Hostels in Tofino


A hostel is a great accommodation option for the budget-savvy traveler. Luckily, Tofino draws plenty of the young backpacker types, meaning there are a couple of hostels available to stay at! With private rooms and dorms, you can choose the type of hostel experience you’d like, and keep your wallet a bit happier. For those that don’t want to pitch a tent, but don’t want the cost of Tofino’s other accommodation options, a hostel is the way to do it.

Why choose a hostel? For one, it is often the cheapest way to score a bed, especially during the summer season. You’ll also meet plenty of other outgoing travelers. So, if you’re a single traveler, it’s a great way to find some adventure buddies for your time on the coast! Happy to have a cheap bed, but not too happy to be buying every meal at a pricy restaurant? Hostels help with that too – they typically have a kitchen and even a BBQ so that you can load up at the Co-Op and cook meals back at the hostel! It’s a great way to save even more money during your trip. Plus, nothing makes friends better than cooking a meal together. On rainy days or after surfing, it’s also nice to have a place to come back to with cozy couches that’s part of a household, rather than in an isolated hotel room. Hostels often have a common area that is welcoming, relaxing and is a great place to hang out after a day of exploring.

However, hostels aren’t always for everyone, and it takes a certain kind of traveler to really enjoy the experience. Bunk beds and base-rate amenities are standard fare, so anyone expecting extra fluffy pillows and big robes are in for a shock. They typically host a younger crowd, too, so a casual game of beer pong in the common room is a typical sight. For anyone looking to have a private escape a hostel, which is a very social experience, also might not be the right choice. Unless, of course, you go the private room option.

While the word “hostel” used to create images of shoddy bunk beds, dirty backpackers and no sleep, the hostels of today can be a completely different experience. The ones in Tofino, especially, have stunning ocean views and are a short stroll into the charming town. All in all, they’re a step up from a mat on the ground for many, and are a great solution to the high cost of accommodation in Tofino.


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Vacation Rentals in Tofino


Perhaps the number one accommodation choice in Tofino is the vacation rental – a huge market this day and age thanks to sites like Airbnb and VRBO. What’s all the hype about over this type of accommodation? Check out the list below to find out.

More Choices

Downtown, oceanfront, ritzy, cozy, interactive, private… There are so many options, and so many combinations of those options available in a vacation rental. You can truly pick and choose based on your desires and book the perfect home that caters to your type of vacation.

Your Home Away From Home

Rather than a stuffy hotel room with weird décor and a lobby area that no one really sits in, you can have a master bedroom with an ensuite, paired with a comfortable living room you actually want to sit in and enjoy. It truly is your home away from home.


Speaking of home, another main feature for vacation rentals is the opportunity to cook! Depending on the place you choose, you could have a fully stocked kitchen, meaning you can cook all your favourite meals when you’re tired of eating at restaurants. Not to mention, you’ll have a fridge for restaurant leftovers when you do go out.




Depending on what you choose, a vacation rental can be cheaper than a hotel, or cost the same, but provide way more value for your dollar. While there can be some hidden fees like processing fees and cleaning fees, it usually works out to be a better bet for your wallet. Plus, if you do have a kitchen, you’ll be saving money on food.

Choose your Amenities

You’re in control of what makes the perfect vacation home. If you want heated floors, find that. If you want a balcony, you can have it. Dishwasher? Washing machine and drier? Check and check.

Pick your Dream

Always wanted a swanky loft? Live in it for the weekend! What about that dream home with the big picture windows and ocean view? Vacation rentals let you have that home and life you’ve always wanted, without feeling out of place, or like you’re intruding.

More Relaxing

After a big adventure, it can be exhausting to navigate the lobby, wait for the elevator and try to relax in your room, which is also your living room, kitchen and bathroom. Putting your feet up in your own living room next to the fire where no one will be walking by bumping you with luggage, and the constant ringing of the elevator is heaven.

