Wondering what amazing things to do in Tofino? How to spend your time there? Then seek no more, as we are here to save your day.
Tofino is a beautiful town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Surrounded by unique natural beauties, oceans, old-growth forests, and abundant wildlife make Tofino a popular tourist destination.
It is an all-season destination. It doesn’t matter which season you choose to visit. Tofino will always be at its best, all bright and beautiful. There are endless ways to explore this beautiful town. Whether you are feeling adventurous or not, there are amazing things to do in Tofino for every mood.
During the summers, people mostly visit to spend some soothing & relaxing time on the beaches (who wouldn’t love oceanfront views?). And the winters, it’s officially hiking time of the year, with less crowd. Most people also visit between fall & spring.
Speaking of things to do in Tofino, you can hike through the rainforest, go surfing, kayaking, or even camping in some of the campsites. Or you can take a walk down the beaches and relax. Away from the bustling city life, Tofino takes you to a different world detour. It is small enough to explore a lot in just over three-four days and big enough to keep you excited and entertained throughout.
There’s plenty of things to choose from when you are going for outdoor adventures, as Tofino is all hearts for the outdoorsy people. And it doesn’t just stop at the epic activities. Tofino is also home to some of the great food places.
Recreational activities make Tofino so exciting, as it is also known as the “surf capital” of the country. There are never-ending ways for you to feel close to nature.
Tofino is a small community, is also rich in its art and cultural heritage. Tofino Public Market is the best example to witness local talents and creations. The whole place has an artistic vibe. Every corner has something unusual.
It is an amazing place to discover. And when it’s about traveling with learning and experience, then Tofino is the right place to be in.
Directions: How to reach the surf capital?
Getting to Tofino is not that hard. It’s just a 6 hours drive from Vancouver. A trip to Tofino is so worthy that you won’t even mind the journey. There are many ways to reach Tofino from Vancouver, such as:
i) Take a flight:
You can either fly to Tofino Long Beach Aiport from Vancouver on regular flights or directly into the Tofino Harbour, but seasonally with Tofino Air.
ii) Take the bus:
If you aren’t in the mood to fly over Vancouver, you can surely take the bus. Year-round bus services are available to Tofino from Vancouver or Victoria.
iii) Or drive yourself:
It is a long road trip but assisted with ferries makes it somewhat comfortable.
Roadtrips from Vancouver to Tofino is without a doubt is one of the best British Columbia road trips.
To get better assistance on the directions to Tofino, simply click here.
In this article, we are going to list out the 10 most exciting and amazing things to do in Tofino. I hope this helps explore Tofino better.
10 Amazing Things To Do in Tofino
1. Go Surfing
You can’t stop the waves, but you can always learn to surf your way out of them. Being the Surf Capital of Canada, it’s quite obvious for surfing to be the most favorite activity and on the list of topmost things to do in Tofino.
So when in Tofino, surfing is a must-do activity. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced level surfer, there’s comfort for both.
Stretches of sandy beaches and majestic waves make Tofino a year-round surfing spot. And all you need is a pair of thick wetsuits.
While surfing in Tofino, you should be aware of the best time to surf even tho it is a year-round surfing spot as the swell makes all the difference. The spring season (March-May) is the best for intermediates as the waves start to low down by then.
However, for the new learners, the perfect time is the summers. As with comparatively smaller waves and better conditions, it is the ideal situation.
You can surf at some of the most popular beaches around Tofino. The top three most visited surf beaches are:
i) Cox Bay Beach:
Rated as the no. 1 surf beach in Canada, Cox Bay Beach is the most favorite for various reasons. It is the largest in terms of area and carries waves of all sizes throughout the year. Other than that, during the winters, when the waves are at its maximum, it offers amazing storm watching too.
ii) North Chesterman Beach:
Just next to Cox Bay is North Chesterman Beach in terms of popularity. It is more of a seasonal beach and offers the best swells and waves in the winters.
iii) Mackenzie Beach:
Delivering the best in winters, Mackenzie Beach is a very sheltered beach as compared to Cox Bay and Chesterman. It isn’t too big like the other two, but it is almost as favorite as them.
And if you want to try surfing the first time for yourself, then Tofino has it all covered for you. There are some great gear rental and surfing schools available. You should check out.
2. Storm watching in the winters
Experience thrilling storm watching in the late winters. One of the most favorite and exciting things to do in Tofino is storm watching. Tofino has some of the great stretches of beaches, offering terrific storm watching experiences.
Watch the majestic waves come crashing dramatically on the cliffside by visiting any beach in Tofino. Huge waves during this season often reach up to 20 feet, stunningly unveiling its power.
