Welcome to our newest installment of Destination…., a digital guidebook crafted for you with the inside scoop on unique destinations around the world. We take the stress out of planning your perfect getaway (or staycation!) by sharing the trendiest accommodations, unreal restaurants, and provide you with a list of the must see spots and hidden gems at each destination. Travel the world with us, we know you’ll have the best time.
Here we take you on a journey through Tofino, British Columbia. You can also find the Youtube vlog of this Destination Series on our Youtube Channel!
Destination: Tofino, BC
Located within the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations people, Tofino is a tiny little surf town on Vancouver Island’s west coast. Home to a year-round mild climate, impeccable ocean views and abundant wildlife, folks visit this ancient rainforest to connect with the raw power and beauty of the island. Having spent some time on Tofino years ago, we continued to awaken our senses in a meet-cute kind of way; taking in the innovative boat-to-table cuisine, surfing along the sandy shore, and hiking through the forests of this land. This beautiful place holds a special place in our hearts.
Where to Stay
Remember these four words, and you’ll have the best time in Tofino; Pacific Sands Beach Resort. With the rugged coast as its background, the Pacific Sands Beach Resort provides guests with many moments of ease while staying here. With 41-acres to explore, the resort is tucked between the salt of the ocean and forever rising evergreen trees. Located a sweet seven-miles from the quaint village of Tofino, the resort is the only one of its kind here; offering all-suite accommodations. Each room is home to a breathtaking view of the ocean, a fully equipped kitchen, roaring gas fireplaces, cozy bedrooms and local bath goods.
The moment you drive up to the resort you’re welcomed with open arms by the forever smiling staff, as your weekend getaway playground is there each and every day. The main building features a cozy welcome area and a variety of books, movies, and board games to enjoy while staying here. There’s also a laundry room, which is perfect for those staying for an extended stay.
The resort is designed to take you back to the simple pleasures in life; surfing in Canada’s #1 surf destination, sunset beach strolls, home-cooked meals, and board games and s’mores around the fire. Designed with comfort and sustainability in mind, this is the place to find calm in the hectic moments of life.
The resort has a special place in my heart as on our first visit to Tofino, we stayed here and ended up extending our stay an extra week…it was just that special of a place.
You can’t get any closer to the beachfront than this. Each suite at Pacific Sands Beach Resort overlooks the sweeping views of Cox Bay, one of the best places to surf in the area. With expansive windows to feel the sunshine shine down on you, each room is home to a cozy gas fireplace, a comfortable pull-out sofa (perfect if you have little ones coming along!) a comfortable outdoor patio, full bathroom and the most relaxing bed we’ve ever slept on. With so much room to roam around, each suite provides you with the space to truly feel at home while visiting.
The resort provides its guests with the brightest yellow raincoats to stroll the grounds on those wet, rainy days and luxurious bathrobes to lounge in while having a glass of wine after a long day out in the surf. Simply put, Pacific Sands Beach Resort is a haven for making memories with those you love.
Where to Eat
While staying in Tofino, you’ll find incredible places to dine – from epic coffee shops to lovely oceanside views, here are our go-to spots while staying in this vibrant surf town:
Rhino Coffee House
Start your day off with a cup of the finest coffee in town. Rhino Coffee House is a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. A place where you head to after a morning surf and fuel up on coffee, a breakfast wrap and delightful donut. A group of adventurers opened this coffee house back in 2013 and have never looked back – daily they serve mouth watering donuts, locally brewed coffee, and delicious breakfasts and lunches. This will be your go-to place each and every day you’re in this oceanside town.
Wolf in the Fog
“Fish. Forage. Feast.” WIth a mission to do just that, Wolf in the Fog was born out of creating a restaurant that welcomes you to an inviting space that speaks to using local ingredients to create impeccably crafted dishes. Chef Nicholas Nutting honors the ingredients he and his team uses to create delectable shareable plates that are simply the best. From their epic ‘seacuterie’ (a play on a charcuterie with the freshest fish) to their famous potato crusted oysters and mouth watering potato pierogies step into a restaurant where their roots are in the ocean and they spend their days forging for some impeccable ingredients. Wolf in the Fog invites you to relax on the patio and enjoy dinner amongst your favourite friends.
Stroll on over to Surfside Grill; a beachfront restaurant located on Pacific Sands Beach Resort. After opening a Tofino culinary staple years ago, commercial fisherman Jeff Mikus carried the tradition of creating local fairs to the resort to welcome guests to their picnic tables to sit back, relax and enjoy the best fish tacos in town. With accolades as Tofino’s most acclaimed take-out restaurant, this chill-vibes spot is a perfect place.
With a garden just outside, Shelter believes in creating a space where you enjoy the fruits of their creations in every dining experience you have here. Located in the heart of Tofino, Shelter provides locally sourced, organic and ethically raised products when possible. As a Tofino staple since 2003, the team at Shelter focuses on providing guests with an unparalleled experience. From their creative surf bowls to the seared wild sockeye salmon and everything in between, Shelter has been in business for over 20 years, and we certainly know why – it’s such a magical place.
Taste of Tofino
From intimate gatherings to large parties, Taste of Tofino is literally the greatest catering company out there. Master BBQ chef and owner, Ronnie Lee, pairs his creative wood-fired BBQ dishes with Executive Chef Raphael Ouellets’ innovative menu selections to create a night for you and yours to remember. We had the pleasure of indulging in a plated dinner with canapes, the most delicious wild mushroom risotto. Ronnie and Raphael provided you with a sense of ease while hosting a dinner party with your favourite people – simply put, if you’re in Tofino and need a caterer, these folks are it!