Interactive or Not

Some home owners prefer to walk you in, introduce themselves, show you around and give you all the tips and hints they have about the town. Others just give you a door code and hope you read the welcome manual printed out on the coffee table. For social travelers, the host that wants to show you everything and be your latest friend is perfect. If you want a romantic, secluded escape, or a chance to refresh and recharge alone then the owner that lives somewhere else and is available by messenger if you need them is perfect. Your experience can be what you want.


So, there it is, some of the reasons why vacation rentals are becoming a favourite choice when it comes to accommodation. Wanting to find a dream vacation rental of your own? Check out You can also check out for more options!



Hotels in Tofino


As far as accommodation goes in Tofino, a hotel is the middle of the line. There are plenty of options, from 5-star to a modest 3, but all offer a great place to rest your head after a day of west coast adventuring.

A number of Tofino’s 3-star hotels still offer five-star views, and are often accompanied by an onsite restaurant and all the basic amenities you need to enjoy a great rest, and fantastic vacation. In fact, some of Tofino’s newer, more up to date hotels are 3-star rated. They’ll be more affordable than the ritzy spots, and still give you that “vacation” experience. Sometimes, all you need are your basics and a comfortable bed to rest your head.

The 4-star hotels definitely step up the game and you’ll be immersed in west coast luxury. Often with beach front and add-ons like private hot tubs and ocean view patios, the four-star options give you that extra little bit of pampering that goes along with vacation mentality. They’ve got that kick that makes that extra cost worth the payout.

Finally, Tofino is home to a fantastic five-star resort and it is the epitome of luxury in nature. With a restaurant that has stars to match, and an unstoppable view, plus an on-site spa, it is a place to take full advantage of and to either go big, or go home during your stay. For an ultimate experience doused in luxury and comfort, five-star is the way to go.


If you want a luxurious experience that goes beyond your standard 3-star time, consider coming to Tofino for the winter off-season. While gaining in popularity with the tourist crowd, winter in Tofino is still relatively quiet, driving down accommodation prices. Not only can you stay somewhere a bit beyond your budget for fairly cheap, but you’ll basically have the place to yourself. Surfers love the winter waves, and on the stormiest of days, you’re in for a show. In fact, winter storm watching is considered one of the top things to do in Tofino and Ucluelet, but you have to wait for winter to enjoy it!

Depending on your needs and budget, there’s definitely a hotel within reach in Tofino. Scattered along the beaches, inviting you in from the long winding road, or right in town overlooking the harbour, there are endless options.


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Where to Stay in Tofino


When it comes to accommodation in Tofino, there are tons of different areas to choose from. Whether you like to be in the heart of the action, or more removed and tucked away into the seclusion of Tofino’s beaches and forests, there’s a place for everyone, and the perfect spot waiting for you. Here’s the low-down on what areas you want to stay when you’re coming to the west coast of Vancouver Island.


Tofino has a quaint, yet scenic downtown. There are plenty of shops, fantastic, award-winning restaurants and offers everything anyone could want out of a west coast surf town. Staying right downtown offers a variety of vacation rentals, hostels and boutique suites and hotels. Facing out towards Cat-face, Meares and the harbour mean you’ll have stunning sunsets and a charming ocean view.

The Beachside

On the way into Tofino you’ll come across a number of enticing turn offs that head towards the true west coast. At their end lie a number of stunning oceanfront accommodation and resorts! These are a great option for taking in the beauty of the Island and enjoying that secluded R&R you likely came to seek. The downside is that some of these offer the more expensive price tags, but are definitely the most desirable when it comes to being by the ocean. Some are so close, you can hear the crush of the waves against the shore at night.

The Inlet Side

Some stunning boutique-type accommodation reside along the inlet and harbour-side on the way into Tofino. Not only does accommodation on this side offer some beautiful sunrise and sunset skies, but they cater to the finer things in life, with a reasonable price tag. They’re a bit closer to town than the beach-side stunners, but still offers the same seclusion. The only downside is that you’re a bit farther away from the surf.

The Forest

Camping is another fantastic option when staying in Tofino. There are a number of campgrounds, both in the forest and along the beach, that are cheap and truly get you back to nature. Not into the idea of pitching a tent, or sleeping in a trailer? There are a number of forest-hugged cabins that are waiting for you as well. Being in the forest, removed from the beaches, gives you a whole other perspective on the coast – the towering rainforest is an incredible sight.


