Category Archives: Activities

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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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.