The last time I was in Tofino was easily 15 years ago when I was a kid, so a trip to this beautiful destination was long overdue! This is one of those places that reminds me of how lucky I am to live where I do, and to have a paradise like this so close to home. It’s so serene and peaceful, but with tons of activities to do and endless ways to enjoy the gorgeous outdoors!
My little getaway to Tofino was a mother-daughter trip, as my mom and I go away for a weekend every year. Last year we were in California (those travel tips are over here!), and this year we headed off to Tofino! We left Thursday afternoon and came back on Sunday evening, and it was the perfect amount of time to explore and enjoy the area! It is a bit of a trip from Vancouver, with a two hour ferry ride to Nanaimo and then a three hour drive from Nanaimo to Tofino. But like I said, totally worth it!
Although I went with my mom this time around, if you want a romantic weekend getaway, or are travelling with children, Tofino is great! There really is something for everyone. So if you’re planning a trip to Tofino soon (or even if you’re still undecided!), keep reading for my favourite activities, a few places to eat, and where we stayed!
Where to stay:
There are tons of little vacation apartment rentals in Tofino, as well as some beautiful, high-end resorts (I hear Wickanninish Inn is stunning!). I loved the apartment we stayed at in Fred Tibbs, and it was a reasonable price ($150/night) for the place. The apartment is a corner studio suite, with a full kitchen and a balcony. We were right on the water so I couldn’t have asked for a better view! Check it out this panoramic shot of the view below! You’re also right in town, so walking distance to any of the restaurants in the city and to a few trails and beaches as well. The apartments are managed by Tofino Vacation Rentals and we were in apartment #10 at Fred Tibbs.
What to do:
- Take a water taxi to Meares Island -The island is beautiful and the water taxi is such a fun way to get there (although it is a bit pricier at $35 per person for a return trip). You can hike the trail around the enormous cedar trees that are hundreds if not a thousand years old. You can walk the whole loop of the island which is about 2 hours, or just along the “Boardwalk” section in under an hour. We did the shorter “Boardwalk” where they’ve created this beautiful trail path with boards of cedar, and stopped at one of the beaches for a snack!
- Visit Long Beach – This one is a must in Tofino! It’s about a 10-15 minute drive from town, and just gorgeous! We ended up going twice, because the first time was so foggy! Thankfully the second day it was beautiful and sunny, but it was still cold. Haha so don’t think you’ll be spending the day lounging in the sun and swimming in the ocean!
- Wander around the town – There are a whole bunch of little shops, view points, and cute streets to walk around!
- Walk the Tonquin trail down to the beach – A 10 minute walk to the trail head from our apartment, and then about another 20 minutes down a gravel trail to the beach! It was absolutely stunning! So secluded with an amazing view, and worth spending some time here! Bring a picnic, maybe a bottle of wine, and hang out on the beach! 🙂
- Visit Coombs Market – On your way from Nanaimo to Tofino, be sure to stop at Coombs market, where there are goats on the grass roof! Over the years it has grown and grown, but it never disappoints! Stop for some ice cream (see that photo below!), pick up a few snacks at the market, a toy for your little one, or a piece of home decor!
- Walk through Cathedral Grove – This is also on your way from Nanaimo to Tofino, and is full of enormous, ancient trees! It’s an easy walk through the forest to see all the trees, and it’s just beautiful!
- Hike the Wild Pacific Trail – In Ucluelet, you can hike this loop around the coast with amazing views at every corner! This trail is also connected to a whole bunch of other trails, so you can decide how long you want to hike for. There’s a lighthouse, paths down to a few beaches, and all along a nice gravel path!
Where to eat:
We actually brought most of our own food because the apartment had a full kitchen, so we hardly went out to eat! It worked well for us though because we didn’t have to eat out for breakfast/lunch/dinner, which gets tiring (and expensive) in itself. We did get out to try a few good places, and I’m sharing them here below!
- Trilogy Fish Store – It’s not a restaurant, but we did buy the most delicious fresh halibut here that we then ate for dinner. We seared it in butter, salt, pepper, and then added capers – some of the best fish I’ve ever had! And I’m not exaggerating!
- The Hatch – Right next to Trilogy, there is a pub overlooking the water. They’ve just remodelled the whole restaurant and are in the midst of adding a huge patio. Inside was lovely – white brick, exposed beams, and a stunning view of the ocean! We had a quick drink here but they did have a food menu to choose from.
- Wolf in The Fog and The Shelter – While I didn’t actually eat at either of these, I did hear great reviews. The food and menu looked delicious, and it’s definitely on my list to try next time I’m in Tofino!
- Raven Lady – A food truck in Ucluelet with the most amazing oysters! We ordered the oysters three ways, and split the battered fries – isn’t your mouth already watering looking at the photo below?! We stopped here to fuel up after our hike and sat outside the truck at one of the picnic tables they have set up. There are also lots of food options – so don’t worry if you’re not a fan of oysters!
A few other tips:
This tip goes for all travel to Vancouver Island – make a ferry reservation! Especially in the high season, the last thing you want is to get stuck waiting for hours on end for a ferry. A reservation is only $15 and you have to be there 30 mins early to guarantee your spot on the ferry. Book it as early as you can, because the reserved spots do fill up!
I hope you enjoyed these tips for your next trip to Tofino! I had so much fun visiting and exploring the town and coastline, and I can’t wait to take Guido there! I’m already planning our next family holiday – Charlie included – and Tofino would be the perfect place! And if you’re still unsure of where your next vacation will be, go and check out the travel section of the blog!
Have you ever been to Tofino? What was your favourite part? 🙂