So, there aren’t really any prime spots to stay in Tofino, as everything is a fantastic option depending on what type of experience you want to have. Keep in mind, you’ll need a vehicle for any of these locations, as getting to the beaches and the rest of the fun can be few and far between thanks to the stunning nature in the way!

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Resorts in Tofino

Staying at a resort in Tofino is an awesome option for families, or those that want a more upscale, yet sociable experience. There are a number of places to choose from that range between three and four stars, each with beautiful beach access and a number of different styles of accommodation. That way, you can help make sure that a resort experience still fits your budget.

Choose from private cabins, to lodge-style accommodation. Select a suite with a private balcony and ocean view, or rainforest shelter and privacy. Some resorts boast beautiful hot tubs and lovely common spaces, while others let you indulge in your own jetted tub. Dinner can be as easy as popping down to the onsite restaurant, which often has five star views and fantastic, fresh food. Seafood especially is a must while on the coast. Most of Tofino’s resorts allow you to walk straight onto the beach, with some cabins even directly in front of it, or on it. This lets you truly experience the west coast, while falling asleep to the relaxing sound of crashing waves.

While a resort can be a bit more on the expensive end, especially during the peak summer season, it’s a great way to cover all your amenities, plus enjoy a step up from something like a motel or hotel. The resorts on the coast are stunning in décor, comfortable and offer everything you could want from the west coast – even things like surf lessons, rentals and other activities. Thanks to their beach proximity, Tofino’s resorts are also a great choice for the off-season! With cheaper prices, but that same five-star view, you can sit back in comfort while watching those massive, winter waves roll in. It’s the best combination of secluded, yet social on the coast. Plus, you’ll be able to forget that you’re visiting a popular tourist town, just by disappearing onto the stretches of beach, or stunning coastal rainforest.

Convinced that a resort is the accommodation for you? Check out for more information. For more on Vancouver Island in general, pay a visit to It’s a great information resource for hikes, things to do, wildlife and specific regions on Vancouver Island.

Camping in Tofino

Photo: @laurissamarion

For a true, back-to-nature, West Coast experience, there’s nothing quite like camping! Luckily, the winding road to the town of Tofino has plenty of places to pitch a tent, or park an RV and spend the night. Not sure if it’s the right way to tackle your time in Tofino? Read on for a Pro’s and Cons camping list.


  • Spend 24/7 Outdoors

-Nothing says back-to-nature like spending all your time outdoors, even when asleep. It’s so refreshing!

  • Food Tastes Better Outdoors

-Camping meals, while sometimes challenging, are arguably the best. Also, S’mores.

  • Fun Camping Gear

-Using all your neat camping gadgets is super fun!

  • Beach-front/Ocean-View Camp Sites

-No need to drop $400/night on a fancy suite, you’ve got your own view.

  • Cheaper

-See above.

  • Still Close to Town

-All the campgrounds are within driving distance to Tofino – you can still have a night out and amenities if you please.

  • Close to Surfing Beaches

-Getting to the surf has never been easier.

  • Campfires

-Campfires are better than those gas indoor fireplaces, right? Again, S’mores.

  • Starry Nights

-Small towns and wilderness = no light pollution = lots of stars. Also, in August there is typically a meteor shower.

  • Camping Clothes

-Sweatpants, dirty hoodies, the same clothes for days… Nice to not have to dress up!

Photo: @laurissamarion


  • Rain

-Welcome to the “Wet Coast”. Even summer can mean rain – be prepared with tarps, rain gear and games to play in the tent.

  • No Showers

-Depending on where you camp, there might not be showers.  Prepare to have the ocean be your bath.

  • Pit Toilets

-Again, depending on your campground of choice, but get used to going to the bathroom basically outside.

  • Wet Wetsuits

-With no cozy laundry room or place to hang your suit indoors, putting on a cold, wet wetsuit will be a daily thing if you’re surfing, especially if it rains overnight.

  • Will Need a Car

-Some campgrounds, while on the beach, might be farther from town and the other beaches. Prepare to bring/rent a vehicle to pack the boards and get places.