There are plenty of beaches you can visit for storm watching, but the best spots are:
i) Long beach lodge & resort at Cox Bay:
In the mood for some gigantic waves? Then visit Cox Bay Beach, as it popular known to deliver the biggest waves. Watch the storm from a comfort space inside the Long beach lodge & resort.
ii) Tonquin beach trail approaching the third beach:
Tonquin beach, covered with rock cliffs and dense forests, offer a trail for awesome storm watching. This trail sits on the cliffside allowing stunning views of huge waves crashing against the rocks. You can feel the waves as if it’s coming right through you.
iii) Sunset point at Cox Bay:
If not in the mood to sit and watch and want to get a little closer to the waves, then Cox Bay has that too. Walk into the sunset point at Cox Bay and watch majestic waves crash against the cliffs. You can sit near a cove and enjoy this thrilling view.
3. Tour Hot Springs Cove
If you are looking for a unique and exciting experience, then a tour of Hot Springs Cove is a must on your list of things to do in Tofino. Hot Springs Cove is a magical collection of geothermal rock pools in Maquina Marine Provincial Park, which is a part of the Clayoquot Sound area.
The Hot Springs Cove is an exciting 6-hour tour where the guides put effort into wildlife sightings, including black bears, sea lions, seals, whales, bald eagles.
The hot spring pools are at the end of a 30-minute hike along a cedar boardwalk through an old-growth rain forest. Besides the hot tubs, you will also experience a majestic waterfall and gorgeous Pacific Ocean views.
To get there, you can either take a guided boat trip or book a tour on a floatplane (if feeling more adventurous). The floatplane option is known as “Sea 2 Sky,” which also gives you a bird’s eye view of Clayoquot Sound.
Enjoy the steaming pools!
There are some amazing hiking trails in and around Tofino that needs to be explored right away. Hike through the old-growth rain forests that end with beaches and waters.
Most of the trails are short but still, the elevations are exciting. The old-growth forest hikes take you across some of Canada’s oldest trees, such as Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedars. Many of the hiking trails are easy and go well with any skill level.
And most of the hikes are either in the park or farther south near Ucluelet. Some of the most popular hiking trails in Tofino you can choose from are:
i) Schooner Cove Trail:
In the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, the Schooner Cove trail is the perfect nature lover trail. This trail takes you through mighty old trees down to a sandy stretch of a beautiful beach.
The hike is just about a kilometer, but going through the dense rainforest gives a different feeling altogether.
ii) Wild Pacific Trail, Ucluelet:
Ucluelet is another famous hiking spot on Vancouver Island’s west coast. The Wild Pacific Trail is a major highlight of this whole area. This trail is quite unusual as compared to other coastal hiking trails.
The trail is divided into two sections, one that takes you straight to a lighthouse ( lighthouse loop trail) and the other that goes between Brown’s Beach and the Rocky Bluff ( the Brown’s Beach to Rocky Buff’s Trail). The lighthouse trail is the most hiked, as it offers views of the sea.
iii) Tonquin Beach Trail:
The best trail for wildlife lovers. It is an easy walking trail that takes you straight down to Tonquin Beach. It is one of the most beautiful trails and is about 2 miles that begins from the Tofino community hall.
5. Go Whale watching
Next up on the list of amazing things to do in Tofino is none other than its most fun activity, Whale watching. If you really want to explore Tofino and the waters, a whale watching tour is a must.
Tofino’s waters are filled with diversified marine wildlife. It’s a treat to the eyes of those who love nature and wildlife at its best.
Along with Tofino’s Shoreline, visitors can easily spot gray whales, and occasionally humpback whales and orcas are also seen. Whale watching tour is the best way to experience the oceanic wildlife.
The best time to go for whale watching in Tofino is between June and September; however, the watching season starts from February to October.
There are many tour operators in town you can choose from for your whale watching activity. Some of the most preferred and popular tour operators are Jamie’s Whaling Station, Ocean Outfitters, Tofino Resort & Marina, and West Coast Aquatic Safaris.
These whale watching tours offer amazing marine life sightings and offer great area and landscape views.
For a proper guide to the whale watching tour, please, click here.
6. Visit Tofino Botanical Gardens
Experience the beautiful natural wonders inside Tofino Botanical Gardens. It’s where nature meets art and creates beauty; you have never seen before. Tofino Botanical Garden covers forest areas and beautiful gardens.
It is a non-profit establishment. And it aims to create a picturesque space that blends well with nature.
The whole area is well decorated with simple wood carvings and art pieces that tend to blend very well with the natural surroundings. Along with these, various trails lead you through the forest areas, herb gardens, and a duck pond.
The garden also displays a small section in the memory of the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. The section features various items from the time things got washed away post the Tsunami.
You can pick up a field guide who will guide your exploration.
Do not miss out on the pocket gardens, which features plants from all around the world. And the on-site cafe, Darwin’s Cafe.
Taking a tour of the most attractive botanical garden is definitely one of the most amazing things to do in Tofino.
7. Go for a Bear Watching Tour
Tofino is also well known for its diverse wildlife. And black bears, one of Tofino’s most favorite animal is found in abundance in their natural habitat. They are often found around the waters looking for food, in Meares Island or other small islands around the Clayoquot area.