Long Beach Lodge Resort
The Great Room is filled with laughter and stories as folks gather to experience brunch at Long Beach Lodge Resort. Located on the edge of Cox Bay, indulge in breathtaking ocean views and impeccable brunch fares. The natural surroundings of the restaurant perfectly pair with the delicious sweet waffles and vegan power bowl. Embrace the west coast lifestyle as Long Beach Lodges’ award-winning cuisine integrates farm fresh ingredients with local seafood, to create a menu that provides you with all the flavours of the area. Sit back, relax and enjoy the view here.
Getting to and Around
Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, adventurers has a couple of different ways to get to the beautiful coastline. Travel with ease by taking a flight on Pacific Coastal Airlines. With flights heading out to Tofino daily, this is your easiest option. From the mainland the flight is 45-minutes. Once you arrive, the heart of Tofino (and the Pacific Sands Beach Resort) is just a short drive away.
Looking to have an adventure and have more than 45-minutes to get to Tofino? Take the ferry from the mainland and drive around the island to Tofino – stopping along the way you’ll experience some beautiful coastline. This is a great option if you’re looking to explore the surrounding areas while you’re in town.
If you’re flying to Tofino, we suggest booking a car service, Pacific Rim Navigators is our favourite. There aren’t many taxis floating around town, so best to book a car service or rent a bike if you didn’t bring your vehicle on the ferry with you! What we love about the area is that there are beautifully crafted bike lanes from Tofino to Ucluete and encourage you to rent a bike to explore – it’s the easiest way to get around the vibrant yet tiny oceanside town.
We spent our days taking in the magic of the island with land and ocean adventures just around the corner from Pacific Sands Beach Resort. Our epic excursions gave us the chance to take in the natural beauty of the land here.
Tuff City Saunas
Tuff City Saunas takes the Nordic Spa experience out to the sea. This ever popular thermal therapy adventure (hot and cold baths) pairs a Finnish-Style Sauna with a cold-plunge in the mighty North-Pacific Ocean; the world’s largest salt-lounge. Their wood-fired saunas replicate the 9,000 year old wet-sauna experience to create loyly (steam meaning ‘spirit of life’) and lampomassa (heat that is gentle yet intense) and are designed to provide you with the space to nurture your body from the inside out. Step into the luxurious cedar-sauna, and feel the sand under your toes as you plunge into the majestic ocean; this experience was a dream. And best part, one of Tuff City Saunas is located on Pacific Sands Beach Resort property, which makes it a breeze to take in the two-hour sauna by the sea experience.
NAAS Foods Boat Tour
On a mission to create innovative food products from regenerative aquatic resources, NAAS Foods provides guests with unique experiences to understand the process of creating their products. Heading out on the water with Stevie Dennis, the owner of NAAS Foods, we were able to learn about how they’re uniquely designed products are designed to make kelp more attainable in North America by using traditional methods of working with the environment. The boat tour was an eye-opening experience to see just how much of a passion NAAS Foods has to create unparalleled products that nurture our souls. NAAS has a partnership with Pacific Sands and they offer a delivery program for guests, to learn more click here.
By the Sea Massage & Bodywork
Working with the elements, By the Sea Massage & Bodywork has created a relaxing experience for all. This West Coast gem focuses on providing you with the space to heal. With a team of highly skilled bodyworkers and massage practitioners, they take the time to welcome each person into their space, providing you with all the extra touches that we just loved. From complimentary tea to taking the time to really understand how our body was feeling, our session was heavenly. Each treatment is inspired by the land, sea and tranquility of Tofino. With nature at the forefront here, each treatment is named after the wild outdoors. From the Out of the Ocean to The Sun Goes Down massages, guests are invited to truly find a whole lot of tranquility here enjoying a massage by the sea.
Clayoquot Wild Walking Tour
We had the pleasure of joining elder, Moses Martin, 7th generation descendant of War Chief Nookmiis to learn about the Tonquin Story on a walk through the Botanical Gardens. Moses shared his story with us and his people. With stories about his people fighting to protect Muir’s island to sharing when he was first elected chief of his tribe (back in 1983), we were taken back to a simpler time and learned all about how the Tonquin people work together to continue to share their history with the world.
Surfing with Surf Sisters
Folks flock to Tofino for the surf, and as an ocean lover, we were over the moon excited to be back in Tofino to experience days out in the surf once again. With a variety of surf shops and schools around town, we fell in love with Surf Sister Surf School the moment we found out about this impeccable team of female surfers. The school began with a vision to encourage more women to get out in the water, and continually works to be a fully inclusive Surf School by teaching folks from 6+ to learn how to swim and surf. The lessons are designed to educate you on the rhythms of the ocean, and we saw in the sparkling eyes of our certified instructors just how much they love teaching others about a passion of theirs. The beauty of it all, they offer affordable group lessons to folks looking to get out in the water while visiting and run a free Surf Club for locals – this is the beauty of community in a nutshell. Take to the surf with the team at Surf Sisters Surf School and you’ll be riding waves with a smile on your face while surfing in the rain.
From the rugged landscape of the powerful Pacific Ocean to the magic of the rainy rainforest, Tofino is a beautiful destination to take in the natural beauty of Vancouver Island. Spend your days storm watching or indulging in the innovative food scene. This is a destination you’re going to want to add to your bucket list.
Last modified: December 19, 2022