations in Clayoquot Sound with various trails to Flores Island Provincial Park and Gibson Marine Park. The Ahousat Wild Side Heritage Trail is 16 km (10 miles) long taking you from Ahousat past secluded beaches through forest scenery to the Mount Flores viewpoint 886 metres (2900 feet).

Hot Spring's Cove
If you are visiting Flores Island, try going to Hot Spring's Cove located just west of Flores Island Provincial Park boundary in Maquinna Marine Park. Located here is a natural thermal hot spring pool carved into the rocks overlooking the ocean. To get here you will have to walk from the boat dock along a 2 km (1.25 miles) boardwalk through the forest to reach the pools

Pacific Rim Whale Festival
During March you should come to celebrate the annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival with people from Tofino and Ucluelet. Starting around March to approximately the end of May, almost 20,000 gray whales pass are on a migration south to Baja, Mexico and pass within 5 km (3 miles) of shore. The Pacific Rim Whale Festival celebrates this with information, presentations and events planned around the gray whale.

Tofino Botanical Gardens
If you enjoy walking in old-growth Cedar and Sitka Forests found on the West Coast you'll enjoy a self-guided tour at the Tofino Botanical Gardens. The gardens are set up to educate and show a display of plants native to British Columbia's coastal temperate rainforest eco-systems.

Exploring the Wilderness
Just a reminder, if you are exploring the wilderness that surrounds this whole area, please be prepared. On some of the islands, especially Flores and Vargas, there have been numerous sightings of wolf packs looking for food. Black bears, cougars, heavy winds, rain and fog can be very bad and occur any time of the year. Check in at Tofino Visitor Info Centres for more help and information about local conditions.

Air Transportation to Tofino
The Tofino/Ucluelet airport is located at the north end of Wickaninnish Bay (Long Beach) right across from the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations settlement of Esowista IR 3. Air transportation includes Long Beach sightseeing trips plus scheduled flights and charter services from Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and Comox Valley airports.

Long Beach Golf Course
Located near the airport is the Long Beach Golf Course. If you would like to play a round of golf the course is challenging with the wind, very enjoyable to play and, if you don't mind the rain, can be played all year long. The Long Beach Golf Course also has a very nice convenient RV site available almost splitting the travelling distance in half between Ucluelet and Tofino.

Toquart Bay Recreation Site
If you want to visit the Pacific Rim National Park Broken Group Islands by kayak, you can do it from Toquart Bay. The turnoff to Toquart Bay is 45 km (28 miles) from Tofino on Hwy 4 towards Port Alberni. Toquart Bay Recreation Site is an additional 16 km (10 miles) from the turnoff on active logging roads. There is a boat/kayak launch at the recreation site and, for supplies, there is the Toquart Bay Store situated on Macoah IR 1.

Tofino Links
Includes; Travel, Recreation, Accommodation, Places to Eat and First Nations

 

Map of Tofino
click map for larger image

 

Chesterman Beach
Chesterman Beach

 

Long Beach Surfing
Long Beach Surfing

 

Beck and Arnet Islands
Becket Islands and Arn

 

Chesterman Beach
Chesterman Beach

 

Meares Island
Meares Island

 

kayaking around Tofino
kayaking around Tofino

 
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