  • Cooking Outside

-No matter the meal, weather, or hour, you’ll be doing all your food prep outdoors with minimal cooking surfaces.

  • Chilly Mornings

-Rolling out of bed is that much harder when you literally roll straight outside. This plays into the above point – especially when you need to prep coffee out there, too.

  • Nowhere to Charge Electronics

-For some, this is a blessing, for others, it’s the end of the world. Choose wisely, pack a power bank, or get comfortable with the idea of being… disconnected.

  • Lots of Planning

-Meal planning, ingredient prep, equipment, bear safety, clothing choices, weather preparation… There’s a lot that goes into a couple nights in the bush with a tent.

  • Camping Clothes

-Fun at first, but after three days? With no showers? Besides the smell, you might even miss looking nice just because you can.


Hopefully you know by now whether or not camping in Tofino will be your thing. If not, there are plenty of other options! Check out if you discovered you are looking for the exact opposite of a camping experience.

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Whale watching one of Tofino’s top adventures

Whale Watching Tofino

            Whale watching in Tofino is one of the most original, popular activities in Tofino and is known for drawing in a lot of tourists and visitors to the area over the years. There are many whale watching tours available in Tofino and on most of them you will not only come up close to humpback and grey whales but are likely to spot sea otters, seals, a number of bird varieties including the resident bald eagle. Orcas and porpoise are also spotted on occasion during the 2-3 hour whaling tour.

            The Pacific grey whales spotted in Tofino are the most celebrated of these massive mammals making their way to and from Tofino year after year. An estimated 20,000 grey whales migrate every year to Vancouver Island from Mexico’s Baja Peninsula’s lagoons where these migrating whales breed and birth. The 16-22,500 km roundtrip trek is one of the longest migrations of any mammal. From June-October many migrating grey whales stop along the coast of Vancouver Island to feed and some do not travel any further north to the delight of many Vancouver Island residents and visiting tourists. The migrating grey whales join resident grey whales, orcas, humpbacks and the occasional minke all of which can be seen in the Pacific Northwest waters any time of year off of Vancouver Island’s west coast.

            The Pacific grey whales have twice been hunted and scavenged upon to near extinction until 1947 when the International Whaling Commission made the greys a fully protected species. Since then, the population has recovered significantly. The Nuu chah nulth tribe of Tofino were among the first to hunt and scavenge upon these massive creatures. This would have taken immense skill, planning and courage to head out on cedar canoes with handcrafted harpoons as their weapon of choice.

            Two types of orca (transients and residents) live near the north western coast stretching from Washington to Alaska. The social habits, diet and range of these two types differ even though they inhabit the same waters. Transient orcas are known for feeding on mammals such as porpoises and seals according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration while the resident orcas are known to mainly feed on fish.

            Humpback whales are well-known for their multifaceted vocalizations and they are also acrobatic. Last summer, a group of fisherman off the coast of Tofino happened upon a group of humpbacks playing when one actually sprung completely out of the water just meters away from their boat! They breach the water often with antics ranging from pectoral slapping, lunge-feeding and tail-lobbing which is always captivating for viewers. Humpback whales average 12-15 meters in length and usually weigh 30-45 tonnes. Back in 1994, a humpback sighting was noted once in Clayoquot Sound and was incredibly rare. Since then, sightings have increased and in the summer months of Tofino now, humpbacks are sighted almost daily.

Because Tofino not only values but protects and preserves the natural beauty that encompasses it, wildlife is able flourish in abundance from land to sea making Tofino an ideal location to spot orca whales, humpback whales, the once endangered grey whale and even minke whales.  Whether you are looking to see some of the earth’s most massive mammals up close or from the shore, visit Tofino and you will not likely leave disappointed. Not only are you almost guaranteed to see a whale on your whale watching tour, but you are bound to see a number of other wildlife not only limited to water, but on land and in the air as well. Tofino is one of the most best-kept summer destination secrets in nature with gorgeous landscapes, breathtaking scenery and some of the most unique botanical and wildlife some people will ever see.