Clayoquot Sound is home to black bears that visit the beaches during low tides looking for sea delicacies such as starfish or rock crabs. The bear watching tour takes visitors close enough to get proper views and far enough to stay safe and sound.
Tours are mostly done in boats, and watching the bears is an absolute pleasure. This is why Bear Watching Tour is considered one of the most fun and exciting things to do in Tofino.
The tour timings are dependent on the tides, and the seasons are mostly after the hibernation period of bears. The season starts by the beginning of April till the end of October.
Tip: October is also the best time for seeing bear cubs.
8. Take a Scenic Flight
This is where the adventure begins. To explore Tofino at its best and see the rugged mountains, beautiful coastlines, and lakes, there is no better way than seeing it from up above the sky.
One of the best things to do in Tofino is exploring Tofino by the air. The Scenic Flight Tours are mostly done by helicopters or floatplanes and gives you a tour of a minimum of 20 minutes to a maximum of 5 hours.
The Clayoquot Sound area is spectacular and offers abundant landscapes. Flying above this area gives you jaw-dropping views. These guided tours even explain to you all the geographical facts about the places.
You can ask the pilot to land you anywhere you want, either on a glacier or a beach. Exploring Tofino from the air is a different experience altogether as it provides you different insights into the place.
“Atleo River Air Service” provides the best scenic tour and bird’s eye view of Tofino.
9. Dive into unique food and drinks
Unique little Tofino is not just for nature and adventure lovers but also for the foodies. Tofino has a diverse and unique range of food and drinks. You can find anything you want, from fine dining options to casual food trucks.
Tofino organizes the renowned feast, Feast Tofino. It is an annual fest that runs for three long weeks celebrating Tofino’s great food scene. Attending Feast Tofino for sure is on the list of amazing things to do in Tofino.
One of the best in Tofino’s heart is Rhino Coffee House, and you can not choose to miss visiting this place. Offering the best breakfast and lunch options, Rhino House Coffee is very popular among both the locals and visitors.
Tip: Try their bro nut, a delicious donut with a twist.
Here are some other great places to eat in Tofino:
i) Tocafino Truck:
The Tocafino trucks are well known in and around Tofino. It is the best casual outdoor eatery people enjoy. It is one of British Columbia’s most loved and celebrated food trucks.
ii) Wolf in the fog:
The best sea view is offering restaurants that serve locally sourced food and drinks. Inspired by Tofino’s beautiful backdrop, Wolf in the fog offers fine fresh food and craft beer.
iii) The Shelter:
The shelter offers both inside and outside dining options.
10. Try deep sea fishing
Ever tried deep sea fishing? If not, then that’s what you need to try in Tofino’s waters. Deep-sea fishing is the most loved activity among all the amazing things to do in Tofino.
The waters off Vancouver Island offer some of the best fishing opportunities. The best time for fishing is during the months of Mid-June to Mid-September.
Whether you like offshore fishing or inshore fishing, Tofino fishing adventures offer you both to choose from. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re up for the big Chinook or Halibut or in the mood for Coho Salmon and delicious Crabs. Both experiences are equally amazing.
Visitors from all around the world mostly love fishing out in the open ocean and the peak season for offshore fishing is between June-August. However, winters also provide great fishing opportunities.
Take a full day fishing charter and enjoy the best of Tofino.
10. Relax on the beaches
Hanging out with your friends or family on one of Tofino’s beaches is probably one of the best things to do in Tofino. Tofino’s major attraction is definitely its appealing beaches.
Whether you are in the mood for a simple walk along the shores or set a picnic and chill, Tofino’s beaches are there for everything. The beautiful just set your mood right.
Close to the town you have got five beautiful stretches of beaches to choose from:
i) Long Beach:
The major attraction in Pacific Rim National Park in Long Beach. And as the name suggests, it is “long.” A 16 kilometer stretch of sand between Ucluelet and Tofino.
It is a must-visit attraction in Tofino. During low tides, the beach is perfectly wide for long walks.
ii) Mackenzie Beach:
Camping is considered one of the most fun things to do in Tofino, and for that, Mackenzie Beach is the perfect place. The campgrounds offer both oceanfront and forest side campsites, and the whole vibe is so serene. It’s the perfect place for a getaway.
iii) Wickaninish Beach:
An amazing sandy beach for intimate long walks. Stroll with your friends, enjoy the moment.
These are the most favorite activities or things to do in Tofino. All these fun & amazing activities are what make Tofino such a lovely town. It’s so full of life, and the vibe that you get while being in Tofino is just unmatchable with anything else.
Other than these top 10 favorite or amazing things to do in Tofino, there is much more to name. The list is pretty long that includes: Kayaking, visiting the art galleries, golfing, canoeing, ziplining, or wildlife viewing.
There’s just so much to see and do that you won’t just get bored of visiting Tofino. Every time you visit Tofino, there still is something new for you to experience and explore.
Do try the above-listed activities on your next trip to Tofino. And if you have already, then share your experiences with us over the comment section.