Ah Tofino, the ultimate Vancouver Island oasis. It's easy to see why so many locals are from other parts of the world, coming for a summer and then never leaving. Here's our guide to spending the perfect weekend in Tofino.
If you can, it's always worth taking the early ferry over. That way you get to Tofino around noon, right on time for lunch! It's usually a good idea to make a reservation, just in case. Once you’ve made the ferry, it’s time to settle into island time! Be sure to check the Highway 4 road conditions to make sure you avoid driving at any closure times. The drive over is stunning, as you wind through lush rainforest and towering mountains.
Once you arrive, breathe in the salty ocean air and enjoy the slow, beach town lifestyle. One of our favorite places to stay is The Pointe At Chesterman, just a stone's throw from Chesterman Beach - one of the best surfing and sunset-watching spots in Tofino. The Pointe is made up of 3 suites, each with unparalleled attention to detail with everything you might need for your stay. We love the West Coast Suite. Built in a West Coast design, the beautiful decor and warm wood-paneled walls will make you want to cozy up and never leave. Coffee, tea, and snacks are ready for you in your room so you don’t have to worry about your caffeine fix for the weekend. The best part? It's 30 seconds away from the beach. Boil the kettle and take an early morning stroll to enjoy the sunrise with a mug of coffee in hand. If it’s raining? No problem, don your thoughtfully provided rain jacket and go for a stroll anyway. Check them out on Airbnb.
Hit The Beach
When you catch a sunny day, Tofino’s many beaches offer unparalleled scenery and there are endless opportunities to go for a walk on the sand. Long Beach, Schooner Cove, Chesterman Beach, and the Tonquin Trail are all beautiful places to take in the scenery. Fancy a bit more of a hike? Check out the Cox Bay Lookout. Perfect for sunset (be sure to bring a headlamp!), head to the south end of Cox Bay, and hike the short (but steep) path up to an incredible overlook of Cox Bay. From here you can sit atop a fallen tree and take in the expansive views of Tofino and Clayoquot Sound. If you're in the area, this is the perfect place to end your day - the sunsets from this lookout are killer.
Eat, Eat, Eat!
Our favorite places to eat in Tofino are Tacofino (obviously), and the 3 S's: Shed, Shelter and Sobo. Tacofino's reputation proceeds it, and we are huge fans of the Tuna Taco and Black Bean Gringa. Shed offers a great variety of relaxed, extremely tasty comfort food - we loved the Crispy Tofu and the Attenburger. Shelter is a little more upscale, with very generous portion sizes and a dark, romantic aesthetic. The Baja Fish Tacos and the Izakaya Salad are a favorite! Finally, Sobo, meaning Sophisticated Bohemian, is Tofino's answer to fine dining - without the pretentiousness. The Halibut Gnocchi, Chowder, and the Key Lime Pie are on the must-try list.
Grab A Beer
While in Tofino, you’ll no doubt have the chance to taste several of the Tofino Brewing Company’s beers in the local restaurants. This brewery is the place in town to grab a pint or a growler to go, and it’s bustling at any hour of the day. They have an awesome tasting room where you can order flights, and the staff are all very friendly and accommodating. Fancy something stronger? The Tofino Distillery is just around the corner.
Tofino's newest boutique craft store is a hidden gem called Merge. The all-pink building, reminiscent of a San Francisco surf hut, simply glows in the rain or shine. Inside this little pink shop, you'll find one of a kind, Canadian-made treasures that are carefully selected to complement your body and home. It's almost impossible to leave here without buying something for your West Coast-inspired room. Another fantastic and quality (read: not tacky) gift store is the Caravan Beach Shop, nestled in a turquoise, boat-like building adorned with buoys. Caravan has a wonderful collection of local goods, outdoorsy clothing, homeware, jewelry, and artwork.
Whether you're a seasoned professional or just trying surfing for the first time, Tofino is the perfect place to get in the ocean. You can rent everything from a wetsuit to booties to a board at a number of surf shops in Tofino. For lessons, we love Pacific Surf Company! After your dip in the sea, head right back to your West Coast Suite and enjoy a hot outdoor shower, the perfect cure for your chilly fingers and toes!
There really is something in Tofino for everyone, whether you're a die-hard foodie or addicted to the outdoors. We couldn't recommend the West Coast Suite more highly. It's reasonably priced, a great vantage point for killer sunsets, and the owners are exceptionally friendly and accommodating. Be sure to email ahead to book your accommodation for your next trip at The Pointe At Chesterman for an authentic Tofino experience.