Earlier this week, Sunset (owned by Time Inc.) awarded Tofino, B.C. the 2016 Travel Award for "Best Beach Town in the West." Truth be told, we can't say that we were surprised. (We're total fans!) To celebrate, we thought we'd share with our readers who haven't yet visited, what exactly makes this oceanside town so magical.
Long Beach is one of the first stops beach bums and surf hopefuls flock to in Tofino. Try out skimboarding, have a picnic or go for a long walk along the seemingly endless stretch of sand to Wickaninnish Bay. Climb Incinerator Rock for a commanding view of the ocean.
The hike to Half Moon Bay is only 1 km, but it includes 123 stairs. Wooden boardwalks wind through dense, moist forest. The deep, shadowy greens are an extreme contrast to the beautiful, crescent-shaped beach the hike plops you out on.
This little taco van has struck it big. These impeccable creations are known around the country, leading to expansion in metropolitan areas. They are known as the "best tacos in B.C.," and they won't disappoint. Dig into a fish taco or beef burrito, and you'll be hooked.
You know you're embarking on an epic adventure when the journey involves a float plane. Whether you're seeking out a hike on a nearby island (like the Wild Side Trail on Flores Island) or just want to admire Tofino from the sky, you will be rewarded with jaw-dropping aerial views of the west coast.
Tofino is an incredible destination for storm-searching and whale watching. Whale season begins in March and stretches to late October. While they are difficult to spot from shore, many companies offer to take you out on a Zodiac boat to get up-close-and-personal with the area's impressive marine life. If you're lucky, you'll see Pacific gray whales, humpback whales, harbour seals, sea lions and bald eagles.
Hit the Waves
Surfing is a staple of life in Tofino. There are plenty of places around town to rent wetsuits and surfboards, and many accommodations have their own rentals. Vehicles and vans strung up with drying wetsuits are a common sight in many of the beaches parking lots.
What better way to start your day then with sunshine, sand, sea, Tofitian coffee and a little light reading? The surf is (supposedly) the best in the early hours; even if you aren't heading out to ride the waves, it's the best time to watch others ride and fall on the west coast's wild waves.
Catch the sunset at one of Tofino's pristine beaches, such as Cox Bay. This beach borders Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and is a favourite for surfers, sunbathers and families.
The Sky Couch
The Sky Couch, perched atop a hill between Ucluelet (aka Ukee) and Tofino, is one of the area's many secret sweet-spots. The best way to find hidden treasures like this is to ask the locals. Someone around town will happily point you in the right direction.
Tofino's Eclectic Accommodations
Tofino is small in size but big on accommodation options for all budgets. Find rustic campgrounds, BnBs ran by smiling locals, salty seaside motels, chic beachfront hideaways, luxe resort lodgings and high-end glamping. With Tofino wrapping itself around a peninsula, water views tend to be less of an exception and more the rule!
Nestled in the rain forest, the Wickaninnish Inn – or simply, ‘the Wick’ – just might be the most romantic retreat in Tofino. No visit is complete without a visit to its dining room, The Pointe Restaurant, serving up succulent seafood and stunning ocean views. And just when you feel you might have died and gone to Heaven, wander over to the Ancient Cedars Spa and be swept away by a sea of Zen. Organic botanical treatments? Swoon.